Himalayan Journal vol.43
The Himalayan Journal

Publication year:

Soli S. Mehta
    (MAL DUFF)
  6. DHAULAGIRI 1984-85
    (P. M. DAS)
  13. BASPA AND ROPA, 1986
  16. SIA KANGRI, 1986
    (S. P. CHAMOLI)


ENCYCLOPEDIA OF INDIAN NATURAL HISTORY. Centenary Publication of the Bombay Natural History Society, 1883-1983. General Editor R. E. Hawkins, Pp. 620, 40 illustrations, 800* sketches, 1986. (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Rs. 245).

This long and anxiously awaited publication has arrived at last, after a delay of over 3 years. Work on it was started in 1976 and expected to be released at the B.N.H.S. Centenary function on 15, September 1983.

It is the first of its kind with contributions from India's top naturalists in their respective fields and covers various aspects of Natural History pertaining to the Indian subcontinent, written in simple language. It brings together only a small part of the accumulated knowledge of over a century together with the hope it will stimulate interest in the teeming plant and animal life in the subcontinent.

The subject of Indian Natural History alone is immensely vast and a fuller coverage would take several volumes and be very costly, too great and lengthy an undertaking. This work claims only in attempting in the broadest possible way to satisfy the curiosity and to reveal the vast range and complexity of life forms, with all their adaptations contributing to their survival. Hence it is very comprehensive and the experts in their respective fields must have had a very difficult choice as to what to include or delete. This could naturally give rise to controversies as to the selection. The jacket, beautifully designed, gives the book an appropriate and fine get up. Some five articles on geology, geography and climatology which are not directly connected with Natural History are included and add to the interest and enhancement of this work. A good number of colour plates are of a poor quality and also could have been of a better choice. Most of the line diagrams are all right but some of them could do with improvement. However, as a beginning it is an excellent and praiseworthy work. It is hoped that it will be followed by an enlarged edition or a supplement in due course, giving much better coverage of the subject and also have a better choice and quality of the plates.

It may be noted that quite a large number of items are not covered by a separate article, but lumped together under a lengthy leading article. In case you wished to refer to the Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis aculeata), there is no reference in the index as a separate entry, but it is touched on in a fairly lengthy article on Alpine Flowers. This is the same case with the vast majority of flowers and trees which could possibly be found under the heading of Alpine Flowers, Flowers, Classification of Flowering Plants, Plants, Trees, Forest Types and Conifers. This should be the case with most of the other subjects. In spite of these limitations, reference to this encyclopedia can be very interesting and educative. In conjunction with it other encyclopedias of world coverage, and books on the various subjects could be referred to for the items not covered by this work or for more details and much knowledge could be gleaned this way and can be pleasant and enjoyable.

In the Preface, R. E. Hawkins has very appropriately stated: The knowledge contained in this encyclopedia will, it is hoped, help to create a better awareness not only of the variety and richness of our wild life and natural resources but also a consciousness of the interdependence of all life forms and our responsibility to understand, and not upset, irreversibly perhaps, the delicate balance of nature, that will determine our own future . Very much to the credit of Hawkins, goes the great amount of spadework in getting this volume ready and it owes it's existence due to his dedication and perseverance in spite of his age and prolonged illness. He has served as an Executive Committee Member of the B.N.H.S. since 1939 and has been guiding hand in the Societies Publication Programme. He retired as General Manager of Oxford University Press, India, after 40 years of service. He joined the Himalayan Club in 1944 and served on the Committee from 1960 to 63 and was Vice President from 1976 to 1984 and also Asst. Editor of the Himalayan Journal from 1978 to 1984. He is an Honorary Member of the Himalayan Club. He has done yeoman service to the B.N.H.S. as well as the Himalayan Club by his great dedication and sincerity. Dr Salim Ali has paid him a very fine tribute in his book The Fall of a Sparrow.
R. E. Hawkins, the general editor of this encyclopedia as well as other contributors and editors covering their respective subjects, the B.N.H.S. and Oxford University Press must be heartily congratulated in coming out with this excellent, timely and useful volume and hope it will well serve the purpose which they had intended it to. The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India must also be profusely thanked for their kind encouragement, the timely and generous help to bring out this work at a very low price. Many will benefit.

V. James

PAINTED MOUNTAINS. Two expeditions to Kashmir. By Stephen Venables. Pp. 239, 31 illustrations (14 colour), 9 maps and drawings, 1986. (Hodder and Stoughton, London, £12.95)

The author tells the stories of his two expeditions within a span of three years, one in autumn 1983 and the other in summer 1985, in the region of Kashmir. Kishtwar-Shivling (6000 m) was the first objective whilst Rimo peaks in the Terong glacier in Karakoram were aimed at in the summer of 1985. Although the organisation of the second expedition involved crossing a good deal of bureaucratic hurdles and international geo-politics, the author retained the candid freshness and human touch in the style and narration of the events.

