Gojal area of the Karakorum mountains
pakistan
 
GLOSSARY
Pakistan glossary

Muhammad Baig

(PAKISTAN 10)

Sex

male

Age

67

Occupation

farmer/weaver

Location

Shimshal

Date

5 January 2001

 

transcript

Section 1
Muhammad Baig janab (Mr, sir)ís house is located to the north of central Jamat khana (religious and community centre of Ismaili Muslims) Shimshal. During the interview no one except us were present in the house. The atmosphere was quite peaceful, as there were no children in the house. The interview was quite interesting; he narrated his personal experience and knowledge which is as follows.

Where were you born?
Right here.

Correct! It would be nice if you would tell us about your experiences of life?
Iíll tell you about my life. The time was such that there were no facilities available here, neither dress nor shoes were available we would spend life with bare feet. Proper food was also extinct. We had a miserable life. Only pea moch (pea flour soup) and pea dildongi (thick bread cooked in a mud oven) was just available. This was our food. There were no facilities but only poverty. But I also witnessed good days, I experienced the days of prosperity when my parents were alive, we had plenty of livestock and food grain reserves. But after the death of my parents I separated from my brothers. We divided our land into several pieces that resulted in poverty and misery and I started declining because I had insufficient land and livestock to support my family and the agriculture and dairy products were not sufficient to meet our everyday needs. I spent quite a long time in poverty. Now thanks to the Imam of the time who provided us with earning opportunities. Anyhow we earn sufficient to meet our daily needs today and we are in comparably good conditions today. I am no longer capable of travelling with tourists now; my children earn and support the whole family.

When did you start weaving patto (coarse woollen cloth)? And from whom did you learn this skill?
I started this work at the age of 25. Nobody had the skill to weave patto here, my brother Sadar ud Din went to Ghulkin and there he got training for about one year and then returned to the village and started weaving patto. I observed him and learnt. Then I started this work and am continuing it till today. By the way this year I didnít weave, as I received no orders from anyone.
Section 2
Correct.
Otherwise I had been regularly weaving till now.

You learnt this skill with your own interest or you were forced to learn this? What were the circumstances?
I learnt this skill with my own will and interest, because my father would always advise me to acquire a certain skill. Everyone should acquire at least one skill so that they can help each other. When my brother would leave the sakht (loom) for a short break I would sit in his place and would start weaving. At the beginning my work was not so fine and my brother would get annoyed but when I improved he started appreciating me. In this way I learnt the skill completely.

Yes it is a general practice.
When my brother got older I took over his work and started weaving regularly.

Was it profitable for you when you started this work?
Sadar sahib (Mr. president - the interviewer is the ex president of local council of the village)! It was profitable because I was earning my subsistence from the village. We would not prepare food at home. We would get the food from them (those who we were weaving patto for) and would save our own food reserves. The food was quite sufficient for us instead we would invite other people for the food.

Correct... Would the people offer you food in lieu of wages?
Yes they would prepare moch (local soup) for breakfast, molida (local dish; bread mixed with qurut Ė local dried cheese - and butter) for lunch and patock (thick bread baked on an iron plate) for dinner. There was a special food called nari offered before breakfast.

Correct.... You said that you are about 67 years old and you started this work at the age of 25. Was this work more profitable in the past than today?
Sadar sahib! At present people pay us wages. The wages for one patto are about Rs. 200.

Okay
But I think it was more profitable in the past because it would feed the entire family.

Correct.
It is profitable even today, I can buy 2 kilograms of tea out of this money, but it is not as profitable today as it was in the past

Correct... In the past people would pay you in the form of foodstuff but consonant with the need of the time now you charge them money. Who fixes the rate, have you fixed the rate for yourself?
No I did not fix the rate, I accepted whatever people willingly paid me. In this way the rates got fixed.
Section 3
As there are two designs of patto: cheker poodh (partridge footprint) and zaiboki (another weaving design), I think weaving zaiboki is a little bit difficult, is this rate not insufficient? When did you start weaving zaiboki?
Since twenty years I have been weaving zaiboki. It is not so difficult as compared to cheker poodh. The difference is in terms of the structure of the base threads and the weaving thread. In zaiboki the base or background thread are distantly arranged and the weaving threads set in a fine way.

