A Mountain Oasis

Daily Life in a Village in the Yasin Valley, Pakistan


In A Mountain Oasis, Susan York presents a richly illustrated socio-economic study of village life in Pakistan’s Yasin Valley, undertaken during one year spent living with a local family. It documents this dynamic agro-pastoral society at a time when few researchers were recording developments in these far-flung and difficult to reach mountain oases of the Hindukush. It is a record of a time when development interventions were in their beginnings, and before this area in Gilgit-Baltistan entered a crucial period of transformation. It provides solid comparative reference material for future research on this region, which is continuing to undergo challenging and complex changes.

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Susan York is a social anthropologist, researcher and teacher with degrees in social anthropology, humanities and psychology. She has carried out research on mountain communities in Pakistan, Afghan refugees in Pakistan and food emergencies in Sudan.
Prologue and Acknowledgements
List of Maps, Figures and Graphs
List of Photographs
List of Tableslii

1 The Valley and the Village Economy
 A Household-focused Mountain Economy
 Village Housing Layout

2 The House and Its Uses
 The Main Room – ha
 A Multi-Purpose Space
 Constructing a House

3 The Seasons: Spring and Summer
 Spring (garú)
 Spring Celebrations (Bo)
 Summer (šiní)

4 The Seasons: Autumn and Winter
 Autumn (datú)
 Winter – (bái)

5 Daily Life in a Large Household
 First Task of the Day – Light the Fire
 Making the Breakfast Bread for gunc̣áṭa čái
 The Rest of the Household Awakens
 After Breakfast
 Mid-morning: Time for Tea – čaṣṭákal čái
 Mid-day: More Bread and Tea – doɣói páqo
 Afternoon Tea: pišín čái
 Evening Bread: šaáma páqo

6 A High Pasture Settlement
 Establishing a High Pasture Settlement
 Leaving for the High Pastures
 Daily Life in a High Pasture Settlement – Makuli  Makuli High Pasture Settlement Shelters in 1982
 Visitors to the High Pastures
 Clear Air, Clean Water and Plentiful Food

7 Food: Daily and Celebratory
 Bread and Tea – The Daily Diet
 The Evening Meal
 Seasonally Available Foods
 Bread (páqo) – A Staple and Celebratory Food
 Milk (mamú) Products
 Hot and Cold Foods
 Food for Celebrations

8 Making and Decorating: Craft Activities
 Spinning and Weaving
 Basket Making
 Shoe Making
 Wood Carving
 Other Craft Activities

9 The Household: Who Lives in the House?
 Forming a Household and Changes in Household Size
 Households and Changes over Time
 Why Did Households Divide?
 Developing Trends

10 Relationships within the Household
 Interpersonal Status

11 Beyond the Household
 Perspectives on Co-operation
 Relationships between Members of the deh
 Grambéšu-level Interactions
 Inter-household and Interpersonal Relationships beyond the Household, deh and grambéšu

University libraries and departments, institutes, scholars and students, general readers and travellers, with an interest in: Pakistan, Hindukush/Karakoram region, Gilgit-Baltistan, mountain economies and societies, agro-pastoral societies, high mountain pastoralism, household nutrition, traditional crafts.
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