The ascent by the north face of Kishtwar-Shivling was made by Dick Renshaw and the author after a five-day final push from the advanced base camp and two day return to base camp. It involved tackling very steep and difficult rock, snow and ice climbing. Throughout the five-day ascent the climbers had to bivouac on exposed ledges and were lucky to get down without encountering serious bad weather. They were only two people utterly alone on a steep face with no possibility of a rescue. The climb took them to the limits of their endurance and skill, but always taking calculated risks and not a reckless drive. Both loved the mountains but had no intention of dying among them. As Dick said 'The most important thing about an expedition is to come back alive.' This was the post-Dunagiri experience in which Dick very nearly lost his life in an irresponsible adventure carried out in blithe youthful ignorance. Each serious climber has his 'Dunagiri' once in a while to cast a sobering effect on the future. After all, the hazards of severe climbing conditions and objective dangers cannot be wished away. And more so for such a two-man team undertaking truly an alpine-style climbing in the high Himalaya which has now come to stay. As the author has expressed it; 'One change that the alpine-style ethic has wrought is to stimulate a revival of small expedition. Most mountaineers nowadays prefer the ambience of a small team of two to four climbers, where decisions are made more easily and members all have a significant share of the leading, the satisfaction of being responsible for their own actions and a degree of intimacy with the mountain which is hard to find on a massive expedition. Tactics depend largely on how far people are prepared to stick their necks out; most of us are content to settle for some sort of compromise between the desire to survive and the desire to retain an element of uncertainty and adventure, adapting our tactics to a particular mountaineering problem, rather than trying to adhere to some precise dogmatic statement.'

The final summit climb of Kishtwar-Shivling is described with great vividness and the reader feels being a part of the experience, the anxiety on the climb, whether the human shortcomings may end in a disaster or survival. The story of the return to the safety of the valley is equally exciting with bivouac on uncomfortable ledges and relief on filling the dehydrated body with welcome liquids and food. Achievement does not end by just reaching the summit. It is merely the turning point and only on reaching the bottom of the mountain safely that one can really enjoy the sensation of success.

As Dick expressed it; I want to get the job finished. I don't see mountains as friendly things; as far as I'm concerned they're hostile and dangerous, and if you hang around you just lull yourself into a false sense of security. In fact, all the time you're hanging around you're burning up energy to keep warm, weakening yourself and increasing the chance of a mistake .... the longer you stay on the mountain the more chance it has of killing you.'

The second part of the book is subtitled 'Rimo, the Painted Mountain'. In contrast to the first, the second expedition has all the trappings of organising a large expedition. It was an Indo-British effort with an Indian, Harish Kapadia, as a leader. The team came together in a slow and somewhat uncertain manner. The Alpine Club sponsored the expedition from U.K. and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation hosted and co-sponsored it with its band of Indian climbers which were chosen by the leader from among his climbing companions of some years. Mountaineering in most parts of Indian Himalaya by foreigners has to be channelised through the I.M.F. and the Ministry of Defence. More so in the simmering zone of the Eastern Karakoram. The author describes the geo-political situation, current as well as historical, in brief, to focus attention on the fact how exploration and adventure is used by the powers that be in the international politics.

British team join the Indians in Bombay and then proceed to Kashmir and eventually reach Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The expedition was entangled in the maze of the army regulations to halt their progress. The author gives full marks to the Indian leader of the expedition for handling the situation and for manoeuvering to get through the net of controls which often lead to frustration. Finally, the expedition passes through the military camps to emerge at a base camp c. 4300 m on the Terong glacier. Later, an ABC was set up at c. 5000 m. From then on the team of four British climbers and six Indians including one lady doctor, divided into pairs for climbing and exploration of the less known region, and climbed several peaks in the area and travelled over a number of glaciers and high passes. The British climbers who were technically more competent chose the difficult peak of Rimo I and spent several days laboriously crawling over the steep rock, ice and snow up a complicated southwest ridge. Two of them reached c. 6850 m before giving up due to an accidental fall of the author's rucksack. Later two British climbers skirted Rimo I through a col, c. 6200 m and climbed Rimo III, 7233 m by the north ridge.

The Indians chose and climbed five peaks of c. 6000 to 6500 m with less technical difficulties. They explored the glacier systems reaching high cols and collected valuable information. This was the first expedition into the North Terong valley since 1929 and the first ever human beings to explore the South Terong glacier.

It was a pity that the Indian and British climbers could not climb together for a single objective due to varied ambitions and lack of time. They had indeed struck a close rapport as an easygoing team with no strains which often develop in such international expeditions.

The author has compiled very useful and exhaustive list of reference papers and other sources which appear in the 30 pages of Appendices. One includes a paper by Henry Osmaston, the expedition scientist on Siachen and Terong glaciers. The book is well produced with very fine maps. This is an excellent book which will be a delight to readers. No wonder the book has been awarded 'The Boardman-Tasker Mountain Literature Prize', for 1986.

Jagdish Nanavati

SETTING THE EAST ABLAZE. By Peter Hopkirk. Pp. 252, 18 illustrations, 2 maps, 1984. (Oxford University Press, Oxford, £4.50).

This book, the last in Hopkirk's triology set in Central Asia, aims to reconstruct 'the Bolshevik attempt between the Wars to set the East ablaze with the new gospel of Marxism1. This attempt resulted in a shadowy war of espionage and counter-espionage, a war that the author lightly refers to as the Great Game. The risks in this Game were high and, like Russian Roulette, the usual penalty for an error was death.

The dramatis personae of this Great Game were a mixed bunch. There was Colonel Bailey of the Indian Political and Secret Department who came to Tashkent in 1918 as a part of the British plan to 'send energetic and determined officers from India and to give them a roving commission to work for British interest in Central Asia*. Bailey was a remarkably resourceful man - his ability to survive in hostile surroundings can be gauged from the fact that he was once commissioned by the Soviet Secret Ploice to track himself down! Most of Hopkirk's other 'heroes' were bitten by various degrees of megalomania - officers of the vanquished White Army like Nazaroff who fought a personal crusade against Bolshevism; a brutally insane Russian baron who wished to conquer Mongolia and to subsequently set up 'an avenue of gallows from Mongolia to Moscow', or Enver Pasha, a young Turkish general who dreamed of a Turkish empire in Central Asia. Then there were others like M. N. Boy who deeply impressed the Comintern, and with Moscow's help, planned to lead the revolution in British India.

