The Closed Valley: With Fierce Friends in the Pakistani Himalayas

Hardcover | July 15, 2014

byJurgen Wasim Frembgen

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In Pakistan, stubborn mountain tribes still lead a largely secluded life, preserving their archaic cultural traditions. Their distinctive features are Sunni Islam, strict gender segregation, a prevalent caste system, and frequent blood feuds already apparent in the layout of fortified villageswith watchtowers. Jurgen Wasim Frembgen, renowned anthropologist, was one of the first to venture into the valley of Harban, a world hostile to outsiders, lying in the Gilgit-Baltistan region located in the Himalayas of North Pakistan, branching off from the east bank of the Indus River. The study was conducted overthe course of several stays between 1989 and 1997. Enduring strains and dangers, Jurgen Wasim found a way to overcome the omnipresent mistrust. In this work of literary anthropology he narrates his experiences in sharing the daily life of a harsh, male-dominated society where he surprisinglydiscovers gentleness, poetry, and warm-hearted friendship.

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In Pakistan, stubborn mountain tribes still lead a largely secluded life, preserving their archaic cultural traditions. Their distinctive features are Sunni Islam, strict gender segregation, a prevalent caste system, and frequent blood feuds already apparent in the layout of fortified villageswith watchtowers. Jurgen Wasim Frembgen, re...

Jurgen Wasim Frembgen is Chief Curator of the Oriental Department at the Museum of Ethnology in Munich, as well as Professor in Islamic Studies at the University of Munich. Since 1981, he has been teaching Anthropology and Islamic Studies at different universities in Germany. In addition he has been a visiting professor at the Quaid-i-...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:July 15, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199400237

ISBN - 13:9780199400232

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Table of Contents

Open Sesame!The Land of OutlawsDisconcerting readingA letter as a keyJourney to HarbanWhere're you going? Who do you know there?Arrival in the fortified villageThe first dayMy new hostOn Narrow PathsMorning ritualThrough the fields to the riverEncounters with craftsmenIn the fortified villageHiking to the Heavenly FortressThe story of the carpenter Qalandar ShahA Rose in the DesertThe keeper of the shrineA Sufi's years of apprenticeshipNo longer of this worldThe saint's nephewIn the Men's HouseYusuf Jan and his friendsFlowers, fragrances and feathersPassion for huntingThe dance of the peacockAlif's third legA Harbani in GermanyBlood RevengeThe fortified towersThe shotsThe feudThe dead Shin womanLove, honour and violenceAfterwordAppendixGlossaryLiterature Cited in the Text