Have you learnt some other skills other than this? Do you weave sharma (local carpet made of yak or goat hair) as well?
Occasionally I weave sharma, but not very often.

Doesnít this work give you physical pain?
Yes, it is like the polo player who sustains pain due to riding the horse; similarly weaving patto causes pain to my body.

Correct... Well, as you did not weave patto this year would you tell us, have the women abandoned making threads or did you quit this job?
No I did not quit this job but women did not make threads for patto. Thus I am relaxing and the women are as well.

Well! It is more than one year since you have woven patto, without this activity how do you spend your time? Are you satisfied?
No I am not happy with the present situationÖI am not disgusted with my profession, but it is beyond my control. Now I have started making thread for people from yak and goatís hair for making sharma and in this manner I earn money.

Well! You make threads, what do you charge per day?
I donít demand - money whatever they give me I accept it; if somebody does not pay me I do not demand.

Well, you do not demand more money. What else do you do other than your profession? Do you have any other skill?
No, I do nothing

Would you please tell that, have you ever visited the city?
Sadar sahib! I be your servant (an expression used for respect(! Iíve been to Karachi.

Correct. Youíve been to Karachi. Why did you visit Karachi?
When I got in an accident with the bus, Amjad took me to Karachi so that my complete medical check up was done.
Section 4
Oh. Yes! God saved your life, otherwise it was a fatal accident and you made a wise decision to go to Karachi for a medical checkup.
Yes sadar sahib.


What is your feeling, is Karachi better than the mountainous area where we live?
The warm weather and comfortable life of Karachi is good. But one thing I feel is that the birthplace is worth loving. I mean my village is the best.

Well! How is the birthplace worth loving, it is severely cold and troublesome life where as in city the weather is warm and good food is available. Still you like your birthplace?
Karachi is suitable for those who are without children and have no family commitments, but I was always thinking about my children and about household works at Shimshal.

Do you like a city life or village life?
Life in the village is peaceful but in the city it is not so. There are tremendous problems in the city for an uneducated person like me. In the city one cannot move freely whereas here in the village I go out in the morning and return home at night without fear and worries, but there are several difficulties in the city.

Have you ever shepherded?
I spent half of my life as a shepherd. I shepherded for yaks only once whereas for several years I looked after goats

Would you please tell us whether being a shepherd, as a profession is good or bad?
Flock keeping is sometimes good and sometimes bad. It is good only if your colleague is a hunter and hunter meat is available in abundance - then it is a comfortable life otherwise it is a tedious job.

Well! You prefer village life to city life and also said that shepherding is a tedious job unless your colleague shepherd is a hunter, whereas SNT (Shimshal Nature Trust) has imposed a ban on hunting. Under such circumstances who will volunteer for herding yaks. Is it not a problem?
Yes it is true.

Is herding an indispensable job? Please comment.
Yes, it is essential because it is part of our tradition and it is very profitable. Livestock is the reference of prestige and honour for us.

As I asked you earlier if you like city life or village life and you agreed that village life is good and livestock farming is profitable and is our tradition. Would you please tell us the advantages of livestock?
Livestock is profitable for us. We make carpets from the hair of goat and yak. From the milk we get fresh butter and local cheese. It meets our meat requirements and then we sell it in the market and earn money.
Section 5
You are the Shogoonpathok (person designated to inaugurate festivals, hereditary position) of our village, when did it transfer to your family?
Possibly it commenced from the time of my grandfather Pehlwan because he was the first Shogoonpathok. Then it changed to Ghazikator (one of the three clans of Shimshal) and when they started committing brutalities it was transferred to us, since then we have performed this job.

