Something I have meant to write upon for some time, are the religions of the Kalasha and Nuristani groups found in the mountainous northern borderlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
They attract attention for obvious reasons – because they are not what we expect from this area.
This is partially because of their sympathetically resonant story – as non-Muslims who lived (and still live, in the case of many Kalasha) under significant threat and ongoing persecution from their neighbours, heroically attempting to hold onto their Indo-European culturo-religious heritage against ever-spiraling odds for the best part of a thousand years.
However, it is also because we don’t tend to expect to see lighter hair and eyes in that specific part of the world. And in-line with that, exoticized narratives around “the last descendants of Alexander’s armies!” begin to flow. Hyping which, in case you were wondering, doesn’t really have any viable evidence…
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