Poetry: A Short Biography of Alam Jan Daryo of Chipursan Valley, Hunza

April 20, 2022

By Fazal Amin Beg(based on an interview in 2015)

Alam Jan Daryo son of Haji Muhammad was born on 2 February, 1968 in Zuwudkhun of Chipursan valley in Hunza. He belongs to the Hassan clan of Passu. He has two sons and two daughters.
Alam Jan Daryo got his elementary education from the Diamond Jubilee School of Zuwudkhun. He studied and passed his middle level education from Diamond Jubilee School of Reshit in 1987. For his secondary level education, his late brother, Sarfaraz Khan, sent him in Karachi. He did his matriculation from the Muslim Popuar School, Nazimabad. After his matriculation, Alam Jan joined the Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) and started teaching in the Diamond Jubilee Schools of Chipursan valley (1989-91) as there used to be dearth of human resources.
Impressed by the influx of western tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan Region, Alam Jan opted to observe and experience the field of tourism industry as well. In 1991, during the summer vacations, Alam Jan did go to Baltistan and joined as a porter to the tourists and went up to the K-2 Base Camp with the Nazir Sabir Expedition. In the second trip, Alam Jan joined the tourists as a kitchen staff; while on the third trip within one year, he was offered the position of Tourist Guide. He thus resigned from the AKESP; while in 1993, Alam Jan got the license from the Ministry of Tourism to work as a certified Trekking Guide. He thus worked with various tourism companies such as Adventure Tours and on free lance. In 1998, Alam Jan formed his own Tourism Company named “Pamir Trails” registered with the government. Since then he is engaged with this profession.
Alam Jan Daryo has toured almost all places and trekked most of the glaciers of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral Region. He claims to have explored and introduced two trekking sites to the international tourists. The first trekking route starts from his village Zuwudkhun to Yishkũk, advancing ahead to Kũtkeyzhrav to Wiyin and following the backside of Lupg̃har then proceeded ahead to and reached Yuks̃hgoz in Batura (correctly as Bũt̃ũr). The second trekking route he introduced to the tourists started from Sekrzhrav (opposite Bobo Ghundi Shrine in Chipursan valley) to the Sekryenj, near Odinaboy, in the Little Pamir of Afghanistan.
Above all, an interesting story goes on with Alam Jan and his friend Fozil son of Arbob Muso. In winter 2001, both of these friends decide to set out for a cycling cum trekking to the Afghan Wakhan. Alam Jan Daryo and Fozil start their cycling from Chipursan to Gilgit then to the Ghizer district. They crossed the Shandur Pass (between Gilgit and Chitral) then move towards Yarkhun valley and cross Burughel Pass and enter in Wakhan. Somewhere these friends ride their bicycles and somewhere their bicycles ride them. They thus cross dozens of villages of Afghan Wakhan and reach Sulton Ishkoshim. Here they end their cycling mission and return to their homeland. The objective of this adventurous travel was to look for the possibility to take a Japanese Documentary Group to shoot in the Pamirs. For this purpose, they thus met the security head of the valley, took permission and the next year they went along with the Japanese team to Wakhan.
Singing and playing, Alam Jan, thinks run in their family as his father, his uncle and other family members used to sing (devotional & lyrical songs) and played flutes, sitor, rubob, d̃ẽd̃ang and d̃amal. Presently, Alam Jan and his first cousin, Fazal Rahman Shirion Saod (a renowned artiste) play all the above mentioned instruements.
Alam Jan Daryo’s poetry began during his time spent with the tourists and his close interactions with and inspired by the Nature’s creation (flowers, mountains, glaciers, birds and the like). Most popular among his songs are Ambar-e Pomir, la’l-e Badaxshon; Mastona malang; and Dem Yishkũk-e bozorem. His nom de plume,as Daryo, Alam Jon has taken from Farhod Daryo, a popular singer of Afghanistan. “If Farhod is Daryo (literay means river) of Afghoniston, let me have an attempt to become Daryo of Pakistan”, Alam Jan says. Beginning of his poetry came all in sudden to Alam Jon when he and his cousin Fazal Rahman were in the Yishkũk, near their village, in order to cut firewood. His poetry Dem Yishkũk-e bozorem thus emerged.
Alam Jan Daryo has composed his diverse poetry (over 60 poems) around different thematic areas such as devotional, lyrical and based on nature. Yishkũk is a very historical place remained only in oral tradition than its physical presence. It is said that there was a big fort having nine to twelve gates of this fort and with the course of time it came under flooding from the brutal Yishkũk glacier. The poet thus composed his first poem in Yishkũk probably in November 1992, remaining in historical nostalgia.
Alam Jan Daryo is of the opinion that the quality of poetry which had in the past with few poets like Pir Ali (of Chipursan) doesn’t have that much. Pir Ali was a poet and singer and his poetry has deep metaphor and concepts and I admit that my poetry hasn’t got that quality of standard before Pir Ali’s. Nazir Ahmad Bulbul and Saif Uddin have better quality but before the poetry of the past, even their poetries are also questionable in terms of deep meanings and metaphors.
In conclusion, Alam Jan Daryo recommends that the literary contributions of all the Wakhi communities living in over four countries need to be united and standardized. For this purpose, the writing system (orthography) for wakhi language has its critical role. He analyzes that there is a battle among the poets pertaining the orthography. Different poets have their own transcription styles and they like to their own styles, whether Perso-Arabic or Latino-Greek, to be in place for all. In this respect, the scholars need to heed seriously and get together to come to a consensus. Personally, he prefers the writing system based on English/Roman language. He states all of us need to open our minds and heart and look for the world that how English has become important; and we prefer English for our children, so why not to have such type of writing system that is user friendly and the respective community members, more particularly the present and coming generation could easily adopt it.

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