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    The village Organizations of old Chitral.

    The village Organizations of old Chitral.

    The numerous ethnic groups of Chitral have arrived here from different directions and have occupied arable plots and thus have lived on subsistence farming. The supply of water for irrigation of their plots from distant streams and springs demanded unity among these ethnic groups to use the meager water resources wisely but it was not the same situation of water shortage in all parts of the country. Some valleys had got enough water in streams and rivers and those units of the society did not face water shortage for irrigation but many more did. So they had organized groups for each water source to be carried to their plots and each unit had to send one man from each family to repair the channels or for de silting the floor of the channel to save the water from wastage.

    Beside irrigation sector for growing cereals and fruits in their orchards they also had special units to graze their flocks in specific hillsides  and they did not graze their flocks in the meadows belonging to another Organization or quarrels would lead to litigation or penalties were paid.

    These village organizations were highly strict and no leniency was shown and for disobedience fines were imposed on a family but leniency was shown to a family with a widow and her orphans and they were exempted from that duty. For grazing their flocks they followed a rationing system and all the hillsides were used turn by turn and misuse of wood from the pastures was not allowed. The grazing of the flocks was either given to two local men for a year and payment was made to them in the form of food items plus mutton by the family if a big goat was slaughtered for domestic use in winters but for a goat killed for guests was not included in this category. There used to be village wardens who were authorized to look after the pastures, theft cases from the pastures or for any other violation of customary law. The wardens also received grain from the families of the villages Organizations.

    By: Prof. Rahmat Karim Baig


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