Academy for Democracy

    Projects

    Indigenous Practices and Patterns Catalog

    Audio Visual Cultures assignment led participants to identify cultural practices and Built Environment workshop led to documentation of architectural patterns through the field research conducted in Gulmit, Ghulkin and Hussaini. The extensive list contains the products used and made, craft of the area, building techniques, practices, folklore, knowledge and usage of herbs etc. While all participants carried out research, special team for Practices compilation included Faryal Arif, Batool Ali, Fatiha Hamid and Zainab Nasir. Architecture Patterns were compiled by Zeeshan Ghani, Khadija Sial, Mazhar Hassan and Faryal Ali.

     

    CPEC; A closer look

    Aqsa Khalid

    My project was related to the potential impacts of CPEC on the Gulmit village. The project was intially focused upon the attitudes of people to the change that was coming. This was further linked to the history of development in Gojal in relation to the Aga Khan development Network. Furthermore, I identified the negative impacts of CPEC with close relation to the influx of tourism and the heavy transportation. I also highlighted some positive aspects of CPEC and how its already helping the people living in Gulmit. In conclusion, I had shed some light on the future prospects of this economic corridor and how the common villagers could benefit from it.

     

    Culinary innovations

    Tahreem Butt

    Food is not only the source of providing nutrients and energy to the body but it is more than a mere tool of survival. Food provides pleasure, comfort and security. Moreover, food is a symbol of religion, social status, culture and traditions which include indigenous practices and hospitality. Food plays a vital role in festivities such as religious celebrations, weddings, special occasions or funerals. Methods of food preparation, storing, serving and eating food has been evolving with the availability of local ingredients such as excessive apricot oil, Bakla, butter, cheese, yogurt and mulberry. Through this exploratory research the shift in kitchen utensils and use of space has been mapped and how these shifts have resulted loss of traditional food.

     

    Preserving folklores

    Ahsan Ali Khan

    The researcher aims to preserve the heritage of mitigation strategies in case of disasters. It will focus on the intangible heritage (mitigation strategies i.e stories, tales, cultural and religious connotations). The project will document the intangible mitigation strategies in a form of report, and later it can be converted into other mediums i.e illustrations, comics or audio stories etc. This will impact as an addition to the knowledge body and will benefit people from various fields.

     

    Training manual for embroidery

    Sarah Hashmi

    In Gojal valley one can find traditional embroidery in every household in a shape of a cap, wall hangings, cushions or a picture of an Ibex. It’s their way of art therapy. Women are still using the traditional designs. Tourists buy these embroidered objects as a souvenir. I developed a training manual for these women so they can create their own designs from the objects they use on daily basis. There are some very easy drawing lessons and exercises in the manual. The new designs will attract more tourists.

     

    Resettlement House

    Danial Khyzer

    Having researched and studied the pattern language of Gojal Valley, Danial’s proposed a house design based on the cultural practices and built patterns on Gojal Valley. The planning and design takes into account the climate and weather conditions of the valley.

     

    Disaster Games

    Somana Riaz, Mariam Asghar, Sarmad Shafiq,Fatima Hussain, Zahra Hussain

    Information collected for developing Hazard profile of Hussaini Village led the participants to develop Disaster Awareness games for local children. Three games were designed and developed; hopsotch, cards game and board game that will enable children to learn what steps to take in case of a hazard or disaster. These games were appreciated by the local community.

     

    Hazard Profile of Gojal Valley

    Somana Riaz

     

    Waste Management

    Hamnah Jillani

    This is an exploratory research with an aim to investigate people’s understanding of waste in traditional and subsistence economy. Moreover, to comprehend how the ecology of villages is being transformed owing to the shift towards market economy and what practices are being adopted to manage waste, which is new for the system? Interviews were conducted with local people to figure out the current practices. This work is an attempt to propose sustainable solutions for the community.

     

    Empowering Local Women

    Hadiya Amir

     

    Culinary Innovations

    | Tehreem Butt

    Food is not only the source of providing nutrients and energy to the body but it is more than a mere tool of survival. Food provides pleasure, comfort and security. Moreover, food is a symbol of religion, social status, culture and traditions which include indigenous practices and hospitality. Food plays a vital role in festivities such as religious celebrations, weddings, special occasions or funerals. Methods of food preparation, storing, serving and eating food has been evolving with the availability of local ingredients such as excessive apricot oil, Bakla, butter, cheese, yogurt and mulberry. Through this exploratory research the shift in kitchen utensils and use of space has been mapped and how these shifts have resulted in loss of traditional food.

