ISLAMABAD: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has accepted the first-ever nomination of intangible cultural heritage filed by Pakistan of Kalash practice of ‘Suri Jagek’ for placing it at ‘UNESCO’s List in Need of Urgent Safeguarding the tradition’.
‘Suri Jagek’ is a traditional Kalash metrological and astronomical practice of observing the sun, the moon, stars and shadows with respect to the local topography.
Mr. Nazir Ahmad, Joint Secretary, National History and Literary Heritage (NHLH) Division told that the nomination for placing the practice at UNESCO’s list was filed by the division on March 29, 2017 and approved by UNESCO on Tuesday, 30 May.
“After acceptance of this nomination now, UNESCO will complete all the necessary requirements and then place this diminishing practice of Kalash people on its list of intangible heritage,” he added.
Mr. Nazir told that this was the first-ever nomination of intangible cultural heritage filed by Pakistan independently. “Approval of this nomination by UNESCO is indeed a matter of pride for the country,” he said.
“The nomination was filed by NHLH Division with an aim to safeguard this traditional practice of Kalash community which was vanishing due to reducing number of Kalash people,” he said.
He said that the initiative would also give the traditional Kalash practice a new identity and recognition at international levels.
“Cultural heritage of Kalash is facing various threats and there is urgent need to preserve this unique culture of Chitral district which is rich in both tangible and intangible cultural heritage,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the federal government to safeguard tangible and intangible heritage of the country and preserve it for the upcoming generations,” he said.
Kalash Valley is situated in Chitral district in northern Pakistan and surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountain range. The inhabitants of the valley are the Kalash people, who have a unique culture, language.