Thursday March 21, 2019

Kalash of Pakistan: The only Pagan Minority Community in Islamic Republic is under Threat

The Kalash community is believed to be descendants of Alexander the Great and his troops who invaded Kalash

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From the higher Rumbur valley of Pakistan, the Kalash community is a traditional sect of pagan people from North-West Pakistan with a rich, yet threatened culture. A place which is certainly cut off from the rest of the nation, Rumbur valley has no electricity or newspapers and no phone networks. They have one thing in abundance, which is militancy.

There are numerous reasons as to why the Kalashis are under threat, and one of them is Paganism. They worship one ‘creative God’ as refuse to accept Islam while the rest of Pakistan constitutes Muslims. And because they call everyone else Pakistani (despite the fact that they too belong to Pakistan), this community is too prone to sudden violence by Muslims. The security is heightened in the valley, especially during the Kalash festival Joshi, celebrated on the onset of Spring, mentioned voa.com reports.

A young Kalashi girl. Image source: albumofuniverse.blogspot.com
A young Kalashi girl. Image source: albumofuniverse.blogspot.com

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People wear traditional clothes, beat drums and sing traditional songs, drink wine and make merry under this liberating sky. The concern for security or disapproval from other communities doesn’t lessen their celebrations. The ‘Chilam Joshi’ festival is a four-day festival that starts from the Rumber Valley and ends at Bhamboriyat.

A group of Kalashis during the Joshi festival. Image source: thekalashatimes.wordpress.com
A group of Kalashis during the Joshi festival. Image source: thekalashatimes.wordpress.com

Military forces create another trouble across the valley. After every few metres can be found a militant from the ATS to secure the foreign tourists from majorly Taliban; abductions were common here a few years ago. After recent earthquakes and other calamities, the Kalash community highly depends on tourism for an earning. Cattle and livestock or agricultural activities cannot be held here, reported voa.com.

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Conversion is a recurring problem for people belonging to this community. Many women convert from Kalash to Muslim or others after marriage, and men often accept Islam to reach their material goals. Another major reason for conversion is usually that Kalash is an ‘expensive’ culture- where ethnic clothes, weddings and funerals are expensive. The newer generation doesn’t want to learn about their group, they are not interested in learning their traditional songs.

The Kalash community is believed to be descendants of Alexander the Great and his troops who invaded Kalash. They are fairer people with bright coloured eyes, as opposed to comparatively darker skinned Pakistanis. There are not more than 3500 Kalashis in Rumbur and Chitral in total, and they are under constant threat of Taliban.

– prepared by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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  • SuchindranathAiyer

    The Kalash of Pakistan may become the next Yazidi.

    Any genuine and distinctive minority in the World is under threat. Empires, whether Communist, Islam, British or Roman, or the Social Engineering Indian Republic are a threat to spirituality and cultural identity. Islam is an overt, self declared and vicious threat to all who are outside its intestines. That is the very proclamation of this “religion” in the Quran and the Hadiths.

    I might add, as just a few out of myriad examples, that Sabarimala, the Jalykattu, Kohlapur Mahalakshmi, Shaneeshwara Temple and the Brahmin way of life are being eradicated by the Indian Republic and its vicious Constitution, ugly laws a confiscation of other people’s property and religious freedoms, and, even more vicious courts.

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  • SuchindranathAiyer

    The Kalash of Pakistan may become the next Yazidi.

    Any genuine and distinctive minority in the World is under threat. Empires, whether Communist, Islam, British or Roman, or the Social Engineering Indian Republic are a threat to spirituality and cultural identity. Islam is an overt, self declared and vicious threat to all who are outside its intestines. That is the very proclamation of this “religion” in the Quran and the Hadiths.

    I might add, as just a few out of myriad examples, that Sabarimala, the Jalykattu, Kohlapur Mahalakshmi, Shaneeshwara Temple and the Brahmin way of life are being eradicated by the Indian Republic and its vicious Constitution, ugly laws a confiscation of other people’s property and religious freedoms, and, even more vicious courts.

Next Story

Women of Pakistan Protest Against Workplace Harassment, Child Marriage

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded "the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country"

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Following this, a National Security Committee was also held to discuss Sharif's
Pakistan Flag, wikimedia commons

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women took to the streets across Pakistan on Friday to protest against sexual harassment in the workplace, child marriage ‘honour killings, wage inequalities and limited political representation.

Organisers hope that the “aurat march” (women’s march) and “aurat azadi march” (women’s liberation march) will draw attention to the struggle for reproductive, economic, and social justice across in Pakistan, reports the Guardian.

The first “Aurat March” was held last year in Karachi; this time, the rally has been extended to more cities, including Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad.

The aim is to reach ordinary women in factories, homes and offices, says Nighat Dad, an “aurat march” organiser in Lahore.

“We want an organic movement by women demanding equal access to justice and ending discrimination of all kinds.”

Speakers at the Lahore march ranged from a woman fighting to reform marriage laws to the women who worked on the landmark Punjab Domestic Workers’ Act — a legislation that outlaws child labour in homes and provides maternity benefits to workers.

Another activist, Leena Ghani, noted that Pakistani women have a history of taking to the streets, famously during military dictator Zia ul-Haq’s martial law in the 1980s.

Krishna Kumari works in her office in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Feb. 12, 2018. VOA

While Pakistan has made major strides towards gender equality, poorer, marginalised women and transgender citizens continue to struggle, Ghani added.

Designer Shehzil Malik created a series of striking posters for the “aurat march” that counter typical representations of Pakistani women as docile and subservient.

Women are also protesting against discriminatory policies in universities, where male and female students are afforded different levels of freedom, the Guardian said.

A Pakistani university recently caused a furore on social media by banning women from wearing skinny jeans and sleeveless shirts.

Also Read- Originality is a Dichotomous Terminology, Says Megastar Amitabh Bachchan

In his message on Friday, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment to providing women a safe environment so that they could contribute to the country’s development, Dawn news reported.

“We reaffirm our commitment to ensuring women a secure and enabling environment to play their rightful role in our nation’s development.”

Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif lauded “the incredible work our women are doing to strengthen their families, communities and the country”. (IANS)