Kalash - New World Encyclopedia
The Kalash represent an enigmatic isolated population of Indo-European . population to the other South Asian samples from India and Pakistan (Figure 1B) .. Cavalli-Sforza L.L., Myers R.M. Worldwide human relationships inferred from genome-wide patterns of variation . The Kalasha people of North-Western Pakistan. 2 There are a number of growing religious movements in Pakistan. 3 Islam reaches potential converts through “people, institutions, or groups” (Rambo, ). .. The Kalash also think that Muslims lure women into a relationship, but when their .. lies at the boarder of Pakistan and Afghanistan and extends towards India. The Kalash people are also noted for their fair skin and blue eyes, The Kalash can be found in the Chitral District, which is situated in the northwestern Pakistani soldiers who followed Alexander the Great on his Indian campaign. be King, in which this supposed connection forms the basis of the tale.
For example, if the current husband paid one cow for her, then the new husband must pay two cows to the original husband if he wants her. Wife-elopement may lead in some rare cases to a quasi-feud between clans until peace is negotiated by mediators, in the form of the double bride-price paid by the new husband to the ex-husband.
Chilam Joshi festival celebrations. Joshi is celebrated at the end of May each year. The first day of Joshi is "Milk Day", on which the Kalash offer libations of milk that have been saved for ten days prior to the festival.
It marks the end of the year's fieldwork and harvest. It involves much music, dancing, and the sacrifice of many goats. Food sacrifices are offered at the clans' Jeshtak shrines, dedicated to the ancestors.
At Chaumos, impure and uninitiated persons are not admitted; they must be purified by waving a fire brand over women and children and by a special fire ritual for men, involving a shaman waving juniper brands over the men.
Indrunkot is sometimes believed to belong to Balumain's brother, In drlord of cattle. The men must be divided into two parties: This is accompanied by a 'sex change': In this festival, a strong prepubescent boy is sent up into the mountains to live with the goats for the summer.
He is supposed to get fat and strong from the goat milk. When the festival comes he is allowed for a hour period only to have sexual intercourse with any woman he wants, including even the wife of another man, or a young virgin. Any child born of this hour period is considered to be blessed. The Kalash claim to have abolished this practice in recent years due to negative worldwide publicity.
At this crucial moment the pure get weaker, and the impure try to take hold of the very pure boys, pretend to mount them "like a hornless ram", and proceed in snake procession. At this point, the impure men resist and fight. He gives his blessings to seven boys representing the mythical seven of the eight Devalog who received him on arrivaland these pass the blessings on to all pure men. If this had not happened, Balumain would have taught humans how to have sex as a sacred act.
Instead, he could only teach them fertility songs used at the Chaumos ritual. He arrives from the west, the Kati Kafir Bashgal valleyin early December, before solstice, and leaves the day after.
He was at first shunned by some people, who were annihilated. He was however, received by seven Devalog and they all went to several villages, such as Batrik village, where seven pure, young boys received him whom he took with him.
Therefore, nowadays, one only sends men and older boys to receive him. Balumain is the typical culture hero. He told people about the sacred fire made from junipers, about the sowing ceremony for wheat that involved the blood of a small goat, and he asked for wheat tribute hushak for his horse. Finally, Balumain taught how to celebrate the winter festival.
He was visible only during his first visit, now he is just felt to be present. Religion[ edit ] A Kalash woman in traditional costume. The Kalash people are divided equally between the adherents of Islam, [b]  and those that practice the traditional Kalash religion, which some observers label as animism    but others regard it as a derivative of the ancient Indo-Aryan religion described as "a form of ancient Hinduism ".
University of Rochester social anthropologist and professor Barbara A. West, with respect to the Kalash states in the text Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania that their "religion is a form of Hinduism that recognizes many gods and spirits" and that "given their Indo-Aryan language The prominent and noted linguist Richard Strandwho is the sole modern authority on Hindukush languages spent three decades in the Hindukush.