For how long have you performed [the role of] Shogoonpathok? How many generations back can you trace it?
We have performed the duties as Shogoonpathok as far back as six generations, that is the first Shogoonpathok in our family was grandfather Dilbar then his son Amir Gul, then Ashor Muhammad then Asghar then my father Amir Gul and then myself.

Is it profitable for you?
No it is not a lucrative nor [is it] a hard job. We only raise our hand and pray to almighty Allah for the betterment of the people. We carry the pathok (offering) and pray for the betterment, safety and prosperity of the people.

Are you satisfied with the responsibility?
Yes I am quite satisfied.

What is the responsibility of shogoonpathok and on what occasion do you perform it?
Sadar sahib! Sadqe jawoon (I may sacrifice my life for you)! At first on the occasion of Shegd-tar-charaman (festival celebrating the moment when the new crop is taken to the threshing field) we would bring drepch (local plant used as a cleaning brush) from the mountain for the cleaning of the threshing field. Then on the occasion of Tagam (sowing ceremony) we bring green branches of juniper tree from the mountains and distribute it among the people. Part of the branches are taken to the house where all the senior men of the village gather and the branches are set on fire with the help of dry wood and smoke is produced which is known as toman. Then all the people go to the sowing field where a mass offering and prayers precede the sowing of seeds. Then people start sowing seeds in their respective fields, whereas all the women and men gather in one field and collectively launch formal cultivation activities.

Well: Besides Tagam, what other festivals does our culture contain?
There is Kethedith festival, which means welcoming the spring season and retiring from the cold winter, on this occasion a special plant is transported from the mountain for the cleaning of houses. On the occasion of this festival people of each sub clan visit turn by turn the houses of their respective sub-clans and take food together. Nauroz (New year festival celebrated on March 21) follows this festival.

Nauroz means New Year or the first day of the year?
Yes, and on this occasion a big offering in the name of God is arranged and then people are invited to the houses of their respective sub-clans called skoyian.
Section 6
Are there any more festivals?
Yes, Chaneer (harvest festival) and then many more similar festivals. Yes there is a festival called Vichhosh (outdoor soup festival). The festival is such that for about forty days the sun moves beyond the high mountain and half of the village remains in complete shadow resulting in severe cold. After 40 days of shadow sunlight covers the entire village, which is called yeer har yupk (sun light falling on the water). This indicates the decline of winter and brings happiness to the people. As a token of thanks people prepare soup at their homes and bring it to the Jamat khana and share it.

Muhammad Baig janab! Would you like to tell us, when did these festivals originate?
Probably, from the time of our forefather Sher.

No, he was the only son of his father.
Then probably, from the era of Sherís five sons.

Correct... Do we celebrate these festivals in a better way today as compared to the past?
No they were celebrated in the past with zeal and enthusiasm. Now people celebrate them thoughtlessly in a cheap way. In former times these used to be occasions of immense importance in our cultural beliefs.

Is the present custom of marriages better than the past? Would you please comment?
Sadar sahib! The first stage of the marriage ceremony was the formal betrothal ceremony, which was attended by the whole clan followed by the necklace tying ceremony. On this occasion the people of the entire village would attend the function and were served with three deg (cast iron cooking pot; 100 litre capacity) of molida. Then thin flat breads called nigan were prepared for about three days and then poor people like me would prepare 5 or 6 deg of beth (local dish, wheat flour mixed with butter, water and salt served with mutton) with equal numbers of goats slaughtered and rich people like you (interviewer) would prepare 9 or 10 deg of beth with equal numbers of goats slaughtered. One deg of beth at the time of the bridegroomís departure was in addition to that. The bridegroom would make an overnight stay at his in-laws house and the big meal was served there to the entire villagers and the surplus food was distributed to all the households [in one skuin or the entire community] was called khona bakhsh. The next day the bridegroom with bride would return to his house. Again at the time of departure one deg of beth was served to the people and then the bridegroom would arrange the big meal with the same amount specified above for the entire community and the surplus food was again distributed among the households in the village. In the evening in both the houses people were invited to a meal known as Mehmani (banquet for guests). Then the next morning the same guest meal was repeated and with this the marriage ceremony would come to an end. This was the procedure of the banquet of a marriage.
Section 7
Was there any special dress for the marriage occasion?
A few rich people like you would afford new clothes on the marriage occasion and other people would borrow the shirts from them and would wear chugha (long woollen overcoat) over them. This was the typical dress worn on marriage occasions.

