13 Years young Kalasha girl found death

Kalash 31 July: A young Kalasha girl named Jamarana D/O Jagosh found death at her Garden in Sarikjaw village. Sources told The Kalasha Times that she was playing at her Garden with her younger sister and her parents were working in the fields. Sher Jan who saw her first informed her relatives that ‘’Jamarana is hanging in her Garden’’ Nasira and her brother Shadi Khan rushed on the occasion and found that she has been died. Police registered FIR and started investigation and asked the family to allow her for postmortem, but her family and relatives were in view that she died accidently and they don’t want to take her body for postmortem in Chitral town, because we don’t know and we have no objection on some one else said Macirik Shah her paternal father, people present at her funeral were saying that she committed suicide due to domestic issues. But the reason was unclear. Police station house officer was in view that according to 2002 law, she must be taken to Chitral for postmortem or her parents must bring NOC from session judge Chitral, otherwise her body will not be allowed to burry. Later on first August SHO told the Kalasha Times that her body cold be burry as the problem has been solved. On 31 July before aftari SHO called elders in police station and shared the legal problem with elders and they decided to go to Chitral for getting written permission from session judge and the time had decided for after Aftari. What happened soon after the Aftari dinner clouds covered sky and storming and thundering started terribly and a heavy raining hit the Kalash valleys that resulted huge devastating flash floods and roads closed, no light and no phone everyone surprised to see the situation happened on 31 July.

Caption: The electric wire used for drying cloths, has been caused of her death she used to play here.

Jamarana’s funeral continued for two days and buried at Brun graveyard according to Kalasha tradition. People from Rukmu and Biriu were also invited and people reached the venue on foot due to closure of roads. Its pertain to mentioned here that since 2010 during July 03 young Kalasha girls died due to one or other reason two remained victim of Mumuret river and Jamarana’s case is different and shocking. One of Jamarana’s fellow Faiza has shared that ‘’Jamarana a day before told me that I have met my friends and tomorrow I am going forever’’ what could be the reasons so far no one understands that why the little angel says such sentence…according to Jamarana’s friends she was in love with a boy from Anish village named Gul Samat, when the reporter approached Samat to get his view on the case, during a question he said that ‘’she has been following me and I was not interested and last time she wrote me a letter few months ago’’ he added that ‘’she was wrote on the letter that ‘’Jab mein mar jahungi tu mere janaze per ana (When I will die do come to my funeral’’ Jamrana was student of class 6th and Samat is student of class 9th. Whatever the reason she died and departed for ever. Dezau rest her soul in eternal peace at Behast’ and help the family to bear the lost.

Flash floods caused damages in Kalasha valleys

The Kalasha Times Report… Crying face

Kalasha Primary School Balanguru Ruined

Kalash 1st August: Unpredictable and inclement weather patterns causing devastating calamities have been plaguing the Kalasha valleys Mumuret, Rukmu, Biriu, Acuhagha and its main town Ayun. So far many people have lost their Houses, cultivated lands, Fruit trees, live stocks etc through out the history. Some 25 years ago the most beautiful and biggest Kalasha populated village of Rukmu Malidesh was disappeared by flood; eventually the people have migrated and shifted to other parts of the valleys. Several such examples are there which are being narrated by the grand fathers to their young nephews.

On 28th July 2010 and 6th August 2010 Kalash Valley Mumuret and Rukmu have been suffered due to heavy floods in the valleys. The flood causes huge damages in both valleys.

This year on 31 July 2013 Kalasha valleys again severely affected by flash floods, Sources told the Kalasha Times that four valleys of Kalasha people have been suffered first time in the history. All valleys have been suffered by flash floods at a same time due to heavy rains.

An old woman named Sajama told The Kalasha Times that ‘’I was in Acuhagha valley, the valley is ruined now and I cannot stay there, therefore I am coming back to Anish village with my cattle’s’’ she added that ‘’while crossing the river of Acuhagha my shoes washed away and I travelled 22 kilo meters by bared foot’’ When asked what is the situation in the valley she replied ‘’the land, crops, goats-stable and lot of tress both fruits, and non fruit trees have been damaged, with tears on her eyes she said there is no reason to stay there and I moving to Anish now.’’

Since last few years Acuhgha valley remained under attacked by timber mafias and a large number of deforestation had caused people in trouble. To demolish the beautiful cedar tress a fake joint forest management committee was active since 2008 and caused a huge deforestation in the valley. Now a beautiful a famous summer place known for its cedar tress and natural beauty has been in troubled.

