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'Report on Kurdistan' [‎6v] (17/220)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (106 folios). It was created in 1911. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Yusuf Sharif says the soil is saturated with water, and that water can be
obtained anywhere by digging two or three feet.
The chief produce of Kurdistan is wheat, grain, barley, rice, cotton, and
tobacco (this last in great abundance), vegetables, pumpkins and gourds, cucum
bers, brinjals, lettuce, beetroot, cauliflower, potatoes, onions and garlic ; fruits,
melons, water melons, cherries (about five kinds), grapes, apples, plums, peaches
and walnuts.”
“ The inhabitants of Kurdistan are illiterate but bigoted Sunnis of the Shafi,
sect, one of the four sub-divisions of orthodox
Musulmans. They are not really fanatical, but
become bigoted by being in daily contact with the Shi’ah people. The root of the
Persian Kurdish question, whenever it becomes acute, is the religious hatred
between Sunnis and Shi’ahs, and the root of the Turkish is the hatred between
Muhammadans and Christians. Some of the Persian Kurds have become Shi’ahs,
whilst in places the ’Ali-Ullahi are to be found.
The language spoken by the majority is Kirmanju, an old Persian patois
intermingled with some foreign words. In Kurdistan (Ardalan) and Kirmanshah
what is called the Guran dialect is spoken, presenting an even greater affinity to
modern Persian.
By far the greater number of Persian Kurds are sedentary and pastoral,
a great many farm and till the high hill slopes, whilst many more are shepherds.
Their habits are nomadic, moving during the summer months into camps
on the higher acclivities of the hills above the settled villages. Nomad Kurds
are largely Turkish subjects or live on the Turkish border, and perhaps the
wealthiest members of the tribe belong to this class, the cultivators and shepherds
being as a rule deplorably ignorant and poor.
As to what their numbers may be, it seems pure guess-work. Some say one
million, some two^some a half. Dissensions and clan feuds weaken them, as they
did the Scotch Highlanders, and they do not attempt resistance to the Persians,
whose present army is far from formidable, but, in the event of any invasion, the
great fact would be that the invaders would find auxiliaries, rather than enemies,
in them, which, considering the nature of the country, is of enormous importance.
Persian-born Governors are now beginning to replace the Kurdish chiefs who
up to now were always Governors of their own districts.
In December 1880 there occurred an abortive Kurdish rebellion in Persia
under a certain Shaikh Obaid Ullah which, though a fiasco, was from the political
point of view of great importance, as it showed the utter impracticability, owing to
family and clan dissensions, of a united Kurdish organization, which will probably
be heard of again during our time. (For further particulars see Lord Curzon’s
Persia, and articles Azarbaijan and Kirmanshah of Gazetteer of Persia, vol. 2,
Whatever the Turkish Kurds may be, the Persian ones are celebrated
for their hospitality and are not at all unfriendly towards Europeans. They are
great dandies in dress and the richer ones are always well dressed in clean and good
clothes. The national clothing is a short coat and very baggy trousers, and a
white calico shirt, the sleeves of which hang down to the ground, with an
enormous sash round his waist on which are placed knife and pipe, and they always

About this item


Confidential report compiled by Hyacinth Louis Rabino. The report was printed in Simla at the Government Monotype Press, 1911.

The report is divided into three parts (I-III), as follows:

Part I: Geographical and Commercial Notes (folios 6-39) with sections on the province of Kurdistan (including information on cultivation, population, revenue, roads, imports/exports, and the capital, Senna), its tribes (including statistics on population, land, and residences), rivers, and mountains, and appendices comprised of government lists of villages.

Part II: History (folios 40-54) with a chart showing the Valis and Provincial Governors of Kurdistan for the years 1169-1905 (folio 41).

Part III: Gazetteer of Kurdistan (folios 55-104) arranged alphabetically.

At the back of the volume is a glossary (folios 105-06) including notes on the weights used in Kurdistan.

Extent and format
1 volume (106 folios)

There is a contents page at the front of the volume (f 5) which refers to the volume's original pagination.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 108; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Report on Kurdistan' [‎6v] (17/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/21, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 23 February 2020]

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