Several historians have written about the Kalash and most of them have linked them to descendants of the army of Alexander the Great since many of their rituals, customs and traditions are indicative of the way of life of the ancient Greeks.
The Kalash with their unique culture, traditions, rituals, values, festivals and attire are not be found anywhere else in the world. Kalash are considered ‘infidels’ and their habitations are known as ‘Kafirastan’ — the land of infidels — amongst the local Pakistani community. The Kalash valleys are located in Chitral in the northern district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
They lead a centuries-old primitive way of life with a religion which has no name, no written book or prophets and are now concentrated in three valleys which are called ‘Kalash gooni’ among the Kalash and the ‘Kafir Kalash’ (land of infidels) amongst others.
But it is not just the place which fascinates, also the women of Kalash — who legend says are part-fairy and part-human because of their ethereal beauty. Local people say the Kalash woman can make a man lose his religion. As the story goes, when a Kalash woman drinks water, you can see it streaming down her throat. Yet they are considered impure in their own community; they are also called “whiter than the white”.
The Kalash feel threatened by the outside world as their number are dwindling with every passing day. Many Kalash are accepting Islam and the influence of other cultures. With more members of the community getting educated, people are also reluctant to follow their primitive traditions and rituals.
The tribe does not face any threat from militants but the pressure was more from members who are embracing Islam. “Though, no one forces them to convert, they are under constant pressure from their own converts to quit their way of living,”
There are less than 4,000 Kalash left. 3,554 to be precise when the last count was done in 2009
As members of any community, please help spread this message to inform the world of the hidden yet charming community of people whose existence is doubtful in the coming decades. Visit & see them in Pakistan before they are gone…..
On a separate note, hurry up before all their beautiful women get married! Luckily, they belong to one of the few tribal communities in Pakistan where girls are free to choose their life partners without any influence from the male members in the family.