This book, like the two previous ones, is primarily a book about people. Based on what appears to be a deliberately naive perception of Bolshevik motives, the author, by his own admission, makes only a feeble attempt to separate fact from legend. Reconstructed from archival documents and books that have been long out of print, the narrative is exciting, especially for those who are uninitiated in Hopkirkian drama.

Sandeep Kapur

IMPERILLED FRONTIERS. By Nari Rustomji. Pp. 153, 26 illustrations, 1 map, 1984. (Oxford University Press, Bombay, Rs. 40).

No Indian administrator has gained the confidence and respect from the hill people of Sikkim, Bhutan and the former North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) more than Nari Rustomji; places where he was posted during a distinguished career with the Indian Civil Service.

Throughout the Himalayan range, the people of the hill areas have always been suspicious and contemptuous of the plainsmen administrators sent to their homeland to look after their interests'. With a relatively small proportion of exceptions, the generality of Commissioners, District and Forest Officers have been reluctant to leave the flesh pots of the peninsula for the isolation of the mountains - disinterest, disenchantment and disregard engenders like response from the governed.

Rustomji belongs to another tribe (may it increase) and it is essential that his analysis and suggestions are taken full cognisance and followed by the Govt, of India in the future.

The hill people cannot be separated from their ecological, geographical, economic and social problems - they are unique and each area needs a different approach. But most of all it is important to resist the temptation of rushing headlong into development and reform. Changes can only be effective at the speed the culture can absorb without detriment to its essential values. Nothing infuriates the 'primitive' man more than the threat of cultural aggression, however well-meaning the intention of the perpetrator.

This then is the burden of the message from Nari Rustomji. He carefully blends the history, culture, politics and sociology into the complicated matrix. He is scrupulously fair and does not fail to give credit to all deserving sides, without any trace of rancour or cynicism which one could easily be tempted into; nor does his advice have the arrogance of finality as if there was only one way of solving these most delicate issues.

This is essential reading for anyone interested in the geopolitics of our North Eastern frontiers - it could also be an object lesson in dealing with similar problems elsewhere in the world where missionary zeal (or more likely developmental greed) threatens to run amock through land inhabited by people whom we blithely and insultingly brand as 'backward'.

Soli S. Mehta

TIBET: A POLITICAL HISTORY. By Tsepon W. D. Shakabpa. Pp. 369, 13 illustrations, map, reprint 1984. (first published 1967 (Potala Publications, New York, Price not stated).

Tibet has, in the consciousness of the world, been a land of mystery, an enigma shrouded in secrecy. Through the ages, it lay behind a largely self-imposed and self-perpetuated curtain of isolation, tailored to lend itself to all the hazards of romanticism and ignorance. It is therefore satisfying to read this scholarly book and feel the mists disappear, even though one feels that such a book could have served a greater purpose a full half-century ago.

The scope of this book is large. The author begins with the pre-Buddhist era and takes one through landmarks in Tibetan history in an engrossing manner. The introduction of Buddhism, the origin of the Tsukla-Khang temple and the influence of Padmasambhava are well covered. Tibet's own Dark Ages spread from 842 A.D. to 1247 A.D. when yet again Indian influence played a significant role in the revival of Buddhism. The emergence of Mongol power in China and the patron-priest relationship established between Tibet's religious heads and the Mongol Khans are brought to light (incidentally, Kublai Khan emerges quite differently from Coleridge's barbaric hedonist). It is worth noting that the title Dalai (meaning 'ocean') was first conferred by the Mongol ruler, Altan Khan. The importance of the fifth Dalai Lama as the first spiritual-cum-temporal ruler of Tibet is highlighted. One need not mention too many details here; suffice it to say that Shakabpa maintains continuity in the chain of events upto the present smoothly, giving one the feeling of having had important details in each era covered. The peculiarities of Tibetan politics, intertwined as they are with religion, are never lost upon the reader. Where else but in Tibet could reincarnation be considered the yardstick for appointment to the most important posts and yet a law be passed making it a crime for a particular disloyal official to reincarnate?

One strain runs throughout the book, and that is one of national identity and ergo independence. Shakabpa regards the snuffing-out of this identity as an aberration, which he hopes will be overcome under the leadership of the Dalai Lama with the establishment of a full democratic state. And this is where the shoe pinches. Revivalisim and its concurrent obscurantism cannot ensure a nation's identity. Change is growth, and indeed survival itself for the body politic. One can only speculate as to whether with a change of perspectives, Tibet's trauma of this last century could have been avoided.

M. H. Contractor

THE EVEREST YEARS. A Climber's Life. By Chris Bonington. Pp. 249, 163 illustrations, 6 maps, 1986. (Hodder and Stoughton, London, £14.95).

Will this man Bonington never stop writing books? What is it this time? It's an encapsulation of Chris' ventures into the Himalaya and the Karakoram from his early expedition to Nuptse to his final ascent of Everest - an ascent in the Antartica is thrown in for good measure because it fits into the chronological coverage of the intervening years.

Having climbed the South Face of Annapurna and introduced big wall climbing to the Himalayan scene, the SW face of Everest was an obvious target - successful at the second attempt, he goes for something even more awesome - the Ogre. After that was K2, then Kongur, back to the NE ridge of Everest, then something smaller (in a chapter entitled 'Small is Beautiful') in Shivling. Meanwhile, he meets two friends - Dick Bass and Frank Wells - who had plans to climb the highest point of all seven continents. They tempt him towards Mt. Vinson in the Antartica - circumstances conspire to allow him to reach the top solo. The lure of Everest still can't be cast aside and eventually a Swedish expedition enables him to reach the summit and fulfil his dreams. No one in the world would deny him that ascent.

