Liminal State of Shaman: A Subjective Account (1)

Liminal State of Shaman: A Subjective Account--Part 1 It was a bright sunny day in the spring season when I experienced something totally alien to me. There were strange voices, images and feelings. Initially, I thought these were figments situated only in my mind. I felt that there was another person who is already present within me and wanted to emerge from the confines of my mind into the presence of the physical world. That voice was like a call from very distant place in my village. In the villages of Gilgit-Baltistan,…

Mito/Phanis: An Uncanny Character in Mythical Cosmology

Mito/Phanis: An Uncanny Character in Mythical Cosmology Although the mythical cosmology of Gilgit-Baltistan is populated with beautiful, good spirits and amicable creatures, it also populated by creatures and spirits that are deemed evil, ugly and vile. Among the evil creatures of mythical cosmology, witch is the most prominent. In the whole sociology of witchcraft, a male character enacts an important role in functioning of rituals associated with witches. He is called Mito in Shina and Phanis in Brushaskhi language. The…

Hargin: A Mythical Creature of Gilgit

Hargin: A Mythical Creature of Gilgit In the imaginary creatures in popular folktales of Gilgit, Hargin is quite famous. Hargin is basically a giant snake, python, or anaconda like creature. In the mythical sense it resembles to the dragon in Chinese mythology or culture. Though people apply this name to refer to a giant snake, a close reading of the content of folktales and mythical accounts about leads us to the conclusion that it is a mythical creature. According to Mazhar Ali, a researcher of Shina language and lexicon,…

Book review: States of Delusions

Book: Delusional Sates: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan’s Northern Frontier Author: Nosheen Ali Publisher: Cambridge University Press, 2019. ISBN 978-1-108 total pages: 304 pp.   The very subtitle of book “Delusional States: Feeling Rule and Development in Pakistan’s Northern Frontier”, points towards a new way of exploring a particular political issue from the perspective of sociology of feelings. Nosheen Ali’s book is an excellent addition to ever increasing academic research about socio-politics of…

Venom  and Vengeance in Gilgit and Kohistan

In July 2019, four people of Ghizer district were abducted by a Kohistani tribal leader from a meadow in Hundarap valley in Gilgit-Baltistan. The valley borders with Kohistan district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.  Later, a FIR was lodged against the abducted persons in Kohistan. The issue was resolved by intervention of different stakeholders. However, on Feb 22, 2020, the judge of sessions court of Ghakuch cancelled the bail of abductor Malik Afreen, and  handed him over to police for physical remand. This has elicited angry…

The Nation and Marginal Imagination

The Nation and Marginal Imagination  History is the cruelest of all the events in the annals of human civilization because it lives within us despite the fact that it occurred decades, centuries, or even millennia ago. Not only this, it also underpins our notions related to truth, identity, culture, and self. Owing to its permeation in the present, history is considered not only as a study of the past, but also of the present. Seen in this way, humans, unlike animals, appear to be more a product of history than biology for…

Disorderly Order

The name of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan evokes aesthetic feelings about the land with serenity, gushing rivers, flora and fauna, lofty mountains, glaciers and azure lakes perched in the lap of one of the biggest massifs in the world. What is missing in this process of aesthetics is the human element. Psychologically human beings try to evade disquieting feelings by indulging in beauty. However, like the Keatsian ideal it is not necessary for the beauty to be truth. Sometimes the truth of human condition can be ugly.…

Economic Geology of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

The project of CPEC does not appear in historical vacuum, rather it has emerged from the womb of historical continuum. Building upon the historical connections of China with the Pakistani part of High Asia, China in collaboration with Pakistan built the Karakorum Highway (KKH), which in its turn paved the way for CPEC. Despite historical continuity, CPEC is different in terms of magnitude, coverage and purpose. KKH was primarily driven by geo-strategic and political agenda, whereas CPEC project is a manifestation of shift in…