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Besutee Hazara Chiefs [Hazaras of Besud]

Besutee Hazara Chiefs [Hazaras of Besud]

Photographer: Burke, John

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1879

Shelfmark: Photo 430/3(32)

Item number: 32

Length: 19.5

Width: 30.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph, a posed group portrait of Besudi Hazara chieftains taken by John Burke in 1879-80, possibly at Kabul in Afghanistan. Burke accompanied the British army into Afghanistan in 1878 and worked steadily in the hostile environment of Afghanistan and the North West Frontier Province, recording military and topographical scenes as well as the peoples of the country during the Second Afghan War (1878-80). Burke also photographed many darbars or meetings that took place between British combat leaders and Afghan chiefs which led to the uneasy peace treaties characteristic of the campaign. His two-year Afghan expedition produced a visual document which resulted in his achieving significance as the photographer of the region of the Great Game (the Anglo-Russian territorial rivalry).

The Hazaras, thought to have Mongol ancestry, traditionally occupied an area in central Afghanistan extending from the central spine of the Hindu Kush southward though the foothills to Ghazni, Mukur, and almost up to Kandahar, and from the Paghman Range just west of Kabul to some distance east of Herat. This region was known as Hazarajat. The Hazaras practised agriculture as well as livestock-breeding. Shia Muslims, the Hazaras spoke a Persianised dialect.

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