Chitral — Influential Kalasha tradition leader, cultural mediator and ancestral effigy artisan Shah Juan of Rumboor also known dearly as Sabika mimbar in Chitral region passed away on August 2, 2011. Sabika is believed to be in his late 80’s and is one of the distinguish Kalasha elders who left his mark as prolific Kalasha guardian and curator. Young Sabika is known to have mobilized and taken Kalasha community in confidence for protection in Pakistan as non-Muslim ethnic minority group. He was great admirer of Pakistan‘s founder and named his own son ‘Quide-e-Azam’ after him.
In his lifetime, Sabika worked as guardian curator for survival of Kalasha heritage and tradition particularly through creations of ancestral wooden statues to keep the historical memory of his people alive. This indigenous way of achieving historical memory in shape of wooden statues associated with ancestral knowledge intrigued several historians, anthropologists and linguists from abroad to discover ancient Culture of Chitral. His creations of wooden effigies are show cased in Lok Versa Islamabad and in several ethnic art galleries abroad. Some of the high profile dignitaries he had met to promote Kalasha heritage include Prime Minster Bhutto, General Zia, Benezir Bhutoo, Lady Diana and President Musharaf .
Sabika having a convincing authority on historical and cultural knowledge of the region peacefully settled countless inter-clan and community disputes and represented court cases dealing with communal pastures with outsiders. He was famous for his hospitality, wit and folktales which attracted several visitors from all over Chitral his riverside lodge in Rumboor on daily basis. Sabika leaves behind a legacy of tradition and continuity, ingenuity and artisanship, friendship and hospitality values that are hallmark of kho and kalasha alike. He was true cultural ambassador of Kalasha people and great son of Chitral. The Kalasha of Rumboor is holding a 3 day rites of passage in honor of this prestigious Kalasha men in the recent history of Kalasha. . — Taj Khan Kalash, 03 Aug 2011.