Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fable of Kashmiri Beauty (generally) as told by Younghusband

Francis Younghusband, winding up a very audacious journey, first reached Kashmir in around 1887. He wrote about this Journey in Report of a Journey from Peking to Kashmir via the Gobi Desert, Kashgaria, and the Mustang Pass. It was in Srinagar that he met a middle aged married women named Nellie Douglas. Nellie Douglas and Younghusband stayed in touch through letters for a long time. Understandably, the Report does not mention this ‘letter affair’; Patrick French wrote about it in his insightful and at times humorous biography of Younghusband aptly titled: 'Younghusband, The Last Great Imperial Adventurer'

Much later in 1906, Francis Younghusband came to Kashmir as The British Resident, and stayed on for three years.

On the subject of Kashmiri beauty, sympathizing with Walter Lawrence, Younghusband wrote:
Kashmir is generally renowned for the beauty of its women […]. And I think , well deserved. Sir Walter Lawrence indeed says that he has seen thousands of women in the villages, and cannot remember, save one or two exceptions, ever seeing a really beautiful face. But whether it is that Sir Walter was unfortunate, or that he is particularly hard to please, or that villages are not the adobes of Kashmir beauties, certain it is that the visitor, with an ordinary standard of beauty, as he passes along the river or the roads and streets, does see a great many more than one or two really beautiful women. He will often see striking handsome women, with clear-cut features, large dark eyes, well-marked eyebrows, and general Jewish appearance.
The valley was now seeing its first horde of western tourists and not just western travelers. And they were all still probing for Kashmiri beauties.

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Bibliography:
This is page 7 of the series Fables of Kashmiri Beauty
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previous pages:
next pages:
  • Guide to the Fable of Kashmiri Beauty as given in a Tourist Book: page 8
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You may also like to read about:
Younghusband and Tibet

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