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Survey of Northern Pakistan: Languages of Kohistan Volume 1

Survey of Northern Pakistan: Languages of Kohistan Volume 1

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Published by: juliesheil on Jun 24, 2010
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According to the oral histories related by respondents in this
study, several centuries ago ancestors of the present-day Ushojo
speakers began coming over into Swat from the Kolai area in the
Indus Valley. As recently as nineteen years ago people from
Kandia would cross over into the Chail Valley to Madyan for
supplies. The stories tend to vary somewhat, but generally
speaking, tradition has it that long ago two or three brothers of
the Kali Khel1

moved to the Chail Valley because they had
enemies in Kolai. There are reportedly 300 to 400 homes that are
descendents of those brothers. A folk tale relating the migration,
why they came, and that they came via Kalam (near Ushu, as
reported by Keiser) is found in Appendix C.3. The major
migration probably did occur long ago; comparison of word lists


There is some confusion regarding the words qom and khel. Barth
(1956:28,70) and Keiser (1991:8-9) try to make some distinctions. Khel is
perhaps more of a Pashto term. Our respondents only mentioned khels, so that
is the word I will use.

Sandra J Decker


from the two locations indicates that though there is some
similarity, the present day languages are quite divergent (see
Table 1). There are still people of the Kali Khel found in Kolai in
the Indus Kohistan (see Hallberg this volume). There apparently
are two Ushojo speaking khels in the Chail Valley: Kali Khel and
Bara Khel.

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