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Chirmaan Hakim

Reshun's braveheart

Chirmaan Hakim of Reshun was a warrior, a courtier and a diplomat hailing from Chitral’s Singhaye tribe. After the Katoor conquest of Ghizer, Chirmaan would often cross the Shandur conveying messages between Chitral Town and Yasin; between the Mehtar and British political officers.

Just past one of the lakes at Shandur Pass, where the descent for Langar begins, a large pasture served as a summer grazing ground for the yaks and sheep people of Laspur. Donkeys too were often left there by their owners. There they munched on the fresh mountain grass and got fat before they had to return to their usual lives of hard labour.

During one of his trips, it was at this pasture that Chirmaan had put up a tent to catch some rest for the right.

He was aroused from his slumber by the distress calls of animals, the kind livestock let out when being attacked by a predator. He and his companions, tired from their travels, did not pay much heed. However, when they awoke the next morning, they saw half-eaten sheep and donkey carcasses strewn about the pasture.

They thought it was a wolf, a lynx, or maybe a striped hyena. Chirmaan and his companions still decided to go to bed with their arms ready, just in case the incident would repeat itself.

“Whoever it is killing the animals of my people shall not live to see another sunrise!” declared Chirmaan.

The peaceful silence of the night was once again shattered by the shrieks of distressed animals. Chirmaan dashed out of his tent, gripping his sword firmly, ready to swing it. As his eyes adjusted to the dark, moonless night, Chirmaan made out the outline of a creature standing upright.

However, to his surprise, when he attacked, the creature let out a braying sound like that of a donkey! When the dawn broke, Chirmaan and his companions found a strange anthropomorphic donkey. It was clear that had been mauling the livestock.

This is how the Gordogh-Jhandaar, or Donkey Monster became added to the list of the many Khowar mythical beasts we know about today.


Commentary: Reshun is a village located on the left bank of the Kunar River, in Upper Chitral District of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Reshun is mentioned in Nizari Ismaili Pir Sabzali’s travel diary, in which he details his journey to Central Asia under the assignment of Aga Khan III, Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah. Pir Sabzali describes the majlis (gathering) that he experienced in the region of Reshun, held in devotion to the contemporary Ismaili Imam, as well as to the famous Persian luminary Nasir-i Khusraw. Chirmaan Hakim is not only a mythical figure but also a historical figure who has played an important role in many battles for Chitral.

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