[permaculture] Literature on the Hunza Region in Afganistan
lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Fri Jun 12 22:40:50 EDT 2015
You can read these digitized books on the Hunzas at Soil & Health Library
Here it is at S&H:
Rodale, J.I. The Healthy Hunza. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1949.
J.I. gathered, recounted and evaluated all available data for this research
project. Downloads as a PDF of 974 kb. OUT
This looks like a good one:
Tobe, John H. HUNZA: Adventures in a Land of Paradise. Toronto: George J.
McLeod. Ltd., 1960.
Seedsman and gardener John Tobe journeyed to Hunzaland, stayed the summer
and wrote this wordy, lengthy and detailed
account. Like the reports of most such visitors, Tobe's account is as
revealing of himself as it is of the conditions in
Hunza. Downloads as a PDF of 1.77 mb with 17 photographs. OUT OF PRINT.
Mons, Barbara. The High Road To Hunza. London: Faber and Faber, 1958.
Barbara Mons wrote entertainingly about her overland driving trip into
Northern Pakistan and about her final
destination—Hunza Downloads as a PDF of 678 kb. OUT OF PRINT.
Hilton, James. (1934) Lost Horizon. William Morrow & Company.
The story of the hidden paradise of Shangri-La, this novel was based in
part on the Hunza. It is also a darn good tale
of spiritual development, exploring the human potential. This is the book
that the movie, "Lost Horizon" was based on.
Like virtually all such derivations, the book is a much richer experience
than the movie ever could be. A great story,
well worth reading. Downloads as a PDF of 548 kb. OUT OF PRINT.
Crichton, Michael. Travels, "Shangri-La." 1988
The book is collection of short essays ranging over many subjects; offered
here is one chapter from that book about a journey Crichton made to Hunza
in the early 80s. Crichton found Hunza very different than the earlier
visitors, much degraded and disillusioning. Downloads as a PDF of 101 kb.
OUT OF PRINT.
It's already been mentioned that entire civilizations have recycled
humanure for thousands of years. That should provide
a fairly convincing testimony about the usefulness of humanure as an
agricultural resource. Many people have heard of
the "Healthy Hunzas," a people in what is now a part of Pakistan who reside
among the Himalayan peaks, and routinely
live to be 120 years old. The Hunzas gained fame in the United States
during the 1960s health food era, at which time
several books were written about the fantastic longevity of this ancient
people. Their extraordinary health has been
attributed to the quality of their overall lifestyle, including the quality
of the natural food they eat and the soil
it's grown on. Few people, however, realize that the Hunzas also compost
their humanure and use it to grow their food.
They're said to have virtually no disease, no cancer, no heart or
intestinal trouble, and they regularly live to be over
a hundred years old while "singing, dancing and making love all the way to
According to Tompkins (1989), "In their manuring, the Hunzakuts return
everything they can to the soil: all vegetable
parts and pieces that will not serve as food for humans or beast, including
such fallen leaves as the cattle will not
eat, mixed with their own seasoned excrement, plus dung and urine from
their barns. Like their Chinese neighbors, the
Hunzakuts save their own manure in special underground vats, clear of any
contaminable streams, there to be seasoned for
a good six months. Everything that once had life is given new to life
through loving hands." 7 (emphasis mine)
Sir Albert Howard wrote in 1947, "The Hunzas are described as far
surpassing in health and strength the inhabitants of
most other countries; a Hunza can walk across the mountains to Gilgit sixty
miles away, transact his business, and
return forthwith without feeling unduly fatigued." Sir Howard maintains
that this is illustrative of the vital
connection between a sound agriculture and good health, insisting that the
Hunzas have evolved a system of farming which
is perfect. He adds, "To provide the essential humus, every kind of waste
[sic], vegetable, animal and human, is mixed
and decayed together by the cultivators and incorporated into the soil; the
law of return is obeyed, the unseen part of
the revolution of the great Wheel is faithfully accomplished." 8 Sir
Howard's view is that soil fertility is the real
basis of public health.
A medical professional associated with the Hunzas claimed, "During the
period of my association with these people I
never saw a case of asthenic dyspepsia, of gastric or duodenal ulcer, of
appendicitis, of mucous colitis, of cancer . .
. Among these people the abdomen over-sensitive to nerve impressions, to
fatigue, anxiety, or cold was unknown. Indeed
their buoyant abdominal health has, since my return to the West, provided a
remarkable contrast with the dyspeptic and
colonic lamentations of our highly civilized communities."
Sir Howard adds, "The remarkable health of these people is one of the
consequences of their agriculture, in which the
law of return is scrupulously obeyed. All their vegetable, animal and human
wastes [sic] are carefully returned to the
soil of the irrigated terraces which produce the grain, fruit, and
vegetables which feed them." 9
The Hunzas composted their organic material, thereby recycling all of it.
This actually enhanced their personal health
and the health of their community. The US Department of Agriculture was
apparently unaware of the effective natural
process of composting in 1928 when they described the recycling of humanure
as "dangerous and disgusting." No doubt the
USDA would have confused the Hunzas, who had for centuries safely and
constructively engaged in such recycling.
Source: The Humanure Handbook. Jenkins Publishing, PO Box 607, Grove City,
PA 16127. To order, phone: 1-800-639-4099.
Lawrence F. London
lfljvenaura at gmail.com
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