Life of Pakistani Villagers
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Life of Pakistani Villagers
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, a Muslim state, won its freedom from India in 1947. Sixty percent of its population lives in villages. Farmers or herders have jobs in nearby cities or towns. Traditional customs have a strong influence on the life in rural areas of Pakistan, e.g. men have more social freedom than women do. Women avoid contact with men outside their family, and they cover their faces with a veil in the presence of strangers.
In the villages, family houses cluster tightly together along narrow alleys, sharing a tank or shallow pond for washing clothes and for watering vegetables and livestock. House walls are mostly built of mud, and they rise to meet thatched roofs. A typical home may have a few pieces of simple furniture with straw mats covering the bare earth floor. A few stone or brick houses shelter the wealthy landlords and merchants. Most of the villagers live in same-styled, mud houses and cooperate with each other in daily life.
Pakistani villagers dress themselves very simply as compared to city people. The most common dress for both men and women is a 'Shalwar Kamiz,' which consists of loose trousers worn under a long overblouse. Women wear a 'Doppta' and strictly observe 'purdah' by hiding their faces and private parts of their bodies.
Families within the houses are seldom composed of mother, father, and young children. The extended family is more customary in Pakistan. Sons bring their wives to their family home and rear their children there. The eldest father uses the joint earnings of the family members for their support. Farm families work in the fields, raise crops, and tend them. When the crops are ready, they harvest and sell them. During this entire period, women also help in the fields by seeding, watering, and tending the crops alongside the male members of the family. In the extended family, the eldest father supervises the outdoor work while the mother looks after the indoor work. The children help their parents run the house.
Villagers normally eat very simple meals consisting of a vegetable curry, a gruel of parched grams or lentils eaten with a bread called 'Chapati' or 'Roti.' The women cook the food which they serve on trays set on the floor. Women eat separately after the male members of the family have taken their meal.
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Rural Areas Family Members Young Children Cluster Brick Trousers Straw Vegetables Wear Looks
Women respect their male family members even during meal time.
Villagers lead very simple lives in Pakistan. Although they are doing a great job for the economy of Pakistan and are the backbone for Pakistan's exports, they are still waiting for the amenities that city people enjoy. They eat very simple food but produce many edible things for the city people. In fact, it is proof of their simplicity and innocence that they are happy in mud houses. They don't want to lead the snug life. Nevertheless, it is their right to have some civic amenities of a comfortable life.
Culturally, Pakistan’s rural folk enjoy a seemingly happy and contented life. Not that they tend to be passive and lack initiative. On the other hand our rural folk are more energetic and struggle minded than their city dwelling counterparts.
A Way of Life…But More Natural
by Hira N. Hashmey
Pakistanis the cradle of Indus Valley Civilization, civilisation that is spread over more than 4000 years of history. Archaeological excavations here have revealed evidence of the meticulously planned cities of Harappa and Mohenjodaro that lived and died along the banks of the mighty Indus and its tributaries. The ancient Hindu epics narrate life between the 7th and 5th century BC which carry rich descriptions of the land and people of Indus at that time. These relics throw light on the culture and changing architectural styles of Punjab since the Harappan age. At Taxila near Islamabad, sites associated with great Gandhara Civilization yielded remarkable relics that showcase the magnificient age of Buddhism in the region.
But alongwith its magnificent past, the rural life in present day Pakistan is as rich even today as it used to be before. The lush green crops which ripen in summer to yield golden harvests, fruit laden orchards which bear delicious fruits similar to those of the paradise and above all a mouth watering food that makes many a chefs to envy. The luscious fruits are so dominant in Punjab’s rural culture that a special variety of mangoes is called Samr-e-Bahisht, literally meaning the fruit of the paradise.
The Punjabifolk in Pakistani rural scene are extrovert; sociable guys who like to eat well and dress well. Even in a tight spot, a Punjabi youth would like to twirl his moustache and say “Khair ae” (am quite well”) to those who ask how he’s getting on. He learns quickly and assimilates new cultures without difficulty; family honour is sacrosanct to Punjabi’s, but in other matters they tend to be liberal. It is a matter of pride to be “up to date”. Their enterprise and capacity to work hard are legendary and it’s a deep ambition of Punjabi guys to “be one’s own boss”: many an émigré Punjabi have started life in a strange land driving a cab or working in a café and gone on to buy out the owner within a couple of years.
