Youth without old age: Hunza – Valea Vieţiii

Scris de 
Leo Radutz
 in data de 
text de 
10 minute
Scris de 
Leo Radutz
 in data de 
 - text de 
10 minute

In 1870, a British general together with a garrison climbed for the first time on the valley of the Hunza River, an area forgotten by time, hidden in the mountain ranges of north-eastern India at that time. The whole of humanity is in the absence of a miracle that defies the rules of official science.
People who lived for millennia in this place forgotten by illness, suffering, sadness is stress, reached incredible ages, enjoyed a state of health never seen anywhere in the world could procreate at ages at which most Westerners already lay in coffins.
Today, the mystery of the Hunza Valley and its inhabitants is just as great, despite hundreds of scientific investigations and researches.

The astounding bliss of this place, superimposed on the already proverbial longevity of its inhabitants, seems to be hiding, further, the secret of Youth without Old Age.

Somewhere in Pakistan

If we look for it strictly by geographical coordinates, Hunza is a small mountain valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, the north-western autonomous province of Pakistan. The entire valley is located at an average height of 2,500 meters, with an area of 7,900 square kilometers. The former town of Baltit, currently Karimbad, is the main town of the region, today - a popular tourist destination, due to the spectacular views of the surroundings. The area is bordered by majestic mountains, such as Utar Sar, Rakaposhi, Bojahagur Duanasir II, as well as hunza, ghenta, diran peaks: all the listed mountains piercing the sky with heights of over 6,000 meters.

The history of the place is interesting, Hunza being at its beginnings a small isolated state, bordered by Tibet to the north-east and the Pamir Mountains to the northwest.

The principality, traditionally ruled by princes named thum on these lands, was dissolved in 1974, when it was included in the borders of present-day Pakistan, by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
The political change did not disturb much the course of life here, the inhabitants continuing to live in the same state of freedom as they had lived in the last 900 years under the leadership of the local Thums.

The British had also tried, without much success, to master the valley with an iron fist. The entire period of British domination stretched only between 1889-1892. The last prince, Thum Mir Safdar Ali Khan Hunza, fled to Chinese Kashgar, asking for political asylum. The natives did not find it difficult at all to defend their valley during the invasions, because the passes through which the access to the area was once made were only 50 centimeters wide!
The air temperature in the valley oscillates between + 27 degrees Celsius and - 10 degrees Celsius in winter, when the entire karakoram pass complex is blocked by snow. Hunza-Nagar District became the newest division in the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan, being included only in July 2009.

At the edge of Heaven
Hunza Valley is of absolute beauty, surreal. All the great travelers who came here, attracted by the fame of the place and the extreme longevity of the natives, declare with hand on heart that they have never met anywhere such a harmonious combination of natural wonders. The pass through which one enters from Gilgit to Hunza is very difficult to navigate, being located at a height of 4,176 meters.

Once in the valley, the passerby reveals in front of his eyes an Edenic landscape, and if the sun bathes the snowy peaks and the multicolored valley, the sensations are indescribable, strongly amplified by the strong and unnaturally clean air of the heights.

The blue stone valleys of the mountains, border on one side and the other gardens and terraces cultivated with fruit trees and barley, along with smooth pastures, where flocks of animals bred for wool, milk and their meat graze. Because in the Hunza valley it rarely rains, the locals have developed in time an ingenious irrigation system through which the crystal clear water coming from the periodic melting of the glaciers drains to their gardens, pastures and dwellings. The original aqueduct system has a total length of over 80 km and takes over, for the most part, the water leaked from the Ultar glacier, located at a height of 7,788 meters, in Mount Rakaposhi. The aqueduct, made of wood, is anchored in the rock with long steel spikes.

The inaccessibility of the valley combined with the extremely rugged relief led to centuries of isolation from any influence coming from the outside. For example, not earlier than the 50s of the last century, hunza inhabitants had not seen even a single Jeep or plane in flight, despite the fact that the Pakistani army had already arranged an airport in Gilgit, just 70 km away from Hunza.

Historical sources tell US that the Hunzakutii, as the natives are called, enjoyed a reputation as turbulent and aggressive pastors. However, just 10 years before the British arrived in the area, people had signed a treaty of friendship and non-aggression with the communities they were bordering. It was quite difficult for them, considering that for hundreds of years they had been mainly engaged in robbing Chinese caravans that crossed the mountain passes that connect Tibet to Kashmir. According to local folklore, the peace treaty and good neighbourliness was signed only after the thum's son's frequent insistence on him. The junior had become so horrified by the tortures and murders committed by his parent that he eventually convinced him to give up the official banditry and spare his neighbors.

