Historical Facts About Baltistan

BALTISTAN

Total population: 300,000

Headquarter:  Skardu

District: Baltistan

Area: 27400 Km2

Language: Balti

Religion: Islam

Related ethnic groups: Ladakhis, Tibetans, Burig

Tibetan Khampa and Dardic tribes came to Baltistan (called Baltiyul by locals) prior to civilization, and these groups eventually settled down, creating the Balti people. It was believed that the Balti people came under the Sphere of influence from the kingdom of Zhang Zhung.

Baltistan came under the control of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Under Tibetan cultural influence, the Bön and Animist Baltis began to adopt Tibetan Buddhism from Indian Buddhism. Religious artifacts such as the Gompas and Chörtens were erected, and Lamas played an important role in the lives of the Baltis.

Islam was first introduced to the Balti people in the 16th century with the conversion of the Balti prince Gyalbu Rinchen, although mass conversions did not take place until the reign of the ninth Maqpon King Gotacho Senge. It was not until the reign of the 15th rMaqpon king Ali Sher Khan Anchan did the Balti people look forward to expand their territory and fostering relationships with the Mughal emperors.

With the decline of power of Central Tibet during the 11th century, the Balti people came under the control of the Shagari, Rmakpon and Namgyal royal families, and fostered a close relationship with Ladakh in the east. Similar linguistic and cultural characteristics of Baltiyul and Ladakh helped in forging an administrative unit that existed until 1948 when Baltistan was annexed by Pakistan. The Dogra Maharajas of Jammu kept the administrative unit intact and converted it into a province called Ladakh Wazarat (a province composed of Baltistan, central Ladakh, Purik, Zanskar and Changthang areas). Skardo, capital of Baltiyul became the winter capital of province while Leh, capital of Central Ladakh became the summer capital. The province was divided into three districts namely Skardo, Leh and Kargil.

Centuries of Tibetan, Islamic and Indian influence have shaped the Balti culture into its modern form. Islam plays an important role in Balti culture.

Tibetan influence can be seen in its architecture, where houses with flat roof painted white and sloping inwards are built, and the most notable artifacts of the Balti/Ladakhi architecture include Kharpoche in Skardo, Khapulo Khar in Khapulo, Chakchan and Shigar Khanqah and Baltit fort of Hunza. Like the Ladakhi Muslim architectures, older mosques show a mix of Iranian and Tibetan architecture, although strong Iranian and modern influences can be seen in the newer mosques.

Little remains of the pre-Islamic Buddhist culture of Baltistan, largely destroyed and sup placed by the dominant Punjabi and Iranian culture which arrived with Islam; this can be evidenced in the near-extinction of traditional Balti festivals such as Mephang, Mindok Ltadmo and Srup Lha. Folk literature such as those of Lha Kesar and works of Ali Sher Khan Anchan prevail among the Balti literature, which has experienced a revival in recent years.

Although climatic conditions are harsh and inhospitable, the village people of Baltistan are among the most friendly and hospitable of mountain peoples in Pakistan. Evolved out of 106 years of slavery under the Dogra rulers and innumerable decades under local despotic Rajas, the predominant population of today’s Baltistan is religiously and ethnically homogeneous.

Baltistan is proud of her thousands of years of rich civilization. Her architecture, costumes, cuisines, festivals, dances, language, script, epics, hence everything makes her unique among her neighbors, especially within the contemporary Northern Areas. The local culture is a blend of that of Ladakhi and Islamic rituals, identical to that of Indian Ladakhi Muslims. The residents of Baltistan, since partition to this day, have remained essentially people of Baltistan’s soil. They are devout Muslims, and in effect including two generations borne since the annexation of Baltistan to Pakistan have never distanced themselves from the cultural and linguistic ties what ninety percent of the Baltis regard as Ladakhi cultural and linguistic heritage.

Of late, modern Balti scholars such as Ghulam Hassan Lobsang, Ghulam Hassan Hasni, Syed Abbas Kazmi and Mohammad Senge Tshering Hasnain have contributed greatly to the re-discovery of the Balti culture. Plans to excavate ancient monastery and preservation of the Buddha rock are planned, as the Balti goes through a process of merging their culture with those of their brethren in Ladakh.

Recently a book (Balti Tamlo) has been produced by Ghulam Hassan Hasni that contains 900 Balti/Ladakhi proverbs, idioms and expressions. Further, writers like Hassan Lobsang has written books on local Bon traditions and pre-Buddhist Baltiyul.

Arts and Culture

The arts and culture flourished during aLI SHER aNCHAN’S REIGN AFTER his marriage with Mughal princess Gul khatoon known as mindoqgialmo in balti. Balti classical music ‘RAGAS are known as Harib in balti Musical performances were officially patronized on New Year Nauroze

The Mughal Art made an influence during Ali sher’s time and art of wood carving was also introduced. The decoration of verandas and doors were carried out by special carving known as Panjra and Hatamband.

Balti dances can be categorized in three, Broqchos, sword art and dewan.

Sword dances have futhe rclassification

Chogo prasul

Gasho pa

Mindoq Hltanmo

Sneopa

Then kar

Daur dance: It was an interesting sort of dance used to commemorate the victory of Yabgo over Raja Ghori tham

The dancing girls are called Bekarmo and Malakhanmo

Balti poetry revolves around folklores and Regia khlu or royal song.

The stanzas bear deep background and depict the situationsin a beautiful way. Composition of Rgiakhlu and Borqchos were also used with lYrics addded to Facilitate Dance.

The modern poetry includes Ghazal however Religious touch overcame Description of physical beauty and other forms of poetry like Beher taweel mersia Qasida masnavi has dominated. Dogra regime set the literary wealth of baltis under cover and balti art didnot prosper as it could have been.

I don’t have any information regarding contemporary poets but in the old days Akhond karim khan of khaplu,Raja Murad ali khan maqponMurad and many more were renowned past poets.

