Journey to Badakshan, with Report on Badakshan and Wakhan


Badakshan and Wakhan was a historical region straddling the Pamir Mountains in what is now northeastern Afghanistan and southeastern Tajikistan (Wakhan is today a region within the Afghan province of Badakhshan). During the “Great Game,” the competition between the Russian and British empires for power and influence in Central Asia, the two powers agreed, in 1873, to delimit their spheres of influence in the region at the Pamir and Panj Rivers―two headwaters of the Amu Darya. On the southern side of the territory, the Durand Line of 1893 established an agreed border between British India (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan, leaving what is now known as the Wakhan Corridor as an Afghan buffer zone between Russia and British India. The area remained largely unknown to the British. In 1878‒80, Major John Biddulph, the first British political agent in Gilgit (in present-day Pakistan-administered Kashmir) sent the author of this report, Munshi Abdul Rahim, to explore the region. The result was this detailed account. It is comprised of 107 entries on a range of topics pertaining to the geography, history, climate, local economy, ethnic composition, beliefs, social codes, politics, laws, and other characteristics of the region. The entries generally are short, with as many four sometimes fitting on a page. Some entries are anecdotes about encounters the author had with the locals or observations he made of his meetings with the mirs (area chiefs). The report begins with Wakhan, because of its proximity to Gilgit, and concludes with Badakshan. In his Wakhan Quadrangle: Exploration and Espionage during and after the Great Game, the German scholar Hermann Kreutzmann characterizes Munshi Abdul Rahim as one of the “indigenous intermediaries,” who were trained and sent by their “colonial masters” to “record routes, military details and strategic information.”

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

F. D. Press, Simla, India


Title in Original Language

Journey to Badakshan; with report on Badakshan and Wakhan

Type of Item

Physical Description

64 pages : genealogical tables ; 33 centimeters


  1. Kreutzmann, Hermann. Wakhan Quadrangle: Exploration and espionage during and after the Great Game. (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, Verlag, 2017).

Last updated: August 31, 2017