Descendants of Alexander the Great?

At the beginning of the XXth century, several anthropologists and ethnologists who first came into contact with the Hunzakuts, insisted that this ethnic group totally different from the other communities around it, would be no more and no less than the descendants of the soldiers from the army of the legendary Alexander of Macedon.

Soldiers who would have been left in this distant outpost by the Conqueror, after which they were forgotten under the harsh winds of history. The captivating hypothesis remained in the drawers of historians, not having much credibility among the specialists of the time.
However, studies conducted since the 70s have come up with shocking results. It all started from the analysis of the language of the natives.

Called "Burushaksi", the Hunzakut language is totally different from the languages and dialects of the surrounding tribes . Historical-phonetic analyses have revealed that Burushaksi is nothing but a linguistic mixture between the old Macedonian language and the languages spoken in antiquity in the Hellenistic-Persian Empire.

Hunzakutii have white skin and typical Caucasian physiognomy.
In 1950, researcher John Clark noted about the frequent cases of children with brown, blonde and even reddish hair, stating that if those children had been dressed in European style, they would be no different from the children of a school in Scotland or Ireland. Hunza women are very beautiful and delicate, their appearance being very different from that of women living in the villages adjacent to the Valley. Some of the anthropologists claim that this fact is due to the raids of the past, in which Hunza men sought to kidnap women from the Persian caravenes, women famous throughout Asia for their surreal beauty.

The language of the natives has no borrow words from the Hindu, Urdu or Lepcha dialects , spoken in the area. To compensate for the possible isolation of Hunzakuti among Pakistani citizens, authorities in Islamabad have, however, opened Urdu language schools. The terraced cultures of the Valley stretch like a multicolored puzzle up to 50 levels of height. At the base are the houses of the people, and above the agricultural crops. The area has traditionally been poor. The inhabitants have for their own valley an edifying saying: «Here is the country where nothing is enough»... Maybe just the aunt's lives and the stones.

The truth is that here, the vitreousness of Nature has made people always be content with little. The earth is particularly poor, all the dung gathered from animals is used to fatten the superficial layer of soil that covers the rocks. Soil that was brought here only in the form of dust carried by cold winds. The number of animals is limited by the lack of pastures. Flocks of goats, sheep and yaks are taken in summer to the high peaks of the mountains where there are patches of greenery. Today, the locals of Hunza have lost their reputation as the brigands of the past, being famous for the hospitality shown to tourists.

The literacy rate in the Valley is among the highest in Pakistan, reaching a figure of over 90% among Hunzakuti children. Virtually every child of recent generations attends school to the high school level. Many choose to go further and study in universities in Pakistan or the West. Most Hunzakuts today are Muslims belonging to the Ismailite sect, worshipping His Highness, Prince Karim Aga Khan IV. In the village of Ganish, over 90% of the inhabitants are Shiite Muslims.

Daddy at 80 years old

If in any other province of Pakistan, life expectancy reaches about 50-60 years, typical of a third world country, it seems that in the Hunza Valley scientists are direct witnesses of an incredible phenomenon. According to studies conducted under the aegis of numerous researchers, in the Hunza Valley live probably the longest-lived people in the world.
The first of the researchers who dedicated his life to the detailed analysis of the so-called "Mit Hunza" was the American Jay Milton Hoffman, who in 1960 was delegated by the U.S. National Geriatric Society to study the causes and factors that determine the state of health and the proverbial longevity of hunzakuti. Dr. Hoffman wrote down his observation in a paper that would make many waves in modern medicine.

The volume "Hunza: Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Oldest Living People" tells about a distant land where people do not suffer from diseases common to sedentary Western populations and consume harmful foods. In Hunza, not even the oldest people suffered from Parkinson's, increased cholesterol, heart disease, cancer (cancer is totally unknown among them), arthritis, dental caries, bladder diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, hypertension, allergies, asthma, liver disease, constipation, hemorrhoids or hundreds of other conditions that come as an ironic bill for us, the "civilized, technologically advanced, and all-knowing in our educated ignorance."

In Hunza there is no hospital, pharmacy, insane asylum, police station, prisons, murders or beggars. And this is not because these people are too "barbaric" or poor to build them, but because they never existed, and hunzakuti society does not simply need these outposts of the "civilized man". Believe it or not, but here they meet at every step of the old and old cute people who do not remember when they were born, but who are 120-140 years old (!) years old, according to the latest measurements and analyzes.