Due to media failure and communication gap caused disparity among the people living in the valleys because no one knows how much damages caused in the valleys due to flash floods. Properly it would take some days to assess the valleys and damages due to devastating flash floods.

The people in the valleys have been astonished to see the lightening on 31 July at 8: 20 PM it was extra ordinary. The elders says that they haven’t seen such thunder storming  in past, they were shocked as there were no raining in many villages only targeted type of rain it was said by one of the elder Yasing. A government Kalasha primary school at Balanguru village in Rukmu valley had been completed damaged and whole building has been swept away, while another school, J’est’a Han, Safiullah jan’s guest in the same locality have partially damaged. All foot bridges have been washed away in Rukmu and Acuhagha valley and some bridges are damaged in Mumuret valley as well. Sources told The Kalasha Times that  four vehicle in Rukmu and one vehicle at Darasguru in Mumuret have been partially or fully damaged. This year the damages are counting more then damages caused in 2010. Standing crops have been damaged partially or fully at a large scale. While people of these valley are depending on cultivated lands.

Detail of destruction in images:

  1. Houses:

Sher Khan hosueSuhal Faqir House

  1. Cattle House:

  1. Irrigation/HPS and Water Mills Channels

  1. Drinking water supply system:

  1. Link Bridges:

A foot bridge at Darasguru villageA jeepable bridge at Gumbayak

  1. Water Mills:

Water mill at Rukmu

  1. Standing and harvested Crops and Fruits Tress:

Standing crops at ToishMaize Crops at Prishi

  1. Electricity:

SRSP Power house pollNoorshidin's power house

9. Pipe Lines:

Roads

Near Dubazh Rukmu sideIn Mumuret Near Wadas

10. Temple/Jestahan

Jestahan a Kalasha temple at Balanguru

11. Vehicles

A car recoverd from mud..vehicle Noorshidin

Impact of Flash Floods

Roads are closed, no electricity at many villages, drinking water supplies disconnected, corps have been damaged, irrigation channels damaged and chance of drying remaining crops, families are homeless, communication system worst affected, schools damaged and where the students will be setting for studies and there are many other such issues need urgent support.

Note:  While talking to The Kalasha Times people are appealed to government and NGOs to help them for early restoration of water channels, drinking water, schools, bridges, electricity,roads  and other affected areas. Otherwise the people would be facing a big troubles. Elders of the valleys  urge local to come forward on voluntarily to restore irrigation channels in order to avoid further damages..

For more details visit www.kpdn.org www.facebook.com/thekalashatimes

Rally seeks promotion of education in Kalash valleys

KALASH, April 22: To increase enrollment ratio in the government primary schools of Kalash valleys, a rally was organized by the education department and Alif Ailaan (Transforming Education Pakistan).

Students from government high school Mumuret (Bumborate) and primary schools participated in the rally. They were carrying banners and placards inscribed with the messages asking parents to enroll their children in schools and the people at large to vote for education. There was also a message for politicians: “Give us education, take a vote.’’ The rally started from government high school at Brun Mumuret and passed through various villages and after covering more than three kilometers area. The students were also chanting slogans in favor of education.

Address the rally, Wazir, the headmaster of govt. high school Mumuret, said ‘’the school has shortage of rooms and there are more than 600 students enrolled for middle and high classes.” He said it is the only high school for three Kalasha valleys and is providing co-education facilities.

Addressing teachers and students, Luke Rehmat, the district network coordinator Alif Ailaan, said Pakistan is facing hard time due to low enrollment rates and lack of education facilities. He said 25 million children were out of schools in Pakistan and the drop-out rate was so high. He emphasized to enroll as many students as possible and also urged students ask their parents, friends to vote for education to make education number one priority in Pakistan.

Due to lack of facilities in state own schools students and teachers are facing hardship. He said one can imagine by visiting the only high school in Mumuret that it is ranked second in terms of the number of students after government centennial school of Chitral town. There are above 80 students in a classroom and how it would be possible for a teacher to impart quality of education to students.

New board of directors elected for KPDN

Kalash 21 April: Speakers at a board of directors meeting highlighted the achievement of Kalash People’s Development Network. KPDN is only organization in Kalash valleys which is making progress in social sector since its inception in 2005 as a community support local organization and KPDN emerged as one of the true organization and dedicated members working day night for developmental and conservational projects in Kalash valleys.