Baltistan

Baltistan also known as (Baltiyul) in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan , bordering Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the Karakorum mountains just to the south of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m (11,000 ft). It is inhabited principally by Balti Shia Ithna Ashri, of Tibetan descent who converted from Tibetan Buddhism prior to the 16th century. There is a small minority of Bhahais sect in Baltististan.
Baltistan consisted of small independent states that were connected to each other due to blood relationships of the rulers called rajas, trade, common belief and a strong cultural and language bonds. These states were subjected by force by the Dogra rulers of Kashmir in the nineteenth century. In 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence, it was still part of Kashmir. The people of Baltistan being pre-dominantly Muslims revolted against the repressive rule of the Dogra rulers and after a hard and prolonged struggle of one year became independent and along with Gilgit became part of Pakistan of their own free will. Its linkage with Kashmir as a subjugated people to date continues to be an impediment in granting them the citizenship of Pakistan. Part of the region (Kargil) is still in India. The districts of Skardu and Ganche, which are a part of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, its main town isSkardu. It has the highest peaks of the Karakoram, including K2. Indian-controlled Baltistan (the district of Kargil) which is disputed and claimed by Pakistan is located in the north of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Baltistan also known as (Baltiyul) in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan , bordering Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains just to the south of K2, the world’s second highest mountain. It is an extremely mountainous region, with an average altitude of over 3,350 m (11,000 ft). It is inhabited principally by Balti Shia Ithna Ashri, of Tibetan descent who converted from Tibetan Buddhism prior to the 16th century. There is a small minority of Bhahais sect in Baltististan.
Baltistan consisted of small independent states that were connected to each other due to blood relationships of the rulers called rajas, trade, common belief and a strong cultural and language bonds. These states were subjected by force by the Dogra rulers of Kashmir in the nineteenth century. In 1947 when India and Pakistan gained independence, it was still part of Kashmir. The people of Baltistan being pre-dominantly Muslims revolted against the repressive rule of the Dogra rulers and after a hard and prolonged struggle of one year became independent and along with Gilgit became part of Pakistan of their own free will. Its linkage with Kashmir as a subjugated people to date continues to be an impediment in granting them the citizenship of Pakistan. Part of the region (Kargil) is still in India. The districts of Skardu and Ganche, which are a part of the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, its main town isSkardu. It has the highest peaks of the Karakoram, including K2. Indian-controlled Baltistan (the district of Kargil) which is disputed and claimed by Pakistan is located in the north of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Geography

Baltistan is often called “little Tibet”. The adjoining territory of Baltistan forms the west extremity of Tibet, whose natural limits here are the Indus from its abrupt southward bend in 74 45 E., and the mountains to the north and west, separating a comparatively peaceful Tibetan population from the fiercer Aryan tribes beyond. Muslim writers about the 16th century speak of Baltistan as Little Tibet, and of Ladakh as Great Tibet, thus ignoring the really Great Tibet altogether. The Balti call Gilgit a Tibet, and Dr Leitner says that the Chilasi call themselves But or Tibetans; but, although these districts may have been overrun by the Tibetans, or have received rulers of that race, the ethnological frontier coincides with the geographical one given. Baltistan is a mass of lofty mountains, the prevailing formation being gneiss. In the north is the Baltoro Glacier, the largest out of the arctic regions, 35 miles (56 km) long, contained between two ridges whose highest peaks to the south are 25,000 ft (7,600 m) and to the north 28,265 ft (8,615 m). The Indus, as in Lower Ladakh, runs in a narrow gorge, widening for nearly 20 m. after receiving the Shyok. The capital, Skardu, a scattered collection of houses, stands here, perched on a rock 7,250 ft (2,210 m) above the sea. The house roofs are flat, occupied only in part by a second storey, the remaining space being devoted to drying apricots, the chief staple of the main valley, which supports little cultivation. But the rapid slope westwards is seen generally in the vegetation. Birch, plane, spruce and Pinus excelsa appear; the fruits are finer, including pomegranate, pear, peach, vine and melon, and where irrigation is available, as in the North Shigar, and at the deltas of the tributary valleys, the crops are more luxuriant and varied.29th august 2009 the government of Islamic republic of Pakistan announced that the northern areas are a new province of Pakistan. and Gilgit city is its capital city. This province name is Gilgit-Baltistan.

Notable peoples

Notables include Syed Muhammad Shah Noorani (spiritual leader of Noorbukhshia), Muhammad Yusuf Hussainabadi, Agha Syed Ali Mosvi,Afzal Ali Shigri, Ghulam Muhammad Sikander, Haji Fida Muhammad Nashad, Syed Asad Zaidi , Wazir Sadiq, Wazir Ghulam Mahdi (Alig), Babu Ishaq, Sanaullah, Sheikh Mohsin Najfi, Aga Syed Mohammed Ali Shah,Shiekh Ghulam Mohammed, Aga Syed Mohammed Ali Shah, Aga Askari, Hasan Hasni, Fida Naushad, Imran Nadeem, Hasan Hasrat, Raja Saba of Shigar, Professor Dr. Hamidullah Abdulqadir, Dr Faiz Rehmani, Dr Abdulrahman Faisal ghulam Mohammed, Faqir Mohammed ibrahim, Shamim Baltistani, Syed Muhammad Machulu, Shaikh Muhammad Hassan jafari, Malika Baltistani,Daniyal yabgo nd samrina nooshin faizy.

Balti dialect

Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Ladakh, India. Baltistan before 1948 was part of Ladakh province. The language is a dialect of the Tibetan language. It is mutually intelligible with Ladakhi and Burig. Many of the consonants that are silent in most modern Tibetan dialects are pronounced in Balti.

Balti

All people of same races, living in Baltistan are called Balti. The Greeks derived Byaltae from sBal-ti, which in Tibetan means “water gorge.” The historian Ptolemy who was also a general in the army of Great had named the region (Byaltae) in his book. In fact Baltistanis the Persian translation of Baltiyul, “The Homeland of Balti”. The people belonging to Balti nationality are settled on both banks of the river Indus from kargil (in the east) to Haramosh(in the west) and from Karakoram range (in the north) to Deosai plains (in the south). In this nationality the majority comes from Tibetan origin. However people migrated to this area in different periods of ancient times, on account of different reasons and after merging in the prevailing Tibetan society, gave birth to a new civilization. All these multi-racial groups speak Balti language, which is a branch of the ancient Tibetan language. However in some rural areas, the Sheen people still speak Shina language.

The Balti are a very forbearing, cheerful, and hospitable people. During the Rmakpon reign (from 12th century to 1840 A.D.) they invaded Ladakh and Tibet in the east and Gilgit and Chitral many times and thus made these people acknowledge of their martial abilities.