What makes this book so readable? The same ingredients that make all his books nonputdownable* - a basis honesty and humility, generosity in the distribution of credit, an almost professional psychoanalysis of the pressures and confrontations mountaineers face when teamed together for a concerted effort of high risk, and pure and simple excellent prose.

He has had tough decisions to make and he has also dealt with tough seasoned climbers with egos to match their superb climbing skills. We can only sit back and enjoy his way of sorting out problems without rancour. A consultative approach without letting the buck pass out of his hand, and a readiness to admit mistakes and change directions if necessary. Above all, the quality of friendship that he has made with his companions often bails him out from incidents frought with tensions, which with lesser men could have surely led to brawls and lasting bitterness.

Each expedition has some hair-raising bit - sometimes lucky, sometimes not so. However, for sheer strength and will-power the descent of Chris and Doug Scott (with both legs broken) from the Ogre takes the prize. One can be bluff and reminisce pleasantly over a beer after it's all over and months have passed, but at the time only a stupendous mixture of skill and desire to live could have brought them back to base.

It has not been easy for Chris on the domestic front either. Within the pages of this book he loses his dearest and closest climbing friends - Dougal Haston, Nick Estcourt, Mike Burke, Pete Boardman, Joe Tasker; Ian Clough had already been swept away on Annapurna. How do you reconcile a family responsibility with a hazardous job? The answer is that you don't - but the poor wife goes through a hundred hells everytime you indulge your urge. It's time the climbing world acknowledged the heroism of the wives of mountaineers along with the achievements of their spouses - all of them are not lucky, and I join Chris in giving Wendy all the praise and admiration for her display of guts and love which transcends her personal fears and apprehensions. That strength is her's, not Chris'.

To the opening question in this review, the answer is; 'We hope he never does stop writing'!

Soli S. Mehta

I have the editor's permission (and prerogative) to compose compounded words

THE SACRED MOUNTAIN. By John Snelling. Pp. 241, 32 illustrations, 20 sketches, 3 maps, 1983. (East West Publications, London, £8.50).

The interest in the Sacred Mountain; Kailas and the surrounding lakes of Manasarovar and Rakshas Tal has revived once again amongst Indians since 1981 when the Chinese government, the controller of Tibet, permitted Indian citizens to come on a pilgrimage to Kailas and Manasarovar. The book The Sacred Mountain, published in 1983 is timely, particularly for people intending to visit Kailas.

After a brief account of personal encounters with the Himalaya and introductory information on Kailas and its sacred lakes the author gives vital information in the chapters on 'Travellers in the Sacred Region' about experiences of important Western visitors to the region, starting from Jesuit missionaries Ippolito Desideri and Manuel Freyre who visited Kailas in 1715 to Major T. S. Blackney the last known mountaineer who visited Kailas in 1945. The accounts of A.H. Savage Landor (1897); Charles A. Sherring (1905) and Sven Hedin (1890, 1901, 1902 and 1907) are of special interest.

The account of pilgrims-saints given in the chapters on 'Pilgrims to the Sacred Mountain' is of particular interest to those spiritually oriented and interested in religion. The experiences of Swami Pranavananda and Lama Anagarika Govinda, both of whom visited Tibet several times, are of considerable interest. The significance of Kailas Parikrama according to Buddhism has been very well explained on pp. 201 to 203. The significance of the book would have been further enhanced if a similar account had been included about the significance of parikrama according to the Hindu religion.

The main experiences of the travellers related to their encounters with Tibetan officials, who were normally hostile to Western visitors; dacoits, in the cold and barren regions of Tibet; their effort to trace sources of rivers - Satluj, Brahmaputra and Indus; geological survey; and different passes on the Himalayan wall to cross over to Tibet.

The book will be an eye opener for those mountaineers, and there are many in the Himalayan Club, who are of the opinion that the joy of Himalaya comes only from facing challenges of scaling different peaks. The experiences of various travellers reveal how Himalaya can be enjoyed from different points of view - geography, geology, religion, philosophy, environment, hydrology and others.

The book is the result of painstaking and thorough study of all available sources of information on the subject coupled with per-

sonal experiences of Snelling. The Bibliography given at the end speaks for itself. The book is a must for all interested in Kailas.

S. P. Mahadevia

IN EXILE FROM THE LAND OF SNOWS. By John F. Avedon. Pp. 383, 56 illustrations, 2 maps, 1986. (Vintage Books, Random House, New York $ 8.95).

This book attempts to trace the course of Tibetan history since the Chinese invasion of 1950, when Tibet was compelled to lift the shroud of mystery it was cloaked in for centuries, and learn the harsh lessons of realpolitik.

The author describes the Chinese invasion, the fight put up by the Chushi Gangdruk (Tibetan guerrilla alliance), the flight of the Dalai Lama to India, and the subsequent efforts of the Tibetan government-in-exile towards the dream of a free Tibet, There is also a vivid description of the physical and ideological devastation wreaked by the Chinese in their drive to liberate' Tibet.

Passages about Tibetan culture, notably the ritual of selecting a new Dalai Lama, the mechanism of the State Oracle of Tibet, and the section on Tibetan medicine, make for interesting reading. Though, one suspects, that in his zeal to idealize the Tibetan people and highlight the drama inherent in the rituals, the author may have compromised on authenticity. Nevertheless, the book's major failings lie elsewhere.