A press release issued on Thursday said that the KPDN’s board of directors’ election held at KPDN head office in Kalash valley Mumuret village Anish. After two consecutive meeting of 22 executive body of the organization nominated 13 members for board of directors.

‘’We don’t want selection we want election’’ said Luke Rehmat during a briefing session of the meeting.

The BoD of KPDN consisted of members from three valleys of Kalash including Mumuret, Rukmu and Biriu and three people were contested presidential election, namely Unat Baig from Biriu valley, Gumaira from Mumuret valley and Gul Nazar from Rukmu valley. Two females and one male was contestant.

The final election was decided by toss among three candidates and Gul Nazar elected as chairperson of KPDN. For the sectary general BoD members unanimously elected Imran Kabir as a sectary general of the organization.

For the rest of BoD Gumaira elected as vice chairperson, Baras Khan elected as vice chairman, Yasir Ali elected as sectary public relation and Diaana elected as sectary finance for the organization.

The KPDN BoD is a collection of like minded peoples balanced in terms of gender and including elders and educated youth from Kalasha valleys, the KPDN is a true representative of Kalasha peoples. The youth of the valleys are determined to work hard for education, health, culture, forest, tourism, sports and many more on the platform of KPDN.

Soon KPDN is forming advisory board that will include national and international experts and it was decided during the meeting.

The meeting was participated by the following members Unat baig, Baras Khan, Wazir Zada, Akram Hussian, Bakhtawar Shah, Yasir Ali, Syed Gul, Shamim,Hazrat Gul,Misro Khunza,Gumaira, Sher Alam, Said Ahmad, Subhan Udin, Gul Nazar, Imran Kabir, Shaukat Ali, Fazal Azim, Ishfaq Sagar and Luke Rehmat.

The Kalash Peoples of Pakistan are going to Boycotts upcoming Election 2013

Chitral 12 April: Speakers at a press conference highlight the issues of discrimination and exploitation of Kalasha rights. Kalasha peoples said that they are boycotting upcoming general election of 2013.

A press release issued on Friday said that the Kalasha community living in western part of district Chitral KPK, Pakistan in three V-shaped valleys known as Mumuret (Bumboret), Rukmu (Rumboor) and Biriu (Birir) including Acuagha (Achalgha) are belonging to indigenous minority.

The Kalasha tribe is unique due to culture, ethnic and religious festivities and well known around the globe.

The Kalasha are only indigenous community in Pakistan registered with UN-ECOSOC as indigenous peoples of Pakistan.

According to unverified sources Kalasha peoples came in Chitral in 327 B.C and ruled the region till 14 A.D, their kingdom scattered to Chakansari including Nooristan.

The political changes have brought the community to a jeopardized stage of their existence. The Kalasha peoples Population has ultimately abridged to around 4000 only.

The Kalasha peoples are very grateful to their Muslim brothers of district Chitral. They have always provided honored and respected to their Kalasha brothers. But unfortunately Kalasha peoples remained Isolated under the hands government. Regarding this clear evidence is that government has ignored Kalasha basic and legal ethnic and religious identity.

The NADRA has included all religions, but no room left for Kalasha as results Kalasha have no choice left to show their identity as an indigenous ethnic community.

In 1973 constitution Kalasha was included in scheduled cast in group of Hindu, Sikh and Parsi etc and there was reserved seat for this group at provincial assembly and we were given option to select our representative and the elected members were somehow giving importance to us.

But unfortunately in 2002 the constitution was dissolved and the right of minorities had given to political parties. The minorities elected through this reserved seats system for a decade ignored Kalasha peoples when we asked them they used to say that we did not take any vote from you and why we give importance to you.

Our demand from Government of Pakistan:

1. Implementation of UN Declaration

United Nation Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples: Resolution adapted by the General Assembly.

Publication Date: 2 October 2007

Citation/Document Symbol: A/RES/61/295

Reference: Sixty fist Session

Government of Pakistan is signatory to this declaration and bound to make necessary legislation for the protection of ‘’indigenous peoples’’ but unfortunately government did not consider Kalasha ethnic peoples and therefore Kalasha peoples remained isolated.

2. Restoration of 1973 constitution for minorities in Pakistan is needed as the 1973 constitution has restored for majority after 18th amendment.

3. Officially inclusion and recognition of Kalasha ethnic, religion, indigenous system in NADRA database.

4. According to UN declaration especial legislation for indigenous peoples of Kalasha and separate reserved seats in provincial assembly and national assembly has demanded.

