THE KALASH – Η ΦΥΛΗ ΤΩΝ ΚΑΛΑΣ η φυλή των Καλάς/ αγγλικά

κείμενο στην αγγλική γλώσσα
On the mountainsides of the Himalayas and the Indian Caucasus and under Pakistani and Afghanistan jurisdiction lives a tribe whose people call themselves Kalas(h). Kalas actually is a Greek name of a vessel filled with water for worship. They claim to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers who for various reasons were left behind in the depths of Asia and could not follow the Great General in his new conquests. Having no contact with the outside world for almost 23 centuries, they are quite different from any other neighboring nations. Light complexioned, and blue eyed in the midst of dark skinned neighbors, their language, even though it has been affected and influenced by the many Muslim languages of nations that surround the Kalash tribe, still incorporates vocabulary and has many elements of the ancient Dorian Greek language. They greet their visitors with “ispanta” from the Greek verb “aspazome” (greetings) and they warn them about “heman” from the ancient Greek noun “hemon”(winter). These indigenous people still believe in the twelve Olympian gods and especially Di Zau [Dias Zeus], the great sky god, but also Aphrodite, Hestia, and Apollo. Their language is principally a mixture of Sanskrit and Greek. They grow grapes and make wine (an illegal action in an Islamic country) and their diet is rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts. Unlike their neighbors who sit on the ground, they use stools and chairs and their carpentry is decorated with Macedonian stars and “suns”. Other remnants of the ancient Greek influence in the area are the characteristic “double-hat” or kausia, the ancient Macedonian hat, the Macedonian cloak used to be worn by the men and as worn by most women today, and the polo on horseback, Pakistan’s national sport. It was practiced by the Macedonian troops in the days of Alexander due to an unusual “present” given to Alexander by the great Persian king Darius. Also their architecture resembles very much the Macedonian architecture. Recently, a group of Greek teachers and a group of Greeks called “the friends of the kalash” have been raising money and spending their summer working among the Kalash for the last 7 years in an attempt to improve their standard of living. Some of the projects that the teacher volunteers have accomplished include the following: a primary school at an elevation of some 3 km, which is regarded the largest and best primary school building in Pakistan; water pipes for the supply of running water; a house for new mothers; landscaping and providing resource materials and pharmaceutical supplies, the purchase tractors and other farming equipment. In this way the volunteers have contributed immensely to the preservation of the Kalash. The Kalas are important to the Greeks anthropologically because they are the closest examples of how the ancient Greeks lived. The Kalamaria municipality is currently hosting twelve children from the Kalash tribe aged 9-17, while it intends to adopt most of the total 30 tribal settlements and build a classical Greek-architecture building there to serve as a cultural centre, which will be named “Thessaloniki”, after Alexander’s sister. The Kalas around a 100 years ago numbered close to 100,000 but now the number is around 3,000 living in 30 villages in the valley of Chetral. Their population has been dwindled over the years due to ethnic cleasing and forced Islamazation. Their arable land is small and much of it has been taken away by the stronger Muslim communities around them.