Karachi: D.N. Patel at the “Sind Observer” & Mercantile Steam Press Ltd., 1929. First edition. Quarto (ca. 24x16,5 cm). xxxiv, 145 pp. With a portrait frontispiece, nineteen plates and a map at rear. Original publisher’s brown cloth binding with blind stamped title on the front board and the spine. Binding with cracks on hinges, neatly repaired, occasional wormholes and water stains in the outer corners of some pages, but overall a very good copy.
The book offers an interesting insight to Afghanistan and its politics during the last year of reign of a western-oriented Amanullah Khan (in power in 1919-29) from the point of view of its non-British neighbours. Katrak travelled to Kabul by car from Peshawar via Khyber Pass and Jalalabad in August 1928 to take part in the celebrations of the Afghanistan Independence Day (the date was set up to commemorate the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919). The book contains vivid descriptions of Kabul and Darulaman which was intended to become a new capital, but never did after the abdication of Amanullah Khan; separate chapters are dedicated to the festifities in the summer capital Paghman, Katrak’s side-trips to Bamyan and Ghazni, and a separate travel to Kandahar from Quetta in October 1928. Katrak also talks about Afghan national lifestyle, “wit and humour,” describes the abdication of Amanullah Khan and readily talks about Parsi residents in Afghanistan he had met. The introduction was written by a Parsi jornalist from Bombay G.K. Nariman. The second edition of the book was published in Karachi in 1963.
Price: $1,500.00 USD