In your view what is the difference between old and modern marriage customs? Were the old marriage customs better than today?
No, the old system was very expensive, excess food was prepared on marriage occasions, but at present the expenses have drastically been reduced and the marriage ceremony is performed with simplicity. The saving thus made is being spent on philanthropic activities. Irrigation channels, trekking paths, huts and bridges have been constructed out of these savings. In my view the modern system of marriage is good.

With reference to the philanthropic activities, have your grandfather, your father or any of your family members rendered?
Yes, in the name of my father we constructed a bridge and a trek at Paryen, which was reconstructed by Bashi.

Correct... Is nomus (donation towards community project in the name of a relative) beneficial or a wastage of resources?
The expenses made without purpose are a wastage of resources but if it is offered in the name of God with an objective it is beneficial.

Through the act of nomus the problems of the people are addressed by constructing irrigation channel, bridges, trek and huts etc. Is nomus beneficial or a wastage of resources for those who perform nomus?
Apparently it is a wastage of resources and there is no benefit but in the real sense he earns a good name and fame in society through nomus.

We talked about various topics right from the marriages to nomus, now let us discuss the dress. What major differences have you observed between the old and modern dresses, which dress was good?
The dress we would use in the olden times was prepared by us manually. That would cost us almost nothing. But today we use a variety of clothes purchased by payment. Only those with a handsome amount can purchase it, but for me it is too expensive and we cannot afford it.

Well! In former times, clothes were not purchased on payment and people would work hard but today we do not work hard and still purchase expensive dresses on payment. Was that era better than the modern time?
The modern era is the best and a lovely era but our young generation does not work hard but in the old times people were diligent.
Section 8
You weave patto, why do you work so hard?
I am not a diligent man and my wife is also dead. Now my daughters and my daughter-in-law do not know how to make threads then how could I make patto? Today the wool available is used to make quilts and the rest of the wool is packed and dumped in the store.

Correct... Were the people in former times more cooperative than today?
Yes the people in former times were more cooperative than today.

What was the goodness of the people in olden times?
The peculiarity of those people was their unity, the cooperation extended to each other and the interaction but today it is not like that.

Dear grandfather! Would you like to tell us about the institutions in the village? Are these institutions beneficial?
Yes the institutions are beneficial. Since the time of their formation, these institutions are helping to mitigate the difficulties and hardships of the people. We are living a comfortable life because the institutions are working hard for us.

In the olden times when there was a dispute how was it resolved?
All the people would gather in the charaman (threshing ground) of your maternal uncle and the issues were discussed among them and decisions were jointly taken.

Was the judgement system fair in ancient times or in the present time? Which institutions are available for such purposes today?
The procedure of arbitration is more ordered and impartial today. It takes place confidentially under the institution whereas in ancient times people would favour each other and would further exaggerate the dispute, and the judgements were sometimes quite unfair.

Is the Governmentís judiciary system better than our institutions?
No our own institutions are trustworthy.

You said that disputes were resolved in my maternal uncleís place. Would they fix /impose a penalty or were simple mediations made among the parties?
For big offences there was a big penalty like a yak or an ox but for minor offences there would be small fines such as a goat etc. That fine was then presented to the Mir (rulers of Hunza state up to 1974) at Hunza, he would take the fine.

