Cultural Anthropology

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Anthropology ・MLA

People undertake new cultural practices and beliefs through learning which would provide an explanation for the cultural diversification among people dwelling in different parts of the world which are liked through cultural anthropology. Cultural anthropology is concerned with the language, politics, social structures, artwork and religion of people. It helps to bring out these special cultural identifiers associated with different companies of people. The community of interest, in this case, is the Baltistan people dwelling on the border of India and Pakistan. This paper seeks to explore and analyze some of the cultural aspects of the stated community about the principles of cultural anthropology. Some of the areas of situation include the language, art, politics, and religion that distinguishes the people of the Baltistan community from those of the states of India and Pakistan. This was will also help to appreciate the resulting values of the fusion of different cultural practices.


The article on ‘The Baltistan Movement and the Power of Pop Ghazals' highlights the interconnection between pop music produced in the community and the political structure. This community utilizes their art of music as a tool to protest against political oppression from both states of India and Pakistan. The Baltistan culture comprises of a fusion between the Tibetan and Shi'ite cultures. The Gilgit rebellion of 1947 resulted in an administrative partition which divided the Balti community along control lines between Pakistan and India. Although the Sunni population in the region is comparatively smaller, it consists of top officials in the government, army and law enforcement agencies. The most predominant religion among the Balti community is Islam. However, there are also Buddhists among the Tibetans, and about 7 percent of the population constitutes Sikh, Hindu, and Christians.

The Balti people have adopted the Shi'ite faith but the language spoken is the Tibetan. Even their version of pop music, known as Urdu Ghazal is sung in Tibetan. The Baltistan movement can be traced back to 1970 following subsequent civil conflicts between India and Pakistan that sealed the border and resulted in the politicization of religion and identity to access control over resources. The primary form of art of the Baltistan community that sets it out among other communities along the border of India and Pakistan is their version of pop music which has evolved over the years. The growth in awareness of Ghazal genre of pop music can be attributed to the development of internet technologies and mass media, especially the Indian movie industry which provided a platform for the most popular genres of music at the time.

The Culture of the Baltistan Community


The Baltistan culture represents a fusion of two different cultures that can be credited to their geographical position. There are elements from both India and Pakistan cultures that can be mapped out in this specific culture and the most obvious is religion. Religious conviction plays a very crucial role in establishing the values and beliefs accepted by people everywhere. It affects their way of eating, dressing and the relationships among community members. The most dominant religion in India is Buddhist while that of Pakistan is majorly Islam. The Baltistan community is religiously diversified, the religious composition of the people in this region features both Buddhism, Islam and other smaller religions such as Christianity and Hindu. Despite the differences in religious faiths accepted, there are universal principles taught by all these beliefs that act as a common ground for all people.


The fact that the Baltistan community is geographically located on the border of two different countries becomes a source of sharp conflict. The wars that took place around 1970's were as a result of the two states attempting to enforce their political influence on the people at the border. Unlike most country borders that are easy to penetrate, this particular boundary is considered tight as a consequent of political combat. All social factors including religion were politicized in this community for purposes of resource control which also increased the awareness of the significant political role of the Baltistan people in both India and Pakistan. Some of the tribes in the community have representatives in both governments, armies and other authorities. The political pressure in the region gave rise to the Baltistan movement which sought to defy the political suppression and advocate for the recognition of the local communities.

Art and Music

In most communities, the art of the people is represented in their literature and visual arts. Literature comprises of poetry music and dance while visual arts comprise of photography, painting, architecture, and sculpting. One of the most exciting aspects of the Baltistan community is their version of pop music. Ghazal, as it is known, is a poetic form of literature which comprises of couplets that rhyme and utilizes traditional figurative and representative vocabulary. Art is a means through which people can express their views regarding social, political and other factors affecting them, and this is the case with the Ghazal music. This became the most significant force behind the growth of the cassette culture during the 1980's which not only revived folk music. But folk music also became a symbol of expression for sidelined communities.


Language is another factor used to point out cultural diversity among communities in the world. The significant role of language in culture cannot be undermined as it not only forms a medium through which ideas and thoughts can be communicated, but also facilitates the establishment of social ties, relationships, and friendships. Although the Baltistan community is a fusion of different tribes whose roots can be traced back to either India or Pakistan, the language is spoken by a majority of the population is Tibetan. Initially, the Baltistan Ghazal was sung in Tibetan, but over the years, it has been adopted in different languages which is the result of migration and development in social networks and interconnectivity.


It is evident that culture can be learned, this explains the spread of the Baltistan Ghazal version of pop music. The interaction between inhabitants of the Baltistan community and migrants from India and Pakistan resulted in the use of arts as a tool for speaking against geopolitical issues that affected them. In most cases, cultural fusion has been regarded as harmful. However, the evidence of the Baltistan culture proves this perception wrong since none of the two fused cultures dominates the other. It is important to recognize that other external factors influence some of the cultural practices in the world today. For instance, the Baltistan culture is majorly impacted by political influences from both India and China as each country attempts to establish sovereignty among the communities living at their borders.

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