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KALASHA - Pagan sect at Pakistan border lives amid conservative Muslims

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Author Topic: KALASHA - Pagan sect at Pakistan border lives amid conservative Muslims  (Read 6743 times)
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« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2008, 10:53:20 am »

Location, climate and geography

A map of the valleysLocated in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan, the Kalash people live in three isolated mountain valleys: Bumboret (Kalash: Mumret), Rumbur (Rukmu), and Birir (Biriu). These valleys are opening towards the Kunar River, some 20 km south (downstream) of Chitral.

The Bumboret and Rumbur valleys join at 35°44′20″N, 71°43′40″E (1640 m), joining the Kunar at the village of Ayrun ( 35°42′52″N, 71°46′40″E, 1400 m) and they each rise to passes connecting to Afghanistan's Nuristan Province at about 4500 m.

The Birir valley opens towards the Kunar at the village of Gabhirat ( 35°40′8″N, 71°45′15″E, 1360 m). A pass connects the Birir and Bumboret valleys at about 3000 m. The Kalash villages in all three valleys are located at a height of approximately 1900 to 2200 m.

The region is extremely fertile, covering the mountainside in rich oak forests and allowing for intensive agriculture, despite the fact that most of the work is done not by machinery, but by hand. The powerful and dangerous rivers that flow through the valleys have been harnessed to power grinding mills and to water the farm fields through the use of ingenious irrigation channels. Wheat, maize, grapes (generally used for wine), apples, and walnuts are among the many foodstuffs grown in the area, along with surplus fodder used for feeding the livestock.

The climate is typical of high elevation regions without large bodies of water to regulate the temperature. The summers are mild and agreeable with average maximum temperatures between 23° and 27°C (73° - 81°F). Winters, on the other hand, can be very cold, with average minimum temperatures between 2° and 1°C (36° - 34°F). The average yearly precipitation is 700 to 800mm (28 - 32 inches
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 10:55:45 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2008, 10:57:38 am »

Elderly Kalash man

Genetic origins

Some scholars have speculated that the Kalash might be the direct descendants of Greek settlers, or
of members of Alexander the Great's army in particular.  Though often overstated, instances of blond hair or light eyes are not unusual.

Firasat et al. (2006) conclude that the Kalash lack typical Greek haplogroups (e.g. haplogroup 21), On the other hand, a study by Qamar et al. (2002) found that even though "no support for a Greek origin
of their Y chromosomes was found" in the Kalash, Greek y-chromosome admixture could be as high as 20% to 40%.  Considering the apparent absence of haplogroup 21 in the local population, one of the possibilities suggested was because of genetic drift.[37] On the basis of Y chromosome allele frequency, some researchers describe the exact Greek contribution to Kalash as unclear.   One mtDNA study has shown that there is no South or East Asian genetic mtDNA influence within the Kalash. This is in stark contrast to some of their closest Indo-European neighbors, strongly indicating a Western Eurasian origin for the Kalash.

The estimates by Qamar et al. of Greek admixture has been dismissed by Toomas Kivisild et al. (2003):

“some admixture models and programs that exist are not always adequate and realistic estimators of gene flow between populations ... this is particularly the case when markers are used that do not
have enough restrictive power to determine the source populations ... or when there are more than
two parental populations. In that case, a simplistic model using two parental populations would show
a bias towards overestimating admixture”.

The study came to the conclusion that the Pakistani Kalash population estimate by (Qamar et al. 2002) “is unrealistic and is likely also driven by the low marker resolution that pooled southern and western Asian–specific Y-chromosome haplogroup H together with European-specific haplogroup I, into an uninformative polyphyletic cluster 2”.

Another study with Qasim Ayub, and S. Qasim Mehdi, and led by Quintana-Murci claims that "the western Eurasian presence in the Kalash population reaches a frequency of 100%, the most prevalent [mtDNA] haplogroup being U4, (pre-HV)1, U2e, and J2," and that they show "no detectable East or South Asian lineages. The outlying genetic position is seen in all analyses. Moreover, although this population is composed of western Eurasian lineages, the most prevalent ... are rare or absent in the surrounding populations and usually characterize populations from Eastern Europe, the middle East and the Caucasus... All these observations bear witness to the strong effects of genetic drift of the Kalash population... However, a western Eurasian origin for this population is likely, in view of their maternal lineages, which can ultimately be traced back to the Middle East".

