The Subtle Beast, or, Views of Pakistan Past from the Wolfsonian-FIU Library

Today’s post comes to you courtesy of Sharf Associate Librarian, Rochelle Pienn. Ms. Pienn has been cataloging and preparing a large number of original photograph albums in the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection for digitization. Here is her report on one such recently catalogued photograph album. 

Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan this week. According to The Washington Post, the terrorist group emerged from the historically dangerous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

First responders and volunteers transport an injured man away from the scene of a bomb blast outside a hospital in Quetta

First responders and volunteers transport an injured man away from the scene of a bomb blast outside a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Naseer Ahmed

This contentious region, replete with tribal wars, sires contemporary strife that captures the world’s attention. Its past, evident in original photograph albums in the Jean S. and Frederic Sharf Collection at the Wolfsonian-FIU Library, reveals long-ago events equally characterized by military conflict. The haunting black and white silver gelatin prints contain elements of precognition on today’s state of affairs.

CoverTHis

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection 

In the 1930s a “T. Fuller,” member of the Royal Signal Corps attached to the Peshawar Brigade and in the British 1st Indian Division Signals, compiled this album documenting the Mohmand Operations.

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The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection 

The British fought the Afghan Wars against various insurrections in Waziristan, Balochistan, and Afghanistan, and now sought to maintain dominance along the Khyber Pass to protect key roads.

PeshKyb

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection 

The military encountered death and destruction through an unexpected enemy: Mother Nature. The 1935 Quetta earthquake came swiftly and annihilated infrastructure.

QuettaEarthTop

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection 

 It was the deadliest earthquake in the region on record until the 21st century, with approximately 50,000 casualties. Soon more casualties were to be had, however.

GotItNeck

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

With not atypical gallows humor of a young soldier, Fuller shows the virtually uncontested victory of his unit. Advanced artillery included tanks and guns, which drove Pashtun warriors out of the unchanging stark mountains.

PathanPrisonerstoJail

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

A broad range of official personnel took part in the mission.

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Peeps3

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

 The unofficial mascot cuddled with comrades.

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The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

The camera immortalized the beauty of the local people.

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BeautyPeepsEnd

The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

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The Wolfsonian-FIU, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection

Fuller closes the album with a satirical and war-weary ditty. For more close-ups of historical Pakistan, you’re invited to peruse the visual stories provided by original photograph albums in the Jean S. and Frederic Sharf Collection at the Wolfsonian-FIU Library. On the fictional account of a Pakistani American in the urban nightmare of contemporary New York City, enjoy this quick but compelling clip from HBO’s The Night Of.

~ by "The Chief" on August 10, 2016.

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