He noted the following about the pre-Islamic Nuristani religion: There are a number of other deities, semi-gods and spirits. The Kalash pantheon is thus one of the last living representatives of Indo-European religion. More importantly, there is an Indra -like figure, often actually called Indr N.
As in the Vedathe rainbow is called after him. When it thunders, Indra is playing Polo. Balumain is a culture hero who taught how to celebrate the Kalash winter festival Chaumos.
He is connected with Tsyam, the mythological homeland of the Kalash. She is also responsible for the Bashaleni lodge. They live in the high mountains, such as Tirich Mir, but in late autumn they descend to the mountain meadows. Importantly, the division between two groups of deities Devalog and their intermarriage Imra's mother is a 'giant' has been preserved, and this dichotomy is still re-enacted in rituals and festivals, especially the Chaumos.
Ritual still is of IIr. Some features already have their Vedic, and no longer their Central Asian form e.
Their belief in one supreme God is one example of Muslim influence. They also use some Arab and Persian words for their god. Drumming is a male occupation among the Kalash people. These deities have shrines and altars throughout the valleys, where they frequently receive goat sacrifices. This institution has since disappeared but there still is the prominent one of shamans dehar  The deities are temporary visitors. Mahandeo shrines are a wooden board with 4 carved horse heads the horse being sacred to Kalash extending out, in still with the effigy of a human head inside holes at the base of these shrines while the altars of Sajigor are of stone and are under old juniper, oak and cedar trees.
Kalash people - Wikipedia
Horses, cows, goats and sheep were sacrificed. The Kalash have received many influences from the pre-Islamic Nuristan. Purity is the fundamental aspect, just as in Hinduism. Women are considered impure during menstruation and childbirth. They need to be purified, for which there are various ceremonies. Their religion is bound to their culture. It rests in what they do in their daily lives. Whatever Kalash tales and folklore speak, what their legends and songs reflect, the way they fit into the social fabric, their myths of creation, their deities, and their demons all combine to form the faith of the individual Kalash.
Therefore, when this faith alters, the ultimate result is the creation of a narrative that carries the event of conversion with it. The answer is simple: Narrative helps to document the identity and any change in it. Conversion is, in a way, an adoption of new rhetoric system that a narrative documents. Therefore, the converts need to publicly display their changed affiliations.
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Conversion cannot be a secret act, or so it is told to the converts. The open announcement of the conversion is a proof, a testimony. According to RamboTestimony is the narrative witness of a person's conversion, and it entails two interacting processes: We have seen that conversion is in part the adoption of a new rhetoric or language system.
A change in religion also finds its outlet in the narration. An expression of faith in language becomes an expression of what people believe in.
The language creates and manifests faith as an understandable entity. In such narratives, the newly acquired faith and molded identity form the outline. Therefore, it is appropriate to claim that there is a crucial and inseparable connection among faith, identity, and narrative. Without narration of it, identity would cease to exist Weedon, It also offers the capability to look at ambiguity and complexity that an individual faces in a social context.
Narrative analysis takes a story as an object of study that can provide information about the transitions taking place. The stories can highlight the adjustments of an individual or a group to make sense in their lives, and can serve as means to relate them to the rest of the social sphere Franzosi, ; Riessman, The Constituents of Kalash Identity: The Meanings of Being a Kalash 15 The Kalash culture has been the centre of fascination for tourists, anthropologists, and historians Buneri, ; Jahangard, ; Newby, ; Robertson, Historically, there were two kafir 2 tribes: The notion of being a Kalash does not appear too complicated when it narrows down to the essentialist identity of being a kafir infidel Issigonis, Kafir has become predominantly a highly contextualized term based upon the cultural practices of the Kalash.
The term kafirs represents a cultural group whose social standards do not reflect a specific inclination. Inthere were 10, people; currently the population is estimated to be 4, Malik, ; Shah, Their culture, changed very little over the past years Malik,will probably not survive beyond the next few generations, as modernity and missionaries are altering it.