In Hunza, people die either as a result of accidents or old age, at aunt's age. Under no circumstances are they sickled by degenerative diseases, like the elders of the West. But the biggest surprise of modern medicine occurred after investigating the common cases in which "mothers" were 60-70 years old and "fathers" 70-90 years old. Sounds incredible, right?

One of the advantages of the combination of factors such as specific nutrition, superior air and water quality, along with unstoppable physical work, led to this miracle of life. At ages when other people are already in coffins or have the role of rambunctious grandparents who crawl with the help of sticks or wheelchairs, the seminal fluid of the elders of Hunza still has the ability to procreate. At first, the Pakistani authorities refused to acknowledge this unusual situation, ironically commenting that the newborn offspring of the 80-year-olds actually belonged to other young people in the villages. But paternity tests conducted in laboratories in britain and the U.S. certified that the myths and rumors were true, and the octogenar elders are, indeed, the fathers of newborns.

Dishes for long life
Human populations that have benefited over time from manous plains, good to grow and abundant pastures, suitable for raising herds of animals, have always enjoyed an easy life, in which finding and preparing food has gradually become an art, not a matter of life and death.

This was not the case with hunzakuti. The pastures were almost inaccessible, their animals were kept most of the year in stables and fed with poor plant residues. Hunzakutii have never backtracked from eating sheep, goat and yak meat, hens being very rare in the Valley.
Driven by the harshness of the winter days, when the sharp cold amplifies hunger, the local hunters climbed the rocks when hunting for wild Markhor goats, mouflon, geese, cranes, ducks and pheasants. The meat was very popular in the so-called "Winter Diet" Hunza. In the cold season, the need for calories was stringent, and the locals replaced it by intensive consumption of milk, cheese and butter.
Quite another is the "Summer Diet", when the natives feed themselves according to a very old tradition that they strictly observe. If in the cold season they had a diet very rich in animal fats, with the coming of spring, their diet changes radically.

First of all, a large part of the food is eaten raw, without being cooked or processed on fire. Vegetables are eaten on the spot, as soon as they are picked. In fact, in the warm season, the daily meal consists of over 80% vegetables and fruits eaten raw. A scientific analysis showed that hunzakutii benefit from 40% calories from paddy cereals, 30% calories from vegetables, 15% calories from fruits, 10% from legumes and only 1% from food of animal origin.

Cases of obesity caused by excess calories are unknown here, more often being those of malting. Children are breastfed up to 6-7 years, which brings them an iron immune system and an unparalleled calcium intake, compared to children of Westerners. Cold air and high altitude make microbes and bacteria almost non-existent. Rodents and insects that transmit various diseases are unknown in the Valley. Food is never processed or refined. Here no one consumes sugar, very treasured is instead honey.

One of the secrets of the enviable longevity of the natives is the consumption of apricots in huge quantities
._ The apricot is one of the few fruit trees that have been able to adapt to the harshness of the climate in the region. Apricots are eaten raw in the warm season, and the quantities that can not be eaten are prepared for winter in an original way. The remaining apricots are cut in half and put to dry on huge wooden trays, which are then climbed on the roof of the houses for the timid summer sun to preserve the active principles, vitamins and minerals of the valuable fruits. The fal are prepared and cherries or plums. The apricot seeds are broken, and the core is tightened with great care. After it is dried in the sun, the core of the kernels is ground in a flour from which Hunza women prepare dough for traditional bread and cakes.

Apricots contain large amounts of vitamin B-17 an excellent natural element against cancer.

Another secret of longevity probably lies in the "unorthodox" way by which the locals cook their traditional "Hunza Bread". For the realization of this miraculous food, the natives grind in stone grains of wheat, barley and buckwheat. The resulting flour is mixed with canola oil, honey, molasses, soy milk, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh lemon and orange juice, eggs, olive oil, curry powder, parsley, ginger and dried bananas, many of these ingredients being obtained by the natives after bartering. The resulting bread is baked in half in large metal tips. Tradition requires that it be baked only halfway, so that the active principles, vitamins and nutrients are not destroyed by the high temperatures in the oven.

Perhaps the whole secret of the health and longevity of these people lies, in fact, in simple and banal water. With only one amendment required: the water drunk by hunzakuti comes from the springs that bring it from the Ultar glacier.

Laboratory tests have shown that the water in the Hunza Valley glacier is very rich in potassium and caesium, for this reason the pure water drunk by the natives is a water very rich in alkaline active metals that, in the last instance, prevent the belonging of cancer.

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