An Insight into a Wakhi Woman’s Life Experience: Late Zinat Numo of Hunza, Northern Pakistan

June 2, 2019

By Fazal Amin Beg

I offer this small contribution here with a purpose to explore, describe and understand some interesting aspects of a Wakhi woman’s perceptions and experiences of over eight decades (1940-2019 from Hunza Valley, Northern Pakistan where she went through series of tides of her life travels and troubles.her developed experiences can also educate us and illustrate various aspects of the related human thoughts and behaviors embedded in a tribal culture and society.I hope that the readers, particularly women, would try to understand different dimensions of her life from a holistic context.
The write-up is derives out of an in-depth interview on March 23, 2019 in Islamabad when I heard from Ali Rahmat that his great mother, late Zinat Numo, was a guest for only few months ahead in this world after she was diagnosed suffering from a type of cancer.she finally passed on May 31, 2019 and was buried in her village at Sisuni (Hussani).
Late Zinat numo was born in the first half of 1940s at Passu village of Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan Region. She was daughter of Darbon Muhammad of Passu belonging to the Alvey clan (also known as Chuwei Kũtor). She was second among all his seven siblings.
She was too young, lesser than ten years old, when she got married to her first husband named Karim Dod son of Khudodod of Murkhun in 1950.Late Zinat Numo shared that during the first year of their conjugal partnership, her husband was alright and normal person but in the second year onward, he suffered seriously mentally after he had reportedly attended a wedding ceremony in khayber village of Gojal. she thus marvwellously devoted rest of the nine years for her disabled husband to take care of him, despite the fact his husband’s mental issues further exacerbated.
In October 1960, like other community members of the area, late Zinat Numo (along with her husband and other family members) attended a historic congregation in Central Hunza where His Highness, Prince Karim Aga Khan had come for the first time.
After returning from the congregation, late Zinat Numo’s parents advised her to stay in her parens house. Her husband Karim Dod, though showed his concerned about her wife for not accompanying him, was escorted to his house in Murkhun village by his family members. Whatsoever the cause may be, whether internal or external, it’s a fact that after ten days, the life of a mentally disabled person like Karim Dod lead to tragic death unfortunately, as late Zinat Numo miserably narrated.It should be noted here that there was no child of her in partnership with her first husband.
In the second phase, late Zinat Numo had to be married again as she was yet more or less in her teen-age.her enagement had already been made made with her second husband named Pahliwun of Sisuni (Hussani), a village after Ghulkin and before Passu.
Well, it’s sarcastic to note, as late Zinat Numo described, that when the wedding party of Pahliwun of Sisuni had arrived formally at Passu, in the meanwhile the wedding party of Nasruddin (late Karim Dod’s younger brother) also reached on the spot and the family members of Nasruddin wanted to marry his brother’s widow with him. Thanks to the wisdom of the community and presence of some army soldiers who intervened to permit the wedding go formally and legally with Pahliwun . The prospective intra-communal and inter-village conflict was thus averted wonderfully.
Late Zinat Numo thus began her life in a more matured manner with his husband Pahliwun. She got nine children in total. But, unfortunately the first six children died after one month of their birth, except for one who sustained for five months only and was interesting to note that late Zinat numo didn’t think their death would have been due to any medical issues on scientific grounds. Instead, she innocently had a strong belief in associating such fatal incidence of death with the curse of his first husband’s family (as her paternal and maternal families were also knitted in their kinship relations already with late Karim dod’s family).
in order to resolve such unbearable losses of her children, she has gone to her previous affine family members and begged pardon from them, particularly the elderly ones. The old woman of the family has accepted that when they were in grave condition (when her parents didn’t accept to marry her with Nasruddin, they had cursed her and his offspring to suffer in the same manner). In short, the prevailing issue was settled after the apologetic behavior of late Zinat Numo with the help and facilitation of late Abdul Ali (brother of late Arbob Ghulom Jafar of Murkhun).
However, after the death of the initial six children, late Pahliwun and late Zinat Numo finally got two sons and a daughter named as Ali Rahmat, Raza Ali and Bibi Sufia respectively who sustain their lives greatly. Her older son and daughter have children. The second son has not yet got married. Ali Rahmat has done his Masters in Geography, has his specialization in Geographical Information System and long experiences within the United Nations as is currently based in Islamabad.
Late Zinat Numo’s life was not filled with terrible events only but rather multiplied with good events as well. Her long life and experiences taught her to be so compassionate and passionate in many ways and accept the realities. She was so excited to relate and narrate his joint and extended family members, too as could be seen her self-account (in the beginning of his life recollection).
It would be interesting to observe that Late Zinat Numo has been to various pasturelands of the three villages: Passu, Murkhun and Sisuni. She was thus so astute to compare the landscapes in addition with informing us about the climatic conditions of the 1950s in those areas.
Apart from other thematic discussions, she also greatly endeavored to compare the old time (of the last decades) with that of the current. At the end, she conveyed her great message to the young women and girls with regard to pursuance of their education to the advanced level.
Today, late Zinat Numo is no more with us in this world as she passed away three days ago in Islamabad but her deep and enriched experiences of life would provide insightfulness to the people of the concerned societies in many ways as she has tried to uncover many layers with the best of her capacity.
