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Galchas

Galchas, the aboriginal Aryan population of the Central Asiatic highlands, still forming the dominant element in Kohistan, Ferghana, Roshan, Wakhan, Karateghin, Shignan, and Badakhshan. Although commonly described as "Highland Tajiks," the Galchas constitute a distinct primitive group intermediate between the Indian and Iranian Aryans, and should consequently not be confounded with the Iranian Tajiks, from whom they differ as much as these do from the Persians. They belong, not to the dark, but to the fair division of the Caucasic family, being of tall stature and light complexion, with brown, hazel, or blue eyes, chestnut, ruddy, or blonde hair, wavy and curly, thick beard, and extremely brachycephalous skull, in this respect closely resembling the primitive Celtic peoples of Savoy, Auvergne, and Brittany. Their chief divisions in Kohistan are the Maghians, Kchtoutes, Falghars, Matchas, Fans, and Iagnobs, all of whom speak Aryan dialects more akin to the Iranic than to the Indic branch of the Aryan mother-tongue. That of the Iagnobs appears to be of an extremely archaic type, and its study, scarcely yet begun, is expected to throw much light on the mutual relations and divergencies of the Asiatic members of the Aryan family. With the Central Asiatic Galchas must also be grouped the Siah-Posh Kafirs of Kafiristan and the other primitive peoples of the southern slopes of the Hindu-Kush range, whom they closely resemble in physique and probably also in speech. The Galchas proper of Kohistan, numbering altogether about 33,000, are mainly monogamists and Sunnite Mohammedans, though still preserving many usages and ceremonies, evidently derived from the old Mazdean religion of East Irania. They are occupied chiefly with agriculture, and also possess some cattle, horses, and other live-stock. (G. de Meyendorff, Voyage a Boukhara, Paris, 1826; Ch. E. de Ujfalvy, Expedition ... en Russie, en Siberie, et dans le Turkestan, Paris, 1878-79.)

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