Hujra used to be a place where the villagers/ relatives/ families would come together for some time. It may be a gathering for some specific purpose i.e. for mourning death of someone or may be for enjoying and rejoicing marriage of their closed ones. The gathering also could be for some gaming and may be for gossips and discussion.
Hujra is a sacred place designated serving community and guests in Pashtun culture. It is one of the prominent symbols in showcasing strength and status to community as well as it holds a deep rooted connection with Pakhtunwali.
It holds different names sometime it can be called with the name Baitak or the other time it can be called with the name Daira. The meaning almost remains the same as it is a designated place for meetings, gatherings and most importantly for holding jirgas.
It could not be wrong if I say that it was and is Hujra from where trends, discussions, political favoritism and choosing takes place. It is a sort of trend setter place in Pushtoon’s culture.
Hujra is a place where guests would be stayed and that they would be given a collective care and protocol from all the relatives/ villagers. This way it would put a greater impact on the guest about Pashtun culture.
Above all Hujra played a role of governing body/ parliament in Pashtun culture. Because their used to be chosen and trusted elders, they would form a Jirga and then they would solve issues and enmities between tribal and communities.
A Jirga is a formally selected committee/ group of elders from the community who could be trusted, they needs to be loyal and trustworthy because they should be given responsibility of mediator, emir and leader. Jirga is still practiced and is highly regarded as one of the traditional and one of the core components of Pakhtunwali.
As a course of nature that everything changes with time. As it is said the only one thing is permanent in this world and it is change. Change is happening, transitions are taking place, it is something else that we might at the present moment cannot realize or see it.
As every other thing of sour culture and its different components change its shape/ outlook and ways with time. The same just happened with Pakhtun’s Hujra as well i.e. at the past hujras used to be a living room/ place precisely for unmarried youths in the family. They would stay there day and night.
In some way or the other the unmarried would spend most of their time in hujras. Oppositely the married ones would stay in their homes at nights. This was a sort of culture; it was not like that elder would impose this on younger ones.
But with time things got changed, now that factor which was once at the top i.e. unmarried youth would spend most of their time there, is now minimal.
Today hujras is widely used for entertaining guests, for political discussions/ events and gatherings. Also people set together at the eve of marriages and families mourn their dead ones there.
Hujra was and is still a symbol of power and influence in Pashtun society. People with properties and big hujras are still considered as wealthier and rich amongst the ones who do not have. Hujra played and still is playing its role in political awareness, activities, and is still considered a base for political campaigns.