Himalayan Journal vol.05
The Himalayan Journal
Vol.05

Publication year:
1933

Editor:
Kenneth Mason
Index
  1. CHITRAL MEMORIES
    (Lieut.-Colonel B.E.M. Gurdon)
  2. NANDA DEVI
    (HUGH RUTTLEDGE)
  3. A SCIENTIFIC EXPLORATION OF THE EASTERN KARAKORAM AND ZANSKAR-HIMALAYA
    (HELLMUT DE TERRA Tale North India Expedition)
  4. A NATURALIST'S JOURNEY TO THE SOURCES OF THE IRRAWADDY
    (F. KINGDON WARD)
  5. THE PASSANRAM AND TALUNG VALLEYS, SIKKIM
    (DR. EUGEN ALLWEIN)
  6. THE ATTACK ON NANGA PARBAT, 1932
    (WILLY MERKL)
  7. KULU
    (A. P. F. HAMILTON)
  8. THROUGH KULU-SARAJ
    (R. MACLAGAN GORRIE)
  9. A PROPHET OF OLD
    (Captain G. C. CLARK)
  10. AN ATTEMPT ON CHOMIOMO
    (G. A. R. SPENCE)
  11. THE CHONG KUMDAN GLACIER 1932
    (Lieut.-Colonel KENNETH MASON)
  12. EXPEDITIONS
  13. IN MEMORIAM
  14. NOTES
  15. REVIEWS
  16. CORRESPONDENCE
  17. CLUB PROCEEDINGS
  18. CLUB NOTICES

CORRESPONDENCE

A Frontier Tour

To the Editor,

The Himalayan Journal.

Dear Sir,

I have read with much pleasure Colonel Gannon's graphic account of Lord Rawlinson's remarkably energetic journey through Dir, Chitral, and the Gilgit Agency in 1923, but I cannot resist inviting attention to a few omissions and inaccuracies with regard, especially, to the fighting at the village of Reshun in 1895 (Himalayan Journal, vol. iv, p. 76).

The second British officer was Lieutenant Fowler, r.e. (now Lieut.-General Sir John Fowler, Colonel Commandant of the Royal Corps of Signals); and in view of his exceptionally gallant conduct during the retirement from the cliffs opposite Parpish, when he brought in a wounded sepoy on his pony, although wounded himself, and in view of his subsequent gallant leading of sorties down to the river for water, it seems a pity that his name should not be remembered.

I would also point out that fighting continued from the morning of the 7th to the morning of the 13th March, when the enemy hoisted a flag of truce, and not only for three days, as mentioned by Colonel Gannon. Edwardes and Fowler were treacherously made prisoners on the 15th March. After their seizure the enemy rushed the house which they had been defending and killed all the survivors of their detachment with the exception of about twelve, nine ofwhom were Muhammadans. The detachment consisted of forty Dogras and Gurkhas of the Ragonath Regiment of Kashmir Imperial Service Infantry, under Subadar Dhurm Singh, and twenty Bengal Sappers and Miners.

Edwardes and Fowler were taken to Umra Khan (the Khan of Jandol) at Drosh. There were, of course, no British at Drosh at that time. Eventually the two officers were handed over by Umra Khan to Sir Robert Low's force between the 12th and 16th April, after a captivity lasting over four weeks.

On p. 78 of the Journal, Buni Zun should read Buni Zom word Zom meaning 'mountain' in Khowar.

I never heard of any house at Chitral called after Hayward's name (p. 87), although I lived there for several years as Assistant Political Agent. Further, Sir Francis Younghusband told me quite re- cently that Hayward was travelling independently and had no connexion either with the Government of India or the Royal Geographical Society.

Yours faithfully,

Heatherfield, B. E. M. Gurdon.

Warren Road,

Growborough,

Sussex.

15th July 1932.

SUB-HIMALAYAN DIETETICS

To the Editor,

The Himalayan Journal.

Dear Sir,

In connexion with Dr. Strickland's paper on Sub-Himalayan Dietetics, the following note, which refers to the incident mentioned by Mr. Dundas in that paper, H.J., iv, p. 98, may be of interest.

In December 1911 I was in Political charge of a column camped at Nizamghat on the Dibang river; we were engaged in crossing the river on rough Mishmi rafts, an operation which took two or three days. Our transport consisted of Rengma Naga coolies. These men found an edible bug which they recognized as a welcome addition to their rations, and they collected large numbers of them from under the stones on the river bank. The local Mishmis warned them that, unless they removed a portion of the bug, those who ate it would be poisoned. The Nagas refused to believe this as they said that they knew the insect well in their own country.

In the early morning of the day on which we proposed to start, our doctor, Dr. Cornelius, was called to see a Naga who was said to be very ill. Shortly afterwards, as the coolies were parading, several cases occurred of men falling down in the line. This was clearly due to some kind of poisoning and, as I had no idea how many cases might occur and could not run risks once we had left the shelter of the Nizamghat stockade, I postponed the start for a day. In all eleven cases were dealt with; there were no deaths.

