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Four Artists from Gilgit-Baltistan Who are Proving That Disability is not Inability

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Abbas Sermik

Mushtaq Ali

Shini Bahar Dimi – Amazing Blind Rabab Artist from Hunza, GBMushtaq is yet another differently-abled/special musician from Gilgit-Baltistan. He sings the famous folk song of Hunza “Shini Bahar Dimi Seyan” by Allama Naseer. Video via The Hunza Valley.More videos on http://hunza.co/videos/ / Share / Appreciate

Posted by Abbas Sermik on Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Abbas Sermik

Abbas Sermik New Video – Mein Pee K Nahin Aya”Mein Pee K Nahin Aya” – Yet another great live performance by Abbas Sermik.Like, comment and share to appreciate!

Posted by Abbas Sermik on Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Nizam Uddin

kabhi ja badal barsey 😀

Posted by Nizam ud din on Friday, March 21, 2014

Niaz Hunzai

Rubab JamRubab JamRubab – Niaz HunzaiPercussion – Nadeem Roy

Posted by Niaz Hunzai on Sunday, February 2, 2014

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Payu Cha – The blood that runs through Balti Life

As Baltis outside of Baltistan, we are all nostalgic about Baltistan. We all miss the leafy winds, the snow-white cold, the dazzlingly sun and the starry nights. Yet apart from all these natural blessings devoid in the city life, we all miss Payu Cha, Balti tea, that fiery alchemy which used to recharge our bodies, animate our conversations and satiate our hunger.

Syed Mohsin Ali

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Payu Cha - Baltistan diet

In Baltistan, no greeting is complete without its offer. No hospitality is warm without its presence. It is a perfect companion of all our breads-chapati, roti and azoq etc. Yet with the roasted barley flour along with a sprinkle of sugar and a spooning of oil,  its taste is heavenly with no equals at all.

Payu Cha feels like our little secret of a whole culture. We all enjoy it to the point of addiction. We all can’t live without it, and we all can’t get enough of it. And yet we all can’t explain anyone outside about such an intense craving for something that is only a tea after all.

If we offer this tea to anyone else, they would puke, literally. Its aroma, according to Mr. Greg Mortenson in the Three Cups of Tea, is stinkier than the most frightening cheese the French ever invented. Yet we take it all the time, eagerly and voraciously.

Irreplaceable for the breakfast, it has no reserves to take the place of lunch or even the dinner sometimes in Baltistan. While taking it in between these three meals is the most normal part of a Balti day. Especially for the mandatory Balti supper, it is absolutely indispensable.

The conversation gets its flow from the sips of the tea. Anecdotes come out of it, and so do smiles, giggles, and guffaws.  It unites the family at the meals table, lowers a guest’s reserves and connects a perfect stranger with everyone.

Every rich household offers it without hesitation, but so can every poor household as well without much sacrifice on their pockets. It even provides the topics of conversation- what is the secret of its color, where to get such a tea from the market, how to get the perfect color for the tea etc.

Seeing the importance of tea in Balti life, Mortenson has wisely chosen the title Three Cups of Tea for a book that is largely about Baltis. The integration of an outsider fully into Balti life starts with tea- first cup for a stranger, the second for an honored guest and the last for a family member.

That’s why a constant complaint among all the city-dwelling Baltis is the absence of Payu Cha from their lives. Some make it even here, but most lack the proper facility to do that. I am one of the former ones who will make it even during the chaotic student life in a hostel with an electric kettle.

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Chitral

Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) Celebrates Spring Festival at PNCA

Chitral Youth Forum organized Spring Festival at Pakistan National council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad to welcome the Persian New Year (Nowruz)

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Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) Celebrates Spring Festival at PNCA

Islamabad: Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) organized Spring Festival to celebrate Nowruz on Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Pakistan National council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad.  The event was organized to welcome the Persian New Year (Nowruz) in centuries old traditional way.

Shezada Iftikhar Uddin, MNA of Chitral, Mr. Sultan Wali, Managing Director of Chitral Associate and Raja Nazeem Ul Amin, the Chairman of Gilgit-Baltistan’s Board of Investment, were among the prominent personalities who attended the event.

Over 400 families and professionals from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC), who live in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, attended the event.

A main feature of the Spring Festival was how different countries celebrated the arrival of new year and spring as a whole. Young girls and boys dressed in the colorful traditional attire of relevant countries presented skits. Nowruz celebrations and arrival of spring festivities were depicted through popular practices of northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran, etc.

Mr. Shehzada Iftikhar appreciated the efforts of CYF in his address.

“This program is unique and one of its kind that I have ever attended. I am very touched with the performance that showed how arrival of spring is celebrated in different countries and even within Pakistan. I must say this event should be organized every year. I will make every possible effort to put the event in PNCA’s annual calendar so that we could celebrate it every year on a regular basis.”

The famous dance of Chitral, Phastak Dosik, was also presented by young boys.

Later on, famous folk singer Jabir Khan Jabir presented one of his latest songs. Popular singers from Chitral like Irfan Ali Taj and Muhsin Hayat Shadab also performed and brought the audience to their feet.

A skit on how trends have changed over the years was also performed by Chitrali youth.

Spring Festival & Nowruz Celebrations in Pictures

Read this article in Urdu

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The Kingly Game is Still Kingly in Ghanche

Syed Mohsin Ali

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Syed Mohsin Al- GBee Blogger

If Baltis are known for being gentle, then certainly their style of Polo does not live up to that reputation, because once the teams get to the arena, all their frenzy and madness flows over to the field in a gushing torrent. This spectacle of frenzy mostly is observed during Jashan-e-Ghanche when teams from different corners of Baltistan gather at Khaplu to fight for the ultimate crown, and these Polo maniacs squeeze themselves tightly around the royal polo ground.

From the start of the game, the air resonates with the blaring of the drums, the cheers of the crowd and the galloping sounds of the horses. The incredible sights of this free-style polo are enough to take one’s breath away. The experience of observing actual danger and risk so closely fills one with such an exhilaration and thrill unique to Polo only.

The aggression that these players bring to the game is only matched by the aggression of the cheering and jeering crowds who become ecstatic at almost every successful shot. What spectacular sights the ground displays during this short interval is dazzling indeed- the foaming horses galloping to reach the ball, the broken mallets flying in the air, the ferocity of the drums at its peak and the precariously positioned players shouting and grunting at every failed attempt. The game reaches its zenith when a player catches the ball and runs himself into the goal posts.

The entrance of these players to the ground is no less majestic than a king’s. With the deafening noise of the crowd, the players enter the arena with high heads on cantering regal-looking horses which seem to dance to the tune of the folk music.

The ending ceremonies are no enthralling than the Polo game, where the audience gets to taste the unique flavor of Balti folk dancing and music, and the chance to see their heroes dancing to celebrate their win.

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