From here onward, I’d like to invite the readers to read the accounts of her life in the words of late Zinat Numo herself in Anglicized Wakhi (followed by English translation). I trust the readers would seriously enjoy the upds and downs of her life and try to learn genuine lessons out of her experiences.

Z̃hũ Khondon: My Family
Z̃hũ nungi Zinat Numo woz z̃hũ tat-e nungi Darbon Muhammad. Z̃hũ tat-e diyori Passu tey. Z̃hũ nan-e nung Gũl Chihra tu woz yow Sisuni en Dawlat Qadam-e dheg̃hd tu. z̃hun’ni panz̃ vũrũt woz saken buy k̃hũy tey. cẽ k̃hũ k̃hũyvũrũt’v en wuzem cẽ kũk̃ht en lup. Cẽ maz̃h en cẽbasi Izatulloh Big tey. cam en cẽbasi Rasul khon, Mũshkil Amon, yan Rahmatulloh Big. Cẽ kũk̃ht en z̃aqi Ghũlom Ibrohim, yowi dẽ Amrika. Z̃hũ khũyishtev Bibi Sũwik et Bibi Safida (kifchev dẽ Gũlmit tuy vitk). Z̃hũ tat-e tat-e nung Muhammad Alwi (ya’ni trẽ misũ nung Chuwei tu); woz yow-e tat-e nung Nur Muhammad tu.
My name is Zinat Numo and my father’s name is Darbon Muhammad. My father’s village is Passu. My mother’s name was Gul Chihra and she was daughter of Dolat Qadam of Sisuni (Hussaini).i’ve five brothers and two sisters.among my siblings, I’m the oldest one. After me is Izatulloh Big. After him are Rasul Khon, Mũshkil Amon and Rahmatull Big. My youngest brother is Ghũlom Ibrohim who is permantly settled in America (United States). My sisters are Bibi Suwik and Bibi Safida (both of them have been Married in Gulmit). My father’s father’s name was Muhammad Alwi (as his earler name was Chuwei) and his father’s name was Nur Muhammad.
Z̃hũ tat-e vũrũtisht z̃hũ bech zahur Muhammad et bech Gulbon tu. z̃hũ lup bech-e peterisht Ahmad Karim et Dr. Abdul Rahmon. Yow’ni bu dheg̃hde: yi dheg̃hd Zafar Iqbol-e dhasst tu; woz yi dheg̃hd Muhammad Hido dhast tu. Z̃hũ z̃aq bech Gũbon’ni panz̃ zẽman ska misũ jũmat woz tru zẽman ska cẽbasũng. Z̃hũ bech Gũlboneni tru peter woz yashtev skẽ cẽbasũ jũmat.Mehbon Karim is yow-e lup peter.
My father’s brothers were Zahur Muhammad (my older uncle) and Gulbon (younger uncle).my older uncle has two sons named Ahmad Karim and Dr. Abdul Rahman. While his daughters were wives of Muhammad nido and Zafar Iqbal of younger uncle had two wives. From his first wife, he has five children and from his second wife he has three children (sons) his older son is Mehrban Karim.
Z̃hũ nan-e vũrũtisht Safid Khon, Bozik Bai, Ali Dod woz okhirer Aziz Dil Khon. Kũkhtev cem dũnyo en reg̃hde magam z̃hũ z̃aq bech Aziz Dil Khoni zinda. Z̃hũ nan-e k̃hũyi ta Shingshal Mad-e jũmat.Muzaffaruddini z̃hũ recopc vũrũt.
My mother has four brothers named Safid Khon, Bozik Bai, Ali Dod and Azizl Dil Khon. The first three of them passed away and the youngest one named Aziz Dil Khon is alive. My mother has one sister and she is wife of Mad of Shimshal and mother of Muzaffaruddin.
Z̃hũ shohar-ee nung Pahliwun tu. Z̃hũnen trẽmis shadh zẽmanisht kũk̃ht merte (ya’ni panz̃ petrisht woz yi dheg̃hd). Cam’v en cẽbas yem Ali Rahmati z̃hũ awalgini zẽman ca zinda’v en. Nivi z̃hũnen bu peter woz yi dheg̃hd. Wuzem cẽ chũwan en platu k̃he yandi k̃hũ lup peterem jald tuy kert. Woz yemi be shũker ki z̃hũ awlodisht g̃hẽtetk. Ali Rahmat-e jũmati Qurbon Tay-e dheg̃hd tẽ Shingshalen, woz Ali Amon-e khũy. Qurbon Tay-e dhasti Pawliwun-e khũy. Z̃hũ Z̃hũ dheg̃hde nungi Bibi Sofiya woz yowen dẽ Sost tuy k̃hetk, dẽ Ghũlom Mahdi khun. Yow-e petr-e nungi Zohid woz yowi spo domod. z̃aq peter, Razo ali’em ghal tuy be ne k̃hetk. Yowes̃h bas bas k̃hand et tuyi cẽbas kart. nivi ghal haletk.
