History of Feminism 1


Feminism has had no concrete definition until now. Scholars believe it is a united movement for women’s rights. Intellectuals believe it is a movement to raise a voice against brutality, injustice and discrimination against women. The encyclopaedia says, “Feminism is a social movement which struggles for women’s rights”.

Definition of Feminism

The dictionary says, “Feminism is the theory of social, political and economic impartiality of gender”. Feminism is an ideological objective as well as a political movement that seeks to neutralise gender discrimination and attain justice for women in society. It is a movement to work for women’s rights and interests.

Feminism is to believe in gender/sex equality and to disagree with belief in the existence of the current system of inequality
Nancy Cott

The words Feminism or Feminist appeared for the first time in France and Holland in 1872, in Britain in 1860, and in the United States of America in 1910. The Oxford Dictionary included the word for the first time in 1894. Some women began to call themselves FEMINIST at the beginning of the 20th century.

Feminism in Pakistan

Feminism was already here in Pakistan’s northern “Baltistan” region before Islam came to the scene of this region. In contrast to other nations of the world, women in Baltistan have been recognized to have a distinguished place in society since ancient times. There was never imaginary brutalism and cruelty towards women. As a result, women in Baltistan neither felt the need to establish a movement for women’s rights nor to raise their voices in protest.

Feminism in Gilgit Baltistan Historically

There was a time when Baltistan stretched from Mansoor to Kafiristan in Chitral. In that era, Baltistan encompassed some of the best agricultural lands. At the same time, Baltistan was a business hub for the traders who came from China and Ladakh (Sinkiang and Yarkand). Baltistan had developed extensively and even Sinkiang and Shigar (Baltistan) had appointed business ambassadors to the area. However, climate change and the expansion of the glaciers brought frequent and intolerable changes to Baltistan. As a result, agricultural land became uncultivatable.

Demographical Impacts on Feminism

The eastern city of Khaplu, Xaythang had to reshape its physical extent three times due to branching of the Aling river and Lake Khamdaan. When a small mountain slipped down and blocked the river at Kharfaq, Khongbu’s (now Gulshan Kabir) people were scattered as a vast area was engulfed by the lake. The communities migrated unwillingly towards other far-flung areas.

The entire region was cut off by the lake which left no path for people on foot to gain access to the remaining habitations at its far ends. This resulted in the extreme scarcity of food and the inhabitants faced extreme hardship. According to Raja Fateh Ali Khan Yabgo’s book “History of Khaplu”, several communities including, from Saling, the renowned social personality and former Inspector General of Police in Sindh Province, Mr Afzal Ali Shigri and his family “Bati Kopa”, and several other families migrated to different areas of Baltistan.

When the flood receded, it left a punitive impact on Baltistan’s agriculture and geography. The history of Jammu suggests that Saling was at a height where today the “Lastiang hill” is and Khaplu was at the same height as Hanjor (today’s Khaplu’s pasture). Whereas Skardu’s surface was equal to the height of the current Chunda Village.

Feminism in Baltistan


The Ringbo (Long) Glacier’s high-level fragmentation caused the reluctant remapping of Baltistan with many people compelled to migrate towards neighbouring areas. The remaining communities faced an uncompromising period. The instability and food insecurity compelled the women of Baltistan to adopt cultivation at much higher levels than previously existed. The demographic reshaping as a result of the floods was even addressed in Syed Sultan Balghari’s book “Boq Boq Nama”.

History describes that, during the reign of Yabgo Raja, families who had no male heir to inherit their legacy were forced by law (Nang Jing) to transfer their lands to Raja. With this ruling, depriving women of their legacy was introduced, but ended following the end of Raja’s rule. Although this law did deprive many women of their inheritance, women were neither tortured nor kept as war slaves during the wars between the Rajas.


This demonstrates that, in ancient times, women had a distinguished place and respect. It has been noted in several books of Baltistan history that, during the victory, the triumphant princes of the conquered areas were married to members of the conquered Raja’s family, thereby achieving royal status.

Ali Sher Khan Anchan’s (Raja) daughter (famous as “Malka of Tibbet”) was married to a Mughal Prince. Similarly, the Mughal princess Gul Khatoon (well-known as Mundoq Rgialmo in Baltistan) was married to Ali Sher Khan Anchan (Raja). Raja made a series of conquests from Gilgit to Chitral. Gul Khatoon constructed a historical irrigation channel (Gangupi Nehr) which passes from central Skardu towards the Kharphocho fort and widened the curved and hard walk the trail to the fort. She then constructed a five-storey palace beside the Kharphocho fort on the bay of the River Sindh.

This famous palace was owned by Gul Khatoon who named it “Mindouq Khar” (Flower Palace). The palace is a prominent model of ancient Tibetan architecture. A beautiful garden was designed for the palace and named “Bilal Bagh”. A historian said the Gangupi Nehr was constructed to irrigate the Bilal Bagh.



The global historical evolution in the modern world for feminism is quite different from the practices in Baltistan, the northern region of Pakistan. The far-flung areas of Pakistan have various practices and it is extraordinarily depicting in the Baltistan region that feminism has a crucial part in the daily life of human beings. There are far-flung areas where feminism treats worst but this is more than beautiful that the Baltistan region has a glorious role in development through women’s participation. Now through education women are leading more than ever with more ease and peace in the Baltistan region. There is a wide and vital role of women in Baltistan development and have a bright future ahead.

The famous Napoleon Bonaparte Said

Give me Good Mothers, I’ll give you Good Nation
Napoleon Bonaparte

Have you noticed any sign/slogan of feminism in Baltistan before?

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Kamal ud Din
3 years ago

That’s amazing and informative.

3 years ago

Is gilgit baltistan is safe to visit?

Niaz Ali
3 years ago
Reply to  John

Yeah, it’s the safest place in Pakistan to visit.

Muhammad Nawaz Hamza
Muhammad Nawaz Hamza
2 years ago

astonished to know these facts

2 years ago

Worth reading

Daniyal Hassan
Daniyal Hassan
1 year ago

Can You write in details about the feminist movement in Baltistan now.
Is there any organization or movement which is working now for the women empowerment.