DURING a visit to the three valleys of Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir in Chitral in connection with research and interviews of the Kalasha elders, I had an opportunity to visit the most attractive building in the Bumburet Valley known as the Kalasha-dur (House of the Kalasha People or Cultural Centre for the Kalasha).
The building was built by an NGO called the Greek Volunteers, based in Greece. The credit for this great job goes to Athanasios Lerounis, a Greek teacher.
The building houses a museum on its first floor set up with the help of donations by the Kalasha people and procured from various sources. The museum has numerous objects related to the Kalasha people and their their religion, culture, festivals, rituals, feasts, etc. Attached to the museum is a small library containing collection of books on the Kalasha people and their culture.
The museum is now owned and managed by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Keeping in view the importance of this museum there is an urgent need to upgrade it and strengthen it by providing the services of a curator and at least two assistant curators or gallery assistants.
No extensive archaeological survey has yet been carried out in any of the three valleys in particular, while no archaeological excavations have been undertaken anywhere in the valley.
The people of the three Kalasha valleys do not have even the basic requirements of health. There is no doctor in the three valleys. Similar is the case of education.
The apprehensions and reservations of the Kalasha elders are valid. The chief minister should take notice of this situation and come to the rescue of the Kalasha community. The existing teachers should be recruited on a regular basis and no teacher other than a Kalasha be appointed.
M. Habibullah Khattak
Former Director (Heritage)
KP Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage
Published in Dawn October 12th, 2016