End of a Princely State in Hunza, Pakistan: Modernization of a Peripheral Community

Hafizullah Emadi


Modernization is often viewed as economic development and nation states as agents of modernization are considered to be responsible for provision of basic services to citizens so that they discard their traditional way of living and integrate themselves to the requirements of a new era. The Ismaili-settled region of Hunza in the northern part of Pakistan is one of the areas that was ruled by local autocratic leader who did not care for the welfare of his subjects but his own selfish interest. Ismailis remained poor and suffered and aspired to transform their shattered lives. The disintegration of the princely state of Hunza heralded the beginning of change and modernization and the process intensified after the Ismaili spiritual leader, the Aga Khan established modern institutions and appointed new leaders to guide the community. The model of development pursued by leadership emphasized partnership of private, public and civil society organizations as encompassing power with the objective to provide enabling environment for people to use their skills, talents and expertise as active participant for development. The strategy of empowering people and communities to make a difference in their lives helped Ismailis to modernize their backward economy and remain active participant in the process of change and development.

Keywords: Leadership role, modernization, economic development, social movement, participatory development, partnership of private, public and civil society institutions.

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