For, the book throws remarkably little light on the nature of the international manoeuvering necessary of the Tibetan government-in-exile in order to negotiate some measure of autonomy for Tibet. The role of India, too, as a stakeholder in Tibet's fortunes, is unclear, with Nehru, Indira Gandhi, and even Jaiprakash Narain being mentioned fleetingly, but leaving the reader none the wiser for that. Furthermore, the book is prone to anachronism, with the author switching without warning between different periods in time, leaving the reader a bit confused about the succession of -events in Tibetan history.

Particularly offensive though, are paragraphs about India that would have you believe that even as you walk on an Indian road, there are hundreds dying on either side of poverty, malnutrition, disease, or what-have-you. 'An old grey-bearded man, legless and crazed, pulls his cropped torso in circles near the building's walls, ranging from one piece of refuse to another, talking to each.About him wander those slightly better off: the blind,..... ,middle-aged lepers, .,...' (p. 163). 'But they are not beggars in contrast to a markedly franchised population. They are the population itself . . . .' (p. 163). Really? And what, may one ask, is such a sweeping unauthentic generalisation doing in a book that primarily concerns itself with the fortunes of Tibet?

The book is reasonably interesting (in parts), generally informative (in parts), but far from being authoritative.

Milind M. Pansare

ON TOP OF THE WORLD. By Luree Miller. Pp. 222, 15 illustrations, 8 maps, 3 sketches, reprint 1986. (first published 1976). (The Mountaineers, Seattle, $ 10.95).

A book that will take you into the early days of exploration, yet it reveals a different kind of an experience. It portrays the courage of those women who were the first to venture into a field which, till then, was considered beyond their capabilities. The author has traced the travels of five women by covering most of the areas herself to interview the various people who could give her the slightest information on them. A lot of research has gone behind the events she has fitted together to give the reader a feeling of being part of the whole experience.

Elizabeth Sarah Mazuchelli (1832-1914) or 'Nina' as she was known, had a passion for travel and adventure yet bound to decorum of a 'Lady'. She travelled with a horde of servants and extensive luxuries from tables and chairs to chinaware. With such a load she travelled through parts of Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet.

Annie Royle Taylor (1855-?) was a contrast to Nina. She adopted any dress, mingled with any class of people and travelled un-chaperoned anywhere. She was inspired by the missionary movement and had a deep yearning to see Lhasa, a forbidden city. After several attempts she manages to cross into Tibet but is robbed of her belongings, betrayed by one of her helpers and finally arrested when she is just a few days from Lhasa. Holding on to her wits, in spite of being too weak to even walk she manages to get back across the border. Because of the British-Tibetan conflict, it was impossible for Annie to accomplish her dream for which she had come close to death many a times.

Isabella Bird Bishop (1831-1904) was a woman beset with physical ailments that would have left most Victorian woman of her class languishing on plush sofas. Yet she became an expert horsewoman, and continued her exploratory ventures which took her through most of the Indian subcontinent. See also climbed in the Colorado Rockies. She travelled to Leh and at the age of 66 through Korea, Japan and China. When she was 70 she undertook a 1000 mile ride through Morocco.

Fanny Bullock Workman (1859-1925) was a mountaineer and explorer. She was introduced to mountaineering by her husband and together they spent their lives exploring the Himalaya and studying the Indian culture. She cycled from one end of the Indian subcontinent to the other and across Burma. In 14 years she undertook more than 6 major expeditions in the Karakoram. Also at the age of 47, on an expedition to the Nun-Kun area she climbed Pinnacle Peak (22,810 ft) which was considered a record at that time. On the expeditions many scientific observations were carried out at high altitudes.

Alexandra David-Neel (1868-1969) was one of the most daring explorers of that time. She had mastered the Buddhist culture and religion and could speak Tibetan fluently. Her early travels led her through Sikkim, Nepal and Tibet. She interviewed the Dalai Lama who acknowledged her knowledge of the Buddhist religion. After a few years of journeying through Burma, Japan and China she was obsessed with a desire to see Lhasa. Her failure to do so made her even more determined and finally she disguised herself as a Tibetan beggar and reached Lhasa after one of the most perilous journies. She died at the age of 101 being acknowledged as a scholar in Buddhist culture and religion.

Luree Miller has brought out the spirit of adventure and exploration of these five women who in their own way satisfied their passion for travel.

Divyesh Muni

KUKSAR CONQUERED. The Diary of an Expedition. By Timothy Hurrell. Pp. 78, 11 illustrations, maps, 1986. (June and Arthur Hurrell, Hants, private publication).

In June-July 1982, Tim Hurrell led a team of four British climbers to Kuksar I (6943 m), an unclimbed peak in the Batura glacier region. The team climbed three other peaks (including Tim's 'Favourite Mountain* - Pk 6771 m) before launching a third, successful attempt on Kuksar. Tim and Steve Brodwick died on the descent on 20 July and were buried in a crevasse at 5500 rh by their team-mates. The account of this tragic expedition is told via Tim's own diary which was meticulously maintained till the last day. The diary has been transcribed and edited into eight chapters and reveals a fine sense of detail. There is a rich flow of humour running through the diary, the liaison officer in particular, elicits it sharply.

The entire book is a labour of love by Tim's parents. His expedition photographs have been pasted after careful selection.

The book is touching in many parts, especially when one considers the fate of its writer. While in Rawalpindi, Tim wrote:

'Murree Road was chaos to walk through.

"This could be the most dangerous thing we will do", I said.' Sadly, it wasn't. One hopes that in the near future, this book will be published for a larger readership. It is a well-written account of significant mountaineering importance and deserves attention on its own merits, the tragic circumstances notwithstanding.