Recently, a few people have reported Kalash conversions Malik, ; Parkes, ; Rana, ; Shah, If measured by such criteria as literacy, income, and health facilities, the quality of life of the Kalash is very low.
However, their quality of life is not very much different from that of the average Pakistani Naqvi, They were followed in by S. Robertson, who in The Kafirs of the Hindukush 3 presents the earliest description of Kalash conversions in his extensive study of Kalash history, geography, religion, practices, rituals, and conversions.
Another suggestion is that they are the descendants of a mixed race, the Tajiks, who once occupied the lowlands of Badakhshan, and that they were driven into these mountains over time Holdich, Robertson suggests that they were slaves of the Red Kafirs, and to escape enslavement, they crossed the valleys and settled in what is known today as Kalash 4 Robertson, Still another theory is that they descended from Bactrian colonies, and that many can boast of Greek ancestry Denker, Newby proposes that the Kafirs were already living there when Alexander the Great crossed the Hindukush; the stragglers from his army lived among them, hence their Greek ancestry.
Some historians have speculated that the Kalash migrated from Kafiristan 5 because of the fear of forced conversions to Islam and settled in Chitral. Nothing changed after the British left the subcontinent in Chitral became part of independent Pakistan, but the only difference the Kafirs experienced after independence was that a Pakistani civil servant took charge. Later, inChitral ceased to be a princely state and the government took direct control of its administration.
The effects of conversion were less visible because older Kalash converts were not only related by blood to the Kalash but tolerant to the extent that they even participated in their rituals. The distinct identity of the valleys thus continued, because the old converts still had much more in common with their Kalash fellows Naqvi, When conversion was a relatively new phenomenon, these older converts shared a lot with their fellow tribesmen. The Present Study 19 20 The study area was the Kalash village of Bumborait, 8 where the government had built a primary school and a Bashaleni.
The people were very hospitable and, in fact, the sole source for identifying the converts. During the search for converts, which took most of the time, inhabitants guided the researcher towards a separate settlement. It became apparent, and later the data verified, that the community was separate and identified based on religion. The interviewed participants were not very well off. Few had received formal education and they had never been out of their village.
They were not scrutinized according to a specific stratum of the community; rather, every convert who agreed was interviewed. Random selection ensured the objectivity of the research, because there was no influence of any kind in the selection of the converts for the interviews Cox, ; Shkedi, A number of people were approached for the interviews. Out of 15 or so individuals, 10 agreed to be interviewed. Those who did not agree were occupied with other errands. Although it was thought necessary to include both male and female converts in the survey, only one woman was interviewed for two reasons.
Therefore, it is easier for them to interact only with Kalash men. As a result, the number of male converts is higher. Therefore, giving an interview to a male researcher was not possible. For the same reason, not a single married convert gave permission to interview his wife. On the last day, a local informant came with the news that one girl had agreed to be interviewed.
Her unconverted parents had given their consent, though reluctantly. On average, the researcher was able to interview one respondent a day. Interviews were voluntary; respondents were free to respond or not to the questions.
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All interviewees went through the process by themselves. Interviews were in the form of semi-structured conversations. All respondents were asked a set of prearranged questions in the form of prompts. Most of the questions were open-ended. These prearranged questions helped to keep their stories on track. All respondents were provided with a relaxing environment and there were minimal external influences during the interviews.
Despite these efforts, the responses were cluttered with extra information; the respondents were keen to include all the details of their conversion because nobody had ever asked them before. Hence, it was not possible to keep them to any time limit. The reliability of the collected data could be guaranteed, because the researcher was in direct interaction with converts. However, as some of the older converts were not fluent in Urdu, the researcher arranged for assistance from a native speaker of their language, Khowar.
The responses of the converts were recorded as they were speaking, along with the translation of the responses by the native speaker. The native speaker helped to translate the exact words and then gave a brief summary of what the respondent had said.
