Jubilation – Salgirah Mubarak | Gojal: 23rd October (Mawlana Hazar Imam’s first visit to the Northern Areas) celebrated with traditional zeal and zest

Ismailimail is excited to share Pamir Times’ account of the annual festivities of Salgirah commemorating the anniversary of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s first visit to Northern Areas of Pakistan.

The Ismaili community in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region considers the arrival of their present Imam, the Aga Khan IV, in the 1960s, as a landmark event which paved ways for progress and development in the region.

The speakers said that the current generation cannot fathom the hardships being faced by the people in the past. They said that the region’s economic condition was worst and there were no facilities for education, health and other needs of life

Speakers said that the region which could not find people to read and write letters 50 years back has now been able to obtain almost hundred percent literacy, while the facilities for health and other needs of life have improved significantly.

Salgirah Mubarak - GojalPamir Times Report. Published Oct 23, 2014 Photographs: Mirbaz Mir

Gulmit, October 23: The community in Gulmit, the Tehsil headquarters of Gojal Valley (Upper Hunza), celebrated 23rd of October as a day to remember the first arrival of the Ismaili Muslims’ leader, Shah Karim Al-Hussaini, Aga Khan IV.

Children, youth and the elders turned out in large numbers to celebrate the day. Kids presented skits and tableaus, while elders highlighted aspects of life before 1960.

The speakers said that the current generation cannot fathom the hardships being faced by the people in the past. They said that the region’s economic condition was worst and there were no facilities for education, health and other needs of life. The elders urged the youth to reflect on the past and prepare for the future, which is likely to be even more challenging, despite of the presence of opportunities.

The Ismaili community in the Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region considers the arrival of their present Imam, the Aga Khan IV, in the 1960s, as a landmark event which paved ways for progress and development in the region.

Speakers said that the region which could not find people to read and write letters 50 years back has now been able to obtain almost hundred percent literacy, while the facilities for health and other needs of life have improved significantly.

Those who spoke at the occasion inlcuded Alwaeez Muhammad Aslam, numberdar Shahgul Aziz, Sharif Khan President regional council for Hunza and Muhammad Arif, among others.

Young poets also held a Mushaira on the occasion, using light and serious peotry to raise important social and economic issues of the region. Students from various schools performed a march-past, saluting the national flag and the community’s flag.

A large number of women, children and elderly were present at the ceremony.

Similar colorful and soulful ceremonies are being held across the region in different villages to commemorate the first arrival of His Highness the Aga Khan to the region; which is now clad in beautiful colors of autumn.

Learn more and preview photos of jubilant murids at PAMIR TIMES | Voices of the Mountain Communities – Gojal: 23rd October celebrated with traditional zeal and zest

Earlier & Related at Ismailimail:


Additional Details on Aga Khan Development Network’s (AKDN) Rural Development Activities in Northern Pakistan

Before the Karakorum Highway was built in the late 1970s, the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral were isolated from the rest of Pakistan. Most people lived from subsistence agriculture. When AKDN first came to the area, it made community mobilization, experimentation and innovation hallmarks of the early programme. Later, when solutions were found for development challenges, these programmes scaled up with the help of national and international partners.

Often described as a process of “learning by doing”, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) approach of working in partnership with communities has made remarkable changes in the lives of the 1.3 million villagers who live in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan region – among some of the highest mountain ranges of the world, including the Karakorum, Himalayas, Hindukush and Pamirs.

Most of these beneficiaries are widely dispersed across a region covering almost 90,000 square kilometres, an area larger than Ireland. Among many notable achievements have been a significant increase in incomes, the construction of hundreds of bridges, irrigation channels and other small infrastructure projects, the planting of over 30 million trees and reclamation of over 90,000 hectares of degraded land, the mobilization of over 4,500 community organizations and the creation of savings groups which manage over US$8 million.

Perhaps the most impressive achievement has been its pioneering community-based, participatory approach to development. For over 30 years, AKRSP has successfully demonstrated participatory approaches to planning and implementation of micro-level development in rural areas, including the mobilization of rural savings and provision of micro-credit; the application of cost-effective methods for building rural infrastructure; natural resource development; institution and capacity building; and successful partnership models for public-private sector initiatives.

The development model adopted by AKRSP has itself been widely replicated both within AKDN and outside it. A network of Rural Support Programmes now exists all over the country with the mandate to design and implement strategies for alleviation of rural poverty. In South Asia and other parts of the world programmes based on this model have been set up to promote grassroots development through involvement of local communities.

Accolades

AKRSP has received a number of awards, including the 2005 Global Development Awards for Most Innovative Development Project. The award, which was announced at the Seventh Annual Global Development Conference held in St. Petersburg, Russia on 20 January 2006, was given to the development projects that were judged to have the greatest potential for benefiting the poor in developing countries. For more information, please see the Global Development Network website.

It also received an Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy, or “Green Oscar”, for its programme of mini-hydels, or micro-hydroelectric plants, in the Northern Areas and Chitral. The Ashden Award cited the AKRSP for the sustainable and eco-friendly solution: “Unlike dams, which invariably damage the local eco-system, the micro-hydel technology used by AKRSP involves simply digging a narrow channel to divert water along a hillside and into a pipe, creating enough pressure to turn a turbine and so produce 20 -100kw of power.” The impact in areas off the electricity grid has been significant. Over 180 micro-hydel units supplying electricity to 50 percent of the population of Chitral have been built. The projects are implemented, maintained and managed by the communities themselves.

Discover, Explore and Learn more at AKDN: Country Focus – Pakistan and AKF: Country Summary – Pakistan


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