Gilgit - Baltistan

The shepherd


Related Articles


  1. Shepherding is one of the oldest professions, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat, and especially their wool. Over the next millennia sheep and shepherding spread throughout Eurasia.

    Some sheep were integrated in the family farm along with other animals such as pigs and chickens. To maintain a large herd, however, the sheep must be able to move from pasture to pasture, this required the development of a profession separate from that of the farmer. The duty of shepherds was to keep their flock intact and protect it from wolves and other predators. The shepherd was also to supervise the migration of the flock and ensured they made it to market areas in time for shearing. In ancient times shepherds also commonly milked their sheep, and made cheese from this milk; only some shepherds still do this today.

    Les Bergers d’Arcadie (The Shepherds of Arcadia) by Nicolas Poussin.In many societies shepherds were an important part of the economy. Unlike farmers, shepherds were often wage earners, being paid to watch the sheep of others. Shepherds also lived apart from society, being largely nomadic. It was mainly a job of solitary males without children, and new shepherds thus needed to be recruited externally. Shepherds were most often the younger sons of farming peasants who did not inherit any land. Still in other societies, each family would have a family member to shepherd its flock, often a child, youth or an elderly who couldn’t help much with harder work; these shepherds were fully integrated in society.

    Shepherds would normally work in groups either looking after one large flock, or each bringing their own and merging their responsibilities. They would live in small cabins, often shared with their sheep and would buy food from local communities. Less often shepherds lived in covered wagons that traveled with their flocks.

    Shepherding developed only in certain areas. In the lowlands and river valleys, it was far more efficient to grow grains and cereals than to allow sheep to graze, thus the raising of sheep was confined to rugged and mountainous areas. In the pre-modern times shepherding was thus centred on regions such as the Land of Israel, Greece, the Pyrenees, the Carpathian Mountains, and Scotland

  2. This lovely picture reminds me of my early days in village. On weekends we used to take herds to grazing places to spend whole day with them and on the way back we would also fetch firewood. Sometimes we had to take leave from school to do this job… multitasking from childhood!! Thanks to education for giving a trampoline which was never imagined by my parents.

  3. God sees leaders as shepherds over His people. Sheperds were the great and good leaders. Earlier relgious hereos were sheperds. Hazrat Muhammad, Christ and Moses were sheperds.

    Luckily, historically we are also sheperds. We must be proud of it.

    “KHICKS, The Sheperds of the World.”

    As far as this little sheperd is concerned, he is my role model for being a caring and touching soul toward his cherished flock. Look, how confident he is looking. He is happy in what he is doing. I remember my days too but I wasnt a smart sheperd.


  4. Dear Readers of PT,
    If we retrospect the past of ours then it clearly depicts that khick murdoom has remained very much affiliated with this profession and has served them towards their survival and livelyhood activities for many centuries.
    This profession has supported them towards sustainablilty and self-reliancy.
    We must be proud of being the shepherds which is very artistically presented by Nazir Ahmed Bulbul through his fantastic poetry in wakhi language.
    Many people are of the view that this profession is a worst profession but I feel that this is the profession of our ancestors and is rather a Payghambarana profession where you deal with the economically important creation of God Almighty which gives you many folds in many terms. Even our mothers still deal the dairy products with great delicacy and diligency.While dealing with the products extracted from them the ancestors used to say Bismiloh Bismiloh.
    It is really a noble practice and we must be proud of being the practicers of such a noble profession.
    Aslam Ghalib
    Chemical House
    Biorad Islamabad/Rawalpindi

  5. no any tension no any problems only just one tense of ur hungre if u would like to live such a beautifil life the best thing is shepherding.

  6. Dear PT Editors,

    Congrats on what you have achieved so far!

    Great efforts highlighting issues and events pertaining to our part of the world, including this one in view. It goes without saying that cattle/ livestock have remained an integral part of the Wakhi economy. Cattle and livestockp used to share with us our living space, especially during the severe winter months till 4-5 decades ago.

    The socio-economic development of Gojal, in particular, could meaninfully be guaged from the fact that we have now diriven out the cattle out of our living rooms and keep them away from the living area at reasonable distance. It means that our quality of life has reasonbly improved well during the last 2-3 decades or so.

    Should cattle go out of our present economy, altogether, or we can’t afford it in view of the current global food secuirty situation; that is point to ponder upon?

    Keep the success flag always high, God speed!


    Mutabiat Shah

  7. The question raised by Mutabiat Shah Saheb needs some serious thoughts. I think we have had some deliberations on it while discussing globalization however that must not suffice. In retropect, with the emergence of other economic opportunities, sometimes we have perhaps tended to make a paradigm shift in our economic patterns without plans which leads us to nothing but frustration. We have to look at this economy (livestock) from two perspectives i.e. how much we need to keep it intact and secodnly how to link it to the current market while using our skills and education. We are now very much dependent on the market downcountry which is not sustainable. Our forefathers have survived in these valleys for centuries with no dependence on the outer world. How much we are self sufficient is a big question that needs pragmatic solutions.


  8. ………when i myself was a shepherd,i used to complete my 90 percent homework in the pasture or grazing field…devoid of friends n other disturbences..i miss that moments…………………

  9. One of the ancient professions of the history of mankind. Espacially for the people of the great pamirs, it used to be our bread and butter.

    Thanks for the vision and great leadership of our Imam who led us to acquire education to have new professions and seek knowledge and wisdom at par with other civilizations.

    In a balanced society we need people in every profession, we need good massons, carpenters, farmers, coblers, hairdressors, tailors etc etc.

    As I look around in our society we are in pursuit of education not to bring improvement in our professions but to take a job that does not satisfy majority of our societies’ demands. We are blindly taking professions that have no demand in our rural society hence moving to cities and find ourselves in a pool of problems. Our kids are loosing our values and culture which is very serious.

    We should thik over these aspects of our society as well.

    Thanks to Team PT for providing such a nice space for us to be connected.

    Sher Karim

Back to top button