The Kalash of Jinjoret Kuh

Dearest Shamema,

A few hours ago, I sent you something about the Kalash people. You may be wondering why I did that.

The reason is that it is highly likely that you have at least some Kalash blood in you. However, if you ever meet your mother, do not tell her I said that, as she will become really angry. If she ever wanted to insult me or say something really bad about me, she called me a "Kalash".

Your mother, Honzagool, came from a village which was only about five miles from a former Kalash Village in Jinjoret Valley. All the people in Jinjoret have supposedly converted to Islam within the last 50 years, but some are believed still to secretly adhere to the Kalash religion.

Kalash girls with Ismail SloanShamema Honzagool, daughter of Ismail Sloan
Are these two girls blood relatives of my daughter Shamema? Shamema Honzagool Sloan, daughter of Honzagool, who was kidnapped by Charles and Shelby Roberts

Your mother's mother was not from Jinjoret but was from Shishi, which is about eight miles away, on the North side of Drosh. Her husband, your grandfather, Habib-ur-Rehman, traded houses with somebody, so that your family moved to Damik, which is next to Jinjoret, whereas the other family moved from Damik to Jinjoret.

Your mother's mother's family is a member of the Katura tribe, which is the royal family of Chitral, which is the reason why you are a distant cousin of the Prince of Chitral. Your mother's father's family was from the Sangan Ali tribe, which is also a royal tribe but further back, having split off several hundred years ago.

They will all deny any relationship with the Kalash. However, the history of Chitral says that all of Chitral south of Reshun, which is 35 miles north of Chitral proper, was at one time Kalash, until the Muslims came down from Upper Chitral and conquered the area a few hundred years ago. The people in lower Chitral were then all forced to convert from Kalash to Islam. The last Kalash king was Rajaway in the 14th century.

Drosh was without question entirely Kalash until recent times. There are still some Kalash speaking villages near Drosh, plus some villages where the "Red Kafir" Nuristani language is still spoken. Your mother's village is three miles south of Drosh. Directly across the Chitral River from your mother's village is Kalkatak, where Kalash is still spoken.

I feel that it is just about guaranteed that somewhere in your family tree you have ancestors who were Kalash or Red Kafir or both. Indeed, the Red Kafirs were called "red" because of their white skin, which you and your mother both have.

I have some pictures of Kalash people on my web site at

although I admit that they do not look much like you.

There is also a book you might be able to find in a library called "The Kafirs of the Hindu-Kush" plus another book called "The Gilgit Game" which has a picture of your great-great-great-great-grandfather, Aman-ul-Mulk, the King of Chitral.

Ismail Sloan

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