Development Projects
and the
Shadow of a Kalash Culture

Thanks to the new managers of a the Kalash Culture and Heritage, who are thoughtfully planning and writing a long list of Development Projects since I have been able to read and write the Newspapers.

Every year, I read that such and such amount of money has been allocated for such and such projects. If that amount of money would have been spent in a right way, three of the Kalash valleys would have been turned into a so-called Kalash paradise To allocate and to announce a project is a very easy job, but to look after it and to manage it, is a very big responsibility. It’s a shame, how they build and how they use the money, by the end of the project what I can see is, the building gives such an awful environment and completely different building either it was supposed to be a Jeshtak-Han or Bashali houses, fully concreted, fully cemented, fully tin roofed.

Talking of Money for one project

Last year in October, I was talking with one of the Kalash guy who had taken the responsibility from another contractor from the down city. I asked him, how much money has been allocated for this Jeshtak-Han? He “smiled” and replied Rs.120000 “(Bara Lac rupaya)” I shocked my head and asked him, so you have got the Bara Lac Rupayas? He said “no” I asked “Why” he said “I have been given only Rs 700,000. I asked:

“What happened to the rest? He said that “well the other contractor has taken the rest”. Without doing anything, the contractor has taken the money?

Now shall I give a Shabash(well-done) to the big bosses or to the person who has got the responsibility to keep check and balance?

My Question from the big bosses

Now I am afraid to say that, the planning officer or the contractor, will tell me that well if we are using tin roof, concrete and cements, they could be stronger as we were hit by a harsh earth quake in 2005. This was or could be the best answer to my questions. Now I think that no, I should not ask such questions anymore.

But, the Kalash houses or any religious buildings, they still are surviving, they are stronger then cemented, concreted and the tin roofed buildings. Why not to learn and improve the same architecture? The Kalash old traditional buildings can accommodate with any harsh season, either it is a hot summer or harsh winter, in the winter time you can feel warm inside and in the summer time you feel like there is a central cooling system side.

Talking of Tourism

No, no again my brain goes to the line in the Newspaper, it says that “The Kalash Culture is very unique and attracts lots of tourists from all over the world”, right yes I would agree with you, but now, after building the new Jeshtak-Han’s and Bashali houses,

A: Will you show to the tourists those entire new concreted, tine roofed and cemented buildings?

B: Do you think the tourists will be interested to see if you proudly say, well do you know this building is just built last year? It’s a very new and it has got lots of characters i.e.; cemented, concreted and tin roofed by the blessings of the new managers of the Kalash Heritage.

C: Shall we call it a tourism attraction?

Kalash way of building and architecture

When we are talking about the Jeshtak-Hans and Bashali Houses, in the Kalash culture they mean something and the meaning is a part of our religion. The carvings mean a lot; there are a lot of styles of carvings which has got different meanings. There are symbols of (Me~sh) Ibex at both side the door and two horses nearby the Jeshtak.

In this way, one should be very careful; I do not want to disappoint the contractors from down cities. Simple is that it is a matter of Kalash religion.
Now some of the new jeshtak-han’s have been carved on birds and flowers. If you study the carvings from the old Jeshtak-Hans,I never seen a bird, flower, moon or a very funny thing I saw is a LOVE heart, an arrow is crossing through the middle of heart. Maybe this is taken from some of the funny greeting card or love card of the Valentine’s Day or one of the Sharukh Khan’s movies.

Few suggestions might be helpful

There should be a Preparatory Committee, who will pass the bill to build a new building if necessary.
The old buildings should not be demolished, if needed some repair work could be done by the appointment from the Preparatory Committee. Extra care should be given to the old buildings.

(None of the old Jeshtak-Hans are left now, they were built by our grand fathers, and they were around 40-50-60-70 year old). The building should be build under the supervision of Kalash expert or architects.

The contractors should be advised about the Kalash traditions; “Pure” and “impure”.

Indigenous Peoples' Literature Return to Indigenous Peoples' Literature
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Glenn Welker

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