In The Name of ALLAH The Almighty
Hard Aspects of 'Soft' Chitral
'Self observation brings a man to the realization of the necessity
of self-change." Its an instrument to rectify our mistakes and to
awake ourselves from slumber. Self observation is limited not only
to an individual but it can also be a collective work. In a broader
sense, it can also apply on a nation and community. It provides a
way of renewing our thoughts, traditions, customs and way of life.
Self observation is like looking in the mirror which can show the
'chinks' in our armor and the weak points in our cultural net
without any exaggeration and depreciation. It is the best way
through which we can make our life better than before.
If we look at our Chitral and its culture from a neutral eye , we
see it, a place of polite , civilized and peace loving inhabitants.
We come across a unique culture which is filled with tolerance ,
harmony and fraternity. We can smell the fragrance of love and
simplicity in its valleys. Safety and security is one of the rare
gifts Chitral provides to its visitors and inhabitants. Besides
these, unlike its surrounding areas except Gilgit , Chitral is seen
as the home of educated people and its inhabitants are seen busy in
pursuit of knowledge across the country and even outside the
country. Its literacy rate is higher than that of its surrounding
areas despite of very tough living conditions. While wandering
through its streets we come across an eyes soothing scene when we
see little boys and girls going togetherly to get education. We do
not any see barbarism in a public area in the name of honor. We
don't find killings and killers. Despite of being in the much
trouble zone and ,probably, the most dangerous belt on earth,
Kalashnikov culture hasn't found any place in Chitral yet.
Chitralis have always preferred pen over gun. In a nutshell, even
viewing from a neutral eye we find numerous positive aspects which
are seldom found in any other culture especially in its neighboring
However, self observation really doesn't mean finding out only the
positive aspects and be happy with them. We need to examine the
'inner body' of our culture as well. We will stop progressing the
day we felt that we are the best . First of all, we need to realize
the fact that despite of having so many positive features in our
culture and customs, we are still very much behind from that stage
where a nation is truly called a 'civilized nation'.
If we dive deep in the sea of our Chitrali culture we come across
some harsh facts hiding beneath the 'soft' surface of our culture.
Women oppression , forced marriages, social injustice and human
exploitation are some of the prominent 'evils' residing in our
society for years. These are the "inherited evils'' because people
have suffered from these for decades. Women have been victims of
oppression for a long time. There is a big contrast when we see
that on one hand women are venerated in the form of mother and
sister etc but on the other hand deaf ears are turned to their
wishes and demands. Instead ,decisions are imposed on them without
even listening to them . A funny adage truly depicts this scenario
which states: " Listen to your wife but don't do what she says".
Though Chitrali culture is comparatively flexible towards women but
it still grabs the freedom of woman by its 'cultural claws'. It
doesn't allow a female to live a life of her own choice. Women are
supposed to obey males even if they are being deprived of their
basic rights. Sometimes they are physically abused as well.
Unfortunately in our society a woman 's objection to or rejection
of a choice made by male is considered as 'rebellious act' so women
rarely dare to stand up against man's atrocity . Consequently, they
suffer silently for their whole life. Sometimes the situation
becomes so worse that they commit suicide seeing their life ruined
by men. Forced marriages are still prevalent which is the basic
human right violation. Besides these, Chitrali culture is also not
free from the curse of social injustice and human exploitation.
Rich exploit poor. Strong mutes weak and consequently the gap is
increasing between the two classes which can ultimately undermine
the harmony of the society..
Apart from these "hereditary evils' we have now some "imported
evils" as well in our society. Human trafficking , smuggling,
contraband, drug abuse, child abuse and religious extremism are
some of those loathsome and detestable curses which have intruded
in our society quite recently. Most of these issues have emerged
since the influx of Afghan immigrants and other Non-Chitrali people
who came here for business purpose or for permanent settlement.
Thus, our people are not only becoming the target of our
"hereditary evils' but they are also becoming the victims of the
In short, I would like to say that problems can be solved only if
they are identified and understood. And for identification ,
self-observation is mandatory. We all love our Chitral and we all
are proud to be a part of its culture , but its cultural beauty can
be maintained and enhanced only if we try to remove all those
hurdles which come in the way of its progress. We all should join
hands to eradicate all types of evils whether they are hereditary
or imported. All the stake holders and the people in Chitral should
take solids steps in this regard otherwise, our late intervention
will only let these evils strengthen their roots which will
,ultimately, have a catastrophic effect on our society and culture.
Engg. Student (NUST)