Recent genetic testing among the Kalash population has shown that they are, in fact, a distinct (and perhaps (aboriginal)) population with only minor contributions from outside peoples. In one cluster analysis with K = 7, the Kalash form one cluster, the others being Africans, Europeans/Middle Easterners/South Asians, East Asians, Melanesians, and Native Americans.


Historically a goat herding and subsistence farming people, the Kalash are moving towards a cash-based economy whereas previously wealth was measured in livestock and crops. Tourism now makes up a large portion of the economic activities of the Kalash. To cater to these new visitors, small stores and guest houses have been erected, providing new luxury for visitors of the valleys.

People attempting to enter the valleys have to pay a toll to the Pakistani government, which is used to preserve and care for the Kalash people and their culture.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 11:01:40 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #32 on: June 03, 2008, 11:04:34 am »


Decker, Kendall D. (1992) Languages of Chitral ISBN 969-8023-15-1

Morgenstierne, Georg (1926) Report on a Linguistic Mission to Afghanistan. Instituttet for Sammenlignende Kulturforskning, Serie C I-2. Oslo. ISBN 0-923891-09-9

Debra Denker, "Pakistan's Kalash People", National Geographic, pp. 458-473, 1981 October.

Sir George Scott Robertson, The Kafirs of The Hindu-Kush, London: Lawrence & Bullen Ltd., 1896.
Report on a Linguistic Mission to North-Western India by Georg Morgenstierne ISBN 0-923891-14-5

Georg Morgenstierne. Indo-Iranian Frontier Languages, Vol. IV: The Kalasha Language. Oslo1973

Georg Morgenstierne. The spring festival of the Kalash Kafirs.In: India Antiqua. Fs. J.Ph. Vogel. Leiden: Brill 1947, 240-248

Trail, Gail H, Tsyam revisited: a study of Kalasha origins. In: Elena Bashir and Israr-ud-Din (eds.), Proceedings of the second International Hindukush Cultural Conference, 359-76. Hindukush and Karakoram Studies, 1. Karachi: Oxford University Press (1996).

Parkes, Peter (1987). "Livestock Symbolism and Pastoral Ideology among the Kafirs of the Hindu Kush." Man 22:637-60.

D. Levinson et al., Encyclopedia of world cultures, MacMillan Reference Books (1995).
Aparna Rao, Monika Böck, Culture, Creation, and Procreation: Concepts of Kinship in South Asian Practice, Berghahn Books (2000), ISBN 1571819118.

Viviane Lièvre, Jean-Yves Loude, Kalash Solstice: Winter Feasts of the Kalash of North Pakistan, Lok Virsa (1988)

Javaid Rehman, Shaheen Sardar Ali, Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities of Pakistan: Constitutional and Legal Perspectives, Routledge (2001), ISBN 0700711597.

Paolo Graziosi, The Wooden Statue of Dezalik, a Kalash Divinity, Chitral, Pakistan, Man (1961).
Maraini Fosco, Gli ultimi pagani, Bur, Milano, 2001.

M. Witzel, The Ṛgvedic Religious System and its Central Asian and Hindukush Antecedents. In: A. Griffiths & J.E.M. Houben (eds.). The Vedas: Texts, Language and Ritual. Groningen: Forsten 2004: 581-636.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 02:56:47 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #33 on: June 03, 2008, 11:07:33 am »

General Information

Site Shara Forum for Chitral and the Kalasha

Kalasha People Online A blog used by Kalasha and their New Alphabet to write Kalashamondr (Kalasha language)[citation needed]

Frontier Language Institute Kalasha dictionary
The Kalash: The Lost Tribe of Alexander the Great


Kalash Valleys A plethora of high quality pictures of the Kalash people and their homeland.

Youtube: Kalash Image and video montage

The Alphabet Book Trailer Promotional trailer for the feature documentary "The Alphabet Book"

Retrieved from

« Last Edit: June 03, 2008, 02:39:05 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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