With aforesaid demands we are boycotting upcoming general election in Pakistan and do not accepting the method of selection we want election system to elect our own representatives and we will not take part in the election process until our demands didn’t considered.

Regarding the solution of the issues we have formed ‘’Kalasha rights committee’’ any political parties, government official would be interested to resolve the issues could be table talk with the committee to resolve the problem

At the end we appealed prime minister, election commission, president of Pakistan to take so-Moto action to resolve the issues immediately.

A dozens of elders and youth spoken on the occasion names Wazir Zada, Nabaig advocate, Maihik Shai, Unat Baig, Abdul Sattar, Katar Sing, Yasing, Mir Bacha, Bajor, Mirak Shah, Noor Shali, Sher Zada, Baras Khan, Shah Hussian, Gul Froz, Javeed Bagali, Jahangir Khan, Shah Zia, Duad Shah, Sher Dul, Fazali Ahmad and Luke Rehmat.

Nomination papers of Wazir Zada Kalasha accepted

By Our Correspondent Published: April 5, 2013

PESHAWAR:  The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted at least 22 nomination papers of candidates vying for seats reserved for minorities in the provincial legislature.

An ECP official said 22 nomination papers were screened and accepted out of a total of 30 candidates. Approval of nomination papers of eight candidates were put on hold till Friday (today) due to various issues, he added.

At least 70 nomination papers were filed by aspiring candidates for minority seats in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly. This number dropped to 30 after political parties sent in their priority lists to the ECP, explained the official.

There are two seats reserved for minorities in the K-P Assembly.

The nominees

The Awami National Party has nominated Gulshan Yousaf Bhatti and Jetandar Singh; Pakistan Peoples Party has chosen Yousaf George, Naseeb Chand, Parvindar Kumar, Babar and Jaswant Das; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has named Azeem Ghuri, Shakeel Chandar, Nighat Bibi, Fareed Chand and Younas Gul; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has nominated Suran Singh, Ravi Kumar and Wazir Zada; Jamaat-e-Islami has chosen Rashid Masih, Ganga Wesh, Suresh Kumar and Sari Chand; Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has named Askar Pervez, Felix and Gorsarn Lal; Qaumi Watan Party has selected Qaseem Din, Junaid Saqib and Riaz Malik.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2013

The People of Chitral demanding priority seat for Kalash community from PTI

Chitral: First time in the history of Pakistan PTI has allotted reserved seat to Kalash minority. During Imran Khan’s visit to Chitral the people of Chitral demanded Pakistan Tereek-e-Insaf (PTI) to give priority ticket to Kalash community. Today there are rumors that PTI has not included Wazir Zada in priority list even. Thousands of people from UC Ayun including Kalash valleys and Chitral are not only disturbed but very disappointed to learn this unfortunate news from some reliable sources. PTI will lost support of youth if it continue to ignoring youth on ticket allocation since PTI has promised to tell the truth to its nation if it failed to deliver such promises may cause desperate among workers.

wazir

To know about the rumors The Kalasha Times contacted, Wazir Zada about the facts, while talking to this subscriber Wazir said ‘’I am in Islamabad yesterday there was important meeting of PTI parliamentary board and I am still expecting that PTI would not do injustice with me’’ He added ‘’it’s high time for PTI to get supports of youth and everyone in the country by implementing PTI’s slogan for change’’

Wazir did not disappoint as he hope (Umeed bass umeed) PTI will not discourage youth and minorities, as the PTI is a movement of justice and how it can do injustice with minorities that remained deprived from their basic rights since birth of Pakistan.

To get more views from people in Chitral this subscriber contacted Sartaj Ahmad ex-Tehsil Nazim and a social worker Sartaj Said ‘’during meeting of Chitral chamber of commerce with Imran Khan in Chitral I have urged him to give priority ticket to Kalash minority and he promised me that PTI will alleviated Kalasha peoples deprivation by awarding priority seat to Kalash community’’ He added ‘’PTI can win our hearts if it allotted priority ticket to Wazir Zada Kalash indeed he is a young and well know political figure in Kalash and  social worker, giving priority to him can be very positive for the future of PTI in Chitral’’.