There are several Balti communities located in Pakistan’s urban areas further south, notably in Lahore, Islamabad and in Karachi

Script

Balti is also the name of the Tibetan Balti script, which was replaced by the Persian script in the 17th century.

The population of Baltistan is a heterogeneous mixture of ethnic groups. Tibetans form the principal ethnic group in the area accounting for 60 per cent of the population.

The language spoken by the entire population of Baltistan is called -BALTI- which is an archaic dialect of Tibetan language. At present Balti has been heavily influenced by Turkish and Urdu and affected by Muslim literature in Persian. With the result that it has deviated from the original Tibetan language.

The language spoken in Baltistan, generally known as BALTI is originally a Tibetan dialect. According to Professor Jampal Gyathso, a Chinese Scholar and expert in Epic of king Gesar and a Khampa (Tibetan) by origin, the present Balti has all the linguistic characteristics and roots from Tibetan language. According to his initial survey Balti resembles more the Kham dialect than other Tibetan dialects of U and Thsang and Amdo etc. He further suggests that either the first Tibetan settlers of Baltistan could be the Khambas or at least majority of the settlers were Khambas. The people of Baltistan, dubbed as -mini Tibet-, are related to the Tibetans and their language is a branch of the Tibetan language and retains many features of archaic Tibetan pronunciation. The missionary, orient list and linguist heinrich August Jäschke (1817-1883) classified Balti as one of the western most-Tibetan dialects. In his Tibetan-English Dictionary he defines it as “Bal (Balti), the most westerly of the districts in which the Tibetan language is spoken”. Many other scholars also are of the view that Balti is a Tibetan dialect and not a separate language from the Tibetan

Recently a number of Balti scholars and social activists are trying to re promote the use of the Tibetan / Balti script (Yige) with the aim of helping to preserve indigenous Balti and Ladakhi form of culture and ethnic identity. Following a request from this community, the September 2006 Tokyo meeting of ISO/IEC 10646 WG2 agreed to encode two characters (U+0F6B TIBETAN LETTER KKA and TIBETAN U+0F6C LETTER RRA) in the ISO 10646/ Unicode standards in order to support writing Urdu loanwords present in modern Balti in this script (yige).

Like other Tibetan dialects, Balti had no script of its own till the Tibetans managed to create a script for their language and simultaneously introduced the same by the Tibetan Lamas and other learned people. In 727 AD when King Khri Lde-gTsug-Brtan conquered Baltistan and annexed it to his State, the Tibetan script was formally introduced as official script through their offices, religious books and rock inscriptions. The famous (Mandala) carving and the Tibetan inscription on a rock in village Manthal near Skardo town, which dates back to early 8th century AD is one of the best examples of these efforts. Till that time there was no difference between the Tibetan dialects of Lhasa or central Tibet and Baltistan; therefore, the Baltis faced no problem in reciprocal communication and usage. It is worth mentioning here that before the invasion of Tibetans, in 727 AD, the official language of Palolashahis and the clergy too was “Brahmi”, which was brought into the area after the 4th legendary Buddhist Conference in jalandhar. We still find many rock-inscriptions (5th & 6th centuries) in the Brahmi script. However, the Tibetans spread their script with all their zest and zeal. This (Tibetan) script remained in use for the Balti till the 16th century AD when a strong opposition routed it away from the area and instead, the Mullahs persuaded the Balti masses to use the Persian script for Balti, but they never endeavored to form fully corresponding Persian letters for Balti. Moreover, when the Maqpon Dynasty rose to its climax in the 16th century AD and they developed a strong political and cultural relationship with the Moghuls of India, they used Persian instead of Balti language for their offices and subsequently the Balti language including its script lost the strongest patron. The Dogras of Jammu conquered Baltistan in 1840 AD and annexed it to their State. Since Pakistan took it over in 1948 AD, Urdu has flooded over all the local dialects /languages including Balti. In the modem times Balti has no names /vocabulary for dozens of newly invented and introduced things, therefore, Urdu and English names/ words are being used in Balti.

Areas

The present Balti language or Balti form of Tibetan language is spoken in the whole of Baltistan and it is said that Purki-dialect of Purig and Suru-Kartse valleys come in to the Balti group linguistically. However, at the moment nearly 0.4 million people living in Baltistan and about 0.1 million Baltis who live in different cities of Pakistan and working abroad speak Balti.

Evolution

The Balti language has always been at a disadvantage. As mentioned earlier it had to change the script from the original to an artificial one (Persian) which never corresponded with the letters and requirements of the Balti with the result that it lost its standard and Tibetan originality. Its folk-literature is not yet available in written-shape; but continues to be orally transmitted. On the contrary the Balti has been quite promising in the sense of literature in category, aptitude and profundity. It is worth mention here that, despite all handicaps the Balti language has retained may honorific words like all the Tibetan dialects and many other languages. A man from Baltistan,”Ghulam Hassan Lobsang” has great contribution in Balti language. He is the first man who has written a Balti grammar (in Persian version) which of course, a milestone in Balti language. Below are a few examples:

Ordinary Balti Honorific Ladakhi Meaning
Ata Baba Aba Father
Ano/Amo Zizi Ama Mother
Kaka Kacho Acho Brother (elder)
Bustring Zung Nama Wife
Momo Jangmocho Ajang Maternal uncle
Nene Nenecho Ane Aunt
Bu Bucho Tugu Son
Fru Nono Busa Boy
Apo Apocho Meme Grandfather
Api Apicho Abi Grandmother
Ashe Ashcho Singmo Sister (elder)
Zo bjes Zo Eat
Thung bjes Thung Drink
Ong Shokhs Yong Come
Zer Kasal-byung Zer Speak/Say
Ngid tong gZim tong Ngid tong Sleep (go to)
Lagpa Phyaq-laq/g Lagpa Hand/Arm
Khyang Yang/Yari-phyaqpo Khyorang You
Kama gzok-po Leg

Literature

Though Balti has remained under adverse conditions, even then it has proved to be a very fertile language capable of creating several genres of folk and classical literature. We do not find any prose except proverbs (in hundreds) and some epics and sagas (such as those of King Kesar/Gesar, Rgyalucho-Lo-bZang and Rgyalu-Srasbu and some others), all in oral tradition. All other literature is in verse. Balti literature has adopted numerous Persian styles of verse and vocables also wluch have amplified the beauty and melody of its poetry.