Would you please tell us, that some people possess more livestock than others, why is there this difference?
It depends on personal efforts, those who work hard get more livestock. God rewards them and people like me who do not struggle, posses few livestock.
Section 9
What are the differences between those who possess more and those who possess less livestock and those who do not possess any at all?
Those who possess more livestock have more income hence profit and those with less livestock have less income and those without livestock have no income from dairy products but they can purchase or borrow butter and cheese from others when they are in need. People assist each other.

Well: Shireen poop (dear grandfather)! How would people travel when there were no bridges and jeep roads?
It was the era of atrocity and we were helpless. We would cross the rivers and trek over the mountains to reach our destinations.

The jeep road is in progress, what changes do you expect from the linkage of the jeep road?
When the road links the village it will bring with it prosperity, opportunities and earning sources. Some years back it was a dream for us to reach the destination without fording the river but it is a reality today. Now we sit in a jeep and cover half of the way comfortably, still I wish that when that day would come when I will reach my village by jeep I will still be alive.

May God keep you safe; it is hardly two years to link our village and we will then travel by jeep everywhere we want. The linkage of the road has certain advantages and disadvantages. How do you perceive the impact of the road on our society?
It will bring prosperity at the cost of disunity and destruction of moral values. It will facilitate multiple sources of income and then people will not care for each other. The poor will get closer to God as a result of prayers and the wealth will drive the rich to luxury and arrogance.

You told that the poor thank God and the rich will not. I submit that those who have less material comforts will not be poor, but poor will be those who despite possessing wealth have further lust for more and more wealth and are never satisfied. The linkage of the road will result in prosperity due to an influx of tourists, what is your impression about that? Please comment.
The road will provide several facilities. People from different backgrounds will come to the village and possibly destroy our peacefulness and that would create problems.

Yes quite right. Would you tell us what changes you experienced in your lifetime?
When I started travelling, first of all I trekked to the down valley over the top of Wayeen (pass( then a trail was constructed at Arbob wayeen, which facilitated the trek. Then the government constructed a pony trek, which further relaxed the journey hardships. Now a jeepable road is in progress, this has further relaxed the journey. These many changes I witnessed. But God knows better what will happen in the future, but in terms of the road, rapid change has been taken place and now everything is easily available at Gilgit, Passu and Hunza.
Section 10
You told that a lot of development and change has taken place in the village. Has it had an adverse impact on the community?
No the very positive development hopefully will not harm the community and many positive changes are expected in the coming years.

Correct. What is the impact of AKRSP (Aga Khan Rural Support Programme)? Please give you views.
We learnt a lot from the AKRSP, we learnt how to work, and we learnt how to save money. AKRSP suggested the most basic solutions to our problems. It imparted the idea of plantation [of trees] to the people and provided us with the plants. Now AKRSP is constructing the road to our village.

Did AKRSP impart the knowledge of plantation or did it already exist?
Yes Mr. President! Wise people had planted trees and many people are self sufficient in terms of plantation but for ignorant people like me AKRSP provided the guidance for plantation. It has many advantages. Now we imitate each other in planting more and more trees. For me, neither my father nor my grandfather had planted trees.

You say that now we follow each other in plantation, then why didnít the earlier people follow each other?
Due to ignorance and lack of knowledge they didnít follow each other, they didnít plant trees. Now the knowledge and awareness has increased as compared to that time.

Are the rules and regulations enforced in the village favourable today or it was better in the past?
No, at present effective rules and regulations have been enforced in the village. The rules and regulations have improved the working. So it is the best era and the best working rules are in practice.

What were the practices on death occasions? Is there any difference between the customs in ancient times and today?
Sadar Sahib! I may sacrifice myself for you: I will mention the customs in ancient times which are such that in our ancestorsí time there were a lot of expenses on death occasions. As far as I recollect, five deg of beth with five goats and five deg of dalya (coarsely pounded grain mixed with mutton) were prepared.

