Afiyat, a Beautiful Kalash Girl

Afiyat is a girl in Village Anish, Bumboret Valley, Chitral, Pakistan, whom I tried very hard to get, without any success at all.

Afiyat told me through a Kalash translator named Abdul Khaliq that she would go with me to America, provided that her mother and father agreed. There was a catch: Her mother and father were spending the summer farming a farm in Achulga Valley.
Afiyat never allowed me to take her picture, but I secretly took this picture of her

I went to great lengths, even walking across the 11,000 foot high mountain pass to Achulga Valley to meet her parents to get them to agree to give Afiyat to me. They readily agreed, but Afiyat herself was not willing. Afiyat would not even allow me to take a picture of her, although all of the other Kalash girls were willing to be photographed by me.

I could not approach any other Kalash girl either because they all said that Afiyat was already my wife. "Afiyat ta bok!", they all said in the Chitrali language of Khowar, which I could speak. "Tu ispa jamar", they also said, meaning, "You are our son-in-law." I never understood why they said those things. Afiyat had not yet agreed to become my wife, as far as I was aware.

This photo was taken secretly by me while Afiyat sat in her own house in front of a fire. There are two other Kalash girls in the photo, but it is too dark to see them well. There is no electricity in Bumboret.

This photo was taken in 1979. I came back to Pakistan again in February, 1980 and tried to get her, with a similar lack of success. However, the people of that area felt sympathy for my plight and arranged for me to marry Honzagool instead.

For a photo of Honzagool, see: Honzagool. Did I get a better deal?

I came again in 1981. By this time, Afiyat was married but had left her husband after only a few months. I met Afiyat again. Still no success, but at least she did invite me into her house and talked to me. However, by then I was nearly fluent in the Khowar language and I was able to observe that she had a foul mouth. Almost her every other word was an obscenity. The actual language of Afiyat was Kalashamun, a language which is distinct and separate but linguistically related to Khowar. Afiyat could speak Khowar better than I could, but not by much.

I came to Chitral again in 1983. This time, I was not able to meet Afiyat. There was a court case involving her. Some claimed that a Kalash boy who loved Afiyat had abducted her and taken her 30 miles from Bumboret to Chitral Proper where he had forced her to spend the night with him in the Chitral Mountain Inn. Some claimed rape; others said that Afiyat had gone willingly. All this was surprising, because Kalash girls virtually never leave the three Kalash valleys. The story was that Afiyat loved another boy, but that boy did not love Afiyat. So, the boy whom she loved tricked her into thinking that he was going to spend the night with her. He brought her late in the night to the Chitral Mountain Hotel, where he turned her over to the boy who loved her but she did not love him. She spent the night in the hotel and there was sex involved. This became a big court case in Chitral. The zina charge (punishable by death) was dropped because the Kalash people do not recognize zina. They propagate freely. Both boys involved were Kalash and not Muslim. The laws which apparently apply to others in Pakistan did not apply to them.

By the time I got back to Chitral in 1983, this was a famous scandal. However, hardly anybody knew that this Afiyat was the same Kalash girl that I had first made famous by trying so hard to get back in 1979.

For questions about the origins of the Kalash people, see: Alexander the Great and the Kalash.

Afiyat spoke her own language of Kalasha, but she had also learned the distantly related language of Khowar. To learn what her own villagers were saying to me about Afiyat, see: Khowar-English Dictionary

For more about these trips to Chitral, see: My 1981 Trip to Chitral.

For a photo of other Kalash girls, see: Kalash

For a photo of a Kalash man, see: Rustam

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