[Opinion] Reviving Gojal

By Anum Khan

Gojal, also known as upper hunza, can be best described as the land of captivating valleys, lofty mountains and glaciers with meadows and lush green trees. Spread over an area of 8,, it forms the largest tehsil of Gilgit-Baltistan province and gives home to 20,000 people on average.

It mainly comprises of two ethnic groups, namely Burushu and Wakhi, and since both belong to Ismailism, they have been living in harmony. Wakhi culture and way of life, being very distinct and diverse, has its own place and therefore, survived among other ethnic groups. Various religious, cultural and national events are celebrated in an alluring, interesting way and thus, serve as a means of peace and goodwill among people.

The major languages spoken and understood here are Wakhi and Burushaski. Music and cultural dances form a major part of tradition of Gojal. But education and training are still the first priority for most of the residents. Till the 1940s, there wasn’t a single literate person in the village but as awareness spread, importance to education was given and institutions were set up for girls and boys, both.

A big network of Diamond Jubilee Schools has been running since August 1946. The network was established as a result of the request made by a delegation of Ismilis who visited Diamond Jubilee Darbar of Aga Khan III in Bombay. Sir Sultan Mohammed Shah, Aga Khan III,  wrote a letter to the Mir of Hunza for allowing educational facilities for the masses.

Government and Aga Khan Education Services, Pakistan later opened many primary and secondary schools throughout the valley and till now, many youngsters have been educated and shaped into better humans. It is mainly due to the efforts of Aga Khan Education Services that the literacy rate in the villages of Gojal is very high (around 90%).

But it was in January that a massive landslide took place in the central Hunza, which cut off the Karakoram Highway (KKH) for more than half kilometers, and within the few following days, water level rose up to 370ft. A large number of houses and other institutions submerged and left innumerable people without any shelter. Various organizations are working for relief and restoration of the sufferers. The local residents have been having a hard time since this catastrophe befell them and efforts are being made for the rehabilitation of the affected people.

Unfortunately, the Hunza-Gojal area is located on the Attabad fault and therefore, creaks are formed as a result of leakages which can later cause minor earthquakes. Water level has been rising and falling with a little change every time, leaving local people bound with fear and panic. But it is the boldness and courage of people of Gojal and upper Hunza that they are standing against the troublesome waves of Attabad Lake, with hopes high and minds determined to bring back the peace of mind at the earliest.

Note: This article ıs written by a Karachi based girl studying at Aga Khan Higher Secondary School Karachi. Most of her impressions of Gojal are based on media portrayals and her online research. She is particularly impressed by the educational setup in Gojal, Hunza.
The article has been edited for historical facts. Editor

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  1. Good attempt. One thing I noticed. Most of the writers even those learned ones used forget to mention Gojal as an integral part of Hunza with its distinct culture and rich heritage with strategic position in today’s global arena. Appreciable effort on part of the student. One thing that is not clear: why AKES in the region is least susceptible to bring changes especially at top level according to the needs of the time in terms of approaches and ways to replace conventional methods.

  2. thanx to pamirtimes n thnx to anum khan to write n publish the article. the whole story reflects that our area is advertised much more . and in the upcoming years the flow of tourism will be much more than our expectations .

    1. My pleasure! In fact, writing this article was more than just an attempt to throw light on Gojal..I, too, learned a lot. 🙂

  3. ya i agree with mr shamsuddin mohammed and thanks to pamirtimes and thanks to Anum Khan for the job she did. The literacy rate in Gojal is the highest as compare to other regions of Gilgit Baltistan. and AKES did a great job in the past and now i think AKES need some changes in their education system because the quality of all the Diamond Jubilee Schools are not looking examples which the current time require.

  4. Impressive!
    Thanks and keep it up Anum. A very great attempt describing Gojal, the wonder valley.

  5. done a good artical by ANUM KHAN. who reviewed GOJAL . she had discussed every thing from the root level.

  6. Good attenmpt Anum – in addition to what AKES and government has done in education sector – the commitment and motivation of communities in Gojal and their contribution through community based initiatives particularly by setting up English medium schools also deserve recognition and appreciation.
    Gul Kabul

  7. Thanks to all! I am glad the readers liked my little effort. I appreciate your criticisms and opinions.

  8. glad to knw that people around the country are taking intrest in the worst affected area…….thanks for their sympathy.

  9. Good attempt,
    This is just a glance that has been written in this article. There is more to explore as Gojal is very rich in fertility of it’s cultivating land as our forefathers made the current shape of our homeland. It is very famous for production of Potatoes and ofcourse the natural resources that we have which are still to be explored.

    1. Thanks for the information Karim, I am happy you told me what I didn’t know earlier..while Sayeed is also right, I’ve never been there…I wish I would’ve been.

  10. @kareem………..yo rite n this what she wites is seen only television………….she haev never been to hunza gojal

  11. It’s ofcourse very difficult to explore a place based upon news and words of the people Hina. I suggest you to visit Gojal and experience the real importance & essence of the beautiful Valley. I’m not able to find words to appreciate your effort and ofcourse for your concern towards Gojal.
    May your wish come true.

  12. yaarrrrr another marvelous job gud gud gudddddddddddd may Allah bless u 🙂 AMEEN

  13. Hey Anum!!!! you really surprised me…… I d already read this piece of writing but didnt know it is written by a AKHSS khi student. You have got very good writing skills. I also read ur article on daily news e paper……. Hope you got into Pinnacle or ELS…. if not come to me.

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