This volume of Jettmar's important three volume survey of Central Asian religion focuses on the beliefs of the Kafirs of NE Afghanistan. Our knowledge of the remote and inaccesible regions of the Hindukush is as yet incomplete and only in modern times have Western scholars been able to begin to study them. Professor Jettmar's book is very important to our understanding of the religions and cultures of the remote tribes of this area. These religions are of special interest in that they were created and preserved by that very remoteness. The author describes the Karifs of north-eastern Afghanistan who worshipped gods, some of whose names are familiar to us from the Vedas, with sacrificial rites which can be compared to those of the Classical west. Even today, eighty years after their conversion, essential contributions to our knowledge are being made, as the chapters by Schuyler Jones and by Max Klimburg on the Ashkun region show. To the east of the Kafirs, on Pakistani territory, live the Dardic Kalash whose religion shows astonishing dynamism even in the face of unavoidable decline. Although the Shina-speaking Dards were converted to Islam (or Lamaism) another tribal religion remained alive and apparently outlasted Buddhism. Finally Professor Jettmar describes the religion of the Kho, the original Dardic people of Chitral. Here in this book, we have for the first time a comprehensive exposition and discussion of the many problems that the investigation of the Pamirs and Hindukush involves and this translation from the German should prove very valuable to all scholars of the region.
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Text: English, German (translation)
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