Nearly all the languages and dialects of the mountain region in the north of Pakistan including Pashto, Khowar and Shina belong to the Indic or Iranian language families, but Balti is the only language which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan group of languages. As such, it has nothing in common with neighboring languages except some loanwords absorbed as a result of linguistic contact. Although Balti is, at the moment, cut off from its sister languages of Ladakh but has 80-90% of nouns, pronouns, verbs and other literary and grammatical character in common. We can, however, term Balti and Bodhi of Ladakh as separate dialects, but not separate languages.

The major issue facing the development of Balti literature is its centuries-long isolation from Tibet, owing to political divisions and strong religious differences and even from its immediate neighbor Ladakh for the last 50 years. Separated from its linguistic kin, Balti is under pressure from more dominant languages such as Urdu. This is compounded by the lack of a suitable means of transcribing the language following the abandonment of its original Tibetan script. At the moment neither the Baltis have the awareness to revive their original script nor there any institution which could restore it and persuade the people to use it again. Even if the script is revived, it would need modification to express certain Persian and Urdu phonemes that occur in common loanwords within Balti.

The Balti Literature may be categorized as under:

Rgya-glu: This can be categorized as a classical one in the folk-verses for its meaning or deepness. It contains romantic songs, elegies, advice, complaints and historical events etc.

Rtse-glu: This is a light type of poetry sung while dancing. In this kind of song, different topics and events of life, families and their social or cultural conditions, jokes, etc. are the subject matter.

Yurmi-glu: This is a song sung by the women while working or weeding in the fields. In such songs, women recollect their childhood, love and longing for her parents, pleasant or unpleasant experience or feelings about her husband or other relatives.

Ridagsi-glu: These are the songs composed in praise of mountain-goats of all sort. Some songs admire the beauty of wild-life, some depict motherhood in these animals for their kids and in some the poets lament the extinction of goats and sheep.

Bar-glu: Also called Deewan, this can be described as the medieval stage between the Rgya-glu and the modern poetry (glu). This type of poetry also involves romantic and other general experiences.

Glu: This can be described as the mGul-glu as it has only romantic feelings and flavour.

Hamd: This is the form of verses in praise of God.

Qaseeda: These are verses in praise of Muhammad(PBUH)and the twelve Imams(AS), their family members according to Shia Islam.

Marsia: Versed elegy commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain(AS) (the grandson of Muhammad(PBUH), the 3rd Imam) in Karbala, other Imams, etc.

Noha: These are versed elegies sung with rhythm while the (Shiaite) mourners beat their chests. This category is also attributed to the martyrs of Karbala and other family members of Hazrat Muhammad(PBUH).

Bahr-e-Taweel: These verses are in long metre and consist of several stanzas of 9 to 14 lines. In this poetry, generally, the mortality of life and other similar topics are explored in a mystic way.

Goshwara: This is similar to the Persian or Urdu “Masnavi” Narrative couplets. Usually the dignity and illustrious personalities and deeds of Muhammad(PBUH) and the Imams(AS) are narrated.

Ghazal: These are the odes of love and romance exactly on the principles of Persian and Urdu Ghazal and Nazm.

(Youq fangsay thalang paqzi na mandoq na mabour na

Na drolbi laming yani si soq fangse chi thob took)

nasir karmi

Sa-get-pi-glu: These are the songs praising or encouraging the farmers and agriculturists in modern time.

Milli-naghma: These are like Urdu Milli-naghmas.

Balti people

The Balti are an ethnic group of Tibetan descent with some Dardic admixture located in Baltistan, a region in the Northern Areas, Pakistan and Ladakh, a region in Jammu & Kashmir, India; as well as scattered in Pakistan’s major urban centers of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. The Balti language belongs to the Tibetan language family and is a sub-dialect of Ladakhi.Balti,Ladakhi and Burig are mutually intelligible.

History

Tibetan Khampa and Dardic tribes came to Baltistan (called Baltiyul by locals) prior to civilization, and these groups eventually settled down, creating the Balti people. It was believed that the Balti people came under the Sphere of influence from the kingdom of Zhang Zhung.

The modern world Balti people, however, are not all from Tibetan stock. With the passage of time, many other tribes namely, Shins, Yashkuns (Dardic people), Kashmiris (called Khache in local language), Arabs (mostly Sayeds), Persian (Sufis) and Turks (especially Uygurs from central Asia) made their inroads to Baltistan and gradually merged with the local population. After second or third generation they became Baltis. Today, in Skardu, the capital of Baltistan region of Pakistan, the most hardened Baltis are outsiders namely Kashmiris or Dard tribes.

Baltistan came under the control of the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. Under Tibetan cultural influence, the Bön and Animist Baltis began to adopt Tibetan Buddhism from Indian Buddhism. Religious artifacts such as the Gompas and Chörtens were erected, and Lamas played an important role in the lives of the Baltis.

History of Islam in Baltistan starts with arrival of Ameer Kabeer Syed Ali Hamadani(A legendary Sufi Saint of the Muslim History) from Iran during 15th Century. He was followed by other Sufi legends afterwards, such as Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbaksh. Soon the whole region converted to Noorbakshi order of Islamic Sufism. The core message of Nurbakhshism are complete elimination of all evil desires and immoralities of human nature from one’s self; total submission of one’s wills before God (by following the Qur’an Sunnah and Ahlibeit) and finally love and peace for the whole mankind. During the start of 19th century, however, the predominant population converted to other Islamic schools of thought such as Shias and Sunnis. In this era there were only one purely Islamic sect, that was Noorbakhsia, and still there are. After that, a shia scholar came in this region from India, and he astonished seeing that, there is only one sect in all over Baltistan, that wasNoorbakhsia, he decided to do something and started inciting the people towards shiasm. Then many other Scholars came and started inciting people towards shiasm As a result many family became shia. Seeing and observing these activities, the Scholars of another Islamic sects started introducing their sects.The pure Islamic (Noorkbakhsia) sect was still there. Today, the Baltis are; Shia’ denomination (13%), Nurbakhshi (80%), and Sunni-Ahlehadith sect (7%). Today, Nurbakhshis are found in Baltistan and Ladakh regions of J&K, as well as a large number of Noorbakshis are native to Iran, Kurdistan and Central Asia With the decline of power of Central Tibetduring the 11th century, the Balti people came under the control of theShagari, Rmakpon and Namgyal royal families, and fostered a close relationship with Ladakh in the east. Similar linguistic and cultural characteristics of Baltiyul and Ladakh helped in forging an administrative unit that existed until 1948 when Balties revolted against the Dogras and joined Pakistan. The Dogra Maharajas of Jammu kept the administrative unit intact and converted it into a province called Ladakh Wazarat (a province composed of Baltistan, central Ladakh, Purik, Zanskar and Changthang areas).Skardo, capital of Baltiyul became the winter capital of province while Leh, capital of Central Ladakh became the summer capital. The province was divided into three districts namely Skardo, Leh and Kargil.

