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Kalash culture to figure as Unesco heritage


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A Kalash school teacher  writes letters from the Kalasha alphabet on a blackboard during a lesson at the Kalasha Dur school and community centre in Brun village, located in Bumboret Kalash valley. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: In order to preserve endangered living culture of Kalash Valley, the government documented it for inscription in World Heritage List of Unesco.

A one-day workshop was organised on Wednesday at Lok Virsa on preparation of the nomination dossier for inscription. In his opening remarks as chief guest, Federal Secretary for National Heritage and Integration Faridullah Khan informed the participants that his ministry had come up with a plan to safeguard the endangered heritage property.

In this connection, it has been decided to immediately launch preparation of the nomination dossier, he said.

“This necessitates full involvement of all stakeholders including local governments, NGOs/INGOs, provincial and federal governments,” he maintained.

The discussions revolved around certain measures to be taken to safeguard Kalash cultural heritage including devising an inventory of endangered elements of tangible and intangible culture; efforts for documentation and preservation of Kalash culture in model Kalash villages of Bamborate, Birir and Rambur; safeguarding Kalash language from outside elements; protecting Kalash religion; seeking ways and means to preserve the music of Kalash in its original form; and protecting Kalash nomenclature.

Talking to media, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Khalid Javaid said Lok Virsa had established a creative diorama at the National Heritage Museum to depict living culture of the Kalash people.

Lok Virsa has also published a book on Kalash which can facilitate students and researchers to undertake further cultural studies on this neglected area, he added.

The present Kalash community is restricted to three parallel valleys of Chitral district i.e. Bomboret, Birir and Rambur. In Birir and Rambur, Kalash people outnumber the non-Kalash while in the more picturesque Bamboret valley the non-Kalash people are in a slight majority.

These three narrow V-shaped valleys are situated in the South-West of Chitral town, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

In 2007, the local government department created a separate union council of Bamboret for the Kalash valleys.

The word Kalash bears three meanings: Kalash is a name of the tribe; name of pagan religion and name of endangered language.

According to historical references Kalash were majority population in Chitral who ruled the area in 12th century. The recent history shows that Kalash population is on the decline.

In 1951 Census, the Kalash population was 10,000. During the last 60 years, the population of the Muslims in Chitral is increasing at the rate of 2.5 per cent per annum and the population of Kalash has decreased from 10,000 to 3,700.

Comments (6) Closed

rizwan Mar 01, 2012 03:02pm
Good work.
sirajulmulk Mar 01, 2012 04:56pm
Extremely important to declare the Kalash valleys of Chitral as a World Heritage Site. That is the only way we will be able to preserve the area and protect it from tunnel-visioned mullahs and their friends in the police and administration.
Liaquat Ali Mar 01, 2012 06:23pm
Well said. Declaring the three valleys as the world heritage is the right and the high time. District Administration is requested to initiate the matter.
Mohammad Azeez Hakee Mar 02, 2012 03:02am
Very well said Brother Siraj
Imtiaz Mar 02, 2012 01:29pm
Kalash Valleys - World Heritage Site: An important initiative to protect the rare culture, its high time to declare these 3 valleys as world heritage site.
Alicia Willemsen Mar 03, 2012 12:35pm
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