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BALUCHISTAN

class” system, it at least supports good topography on geographical scales.

From Domandi, at the junction of the Gomal and Kundar rivers, the boundary between Baluchistan and Afghanistan follows the Kundar stream for about 40 m. to the south-west. It then leaves the river and diverges northwards, so as to include a section of the plain country stretching away towards LakeNorthern. Ab-i-Istada, before returning to the skirts of the hills. After about 100 m. of this divergence it strikes the Kadanai river, turning the northern spurs of the Toba plateau (the base of the Kwaja Amran (Kojak) Range), and winds through the open plains west of the Kojak. Here, however, the boundary does not follow the river. It deserts it for the western edge of the Toba plateau (8000 ft. high at this point), till it nears the little railway station of New Chaman. It then descends to the plains, returns again to the hills 40 m. south of Chaman, and thenceforward is defined by hill ranges southwards to Nushki. The eastern boundary of this northern section of Baluchistan is the “red line” at the foot of the frontier hills, which defines the border of British India. This part of Baluchistan thus presents a buffer system of independent tribes between the British frontier and Afghanistan. But the independence of the Pathan people south of the Gomal is not as the independence of the Pathans (Waziris, Afridis, &c.) who live north of it. It is true that the Indian government interferes as little with the internal jurisdiction of the tribal chiefs amongst the Pathans of the Suliman Range as it does with that of the northern chiefs; but the occupation of a line of posts on the Zhob river, which flanks that range almost from end to end on the west, places the doors of communication with Afghanistan in British hands, and gives command of their hills. It thus tends to the maintenance of peace and order on the southern frontier to a degree that does not exist in the north.

The central range of the Suliman hills is the dominant feature in the geography of northern Baluchistan. The central line or axis of the range lies a little east of the meridian of 70° E., and it is geologically composed of one or more great folds of the Cretaceous series. Towards the northern extremity of the range occur a group of peaks, which together form an oblong block or “massif” amongst the neighbouring ridges known as “Kaisargarh” amongst the Sherani clansmen who occupy it; and as the “Takht-i-Suliman” (Solomon’s throne), generally, on the frontier, from the fact of a celebrated shrine of that name existing near its southern abutment. The massif of the Takht is a high tableland (about 8000 ft. above sea-level), bounded on its eastern and western edges by high, rugged and steep parallel ridges. The western ridge culminates on the north in the peak of Kaisargarh (11,300 ft.), and the eastern in a block, or detached headland, on the south, where rests the immortal “zirat” or shrine (11,070 ft.). This tableland is formed by a huge cap of coral limestone, estimated by Griesbach at from 4000 to 5000 ft. in thickness. At each end the tableland is rent by gorges which deepen, amidst stupendous precipices, to the channel of the Draband or “Gat” on the north, and of the Dhana on the south. These two channels carry the rush of mountain streams from the western slopes of the massif right across the axis of the mountains and through the intervening barrier of minor ridges to the plains of the Indus. The plateau is covered with a fairly thick growth of the chilghosa or “edible” pine, and a sprinkling of juniper, on the higher slopes. It was ascended and surveyed for the first time in 1883.

From the summit of the Kaisargarh peak a magnificent view is obtained which practically embraces the whole width of northern Baluchistan. Westwards, looking towards Afghanistan, line upon line of broken jagged ridges and ranges, folds in the Cretaceous series overlaid by coarse sandstones and shales, follow each other in order, preserving their approximate parallelism until they touch the borders of Baluchistan. Immediately on the west of the Kaisargarh there towers the Shingarh Mountain, a geological repetition of the Kaisargarh ridge, black with pines towards the summit and crowned with crags of coral limestone. Beyond it are the grey outlines of the close-packed ridges which enclose the lower reaches of the Zhob and the Kundar. As they pass away southwards this grid-iron formation strikes with a gentle curve westwards, the narrow enclosed valleys widening out towards the sources of the rivers, where ages of denudation have worn down the folds and filled up the hollows with fruitful soil, until at last they touch the central water-divide, the key of the whole system, on the Quetta plateau. Thus the upper parts of the Zhob valley are comparatively open and fertile, with flourishing villages, and a cultivation which has been greatly developed under British rule, and are bounded by long, sweeping, gentle spurs clothed with wild olive woods containing trees of immense size. The lower reaches of the Zhob and Kundar are hemmed in by rugged limestone walls, serrated and banded with deep clefts and gorges, a wilderness of stony desolation. Looking eastwards from the Kaisargarh, one can again count the backs of innumerable minor ridges, smaller wrinkles or folds formed during a process of upheaval of the Suliman Mountains, at the close of a great volcanic epoch which has hardly yet ceased to give evidence of its existence. On the outside edge, facing the Indus plains, is a more strictly regular, but higher and more rugged, ridge of hills which marks the Siwaliks. The Baluch Siwaliks afford us strange glimpses into a recent geological past, when the same gigantic mammals roamed along the foot of these wild hills as once inhabited the tangled forests below the Himalaya. Between the Takht Mountain and the Siwaliks, the intervening belt of ridge and furrow has been greatly denuded by transverse drainage—a system of drainage which we now know to have existed before the formation of the hills, and to have continued to cut through them as they gradually rose above the plain level. Where this intervening band is not covered by recent gravel deposits, it exhibits beds of limestone, clays and sandstone with fossils, which, in age, range from the Lower Eocene to the Miocene. Beyond the Siwaliks, still looking eastwards, are the sand waves of the Indus plain; a yellow sea broken here and there with the shadow of village orchards and the sheen of cultivation, extending to the long black sinuous line which denotes the fringe of trees bordering the Indus. Such is the scene which Solomon is said to have invited his Indian bride to gaze upon for the last time, as they rested on the crags of the southern buttress of the Takht—where his shrine exists to this day. To that shrine thousands of pilgrims, Mahommedans and Hindus alike, resort on their yearly pilgrimages, in spite of its dangerous approach. All this country, so far, is independent Baluchistan within the jurisdiction of the Baluchistan Agency, with the exception of certain clans of the Sheranis on the eastern slopes of the Takht-i-Suliman, north of the Vihowa, who are under the North-West Frontier Province administration. Wedged in between the railway and the Indus, but still north of the railway, is a curious mass of rough mountain country, which forms the southern abutment of the Suliman system. The strike of the main ridges forming that system is almost due north and south till it touches 30° N. lat. Here it assumes a westerly curve, till it points north-west, and finally merges into the broad band of mountains which hedge in the Quetta and Pishin uplands on the north and east.