    Space

    The architecture of houses in Gojal valley is unique and reflects the significance of their culture. Overall the house is made of one large room with Bukhari in the middle and a skylight above it. In older times instead of Bukhari, Dildoung was used. Dildoung was a pit made of mud in which wood was burnt. Dildoung caused many diseases like eye irritation, tonsils, asthma and coughing due to which initially its size was reduced and then replaced by Bukhari in 1975-1980. In bukhari wood or coal is burnt all the smoke generated is collected through chimney attached and released outside. House members sit around the Bukhari in hierarchy. With time and changes in the house the sitting arrangement of the household members is also changing but the essence remains same. A step down there is an area called Chiskash which is used to keep kitchen essentials including spices and crockery. In earlier times there was only one shelf of mud but currently it is replaced by multiple wooden shelves. A temporary stove in summers is also placed in this area to manage the temperature of the house. Next to chiskash there is a storage room in which containers of wood or stone known as Ghoov were used to store wheat. Only the elder women in the house were allowed to go in the area after saying holy rites to prevent the wheat from evil eye. These days the flour from the down cities is stored in their sacs and is not valued as much.

    Kitchen Utensils

    Food in older times was cooked in large pots of copper or brass. These days’ pots of silver, steel and non-sticking material are commonly used. Sand and homemade soap were used to wash the dishes. Large wooden plates were used as serving plates and one plate was shared by all family members. Dom family was specialized in making wooden utensils and wood of Mozor tree was used to make them. This tradition had an economic relevance but also caused the transfer of diseases. After the silk route Roghani was introduced in 1970’s. Roghani was the separate plate for each individual. For drinking water Germany glass were used currently glassware and plastic is common in every household. Yogurt is commonly used in every household. Yazin was used to make yougurt in older times. Yazin is made from processing goat’s skin. After Yazin a wooden container Sogho was used. For mixing in Sogho a wooden blender Pidar was used. This sogho and pidar are now used in pastures only. Electric blenders are now widely used in every household. Apricot oil is a common ingredient and used commonly. In older times apricot oil was extracted in homes using equipment of stone called Juwaxg and Deshem. Juwaxg was used to grind the seed and Deshem to separate the oil. Currently none of the households interviewed were extracting apricot oil at home. Pithkhorm is a wooden utensil used for putting dough which is replaced by steel bowl.

    Common Ingredients

    In the past few ingredients were used in making food. Those ingredients were abundant and locally found. These ingredients included butter, yogurt, cheese, milk, apricot oil and butter milk. Food has evolved due to availability of new food ingredients in market. With changing food ingredients tastes of people especially young generation have also changed. Now commonly cooked food in households include chicken karahi and biryani. Use of yeast has increased in making phitty, in past the dough was naturally fermented. Use of cooking oil, packed spices, onion and tomatoes, has started. Use of salt has increased over the years. Earlier salt was not part of the local dishes but due to emergence of goiter and other diseases due to lack of iodine in locals salt was introduced. People have started to grow new vegetables such as tomatoes. Women were given training by the council to cook new kind of food items. Traditional food is now only limited to festivities and special occasions.

    Traditions and Food

    Guests are served with tea, phitty (homemade bread), yogurt, milk or fresh fruits. Some traditional food is cooked on special occasions and is representative of that celebration. Simn is made to celebrate the arrival of spring season. Moul is made for women after delivery. Bath is made on weddings in winter. To make bath desi ghee is wrapped in skin of a tree (furz) and stored underground for some time to enhance its flavor. Chamus apricot juice is widely used in summers. Other traditional foods include Garal, Mooch, Molida, Shulbut, Ghilmindi and Yep Khach.

    Common Practices

    Common practices of past include:

    • Use of sand or mud to wash dishes
    • Sand filtration system to purify water
    • Storage of food items underground near water body to keep them cold

    An evolution in kitchen and its practices has been observed over the years. This evolution is resulting in the erosion of traditional food. Tourism can play an important role in revival of traditional food through innovation.