M. H. Contractor

MY JOURNEY TO LHASA. By Alexandra David-Neel. Pp. 310, 46 illustrations, reprint 1983 (first published 1927). (Virago Press, London, £5.50).

This book is the story of the grit, determination and perseverance of Alexandra David-Neel who in 1923, at the age of fifty-five, became the first European woman to enter the forbidden city of Lhasa and to stay there for almost two months without being detected. At the age when most people would have retired from active life and taken to a more sedentary life-style, David-Neel braved bad weather, hunger and thirst, wild animals, brigands and, above all, the risk of being detected by the authorities and sent back, to trek for four months through some of the most desolate and inhospitable places on the earth to reach her goal. This book, which is an almost day-to-day account of her remarkable journey, relates in great detail the various strategies, subterfuges and disguises used by the extremely resourceful and quick-thinking author and her adopted son, who incidentally is a Tibetan lama, to reach their goal. The book is written in a simple and narrative style that makes it very easy to read.

However pleasant the book may be to read, some lacunae are glaringly obvious. The book contains black-and-white photographs of indifferent quality, but has absolutely no maps of the author's itinerary. Further, the author skips over details of the local culture, customs and beliefs, with the excuse that these are beyond the intended scope of the present book. Consequently, the book remains what the title states - an account of a journey to Lhasa, not very unlike a log book maintained by some itinerant traveller.

In addition to the scope of the book, even the contents at various places invite unfavourable comments. For instance, some passages in the book that deal with encounters with ghosts of lamas, vision of enchanting cities, miraculous coincidences occurring a bit too frequently, give one a feeling that the author is overestimating the credulity of the lay reader. Further, the almost simplistic and

overbearing attitude of the author towards the Tibetans jars one's sensibilities.

This book may interest those who are initiates into the realm of adventure; but it is no match for Heinrich Harrer's extremely exhilarating book on Tibet, Seven years in Tibet.
Anand Rao

TO THE FRONTIER. By Geoffrey Moorhouse. Pp. 285, 1 map, 1984. (Hodder and Stoughton, London, £3.50).

Geoffrey Moorhouse is an avid traveller and globetrotter. His travels have taken him from walking the Alps to trekking the Sahara desert. Yet his soft corner has always been the Indian subcontinent. This book deals with his journey across the face of Pakistan. It glides from the sea-front of Karachi all the way to the heart of Hindu Kush in the northwest.

Moorhouse in a three month journey takes us across {Sind, through the desert of Baluchistan and up the Bolan Pass to Quetta. From here he traverses the plains of Punjab and enters the romantic North West Frontier Province - and makes a near complete circle round its borders. Moorhouse entered the N.W. Frontier Province at Peshawar and reached all the way up the famous Khyber Pass. In fact he was the first foreigner to be led there in more than a year. Thereafter he lunged straight to the remote mountain districts of Chitral and Gilgit. Crossing the Malakand Pass and Lowari Pass to reach Chitral was an adventure in itself. Further from Chitral he trekked the Shandur Pass to reach Gilgit and then return to Karachi.

Moorhouse's unaffected and catchy style makes engrossing reading. The two most notable points that come across are: the writer's British sense of humour, and the excellent web of history that he weaves about every place that he has visited. Moorhouse is a very accurate and sensitive observer. His story is vivid and packed with enthralling anecdotes. The pen-pictures he creates, be it of the landscape or the people, gives the reader a sense of being a part of the scene.

The writer has flirted with the whole gamut of history associated with each region, Going as far back as Alexander's invasion and being as contemporary as the movements of Afghan refugees. Apart from history, the author has delved deeply into the politics -and the society with its traditions and beliefs. His success lies in his being simply observant and descriptive. The philosophising and passing of judgements, he leaves to the readers.

Two detractions from the book are evident. A sketch map wrongly shows full Kashmir as a part of Pakistan. Dealing with politics, he should have been very precise with the map. Secondly it totally lacks in photographs. It could have added a lot to the pen-pictures.

Yet, all in all, it is a very entertaining book with the grip of a thriller. And as an additional recommendation, the book has won the 1984 Thomas Cook Award.


HYPOTHERMIA, FROSTBITE AND OTHER COLD INJURIES. By James A. Wilkerson, M.D. (editor), Cameron C. Bangs, M.D. and John 3. Hayward, Ph.D. Pp. 105, 6 illustrations, 5 sketches, 1986. (The Mountaineers, Seattle, $ 8.95).

This lucid monogram is a valuable addition to those libraries haunted by the serious student of mountaineering medicine as well as the diligent mountaineer* Book is prefaced by the quotation that it is so important to understand, that preventing cold injury is entirely preferable to treating them. Hence first few chapters are devoted to human physiology and effect of cold and how to maintain normal physiology with proper aids. The whole subject of preventive aspect of cold injury is very thoroughly discussed in simple terminology with adequate scientific reasoning, making some valuable suggestions about protective clothing, footgear and shelter. Chapter on evaluating the hypothermic victim describes in simple non-medical terminology important diagnostic features, allowing the man on the spot to cope with confidence when medical assistance is not possible.

There is very thorough discussion on pre-hospital treatment. It is very important to remember do's and don'ts mentioned in this chapter. On the whole it is an extremely readable book. Whether reading a section or browing through at random, the reader is presented with an interesting, clear, logical and scientific approach to a particular problem. A must for every trekker and mountaineer.

Dr R. H. Shroff

KULU. The end of the habitable world- By Penelope Chetwode. Pp. 255, 40 illustrations, reprint 1984 (first printed in 1972). (Allied Publishers, New Delhi, Rs 35).

