The most important item of trade
from Central Asia was their horses which were considered
superb. The demand for horses never slackened. Babar noted
that every year between 7000 and 10,000 horses came to India.
Manucci has stated that Indian traders purchased 1,00,000
horses of Balkh and Bukhara at Kabul at the end of the 17th
century. Bernier, the French traveller (1658-67), put the
figure at 25,000 annually. Ever since their entry from Central
Asia, horses were in great demand. Uzbekistan horses commanded
the best price, while the horses from Baluchistan and Khorasan
were also in demand.
carried their goods on carts and camels. What was a great
surprise was that the fruits arrived fresh. How they did it is
a wonder as the journey took two or three months.
several routes to Central Asia. Among them the Srinagar,
Muzaffarabad, Peshawar and Kabul road was used by the traders
of Lahore and Kashmir. Another popular route was from the
Multan-Kandahar-Ghazni-Kabul road to the cities on the Oxus
river to enter Uzbekistan. Marwar traders from Rajasthan (Marwar
and Bikaner) used this route.
travelled with caravans in a group so as to avert highway
robbery. Indian traders were all over Iran, Afghanistan,
Uzbekistan but lived in separate colonies.
found that the banking business was in the hands of Hindus.
They derived their profits from lending money at high
interest. Traders too derived enormous profit and used the
money lenders for bills of exchange and buying goods for
contacts with Central Asia in the 19th century grew with the
expansion of British control over India. The essay on this
subject is by Devendra Kaushik. He holds the view that the
first Afghan war was fought by the British not to secure their
Indian empire. At that time the Russians were nowhere near and
the British had yet to annexe Punjab and Sindh.
is not the point. The British colonialists went to Afghanistan
fearing that Russians would advance into the region. Russians
had not advanced into Central Asia by 1830, but by 1865 they
had annexed Tashkent. To keep Russians out of Afghanistan the
British had gone into that country. They established
intelligence gathering. They might have beaten Russians to it,
but it was not an alibi for their aggressive policy. The
Russians did expand into Central Asia and annexed all the
The essay on
ethnography of a group of Indic-speaking people in Hissar
valley of Tajikistan is interesting. These people speak an
Indo-Aryan dialect and the Tajik language and have a vague
idea of coming from India through Afghanistan. They remember
the names of Multan and Peshawar. They now profess the Sunni
Muslim faith. Their songs, which they call git are sung in
Pushto and the group consists of a number of quarn. The group
comprises various groups such as Kalu, Jitan, Juni, Magar,
Bisiyan and Musalli. Of these the Bisiyan do not speak pure
Pshto language. The core group of Kalu, Jitan and Juni do not
consider Magar or Musalli as socially equal. In the frontier
towns the Musalli carry excreta and on the border of Peshawar
he serves as a grave digger.
Indo-Aryan language speaking people are also called Changar.
Changar means those who winnow grains. This term, the writer
believes, is related to the Punjabi tribe of Changar of
Lahore. Of the 11 sub-divisions among Changar, five coincide
with the names of Kale, Maghare, Jiteyan, Basian and Jenu. In
this group these are called Kalu, Magara, Jitiyan, Bisiyan,
these names of these people to the castes and tribes of India,
it is found that they are similar to the agricultural clan of
Jats. Kallu is mentioned in the report prepared in last
century as living in Amritsar, Montgomery and Shahpur. A
similar clan called Kalo was found in Amritsar and Multan. As
Kalo they were found in Shahpur and Montgomery. Among the
other Jat clans are Junhi in Montgomery, while Mahara, Mahare
and Jhotan were found in Multan. These are similar to the Juni,
Magar and Jitan of the present Central Asian group.
group (a tribe of Jats) called Baluj, migrated from the Indus
basin and Baluchistan to Central Asia. The dialects of the
Baluj had important differences.
There is a similarity of the
language in terms of phonetics and grammar with Hindi,
Punjabi, Lehenda, Rajasthani and Gujarati. The Periah dialect
is an independent dialect different from all the above. The
Pariahs have one curious custom similar to the Jats. In the
event of death of the elder brother, the younger brother can
marry the widow. The elder brother is however not entitled to
marry the widow of his younger brother. The last essay is a
translation from Russian and is brief.