Chitral: The brighter face of Pakistan
Feeling the wind blowing its freshness into you, seeing the sun welcoming the glorious mountains, rising at dawn and walking on the wet grass and touch dew-wet flowers, a refreshing evening stroll in lush green fields, witnessing the sky occupied with scintillating stars at night, seeing the glaciers and snow-capped peaks- how sublime. This is not only an imagination but some of the blessings and rewards of the simple life people living in Chitral- said to be one of the most remote districts of the province of KPK Pakistan.
Praising God is among the due obligations of life so being in such a place and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation repeatedly makes one praise His almighty all the day long. It is not merely the natural beauty that differentiates Chitral from other places in the northern areas but the living traditions and culture one witnesses being there. Every season has a unique involving activity that keeps the residents full of zip. Chitral being situated in the northern most corner of the country remains cut off from rest of the country in winter season for about 5 months but it does not shake the warmness of the heart of the people. They need no reason to celebrate which can be acknowledged by the different colorful festivals portraying unique culture and way of life of the people of Chitral.
After long severe winters, the arrival of spring is celebrated on 21 March by Ismailis called Nauroze with great enthusiasm and zeal likewise; the three Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur celebrate the Joshi festival in mid-May. Joshi is a four day festival and the most unique part of the festival is announcing the chosen life partner. This festival has been a great attraction to tourists around the world. Jashn-E-Qaqlasht is celebrated in mid-April every year with an objective to preserve and promote Chitral’s unique cultural heritage. In all the traditional celebrations, sports and music have always been a major part.
No festival is complete without music and sports activity in it. It doesn’t require any age limit to be a part of celebration because people of Chitral are sportsmen at heart. Among these, one of the most famous events is Shandur polo festival which has gained tremendous recognition in the world and is referred as the “game of the kings”. This adventurous polo match is held in July every year at the highest polo ground of the earth followed by traditional music which adds remarkable credit to the event. This is not the only sport event but Jashn-e-Chitral- a week-long festival celebrated in mid-September every year, and Boroghol Festival in July also features different events including swimming across torrential rivers, rock climbing, wild mountain polo , horse races and BuzKashi, yak race and yak polo, traditional wrestling and tug of war, shot puts as well as traditional dancing and singing.
People meet at these festivals and renew acquaintances. These festivals are celebrated without any discrimination of the cast, creed or class. All the participants and spectators cheer and celebrate together. The festivals play an important role to keep the traditions intact as they bring together musicians, sportsmen and other ordinary people to represent their culture and exhibit their strong connection with each other.
Tourism is one of the main sources of income for locals. But unfortunately the recent condemnable incident in the beautiful valley of GB has somewhat affected our tourism industry. Many people are now deprived of their livelihood. This incident does not in any case symbolize the true sentiment of the peace-loving inhabitants. It coincided on the last day of the SWAT Peace Festival organized by Pakistan Army by the malevolence forces which are striving to portray a negative image of Pakistan and this time they have chosen to target the most tranquil part of the country which has forever been the most desired destination of the tourist coming from all over the globe.
This deplorable event unfortunately seems to be surmounting the exquisiteness of the region. The negative forces have struck again to disrepute the outlook of the most serene part of the country but the people of Pakistan are determined to survive the struggle for peace and reinstate the lost upbeat notion about the region by continuing with its practice of spreading bliss and rejoice all over.
The arrival of another delegation of foreign tourists despite the killings was testimony that the beauty of these mountains has a stronger impact on tourists than any other thing, however, it must be our national responsibility to gurantee peace all over the country and particularly in such regions.