By Karam Illahi
Rayeen is one of the scenic villages of Torkhow valley and is situated at a distance of about 100 kilometres from Chitral town on the right bank of Chitral River. Rayeen has five hundred households and its population is estimated at four thousand. It has two parts, upper Rayeen and lower Rayeen, which are named Golatory and Golamuly.
The two parts of the village are separated by a stream which flows from Melp valley and mingles into the Chitral River parting Rayeen into two parts. The same stream (Rayeen Gol) waters the village. The boundaries of Rayeen touch Werkup village in the south, Shagram in the north and Melp valley in the east. Nishku and Surwaht villages of Mulkhow are on the west across the river.
Despite the fact that there is no high school in Rayeen in the government sector, the youth of Rayeen is educated. Literacy rate in the village is over 80 per cent. More than 90 per cent of the students of the village complete their matriculation, 50 per cent get college education and at least 10 per cent of them get university education. The village has two boys’ primary schools, one girls primary school, one boys middle school, one girls middle school and one high school in the private sector.
Two main clans live in Rayeen. They are Khoshay and Zondray. The major part of the population belongs to Khoshay clan. They are about 70 per cent of the population. Zondray is the second major ethnic group of Rayeen which consists of 30 per cent of the population. There are some other groups but they consist of only one or two households.
Pears, Apricot, Peach, Apple and Grapes are the famous fruits of Rayeen. Pears of Rayeen are famous all over Chitral for their taste and variety. The horn rings (srung pulungushtu) of Rayeen are also famous in Chitral and outside Chitral for their decoration and craftsmanship, and used as a gift for friends and relatives.
Qalmdar Botini Boht
(a huge stone): It is a historical monument of Rayeen. Many mythical stories are associated to it. Old people of the village say that in the distant past this stone stood on the hills over the village. However, later it rolled down to its recent place near the village due to some natural phenomena. When it slipped down, a gigantic leviathan (Qalamdar) bound beneath it set free and made the lives of the people of the area miserable.
The people approached a saint with a request to protect their lives from the curse. So the saint re-imprisoned the leviathan beneath the stone. From that day, the stone is called Qalmdar Botini Boht. The picture of a fort and some text in an unknown language are engraved on the stone. Ten to fifteen years back, some people from the archaeology department came to Rayeen and re-inscribed the wordings on the stone because they were fading away due to carelessness of the people. It means that this stone is among the archaeological treasures of Pakistan.
(Karam Illahi, a resident of Rayeen, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in English Literature at the University of Karachi).