The Hujra is dying…


The hujra system, considered a vital part of Pashtun cultura, is loosing importance to modern technologies and materialism. With people loosing the need to connect with each other at a single location, the hujra in Pakhtun villages gives the appearance of a ghost den. Earlier, Pakthun society claimed to itself strong social ties and interconnection which led to it being declared one of the world’s most social societies.
Pakthun society has two places of assembly: the mosque and the hujra. The mosque is the religious assembly but the hujra was where people would assemble to discuss society and politics, perform cultural rituals and entertain guests. But the advent of modern technologies including televisions, dish and, most importantly, mobile phones have contributed to the atomization of Pakthun society. Hujra’s who used to fill up with people at night, now are usually shut. Speaking to Pakistan Today, Pakthun elder Ahmad Wahim, 65,said, “Modern technologies shrunk the importance of the Hujra. Most teenagers don’t even know about it. So people have lost affection with each other.” Another elderly man, Zakir Mohmmad, said, “Everyone used the hujra as the common guest house. When guests would stay in the hujra, the guest of one was the guest of all.”
Speaking on the subject, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Information and Culture Minister Mian Ifthikhar Hussian told Pakistan Today, “It is clear the hujra is an important cultural heritage and is loosing its value due to the multi-pronged attack on Pakhtun culture.”
He said the provincial government was developing its culture department to keep Pakthun culture alive in the memory of the newer generation. He said cultural fairs and workshops were being arranging in the province to ensure people do not forget their cultural past.