The last Kalash of the Hindu Kush | DW Documentary

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The last Kalash of the Hindu Kush | DW Documentary 5

The ancient culture of the Kalash people is threatened. Almost 4,000 still live at the foot of the Himalayas between Pakistan and Afghanistan. But modern life is making inroads here, too.

Legend says the Kalash are descendants of Greek troops who settled here during the campaigns of Alexander the Great. But the tale is debatable. DNA researchers suspect they originated in Afghanistan, but the Kalash cling to the story, saying they are of western and European appearance. Over the course of history, most of them were forcibly converted to Islam or killed. A small part of the community, however, survived in the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They are polytheists and live in a very traditional way, far from the modern, big cities. The younger generation often has to decide whether to stick to tradition or pursue a modern life. Many are engaged in a balancing act between the desire to maintain their culture and religion and the opportunity to move beyond the limited opportunities of their home villages. This film asks the Kalash how they see the future of their traditions. Will they be able to maintain them?


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💬 Comments on the video

Dear viewers,
We have received a number of comments criticizing the use of the word infidel in the title of this video. The title comes from the producers of the documentary and is a translation of ‘Kafir’, referring to the historical reference of the Kalash people as the “black Kafirs”. However, we have taken your comments into consideration and to avoid any confusion, have changed the title of the video. We would also like to add that members of the Kalash community, like other non-Muslims in Pakistan, are not required by law to study Islamic studies and can take an ethics class instead. However, a lack of teachers sometimes leaves them with no choice. We apologize for any issues this may have caused and hope this makes things clearer.
The DW Documentary Team

Author — DW Documentary


I wonder how many such communities must have died out in the last 100 years

Author — New Generation Anpanman


My name is Ali Faraz and I'm a pakistani student living in Germany.
I've seen your incredible documentary on the Kalashi people. You opened a splendid window into their unique culture.

I want to donate to some of the individuals there and need some contact information. If you know anything please let me know.

Specifically, the school teacher teaching the Kalashi language and the girl who graduated and is trying to preserve the culture now.

Please like so they can see. I want to do my best to preserve this wonderful way of live.

Their music, dresses, language and traditions all of it.

Author — Ali Faraz


Imagine a girl in a muslim family saying she converted to another religion, wouldnt be so peaceful

Author — Kastellan


23:12 A Kalash teacher says: « If we have education, it improves our culture too. Our children will learn that they can have a choice. Education shows them the way. » YES! ✨🧡
This is what school should be, and not propaganda...

Author — Isabelle B.


Dominant cultures always try to destroy the "lesser" ones to expand their own.
Why not just appreciate how amazing and different we all are? I think it's beautiful.

Author — ball stealthy


As a Muslim Pakistani I'm ashamed to see those Kalash children being forced to study Islamiat and being deprived of their own culture. Politicians here are just keeping Kalash alive in name just to take some foreigners there to take photos and do propaganda. A country that doesn't respect its diversity and is confused about its identity can never survive for long.

Edit: Can some people here read properly what I wrote? I am not ashamed of being Muslim. I am ashamed of how fellow Muslims here in this country are mistreating others, especially influential ones in power and politics.
Edit 2: Current PM Khan has introduced a native expert on Kalash religious studies as a part of the new SNC initiative. Seems like under these reforms, the natives will study their own religion and culture. A positive step if that's so and I'm looking forward to it.

Author — Waddia S.


The liberal ideology or nature of their culture and religion speaks a lot about itself. They don't impose it on their young ones even though they are a dying culture. This is how it should be. May their culture be alive forever.

Author — Y. Dijendra Singha


Girl changed her religion for the guy who she was in love with. Why not for once she asked him if she could marry him and still be with her own faith. And if he does not agree then why you have to marry such a narrow minded person.
There's no need to change to be loved. People should love you the way you are.
Imagine that muslim guy's sister wanted to change her religion, I am sure the situation wouldn't be this peaceful then.

Author — Expecto Patronum


Okay but the women retreating when they’re on their periods, generally left alone, don’t have to do manual labour or even cook for themselves? Seriously? These people are light years ahead of us. What a dream!

Author — Nope No


I hope kalash girls make the right choice when they getting married or their culture will die faster 😔

Author — Jema Joy


I am from Southern India 🇮🇳..Any religion should not force anybody to convert...let them live peacefully....these 4000 should be protected by the govt of Pakistan....

Author — veera sagar


From their dresses they looks very sophisticated and civilized people even living such a remote corner of the world.

Author — naureen qamar


I love this documentary. I’ve watched it several times, I’d never heard of these people before watching. Something about this has just stuck with me. It is beautiful, their smiles are beautiful. I love they have a choice to be educated, and that the women can choose their husbands. They are able to go to college. They’re not living in abject poverty. It is just lovely to see.

Author — Amy Cross


Jihad, converstions are the main reason for conflict between people, religion... In the name of conversion many cultures, traditions destroyed ...
Hope these Kalash community will flourish and survive for long time

Author — Dream Catcher


the afghanistan side was brutally converted.

Author — M Noorist


Didn’t know they existed. What a beautiful documentary by DW. As a born Muslim, I am saddened that they are made to learn Quran and Islam. That is cultural invasion. I hope their population and culture both thrive. Beautiful people!

Author — Raouf


18:21 Tourists just walk right in (no fences on their lands) and take pictures during their Summer festivals ?!?
No wonder why she doesn’t like tourists!
Get educated people, and respect the places you visit, the people and their tradition... Maybe, then they will be pleased to meet you!

Author — Isabelle B.


"Conversion to Islam is a step that can't be reversed", that's how you know you should deffinitely not do that

Author — Kim-André Johansen


This is one of the most beautiful and peaceful culture that I ever saw in my life. This culture should be preserved at all cost.

Author — Andy Cassagrande