Articles / Essays

Identities and Approaches in Tribal Structures: Grandpa Abdul Bai of Chaprot of s̃henbarin the Northern Pakistan

June 9, 2018

By Fazal Amin Beg

Based on my fieldwork In Hunza and Nagar as well as Gilgit-baltistan Region regarding the ethnic composition and on the insistent suggestion of some of my friends, I’m going to share today little information regarding Grandpa Budul of Chaprot̃ within Kimitey tribe of S̃henbar (Lower Nagar), as behind Budul are thousands of his descendents and tribal members (both patrilineal and matrilineal) not only in Hunza or Nagar but rather in the entire Region and across its specified borders.

This small piece of writing thus offers to the related readers not only information about Grandpa abdulBai but rather also an important approach of kinship system , an integral aspect of tribal societies in vogue among the cultural communities of Gilgit-Baltistan Region in the northern Pakistan and across the border in China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

It was impressive to note that when I was doing my fieldwork among the Wakhi communities in northeastern Afghanistan, southeastern Tajikistan and Xinjiang of China, I loved one of their beautiful approaches regarding their kinship traces and identities in a contrast to Gilgit-Baltistan, where the diverse clan and tribal entities opt for unilinealapproach )means trace their kinship and ancestry mainly through one line and that’s male line only with a high pride). The Wakhi community members across the borders always opted for bi-lineal identities of themselves when asked about their families, clans or tribes. They would reply: from their father side, for instance, they were Khaybari (means belonging to Khaybar lineage, clan or tribe), while from their mother side they were Qoziyon (belonging to Qozi family or lineage or clan or tribe). Likewise, some would say, from my fathers side, I’m S̃hana and from my mother side I’m Miron; or from my father’s side I’m Sayyed and from my mother side I’m Khuja; or from my father’s side I’m Zulmot and from my mother side I’m Beg Kũtor; or from my father side I’m Noyibkhel and from my mother side I’m Shikhon orShikh guru; and the like. such approaches and expressions take us towards an impression for a positive and balanced social relationships within the respective societies and great lessons we can deduce out of them.

In the applied side of the societies and cultural communities in Gilgit-Baltistan, could We thus learn a deep lesson out of bi-lineal (male and female lines) approaches of kinship (such as that of greater Wakhan valley in the Pamirs), when we trace out lineages and clans for the betterment of our respective societies to sustain a balanced social relations around the existing structures?

Let’s now come towards the theme of discussion today about the legendary Abdul Bai, whose kinship relations (patrilineal and matrilineal) we can find as a bridge between Gilgit-Baltistan and across its borders towards Badakshan and Kohistan.
grandpa Abdul Bai , distortedly known as Budul (or Budulu), emigrated from Chaprot̃ of S̃henbar (in today’s Lower Nagar) to Gulmit, the winter capital of the former hunza State,over three hundred years before (in the first quarter of 18th century CE). In an average, so far, it becomes 12 generations from Abdul Bai as the apical ancestor of the Budul tribe of Hunza. The Budul tribe is known by various connotation such as Buduley, BudulKũtor or BudulKuts having its S̃hina, Wakhi and Burushaski suffixes denoting Budul tribe or family members.

Budul tribe is composed of various clan and lineage groups that include Arbobon-e Gulmit, ChughiKũtor, S̃harelKũtor, ,GulbastKũtor, BahorKũtor, MasummKũtor and BoqKũtor.Majority of BudulKũtor live in Gulmit which is then followed by Chipursan valley (settled in Yarzrich, Kirmmin, Kiel, Res̃hit, Shor-e Savz, Spenj, Shũtmerg and Zudkhun). Besides, in a relatively small population, they arealso found in S̃his̃hkat , Ghulkin, Khayber, Murkhun and Nazimabad (Sost).Today, there are over 600 households of Budul tribe (in patrilinenal context) in different villages of gojal (Upper Hunza) and is counted among the top majority tribe of Hunza. Matrilineal kinship relations of Abdul Bai we could find in each villages and/or areas of the region.

In Chaprot̃, there are three main tribes composed of several clans and lineage groups within themselves. The main tribes are known as Kimit̃ey, Bayakkey and Chushey. kimit̃ey and bayakkey are the s̃hin tribes; while Chushey tribe is Yashkun. Budul tribe of hunza is thus connected with Kimitey tribe. Dadukimit was a shaman and behind him his descendants and tribe members are known as Kimitey. About grandpa Kimit, Professor Dr. Ahmad Hassan Dani has also mentioned in his famous book entitled “History of Northern Ares of Pakistan” that how shamanism made its way to Hunza from Chaprot.
One of the Wazir families of Nagar has been Kanot̃ing within Kimit̃ey tribe of Chaprot and that last of whom could be witnessed as WazirSarwar son of Wazir Sultan Ali son of sultano. WazirSarwar used to visit his relatives in Gulmit and Ghulkin during the time of former hunza State. Chilldren of WazirSarwar (also known as WazirNaso) are WazirGhulamAbbass, WazirArastu, WazirAflatun and the like, who remained famous and competent polo players of Gilgit. Other polo payers of the same Kimitey tribe could be evidenced such as Dadu Khan, Akbar Khan and many others.
In historical context, like the tribal societies of Hunza, many interesting as well as tragic stories we can find among the tribesmen of Chaprot regarding their mutual societal relationships. Sometimes, we could observe usage of their kinship approaches for pacifying and/or normalization of their developed conflicts and tensions and in other matters we can also witness it as a source of developing intra and inter-societal unrests.

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