GILGIT TRIBUNE

Voice of the Mountain People

Archive for December, 2009

Wakhi Cultural Group  

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 24, 2009

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Indigenous languages, cultures face danger from globalization: scholar

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 16, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Noted linguist, Prof Dr Tariq Rahman, has endorsed the aspiration of Pamiri people for saving the 3,000 years old Wakhi language and culture. As he put it, languages endow prestige, pride and power to a people who speak it.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on “Wakhi language” on the third day of the Wakhi Cultural Festival at the Heritage Museum here on Friday.

“Your people are giving a call for the right to educate children in your Wakhi mother tongue from becoming obsolete, and it is a cause we support,” he said.

Prof Rahman recalled UNESCO concern about the danger confronting indigenous cultures and languages. Among the 6,000 languages in the world, 2,500 are about to disappear or have already ceased to exist. According to UNESCO about 3,000 languages lose their carriers every year. Smaller community languages face danger from globalisation that wanted to impose a monolithic world culture across the globe.

“This in turn provokes reaction of the kind that we find reflected in religious extremism and terrorism,” Dr Rahman said.

He suggested a three-tier scheme for education in the mother tongue, with a bridge opening to a more appealing language, such as Urdu, and also rounded off with education in English. But the system must be applied uniformly throughout the country, including in the schools in which the children of the elite receive education.

He said that economic and cultural trends influence attitudes of people towards their language. No language is superior or inferior intrinsically. It was the political and economic power of a nation that determines the position of a language.

He said that due to globalization the powerful economies were influencing minority cultures and resist their promotion.

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He emphasised pluralism in the globalised world with space for all cultures.

The seminar was addressed by a number of experts including, Asmatullah Mushfiq, Nazir Ahmad Bulbul, Fazal Amin Beg, Azam Beg and Shambi Khan. They expressed the fear that the Wakhi language will die unless it received proper attention for its conservation and preservation as was being done in Xinjiang, China and Tajikistan. There the Wakhi language was being used and researched extensively.

Nazir Ahmad Bulbul lamented that the younger generation was prone to developing feelings of inferiority when they come to the cities in search of work or education and stop using their language with which the culture also suffers. Once a small community language goes into disuse among the young, it dies with the death of the elderly speakers. Once that happens, the nation loses its individuality and in course of time it also dies with its peculiar culture, character and moral attributes.

The speakers highlighted the history, rich cultural heritage and traditions and evolution of Wakhi language over the centuries. They also presented recommendations for promotion of Wakhi and other local languages of Giglit-Baltistan as all the dialects spoken in the region were in danger of extinction.

The speakers lauded efforts of Lok Virsa and GECA for their combined efforts for promotion of Wakhi culture and language.

Director of Lok Virsa Khalid Javaid vowed to play his role to promote the Wakhi language and culture.

In his presentation Fazal Amin Beg traced the history of the language and said the Wakhi language belonged to the Iranian group of languages, assimilating a number of Persian and Arabic words, but recently it had been overwhelmed by the spread of modern information technology. He also complimented those women of letters who had contributed to the richness of these languages with their literary and poetical work.

Azam Beg Tajik also paid tributes to Wakhi scholar Haqiqat Ali for his pioneering work on the script of the Wakhi language. The assembly resolved unanimously that all Gojali should speak their own language and disseminate it through publications and propagation on electronic media.

Tayib Jan,Vice-Chairman Education com mittee of the Gojal Educational and Cultural Association thanked the chief guest and other guest speakers for the valuable contribution for the promotion of Wakhi language.

Neelum Nigar, secretary of the education committee in her introductory remarks explained about the Wakhi language in -historical perspective.–Coutesy Dawn

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Peace a must for development: Mutabiat

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 12, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HUNZA, Dec 12: Peace, harmony is prerequisite for sustainable development in Gilgit-Baltistan, said Mutabiat Shah, the newly-elected technocrat member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

Talking to mediapersons in Gilgit, he stressed the need for promoting interfaith and cultural harmony in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The PPP-led Government has empowered the people of Gilgit-Baltistan through the recently announced self-governance Order and it is now our responsibility to implement it and strive for the basic rights of the people and seek more steps from the federal government,” he said.

While stressing the need for a coordinated and team work, he said focus should be laid on uplift projects targetting the marginalised and left-out segments of the society. The region has great potential of power generation which needs to be exploited to augment the development process in the region, he added.

He said the students of GB need to be given education according to the region’s specificities which would further help in developing relevant human resources in the region.