Ms Chetwode first undertook the trek from Simla to Kulu as the young daughter of the then Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. In this book she describes a repeat of the same trek done in 1963 as an ordinary tourist and frequently complains about the lack of privileges and facilities which were available to her then. The trek description - done on mule back - is pathetic and does not seem to capture the beauty of her route. It is also cluttered up with mundane details. Prices and conditions as existed in 1963 are given in detail. The author seems preoccupied with toilet facilities and the presence or absence of such facilities at each rest house is noted.

Fortunately, the book is well researched and it gives an interesting insight into the characters and life styles of the early European settlers in the Kulu valley. Ms Chetwode's description of the temples in the Kulu valley is good. She has made an attempt to classify the temples according to their architectural style and hence their age.

Read this book only if you are interested in mountain temple design.

Sandeep Talpade

A GUIDE TO TIBET. By Elisabeth B. Booz. Pp. 208, illustrated, maps, sketches, 1986. (Collins, London, £8.95).

The bamboo curtain over Tibet has been lifted once again. The mysterious land had always been calling scholars, travellers and climbers alike. The world is more curious to know what has transpired in the last 25 years of communist rule. Has anything of the old Tibet survived the cultural onslaught? These and many other questions will take visitors to Tibet. A tourist movement has started towards Tibet. A Guide to Tibet is a welcome publication to bring under a cover all the aspects of the Tibetan scene in a concise and useful manner. There are excellent colour photographs.

The book contains useful maps, diagrams and sketches. There is practical information on travel and communication, as any good guide is expected to give.

J. C. Nanavati

MARTYN SAHIB. A Biography of John Martyn of Doon School. By Mady Martyn, Pp. 248, 8 illustrations, 8 sketches, 1985. (Dass Media, New Delhi, Rs. 120).

An interesting biography of John Martyn and story of The Doon School which he helped to organise and serve with great dedication for 31 years, 18 years of these as its Headmaster.

For many generations, members of his family were traditionally school masters and his father a Housemaster at Sedberg's School. John was born and spent all his life in a school atmosphere. After schooling at Durham and Cambridge, he joined as a school master at Harrow. The narrative ambles on as pleasantly, about the life at Cambridge, the harmless parks and roof climbing and touches on and gives an insight into the development of colleges in Britain and also the various theories and ideas on education. His life was greatly influenced by Kurt Hahn's theories on education and he also strongly believed that; 'If education is to be a preparation of life, it must produce a conviction that life is worth living*.

Due to his social work he came in touch with Arthur Foot, a like-minded person. When Arthur Foot was appointed Headmaster of the Doon School, Martyn came along as his closest aide to help organise and run the School. Foot's chief interest in life was to help the poor and downtrodden and oppressed. When teaching at Eton he took one year's leave without pay and taught at a Council School in east London to help the under-privileged students, in the same manner as John. The challenge of starting a new school in India appealed to him strongly; 'The production of boys for the service of free India', which he pursued with relent-lss determination.

Martyn was a keen mountaineer. Of all the activities that Doon School pioneered, none gave him greater satisfaction than the introduction of young Indians to mountaineering. Nandu Jayal, Ravi Mathai and Balaram Singh were the first Indian amateur mountaineers and also set an altitude record of 19,000 ft in 1942 for boys of their age.

John Martyn and Jack Gibson crossed over from Gangotri to Badrinath in 1937 with Sherpas Tenzing and Rinzing. Then there were no motor roads beyond Mussoorie and Rishikesh and it was a 5 day walk to Uttarkashi. They next visited Lahul, a terrific adventure in those days and crossed the Rohthang Pass and Bara Lacha la. Martyn had 2 miraculous escapes and a serious accident and luckily recovered. R. L. Holdsworth who ascended Kamet in 1933 joined the Doon School in 1940 and the same year the trno made the first ascent of Mankial in Swat. Arthur Foot also a keen mountaineer, denied himself the pleasure, by the heavy work-load and responsibilities he had taken on himself.

But the boys took to mountaineering and trekking rather slowly. But with the success of the pioneers in 1942, they joined the high altitude treks and mountaineering expeditions in larger numbers. Bandarpunch and Jaonli became Doon School peaks. The greatest triumph was in 1945 when 11 boys between 13 and 15 years took part in the Jaonli expedition, attended by 6 masters and one Headmaster.

Two keen mountaineers on the staff, Gurdial Singh and Hari Dang climbed Nanda Devi in 1961 along with an old boy Suman Dubey. The Rishi gorge was then still an adventurous feat. Again the trio distinguished themselves on Everest in 1962.

Rafting down the Yamuna was a popular Sunday and mid-term adventure. Jack Gibson took to canoeing down the rapids and did cave-diving at Bodiyar caves 12 miles beyond Chakrata and took a large number of boys on these expeditions and also Eric Shipton and Peter Mott on a visit to these caves, while Holdsworth took some boys under 15 years on his hunting expeditions, umpired cricket and did fishing.

Martyn though keen, was unable to become Editor of the Himalayan Journal. But wrote 'The story of the Himalayan Club' in the Golden Jubilee issue (H.J. Vol XXXV, 1976-77-78 Pp. 1-56) and also a large number of book reviews in H.J. Vols 35 to 40. His obituary written by Jack Gibson appeared in H.J. Vol 41. It was indeed an extremely grievous loss.

There was some criticism in the press about the pomp and pageantry with which the golden jubilee was celebrated, while the centenary celebrations of the Mayo college was more subdued and also reference to the snobbishness which would do great discredit to the ideals of Foot and Martyn. Hari Dang also in a press article strongly emphasised the most urgent need for a large number of good schools to cater for the vast Indian student population. The public schools had too limited a capacity and too expensive and not all could afford.