My husband’s name was Pahliwun. I had earlier six children (five sons and a daughter) who died consecutively. After them, Ali Rahmat was born and he is now my first child among the alive ones. At present, I’ve two sons and a daughter. I had fallen down from the apricot tree and had to marry my older son. However, I’m satisfied that my offspring have grown up. Ali Rhmat’s wife is daughter of Qurbon Tay of Shimshal and sister of Ali Aman. Qurban Tay’s wife is sister of dauther’s name is Bibi Sofiya and hse is married in Ghulom Mahdi’s house at Sost. His son’s name is Zahid who is our son-in-law. My youngest son is Raza Ali and I’ve not yet married him. He has been refusting to come in life partnership and still is a spinster (bachelor).
Z̃hũ merk zẽmanisht kumd yi mũy en cẽbas, woz yũw panz̃ mũyer merti’v. yow-e sabab alabt z̃ereng vite ki ta k̃hũ pup khunem ce ne halde, yav ma’r badduogig̃h kert.Mum Ofgtob-e yan yem qabũl kert ki da thũwak’nen yan sake badhdu’ogig̃h kert. Cẽ tuy et zẽman wocnen cẽbas, ya khẽbar dẽ sak g̃hate ki yow-e khẽnetk ki ce sokht en ki sak thete, az̃ereng yow be thit. Z̃hũ bech Abdul Ali (bech Ghũlom Jafar-e vũrũt maz̃he yan yut tam’v-e khun k̃he maz̃he yan cam’v en mu’ofi chald). Ca’n cẽbas, z̃hũ zẽmanisht zinda skẽ wẽrec̃hn vite.
All my dead children died after one month only and one died in five months time. The cause of their death was the evil wishes by my relatives of Murkhun as I was earlier married therein but then had to separate.Grandma Bibi Oftob (of that family) accepted it that after my separation, we did cursed her that the way we had burnt emotionally should be the same to me in my case. One of my relatives of Murkhun, uncle Abdul Ali (brother of uncle Ghulom Jafar) then led me towards the family and I begged pardon from them. Afterwards, my children are alive.
Z̃aqlayig̃h-e Wakht: My Childhood Period
Da zamona spo nung’ves̃h be bafter ne nevesht woz yem rang spo chũvak-e sol tu ki sak’ri yod nast. Z̃aqlayev sak tuy kert k̃he yowi da spo zehn be tumer ne wũrek̃hk.
In the earlier time, we did not even possessed properly our names and this holds true of our years of birth as well. We were married in our childhood that we do not rmember exactly our dates of birth.
Z̃hũ ham soli cẽ Passu en Dawlat, Rahmon Shoh-e dheg̃hd woz Sobdin-e jũmat. Yũwi woz Zinat Spicher-e dheg̃hd ce Passu en, woz Ghulkin en Masho (Muhammad Shoh)-e jũmat woz Amonuddin-e nan.
My age-mates from Passu are Dolat daughter of Rahmon Shoh and wife of Sohbuddin. Another one is Zinat daughter of Spicher (who married at Ghulkin and is wife of Muhammad Shoh) and mother of Amonuddin).

Dẽ spo z̃aqlayig̃h hechchiz be ne tu woz sake alif be ne joyetk. Z̃hũ lup vũrũt Gũdo Ali yav-e mulun tu woz yowev skul kẽt̃etu. Kũmaris gũlmit en tat Firoz yav-e ũstodh tu.Ya z̃hũ vũrũte yan cumer joyetu ki yan woz yow yut Gũlmit. Ra yow Bech Panshambi bar tu k̃he joydi. Ca’n woz wezde tret (Passu). Bas yan yow bimor vite k̃he merte. Yow cẽ maz̃h en lup tu woz yow-e nung Rahmatulloh Big tu. Yow-e nungev yan cẽbas ki cemal yem ror vũrũt chavde, yow-e nungev ya’r yotht.
In our childhood, there was nothing and we had not read even the first of alif (alpha).my older brother named Rahmatulloh Big was the age-mate of Guda Ali of Passu. They had been enrolled in the school and their teacher was master Ferozuddin of Kumaris Gulmit. Aftrwards, my brother was sent to the school in Gulmit for studying in advance classes. He would stay in uncle Panshambi’s house. He studied there and returned to Passu. He became sick and passed away. His name was then given to one of my younger brother who is known as Rahmatullah Baig.
Saken z̃aqlay ce tu, s̃hitik’nes̃h dẽ liman en kert. Ya’ni put’nes̃h dik̃ht. Woz d̃awraq’nes̃h dik̃ht et mũsh mũsh’nes̃h be vite.
When we were children, we would play together. We would play a game called put (bouncing the ball on the ground and count bouncing numbers frequently for an participant); play d̃oraq (with group of small stones putting them on our both palms; tactically blow and scatter them on the ground and strike a pir of them with the help of one finger). Besides, we would also hide ourselves in different corners or otherwise termed as mũshmũshand other friends would search us out.
