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    Shotkhar…………………. Zahid Ali Nizari              

    Starting from the vast land of Kaghlasht, the TorkhowTehsil in Upper Chitral comprises of these villages: Istaru;Wehrkop; Ryeen; Shahgram; Mehlp; Shotkhar; Mayar; Buzund; Wazam; Boop; Washich; Lamkushum; Sholkhanj; Shuchanlasht; Yakhdeez; Khot; Rabat; Khashun; Zanglasht; Ujnu; and Rech. All these villages have their own peculiarities and unique identity. However, this essay focuses on my native village i.e.Shotkhar.

     

     

    Shotkhar is a village worth seeing, in Tehsil Torkhow. In remote past it was known for life threatening scarcity of water; however at present, the village enjoys, in addition to other bounties, water from which both fields and people quench their thirst. There are three main channels for irrigation water here: the BoopXoi, which originates from a neighbouring village, Boop,;NoghXoi (translated the New Canal); and AdrakhoXoi (the Highland Water Canal), satisfying the thirst of the Upper Shotkhar. This last mentioned canal originates from Uju, Khot.

     

     

    Now let us come to the neighboring areas. To the eastern part of Shotkharare the hilly grazing areas and private farmlands. To the north east is Lamkushum; to the north, Boop; to the North West, Wazam; to the West is Mayar; and to the south, the headquarter of Torkhowi.e.Shahgram.

     

     

    As for facility of drinking water,iIn 1998, water pipeline system was arranged from an area named Ormu, situated across the hillside on the east. Ormu is famous for a fierce fight,Ormuo Zhang (theOrmu Battle), fought in the past between the local community and invaders from other places.

     

    Only a year or so ago, drinking water was brought from Hunkut, lower Khot, from special fund from the Chief Minister’s Grant. This scheme was worth one crore forty one lac rupees, and was completed in a period of only two months. It was inaugurated by MPA, Ms. BibiFouzia. The residents of the village are indebted to PTI government, especially to Chairman Mr. Minhajuddin for the services he renders to them.

     

     

    Majority of the population belongs to Shia Imami Ismailia community ________ more than 80 percent; the rest follows the Sunni Hanafi School of Thought. Both the communities have lived here for centuries in perfect peace and harmony, sharing their joys and sorrows giving each other a hand of support through thick and thin. They are actively engaged in community work with the commendable spirit of unity and cooperation.  Thus the life of the Shotkharechies is a model of Interfaith Harmony. Long live, spirit of brotherhood!

     

     

    People of various clans and origins inhabit Shotkhar. They are: Sheghneie; Zondre; Khybere; Dashmane; Pininshohe; and Baike. The tribe who came here and settled here before any other tribe came to reside here, is the Sheghneie. The forefather of the Sheghneie clan and the first person, who came here as an immigrant from Sheghnan, Badakhshan, was, according to oral traditions, Qarawul. He is the Great Grandfather of the Qarawulay branch of the Sheghneie tribe. He settled the central part of Shotkhar, named Deh, also called Qaraulandur.

     

     

    Shotkharganisher ma hardiazhaghaMarkhazaDeh ma Qarawulaanhasiran       (Nizari)

    The village comprises of these hamlets: Nasodur; Daghar; Deh; Shuchkham; Shekhanandur; Laghandur; KharbuzanlashtPosheriandur; Shohandur; and Khotekandur. Shekhanandur is named after a saint, Sheikh Baba Khaki (RahmatullahAlaihe), whose monument is still present here, and is known as Quran Bohrtu) _____ the image of the Holy Quran, naturally inscribed in a stone.

     

     

    The dwellers of Shotkharare industrious people, who are rendering services various fields of life such as Education, Pak Army, Police Force, Chitral Scouts, Frontier Corpse etcetera. Some also work abroad in various positions. They have an extraordinarily rooted love for hard work, which has been exuded at public level.

     

     

    They are also education loving, and attach paramount importance to seeking of knowledge and wisdom. For the ostensible purpose of educating the people, there are four Alma Maters in Shotkhar: Government Primary School for Boys, Shotkhar; Government Primary School for Girls, Shotkhar; Government Middle School for Girls, Shotkhar; and Community Based School, Shotkhar. Some of the students satisfy their thirst for knowledge from the Aga Khan Middle School Buzund and Salik Public School, Shagram.

     

     

    Recently a new classroom has been constructed in the GGMS Shotkhar in order to meet the ever increasing number of students. It was also funded by the PTI government, and cost as much as 8 lakh rupees. Also, the boundary wall of GGPS Shotkhar, which had collapsed, has been renovated/ repaired. The credit for this also goes to the PTI government, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

     

     

    For cure of ailments, there stands the Aga Khan Health Centre, stretching its hands of support and generosity in order to say ‘Get Well!” it provides facilities in the field of heath. It creates awareness about adequate preventive measures and provides treatment facilities at their doorstep.The people of the village have always grateful and acknowledge the health services. It provides health amenities, shoulder to shoulder with the government.As many as 450 persons from this village are also getting benefits from the facility of Sihat Card provided by current government of khyberpakhtunkhwa.

     

     

    Shotkhar is one of the most fortunate places to have been blessed with the Didar of the 49 th Imam of the Ismailia Community, Prince Karim Aga Khan, in 1987. According to the IismailiSchool of Thought, the Imams are Divinely Guided and Spiritually Inspired Persons from the Progeny of the Holy Prophet (SAAW), through Hazrat Ali (A.S) and Hazrat Fatima (A.S).

     

     

    The last topic of my discussion is agriculture. In Shotkhar almost all kinds of luscious mouthwatering and lip smacking fruit are grown. Some of them are: apple; apricot; peach; pear; plum; mulberry; grape; cherry and walnut. The climate is suitable for all kinds of local fruit that are grown in any other part of Chitral. Cultivation of persimmon (amluk) has also proved a successful step. Almost every kind of vegetable can be cultivated here successfully. Besides, the climate of this village is suitable for crops such as wheat, barley, maize, millet, lentils and others. Here let me suggest that new ways of farming need to be adopted, along with introduction of new crops, for improvement in field of agriculture.

     

     

    Finally, I would like all the praiseworthy audience and readers to join me in the prayer: May my village prosper!May Allah Almighty, for the sake of Muhammad and his Holy Progeny, shower His Blessing on all His servants.May our beloved country, Pakistan, prosper by leaps and bounds.Aameen

     

     

    By: Zahid Ali Nizari
    Lecturer in English
    Aga Khan Higher Secondary School kuragh

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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