“When Indigenous Predictions Fail to Predict”
“For me my whole faith existed because of the belief that my family will always be safe, loosing my 5 children all at once led my trust fall badly over the Indigenous wisdom, traditional knowledge and predictions” (Zar Gul)
Zar Gul, a 55 year old indigenous woman and mother of 7 children belongs to a small village of Union Council Pashta Khan of District Khuzdar.
Zar Gul is one of the unfortunate victims of unexpected flash floods of recent past in the “drought hit” areas of Mountains of Moolla, District Khuzdar, When the sudden waves broke into the small village in the deep of night and took away with them great property, human lives including the 5 children of Zar Gul who were deep in slumber when disaster struck.
“It isn’t like we never faced floods before, but we have always relied with the core of our hearts on the traditional predictions that told us when to move up to the mountain tops with our family and sheep before any floods did came”. Says Zar Gul
The community like other surrounding communities of the district follows traditional practices of living, Medicines usually come from shrubs which are prepared in a certain way to cure even worse kind of infections and illness, weather predictions and seasons of cropping and harvesting are predicted by the indigenous wise people who have lived their whole lives in these mountains.
However most unfortunately at present when not only natural disasters are coming unpredicted the traditional pattern of cultivating land is also at great risks in Balohcistan, where the province mainly relies on “Khuskaba” and “Sailaba” patterns of land cultivation. The people in the upper areas usually wait for rainy seasons and work hard the whole year in preparing the land until rain falls on time, while people in the low lands prepare their lands to wait for floods to use water for cropping. These patterns have severely been under risk as rains show up right in the times of harvesting, or while crops are in the time of blossoming.
“Its all revenge of Allah that fells upon us”, Says one of the neighbors of Zar Gul, “our sins hold so much weight to let us face these horrible disasters and rain when we don’t even want it”.
Sughar a civil society organization from District Khuzdar have been working with these communities to raise awareness about Climate Change which to them is “God’s revenge”, the organization have been influencing the people to do their share of mitigating or adapting to the new patterns, and while helping them to cope Sughar have provided Alterative livelihood measures in the form of 5 goats to each poorest of poor women and Embroidery Centers to help sell their traditional products in the huge markets around Pakistan and abroad.
Climate Change in Balochistan came as unconsciously as these floods that cost many lives, the province already facing severe droughts and harsh weather had seen drastic changes in the climate pattern from the very beginning of the century.
And while work is in progress, the faith of these people keeps lessening day by day on the traditional practices, which being a challenge for them locally is also a great challenge to the whole world and to its massive diversity including the very truth that the world is getting short on its most important as well as reliable source of knowledge and wisdom.
The above case study is a part of my Climate Change Awareness-Visit to almost all of the villages in District Khuzdar as a part of the The Climate Project (TCP) and Australian Conservation Foundations (ACF) Presenter activity and Sughar’s Reclaiming our Climate Campaign. I am proud to share that I also belong to a small community of Khuzdar and am most pleased to share this case study and open to any ideas and comments that come on my way.