By Muhammad Amin Baloch
The scenic village of Munoor is located at a distance of some three kilometers from the main Garam Chashma town. It is bordered in the northwest by the famous Chitral Gol National Park, in north by Bumborate and Shui Pass of Begusht in the south by Beshqer and on its east flows the Munoor stream. The village consists of 170 households with a total population of approximately 1300. A majority of the people in the village are attached with small farming.
Etymologically, the word Munoor has been derived from Mu`nawar, which means illuminated or shining.However, with the passage of time, the name Munawar has been changed to Munoor. It is called Munawar because in the old days the inhabitants of the village were openhearted, hospitable, hardworking and fond of fun. Even today, the villagers possess all the above mentioned characteristics of their ancestors. For unity and peaceful co-existence, the people of Munoor are famous throughout Garam Chashma. They are also fond of sportsmanship and music.
Village Munoor presents a symbol of unity in diversity. It is consisted of more than eight different tribes, some of which are of global importance. Baloch, Dodar and Pathan are some major tribes of the village. The Baloch form a major portion of the population. This tribe was settled in the village more than three centuries ago .Originally, they came from Balochistan via Afghanistan and Dorah Pass. The village is settled by two sects of Islam – Ismailis and Sunni. But they live together in complete co-existence.
/>Nature has gifted the village with numerous natural resources, including abundant water, soil, pastures and minerals. The village stream also provides irrigation water to Ovirk, Thonik and Behmi, which have paucity of irrigation water. Munoor has the most number of small irrigation channels in the whole of Garam Chashma valley. The soil of Munoor is suitable for cultivating potato, the main source of income for the village. Wheat and maize are also cultivated for local use and animal fodder. The village is self-sufficient in pastures where livestock are reared. The people of Munoor keep sheep, cows and goats. However, presently these pastures have been conserved from overgrazing. Munoor has the largest man-planted forest throughout the area, finanancially and technically supported by different NGOs like MACP, IUCN etc.The village is also rich in minerals. Aquamarine, semi-precious gems, has been mining for more than two decades. There are also traces of lead, coal and high quality marble in the village. The possibility of minerals used in atomic energy cannot be ignored all together.
The village people are fond of both local and international games like tug of war, stone throwing, football, volley ball and cricket. The youth are thrilled by cricket. Music is also an important part of their cultural norms. During wedding ceremonies people dance to the tune of flute and drums till late night and afternoon and two to five people dance together in a tune. They also sing in chorus.
The villagers have multi-dimensional income generation activities. Potato crop is the cash crop of the village. And every year the farmers get more than thirty million rupees in potato selling to the down markets. Women of the village make high quality of woolen Patti (shu) and this also contributes to income generation sources. Other sources of income generation are employment in government and non- governmental organizations, dry fruit and labour etc.
The community of Munoor is strongly mobilized. They have built a link road from Garam Chashma to the village in the early 1980s on a self-help basis. They have established a micro hyedel power station and channel also on a self-help basis.
Village Munoor is also famous for its natural scenery, trout fish and splashing springs. Before September eleven western tourists used Munoor gole route for tracking through Chitral gole and this in turn added the natural beauty of the village. The village produces good quality of walnut, apricot, mulberry, cherry and apple. These are kept both for domestic consumption and as well for selling.
In short, village Munoor has the characteristics of natural attraction, large in square area, people simple but open hearted. From May to the end of August it gives the views of as small piece of Paradise landed on the earth for a short time.
By Muhammad Amin Baloch