CHITRAL: In order to preserve the ancient religion of the Kalasha, it was decided in a meeting of community elders that the teachings and traditions of the religion will be compiled in book form.
The meeting, held at a hotel, was chaired by the Chitral Integrated Area Development Programme (CIADP) Managing Director (MD) Azar Ayaz. Members of the Kalash community and representatives of different organisations working on culture preservation participated as well.
Considering there are less than 4,000 Kalasha remaining in all three valleys, the only way to keep their religion and culture protected is to compile all their teachings, customs and traditions in the form of a book, said Kalasha leaders present. They agreed that the move would protect their practice from external influence and the book would be considered their holy manuscript.
It was also decided that the Kalasha alphabet would be taught in government schools to promote their language. Knowledge centres are to be established in all three Kalash valleys: Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir. There, elders would teach their religion to younger generations till the compilation of the book.
It was also said on the occasion that separate resource centres would be established to keep birth and death records of the Kalasha. The centre would also issue an unofficial identity card to them, in which their religion would also be mentioned.
Meanwhile, development work on Charsu, a sacred place for the Kalasha in Bumburet, has started after mutual consultation of the community and CIADP. The project will be carried out with the financial assistance of CIADP. MD Ayaz has instructed the work be completed before Chelum Jusht, a Kalasha festival in May.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 16th, 2013.
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