Kalash valleys on brink of destruction owing to flash flood

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By: Rahmatullah Khan
Kalash valleys remained cut off for 38 days06
No doubt, the country faced worst kinds of floods during the past some years but the losses in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and particularly in the hilly areas like Chitral and Swat are unprecedented where tourism, the only main source of peoples’ income, has badly suffered.

Kalash Valleys, which are situated at West of district Chitral, are among the areas are at the verge of devastation due to flash flood, eroding the mountains, roads and agriculture fields in the valleys, created fear lest the people having unique culture (Kalash) as well as the three valleys Bamboret, Rambor and Bareer should obliterate owing to non-stop erosion.

The recent flash flood devastated the valleys, as washed away the already topsy-turvy roads towards the valleys, swept away the agriculture fields and the embankments of the rivers, rooted out the trees of different fruits.

The communication system was fully damaged, disconnected the areas and the villagers plod while reaching to Ayun, headquarter of the valleys but the apathy of the local administration of Chitral and the government to prefer to troublesome of the mountaineers.

On July 3Ist, the worst flash flood was witnessed of its history as creeks flowing water just knee-deep from the hills towards the main river, were full of the water that took away all things came in its way including, standing crops, vehicles standing in the streams, homes and eroded the remaining grounds, made the way easy to rub next if flood would come again.

Exactly after two days, heavy and unabated showers from the eastern side of Bamboret valley started, and the main river swelled, brought heavy stones from the mountains and trees specially due to deforestation.

Since all the Kalash valleys are not wide like Kalam (Swat) but very narrow, therefore, owing to lack of land, majority of the residents populated at the river sides, and the flood damaged homes coming in the non-stop flood and sub-standard protection walls constructed in some parts of the river.

The flood then washed all the link-bridges, water channels, supply water to irrigation purpose in Ayun and even the bamboret and Barir valleys, pipe for drinking water.

When the flood rubbed the bottom of the mountains, the main road from Ayun towards Rambor and Bamboret was completely destroyed the dilapidated gradually but the government machinery was least bothered to restore the communication system for over one month.

The local people say that an old frozen glacier on top of the valley crumbled, which brought trouble for the dwellers and if the whole start flowing, the whole bamboret would be converted into a dam.

Bamboret valley is lush green as compared to other parts of the district Chitral and a very famous place across the world because of people having historical culture even in this modern time, has become a tourists’ resort, despite the untoward situation in Pakistan particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, foreign tourists come to the valley to see the culture of the Kalash tribe.

The government of Pakistan is pride of having such a unique culture and has been striving to preserve it in order to attract the world towards the valleys but no facility has been given to them.

Deforestation is on pick, the trees of different expensive fruits including pine nut and walnut, are being cut ruthlessly as well for sale in the market and firewood in connivance with local administration. It is regretfully saying that there is no check by the government on the illegal cutting of forests. Deforestation maybe one of the reasons of flood and erosion of the land but the government departments should take timely action to stop the destruction.

The people of the valleys are too poor to afford price hike, but owing to negligence of the government in restoring the communication system, starvation like situation created there because things food- stuff are unavailable. Some items if available are sold at exorbitant rates.

According to the Kalashis, there are some parts of the valley, from top to end of the river wherein standard protection walls must be constructed so that the valley could be saved from the flood. The people fear that if the old glacier crumbles or heavy rains bring flood in future they can cause heavy destruction. The residents have demanded of the government to impose complete ban on deforestation.

“Chitral is known in the world with more Kalashis’ culture than other culture in the district, so, these areas are important to be preserved for tourists. Therefore, the government should try to take steps to save the valleys from natural disaster in future and their greenery as well. I’ve never seen such dangerous flash flood in my life,” a senior citizen Ameer-ur-Rahman commented.

You can access the writer bellow:
Rahmatullah Khan, Reporter

http://peshobserver.wordpress.com/

Education Rally seeks improvement in Schools

Kalash, Sep 20: A rally was organized by different primary schools located in the remote Kalash valley of Chitral, to raise awareness about education and increase school enrollment. The rally was held in collaboration with the Alif Ailaan project, aiming to “transform education in Pakistan”.

Luke Rehmat District Network Coordinator chanting slogans while leading the education rally

Students from Kalasha Dur, a traditional private Institute of the Kalasha, and Kalasha primary school Mumuret (Bumborate) marched in the valley’s streets, holding placards and chanting slogans in favor of school enrollment. The placards were inscribed with messages asking parents to enroll their children in schools.