A few generationsago, turban was the “crowning glory” of all Punjabis, but it has now gradually disappeared from the scene. It was once a symbol of Punjab’s honour and status. At the same time it offered a protection against the simmering heat in the Punjab plains. The kurta, a long straight-cut, loose shirt teamed with pyjamas, the loose baggy shalwar, or a kind of sarong called a dhoti or tehmad makes up the traditional dress for men. Winter sees the rustic Punjabi in colorful sweaters that wives and mothers are so skilled in making. A shawl in winter and a chador in summer finish this ensemble. When the urban, educated Punjabi steps out to work he will be in shirt and pant or a suit-sartorially indistinguishable from his counterparts in Tokyo or Toronto. Back home in the evening, he is likely to be found in more traditional dress.
The traditionalPunjabi shoes, called juttis or khussas retain their popularity with rural folk; they are both elegant and comfortable. Bahawalpur, Sargodha and Hazro in Attock district are famous for khussas.The women in Punjabi villages dress in shalwar topped by a kameez (a garment that can be fitted like a dress loose like the kurta) and accented by a rectangular scarf about 2.5 metres long called the duppatta . She’s fond of her sweaters, but passionately proud of her collection of woolen shawls. Gold is the weakness of Punjabi women – brides are loaded with it. The jewelers of Punjab, stock an enormous range of designs in bangles, necklaces, rings and earrings, nose-pins, ornaments to pin in the hair, anklets and toe-rings.
Culturally,Pakistan’s rural folk enjoy a seemingly happy and contented life.Not that they tend to be passive and lack initiative. On the other hand our rural folk are more energetic and struggle minded than their city dwelling counterparts.
Life in a typical Punjabi village in Pakistan, starts early in the morning. The senior village dwellers along with not so insignificant number of village youth turn to the village mosque for offering their early morning Fajr prayers. After prayer, a delicious rich breakfast awaits the village men. The breakfast itself comprises of either fresh milk (cow or buffalo’s) or a hot brew of tea with a good amount of milk and sugar.
After breakfast,the men folk move to the fields where they start performing different chores of cultivation like plowing, sowing, and harvesting depending upon the season.
Mostvillages in Pakistan are situated away from the noise of the city life. They are peaceful and silent places. A typical Pakistani village consists of unpaved paths and streets. Its houses are made of mud. However, with lot of young members from rural families which moved to the gulf as part of the “Dubai Chalo” syndrome, have benefitted from the petro dollars. So the villagers now build their houses from bricks and concrete though most of the village people have simple habits and limited needs.
There aregreen trees, vast meadows, and flowery bushes in every village. The blossoming flowers, fragrant air, the rising and setting sun all leave a healthy influence on the health of villagers. In the summer they rest under shady trees, and take bath in cool water. Women also help their men in their work along with their household. They also take care of their domestic animals such as cows, goats, hens etc. As many small villages are still void of the facilities like safe drinking water and electricity; even hospitals and schools are at long distances, life in the village requires more struggle than the relatively modern lifestyles in the cities.
Village life inPakistandepicts a true picture of our culture. Villagers are very traditional people who are hard workers. They wake up early in the morning with the Fajar prayers and start working in the fields. They work all day long in the field under the sun without caring about the harsh weather. This is the only way for them to earn their livelihood.
They livein a serene and clean environment surrounded by green orchids and lush crop fields. There are beautiful flowing streams and ponds. People live in a very well knit community; they help and solve each other’s problems. The elders have great respect and in the evening they gather together in village “chopal” (a community meeting held every day) and discuss their village problems, which mainly surround the water distribution from a mohga (water outlet from a main stream), good or bad crop during the season and some petty matters of biradris. The discussions in a chopal though full of opposite views and dissensions too, yet at the end there is a more amicable end as in every matter the izzat of the village is and should remain supreme in every village dweller’s eyes. Then there will be discussion about lack of basic amenities, they don’t have proper drinking water, no schools and colleges and somewhere even no sewerage system at all. Some villages really need attention so that they can move on the road to progress.
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Note: All images in this post were shot on location by Abdul Razaq Vance
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