Z Królestwa SIS: Kalasha – The White Tribe of Pakistan
First Blog on Heritage, Culture and Tourism in Pakistan
The Kalasha of Chitral or simply Kalasha, are an ethnic group living in the Hindu Kush region of Pakistan. They are [probably] an ancient Dard people who speak the Kalasha-mun language, have light skin, eyes, and hair, similar to what one would find in Southern Europe.
Many Kalash claim that they are the direct descendants of either Greek settlers, Alexander the Great’s army, or even Alexander himself. The claims are questionable, as there is proof of their existence before Alexander’s invasion of the Persian Empire.
One theory suggests that similarities in the culture of the Kalasha and Greek people stem from the expansion of Proto-Indo-Europeans.
It is important to note that there is no current connection between the Kalasha of Chitral and the Kalasha of Nuristan. These two populations descend from different branches of the Indo-Iranians, a division that goes back some 5,000 years.
According to linguist [Richard Strand], a professional in this area, the people of Chitral apparently adopted the name of the former Kafiristan Kalasha, who at some unknown time extended their influence into Chitral.
There is still controversy over what defines the ethnic characteristics of the Kalasha and what exactly is their number. An estimate puts current population of ethnic Kalasha around six thousand; who continue to worship their polytheistic gods, while many thousands more have converted to Islam (whether genuine or for economic and social gain), yet still live within the Kalasha villages and maintain their language and their traditional centuries old way of life.