The rally started from Kalasha Dur School at Brun Mumuret and passed through various villages in Mumuret. They were also joined by students from Tameer-e-Millat. The rally covered more than 04 kilo meters area. Students were chanting slogans in favor of education through the rally.

Addressing the rally, Sher Alam, a teacher at Kalasha primary school Mumuret said that children should focus on education and must be obedient to their parents.

A large number of students and teachers participated in the rally.

Addressing the teachers and students, Luke Rehmat, the district network coordinator of Alif Ailaan project said that Pakistan is facing hard time in the history as almost 25 million children are out of schools throughout the country and an even larger number of students drop out after enrollment.

He emphasized  on the teachers and parents to enroll as many as students as possible and also urged students and parents to ask their parents, friends and family members to seek educational facilities for the valley.

Kalash valley roads closed for all traffics

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Kalash 17 Sep: hail storming caused flash floods in Kalash valleys and roads blocked at several places. The road from Kalash valley Mumuret at village Darasguru to power house Ayun more than 16 kilometer road has been blocked due to … Continue reading

Preservation of Kalash remains will prove treasure for eco-tourism

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The relics and remains of the period of Kalash rule over entire Chitral have escaped the attention of the archaeologists and the historians and their preservation and exposition can prove to be a ‘treasure’ for eco-tourism in the area and give a sound knowledge to those researching on the history.
An retired academician, Zaffar Ali Baig, said that the length and breadth of Chitral are replete with the sites pertaining to the Kalash era who ruled the upper as well as lower Chitral from 10th to 14th century A.D. but they are being consigned to oblivion.
He said that the major villages of the district have places named as ‘malosh’ while in the Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur, every village has a malosh in its outskirts which is a place of worship where sacrifices of animals are offered on the occasion of festivals.

The principal Kalash ruler was Cheo who ruled the area in 12th century during whose reign, the Kalash architecture reached its climax and he raised his forts in different major valleys of the district, he said.

Mr. Baig said that the houses of the period were found till the recent past which were known for their strength where pillars were found to have radius of many yards and one wondered how the beams of unusual thickness were raised without using lifting machinery of the present period.

He said that the Chew bridge dividing the city into two draws its name from the Kalash ruler Cheo but hardly any one knows bout the fact that the pedestrian bridge built by him stood there till 1970s when the present one was constructed.

Sunjik Khan Kalash from Birir valley, said that ruins of the forts of the former Kalash dynasty were still found in a number of places which had been razed to the ground by the forces of Shah Nadir Rais, the founder of Rais dynasty who were successors of Kalash.
He said that the Kalash-era forts were built on mounds which gave them an edge over the invaders to defend themselves and the ruins testifies the fact even now.

Some of the major towns in the lower part of the district including Sweer Drosh, Kalakatak, Ashrait, Sheshi Koh, Jinjirait Koh had the largest population of Kalash who were converted to Islam when the Rais ruler seized power.

One Haji Sahibgar Khan of Ayun village said that the Kalash were banished to the three adjacent valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur where they were allowed to live in peace as per treaty.

He added that the Kalash valleys, contiguous with Nooristan province of Afghanistan, acted as buffer zone between the Chitral state and Afghanistan which ensured peace in the area.

Ali Afzal Khan, a local tourist guide, said that a catalogue of the Kalash sites must be compiled by the department of Museum and Archives for the tourists who evinced a great interest in it.

Expressing his dismay, he said that the history has been so obscured that as a local person, he did not know any thing regarding the Kalash era except the Chew bridge.
He said that the Kalash people attracted thousands of tourists every year for their unique culture and ways of living and their archives needs to be preserved.

Kalash Valley Road Opened for Light Traffic

Kalash 9 Sep : After 38 days closure  Kalash valley Mumuret will be accessible today onward while Kalash valley Rukmu is still inaccessible. Today last blockage at Oshna near Dubaz check point will be opening for light traffics. Its pertain to mentioned here that on 31 July devastating flash floods hits Kalash valleys and caused damages in the valleys. Kalash valley people remained in miserable conditions. In some villages there is no light and clean drinking water available to them till now. Lots crops dried up, due to damages of irrigation water channels. Relief efforts were seen very rear due to blockage and was tough to service providers. Initial work on the roads was disrupted after executor operator died, due to landsliding on him while working on the blocked road at Gorapuna.  People were in big trouble due to non availability of food items in the valleys and poor patients remained in big trouble due to blockages at many places. Now people are asking government to widen the road at blocked areas otherwise no one would work on it once the traffic restored.

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.