Tribalism Within

Tribalism Within

A Story by pia

 The need for security and a sense of belonging are natural human desires. The requirements are satisfied when individuals with similar mind sets and customs come together and amalgamate themselves into one homogenous group. Hence, the formation of tribes started a thousand years ago, during the Neolithic era (Stone Age), when primitive man showed early signs of development. The natural instinct for safety developed through the notion that man was safe in the company of another person or a group, similar to the notion that people tend to feel safer when they enter a dark room together rather than entering individually.  


 People within tribes show a social connection to one another. That very struggle for a sense of purpose and an identity is what pulled people towards joining tribes in the olden days. In a book named ‘Tribe’; written by Sebastian Junger, it is noted that decades before the start of the American Revolution, some American settlers found themselves joining the Native American tribes. According to Benjamin Franklin, rarely did any Native American choose to join the foreigners on that land. What the foreigners saw was the heroism and freedom found within those tribes despite adopting PTSD due to on and off wars. Early human need for raw freedom was satisfied by tribal behaviour regardless of the backwardness they displayed.


 Being part of a tribe slowly started gaining importance. Tribal behaviour meant: to protect ancient cultures and religious beliefs, which were seen as sacrificial duties to those who were a part of one. These duties still carry the same importance to the tribes striving in today’s modern world. Tribes are described as a group of people ‘who have followed ways of life for many generations that are largely self sufficient’ by anthropologist Stephen Corry. The leader is chosen according to personal charisma and leadership skills by the tribal people themselves. They don’t feel obliged to rules and regulations laid down by government systems, which gives them freedom and a motive to achieve self driven accomplishments within the tribe. 


 The subcontinent is a region well distinguished for embodying a vast spectrum of cultures and tribes. Pakistan shelters a large number of disparate tribes that add historical significance and cultural richness to the country.  Ancestors of these tribes originated from different locations before they settled in to the area, bringing along with them unique customs and traditions.


 The oldest recorded history of ancient tribal settlements in Pakistan was of The Soanion tribe. They were people residing in the Soan Valley near Islamabad fifty thousand years ago. Tribal behaviour continued after them, forming various different tribes in different locations with only a few dominant ones. The Huns were violent barbaric nomad tribes men settled in northern Pakistan. The ‘White Huns’ arrived in ancient India in the fifth century bringing with them fierce wars and barbarism. They introduced the belief of fire worshipping into the subcontinent which was in later times destroyed by Muhammad Bin Qasim and his army of Arab soldiers. A part of these invaders called themselves ‘The Arians’ and settled down in the areas of Sindh and Punjab to become a tribe solely dependent on agriculture.

Aspects and cultural traditions, in minute hints if not blatantly obvious, have seeped into modern day Pakistan. These ancient tribes have transformed into much larger ones that dominate the country’s politics, economy and social status. The Punjabis, Sindhis, Muhajirs, Balochis, Pashtuns and various others which hold valuable ancient history and are given polity in government affairs of the country.


 In villages and rural areas, tribes and nomadic clans still exist today. However, individuals in cities, despite living progressive modern lives, are still devoted to their tribal heritage. The basic desire to belong to something or to have an identity, keeps people from detaching themselves from the grips of tribalism. A sense of purpose is developed when one feels the need to protect cultural traditions and beliefs, and that duty is fulfilled by staying with one’s tribe, be it physically or mentally

Sometimes, that purpose leads to violence. Recently, on April 16th, three people were killed and six were injured when an 

armed conflict occurred between two tribal groups in Balochistan over insignificant dissensions.


 Before the creation of Pakistan, tribal affairs were rarely interfered with and barely interacted in every day politics. After the partition of the country, interactions of different ethnic groups increased violence and rejected the idea of being controlled by foreign bodies (in this case, the migrants from India). Many tribes saw themselves as important and powerful as others. Ethnic violence sprung up in Sindh in 1952 between two major groups; the Sindhis and the Muhajirs. In 1985, Karachi’s deadliest wave of violence erupted when a college student, Bushra Zaidi, was killed in a traffic incident by a truck driver belonging to the Phatan ethnicity.  The incident sparked conflicts between the Phatans and the Muhajirs, making Karachi the hub of violence. Tribal instinct and protection came to the people naturally. It felt like a duty to protect one’s sect leading to constant riots and ethnic violence across the country.


 Tribalism isn’t always seen in its primitive sense. It can be seen in governmental and political affairs. It also can be seen in Pakistan’s youth and has widened the ethnic divide amongst those who live in the country. Smaller tribes are faced with inabilities to overcome the power and influence spread by dominant tribes. These dominant tribes have managed to take over almost everything in the country, from politics to simple businesses in the local markets. However, the bigger these tribes became the more their people got scattered. The dominant tribes became progressing and congruent to the modern civilised world. The scattered progressives however, still tend to show loyalties and attachments to the cultures and traditions their ancestors were once a part of.


 Nationalism for the country and nationalism for a specific tribe is becoming hard to decipher.  We can see tribalism as something that has seeped into the mind of the modern progressive Pakistani. Completely removing tribal sentiments is a strenuous effort. Accepting the cultural diversity and working on protecting the interests of different tribes can lead to some form of tolerance if not unity. Allowing the violence to occur in a country comprising of a large number of tribes is unfavourable for the country itself.  And in Pakistan failure to stabilise tribes is a failure to stabilise the country.  