A number of youth including ex-secretary PTI UC Ayun Ghoar said ‘’I am feeling very shame that our PTI could not sustain its promise’’ he added that if PTI failed to enlist Wazir Zada for minority seat then we have no way to talk with people, he says we will faced embarrassment in public and therefore I may quit being PTI activist’’

There are more to say but a message that was circulating on cell phones caught eye of this report and the massage has quoted ‘’ Wazir Zada Kalash is the only non Pashtun minority candidate belonging to a community which is internationally declared as an indigenous community, Hindus, siks and Christian already belong to the ruling elites of the world…not respecting our own indigenous communities will speak allot about the moral and intellectual grounds we are standing upon ‘’Israrudin G.S PTI Chitral’’

Kalash shepherd’s goats killed in fire

Report Luke Rehmat
KALASHA, March 31: A fire damaged the cattle pen of a shepherd in the Darasguru village of Kalash valley and killed dozens of goats on Saturday night.
file photoThe fire at Baharam Shah’s cattle pen erupted at about 11:30pm when he and his family were asleep in their house.
According to local sources, after feeding baby goats, the shepherd went to his home at night. Later, they came to know that a fire had erupted at the cattle pen. All villagers along the shepherd rushed to the area and tried to save the goats and the house but most of the animals had died. The shepherd told theKalashatimes that ‘’It was 12 night when me and my family reached the place but the fire had already engulfed the pen and more than 45 goats had burnt to ashes.’’ He added that his family had lost the goats and shepherd house. When asked what was the possible cause of fire, Ms. Gumaira of the house said the shepherd used some local woods for light as there was no electricity inside the house and they forgot to put out the fire and went to bed. She said ’many goats were in serious condition’. Since last few years, Kalasha shepherds and goats are no safer in the valleys, there are lot of accidents of fire, intruders attacks and declining forest resources that may leave the Kalasha helpless. Goats are an important part of the Kalasha religion, culture and tradition.

Parent’s and results day celebrated in Kalasha Dur.

Gallery

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Kalash: Speakers at a Parents & Results day in a local private school highlight the issues of education in Kalash valleys Chitral district. Speakers have are appreciated efforts of local school for providing quality education. A press release issued on Saturday … Continue reading

Do you know the Kalasha tribe of Pakistan?

By: Luke Rehmat

History

Map of Kalash valleyThe Ka’l’s’a (Kalash or Kalasha) are a small ethnic and religious community living near the western borders of the Chitral District, close to the neighbouring Afghan province of Nuristan (Nooristan). Shrouded in mystery, there are many different claims about the history and origin of the Kalasha peoples. The majority of writers, scholars, anthropologists, and linguists, point to a pervasive myth that testifies to the Kalasha as the descendants of the armies of Alexander the Great.In the past, the Kalasha peoples ruled for many centuries over territory that stretched from Chitral to Asmar in Aghanistan.

I was born into a Kalasha family known as Aspa’I’n Nawaw. I have practice the Kalasha religion, culture and tradition since my birth, nearly 24 years ago. From my research work in my own village, I have concluded that my people have lived in these valleys for as long as we have been a distinct community. Kalasha peoples firmly believe that originally, we came from a place called Tsiam. Some people say that Tsiam is the ancient name of Thailand, a claim that most of us consider unlikely.

Within the Kalasha community there are some people in Biriu (Birir) valley, who originally came from Majam in Nuristan (Nooristan). The cultural traits of these Biriu residents, particularly their rituals, differ from the rest of the Kalasha communities. However in their, and costumes they are brethren to the people of Rukmu and Mumuret. The people of Rukmu and Mumuret are culturally very similar and there is little difference between them.

We must now turn to the key issue: what is the essence of the Kalasha way of life? What makes us distinct? One thing is clear, the Kalasha are a unique people, unlike any other on the globe in our cultural practices. As a point of comparison, history and legend tell us, for example, that Mullah Nasir Uddin was a unique man. Many nations, including Iran, have claimed him as one of their own. His exploits have become the stuff of legend, stories I learnt myself while studying at school. Those who wrote down his achievements and philosophy make one thing clear: he was a unique man. We, the Kalasha, are the same. We too, are unique.

Recent news reports point to archeological evidence that suggest that the Kalasha peoples were the ancient inhabitants of the Swat region. Likewise, the Bulgarian ambassador, during his visit to Chitral, said in an interview to an online news service that the ‘’Kalasha peoples are descendants [i.e. of the Bulgarians]’’. The Greek people are similarly confident and claim the Kalasha as their descendants, working with the Kalasha communities in the valleys since 1998. What I understand is that further scientific research needs to be done to determine the ‘’origin of Kalash’’, and these results must be shared with the community.

