CHITRAL: Some misconceptions regarding Chitralis which are thus far much too believed need to be clarified, as it is the age of transparency and no fact regarding a people should be shrouded in false perceptions.
Perception #1: Chitralis are kind hearted and peaceful people: It is generally believed that Chtralis are kind hearted and peaceful people– Yes, as far as their dealing with the strong and powerful goes e.g being peaceful for fear of ‘danda’ from somewhere, but when migratory ducks and doves visit them, they loose their kindness in a jiffy and descend upon the helpless birds with all the ferocity and cruelness of a halaku khan. When they see an injured stray dog in the street they kick it and throw stone at it, even very young kids do this and enjoy the dog screaming with pain. Chitralis have even been practicing ‘boik dooxi” (a practice of putting to torch sparrows in their nest) right inside ones’ own house.? This practice is almost extinct now, for the lack of sparrows more than anything else.
Perception #2: Chitralis have a lot of self respect and do not beg: It is widely propagated that Chitralis have a lot of self respect and do not beg. This perception also needs to be revisited. Begging does not only mean standing in the street with a bowl. Begging has different dimensions. Chitralis are adept at begging in a sophisticated manner e.g? begging from the government, NGO’s and even individuals for aid. Chitralis have forever their eyes on waiving off loans after getting the loan with this underlying intention. They wait for the slightest calamity like flood, earthquake etc. Some regulars in this field even pray for an earthquake or flood etc so their loans can be waived off.
Perception #3: Chitralis are broad minded and forward looking: This may be both true and untrue in a way. One segment of the Chitrali population specially in the north with Ismaili majority are undoubtedly more progressive minded and aware of ground realities in the world, while in stark contrast there are those who follow the strictly conservative school of thought and despite living with the first mentioned section, in their hearts are believers in ‘never the twain shall meet’.
Though exceptions are there in every society and Chitral can duly boast of noble exceptions, but “One swallow does not a summer make”. We, as a Chitrali section of Pakistani society must indulge in some soul searching and introspection to evolve something better for the generations ahead. . CN report, 10 Apr 2020