By Afzal Aman, Garum Chashma2 February 2011
What is Culture? According to Oxford dictionary” The culture means the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to other”. Every Culture has set of moral and social values which drives over the pre-history and is modified with each generation; it is a basic goal of every culture, tribe, or nation to maintain its identity as a group.
We are very proud of our ancestors who maintained this identity though generations and we thank them for that. But the question remains -are we maintaining the same identity? Can we pass the same identity to our next generation which our ancestors have passed it to us? Few bad incidences have made me realize that our esteemed culture is in danger and I want to share these incidences with you so that everyone can realize the threat and get rid of it.
I belong to a very small valley of Karimabad. My parents Moved to Karachi when I was child for education purposes. I have stayed in various countries but now reside in Karachi. It’s my parent’s guidance which kept me under the umbrella of my culture and I’m very proud of that. Secondly, I appreciate all those artists who are actually the ambassadors of our culture but being ignored in the Chitrali society. They have kept the culture through volume and words.
The bad experiences which I have felt made me write this article. Firstly, on my wedding day there were guests from various cultural backgrounds including India, Canada and America and I had planned to perform all the chitrali rituals on my wedding such as “ Ishpari, Dafdoyuu…etc. And to make it more cultural I had invited artists from Chitral “Mansoor Shahbab and his team to perform in-front of those guests. Everything was planned well but however this changed because some invited and uninvited guests came drunk to the wedding and created chaos. This incident gave a negative impression of our esteem culture in-front of other cultural guests.
My Second bad experience is when I attended a Chitrali cultural program organized by young Chitrali Students in Karachi. From past many years there was not any musical cultural program so everybody was looking forward to it to be held. And I appreciate the young talents of Chitral who arranged a cultural program when everybody was yearning for it. However, here too 40 percent of the guests were drunk and misbehaved throughout the program.
Chitral is very famous for its idiosyncratic tradition and culture. Kho’ people who love Khowar (native language) love their traditions. They are nicest, simplest and friendliest people I have ever seen and I’m proud to have them. They show a high degree of respect towards others and for life itself. It would be real shame if the trend of the beautiful culture ever changed.
There are some vital point is I want to convey to you which are not appreciated in civilized society and we need to articulate such ill things which have become part of our nature or even our culture. I want to ask views from my elders of Chitral. While attending the recent cultural program and other events I have seen that our beautiful norms and culture is in danger. We are adopting the norms of westerners and those of them have lost their identity. I have seen that one of the prime reasons for many of the social problems of the area is not the culture itself, but it is the distancing or even disconnecting from it. Staying educated in what your culture teaches and handing that knowledge down to younger generations so that it never becomes lost is necessary.
Elders of the culture have greater influence on our younger generations. Unfortunately, we have developed a trend and culture in our society to value and honor those who have got social status or authority rather than his character and performance in the respective fields. What roles do elders play in our culture? What they teach and give message to our young minds? That to drink alcohol in social ceremonies, whether it’s a cultural event or marriage ceremonies? That to smoke in social gatherings? Now I ask you, is that the real progress? Is this the kind of progress we should be making? Obviously, as we can see from the result of the actions" actions speak louder than words”.
Those who live in Karachi with sound life styles should inject some sense of their culture. It was not our norms to drink and to smoke in family gatherings unfortunately you are making it socially acceptable. What message are you giving to the Children that it’s okay to consume alcohol in ceremonies, celebrations or family gatherings? Now no ceremony is satiate without it WHY? I want to ask my elders - is it a part of our culture? Why we are preferring intoxicants over culture?
We are not proud of this trend which is not a part of our pure esteemed culture. All the people of indigenous culture must become more united. They must also take a stand on important issues together because after opening of the Lawari tunnel our culture is at high risk such as the selling of natural resources to outsiders and other issues. Addiction is what makes you dull and dim and charge you to sell. Ponder!
On the other hand the world has become a global village. Whatever you do and present is being recorded. So that it can be studied, remembered, practiced and handed down through generations. Every individual of Chitral carries a passport of Chitral with him/her. Let’s be together to flash out which does not belong to us, which is not our identity. Our identity is our “Khapul” the same cap we wear wherever we go. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person? Be proud of your culture whatever it offers to you, inject the true sense of Chitraliat which adheres to the principles and flash those which are not yours. And in the end I request to all my chitrali brothers to stop arranging musical show every time in the name of Cultural show, which gives wrong impression to outsiders because of our attitude or better to inject sense of Chitraliat first.