Tirah - Winds of Change

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Tirah - Winds of Change, Omar Afridi
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, February 9 2009 (http://www.khyber.org)

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Tirah - Winds of Change

Omar Afridi

Publishing Date: Monday, February 9 2009

History remembers Tirah as the place where conspiracies were hatched against the Mughals, Sikhs and the British and also for some of the famous kidnappings. One of the most famous of which is the 1923 kidnapping of Major Ellis's daughter Molly Ellis from Kohat Cantonment by Ajab Khan Afridi. Tirah is inhabited by both Afridi and Orakzai tribes.

مضبوط مکان
Not a Fort but at least Looking like One

The Enemy a Fox, the Preparation that of a Lion

The people of Tirah are known to give life for the sake of friendship and for taking life in enmity. This is the reason that houses throughout the area resemble forts whether they belong to the rich or poor. These houses have at least two Braj's (One in each corner). These Braj's are needed in case of protecting the house and its household from enemy fire. The men of the household climb onto these Braj's and answer the enemy back with their weapons. It is a common saying here that even if the enemy is a fox, prepare for him the likes of a lion.

پن چکی
Everything in between is Grinded

Flour from which Mill?

Flour from Mills are used everywhere throughout Tirah but still the centuries old 'Chakai' are in use today. The fast flowing water is able to turn heavy but sharp stones of the 'Chakai' very quickly and as a result anything can be grinded. According to a local proverb, the whole world is like a 'Chakai' where every seed will one day fall into it and be grinded.

No Match available for Donkeys and Mules

The Suzuki

Donkeys and Mules are the traditional means for carrying around goods and people through mountains and plains. The local people call these animals Suzuki's.

تعمیراتی مشینری
The Long Neck of an Excavator

Better Late than Never

In the last 25-30 years, very few road construction projects were undertaken in the Non-Afridi areas; partly by the Government and partly on self-help basis by the tribesmen. But after the attacks of US on Afghanistan, development work has been increased at a very fast pace and funding for many projects have already been allocated. Men of the Frontier Works Organisation are now busy expanding the already existing roads and paving others.

بلیک ٹاپ
A Paved Road has Many Uses

Black Top

On 17 May 2003, charcoal was laid for the first time in Sama Bazaar in Mamozai. A paved road will without doubt provide a lot of comfort for travellers especially the injured & sick children or women.

The opponents of these constructions activities say that Tirah is their home and every home is lived by the household and nobody else. With the help of these roads, outsiders will than be able to enter their homes and thus interfere in their internal affairs.

Hours Work in Minutes

Towards Modernization

Engines running on Diesel or Petrol are becoming common over here. These engines help in running saw-mills or flour grinding mills. Chinese made generators & solar panels are also helping in lighting up a few homes. The saw-mills may be able to complete hours of work in minutes but there is danger that the beautiful forests of Tirah may be short-term guests now.

Ya Qurbaaan ...

Food of the Soul:

Songs sung by local singers on the Harmonium and the Dhol may not be that sweet to the ears but they are supposed to give a sense of individuality to a person. Though such things are seldom held but still the people organise music programs for weddings and similar occasions.

بچپن کی شادی
13 & 14 Year Old Brothers Pictured with their Father on their Wedding

Fasting is Farz (Compulsory) so Marriage is Wajib (A Must)

The marriage age for both boys and girls are affixed according to their age of adolescence. If Fasting becomes Farz (Compulsory) on either the boys or girls, then the elders advise the parents that there are bad times ahead so it is better to marry off the children.

In Tribal Society, to avoid blood shed when honour of a girl or family is violated, it is better to get married quickly in order to avoid falling into acts of sin.

علم کی پیاس
Cold Hands

The Quest for Knowledge

However pleasant the cold morning breeze may be in Tirah, it is still very piercing. In this cold weather if a boy is seen with a bag on his shoulder instead of a Kalashnikov, it shows that the people also have the thirst of knowledge.

جمعہ گل
Juma Khan; Ambassador of Gone off Days

The Old

The tradition of wearing the 'Khola' (Afridi Turban) is gradually diminishing. Nowadays, only the old people are seen wearing it. But despite this, walking around with a naked head is strictly forbidden and looked down upon therefore many wear skull caps.

چپلی کباب
Misri Khan's Chapli Kabab have no Match

Misri Khan's Chapli Kabab

Many Mela's (Fairs) are held at numerous places in Tirah. People from every walk of life come to these Mela's from far off places. One such Mela is held in 'Mayidan' where every kind of goods are for sale. The Chapli Kabab is also the favourite food of everybody whether Child, Young or Old.

Water from Mountain Streams at your Doorsteps

Signs of New Age

In the last quarter of a century, the people have brought water from far off streams to their homes with the help of water pipes. While this is a good omen it has some negative aspects at least for the women.

When Islam Badshah Afridi arranged for a water tap for his home, his young girl told him, "You have provided us with water at home but because of this I am not able to meet my friends at the river stream."

تیراہ کے سکھ
Maan Singh Grew up Here and Does Businesss

The Sikhs of Tirah

There are a few Sikh and Hindu families living here since generations. For the past half century, Parchoon Business (General Goods) was solely in the hands of these Sikhs. The reason for this was that the local Pashtun Tribesmen considered it insulting to their stature if they weighed goods.

Wakeel Khan in his Departmental Store

Joblessness Strikes

But the winds have changed their direction. Lack of education and skilled labour have increased joblessness amongst the people. As a direct result of which ordinary Pashtoon Tribesmen have started to take on any opportunity even though it may be Parchoon Stores. Money is the driving force behind this wind.


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Tirah - Winds of Change, Omar Afridi
Published in Khyber.ORG on Monday, February 9 2009 (http://www.khyber.org)