MINGORA: Mohammad Zahir Shah, a resident of Asharey village in Matta, has established a private museum in his hujra to manifest his love for Pakhtun culture and traditions.
The museum houses daily use items of Pakhtun cultural heritage including farming tools, wooden and stone made cooking utensils, costumes and shoes, weapons, musical instruments, decoration stuff, wheels, furniture, household articles and other artefacts related to early Swati Pakhtuns.
Zahir Shah told Dawn that it was his father’s passion to preserve antiques of Pakhtun culture. “My father had some precious antiques of Pakhtun culture as he used to preserve antiquities. We lost majority of the artefacts when Taliban destroyed our house,” he said. He added that he realised during the militancy that the rich culture was being destroyed.
“To preserve the cultural heritage of Swati Pakhtuns, I started collecting the antiquities. I displayed these in our hujra that attracted people. After that, I decided to specify a complete portion of the hujra for these artefacts,” said Mr Shah.
Zahir Shah says it was his father’s passion to preserve antiques
He said that a time would come when the old stuff and daily use items would become archaic and the young generation would not know about those items. He said that after the establishment of the museum, a large number of people from near and far visited his hujra.
“People take interest in these artefacts, which are not in use presently. They not only study these items keenly but also take photos with these and post the same on social media,” he said. He added that he felt internal satisfaction to stay with the artefacts.
About collection of the artefacts, Mr Shah said that not only he searched and collected the items but also people of the surrounding areas and friends gifted him such things as they knew his passion. “Though I have thousands of items, yet I still feel that these are not 50 per cent of the total cultural items. I will keep adding artefacts to my museum,” he said. He added that he was in love with the agricultural and musical tools.
He urged people to donate the old items, which they had and were not of their use anymore, to his museum.
The hujra, according to locals, is not only an attractive museum but an institution of Pakhtun cultural heritage where young people learn about the rich culture heritage of Swat and its inhabitants.