These were prepared on Chiragh day (religious event performed on the third day after death).
Yes it was prepared on the Chiragh day. Then for the rajvandak (preparing a grave with dressed stone and mud) there was substantial expense, three deg of beth with an ox or four goats were slaughtered. These funeral expenses were unjust for the poor. People would sell their agricultural land to meet the funeral expenses. Later on the expenses decreased to one deg of beth, one goat and one deg of dalya. Now this has further reduced to one deg of dalya with one sheep. With the kind guidance of Imami Zaman (leader of the time) the customs have become quite simple and affordable.
Section 11
What would people do when they fell ill?
As far as I remember, the soup of turnip, qeech (local medicinal plant) and yeenat (wild cherry) were used to cure the patients. Except this local treatment nothing was available to cure the patients.

Which diseases were normally cured with this local medicine?
The diseases cured with these local medicines were kazik (typhoid), khala (back and chest pain) and for temperature.

What medicine was used for stomach pain?
For stomach pain nothing was available.

Do you think that the death rate today is higher then that in the past?
No, the death rate has decreased compared to the past. Once, many people died of diarrhoea. It was so severe that everyday we would bury two or three dead bodies. It inflicted a heavy loss on the community. In another incident many people died of throat infection. But today by the grace of Allah the birth rate dominates the death rate.

In your view, what is the reason of decrease in death rate?
The most modern way of treatment is available and people only die their natural death but in the past they would die with out treatment.

You mean that people died in the past for lack of treatment and the development of medical science has decreased the death rate.
My Shireen dada! What is the happiest and unforgettable moment of your life?
Sadar sahib! I came across happiness in my life, but the accidental death of my younger brother in his youth shattered my life and made me forget all happiness in my life. It was so shocking that till today I couldnít forget his death.

Correct. When and what kind of accident did he have?
Sadar Sahib! I may sacrifice for you: My brother was carrying military equipment and on the way to Passu, he went down to the stream of Dikut near Shaheen bridge to fetch water, suddenly he slipped and fell down to the nullah (gorge). The gorge was not accessible so nobody tried to rescue him. Later on his dead body was found at Passu and buried at Tapopdhan near Passu.

As he died on duty, did the government pay you compensation or did you claim insurance from the government?
Sadar Sahib! It was the era of the state and the Mir was ruling the state. We had informed Mir about the incident of my brotherís death while carrying out the government duty but we didnít get any compensation. God knows better, the Mir may have claimed the insurance but we donít know anything about it.
Section 12
Had you informed the Mir of Hunza about the nature of your brotherís accident?
Yes we had informed the Mir about the accident but we got no feedback

The death of your brother must have been an unforgettable incident and you sustained irreparable loss but quite a long time has been lapsed so far, I think you should now forget the incident. Have there been any other unforgettable incidents?
No, nothing; at the moment I cannot recollect any such incident.

What is your point of view about education?
Education is very important; those who acquire education make more progress in life than the illiterates and are honoured by society.

What do you have planned for the education of your children?
What can I think about the education of my children, poverty is the main hindrance - I cannot afford the educational expenses of my children. I picked my elder son from school just for the reason that I was no longer able to travel as a porter and earn money. Now he treks with tourists and earns money, which meets our day to day expenses. The younger son is staying with Amjad Ali in Karachi, if he worked hard he may become an educated man otherwise he will be spoiled.

Yes he should work hard and communication and the sources of earning will also increase with the linkage of the road to our village, and your elder son is also assisting you. So you must educate your younger son and fulfil his genuine needs, donít shift the responsibilities entirely on Amjad. You must struggle for educating him.

I would like to ask you as to what kind of foods were used in former times? Were these foods better than the foods today?
Sadar sahib! In former times, daw daw (soup) was used for breakfast and thick bread from pea flour was commonly made and the rich people would also make breads from wheat floor in addition for lunch and the same bread for dinner. Those who were well off would prepare mutton or vegetables. But those who could not afford meat or vegetables would take the dry crispy bread.

Were you satisfied with that food or unhappy?
That was the best available food at that time and there was no choice. We were compelled to take that food. But with the passage of time our food changed and now we use a variety of foods.

