George Jonas Whitaker Hayward (1839–1870)
The unfortunate British explorer met his tragic end in Darkut, Yasin while attempting to map the unknown Pamirs and find the origin of Oxus in 1870. Although he could not succeed in his attempt, yet he left a deep mark in the history of Yasin. The people of Yasin owe their gratitude to Hayward for exposing the atrocities of Dogras in Muddoori Fort against the Yasinis. Hayward wrote letters to Calcutta Newspapers describing the scene of a massacre by the troops of Maharaja in Mudoori thus invoked the wrath of Maharaja who in league with the local Raja of Yasin, Mir Wali, got him killed on July 18, 1870. Three people The Maharaja of Kashmir, Mir Wali the ruler of Yasin and Mehtar of Chitral Aman ul Mulk were suspected for the murder of Hayward; many investigations made but the case was never solved.
Sir Henry Newbolt, a renowned English Poet, has written a poem about the murder of Hayward. The poem evokes a feeling of sadness and nostalgia.
He Fell Among Thieves
Ye have robb’d,’ said he, ‘ye have slaughter’d and made an end,
Take your ill-got plunder, and bury the dead:
What will ye more of your guest and sometime friend?’
‘Blood for our blood,’ they said.He laugh’d: ‘If one may settle the score for five,
I am ready; but let the reckoning stand til day:
I have loved the sunlight as dearly as any alive.’
‘You shall die at dawn,’ said they.
He flung his empty revolver down the slope,
He climb’d alone to the Eastward edge of the trees;
All night long in a dream untroubled of hope
He brooded, clasping his knees.
He did not hear the monotonous roar that fills
The ravine where the Yassin river sullenly flows;
He did not see the starlight on the Laspur hills,
Or the far Afghan snows.
He saw the April noon on his books aglow,
The wistaria trailing in at the window wide;
He heard his father’s voice from the terrace below
Calling him down to ride.
He saw the gray little church across the park,
The mounds that hid the loved and honour’d dead;
The Norman arch, the chancel softly dark,
The brasses black and red.
He saw the School Close, sunny and green,
The runner beside him, the stand by the parapet wall,
The distant tape, and the crowd roaring between,
His own name over all.
He saw the dark wainscot and timber’d roof,
The long tables, and the faces merry and keen;
The College Eight and their trainer dining aloof,
The Dons on the daïs serene.
He watch’d the liner’s stem ploughing the foam,
He felt her trembling speed and the thrash of her screw;
He heard the passengers’ voices talking of home,
He saw the flag she flew.
And now it was dawn. He rose strong on his feet,
And strode to his ruin’d camp below the wood;
He drank the breath of the morning cool and sweet:
His murderers round him stood.
Light on the Laspur hills was broadening fast,
The blood-red snow-peaks chill’d to dazzling white;
He turn’d, and saw the golden circle at last,
Cut by the Eastern height.
‘O glorious Life, Who dwellest in earth and sun,
I have lived, I praise and adore Thee.’ A sword swept.
Over the pass the voices one by one
Faded, and the hill slept.
(Photo of Hayward)