Hawo Dẽ Zemiston: Climatic Condition in Winter
Sũrig̃h ghafch ziyot tu dẽ Murkhun ki ya zhraves̃h az̃i j̃us̃h kert da osmon.ya yupkes̃h wezde ska sar ruyes̃h g̃hirde. Niv ki ra zhrav-e sam’nes̃h ki reg̃hde shũpũthk sari la,yowes̃h ta spo pũdh nedhevde.ya’ni da khashch yupkes̃h ki spo pũdh perevte k̃he ca’n da g̃har k̃hẽnaker yowes̃h ta spo pũdh nedhevde. Ta (Murkhun) woz z̃i ghafch sũr tu, magam Passu tumer ziyot ne tu.
There used to be extreme level of coldness in Murkhun [in the 1950s]. The stream in winter would freeze to a height in the air and the water would resultantly spill out of the stream. In the morning, when we would go bearfooted (as there was no shoes) to the stream (for fetching water), our feet after immersed in the water would stick to the stones outside the dryland.
Z̃hũ k̃hurses̃h ki zak̃h jay en wezde, az̃i z̃holayi vitk ta’m-e sũmlat, ya’ni yik̃hki k̃hetk ca hak en k̃he yowes̃h az̃i z̃hola vite, ce sokht ki ta zak̃hes̃h ce z̃hola wost da jingal. Yowes̃h wezde k̃he yan tra toves̃h ya gok̃ht k̃he yanes̃h ya kot.
When My father-in-law would returned from collecting the firewood of thorns (in the winter from the jungle), his moustache would freeze (due to his outbreathing during walking). It would seem like the frost of the thorns in the jungle.
Tuy et Zindaig̃h-e Mũshkilot: Conjugal Partnership and Encountering Challenges
Maz̃hev tuy ce k̃hetu, ghafch z̃aqlay ki da z̃hũ yodes̃h bafter ne g̃hird. Ya’ni dhas sol en rẽ destem albat tu. Da wakht chiz k̃hũ dheg̃hev persn ne tu.
I was too young, perhaps lesser than ten years, when I was married and I don’t remember my wedding ceremony. At that time, there was no traditionof getting one’s daughter’s consent on the marriage.
Ta Murkhunem wuz Mũlo Bũrdi-e vũrũt dhast tu. Yow-e nung Karim Dod tu. Ya z̃hũ pup, Khudodod, z̃hũ tat-e bech tu k̃he ska tuy spo k̃hũ mulung tu. Pup Khũdodod-e jũmat woz z̃hũ pup Dawlat Qadam-e dheg̃hd tu; ya’ni z̃hũ nan-e voch, yow-e tat-e k̃hũy. Karim Dod-e vũrũtisht vite Mulo Bũrdi, Sũlton Dod et nasruddin.

I was married in Murkhun [in 1950] with a brother of mulo Burdi and his name was Karim Dod. Grandpa Khudodod was a maternal uncle of my father.therefore, the marriage was within our own family (in maternal line of my father).wife of Grandpa Khudodod was daughter of grandpa Dolat Qadam of Sisuni (a village between Ghulkin and Passu). She was a paternal aunt of my mother; it means sister of my mother’s father.
Hada wakht Murkhun-e Arbob tat Ghũlom Jafar tu. Wuzem yi dhas sol ta Murkhun wereg̃hne. Yi sol z̃hũ shohar toza tu; magam naw solem pura yow-e lewig̃her ta halde; chizer ki yow leew vitu.
At that time, the headman of Murkhun was Arbob Ghulom Jafar.I spent ten years in Murkhun [1950-1960]. For a year, my husband was mentally normal. But he then became upset and I had to live with him for nine years more (in order to take care of him).
Trẽmis, z̃hũ shohar z̃ereng lew ne tu. Yi ror yow rẽ Khaybar Mirzoyik-e dheg̃hd-e tuyer westu,k̃he yani ra was̃hk. Yani ya k̃hũ ziki z̃ereng mẽketk khar khari k̃hetk k̃he. yow Khũdhoy disht ki kuy yowe chiz iloj k̃hetk a ney digar chiz maslayi vitk.

my husband was not mentally upset earlier. One day, he had gone to Khayber in order to attend a wedding ceremony of a daughter of Mirzo. He has lost his sense. In such situation, he has snored and chewed his tongue as it has come out at the time of insanity. God knows better that whether someone has mal-treated him before that situation occurred or something else has happened.
Haska yow lew skẽ wocn vite. Yanes̃h khalgev diner gezde. Yem sokht, naw solem yow-e lewig̃her ta khun halde, yow-e khidmat dẽstan.
After that, He started becoming mentally upset. He would attempt to beat/strike the people.I therefore spent nine years further at home to serve and care him.
Yanem Imom-e Zamon-e didoriyer wezde dam en qiti (dẽ 1996 sol dẽ Kũnjũdh). Cemal en ki pẽshete ce didori en, marev k̃hat ki tu be wez ta Murkhun, chiz Khũhoyi go’n, Khũdhoyep chiz rahm cart a ki yem bachat vite. Magam z̃hũ tatnan yaver jũgũzorig̃h kert ki baf ki yow vite, yan yow yund, ney ki ne vite, yandi saver be sharm , saker be sharm.
I then companied him for the purpose of attending the congregation of Imam of the Time (in 1960 in Hunza) when we returned from the congregation, my affine family members suggested me to go with them straight to Murkhun and they would offer Thanksgiving and God may concede their request (regarding my husband’s issue). My father implored them that when my husband will get recovered, she would then be taken to murkhun. Otherwise, it’s not recommendable to take her along with him. There may come any bad happening resultantly.
