WORLD FACT: Hunza People And Their Miracle Serenity

The earthly paradises of Bali and of the South Sea Islands, and the gentle, non-acquisitive civilization of Burma, have been aptly described and romanticized. One can add to them the Nicobar Islands, where a small population lives happily on a very low cultural level. But perhaps the most remarkable and the least known of these earthly paradises is the small kingdom of Hunza in the Himalayas, which was recently visited and enthusiatically described by the journalist, Noel Barber (Daily Mail 5, 6, 8 June 1962).

A fair-skinned population of 18,000 they live in a fertile and almost inaccessible valley not far from the Sinkiang border, 8000 feet up. A lengend has it that they are the descendants of three deserters from the army of Alexander the Great, who settled here with Persian wive_ which makes one inclined to believe that pacifism may be hereditary, because these people had no war in 2000 years. They have no money, no crime, and no diseases, they rarely die before ninety. Their psychosomatic control is almost unbelievable, childbirth is painless, and toothache, a joke; they keep their numbers stationary without contraceptives, and without abortion, but by sheer abstinence, though Noel Barber saw the newborn son of a chukling father aged eighty-nine. Their diet, which consists mostly of apricots and raw vegetables, may have something to do with their unshakeable serenity. It makes one gasp with surprise that human nature can be like this. One is reminded of Huxley's Island, but unlike the Palenese, the Hunza people have no art, only serenity!

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