Foot and Martyn by their dedicated tireless efforts and ideals had rendered the country a very great service by organising such an excellent school which had become renowned and imparted a very fine training and all round personality development to the students, so that they can become highly decent and cultured persons with a strong sense of responsibility and initiative and serve the country better. Jack Gibson, R. L. Holdsworth and other masters had also served very creditably. The missionary zeal of S. R. Das, the founder and the other donors who came to the rescue should be also very much appreciated.

V. James

HELYG. Diamond Jubilee 1925-1985. By Geoff Milburn. Pp. 256, illustrations, sketches, 1985. (The Climbers Club, U.K., Price not stated).

The Climbers Club, U.K. has published a book on Helyg, the cottage established by it in North Wales in 1925. It would be worthy of no more than a mention as a collection of club memorablia and trivia (do they differ?) if it were not for the fact that it also serves as a limited record of some pioneering rock-climbing in Wales. Many famous names of British climbing have climbed from Helyg and this book includes diverse material about them and written by them, among which a fine piece is Noyce's 'Alone*. The 'Resurrected Obituaries' are readable and the photographs from the archives interesting. The book's binders have mixed up the order in several places but apart from that the get-up is neat.

M. H. Contractor

TIBET. By Kevin Kling. Pp. 104, 96 illustrations, (91 in colour) map, 1984. (Thomas and Hudson, London, £20).

Till recently Tibet was closed to outsiders and though a lot was written about it very few pictures were ever published. But since the recent opening of Tibet to foreigners a lot of pictorial books have been published. This book is one of the type containing a vast range of photos. Kling starts by giving a small introduction about Tibet and then goes on to descriptions of Lhasa, different regions and life in Tibet. This book primarily contains photos of cultural life in Tibet. It also contains some excellent mountain sceneries. Rare views of Everest and Makalu from the north are very fascinating. It also has some good photographs of Tibetan monasteries and villages. A particularly striking photograph is that of the pink sandstone in Yangpachen. Each photograph is very well taken and one cannot help but admire the beauty of the mountains, monasteries and people in Tibet as depicted by these pictures.


HIMALAYAN MEMOIRS. By Navnit Parekh. Pp. 96, 31 illustrations, 1986. (Popular Prakashan, Bombay, Rs. 75).

As the title suggests the book covers the author's various travels in the lower Himalaya. After recounting his initiation, it covers travels to Manasarovar, Everest area and meeting various mystics and persons. More of a book for the family than a serious reader.

Dhiren Toolsidas

INDIA AND TIBET. By Francis Younghusband. Pp. 455, 26 illustrations, 2 maps, reprint 1985 (first published 1910). (Oxford University Press, Hong Kong, Rs 225).

Another excellent reprint with an introduction by Alastair Lamb. It covers: 'A history of the relations which have subsisted between the two countries from the time of Warren Hastings to 1910; with a particular account of the mission to Lhasa of 1904'.

This part of the history and the impact it had on the future is well-known. The description of the route, discussions of politics and the conclusions, all make a thorough reading and reference. It is important that this rare book is now available.

Dhiren Toolsidas

KURNOOL 1984. (Abhandlung zur Karst und Hohlenkunde (1985) Reihe A, Heft 21). By H. D. Gebauer. Pp. 80, illustrated, surveys, 1985. (Obtainable from the author at Markplatz 32, 7070 S. Gmiind, West Germany, price not stated).

When I reviewed Herr Gebauer's splendid 281 Caves of India and Nepal in the Himalayan Journal, Vol. 40, p. 237-238, I commented that contained therein was all that any speleologist in India and Nepal needed to know. That is no longer true. In 1984 the author returned to the Kurnool district to continue his previous explorations. His latest expedition report contains descriptions, surveys and some photographs of more caves in that part of Andhra Pradesh. At the end, with characteristic German thoroughness, is a further extensive bibliography, and a list of rock shelters all over India which will be of interest to archaeologists.

The most encouraging feature of this latest report by Herr Gebauer is the active participation of some of the local residents including M. Narayan Reddy of Hyderabad. This gentleman has learned the difficult art and science of cave survey, and has had

some of his work published independently [Bellum Cave, William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust Ltd. Newsletter July 1984 (44) 33-35]. More power to his elbow - and to that of Herr Gebauer!

S. A. Craven

KARAKORAM. By Zbigniew Kowalewski and Andrzej Paczkow-ski. Pp. 238, 1986 (Warszawa).

The book is a guide to many high-level climbs made by the Polish expeditions in the Karakoram since 1969 to 1984. In 15 chapters different expeditions are presented, among them such important first ascents as Kunyang Chhish, 7852 m, in 1971, Shispare, 7619 m, in 1974, Gasherbrum III, 7952 m, in 1975, Yazghil Dome, 7400 m, and Distaghil Sar East, 7700 m, in 1980. Also the high Polish attempts - both to 8400 m - on K2 in 1976 and 1982 have their chapters, just as the first female ascents of Gasherbrum II in 1975 and Broad Peak in 1983 or the new routes on Rakaposhi in 1979, both Gasherbrums in 1983 and Broad Peak in 1984. But for many the most important part of the book is the photo documentation: 200 black and white photographs and 42 color ones, all by members of Polish expeditions, a number of them of unique topographical and geographical value. The book, compiled by two highly competent experts, is a great addition to the Himalayan literature, valuable to the mountain historian and to all climbers visiting the highest mountain ranges. It is so profusely illustrated that, even though written in Polish, it can be used by any one.

Karakoram is the first volume of a series of similar picture books - the next one will be Everest in 1987.