The Kalash People

The Kalash People

Chitral - Pakistan

The Kalash (or Kalasha) people are only around 4100 individuals. They live in 3 isolated villages in the far north-eastern part of Pakistan (a few kilometers from the Afghan border). The villages are called Bumburet, Rambur and Birir (Kalash: Mumuret, Rumbur and Rukmu). The Kalash people are considered to be Pakistan’s smallest ethnoreligious community.

The Kalash people have a unique culture that differs greatly from other peoples of Pakistan. They speak a Dardic language belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language group. Norwegian Linguist Georg Morgenstierne believed that Kalasha is an independent language in its own.

Their forefathers may have migrated from the nearby Nuristan province in Afghanistan around 200 BC. Some speculate that they may be descendants from the soldiers of Alexander the Great.

The Kalash people are a non-Muslim ethnic group. Their religion has similarities to older forms of Hinduism. Despite being a very small minority community, they are still able to sustain their language, religion, and culture.

In each valley the Kalash live in small villages. Each village is associated with one of many clans. A man cannot marry a woman from the same clan (exogamy). In contrast to the surrounding Pakistani culture, the Kalasha do not in general separate males and females or discourage contact between the sexes. Marriage by elopement is rather frequent, also involving women who are already married to another man.

As part of their religious tradition, sacrifices are offered, and festivals are held to give thanks for the abundant resources of their three valleys.

See also the image captions for some additional information.

Test test XXX Kalash

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