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Himalaya

Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys

Michael Palin - HimalayaBleary staff appear from dark rooms and I realize that, although we've been on the road for more than two hours, it's still only half-past seven.

After a breakfast of bananas, hard-boiled eggs, green tea, fresh chapattis and malaria tablets I'm back in the jeep and climbing out of the plain and up to the Malakand Pass.

Here, on the endemically war-like North-West Frontier, almost any pass or prominence bears a fortification of some kind, ranging from fully-fledged fortresses to barricaded look-out points they call picquets or pickets. The best known of these is still called Churchill's Picket, where the great man, then a reporter for the Daily Telegraph, was holed up in 1897. A force of 1000 British and Sikh soldiers was defying an army of 10,000 Pathans, led by one Hajji Shaib Balee, whom the British press quickly, if predictably, christened the Mad Mullah. Young Winston sent back a blood-curdling account of the dangers they faced. 'Death by inches and hideous mutilation are the invariable measure of all who fall in battle into the hands of the Pathan tribesmen.'

I can hear him saying it.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 7: Peshawar to the Kalash Valleys
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Peshawar
  • Book page no: 24

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