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The Kalasha and the Crescent

Synopsis

Rumored to be the descendants of Alexander the Great, the Kalash people have in fact inhabited northern Pakistan´s Chitral valley since long before the legendary conqueror came to the region. They uphold a rich cultural heritage, with polytheistic beliefs, seasonal festivals, and a variety of other traditions that are at odds with pakistan´s dominant Islam. Today, even as the majestic peaks of the Hindu Kush mountains shield the Kalasha from the region´s worst violence, their culture faces a variety of pressures: poverty, tourism, and Islamism are all contributing to the erosion of Kalash identity. Still, a dedicated group of Kalash advocates are fighting to keep their culture alive.