In the beautiful Chitral district of KPK, reside the Kalasha. A tribe rich in culture and traditions, who speak the beautiful language called Kalasha. The Kalash come from the Dardic family of the Indo-Aryan branch. Their uniqueness is due to their small smallest ethnoreligious community, where the religion practiced is characterized as a form of animism and an ancient version of Hinduism. Recently, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aka UNESCO marked the Suri Jagek, a ritual of minority Kalash tribe, on the list of intangible cultural heritage in need of vital preservation.
On its official website, UNESCO added Kalash on the list that the list features rudiments of living heritage whose survival and sustainability is threatened. UNESCO put Suri Jagek on the list since this art is now becoming extinct especially due to the digital age.
Suri Jagek refers to the traditional climatological, meteorological and astronomical system that helps the Kalash gauge knowledge about it through observing the celestial objects like the sun, moon and how the form shadows on the land.
The term Suri comes from Suraj meaning Sun and jagek refers to observing. Hence Suri Jagek refers to observing the sun, through the sun and movements and the shadows they form on earth, the people skilled in Suri Jagek predict things related to the weather and natural disasters.
Suri Jagek is also used to estimate and measure the suitable time for the sowing of seeds and predict natural disasters and calamities. This is also the foundation of Kalash calendar.
Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) gave the Suri Jagek’s name for nomination as its first ever independent nomination for consideration in this year’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. With everything becoming digitalized so quickly, Suri Jagek is now a dying tradition. On the 13th Session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee held in Mauritius, this decision was made. Pakistan’s delegation was led by Zahid Khan Jatoi who is presently the Pakistan Acting High Commissioner in Mauritius. Other delegates included Naushad Khaliq, Section Officer at the National History and Literary Heritage Division, Islamabad, and Faisal Idris, Education and Cultural Attaché at the High Commission for Pakistan, Mauritius.
Pakistan has a range of diverse cultures, each needs to be cherished, spread and protected.