.. by Dr Mir Baiz Khan
The national elections in Pakistan are less than a week away, and candidates from different political persuasions are gearing up their attack on opponents at times very ugly ones. I am not a political scientist and nor do I write, as a scholar, on political matters. However, sometimes one is obligated to point out the ugliness of certain opinions expressed by individuals who have a greater interest in manipulating political issues to their advantage. Friends in Chitral forwarded to me recent exchanges of opinions on Facebook which I don’t use in reaction to the statement of an individual who is not a politician but politically inclined with religious zealotry. The term used in khowar, the lingua franca of Chitral, is bezamunu in the context of the non-political community.
Bezamunu is a term, sensitive historically and pejorative socially, and was used for those who used to be sold as slaves to the rulers of Badakhshan, Bukhara, Balkh, and others for the value of a horse. The weak in the society were the targets of this slave trade. Socially, this was a derogatory term for those who belonged to the families of those who were sold.
Bezamunu is not just a term used for the slave trade, it is also used socially for individuals who trade their principles, that is, their conscience, and such individuals are defined as bezameer, meaning trader in integrity.
It is also used for individuals in the sense of betrayal of one’s faith for material benefit and is referred to in Khowar as bedeen, which means one who has no loyalty to any faith and trades it where he finds his material interest.
Apart from the slave trade which indicates the state and subject relationship at a particular time in history, the other bezameer groups are individuals who are both traders and traded in the sense that they sell themselves their conscience, principles, values, integrity, and faith for material gains. These individuals or groups of individuals are certainly dangerous to the peaceful fabric of society and the harmony and tranquility of the communities.
While elections will be over in a few days, the Chitral society and the Chitralis will need to live in peace, harmony, and collaboration for the sake of its progress, prosperity, and happiness for all. Mudslinging, and attributing pejorative terms to those who disagree are not going to help keep the Chitral society a clean peaceful welcoming place for all. .. Dr. Mir Baiz Khan, 03 Feb 2023