By Karim Khan Saka
Hunza valley has been a princely state for centuries, until its voluntarily annexation with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Through the course of history despite its isolated geographical location, the people of hunza have always been living with honor and dignity. Even though three different languages are spoken here, three ethnic groups cohabitate in this paradisaical valley but the history witnesses that they have been living like a bouquet of diverse flowers harmoniously bunched. They share a rich culture, a strong value, a highly educated society. Hunza, for its education, its peace and its culture is recognized as a beautiful face of Pakistan.
Since Hunza valley is the gateway to CPEC, the people of Hunza are well aware of their responsibilities towards their country. It is not something new to them, for a long period of time the same valley was a gateway to the famous Silk Route connecting China and Central Asia. The only difference between then and now is quite obvious. At the time while Hunza was gateway to Silk Route, nobody from other parts of the country came to bother them. Caravans used to pass and merchants did not install themselves in Hunza. But now measuring the opportunities of CPEC, different people with their own cultures and ideologies form south are flocking into this beautiful and peaceful valley which somehow perturbates and imbalances the local people.
The opportunity of tourism and CPEC is going to be challenging for them. Here is glimpse of a cultural damage that unbelievably occurred in Hunza.
Almost the majority of people a couple of days ago went through a shocking photo that has gone viral on social media, where some unknown ‘relief’ is distributed among the village women. At first sight we thought it was a photo of students passing an examination sitting at the degree college’s ground with a wonderful backdrop of majestic Rakaposhi but with a closer zoom the photo jolted us with irony that there were not students but the respected mothers wearing clean clothes and sitting on the dusty ground each behind a bag of so called relief!
Their sitting discipline, the line and length was arranged in a way as if military cadets are regimented. Whatever relief it was and whoever brought it to Hunza, its first priority was merely publicity, photo session and showing off. Its second objective may be humiliating the innocent, audacious, hard-working, self sufficient people of Hunza. The people who hate begging are pushed towards beggary in an organized way. What a shame!
We cannot claim that everyone in Hunza is rich, there are deserving people too and they need to be helped. But the real and true relief does not need that kind of weird publicity.
Hunza has a strong community system; they have a network of volunteers, scouts and other social welfare organizations where they always keep a perfect calculation and survey of the population in each village. They were capable of distributing that relief door to door either it could be distributed among the male householders. But unfortunately the mode of distribution of that package had a spectacular flaw. It was a total humiliation…
We don’t blame the cause of the relief, maybe it was a pure gesture from the donor but the way it was distributed and publicized has caused an intense dislike and abhorrence in the community. We do hope that leaders of the community will not let any gap, where individuals or organizations from outside could take advantages misusing the simplicity and fidelity of the Hunzukutz.
We need the youth and leaders of Hunza to be more cautious and to be stronger in safeguarding their identity and culture.