Tuesday, September 27, 2005


Changing Social Trends in Hunza
Societies are bound to change. change is just the matter of time. When the right time and right situations emerge changes set in at a rapid pace. The same seems to have happened to Hunza. Hunza of 1970, when compared to Hunza of 2005, shows startling contrast. Literacy rate has increased at an astonishing rate. Economic conditions have also changed rapidly. People have more to earn and more to spend. More and more people are getting jobs. The chances of getting education have increases immensely and so has the access to health and other basic human facilities.
The society as a whole has progressed which is a very positive sign for the future of the region. Almost all villages have access to clean water and every village has basic health facilities. There are schools in almost all the villages. Shimshal, the remotest village of Hunza, which had been disconnected from rest of the world, has now got a truckable road. All the villages are connected throug mostly Kaccha roads. The life line for Hunza is the Karakurum Highway (KKH). KKH links all parts of Hunza to each other. All these developments show that Hunza is progressing. Thanks to AKDN and the brave and wise locals.
Hunza may never have been the same had there been a refusal to these changes from the masses. We shall analyze the situation in Chilas and Darel. There are educated and enlightened leaders but the masses, who are mostly illiterate, are against all sorts of changes. And thus all NGOs, and in some cases even the government, face hostile reaction. Hunzai elders, though most of them were not lettered, did not refuse or rebel to any change. There is a very strong reason for that, and that is their spiritual affiliation with His Highness the Aga Khan. His Murids, as most of the Hunzai's are, could not have refused to the directives and initiatives of their spiritual mentor. And thus came the social evolution.
Although i have used the word evolution, I think that does not correctly describe the situation in Hunza. It is more like a revolutionary evolution and thus it comes with many side effects. The abrupt rise in literacy level has created unemployment and hence there is a visible unrest in the youth of the region. High levels of stress and uncertainity has resulted in the creation fo social problems. People have started using drugs. Alcoholism has abruptly increased. China made Haraq, as the locals call it, has engulfed the whole society from Mayoon to Kilik. The most diturbing factor is that influential poeple of the region have started trading wine and alcohol. They are making high profits but the social and moral values are constantly dwindling. conflicts have surfaced. There is an unrest.
Just today a friend and cousin of mine, Nizar,20, returned from my village bringing stories of how the juvenile and the elders are getting indulged in alcoholism. Nizar said that the hotel of Raja Shehbaz Khan, who is the Member of District Council and hence an influential figure, is used for trading China made Alcohol. A bottle, according to him, costs PKR 300. The Chinese engineers and workers who are repairing the KKH, are selling Shararb, of course with the aashirvad of the MDC.
The sorry state of matter is that there has not been any effort by the educated people of the society for curbing this evil. " Young students of 15-16 years are getting alcohol without much resistance", said Nizar. Underage sale is a crime and thus forbidden by the government. Yet, under the nose of the local Police and other government officials, the Tehsildar, this crime is going on unchecked.
This, I belive, is not the story of Gulmit, my village, only. The same goes on in almost all villages from Mayook to Kilik.

Gulzar, a flamebuoyant friend of mine, accused the AKDN and other Imamati organizations for being lethargic and having no vision for the region. But I feel that instead of accusing and blaming others, why not shall the soceity itself rise against this evil! After all that is the essense of a civil society. How could our enlightened and educated society undermine such a horrific social issue!

Has our society gotten that civil! Is our society as hollow as it had been in the past? Our material progress is the courtesy of the funds supplied by AKDN, UN, EU and other donor agencies. What have we, ourselves, done so far for improving our social conditions?


اگر ممکن ہے تو اپنا تبصرہ تحریر کریں

اہم اطلاع :- غیر متعلق,غیر اخلاقی اور ذاتیات پر مبنی تبصرہ سے پرہیز کیجئے, مصنف ایسا تبصرہ حذف کرنے کا حق رکھتا ہے نیز مصنف کا مبصر کی رائے سے متفق ہونا ضروری نہیں۔

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