Culture

Centuries of Tibetan, Islamic and Indian influence have shaped the Balti culture into its modern form. Islam plays an important role in Balti culture.

Tibetan influence can be seen in its architecture, where houses with flat roof painted white and sloping inwards are built, and the most notable artifacts of the Balti/Ladakhi architecture include Kharpoche in Skardo, Khapulo Khar in Khapulo, Chakchan and Shigar Khanqah and Baltit fortof Hunza. Like theLadakhi Muslim architectures, older mosques show a mix of Iranian and Tibetan architecture, although strong Iranian and modern influences can be seen in the newer mosques.

Little remains of the pre-Islamic Buddhist culture of Baltistan, largely destroyed and sup placed by the dominant Punjabi and Iranian culture which arrived with Islam; this can be evidenced in the near-extinction of traditional Balti festivals such as Mephang, Mindok Ltadmo and Srup Lha. Folk literature such as those of Lha Kesar and works of Ali Sher Khan Anchan prevail among the Balti literature, which has experienced a revival in recent years.

Although climatic conditions are harsh and inhospitable, the village people of Baltistan are among the most friendly and hospitable of mountain peoples in Pakistan. Evolved out of 106 years of slavery under the Dogra rulers and innumerable decades under local despotic Rajas, the predominant population of today’s Baltistan is religiously and ethnically homogeneous.

Baltistan is proud of her thousands of years of rich civilization. Her architecture, costumes, cuisines, festivals, dances, language, script and epics make her unique among her neighbors, especially within the contemporary Northern Areas. The local culture is a blend of that of Ladakhi and Islamic rituals. Since partition, the residents of Baltistan have remained essentially people of Baltistan’s soil. They are devout Muslims, and in effect including two generations borne since the annexation and occupation of Baltistan by India have never distanced themselves from the cultural and linguistic ties to what ninety percent of the Baltis regard as Ladakhi cultural and linguistic heritage.

Of late, modern Balti scholars such as Ghulam Hassan Lobsang, Ghulam Hassan Hasni, Syed Abbas Kazmi and Mohammad Senge Tshering Hasnainhave contributed greatly to the re-discovery of the Balti culture. Plans for the excavation of an ancient monastery and the preservation of the Buddha rock are planned, as the Balti go through a process of merging their culture with those of their brethren in Ladakh.

Recently a book (Balti Tamlo) has been produced by Ghulam Hassan Hasni that contains 900 Balti/Ladakhi proverbs, idioms and expressions. Further, books have been written by authors including Hassan Lobsang on local Bon traditions and pre-Buddhist Baltiyul.

Lifestyle

Sandwiched between the Karakoram, the Himalayan and Ladakh mountain ranges, the Baltistan region is highly valued for its strategic geo-political location. Its trade routes in the past have served as economic lifelines for the inhabitants of this region, who bartered goods while visiting East Turkestan (Sinkiang), China, Central Asia, the Indian Sub-continent, Central Tibet and beyond. Today, the region is sandwiched between three nuclear powers of Asia: China in the north, India in the east and south, and Pakistan in west.

Baltistan contains some of the highest mountains and longest glaciers in the world. Further, the rivers and streams have formed numerous valleys over the course of time, which are inhabited and cultivated by the residents. Innumerable rivers and rivulets including Shyok, Siachen, Saltoro, Suru, Shingo and Shigar rivers, augment the mighty Indus River, which after bisecting Baltistan enters Gilgit. Glacial lakes are abundant in Baltistan and are of high touristic value. Baltistan possesses approximately fifty peaks with heights of more than 20,000 feet (6,100 m) above sea level. Mighty K2 – the second highest peak in the world at 8,611 meters in height – is situated here, overlooking the Shigarvalley. The glaciers – the longest in the world outside the Polar Regions, reaching to a length of 90 kilometers – surround Baltistan in the north and west directions, separating her from China and Gilgit.

Baltistan has four seasons; a short spring, summer and autumn, with a longer winter. As winters approach, temperatures drop to –25 degrees Celsius in the residential villages and towns. Rainfall is less than 300 millimeters per annum as the region falls outside the monsoon zone. Vegetation is scarce in Baltistan and found only in areas fed by streams and rivulets. The Deosai Plains, also called Byarsa in Balti, around 5,400 square kilometers of sheer plateau at an elevation of 14,000 feet (4,300 m) from sea level, are a refuge for the most endangered wildlife species both flora and fauna, including the magnificent snow.

Skardu, the urban capital of Baltistan, is located at 7,400 feet (2,300 m) above sea level. Formerly the capital of the Rajas of Skardo, it is the widest valley in the whole of Karakoram mountain belt, and is the site of the longest airplane runway at such an elevation. Skardo or Skardu is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan, attracting thousands of visitors and tourist both domestically and from abroad, notably by Europeans.

Several historical trade routes under utilization by Baltis for thousands of years open towards Leh, Kargil, Srinagar, Simla, Manali, Yarkand (to China through Karakoram Pass of India), and Tibet. However since the war between Pakistan and India in 1971, the local population hasn’t been able to access the trading regions in the east and north, which has had a significant impact on the local economy.