First, conversion is a whole process that encompasses both the individuals and their social sphere. Second, narrative responses to open-ended questions were the source of data, rather than questions with a limited number of options to answer. Narratives, as opposed to other approaches, provide a foundation to reveal the extensiveness of conversions. Therefore, for an analysis of a process as extensive and comprehensive as conversions, it was appropriate to use this method.
Discussion and Data Analysis 26 This study of the Kalash conversion narratives aims at providing information about the needs, differences, incidents, or motivations that forcea Kalash to convert. What differences and commonalities did they find between the old and the new faith? The discussion points out the instances in the communal life of Kalash that compelled them to convert.
The ages of the converts ranged from 19 to Most of the converts were married. They included two students, a landowner, labourers, shopkeepers, and an unemployed man.
The table also highlights the number of years since the individuals had converted. They began to convert about 27 to 30 years ago when religious movements were rapidly growing in the country. The oldest convert, aged 60, accepted Islam around the same time. The table also shows the increase in conversions. The number of converts has been far greater in the past 10 years as compared to the past 25 years. Most of the Kalash have Muslim friends, too.
Sometimes, these friends instigate a conversion. For example, they maintained that it did not matter what religion they practised; the important thing was that they still belonged to the same community, and still joined their relatives in the annual celebrations. While they all acted differently in the religious sense, they had not totally lost their familial ties.
Even those converts who did not attend the annual celebrations and were contemptuous towards the practices still maintained interaction with their community and relatives. The converts may have denied the old ways, but they were still part of the family.
Whether they were talking about their motivation or explaining Islam, in both cases, the representation of the hygienic and the unhygienic served as a yardstick. The source of this vocabulary was Islamic discourse, as they looked at their previous lives under the magnifying glass of Islam.
The whole discourse narrowed down to one idea, indoctrinated by the missionaries, which enabled them to construct a reality that satisfied their subjective urges. It was a time when the converts were jahil ignorantliving lives of personal disorder N6. The converts referred to their previous lives as living in dishonour darkness and moral degradation N1, N7, N6. The differences between the unhygienic filthy and the hygienic were understood by them as the main difference between the old and new religions: The converts referred to the performing of ablutions washing that Islam emphasizes.
Islam, on the other hand, offers the chance to become pure just through a ritual cleaning, which is why the converts emphasized personal hygiene as a merit of the new religion. However, purity and hygiene are essentially two different concepts: A comb is considered impure; no matter what you do, it will always remain impure.
Women are not allowed to enter the place of worship Jestagan because they are considered essentially impure. The extent of economic betterment was always interpreted as a blessing of the new religion. Some of the converts were disillusioned with the new religion because of not experiencing the desired benefits N5, N7.
Others directly associated their improved economic situation as an uninterrupted result of conversion N2, N8. Allah had a special place for them where they would live for eternity N1, N8, N9.
It satisfied the converts. The promise serves its purpose very well: The Kalash imagined Muslims as higher in status both religiously and socially. The rest of the Muslim community reinforced this idea with qualifications from the Quran, the traditions, and general belief. However, the converts were still not considered equal. There is a stereotype— Sheikh—for the ones who converted.
They are still considered low in status because of their Kafir lineage—but slightly more equal than the non-converts. They are made to believe that their religion is not valid, their beliefs precarious, their prayers useless. Therefore, conversion is never given as a mere option, but as solution to their current state. The Conversion Incident 37 Conversion is a complex phenomenon: It looks back, and at the same time, it looks forward to a journey whose meanings change with the passage of time and from person to person.
The event of conversion is a point of change in a continuum. The event of conversion becomes a reference point after which all converts identify and situate themselves. It was observed that when the male spouse converted, the wife also accepted the faith, because she could not live without the support of her husband.
Choosing the new religion was not really a choice for the women; rather, invisible social and emotional pressures pushed them to convert. The economic, social, and emotional dependency of the women helped the men to manipulate their decisions. Ironically, the missionaries, while maintaining that the women were neither influenced nor forced to convert, considered their conversion valid. Marriage by the Kalash takes place mostly with the consent of both partners.Who Are Pakistan's Descendants Of Alexander The Great?