Mr Mutabiat, a well reputed experienced professional with over three decades experience in development sector said he will work for introduce reforms in the prevailing outdated system and promote merit and transparency in governance the region. There is a need to enhance the capacity of local media as a watchdog on legislators and bureaucracy.

He will encourage civil society initiatives and implement projects at grassroots level institutions while utilising the experiences learnt during the engagement of Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.

He said the local support organisations (LSOs) have the capacity to increase the effectiveness in service delivery and receiving mechanisms.

He will develop a consultation body of educated youth and professionals to multiply the benefits of development and prepare youth for the future leadership positions, he added.  Mr Mutabiat wants to identify and implement projects after consultations and according to the aspirations of the local communities.

He said he will build a strong team work with Wazir Baig to implement the 19 portfolio projects which were announced during the election campaigns in Hunza. He said they will ensure to secure additional seats for Hunza in the GBLA which was the main demand during the election.

Gojal well deserves the status of sub-division after the formation of the new Hunza-Nagar district, he said.

Efforts will be made to convince NHA to take over the roads of the far-flung Shimshal, Chipurson and Misgar valleys, he added. The approval of PC-IV of different projects in health and education sectors will ensure effective service delivery to the local communities, he said. Efforts will be made to develop sense of belonging among the youth and restoration of common image and prestige of Hunza valley.

He thanked the PPP leadership for entrusting him with the position. He said the people of Gojal are committed to the PPP manifesto and will never forget the services rendered by PPP since the time of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Meanwhile, the PPP Hunza chapter also thanked President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Governor Qamar Zaman Kaira and other party high-ups for nominating Mutabiat Shah as member of GBLA on technocrat seat.

They expressed hope that he will utilise all his capabilities for the development of GB.

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Wakhi artists enthrall audience

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 11, 2009

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Posted in 5584, Art, Culture, Education, GECA, Gilgit-Baltistan, Hunza-Gojal, Pamir, Society, Tourism | 1 Comment »

Wakhi Cultural Festival Begins Today

Posted by Gilgit Tribune on December 10, 2009

The Wakhi cultural festival begins today at Lok virsa Islamabad. This event is being organized by Gojal Educational and Cultural Association (GECA) with the support of Lok Virsa and Norwegian Embassy and is to continue for five days till 13 dec.

The proceedings for the day were stared with the recitation of Quran by qari Shuja. The chief guest of the day was presented with traditional Wakhi cap and choogha by a wakhi elder from Ashkoman and Ejaz Karim former chairman of GECA The chief guest ambassador of republic of Norway Mr. Robert Kvile let the festival begin formally when he cut the ribbon to inaugurate the event. This was followed by traditional welcome song Sho muborakbod sung by eminent Wakhi singer Fazal Rehman shirin Sudo and was assisted by Wakhi elders shambi Kahn and Mehman Khan.

A group of Wakhi elders including Asmat ullah Musfiq,wali Baig. Awal Baig and Shambi Khan Danced in traditional Wakhi style and fascinated the people with the unique and soothing style of Wakhi dance .The famous folk song from Wakhan “bulbulik” was sung by Ali ahmed Shani and Fazal Reman shirin Sudo and they were assisted by Rehmat Karim and Hyder Murad. Another unique item presented in the day was traditional Sword dance performed by Shambi Kahn and Niamat Karim. Apart fro these many other songs were sung by singers including Rehmat Karim, DW Baig, Tawakal ali, Ali Ahmed Shani, Riaz Sahar, Amanullah Nachiz,Rehbar Kahn , Shirin Sado, Hyder Murad among many others. Gojali Wakhi people residing in the twin cities danced to the tunes of Dhol, rabab ,Daf ,pipe and damal. The band trio from hunza helped sooth the occasion with musical tunes of dudang surunai and damal.

Many stalls including trational Wakhi dishes, such as molida, but, chilpindok, moch and shulbut ,different products made from seabuk thorn,Wakhi handi crafts, traditional Wakhi carpet weaving plos  are also staged. Where visitor can enjoy traditional food and buy cultural items.

The chief guest in his speech lauded efforts of Geca and showed his immense interest in Wakhi Culture. He also visited many stalls including traditional Wakhi dishes, He was briefed about different stalls by Geca chairman Farman Ali and director of lok virsa. Earlier the GECA chairman welcomed the guests and highlighted the importance of culture and the challenges being faced by the Wakhi community and stressed the need for efforts to preserve the language which is facing extinction as mentioned in the Unesco’s red book. He thanked Norwegian embassy and lok virsa for their support to make this festival a success.

The director of lok virsa in his address urged the participants to preserve their cultural and social values, Wakhi language, customs and folklore and promote unity, inter-communal harmony and enlightenment in society.

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