Subsequent political events in Pakistan, the unresolved status of Jammu and Kashmir, and red tapism in government policies and lack of federal funds considering Pakistan’s current fiscal deficit have hampered development of this tourist friendly region. Baltistan has remained one of the most poverty stricken areas within Pakistan, a position further made difficult by the location of region and difficulties in reaching it by road. The establishment of a runway and the Karokoram Highway in cooperation with China has drastically improved the situation in the region but more needs to be done in order to bring the region at par with other parts of the country. Subsidized supplies from other parts of the country are still the bulk source of essential goods when the region is cut off for months due to avalanches and landslides affecting the only road linking Baltistan to rest of Pakistan. This road was only built in 1982, prior to which the only source of transportation to Baltistan (which has an area three times the size of the Kashmir Valley) was by air, and dependent on good weather. The government of Pakistan, has signed several agreements with China to the effect of establishing a Duty-Free Export zone in adjacent Gilgit with the subsequent establishment of industries and skills-training workshops, it is hoped that this development will help accelerate development in the region along with Skardu and other parts of Baltistan. The Agha Khan foundation is active in developmental projects in the region, and has initiated several projects such as water purification, educational and vocational training centers.

In recent years, many in the region have been yearning for greater political representation in the Federal Government of Pakistan.

The literacy ratio in Baltistan was very low, approximately 20 percent for males and 3 percent for females. In valleys like Basha, Braldo etc. female literacy was almost non-existent. Health facilities are severely limited and joblessness has compelled many to leave the region over the years. With the construction of the highway along the Indus river and its linkage with the Karakorum Highway has opened up this area and progress during the last twenty years has been rapid and visible. Aga Khan Rural Support Programmed (AKRSP) and Marafie Foundation have played a major role in progress of this area. While AKRSP contributed in social mobilization, infrastructure development and agriculture, Marafie Foundation invested in education and health. AKRSP also acted as catalyst for birth of thousands of active community based organizations working in the area in variety of fields. In the field of education the role of Marafie Foundation is a success story. A recent survey by AKRSP shows that the male education today stands at 70% and that of female at 35%. All this has resulted in increase in the per capita income which is now almost at par with the national per capita income.

Like the Ladakhis, the Balti are agriculturalists. However, being a mountainous region, availability of cultivable land is scarce. Subsistence farming and animal husbandry are the main sources of livelihood for the Baltis. They grow wheat, barley, millet and buckwheat, and raise goats and sheep for wool, and yaks for hair, meat, milk and skin. These animals are also traded for cash. Horticulture also forms a significant source of income for the Baltis. However, there is only an average of 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land per household available for cultivation. Security issues compel the villagers to store rations for both humans and animals, which is then utilized during the long winters. During the six or seven months of long winter, economic activities virtually cease to exist and people leave for Pakistan to seek job opportunities.

Balti staple cuisine includes Cha-phe (Tsampa), Ladakhi salt tea (Balti Cha), Marzan (cooked dough and yak butter); Thsodma (greens), Balay (Noodles cooked with meat), Thaltakh (Salty cake of refined flour mixed with eggs and butter) and Chuli-Chhu (apricot juice). Cereals are planted in late spring and at lands with elevations not above 2,500 m, particularly along the Indus (Sengge Chhu) and Shyok river.

During the years when it is relatively calm and peaceful, a modest number of tourists both local and international visit Baltistan, providing much needed financial support. The region lacks major industry. As permanent sources of job opportunities are lacking, thousands of people have left the region either temporarily or on a permanent basis to go to other parts of Pakistan and the Middle East.

The re-opening of roads eastwards linking Baltiyul with Ladakh and Kashmir would allow the local economy to improve and thousands of divided families of Ladakh and Baltistan to reunite. Per capita income, which is a quarter of national Pakistani average (US$ 120) may also increase as trade opportunities and tourism catch pace. Muhammad Yousuf Hussainabadi is also one of the great scholars of balti language, for the first time he renewed the old script of balti language. recently he has written a book on the history of Baltistan named “Tarikh-e-Baltistan”.He has translated the Holy Quraan into balti.

Religion

History of Islam in Baltistan starts with arrival of Ameer Kabeer Syed Ali Hamadani (A legendary Sufi Saint of the Muslim History) from Iran during 15th Century A.D. He was followed by other Sufi legends afterwards, such as Shah Syed Muhammad Noorbaksh (no historical record of these visits exists). Soon the whole region converted to Noorbakshi order of Islamic Sufism. The core edicts of this order of Sufism are as follows: complete elimination of all evil desires and immoralities of human nature from one’s self; total submission of one’s wills before Allah (by following the Qur’an and Sunnah) and finally love and peace for the whole mankind.

During the start of 19th century the predominant population converted to other Islamic schools of thought such as Shias and Sunnis. Today, the Baltis are; Shia’ denomination (54%), Sufi Noorbakshi (43%) and Sunni sect (3%). Today, Noorbakshis are found in Baltistan and Ladakh regions of J&K, as well as a large number of Noorbakshis are native to Iran, Kurdistan and Central Asia.

Reverence to Hazrat Ali and 12 Imams is central to the Noorbakshi belief. For Noorbakshis, Hazrat Ali is the first Imam and supreme Wali of Allah. It is obligatory for a Noorbakshi to recite twice the following phrases in the prayer call (Adhan): “I witness that Ali (AS) is the Wali of Allah SWT; I witness that Ali (AS) is the Wali of Allah SWT”. Also obligatory is reciting twice the following phrase in the Adhan: “Muhammad and Ali are the best of humans; Muhammad and Ali are the best of humans”. The Kalima of Noorbakshis is very detailed and consists of witnessing the belief upon Allah, Muhammad, Imam Ali, Hazrat Fatima, Imam Hassan, Imam Hussain and their infallible progeny, thus making it different from Shia Kalima. Also, Noorbakshis believe that 12th Imam Mehdi is in Occultation and will appear along with Hazrat Issa before Qiyamat to eliminate injustice and bring the world back to the path of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. For Noorbakshis, sufism is acquiring ma’arfa of Allah. Noorbakshis convene in Khankas and perform their religious rituals based on the practices of Imam Ali, who was the Leader of the most pious of all Arifeen. Noorbakshis perform Chilla and sit in Aitakaf for ZIKR. Name of Allah is recited repeatedly in the manner the Muhammed and our 12 Imams did. A 40-day Aitakaf is very common among pious Noorbakshis and children also join the rituals. However, the Noorbakshis believe that without expressing absolute love and Ishq for the family of Muhammad who are called Chaharda Masoomeen, Allah will not accept the prayers of Muslims. Ma’arafat of the 14 Infallibles is pivotal to the Noorbakshis, so that Allah becomes happy and accepts our prayers. The name of the 14 Infallibles are:

(1)Hazrat Muhammad(PBUH)

(2)Hazrat Fatima bint Muhammad(SA)

