By Shafiqur Rehman
Sonoghur is one of the most beautiful villages in the district of Chitral. Though the glacial flooding in 2007 partially destroyed Sonoghur, it has still not lost its scenic beauty and attraction. Sonoghur is one of the villages in the Tehsil Mastuj (Beeyar valley) and situated at a distance of about 90 kilometers from Chitral town. It is on the right bank of Chitral River.
Sonoghur has about 300 households and its population is estimated at two thousand and five hundred. The boundaries of Sonoghur touch Meragarm No.1 in the south, Parwak in the west across the river, Sonoghur glacier in the east and Taw Mountain in the north. It has two parts: Torgram (Upper Sonoghur) and Mulgram (Lower Sonoghur). In Sonoghur, there are many sub-villages. In Torgram, the famous sub-villages are Baragandeh, Ataleghandeh, Shagunandeh, Tori-Yaghshiandeh, Roghondok, Syedandeh, Syedandooor, Shototek, Qaziandoor, Koran, Raisandeh, Zondrandeh, Dokdoor and Yaghshiandeh. In Mulgram, the sub-villages Luandoor, Noghur, Khoragoal, Gholomandeh, Shichan, Dashmanandoor, Chanjandoor, Mulgram and Nithuk are the prominent.
Two sects of Muslims (Sunni and Ismaili) live in Sonoghur in an exemplary harmony. The ratio between Sunnis and Ismailis is about 40:60. There are eight main clans in Sonoghur. They are: Zondray, Syed, Yaghsheye, Riza, Raise (Hishe), Achanje, Ghorome and Dashmane. There are some other small groups but they consist of only two to three households.
Another beautiful and famous sub-village is Kishmanja which is situated on the hilly area and was cultivated by Sonoghuro Malang, Ziarat Khan Zerak in the 20th century. Without mentioning Sonoghro Malang, the description of this legendary village cannot be completed. Most of the peotry of the Malang is about his village. Some people say that the clever man occupied the huge pieace of land overlooking Sonoghur bit by bit showing himself as a gaderi (mad). In one of his poems, the Malang refers to his new-found property in these words:
(Jannat Sonoghur ta sora khur shere
Kishmanja namenen gaderyo sum shere)
This shows that Kishmanja was cultivated by Malang and it is his property. This poem works as a document for the property of Malang and his offspring. Ziarat Khan Zerak, known as Sonoghuro Malang, was very famous for his poetry in the 20th century. In another poem, the Malang praises Sonoghur thus:
Jannat Sonoghur ta nam baghigulay
Maina chulinyan yor diko bulbulay
Pear, apricot, apple, walnut, mulberry, peach and grapes are the famous fruits of Sonoghur. The mulberry of Sonoghur is very famous for its freshness and sweetness. Majority of the visitors visit Sonoghur in the season of mulberry (June and July) and enjoy the season also, because in June and July the season becomes very pleasant and attract the visitors.
In Sonoghur there is a famous shrine of Zinda Pir in the sub-village of Syedandeh, where his offspring still live. His real name was Mohammad Zai Wali. He was very religious and virtuous person in his time. He is the grandfather of Sadat family. Every day dozens of people visit Zinda Pir Ziarat from Sonoghur and other areas of Chitral.
Sonoghur is also famous for its beautiful polo ground. Before 10 years there were many horses used to be reared in Sonoghur and every third day, the polo players used to play the game. Sonoghur also produced many excellent polo players for Chitral. Among them Shaji Subidar (Late) was one of the best players in Chitral. He remained the captain of Chitral polo team in seventies against Gilgit polo team in Shandur. Under his captainship, Chitral polo team won many matches in Shandur against Gilgit-Baltistan. His eldest son also used to play polo in Chitral Scouts B team. His youngest son Shehzad Ahmed has been playing in Chitral A team in Shandur for the last many years.
Sonoghur is also famous for its Sitar (musical instrument) at the national and international level. In Sonoghur, there was one Sitar maker and he was well-known as Sitar Korak (Mohammad Damiz Khan). He died a few years ago. One of the sons of Sitar Korak has also been making sitar from the last many years.
Sonoghur is also famous for its beautiful springs but unfortunately due to disaster in 2007 most of the springs were demolished. The prominent springs are Saldal Ochogh, Meshkutogh, Karkastogh, Kukuryan Och, Khora golo och, Doldini och, telyan ochogh, and etc. The natives of the villages have not to do hard work or worry about irrigation water because of these springs due to the huge glacier situated at the head of the village.
There are one GovernmentBoysHigh School, one GirlsMiddle School and one private Middle School in Sonoghur. Majority of the youth of Sonoghur are educated. Literacy rate in the village is over 75 %. More than 85 % of the students of the village complete their matriculation, 40 % of them get college education and at least 10 % of them get university level education.
There is one BHU (basic health unit) in Sonoghur, where one doctor and two to three nurses and technicians are serving. There is also one Aga Khan Health Centre founded by Aga Khan Health Services Chitral. This centre has also been providing basic health facilities to the people of Sonoghur for two decades especially in maternity and child care. In short, there are basic health and education facilities for the people of Sonoghur.
In June 2007, due to the heavy flood, much of Sonoghur was destroyed but the inhabitants of the village showed their resilence and did not like to be rehabilitated in any other area. Without any help coming from any quarter, they have been working hard to rebuild their damaged houses and rehabilitate their agricultural fields and orchards. Government and private organizations are also working for the rehabilitation of the inhabitants. But the process of rehabilitation is very slow, especially the government needs to give more attention and should show more interest in the rehabilitation of the residents of Sonoghur, so that the people will come in their normal condition and live in a good and proper way.(July 9, 2013 ChitralToday).