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An ongoing Hindu genocide of a 1000 years if a hardly known Hindu Tribal community.

Who are the Kalash


The Kalash is a native tribe of around 4000 people residing in valleys of the Chitral District in Pakistan. This district shares borders with Nuristan in Afghanistan.

Unlike their neighbors, the Kalash are NOT Muslim even today. Their history in the last 600 years has been one of fierce resistance, determination to survive and fight back in the face of repeated genocides and prospect of extinction.

I begin by positing forth a few factual technicalities before proceeding with the actual story. Readers interested in actual story are free to skip whatever follows in brackets.

Until 1895, the neighbors of Kalash people on Afghan side of the border, known today as Nuristanis, formed one cultural continuum with Kalash and shared their Non-Muslim religion. They were known to Muslims as ‘Safed Posh Kafirs’(‘White Robed Kafirs’) and ‘Siyah Posh Kafirs’(‘black robed Kafirs’) . This entire Hindukush region was formerly known as Kafiristan ( Lands of the Kafirs). Durand line divided Kafiristan into two. Kalash people fell under British protection but another section of Kafiristan fell to the lot of Afghan king Amir Abdur Rahman. The Amir forcibly converted the Kafiristan on his side of the border in 1895. This Kafiristan was then renamed as ‘Nuristan’(‘Land of the light’). Linguistically speaking, the Kalash people are speakers of Indic language family( Sanskrit language group) whereas Nuristani languages are classified as a separate branch of Indo-Iranian linguistic family. Having specified these internal distinctions, the rest of the thread continues to tell the one history of Kafiristan and its people.

The Kalash people, like many other groups of this region such as Pamiris and Hunza, display a relatively high frequency of Europoid Physical characteristics including fair skin, light eyes and blond hair. [This does not imply that every Kalash exhibits such physical characteristics. Many among them are physically indistinguishable from Punjabis].

This has led to a slug-fest of modern day ethnic appropriation and totally baseless claims. There is a popular myth that Kalash are descended from Alexander. Despite the fact that Alexander and his Greeks never entered Chitral and despite the complete absence of anything Greek including art, architecture, loanwords, religious influence etc among Kalash, the myth continues to persist. However, modern scholarship and genetics has completely refuted this myth of Greek origin of Kalash. The Kalash are genetically much closer to a Tiwari Brahman of Uttar Pradesh than they are to any Greek.

Scholars classify Kalash/Nuristan religion as ‘ancient Hinduism’. Noted Nuristan linguist Richard Strand says ‘Before their conversion to Islam the Nuristanis practiced a form of ancient Hinduism’. Noted Harvard linguist Michael Witzel says “In Kalash religion, many of the traits of myths, ritual,society, and echo many aspects of į¹šgvedic religion”. Recently, historian Augusto Cacopardo published his fieldwork which established beyond any doubt that social and cultural customs of Kalash are identical to Vedic.

Here are some Vedic/Hindu customs of Kalash:

  • Worship of Indra and Mahandeo(Shiva).
  • Avoidance of Sapinda marriages until 7th generation. Avoidance of cousin marriages like North Indian Hindus.
  • Avoidance of eggs, chicken and other foods prohibited in Hindu Dharmashastras.
  • Vedic concept of cleanliness and ritual purity.
  • Vedic festivals like Chaturmasya(Chowmos).
  • Stories of Pandava brothers.

Of course, this is not to say that Kalash religion is exactly identical to Puranic Hinduism. Geographically isolated from mainstream Hindus for millennia, Kalash lacked reception of newer religious developments within Hinduism and developed their own peculiarities. Yet, because of the same background, scholars classify Kalash religion as ‘Para Vedic religion’ or ‘Ancient Hinduism’.

Resistance to Islam


Having elucidated their Hindu heritage, let’s narrate the history of brave resistance and determination shown by Kalash Kafiristani Hindus in face of repeated invasions, ethnic cleansing and impending Genocide. In 11th century, Mahmud Ghazni invaded Kabulistan and defeated Hindu Shahis. He claimed that he completely uprooted idolatry and raised the triumphant flag of Islam everywhere in his kingdom. However, as we shall see, this claim turns out to be nothing but an empty boast. He failed. Not only have the Kafirs survived Ghaznavid onslaught. They also reoccupied many of their former territories and drove back Muslim invaders.

Almost 400 years after Ghazni boasted of uprooting all infidels, Timur invaded India: When he came to this Hindu Kush region, the local Muslim Pathans fell at Timur’s feet. They begged Timur to rescue them from these Kafirs. They said: ’ Sir Timur, please save us. These Kafir idolaters blackmail us and exact annual tribute from us. On failure to pay, they carry us away. We fly at your feet for protection’. So much for Ghazni’s ’extermination of Kafirs’. This is mentioned in Tuzuk-I-Timuri.

When Timur inquired further, he was told that the entire region from Kabul to Kashmir was ruled by Kafirs. In other words, during c. 1398, the entire region from Kabul to Kashmir was still ruled by Kafiristani Hindus. They exacted tribute from Afghans and local Muslims.

As a true Jihadi, Timur declared he would exterminate and wipe out the existence of these Kafir Hindus. He invaded Kafiristan with a very large army. He personally led charge and surrounded them from all sides. Timur’s army began ‘dispatching unbelievers to hell’. Timur ordered a tower of skulls of Kalash Kafirs to be built.

However, the Kafir Hindus were not ones to crumble. A great number of them were kiIIed. Therefore, they tactically withdrew. On the same occasion, however, they fell upon a commander of Timur named Burhan Aghlan. Owing to fear of Kafirs, this commander dropped his arms and fled. Timur’s army was routed.

A small community of tribal Hindus is stuck in Hindu kush. A sea of Muhammadan enemies all around them. A large army of Timur to exterminate them. One would expect these Kafirs to be uprooted. However, exactly the opposite happened. This is a testament to the Hindu resistance and willpower to survive.

Around 130 years after Timur, we hear of these Kafirs again. This time from Babur’s autobiography. Not only did these Kafirs survive Timur’s onslaught, they recovered and reestablished their kingdom. They in fact exacted tributes from Muslims living as far as Panjshir.