THE CULTURE OF THE KALASH

Around 4,000 Kalash people still live in the secluded valleys of the Himalayas in Northern Pakistan. A journey into a world seemingly almost untouched by modernity.

At the foot of the Himalayas on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan live the last representatives of the millennium-old culture of the Kalash people. Only about 4,000 of them still live in the valleys of the Himalaya Mountains. Legend has it that the Kalash are descendants of Greek troops who settled in the Hindu Kush during the campaigns of Alexander the Great, but this theory remains controversial. DNA researchers assume an Afghan origin, but, their western appearance points to a European lineage for the Kalash. Throughout history, most of these people have undergone forced conversion or been killed. Only in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a fraction of the ethnic group survived, maintaining a polytheistic faith and a highly traditional way of life, far away from the modernity of the big cities. And the young generation are often faced with having to choose one of these two very paths: tradition or modernity. Many have to juggle between the will to preserve their culture and religion and the opportunity to strike out in new directions away from the limited perspectives of their home villages. How do the Kalash view the future of their traditions? Will they be able to sustain them?

Human Interest
A film by Sabiha Sumar
Length 45’ HD
Co-production K22 Film with ZDF/ARTE
Original Title Im Fluss der Zeit – Die Kultur der Kalash im Angesicht ihres Zerfalls