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Homepage of Razwal Kohistani

Lesser Known Tribes of Indus Kohistan

Home Tenure System

Wesh System Wesh Tools Forest Tenure Land Tenure

Definition of traditional Wesh system  (tenure)

In Shina and Pashto, the word Wesh means splitting and redistributing. Literarily, it is a traditional economic system where under a particular formula the natural resources are assigned to the households and the tribes. The socio-economic system of Shin probably prevailed in a large territory during early days and was introduced as the traditional system to the Palas Valley.

The system of re-allotment: The principle on which this system is based is quite simple, and occurs among other Indo-European speaking people (Pathans, Baluchistan), and ancient Celtic and German tribes. (Barth 1956, p. 31)


Initially, there was no concept of individual property within the various groups in Kohistan. The resources jointly owned were assigned to the tribes and households for a particular period of time. After that particular period, land and resources would be allocated anew. In this way, the existing resources, the residential houses and the land would keep rotating among the people. Management of the resources, their protection and control would be a collective responsibility. Men and women, both, would be entitled to shares in the resources. Their Jirgas or Sagas i.e. mass councils, would be responsible to continue this system in their "Roms" and areas. Hence, it would not be possible for an influential group to occupy such an area or the resources.


Motivational effects of the land distribution system (Wesh System)

      The Land Distribution System strengthens the lineage and local identity. Hence, it helps in keeping the local social politics moving and maintaining a fast tempo in the competition between the group organizational circles;

      A uniform distribution of resources is carried out among the groups and households by this system. People come into line with their group circles on the basis of their ownership and rights and an integrated consultation system develops making its performance more effective.

      It increases the group interdependence, which helps strengthen the local defence network;

      Democratic attitude is developed among the groups by taking part in the participatory system of land distribution. Hence, it helps to prevent any chances of dictatorship;

      Environmental areas are allocated for seasonal migration whereby the herd raising economy is strengthened;

      A better and integrated irrigation system comes into existence allowing more possibilities in less time by communal participation;

      Better and integrated rules are issued for economic sustainability.