In your opinion was the old food better than the modern food?
No. The present food is better than the food in the past.
Section 13
What is the essential quality of modern food?
We would live within the resources that we would produce from our fields; we would not import food because there was no road link. Now the construction of the road has facilitated the importation of rice, pulses etc from down country (the rest of Pakistan). It is for this reason that the food has improved and people take better food as compared to the past.

It is said that the people in the past lived very a long life as compared with today. In your view what was the reason of longevity in the past?
I canít say for sure. Probably more physical exertion and improper food has reduced the longevity of people today. But I donít know exactly.

You asserted that people take better food today. But most of the people today are of the idea that the food we import from the down country is contaminated and causes several diseases where as the old food was pure. What is your opinion about it?
Yes it is true that the food we import today is contaminated whereas in former times we would use pure food produced from our own resources.

What is your idea about agriculture? In former times we were self-sufficient in agricultural products but today people import foodstuff from down country. Is it due to lack of interest and hard work in the agricultural sector?
Sadar Sahib! In former times fertiliser was dependent on the number of livestock, those who possessed more livestock would make more fertiliser and would cultivate more fertile fields hence yielding more production per unit area, but most of the people had less production due to lack of fertiliser. Although people make more fertiliser and apply sufficient fertiliser in addition, chemical fertilisers to the extent of 3 or 4 bags are also applied to each field. Then instead of timely watering of their fields they go on treks with tourists and the crops die for lack of water hence they get meagre production from their fields. If they work hard in their fields they would get more production and would not import foodstuff from down country. Sadar sahib! That is all I think about.

Correct... Instead of working in the fields why do people go after tourists?
Farm work is profitable but demands more labour. Therefore people donít like it; they prefer to carry loads in order to earn more money so that they can get tea and expensive clothes out of this money. I think it is the reason that people prefer trekking with tourists than working in the fields.

Which sector in your view is more profitable, tourism or agriculture?
I think agriculture is more profitable than tourism because tourism is seasonal and is not year round and is also dependent on the socio-political situation of the country. Whereas agriculture is like a fountain that gives a uniform flow all year round. Similarly the income from livestock and employment is uniform throughout the year like agriculture.
Section 14
Now again you asserted that agriculture is more profitable, then why do people travel with tourists instead of working in the fields?
Shireen Sadar sahib! It is a kind of magic. Easy and more earning is an act of magic; people have got spellbound by money. Those who work consistently in the fields are more satisfied. It is of no use to those people who cultivate their fields but do not look after their crops and roam around with tourists, returning to their home after a month or two. They deem agriculture as laborious and pay less attention to the agriculture.

You said that agriculture is more profitable but the fact is that, irrespective of the number of livestock and agricultural land, everyone runs after the tourists. In your opinion what are the reasons?
Yes it is correct. People want to earn more and it is the law of nature that if one gets more money he doesnít stop it instead he desires for more and more.

It is true that tourism brings more money to the community, which is beneficial to the community. Do you think that tourism has some negative impacts on the society?
Sadar sahib! Why not, there is negative impact from tourism on the community as well. The way people earn money easily they also spend it the same way on useless things like drugs etc or in a wrong way and by the next season they are already indebted.

You talked about extravagancy but I mean that in addition to the benefits we earn from tourists what are the negative impacts that are likely to influence the community?
Yes there are both advantages and disadvantages of tourists. The tourists who visit the area come mostly from the advanced western countries and they are not properly dressed which our society doesnít allow. These people also bring with them several kinds of diseases and our young guides and porters travel with them and there is high risk of transformation of the diseases for which our youth should be very careful.
Furthermore due to more earning from the tourists our economic condition has changed and now the difference between rich and poor is diminishing. Prior to this, people would purchase their daily commodities from the shops at Hussaini, Gojal on credit. And at the end of the year the shopkeeper would come to Shimshal and would choose the best goat and sheep from the flock, which was normally twice as expensive as the cost of the loan. Now tourism has released us from that situation. Now we meet our needs instantly.