With free choice, a Kalash woman can also choose a Muslim man as her husband. After this choice, conversion becomes necessary. In situations in which a Kalash woman was in love with a Muslim man, conversion was said by one respondent to be the only solution for their union N2. Tourists with minimal knowledge of the Kalash identity have also initiated the conversions. The Kalash also think that Muslims lure women into a relationship, but when their curiosity ends, they leave them unattended.
Sometimes they get married but due to cultural differences, they cannot maintain a family and at last, these women are divorced.
Neither the converts nor the missionaries acknowledged this disturbing outcome of their enthusiastic efforts. For some converts, only the parents refused to live with them N4 ; others fainted from the fear of rejection N6yet some faced utter rejection from their family N1, N2, N3, N6, N7, N9. However, this rejection was mostly not final. This sudden shift of status, from a kafir Kalash girl to a Muslim Kalash girl, is overwhelmingly welcoming.
Mostly, the conversions occur on the festival of the Sixteenth of May Joshi: Usually, at the time of the festival, the women are free to convert, because it is the occasion when a married Kalash woman can choose a new husband if she is not happy with her previous one. It is also the time when an unmarried woman can declare her liking for a Muslim or Kalash man.
Later, this experimentation becomes a permanent change when it is accepted deliberately and consciously. Second, it can come externally, when one's beliefs are molded or transformed by a preacher. However, their extreme indoctrination by the preacher ensured that the conversion event was inevitably reconstructed into a perception that they had chosen the new religion freely.
No convert could think independently or critically, hence could not decide for themselves. Their decision was not independent, even if they said it was.
They were the perfect subjects of power structures: The converts cherished themselves as the chosen ones because they were told they were. Converts, to express their reality, adopted the point of view of the preacher. Soon after, converts learn that anyone having different beliefs from their own is wrong and immoral, because the new religion has highlighted and enforced the difference.
The very reason for the religion reaching the converts in the first place was this difference. The new religion is promoting hatred and violence.
The ideas clash with previous norms. Dangerously, all the converts thought this division natural. I will pray five times, go to Tabligh, will not eat Haram, will eat Halal, will not eat whatever they slaughter, will eat anything that is Halal.
I will only eat that animal which I will slaughter with my own hands. Whatever Allah has permitted and is written in Quran, will give Zakat and all. This is the reason being filthy for not going into the cultural activities. The frequency of such words was very high. It can have multiple interpretations. First, the respondents may have had a problem in translating their mother tongue in Urdu. To counter this problem they started using the language and vocabulary of the people who brought the faith.
They may not have been able to find appropriate words to express their thoughts exactly, and as a result, they learned all the words that might carry a shadow of what they wanted to express.
Second, the converts were very vulnerable, and the missionaries did not possess the expertise and understanding of the problems an individual might face while communicating in another language with a separate discourse.
They were provided with a limited number of possible meanings. The understanding of the language in these particular instances therefore became loaded, hegemonic: A blessing was something reserved for the convert after receiving the faith. Here, language has become the instrument of propaganda.
The converts had not only acquired the essential vocabulary, with very limited understanding, but also kept repeating it. I thank Allah that I am spending my life in a good manner. Consequently, interpretation is difficult. The convert was in denial, hence the persistent stance that there had not been any change in his life.
If a convert decided to revert, the larger social sphere would never allow it. In one instance, a convert decided to return to his old faith. The Muslims, after hearing this, started to protest; the effigies and other sacred images of the Kalash were burned or destroyed. The reverted convert had to be declared a lunatic, who was unaware of his social condition, hence not accountable for what he said or did. So there is an unseen force, the intimidation of social pressure, that never permits democratic liberty for the converts.
Once a convert, always a convert. Those who achieved the desired results were content, while for others, the expectations after conversion were not fulfilled. Such converts were not satisfied with their conversion.