Cemali ta Passu-e das̃ht cemta rek̃h, z̃hũ shohar-e k̃hẽnetk ki yowev ne wozomd a? yav-e k̃hẽnetk ki ney, yowev ne wozomd. Yow-e k̃hẽnetk ki rec̃hem yow-e wũzũmem. Pishin’ri gezg. Yav-e k̃hẽnetk ki ney, wez rec̃hen ta, Khũdhoyi go’n, yan wez yow wũzũm. Yandi, dhas ror z̃hũ shoharer ne wocner (ca didori en cẽbas, k̃he yow ghelchjin merte.
After they have travelled (on foot) towards Murkhun and reached at the barren-land of Passu (half an hour’s walk from the Passu village), my husband has asked the family members that why I was not accompanying with them? They have replied that I was not with them. He has decided that he would return and take me with him towards his home. But his family members have advised him that after the Thanksgiving Cermoney is made in Murkhun, he should then go and bring her wife.Folloing ten days of the congregation, my husband died sorrowfully.
Ca didori en yi dhas ror en cebas, ma’rev k̃hat ki ya wuch vite, wuzem ya Passu tu. Dẽ Passu’ev yan yow-e Chirog̃h pidhsoved k̃he yanem ra jay werg̃hene.
After ten days of the congregation of 1960, I was informed that my husband has passed away. His funeral rituals were thus also carried out in Passu (in my father’s house). I finally, became part of my paternal family again.
Z̃hũ k̃hũrse k̃hẽnetk maz̃her ki wizit maz̃h be gur cart k̃he yan res̃ht. Z̃hũ tatinev k̃hat ki yetes̃h yow chiz gur cart, yownev petrisht; yashtep yow gur caren.
My father-in-law had sent a message to me in particular that I should go to his house and also burry him and then I should return to my paternal house. My paternal family members said that he had his sons and they will burry hi after his death.
Kuye yan yower albat chiz didig̃hd a cereng vite ki yow dẽ maz̃he n sũr vite. Ki ney trẽmis yow dẽ maz̃h en baf tu. Maz̃h’reves̃h ki k̃hat ki yupk ya’r rand, az̃i lẽrza’mes̃h kert, kin iv cereng yupk ya randem. Yowes̃h yupk chalchald, ra past razhes̃h neste. Yow baf tu.
Someone might extended his bewitched thoughts during that time. I don’t know what they did that the relationship between my husband and I were worsened, despite the fact our conjugal partnership was so good initially. But in the later phases, our relationship got disturbed significantly. When I was being asked to give water to him, I would get frighten to pass the water to him as he would sleep in the lower platform of the house.

Z̃hũ Cẽbasũ Tuy: My Second Marriage
Z̃hũ awalgũni tuy-e sũkrotisht tumer da z̃hũ yod nast ki ce sokht en sak dẽ tuychi’v en qiti Murkhun rek̃htu. Magam cebas-e tuyi da z̃hũ yod ty ki yi bu g̃has̃h drem k̃hanem.
I don’t recall the preparation and accounts of my first marriage (as I was too young). However, I do remember the events of the second marriage. Let me relate to you some of them that follows as under.
Cemal ki z̃hũ shohar ghafch dard mes̃h en merte, yow-e z̃aq vũrũt Nasriddin mes̃h en z̃hũ tuy k̃hak-e dẽstan qisa’es̃h tag̃hde. Z̃hũ tatkhun’ves̃h wezde. Yi ror ki yibu khalgev wezde ki ney sake sũfara wũzmetkev k̃hat. Z̃hũ nan k̃hat ki z̃ereng be kuy k̃hetk a ki yet’v-e sũfra en wũzmetk (Sisuni en), niv saver yow randen, sasht yow yawit k̃het rec̃hit, z̃ereng be kuye k̃hetk ?
After the tragic death of my husband, proposal has been conveyed to my parents to marry me with my husband’s younger brother named Nasruddin. On the day of our wedding, two people entered in the house and said that they had come up with engagement food and gifts. My mother opposed it by sayhing that already such marriage engagement gifts have been accepted from Hussani (Sisuni) and how come it’dbe fair and just to provide you with that gifted food and you people would be happy? No, it’s not possible.
Yem hada spo tuy-r ror-e qisa ki Paliwun-e rẽ Sisuni en sala diyetk k̃het westu, Nasridin ta Murkhun en sala diyetk k̃he wezg. yav-e ya s̃honi-e dez̃hg k̃he tra Jorat-e khun likerk, k̃hatev wezg tet ki sake sũfra wũzmetk. Murkhun-e tuychi da Jorat-e khun dẽ qẽsav en werg̃hene. Yav-e yem be k̃hẽnetk kin iv yav-e din shayen (yani sisuni-e s̃honilag, yan bidg̃hanz̃-e yunden).
It was the day of our wedding that Pahliwun from Hussaini as the groom had arrived in Passu. On the other, it was inexplicable that the people of Murkhun had come along with Nasruddin as the bridegroom and had stayed in the house of Jorat of Passu but we were not aware. They have reportedly posed a threat secretly to kill the related persons from Hussani and take the groom to Murkhun.
