Do you also wish for a long and a happy life? So one of the answers lies with Hunza’s 84-year-old Bakloch Bibi, whose principle is that we must keep ourselves active.
“I am happy,” said Baqlooch, a resident of Murtazaabad in Hunza district of Gilgit-Baltistan. I take part in household chores, farming.
Baklooch Bibi doesn’t like too much rest, but she ‘does something all the time’.
Recently, the grandmother of 12 grandchildren, Baklooch, impressed everyone by easily winning a race at the Ganani festival and was also given a trophy.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, for the first time during the traditional festival of Gunani, many elderly women, including Baklooch Bibi, took part in a walk called ‘Walk for Life’.
Elderly women’s race at the Gunani Festival
Shah Nawaz, organizer of the Aga Khan Youth and Sports Board’s program, says the Ganani festival is celebrated every year before the start of the wheat harvest.
“People gather there, praying for the harvest and good food. They traditionally mix wheat and butter and there are different events during this time.
He said that this is a centuries-old festival which is still celebrated in different parts of Balgat-Baltistan on different dates before the wheat harvest.
“This time we thought we should have an event for our elders, especially older women, on the occasion of this festival. On which we held an event called ‘Walk for Life’ in the name of running.
Bakloch, Ganani festival, Gilgit-Baltistan, race, elderly women
IMAGE SOURCECOURTESY SHAHNAWAZ
According to Shah Nawaz, “Almost all the elderly women in our area participated. He did well and understood the message we wanted to convey.
Bakhlooch Bibi remembers that earlier she had refused to take part in the race.
‘My sons also told me to take part and then I thought I was a little old sick. Just after that I was ready to take part in the competition.
‘Grandmothers and grandmothers were not spectators this time’
Baklooch Bibi says she was also given a trophy after the competition. “Everyone applauded. Now everyone is coming to congratulate me. They include women who compete with me. They are almost my grandmothers and grandmothers.
“We talk to each other that we should not go to bed at this age. Keep yourself active. Take an interest in household chores. We have a rural environment (and) in this environment usually the eldest daughters or daughters-in-law take care of the household chores but we should still keep ourselves busy with the household chores.
Baklooch Bibi feels that if such activities continue, the young as well as the elders will be attracted to various events.
“I and all my colleagues enjoyed the occasion. When we arrived to take part in the race, all the villagers were making noise. Everyone’s eyes were on us. “Everyone wanted to see what we could and could not do.”
“The festival is held every year, but I don’t think it was as fun as it was this year,” she said. (This time) all the grandmothers were not spectators but part of it. This should not be a misunderstanding. We elderly women cannot do anything. We can do everything.
Ginani Festival Gilgit Baltistan, race, elderly women
, IMAGE SOURCECOURTESY SHAHNAWAZ
‘I’m happy, maybe that’s why I’m in good health’
“I still take part in household chores, so it doesn’t mean I’m forced to do it or that I do it at someone’s request,” she said with a laugh. No one dares to tell me I have to do the housework. ‘
She volunteers. ‘I do what my heart desires and I do when my heart desires. That’s how I go to the fields. Going there, I not only supervise but also do something myself.
“The order is mine, but I don’t like to give orders. I am friends with my own daughters-in-law,” she said. I am happy and smile all the time. I share people’s joys and sorrows. Maybe that’s why I’m in good health. ”
Baklooch Bibi has been suffering from high blood pressure for a few months now, but she says, “Now I think that if I work harder and walk more, it will not be the same.”
Amin Khan, another organizer of the program, says he thought, “Happiness and fun are also the right of our grandmothers and grandparents.” That’s why we put their program as an experiment.
At first it was difficult for them to do so but ‘all our women understood us. They took part in it with full enthusiasm. What can I say about the scene of that time, happiness was reflected in their faces.
Amin Khan said that when Dadi Baklooch was given the trophy, other grandmothers and grandmothers who participated in the program celebrated for him. Together they put up a local fight in which the whole village was with them.
“We felt like there could be no bigger celebration.”