Boundary-making in the Pamirian Crossroads incorporated the narrowing down of spheres of influence since the middle of the 19th century that resulted in growing exploration followed by military missions from Great Britain and Russia. Remote mountain microstates that had enjoyed a comparative high degree of autonomy from their immediate neighbours – Badakhshan, Kashgaria and Kashmir – became centres of attention, testing grounds for loyalty and bones of contention. In the Hunza Valley of the Karakoram the incorporation into the British-Kashmirian realm followed their military intervention, control and a strategy aiming to establish indirect rule. The colonial project significantly affected living conditions in the Hunza Valley. Hunza matters addresses the transformation processes from four perspectives. First, the physical infrastructure and its transformation is analysed from an accessibility and road perspective. Significant efforts were put on opening-up the mountain passes for cross-boundary exchange. Initially, pack animals and porterage were involved in covering difficult mountain terrain and crossing high passes. Major expeditions such as the Croisière Jaune failed in their attempt to cross the Karakoram via the Hunza Valley in 1931. Prior to the advent of motor transport blue-prints for daring geo-strategic projects emerged that shed light on early plans for connecting British India with China by motor road in order to logistically support General Chiang Kai-shek’s Guomindang in the final years of World War II. It would take much longer than envisaged to construct the Karakoram Highway that opened in 1978 and which connected South with Central Asia by a modern artery. The latest stage of infrastructure development is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor again leading through the Hunza Valley, literally being the Karakoram Highway 4.0. Second, environmental resource exploitation and connected utilisation strategies have changed over time. Emphasis has shifted from a more agriculture-based economy providing a substantial share of local sustenance towards a market-oriented income-generation including extractivism, mobility and services. Third, bordering and ordering is strongly linked to actors and factors that provide the context for power relationships in a challenging environment where distance and remoteness could be perceived as strongly interrelated with hierarchical power structures, religious affiliations and levels of freedom and intervention. Fourth, new light is shed on prevalent myths that are connected with the Hunza Valley. Beginning with Alexander the Great and the Silk Roads a certain opaque perception is connected with peculiar traits and exceptionalism that is rooted in narratives about culture contact, longevity, peace and justice. A developmentalism discourse attributes modernity and progress to a unique constellation based on equality and community spirit by neglecting the impact of migration and multi-local household settings. Finally a Chinese occupation narrative has been developed by interested parties that exists longer than the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. All four perspectives are displayed on the basis of archival evidence that has been collected from a wide range of sources augmented by empirical material from four decades.
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