National Geographic : 1931 Mar
ON THE WORLD'S HIGHEST PLATEAUS which the foreigner had best not bring from abroad, as they can be purchased much more advantageously through native agen cies. THE SERVANT PROB LEM IN KASHMIR This first glance at our outfit was excit ing, and the next two weeks passed quickly in various prepara tions, such as buying tents and provisions, paying official calls, and settling the com plex problems brought us by our native serv ants, which demanded the combined psycho logical and financial ef forts of their masters. There was our tent servant, Hakim Ab dullah Khan, whose ancestors had lived near the troubled Af ghan frontier and who invited Bosshard to act as judge in his divorce case only a few hours before we mounted our ponies. Our cook, Habiba, who was leaving his wife and children be hind him, was a more reliable character than are most Kashmiris. He passed his final test TO CARRY THE MAIL, HE SMILES AT DANGER Despite risks incurred from avalanches, cold, storm, etc., the mail runner pursues his lonely way. He, perhaps, knows nothing of the airmail, but its famous slogan, "The mail must go through," is his creed, too (see illustration, opposite page) in cooking on the balcony of our home, where he prepared a spicy camp dinner on a small alcohol stove. We gave him orders to buy chickens, eggs, dried fruits, and vegetables, but his first purchase was a huge bag filled with In dian spices. When we protested at the quantity, he replied that he was going to buy a second bag from his uncle at the next opportunity, for he was afraid that he would find nothing fit to eat, once he had left his native land. The local government, encouraged by the help of the British authorities, secured us transport for "as long a time as our travels should keep us in Kashmir territory." "But where are your boundary posts?" we asked the Hindu official. He made a heroic effort to collect his geographic knowledge, but evidently in vain, for he advised us not to worry over such minor difficulties. But, alas! This was no minor difficulty, for we had to sign an agreement with the Indian Government promising to stay out of Tibetan territory. As the boundaries between Kashmir, Tibet, and Chinese Turkestan were so manifestly vague, this promise seemed difficult of fulfillment. Even the British officials smiled at our dilemma, as a veritable no man's land ex ists beyond the Himalayas.