CHITRAL: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has announced a sum of Rs50 million for setting up an endowment fund which will relieve the Kalash community of the big spending on funeral ceremonies.

Deputy Commissioner Naveed Ahmed told this scribe that the families of the dead would be aided financially from the profits accrued from the endowment to enable them meet the heavy expenses in connection with the funeral ceremonies.

He said that according to the local customs and traditions the Kalash community sang and danced around the dead body for three days in case of male and two days for female during which they lavishly spent on the feast given to the people attending the ceremony.

Mr Ahmed said that the expenses of the occasion were so big that the poor people sold their walnut trees and even land which crippled them economically for rest of their lives.

He said that the endowment fund would solve the issue and no Kalash would sell their landed property or fruit trees to meet the expenses.

The Kalash community people living in Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur valleys have welcomed the announcement.

Shahi Mas, a Kalash elder from Bumburate, said that the people had greeted the announcement with joy, but they had to continue with the lavish ceremony as part of their rituals.

He recalled that when a Kalash elder Tor Khan died this year, his son slaughtered as many as 30 goats and five oxen to feed the guests.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019