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Tuning in across the Shandur Pass

YASEN, Feb 2: The mighty Shandur mountains have failed to keep the people of Yasen and Chitral (Chetrar) separated from each other thanks to the culture and traditions which they have shared for centuries. 

D.J. Mathal, Chief Editor of daily Baang-e-Saher and weekly Baang, says  that like the Chitralis the people of the Ghizer district madly love their culture and traditions, especially music and have kept the tradition alive. In the Yasen valley, as in Chitral, almost everyone is an artist, a singer and Sitar lover at the same time.

When you go to a function like a wedding ceremony, people of all ages, youth as well as the elderly, are seen keenly attending the music gathering and dancing and clapping with the same zest. Our folk artists, poets, singers, dancers, flute and Dhol beaters have kept our traditions alive despite the fact that they never got official patronage, he says.

With the coming of the social media, especially Facebook, YouTube, the traditional folk music has seen tremendous promotion and now in every nook and corner of the world lots of Khowar, Brooshaashki, Wakhi and Shena and other music of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan can be enjoyed with a click of a button on the computer.  Besides, young and educated people from the area have launched websites and are promoting their culture and traditions and keeping the world abreast of the activities in the region.

In the past, Yasen was the capital of an independent Brooshaal state. With the passage of time, however, the administration of the area came into the hands of alien people who ignored the traditional culture of the area and introduced alien traditions and culture, especially Pakistani and Indian music and culture destroying our unique culture and traditions, said Mr Mathal. Today we see a total change in the ways of our traditions like clothing, food, functions and music. He said most of our youth are not aware of the use of our traditional tools of music like Duf, Sitar, Dhol, and have started mixing up foreign musical tools like piano etc. Most of our youth feel pride in using the alien musical items which is against the promotion of our tradition. It is not any sort of modernity. Modernity is to live with your own culture and traditions adopting it into the changing world.

If you are a big scientist, engineer or doctor and do not know the culture, values and traditions of your high forefathers, your high education is of no value as far as your past, present and future are concerned. Moreover, we need to teach our children our values and our language. Do not feel pride if your children call their parents Daddy and mommy,  teach them to use the serene words of Nan and Tat, says D.J. Mathal

If we do not take prompt action, the day is not far when our new generation will become totally ignorant of our centuries-old culture and adopt foreign ways of life and traditions, he feared. 

Mr Mathal was of the view that people of Yasen and Chitral should increase their interaction and there should be more and more visits by cultural troupes and artists from across the Shandur Pass. Though the annual Shandur festival is a good opportunity to meet each other, there should be localized festivals where people from both the sides should come together and exchange ideas on how to promote the local culture and preserve the centuries-old traditions.

He said that besides acquiring education in the fields of science and technology, our youth should also study the history, geography and traditions of Chitral and Yasen.    

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1 Comment
  1. Hardi Jan says

    I love chitrali culture, specially the Chitrali Topi and its Music.People of Chitral are caring and loving to their own chitrali people they dont go for true and sincere friendship from outsider not Chitrali people.

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