Dr. Cornelius made a detailed report in which, among other symptoms, he says: 'Then follows distinct rigors resembling a typical attack of ague and these keep on till they emerge with general paralysis of all limbs. There is no fever and the men are perfectly conscious all the while, though they cannot answer questions.'

Specimens of the bug were sent to the Indian Museum and were identified as Aspongopus nepalensis Westwood, as mentioned by Dr. Strickland

The Residency, Yours faithfully,

F. M. Bailey.

Srinagar, Kashmir,

3rd August 1932.

To the Editor,

The Himalayan Journal.

Dear Sir,

Dr. Strickland's article on Sub-Himalayan Dietetics (Himalayan Journal, vol. iv, p. 96), supplemented by Mr. Furze's observations in Assam, touched a chord in my memory. So I looked up The Mishmee Hills by T. T. Cooper, published in 1873. There I read the following: 'In the evening when we camped at the Bramapootra, some of the men collected a number of edible beetles. These little insects, which are a species of water-beetle, are found in immense numbers during the cold weather in the dry shingly bed of the Upper Bramapootra. They are about the size of a finger-nail, with bronzed wing- shields, and when handled exude a liquid resembling walnut juice, of a strong but not unpleasant odour. The Khamtees seemed to consider them a great delicacy when boiled, and for several days the odour of the beetles seemed to impregnate their bodies, to their intense satisfaction.'

Perhaps it would be frivolous after that to suggest that perhaps these bugs have an aphrodisiacal effect! It may be noted that Mr. Cooper's 'beetles' behaved just like other bugs when handled; they exuded a pungent juice. Prince Henry of Orleans, who did not miss much on his journey across the head waters of the Irrawaddy in 1895, tells us nothing about bug-eating (Tonkin to India); but then he crossed that country in the rainy season, when the river-beds were full. So I might add that I saw Kachin women, south of Fort Hertz, turning over the stones in the river-bed during the low-water season and collecting these creatures. They are said to fry them in oil; but I am unable to give any of the circumstantial details furnished by Mr. Furze. I believe I sent specimens to the Natural History Museum in 1927; and I have no doubt that my specimens from Burma 'rejoice'-if it is a matter for rejoicing-in the same generic name as those of Dr. Strickland.

The only other observation I would make is that it is passing strange that they are not exported in bulk to China, that home of exotic delicacies, though I seem to remember my Panthay muleteers eating them.

Yours faithfully,

F. Kingdon Ward.

Harlington, Middlesex.

18th November 1932.

To the Editor,

The Himalayan Journal.

Dear Sir,

I have read with much interest the article on Sub-Himalayan Dietetics in vol. iv of the Himalayan Journal; I fear that I missed my chances of sampling the Hemipterine delicacies specially referred to in Dr. Strickland's paper. But I well remember an incident in a meal while I was on trek with my friend J. H. Hutton in the Naga Hills in 1922. We had reached the village of Kerami, in the Kalyo- Kengyu country, and the gaonbura had brought us a present of chicken and eggs, and also a huge honeycomb of a very large species of Hornet (Vespa magnifera). The latter aroused my zoological interest. Every cell was occupied by a great fat maggot, or grub, about an inch and a half long. They were all wriggling and squirming and exhibiting the characteristic peristaltic action, which may intrigue the student of larval economics, but to the gastrologist is decidedly unappetizing.

The honeycomb and its contents were transferred to the com- misariat department of the Naga staff and were received with unfeigned delight as a most welcome luxury. Hutton and I dismissed them from our minds. But while we were having our evening meal, Nihu, the Angami dobashi, appeared and offered us rather ceremoniously a plateful of these very maggots which had been boiled. Their appearance had not been improved by this treatment, and it would be difficult to imagine a more unsavoury-looking dish-a sodden mass of flabby, squashy, dirty-white objects. Hutton at once said that he never had and never would eat the things; and I was much tempted to shelter myself behind his refusal. But I was anxious to avoid hurting Nihu's feelings, since he was paying us a compliment by proffering the 'delicacy'. So I said to Hutton, 'Look here, ifyou will, I will.'

The challenge committed us both. With very wry faces, expressive of intense disgust and repugnance, we each took one of the grubs, pulled off the tough skin and put the contents into our mouths. Transformation scene! It was amusing to see the change of expression on each other's face. The scowl of disgust gave place to the grin of reassurance, as we realized that the thing wasn't half bad, tasting, in fact, just like honey.

Later I encountered this native delicacy in other villages and did not hesitate to accept the gift. I have never dared to eat the queen white-ant, so popular amongst African natives, and I feel now that perhaps I have missed something palatable; while locusts, flying- ants, and the dried black caterpillars, which I have seen sold in the Nigerian markets, may, for aught I know, be worthy of a place on the menu at the Ritz-but wood-bugs and other Hemiptera, no! Olfactory experience of such-like induces altruism, and I leave them to you, partner.

Yours sincerely,

Langley Lodge, Henry Balfour.

Headington Hill,

Oxford.

28th Nov. 1932.

[In the words of the American President, 'This is not my baby'. I pass it on to Dr. Strickland, the medical zoologist of the Himalayan Club. Members will no doubt be glad to hear from him what an ‘Aspongopus nepalensis 'with a spirit' tastes like.-Ed.]