At this point, as might be expected, are some of the grandest peaks and precipices in Baluchistan. Khalifat on the east of Quetta, flanking the Harnai loop of the Sind-Pishin railway; Takatu to the north; Chahiltan (Chiltan) on the south-west; and the great square-headed Murdar to the south—all overlook the pretty cantonment from heights which range from 10,500 to 11,500 ft. Lying in the midst of them, on an open plain formed by the high-level tributaries of the Lora (which have also raised the Pishin valley to the north), 5500 ft. above the sea, is Quetta. The mass of twisted flexures, the curved wrinkles that end the Suliman system, is occupied by true Baluchis, the Marri and Bugti sections of the great Rind confederation of tribes owning an Arabic origin. There are no Pathans here. To the north of them are the Bozdars, another Rind clan; and these Rind tribes form the exception to the general rule of Pathan occupation of northern Baluchistan. Amongst the Pathans, the Kakars and Dumars of Pishin, with the Mando Khel of Zhob, are the most prominent tribal divisions.

The curved recession of the Suliman Ranges to the north-west leaves a space of flat alluvial desert to the south, which forms a sort of inlet or bay striking into the Baluchistan mountain system. The point of this desert inlet receives the drainage of two local basins, the Bolan and the Nari. Both drain south-eastwards Central.from the central Quetta-Pishin plateau and both have served for railway alignment. Being fed by tributaries which for the most part drain narrow valleys where gradual denudation has washed bare the flat-backed slopes of limestone ridges, and which consequently send down torrents of rapidly accumulating rainfall, both these central lines of water-course are liable to terrific floods. The drainage of the Bolan and Nari finally disappears in the irrigated flats of the alluvial bay (Kach Gandava), which extends 130 m. from the Indus to Sibi at the foot of the hills, and which offers (in spite of periodic Indus floods) an opportunity for railway approach to Baluchistan such as occurs nowhere else on the frontier. Kach Gandava, whilst its agricultural development has in no way receded, is now rivalled by many of the valleys of the highlands. Its climate debars it from European occupation. It is a land of dust-storms and poisonous winds; a land where the thermometer never sinks below 100° F. in summer, and drops below freezing-point in winter; where there is a deadly monotony of dust-coloured scenery for the greater part of the year, with the minimum of rain and the maximum of heat. The Quetta and Pishin plateau to which it leads is the central dominant water-divide of Baluchistan and the base of the Kandahar highway.

An irregularly-shaped block of upland territory, which includes all the upper Lora tributaries, and the Toba plateau beyond them; resting on the Kwaja Amran (Kojak) Range (with an advanced loop to include the Chaman railway terminus) on the west; reaching south through Shorarud to Nushki; including the basins British.of the Bolan and Nari as far as Sibi to the south-east; stretching out an arm to embrace the Thal Chotiali valley on the east, and following the main water-divide between the Zhob and Lora on the north, is called British Baluchistan. It is leased from Kalat, and forms a distinctive province, being brought under the ordinary forms of civil administration in British India. Beyond it, north and south, lies independent Baluchistan, which is under British political control. Its administrative staff is usually composed of military officers. The degree of independence enjoyed by the various districts of Baluchistan may be said to vary in direct proportion to their