chitral today

Threats to cultural values of Chitral

Prof Rahmat Karim Baig

When we speak of Chitral we mean both Kho and Kalash communities that have lived here for above a thousand years and very cordially. The past of the culture of Chitral was prominent for many good values that were appreciated by visitors but with the influx of modern facilities and amenities the values have eclipsed and the present generation does not have the time or eagerness to know about the past. But wherever the past of Chitral or an aspect of the past is mentioned the present generation begins to criticize or condemn that aspect. 

They have seen a glimpse of the rapid progress of media and their minds are broader than their predecessors but have less experience and, as a Chitrali habit hasten to criticize our older times.

In this short overview of the culture the Kalash have also gone on another path. They were not ready to give up any part of their culture but the new generation has influenced their elders’ approach. Likewise the Kho have gone far ahead in intellectual approach, reasoning and argumentation and refuse to maintain many of the values of the past. For example we used to have volunteer help system and young men of the villages did join and worked for the widows and orphans and completed their agricultural works and also helped the single bread winners of the community for free.

Now that is a story of the past. The tradition has been given up. Nobody works for his neighbours free of wages. Everyone is either busy or shows themselves busy to evade such volunteerism. They expect higher wages and do lesser work. This type of cooperation has left our society and this change has dimmed the old and valuable relationship.

There was no use of hasheesh in the valleys outside Chitral town but it has now reached the tail-ends of the valleys and the suppliers, stockists and peddlers have seen good income in this illegal trade. The elders have forgotten their duties as elders and fail to check the daily activities of their children. This weakness from the parents and negligence of duty of teachers regarding this curse needs to be countered by forming drug control committees  in each mosque and jamat khana and they should distribute duties to control this curse.

Every citizen must feel his responsibility as an elder and play positively role in curbing narcotic trafficking. This drug was not common in the past and modern technology has made it easy to deceive the police in an area which has scattered population and highly bad road system due to poor performance of the provincial governments in the past up to date.

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