Saturday, September 1, 2018

Gujjars of Pakhtunkhwa

Gujars on Pir-Sar ridge (Shangla district), North West Frontier, January 01, 1926. Photo by Aurel Stein.

"In the Peshawar district almost any herdsman is called a Gujar, and it may be that some of those who are thus returned are not true Gujars by race. But throughout the hill country of Jammu, Chibhal, and Hazara, and away in the independent territory lying to the north of Peshawar as far as the Swat river, true Gujar herdsmen are found in great numbers, all possessing a common speech, which is a Hindi dialect quite distinct from the Punjabi or Pashto current in those parts. Here they are a purely pastoral and almost nomad race, taking their herds up into the highest ranges in summer, and descending with them into the valleys during the cold weather. In Chitral also Gujars are found in the Shishi Kuh valley. ["Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province", Vol-2, p-807]

"The Gujars constitute an instrusive lowland Indian population, speaking a language reminiscent of Panjabi. They are found in the Swat valley in all degrees of assimilation, from truly nomadic pastoralists to Pashto-speaking sedentary shepherds and tenants, called Gujar by reason of descent only. In Swat Kohistan, two main types are found: (1 ) large numbers of nomadic herders utilizing the high valley and mountain pastures in the summer season and spending the winter in Buner or Peshawar District, and (2) scattered permanent settlements of Gujar agriculturalists, either associated with Kohistani villages, or in separate communities. These latter communities are found mainly above Utror in the tributaries to the main valley, and between Kalam and the Torwal area, along the Swat river ". ["Indus and Swat Kohistan--an ethnographic survey by Barth, p-76 ]