© 2017 pia



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Featured Review

Well it's more a speech than a write, admirable though...
Humanity still exists it seems...
According to me, neither politics nor humans led to the difference and inequalities and riots as you say for a particular reason.....But it's a state of mind that encourages one to do such things....
Everything can be stopped if people start to see the world from different perspective a broader one, Like with an open mind, But I feel traditions should be encouarged as well, It shows the vale and dignity of our ancestors...It's just my view...no offense..
Overall, i learnt much from this...Thank you..:)

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

pia

5 Months Ago

Oh no i didnt say cultures and traditions shouldnt be followed
I merely hinted at them being.. read more
pia

5 Months Ago

A state of mind can only be changed through reformation and open mindedness
Surya

5 Months Ago

Yeah that's true...Hope for better days to come..:)



Reviews

"Tribalism Within"
Pia,
It was refreshing for me to read something of this nature as it is not on my mind formally from day to day.
Who thinks much about things of this nature, at least here in the U.S? Well, tribal groups of human beings are part of life on this planet historically since day one of creation. We all just are becoming more blended. Family groups are so precious and should be treasured because this is where we find the meaning and love so needed.
Great essay.
Kathy

Posted 1 Month Ago


pia

1 Month Ago

Thank you so much Kathy !!
We are by nature, social beings, and I believe tribalism is in our DNA and is as very much in vogue today as it was with the Soanion people 50 thousand years ago near Islamabad. The key is toleranc, respect and equality for each others tradition and culture the world over, live and let live, must be the mantra for peace and harmony!

An extremely well, articulated narrative, Pakistan in recent years has been the subject of much national controversy especially from the west, so heartening to read of its rich and diverse cultures dating back from so long ago to modern times!

Posted 2 Months Ago


pia

2 Months Ago

Pakistan is so rich in diversity
you have all sorts of people here. there are some who come.. read more
Tom

2 Months Ago

Yes, I've no doubt about that, a fascinating insight!
This could be a good speech on a TED talk greatly if you specialized in these kinds of aspects. It is good to know that you have this kind of knowledge to share and indeed tribes could become an important topic. Great write. :)

Posted 4 Months Ago


pia

4 Months Ago

Thank you so much !!
This is a well-written essay that compares the tribal tendencies of older times to political groupings of modern times. This topic is timely becuz this very tribalism is at the core of rumblings in other countries, such as the US electing Trump becuz of nationalism, which is simply tribalism of the modern world. And this nationalism is often at the crux of current European elections, too.

It's interesting to see this phenomenon from the point of view of a different part of the world, where we don't get much news here in the US, so we don't understand what's behind your political situations. In a couple places, it felt to me like you were describing the entire India/Pakistan continent like one country, with the division into Pakistan seemingly like some splinter groups, instead of a completely different country now. This distinction between the two different countries India & Pakistan wasn't as strong in your explanation as I have always thought of it.

It was good that you included a number of examples from the various historical periods in your area of the world. It's amazing how similar the divisions are in different parts of the world. I felt your examples were mostly at the 10,000 meter view -- meaning, not very specific, just a general explanation (which is good in most cases). But in the beginning when you are first explaining tribalism, I felt this might benefit from using more "up-close" examples, like showing more specifics about the way tribes feel protective over their hunting grounds or whatever. Just helping us, at first, see and feel and experience this tribalism you're going to be telling us about.

Posted 5 Months Ago


barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I don't think you need to present more of a distinction between the two countries . . . I think it's.. read more
pia

5 Months Ago

Love your advice and your reviews Margie. You always make my day!!!!
barleygirl

5 Months Ago

You present your essays in a way that's not the least bit offensive . . . I think you do a good job .. read more
I liked the knowledge shared. Tribal life would be hard in modern society. Would be hard to maintain with the world as-is. To be left alone in this world. Where? Here in the USA. Few standing groups or tribes. Need unity of same to hold ground. A very entertaining blog. Writer's goal. Show and tell. You did and thank you for sharing your words and your thoughts.
Coyote

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Thanks for your review!!
Coyote Poetry

5 Months Ago

You are welcome Pia.
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Vic
Well written and informative. I don't know much about history, and even less about history in Pakistan. Thanks for sharing

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Well thats ok!! hope this helped add some knowledge of my country for you !!
love this one to the core.... this is excellent

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

You know how to express so well, I really like it.
Keep writing!

Posted 5 Months Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

pia

5 Months Ago

Thankss !!
You've picked a very intricate as well as a complicated subject AND issue to attempt to define and develop a further, deeper understanding. Individual perceptions count heavily within our opinions. Educational concepts of societal and psychological "observations" are dependent on the culture ingrained upon the psyche of individuals and are still influenced by the life experience they acquire.

You've expressed a fair opinion - but for me you haven't adequately defined "Tribalism Within".

Posted 5 Months Ago


Chris

5 Months Ago

Tribalism is static - change destroys its bonds. Society is dynamic - change is its reflection towa.. read more
pia

5 Months Ago

Society is dynamic
However some forces within these tribes dont let change occur so easily. .. read more
Chris

5 Months Ago

I've come to believe that when life is truly a HARD, cruel, and brutal daily (through lifelong) exis.. read more
You have a deep knowledge which is reflected in all your works.
I appreciate your charisma......:)
This is one of the best works on this platform.
Keep writing, pia:)

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much 😍😍
Neetha

5 Months Ago

My pleasure

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Added on May 23, 2017
Last Updated on May 23, 2017

Author

pia
pia

Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan



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https://www.instagram.com/pia_farooq I love writing about what I feel important issues symbolism And i also love writing stuff that represents my country in neutral stance where i can talk abou.. more..

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