(3)Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib(AS)

(4)Imam Hassan al Mujtaba(AS)

(5)Imam Hussain al Shaheed(AS)

(6)Imam Ali ibn Hussain al Sajjad al Zainul Abidin(AS)

(7)Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al Baqiral Uloom(AS)

(8)Imam Jafar ibn Muhammad al Sadiq(AS)

(9)Imam Musa ibn Jafar al Kazim (Babul Hawayyij)(AS)

(10)Imam Ali ibn Musa al Reza, Shahe Khurasan(AS)

(11)Imam Muhammad ibn Ali al Taqi al Jawwad(AS)

(12)Imam Ali ibn Muhammad al Naqi al Hadi(AS)

(13)Imam Hassan ibn Ali al Zaki al Askari(AS)

(14)Imam Muhammad ibn Hassan al Mehdi al Qayem

The 8th Imam Ali al Reza (a.s) has special significance for the Noorbakshis. The Silsilahe Noorbakshia (lineage) which is part of the Kubrawi Sufism takes its roots from the 8th Imam and comes all the way to Hazrat Noorbaksh of Iran, who later migrated to Kashmir and converted the people of Ladakh and Baltistan. Most teachings of Nurbakshi Silsilah are taken from the prayer rituals and ZIKR of Imam Ali al Reza, however, prayers of Muhammad, Hazrat Fatima and all 12 Imams is recited by the pious Noorbakshis on daily basis.

During Muharram, Nurbakshis offer condolence to Muhammad by convening for Majalis, weeping on the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and beating their chests. Noha and Marsia are recited and weeping for the Imams and Ahlulbeyt is considered obligatory among Noorbakshis.

Although Noorbakshism is still practiced in Ladakh and Baltistan, however, they have lost connection with their other fellows in Iran, where Noorbakshis are in millions. If Noorbakshis of Baltistan do not establish links with Noorbakshis of Iran, then their religion will face influence from non-Noorbakshi elements.

In Baltistan, Noorbakshism has absorbed rituals and beliefs from other Sufi orders especially Naqshbandi silsilah. Among those Noorbakshis, reverence for the Chaharda Masoomeen (14 Infallibles) is somehow less expressed. Today, Noorbakshis are also residing in USA, Europe and Middle East. Dr Javed Noorbaksh resides in London and has followers in thousands. Dr Mehdi Noorbaksh is a well known writer from Iran who lives in USA. Dr Mohsin Noorbaksh is a high level Iranian diplomat. for more information visit http://www.noorbakhshia.com For information on Shia, Ahlehadith and Sunnis (other sects practiced in Baltistan), pls refer to websites on these religions.

Local Muslims, who converted from Bon-po and Tibetan Buddhism, still retain many traits of pre-Islamic Bon and Lamaist rituals, which makes Islam of Baltistan and Ladakh unique from other Muslim societies. Swastika (Yung drung) sign is considered auspicious and is carved on wooden planks that can be seen in historical mosques and Khankas. Showing respect to Lha and Lhu (Bon Gods) is customary during many village rituals.

The Balti, who converted to Islam from Tibetan Buddhism in the 16th century, regard congregation in the Mosques and Khankah as an important religious ritual. The Khankahs are a kind of typical training school of Noorbakshi Sufis which was introduced by the early Sufi saints arrived in the region. The Sufi students gain spiritual purity (tazkiah) through these trainings (meditations and contemplations) under well-practiced spiritual guides, who have already attained certain degree of spirituality. Mosques in Baltistan are mainly built in the Tibetan style, though several mosques constructed have wood-finish and decorations of Iranian origin which can also be seen in Ladakh and Kargil. On every Friday, the men folk would generally attend the prayers sometime a little after noon. All Muslims will fast in the day during the month of the Ramadan, and a celebration will be held at the end of the celebration.

Small pockets of Bön and Tibetan Buddhist believers that amounted up to 3000 people are found in Kharmang valley of Baltistan and in West Kargil. East Ladakh (Leh district and Zanskar) are predominantly Buddhist.

Script

Brahmi was used for written Balti between the 5th to 6th centuries. However, with the introduction of the Tibetan script under king Khri Getsung-Brtan in the 727 AD, Balti literature flourished. It remained in use until the 16th century, when the Persian script replaced the Balti script. However, Persian script is not appropriate for Balti language as it restricts accurate pronunciation of the words due to deformation in writing form.

In contemporary Baltiyul, youth like Senge Thsering, Bakir Posingpa, Hassan Shesrab, Raza Tassawor, Zakir Shukur, Taki Akhunzada Namgyal, Nisar Ali Machulo and many others are trying to reintroduce Tibetan/Ladakhi script so that the richness of the Balti language could be promoted and restored. Today one can see many signboards on shops and offices in Tibetan script, a project started by Senge Thsering and Bakir Posingpa in year 2000.

Baltistan Cultural Foundation is an organization trying level best to promote the indigenous script Yige. A primer has been produced by BCF that will be introduced in private schools. Plans are to send Balti teachers to Nepal to learn Tibetan script that could be then taught in local Balti schools. Friends are requested to send funds to BCF in order to support the vital financial arrangements required in this regard.

Baltis of Kargil have also initiated school projects where Yige (Ladakhi/Tibetan) script is taught at primary level to local students. Muslims of Kargil and Baltistan have started showing enthusiasm in reviving the indigenous Tibetan script and enhancing cultural ties of Ladakh and Baltistan.

Balti (food)

A balti is a type of fast cooked curry cooked and served up in a type of wok made of pressed steel. It is served in many restaurants in the United Kingdom.

Origin

Restaurants in Birmingham, UK offered Balti dishes from the 1980s or earlier. The style of cuisine became known throughout the UK during the 1990s.

Immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were attracted by Britain’s post-war economic boom. The shortage of labor experienced by the country meant that industrial centers such as Birmingham were magnets for immigrants in search of employment.

A Balti dish is a curry served (and often also cooked) in a balti, a distinctive flat-bottomed wok.

