Cabool: A Personal Narrative of a Journey to, and Residence in that City, in the Years 1836, 7, and 8

Description

Cabool: A Personal Narrative of a Journey to, and Residence in that City, in the Years 1836, 7, and 8 is an account of an 18-month voyage undertaken by Sir Alexander Burnes and three companions by order of the governor-general of India. The purpose of the journey was to survey the Indus River and the territories adjoining it, with the aim of opening up the river to commerce. Following a route that took them up the Indus from its mouth in present-day Pakistan, Burnes and his party visited Shikarpur, Peshawar, Kabul, Herat, and Jalalabad, before completing their journey in Lahore. The book contains detailed information about the ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups living in Afghanistan and parts of present-day Pakistan, and observations about the war underway at that time between the Sikh Empire and the Emirate of Afghanistan. Also included is a brief account of the formal audience with the amir of Afghanistan, Dōst Moḥammad Khān, who cordially received the visitors as representatives of the governor-general of India. Of particular interest is the economic and demographic data compiled by Burnes and his party, which is presented in striking detail. The book notes, for example, that the bazaar at Dera Ghazee Khan (present-day Dera Ghazi Khan City, Pakistan) had 1,597 shops, of which 115 were sellers of cloth, 25 sellers of silk, 60 jewelers, 18 paper sellers, and so forth. Equally detailed information is given about the prices of grains and other commodities, the production of dates and pomegranates, and the number of Hazaras living in the region between Kabul and Herat, which is put at 66,900. Burnes was killed in Afghanistan in 1841, and this book was published posthumously.

Last updated: September 30, 2016