Fawj yaver (Sisuni-e tuychi’ver) k̃hẽnetk I bigham rec̃hit nikoh carit, k̃hatev yasht ska Passu-e sam vẽrvesetk. Dam’v-e dhastev wũdretk et likvetkev ki bigham rec̃hit,. Nnikoh carit k̃he rẽwun wocitev k̃hẽnetk.
Some army personnel (who were stationed at Passu barren-land) has encouraged and ensured the wedding party of Sisuni(Hussani) to fearlessly go and do the wedlock and no one could harm them (in their presence); and the soldiers themselves roamed at the road side of Passu village.
Yashtev wezde, rakhnig̃hev yoth, braqasev g̃huz dik̃htk, batev gok̃ht, yowev yit k̃he rẽwunev vite. Yanev sak yut ta Nobodev sak g̃hirovd.saken trẽ Sisuni gẽna tag̃hde.
The hosts came inside the house, fired the wood fearlessly, prepared the wedding diet called bat. The food was served and eaten, we were escorted and seen-off at Nobod (upper Passu village) and we moved towards Sisuni (Hussani).

piyodha en sak tu ta Qunghust ki pup Hassan Khone yash chu k̃hetk k̃he wezde. K̃hati ki Murkhunikisht niyes̃hete. Da barev gazbaz vite, da wunder. K̃hati ki wuzem damev ben g̃hate, k̃he yanem z̃i riship kart k̃he niyes̃htim, az̃i rimbasem gok̃ht k̃he. Pup Hassan Khon Mir-e Astamgar dhay tu. Yow z̃i oson khalg ne tu. Pup Odob Khonet pup Hassan Khon Mir-e Astamgar khalgev tu.
We were walking on the steep of Qunghust (a pass-like hill between Passu and Sisuni) that Grandpa Hassan Khon of Passu reached on the spot by riding his horse in a rush. He said that the people of Murkhun were in a perplexity outside the house (of Jorat), . “ When I reached near them, I whipped my horse, it galloped with a pride and I thus reached with you people.” Grandpa Hassan Khon was a great conflict resolver (Astamgar)of the Mir of Hunza (Ruler of Hunza). He was not an ordinary person. Granpa Odob Khon and Grandpa Hassan Khon were the conflict Resolvers of the Hunza State.
Zindagig̃h-e Safar Dẽ Sisuni: Life Movements in Sisuni
Wuzem yan rẽ Sisuni-e diyor perevte. Murkhun et Sisuni ki pẽ liman tayinem, kifchev khũshury diyor. Murkhun magam tumer rec̃hn wez̃ayn ne tu, yanes̃h dra yi khalg qaydi sokht vite. Rẽ nẽhangen’ves̃h (ya’ni Sisuni en) tol wozomd k̃he yit’ves̃h. Tol vite ki khalg’ves̃h zhaw qarzer wozomd k̃he dhok̃ht’ves̃h. Ya’ni, khalg’venes̃h yi ghẽlbel zhaw wozomd qarzer k̃he yow’ves̃h dhok̃ht, yanves̃h k̃hater s̃hapik gok̃ht k̃he yit’ves̃h.chizer ki ta Murkhunes̃h zhaw ne vite.
I thus became part of Sisuni village. When I compare both Murkhun and Sisuni together, both of them are beautiful villages. However, Murkhun was cut-off relatively (and had little interactions from the down areas) and a person like me from the down villages would think herself like a prisoner. The people of this village used to get tol (credit of grains) from the down villages like Sisuni. Tol means borrowing th grains (like wheat or barley) of one ghilbel , which was being grinded and then consumed within the family because at that time (in the 1950s), production of grains (wheat) was so difficult in Murkhun village.
Ya zamona ta Murkhun’ves̃h ghaz be ne got. Qanchar-e ghazg’ves̃h az̃i vẽzevd k̃he yanves̃h yow z̃i yit. Yowes̃h tram’v-e ruy savz niyes̃hte. Ya zamona ghafch ozob tu.Kuyen ki yumj tu, z̃erengves̃h ra ghazg pulm dik̃ht, yowes̃h baf khũshury werg̃hene.
At that time, vegetables were also not available there in Murkhun. the people would squeeze a wild vegetable termed as qanchar and they would eat it in a rudimentary form. Consequently, the negative effect would appear on their faces as green. That time of the past was really a disastrous one. Those people who had some amount of flour would opt to put it in the vegetable and that would have its positive effects and taste in cooking the curry.
Wuzem Murkhun ce tu, yandi Avgarch et Boybar woz Piryarem be rek̃hk. Boybar’nes̃h heler reg̃hde. Ta piryar’nes̃h woz ghazg meghazger reg̃hde yomwũs̃h-e ghazer. Yow’nes̃h chevd k̃he wezdines̃h. Yomwũs̃hi baf ghazg.
During my lifetime in Murkhun, alogn with others, I would also go to Avgarch, Boybar and Pẽryar. In Boybar, we used to go to the pastureland In Piryar, we would go for bringing the wild vegetables such as yomwũs̃h. We would thus collect it. Yomwũs̃h is a very nice vegetable.
