October 09, 2005
Shake it up baby
Fuck. Severe earthquake news. The Kallash tribe, who I was blogging about live in this area. My room shook for a good five minutes one morning as I was waking up. A travelling architect wrote a book once about the traditional homes of tribal people in the Himalaya.
I have never found anything online as it is pretty obscure. He reckoned that the way the Kallash built their houses was unusualy good for surviving earthquakes. They live at the tops of valleys, with one houses roof being the one aboves "front garden" They intersperse two thick cut logs parallel with a layer of bricks, the whole thing stuck with mud. I hope they are OK.
Pakistan photo's- Great pictures of tribal dress.
KALAS : Heathen Europeans In Asia- A lot of Kallash I spoke to doubted their Greek roots. They said that they tended to agree because people promised them new schools ("We're Greek! We're Greek!" etc.) They attracted a lot of nutter interest, (including me) christians who wanted to convert them etc.
Geocities- Guide to the North of Pakistan.
Indigenous People-Goes into more detail about their struggles with internal Pakistani tourism and talks about their festivals incuding Yoshi, which I was lucky to arrive in time for. They also have an article about Kallashi literature although I am wary of people who go into any detail about Kallashi ways as they take immense pleasure in spinning yarns to "intrepid travellers" who "discover" them...
Pilot guides- Makes reference to the cultural pressure they are under from Islam and tourism. This sort of stuff makes me worry as a lot of orthodox Islamists must have crossed the border here when the Americans invaded. This site also has a great picture showing the young girls facial tattoo's.
The Khyber gateway- A fairly good example of the idiots who put pressure on the Kallash:
The Kafir women are known throughout the area for their toughness. This is because they do almost all of the chores; both in the house and outside in the fields as well. Their men are considered a lazy lot;
Typically condescending from people who I am sure know a lot about the mountain farming lifestyle.
The dead of the Kalashis are left in wooden coffins in Kalash graveyards. The lids of these coffins are left open so that various elements of nature can affect the bodies...Going to a Kalashi graveyard is a smelly business and the faint hearted should not go as they should expect to see unsuitable scenes..
Never saw or heard this and I went to a Kallashi funeral. Can't refute it either. People tend to die quite a lot. Hard life. At the funeral I saw people sing and shout at the dead person in the open coffin.
"What are they shouting?" asked Dave Bones, intrepid tribal researcher.
"What did you fall out of that tree for? I told you to be more careful! Now your kids will grow up with no father! etc etc"
For safety, the Kalashis rely on their Muslim neighbors for giving them protection from outsiders.
What a pile of shit. What fucking "outsiders" exactly? Dickheads. In the North West frontier province Pakistani's south of the Lowri pass are "outsiders." I watched the Kallashi people "defend themselves" from arrogant Karachi tourists by pelting them with stones twice. Fucking hilarious. A mountain person from this area can pick up a stone and hit a target with it HARD quicker than some people could pull a trigger.
The Kalashis do believe that their hearts are closed and with the will of Allah SWT, their hearts will be opened at a right time and they will be blessed with the light of Islam. However, there are many Christian missionaries posing as tourists who are actively working trying to convert them to Christianity and thus create dissent in the area. The Government of Pakistan has officially forbidden anybody from trying to convert these tribes to another religion. The obvious reason behind this decision is that after these tribes are converted, the government will lose important revenue generated from tourists flocking the area.
The dynamics going on within this little gem are pretty obvious no? We want to convert them, the government wont let us because they want the tourist dollar. Christians posing as tourists try to convert them. On the second day after I arrived I had a blazing row with a group of them, much to the amusement of the Kallashi people.
I used to want to be a missionary but find it hard not to hate them now. Still, there are missionaries and missionaries like there are christians and christians...The Mission said it all for me, and has fantastic music by Enrio Moreoni which missed an oscar the year "Take my breath away" the cheesey gobshite Top Gun music by Berlin won. Absolute travesty.