November 6, 2011

Wakhi music: don't doubt strength of bridge to China & Central Asia

The Terrorland Report

THERE are, according to some natives, about 100,000 Wakhi-speaking people in the world today. A large number of them lives in Pakistan; mainly in Gilgit-Baltistan's upper Hunza area known as Gojal and Ishkoman valley in Ghizar district. Some Wakhis also live in Chitral district of Pakhtunkhwa province.

Besides their land of origin, Wakhan, occupied by Afghanistan in 1880, Wakhi people also live in Tajikistan and China. With the start of the 21st century, Wakhis started spreading to other countries especially in Europe, America and Australia. And everywhere they share their Eastern Iranian heritage of the Indo-European language.

Some native Wakhis wrongly present themselves as Tajiks... actually they are not! The Wakhis have their own unique identity. Centuries ago, they dispersed from their country of origin, Wakhan, and settled in those areas permanently, which are currently divided among Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Tajikistan. However, linguistically, the Wakhis enjoy their close relationship with the Pamir group of languages, which have been declared Tajiks in China and Tajikistan officially.

In Pakistan, the military establishment, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), hates Tajiks who, in the 1990's, appeared as the main opposition to the ISI-backed Taliban in Afghanistan.

Like the Iranians and Afghans, the Tajiks speak a dialect of Persian and Wakhi language borrows about 60 percent words directly or indirectly from Persian. So, psychologically, the ISI and its lackeys in the Pakistani media love to spread hatred about Tajiks and Persian language (which is also a form of showing the Sunni-dominated establishment's hatred for the Shia-dominated Iran).

That is why when the poor Hazara people, a tiny peaceful Persian-speaking Shia Muslim minority in the terror-hit Balochistan province, are killed brutally, the M3 military, militants and media keeps mum as if enjoying the barbarism!

The Wakhis in Gojal were attacked by the ISI in a very planned way this year. The military establishment, through its lackeys, is spreading the rumors of another Great Game, saying that the U.S. has set up a military base in Wakhan... so the patriotism of the Wakhi people is put behind a cloud of doubts! Intellectuals say this is a traditional divide-and-rule strategy of the military establishment in Gilgit-Baltistan since 1947.

"The ISI fears the influence of the Wakhi and Balti people as they are international communities in the Central and South Asian regions," says a local on condition of anonymity. "The world has changed but the Pakistan Army has got stuck in the old dirt!"

Instead of fearing or doubting any ethnic or religious group anywhere in Pakistan, the military establishment should take things positively. If the Balti people like songs in their language from India, they should not be considered Indian agents. Similarly, if the Wakhis like Iranian, Afghan, Tajik and Chinese music, this should not be considered a reason to doubt their loyalty to Pakistan or fear their presence in national organizations. The same is with other ethnic and religious groups of Pakistan as had been pointed out in a previous post: Pashto music can improve Af-Pak-US relations!

In the globalized world, the Pakistani generals should broaden their narrow minds! Only then Pakistan can use the Wakhis as a strong bridge to China and Central Asia. Similar is the case with other communities in Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and Azad Kashmir. Don't forget: today we're living in a global village.

Now, let's talk about Wakhi music. Pakistani Wakhi language poet Nazir Ahmed Bulbul is very famous in China, and Chinese artists feel proud to sing his romantic lyrics. Similarly, Sufi poet Asmatullah Mushfiq's Wakhi and Persian poetry is considered a borderless classic in the region. So, instead of instigating hatred among the communities, the Pakistani government should use the diversity to strengthen relations with the neighboring countries as had bee suggested in Balti music can do what the bloody 'strategic assets' can't. 

Duffer generals! 

You don't know how to make diversity our national strength in Pakistan! You have become slaves of your illegal business conglomerates, and that is going to sink like the Titanic if you are not changing your criminal behavior and visionless policies!

Here are some Wakhi and Persian songs as present on the occasion of Eid Mubarak. Enjoy the music plus the food for thought!

1- Zil Band - professional touch to Wakhi music in Gilgit-Baltistan

2- Wakhis of China sing during an official event  

3- Saltanat & Laili sing Pakistani poet Bulbul's Wakhi song in China

4- Wakhi song - Chinese singers performing in Hunza

5- Tajik singers Farzona & Nigora  sing Persian song in Tajikistan

6- Nigor Holova is famous in Iran, Afghanistan, China and Tajikistan

7- Manizza Davlat - Persian song from Tajikistan 

8- Cultural Ambassador - Tajik singer Manizza Davlat in Afghanistan

9- Googoosh - Bollywood has benefited from this Iranian classic

1 comment:

  1. Little is known about Wakhi speakers in Pakistan. The Wakhi community is divided between the border areas around Wakhan corridor in Afghanistan. They inhabit the northern-most valleys of Pakistan. Since the emergence of Tajikistan as an independent state, the young Wakhi-speaking generation started to add ‘Tajik’ to their names. This is the generation that established the ‘Wakhi/Tajik Cultural Association’ in 1991.

    The epithet of ‘Tajik’ is applied to Wakhi speakers by the Uyghur and Chinese in the Xinjiang province. Wakhi speakers in Tajikistan are a part of the diverse linguistic communities of Gorno-Badakhshan. Despite its translocation, the word Tajik has taken root in the local narrative of identity and culture in Gilgit. The new identity marker of Tajik creates ripples in the existing cultural arrangements and power relations. Last month two members from district Nagar and the speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) accused the ‘Wakhi/Tajik Cultural Association’ and organisers of the recently held ‘Silk Route Festival’ of introducing Tajik culture in the region.

    Endeavours by the aforementioned linguistic communities to identify themselves with exogenous lands and personalities will only alienate them from the very land they inhabit. Unfortunately, the existing narratives of identity by different linguistic communities in Gilgit-Baltistan are only uprooting the local people from their own land.

    [ Identity debates - Aziz Ali Dad - The News Int. - Saturday, November 23, 2013 ]