Balti cuisine remains popular in the UK

Origins of the word balti

One school of thought states that name ‘Balti’ for food may reflect the fact that ethnic groups living in that area of north Pakistan are called Balti. Alternatively, ‘Balti’ food is named after the pot in which it is cooked. That origin of the word is to do with the Urdu and Hindi word balty – “Balty, s. Hin. balti, which means “bucket.” This is the Port. balde.” As mentioned in the late nineteenth century in Hobson-Jobson, the term ‘balti’ refers to the steel or iron pot in which the food is cooked or served, taken from the word ‘balti’, which is derived from the Portuguese word ‘balde’, meaning bucket/pail, which was taken to India by the Portuguese on their seafaring enterprises in late fifteenth century. Therefore, originally, the word ‘Balti’ refers to a bucket, then evolving to its meaning as a cooking pot.

Loyd Grossman, under whose name a range of factory-made British curry sauces is marketed, claims on his Balti sauce jar that the term comes from a word for “hubcap,” since Pakistani truckers would cook their Balti in a hubcap.

According to Pat Chapman, the origins of the word can be traced back to the area of Baltistan, in North Pakistan, where the people cook in a cast iron wok similar to the Chinese way of cooking. (Baltistan shares a border with China). In his Curry Club Balti Curry Cookbook, Chapman states: “The balti pan is a round-bottomed, wok-like heavy cast-iron dish with two handles.” He also states “The origins of Balti cooking are wide ranging and owe as much to China (with a slight resemblance to the spicy cooking of Szechuan) and Tibet as well as to the ancestry of the Mirpuris, the tastes of the Moghul emperors, the aromatic spices of Kashmir, and the ‘winter foods’ of lands high in the mountains.”

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31 responses to “Historical Facts About Baltistan

  1. Good info. Nice to be here reading something different.

  2. very nice information given, encouraged to add more.

  3. Julley! (Do you say that in Balstistan, too?)
    very thorough information. Will definitely help me with my little presentation about ethnic groups in Pakistan, next week.
    Thanks a lot,
    Sonam

    • Salman Mujtaba Baltistani

      @Sonam Spitz
      thanks for your time,welcome to skardu blog and keep visiting the site

      Julley! (Do you say that in Balstistan, too?)
      yeah sure, I use this word usually

      Q:1-Ethnic groups in Pakistan,What do you mean?
      please explain…..

  4. Hello, as a Ladakhi I wish our brothers in Gilgit Baltistan the best while they are in this turbulent period; where their culture cannot be expressed.

    May we be reunited as Indian soon. Then we shall be free like before. Pakistan’s tyrannical actions to Balti people in Kargil shall not be forgiven.
    The people of Kargil remember, and will never forgive Mussharaf and his Jihadis.

    • Mushtaq Jaffery

      “May we be reunited as Indian soon. Then we shall be free like before.”

      Why would you want to subject the Balti people to the same fate as that of people of the “Indian” Kashmir? Or is that obvious as coming from an Indian?

    • Mushtaq Jaffery

      Please read accounts of people of Gultori during that period as to what they were subjected to by the Indian army and their indiscriminate actions toward the Balti civilian population in that area.

      Some of them have still not returned and have settled as refugees in other areas, including Skardu, because their lives and property were totally shattered by the intentional shelling on them by the Indian army.
      Those accounts are coming from western NGOs, not Pakistanis.

  5. akhtar hussian balti

    hi………! you wrote very well and it was a very good effort to promot balti culture,people n espesially religion you briefed and explain in good manner.
    thanks for enhancing my knowledge regarding my own homeland. best of luck for the future.

  6. Just what can it be with regards to browsing things through somebody else’s shoes that provides such a terrific perspective? I am very appreciative of the blog as well as how it’s changed the web into a enormous gallery of distributed views. I found myself on here after researching some of my work stuff on Google and somehow browsed on to your weblog. Totally enjoyed browsing through your posts and I’ll be adding you into my RSS feed reader to keep track down the road. Enjoy the week.

  7. very interesting web site.

    two things are important to point out here, hope that u will look into the proposal;

    1) More focus is on religion related info. Focus should be given to the information of general interst, i think BLN have more avenues of interst for public than religion.
    2)Notable peoples
    Notables includes some names that i am hereing first time in life for e.g tGhulam Muhammad Sikander, Shiekh Ghulam Mohammed, Professor Dr. Hamidullah Abdulqadir, Dr Faiz Rehmani, Dr Abdulrahman Faisal ghulam Mohammed, Syed Muhammad Machulu, Daniyal yabgo nd samrina nooshin faizy. may be these ppl have some role in their community but no role at large.

  8. appreciated nice effort…. keep updating more info about Beautiful Baltistan… i love this place and ppl too… we are proud of our GB

  9. An excellent and well researched article. My best wished for the author. Keep it up and God bless you.

  10. Why is mycomment not appeared ?

  11. i appreciate nice and excellent article………best of luck and keep it up…….proud to be a baltistani

  12. Ghulam Hussain Zalipa

    i m very happy to read these useful website and know about baltistan keep it up always and God bless u wish best of luck

  13. very good afforts

  14. Visit Gilgit Baltistan Social Networking Website (ApnaGB.COM) and enjoy unlimited shina, balti, wakhhi, chatrali and burushaski songs.

  15. proud to b balti tibetan ………..a.b.jan baltistani…….4m islamabad….

  16. Pingback: Gloria Estefan

  17. local muslims who converted to bon and buddhism, any details on this!?

  18. Mumtaz Ali Shigri

    A good research oriented work. Pakistani universities should arrange PHD in Baltistan old literatures which are great asset of high class.

  19. SALLAM KA KA G!!! ALLAAH AP KO HAMISHA KHUSH RAKY MARI DUA HA KI ALLAH AP KO IS KAM MA KAMIYABI ATA FURMAYAIN OR AP KO OR AP KI PURI FAMILY KO ALLAH SIHAAT DY EZAT DY {{{AMEEN}}}

  20. @Baqir Ansari
    W Salaam
    Thanks a lot Bro ! these words and sentence means a lot for me.
    Best wishes from the deep of my heart to you as well.
    stay safe.

  21. Its a wonderful site having ample information about baltistan,The research undertaken is superb and very informative.

  22. hats off for this blog.. very nice. article is much informative. the diction is simple and easy to read.

  23. Yasir Ali shamail Katisho

    Very Nice,
    I love Baltistan And Balti peoples.

  24. Very Nice,
    I love Baltistan And Balti peoples.
    Thank you

  25. There is a need to update the site,the names of balti great writer dont appear in it.

  26. The unique work of Shamim Baltistani for Balti litirature has not been properly reflected.

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