Thursday, March 24, 2016

Pre Ghal, a mountain in southern Waziristan, 1919


Original caption:  "From Piaza Ragzha towards Pre Ghal", South Waziristan, 1919. Photograph by R.B.Holmes

The mountain has often incorrectly been called Pir Gul or Pir Ghal. The correct name is Pre-Ghal. The Mahsuds say this name has nothing to do with the word "Ghal" , meaning in Pashto a thief. Pre-Ghal is a term denoting a very holy man , and they say that the tomb on the summit of the Pre-Ghal is that of a saintly Faqir who in very ancient times led a hermit's life in the forests of the mountains. The shrine of Pre-Ghal is enclosed by rough wall of stones with the usual tall poles surmounted by little white flags ; attached to the shrine is a small square building for the shelter of the pilgrims. There is no custodian of the shrine, which is chiefly frequented by sinless men and barren women , as prayers offered there are said to be efficacious for the production of the offspring , especially male offspring. ( "Pre-Ghal in Waziristan", by W. R. Hay, The Geographical Journal, Oct.1928)