Digar ghazgishtev j̃orj̃or woz linterk. Linterkes̃h wa sokht wost. Yowes̃h pact et skẽ g̃har’ves̃h yow werkhovd dẽ tobiston zimiston-e dẽstan.cem en ilowa, yinat, zirk et zolges̃h be vite. Zirkes̃h sekr sekr vite ghũloy-e rang, woz yow’ves̃h be yit. Kuyi spreg̃hisht be ghafch tu, magam nivem yav rũms̃hetk (bimorem ce vitk k̃he).
Other wild vegetables include j̃orj̃or and linterk. Linterk is a smelly type of vegetable. People would cook the linterk and dry it under the summer sun heat to spare it for the winter season. Apart from them, there used to b yinat, zolg and zirk.zik used to be reddish like the ghũ was also being eaten. Besides, there used to be the mountain flowers but I’ve forgotten their names after I became ill.
Hel’v-e Trẽ Liman Didig̃hik: Pasturelands in Comparison
Agar ki wuz helev pẽ liman didg̃hem (Murkhun et Sisuni et Passu en), z̃hũ tatin’v-e(Passu-e) heles̃h ma’r ghafch khũshruy sũdhũyd, chizer ki to Gũcesm batkem rek̃hk ta Bũtũr. Bũtũri kũs̃hodh be tey. Gũcesmi ghafch kũs̃hodh. Kũkhel et Fatma Helen sak coghdi kuch ne haletk, yashtev z̃i kũto kũto rang. Magam S̃hendyoth en haletk;Z̃hokperten be haletk.
When I compare the pasturelands together (of Murkhun, Sisuni and Passu), the pasturelands of my paternal village (that of Passu) sounds highly fascinating because I’ve been up to Gucesm in Batura. Batura is so expansive, indeed.Gũcsm is so wide . However, in kũkhel and Fatma hel , we have not lived in transhumance as they are relatively narrower.But, we have lived in S̃hendyoth and Z̃hokpert.
Yashperti woz diyor-e rang. Shilang’ves̃h kis̃hta dra kert, magam mares̃h ne sũdhũyd ki nives̃h be kis̃hta caren. Bu khũdhorg dra tu da Yashpert. Ta jayves̃h ya shilang e dhok̃ht. Yemzel, tẽ Sisuni-e gẽna Bũtũr’ves̃h be kes̃ht. Ce sokht ki G̃harben, mulungin et Mũdmũr tu. Ta hel, diyor-e rang chiz chut̃ ne tu. Kuyes̃h ki reg̃hde, k̃hat’reves̃h kis̃hta kert.
Yashpert is like a village.previously, people would cultivate barly here. At present, I don’t think if cultivation takes place here.there were two watermill at Yashpert and people would grind the grains on the spot. In the same manner, on the Sisuni side of Batura, people would also cultivate at G̃harben, Mulungin and Mũdmũr.
Trẽmis yaz-e yupk saker bigham tu. Ya’ni, ska yaz-e sar yupk z̃huy tu.k̃hater yupk pitner’ves̃h ca yaz en wozomd. Nivi yaz ra dest rek̃hk.
Earlier, the glacier water was available to us without any means that the water was like a lake on top of the glacier and people would easily fetch water from here for their use. but, at present, the glacier water has gone down.
Po k̃hũ diyor kum jayi ki ta Bũtũr ce, yoweres̃h mulungin k̃hanen. Ca’n woz G̃harbenves̃h k̃hat. Yi lup g̃har ta wuchsar, ta be khunisht tu. Woz rem pastev be khunev k̃hetk. Tam-e wuch en woz Kirgaswas̃hk.yow-e wuch en woz Wũdmũr; da okhiriyi Maydun.
The sites at the side of Sisuni Batura is named as Mulungin. Afterwards, there is G̃harben. At the end was a large boulder and there were huts. At the lower part, huts have also been constructed. Going further up, there come Kirgaswas̃hk and Wũdmũr. The last place is termed as maydon.
Sak Sisuni en khalgishtes̃hen ki heler reg̃hde, awal’nes̃h da mulungin halde. Yan can’ves̃h reg̃hde ta wuch gẽna. Kuyes̃h woz reg̃hde G̃harben; woz yisar’ves̃h reg̃hde ta Kirgaswas̃hk’ves̃h halde. Yan’ves̃h woz can reg̃hde ta wuch’ves̃h g̃hirde.
When we, the people of Sisuni, would go to the pasturelands in Batura, we opted to stay first in Mulungin. Afterwards, we would then proceed upwards. Some would stay in G̃harben and some would stay at Kirgaswas̃hk. They would thus gradually move to the higher pastures.
Trẽ Misũ Wakht et Wudhg-e Wakht-e Zindagig̃h: Life of the Earlier and Current Times
Yem wakht Mawloe kũli chiz saker rohatig̃h k̃hetk. Trẽmis’nes̃h luq be ne got. Dẽ sol, ya’ni yem tirmo woz ya tirmo’ves̃h, saker yig̃hun luq gok̃ht. niv Mawlo saker rohatig̃h k̃hetk. Luqisht d̃ũm tet woz ghushtes̃h ne gotten ki sak yav-e pemcen. Niv bet ghusht chiz ki k̃hatrem tra rim was̃hk.
