Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience



Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Farmers of Karratha Village use an old method of farming known as Phallah. — Dawn photo
Farmers of Karratha Village use an old method of farming known as Phallah. — Dawn photo

GUJAR KHAN: Agricultural technology has modernised our farming. Its a rare scene to find old methods of ploughing, sowing and threshing.

However, villagers of Karratha village, located on the bank of Jhelum river, with little access through road, still practice the centuries’ old technique of threshing wheat.

A yoked pair of oxen and cows are made to pull a thick, thorny branch of tree, beefed up with vertically packed wheat straws. This is called Phallah.

A huge quantity of wheat crop is heaped up the leveled and semi-paved field called Khlaarah and the cattle are made to circle on the gradually spread wheat crop.

This exercise is carried out from dawn to dusk till all the wheat straws are changed into chaff and the grain is knocked out.

The next day the grain is separated from chaff by winnowing.

This old technique of threshing is perhaps only used in Karratha village and has been a common practice in rural areas of Pakistan for the past forty years.

Being a toilsome job, many families of farmers used to help one another in the village to bring yield to their homes and so dependence on fellow villagers was indispensable and the commune links at village level were strong.

With the advent of machines, the job of farming has become easier but the mutual fraternity links among farmers are getting weaker with little dependence on others.

The villagers of Karratha are using this old technique not because they want to regress to the 19th century, but because there is no road link available for them and not even a tractor can reach there.

Chaudhry Mohammad Ulfat, a prominent social worker of Choha Khalsa village, told this reporter that living in the undeveloped past was a compulsion for the poor folk of Karratha as there was no road link available.

According to Mr Ulfat, the villagers were forced to drink river water as a result of which they contracted diseases like hepatitis and tuberculosis.

The children from 22 houses of Karratha have to leave their homes at 5am to catch a boat, a long journey on the Jhelum river, followed by lengthy traveling on foot to Bannahl village where primary and secondary school is available but most students and parents cannot afford this risky journey.

Patients cannot reach hospitals in case of emergency and apathy of provincial and district bureaucracy have closed all doors of facilities on this village.

DAWN_VIDEO - /1029551/DAWN-RM-1x1

Most Popular

Comments (16) Closed

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune May 25, 2013 03:34pm

What a backward village is this. It is just 300 km from the Capital, Islamabad and they don't have even access for Schools and Hospitals.

miqbalrangoonwala May 25, 2013 04:50pm

THIS IS PAKISTAN GUGAR KHAN THE RENTAL AND MENTAL PRIMER MINISTER VILLAGE THE CAN HAVE SUIT FOR RS 14,00000.00 made in paris but no water for drinking..nothing will change in corrupt country who voted the corrupt people so now they have the fruit.

miqbalrangoonwala May 25, 2013 04:50pm


w May 25, 2013 05:40pm

@Ravi Ingale from University of Pune: Does it remind us of Assam or suburbs of pune or country side of tamil ares, or the portion of Dehli which is on the other side of river?

Agha Ata May 25, 2013 06:25pm

Do not worry, my friend we do have modern methods of fighting a war. Look at our NUKES.

zeb May 25, 2013 06:30pm

It's better than farmers suicides in india

Aouchitya May 25, 2013 07:22pm

@Ravi Ingale from University of Pune: Come out of pune and see the places around Pune , Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore the situation in India is not much different baby.It is easy to point fingers over other specially at ur neighbors.

Anees May 25, 2013 07:36pm

@Ravi Ingale from University of Pune: And still, still it shows just a glimpse of thousands of thousands such backward villages in one of Pakistan's neighboring countries.

Agha Ata May 25, 2013 08:02pm

Gujar Khan Village? :) Do you mean All Muslim Countries?

dr charles May 25, 2013 10:08pm

Is it a surprise in Pakistan ? This is very common scenario in India. Indian agriculture technology may be advanced and mechanised earlier (Indian green revelation) than Pakistan but because of massive land reforms. Majority of formers holds very small amount of land, cannot afford mechanisation hence still they do their forming using traditional techniques.

MM May 25, 2013 10:32pm

There have been a lot of negative comments about Gujar Khan. The City and the Tehsil make huge contributions to Pakistan's foreign reserves. It is the most wealthy part of Pakistan. However, despite promises, Gujar Khan still hasn't got an IT University. This poor relations treatment must stop!

Omar May 26, 2013 05:04am

@MM The problem is not average personn in Gujjar khan but the deceitful and cunning corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who have no interest in the well being of Pakistan.

Zain Bhatti May 26, 2013 10:33am

This is an anomaly. During the past 30 years, mechanized farming has made a lot of inroads into Pakistani villages. My grand parents lived in the vicinity of Gujar Khan. Life has changed a lot. This village is an exception, as you can see, its a remote village in a mountainous region where tractors can not reach. Otherwise, you see a tractor in almost every farmhouse in Pothohar region, which has considerably a very well off region of Pakistan, mainly due to mass migration from this area to UK, since the 1960s. People have relatives who come back form UK and invest back in Real Estate, tractors, Suzuki Bolan, Toyota cars can be seen in as many houses as in the big cities, in this rather modern part of Pakistan. Most villages 30-35 years ago, did not even used to have electricity, but now most of the areas has electrification, many villages have water, gas supply lines or propane gas cylinders are now commonly used. A/C, Microwaves, TV, Satellite Dish, Refrigerator are in almost every house of those village communities of Pothohar. Infact there is speculation of turning this region/territory of Pothohar into an additional Province, carved out of Northern Punjab.

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune May 26, 2013 01:27pm

@Aouchitya : I am from one of the Village in Central India, kid. Our situation is far far better than Metro cities like Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore etc.

Ravi Ingale from University of Pune May 26, 2013 01:30pm

@w: Tamilnadu, Assam, New Delhi (at Ganges Plane ) are all the fertile states. They don't need to come across any river.

imran haider May 26, 2013 03:41pm

My brother has to go back to traditional farming because he cant afford tractors.