Culture

promo

The Kalash people, and our way of life, clearly differ from both the surrounding cultures of Pakistan, and the rest of the world. We are a flexible people, living happily. By a definition of culture as ‘’something socially learnt and shared by members of the community’’, we, the Kalasha, have doubtless, a rich and ancient culture. Some years back the Greek volunteers in the valleys said that the ‘’Kalasha are the cultural heroes of 21st century’’. The Kalasha way of life is finely balanced, allowing both men and women to do their duties freely. The Kalasha society is not a male-dominated society like other communities in Pakistan. Our social organisation is very effective, and ensures there is no cruelty or discrimination based on issues of gender. Kalasha women feel comfortable living in a society which gives them respect and freedom. In her work, American anthropologist Wynne Maggi describes the difference between the Kalasha and other people. The difference – the title of her book – is quite simple, “our women are free”.

The Kalasha culture is appreciated globally. Our society is optimistic even in the face of significant challenges and changes facing us. We know we cannot stop these changes, but we can effectively slow down the pace of change. In the Kalasha culture, one cannot marry with a close relative, including second cousins not within the same caste. Some 50 years ago the engagement system was strong and there were fewer love marriages, however since that time there has been a decline in arranged marriages and love marriages have become more popular. This is because the lack of freedom of choice in arranged marriages doomed many of them to failure. Consequently, people started to adopt love marriages as a more effective alternative with less chance of the marriage ending in divorce. All cultures are in flux, constantly adapting and changing to new situations, and tolerance and flexibility ultimately emerge once a society learns that change does happen, and that alternative options can be adopted successfully.

Custom

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The Kalash peoples believe in a single, creative God, referred to in the Kalasha language as Dezau, although we use the Persian term Khudai as well. Much literature written on the Kalasha religion has incorrectly mentioned that the Kalasha peoples believe in twelve Gods and Goddesses. Why did the authors report this to be the case? Doubtless the reason lies in a communication gap between the writer and the person interviewed. For example, different Kalasha alters and temples were incorrectly understood to be places of worship for separate and distinct Kalasha deities. While it is correct that the Kalasha people do have different names of alters such as Sajigor, Indrain and Warin etc., these alters are all ultimately a place to offer sacrifice to Dezau. Kalasha peoples do not have any routine daily prayers, like the Muslim communities have in the valleys. They do pray whenever they initiate any activities like harvesting, ploughing, construction and whenever the favour and honour of Dezau is needed. Most prayers are offered during Kalasha festivities. There is a strong belief of in purity and impurity in the Kalasha culture. In the Kalasha belief system women are considered to be especially impure during menstruation and childbirth. There is a separate building for these women and it is prohibited for men to enter the area. The area is known as Bashali.

Costume

Kalash women have a unique and colorful dress that serves as the most obvious symbol of identity for the Kalash community, as any outsiders that enter the valleys can recognize them easily. Historically, women used woolen cloths with embroidered designs. With the passage of time the raw materials become rare and expensive and they subsequently adopted cotton and silk fabrics. Kalasha male dresses had already changed some 50 years ago due to shortage and non-availability of wool. But there is an occasion during Cawmos, the winter festival, on the 19th of December every year when they use their traditional cloth for boys in a special ceremony.

Survival state

For most of our history, the Kalash valleys remained cut off from the rest of the world. The centuries of isolation provided an opportunity for us to sustain this unique culture. The Kalash culture does not have any attested documented form, it is an oral tradition performed practically. Our people are more committed and steadfast than ever before to sustain our culture for the younger generation. Historically, many people lost their lives but did not change their faith. Our elders used to say some years ago that during Zhoshi, the spring festival, in the Shishi Ku valley people were forced to convert to Islam and rather than convert, some 70 girls and boys ended their lives by throwing themselves into Shishi River. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries it was very difficult for Kalasha people to carry on their culture and religion. Very few families escaped forced conversion in the valleys. But in the 1970s, when Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Butto visited the region, he introduced this culture to the nation and the world promising to protect and defend its uniqueness.

Universal value

I have earlier argued that the Kalasha culture is one of the ancient and rich cultures from across the world. That which might be described as being of universal value, would be something which was extraordinary and unlike anything else in other parts of the world. The Kalasha live in three small valleys of Pakistan only, and there are no signs of Kalasha culture elsewhere in the world. Our culture has survived for thousands of years and is still alive. Our culture is then, both extraordinary, and of universal value.

 

Continue reading