At present, the Lord has bestowed upon us all things. In the past, we had no clothes available with us. Our family heads would manage to prepare one pair of clothe per head for us once in a year (from autumn to autumn). But at present, the Lord has eased our difficulties. Now, we have plenty of clothes and, in a sense, we don’t get free time to put them on. Rather, in my case, I must say, I’ve fallen down (exhausted).
Po wakht chiz tu ki ro shũpũnig̃h. Shũpũnig̃hen kert et spo ũmer reg̃hde. Yem [Ali Rahmat] ce chavde k̃he bas wuzem ozod rang vite. Misũ zẽman’v-e wakht ro shũpũnig̃hem k̃hetk. Z̃hũ dheg̃h ki ce mal viti et jidha’ev sak gok̃ht. Pawliwun et Masiyatev bu vũrũt tu.
What we had in our time that we were devoted only for the pastoralism. Behind pastoralism, we spent our lives. When Ali Rahmat was born, I was relatively liberated. But, in during the times of my earlier children, I spent my life mostly as a shepard. When my daughter was born, we (as nuclear family) separated from the joint family system. Pahliwun (my husband) and Ma’siyat were two brothers.
Dem wakht dhayisht kũ niyes̃hk tẽ k̃hũ khun’v en woz kuyi ta diyor nast. Ya’ni, Kuyi ki joyetkũng tey yashtes̃h k̃hater k̃hũ nokarig̃h caren. Ya ranges̃h k̃hũ risq yawen. Kuyi ki z̃hũ rang tey, ya’ni nojoyetkũng, yashtes̃h neken ya k̃hũ zimindorig̃h caren woz k̃hater k̃hũ zamines̃h yupk gok̃hen.
At present, most men of the households are seen out of their houses and they cannot be seen in the villages. Those, who are educated, they are behind their employment. In such way, they do earn fairly their livelihood. But those who are non-literate like me, are engaged with their agricultural activities and irrigate their lands.
Trẽmis’ves̃h k̃hũynan’v-e joyn baf ne disht. Yem wakhtes̃h yaver zur din et pũzũves̃h vand ki k̃hũ joyn-e trẽ pũrũt kat̃en. Yark bases̃h k̃hanen. Trẽmis’ves̃h k̃hat ki bas yark carit. Kla’ev didg̃hit. Yav-e tenit woz het̃ carit. Nives̃h bet kuy yaver k̃hand.
In the past, women education was perceived weird. But at present, they are emphasized, encouraged and appreciated to advance their education. At present, girls are restricted from work. Earlier, they were emphasized towards work. They were directed to rear the livestock (such as sheep and goats) rear the sheep and goats and collect them .but, they are not asked for such purposes at present.
Dem Wakht Malwo kũli chiz rohat wũzmetk. K̃hũ petr’v-e narz en wezgem, ren Islomabodem k̃hater niyeng , z̃hũ tabiyat cereng khũrob vite k̃he nivem baf.
At present, the Lord has brought so propitious time. Due to the compassion of my sons, I’ve come to Islamabad and live here. Unknowingly, I was not feeling well there in Gilgit but am doing well now here.
K̃hũynan zẽmanver okhirer z̃hũnen yem payghom ki k̃hater joyen.Mawlo sav-e wakht baf wũzmetk; sav’ri rohatig̃h k̃hetk. Bet chiz digar fikrev me carit.
To the female segment of our society, I’d like to convey my message that God, the Almighty, has brought a golden time for you people. Therefore, you should get education.there is a great and favorable time for you people. So, you need not to worry.
The life experiences of the informant was not mere enriched with and limited to the related individual stories but rather provided us with important insights into the worldviews of the respective culture and societies of Wakhi community in Hunza at a broader scale.
The interesting accounts of the life stories thus catered opportunities to observe that how the cultural and societies evolve gradually and/or rapidly in a short span of time, even during the lifetime of the key informant in some decades as she herself witnessed the drastic changes in the set and discriminatory values in gender and other contexts.
The vivid changes thus could be seen in line with intensified human mobility and interactions, considerations in conjugal partnerships, kinship bondages, educational considerations, addressing issues of people with disabilities, climatic conditions, social and economic considerations, witchcraft practices, transhumance (pastoral practices), pastureland landscapes, agricultural practices , engagement with employment, and so on.
First and foremost, I would like to pay my sincere gratitude to Mrs. Zinat Numo (late) for her kind consent to take her interview in-depth. Without this interview, I would never have written an insight about her life experiences. Although, she is no more with us, I’d pray that May God bless her soul with eternal rest, peace and prosperity.
Finally, I’m so thankful to Ali Rahmat Musofir for her kind facilitation and hosting of the interview plus discussion of his mother in addition with his consent to publish some important part of her life experiences on my website.

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  • Reply Gohar Ayub June 11, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    Life is a gift and hardship is a part of it at the end the only thing which remains is the positivism towards life.

    • Reply fazalamin June 19, 2021 at 5:31 am

      Thanks Gohar for your reflection. Yes, you are right.

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