who Are Baloch

who Are Baloch?  To the neighboring Pushtun tribes, who live in fertile riverine valleys, Baluchistan is “the dump where Allah shot the rubbish of creation. But for the Baluch, their sense of identity is closely linked to the austere land where they have lived for at least a thousand years. According to the Daptar Sha’ar {Chronicle of Genealogies), an ancient ballad popular among all seventeen major Baluch tribes, the Baluch and the Kurds were kindred branches of a tribe that migrated eastwards from Aleppo, in what now is Syria, shortly before the time of Christ in search of fresh pasturelands and water sources. One school nationalist historians attempts to link this tribe ethnically with the Semitic Chaldean rulers of Babylon, another with the early Arabs, still others with Aryan tribes originally from Asia Minor. In any case, there is agreement among these historians that the Kurds headed toward Iraq, Turkey, and northwest Persia, while the Baluch moved In to the coastal areas along the southern shores of the Caspian sea, later migrating into what are now Iranian Baluchistan and Pakistani Baluchistan between the sixth and fourteenth centuries.

Western historians dismiss the Daptar Sha’ar as nothing more than myth and legend, totally unsubstantiated by verifiable evidence, and it remains for future scholars to probe into the murky origins of the Baluch. These legends are cited here not because they have serious historiographic value but because they are widely believed and are thus politically important today. For the most part, Aleppo is a unifying symbol of a common identity in the historical memories shared by all Baluch. In recent years, however, Arab attempts to attribute Arab ethnic origins to the Baluch have become a divisive factor in the nationalist movement.

Whatever the authenticity of the Aleppo legends, scholars in Baluchistan and in the West generally agree that the Baluch were living along the southern shores of the Caspian at the time of Christ. This consensus is based largely on linguistic evidence showing that the Baluchi language is descended from a lost language linked with the Parthian or Median civilizations, which flourished in the Caspian and adjacent areas in the pre-Christian era. As one of the oldest living languages, Baluchi is a subject of endless fascination and controversy for linguists. It is classified as a member of the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family, which includes Farsi (Persian), Pushtu, Baluchi, and Kurdish. Baluchi is closely related to only one of the members of the Iranian group; Kurdish. In its modern form, it has incorporated borrowings from Persian, Sindhi, Arabic, and other languages, nonetheless retaining striking peculiarities that can be traced back to its pre-Christian origins. Until150 years ago, the Baluch, like most nomadic societies, did not have a recorded literature. Initially, Baluch savants used the Persian and Urdu scripts to render Baluchi in written form. In recent decades, Baluch nationalist intellectuals have evolved a Baluchi script known as Nastaliq, a variant of the Arabic script.

Ethnically, the Baluch are no longer homogeneous, since the original nucleus that migrated from the Caspian has absorbed a variety of disparate groups along the way. Among these “new” Baluch were displaced tribes from Central Asia, driven southward by the Turkish and Mongol invasions from the tenth through the thirteenth centuries, and fugitive Arab factions defeated in intra-Arab warfare. Nevertheless, in cultural terms, the Baluch have been remarkably successful in preserving a distinctive identity in the face of continual pressures from strong cultures in neighboring areas. Despite the isolation of the scattered pastoral communities in Baluchistan, the Baluchi language and a relatively uniform Baluch folklore tradition and value system have provided a common denominator for the diverse Baluch tribal groupings scattered over the vast area from the Indus River in the east to the Iranian province of Kerman in the west. To a great extent, it is the vitality of this ancient cultural heritage that explains the tenacity of the present demand for the political recognition of Baluch identity. But the strength of Baluch nationalism is also rooted in proud historical memories of determined resistance against the would-be conquerors who perennially attempted, without success, to annex all or part of Baluchistan to their adjacent empires.

Reliving their past endlessly in books, magazines, and folk ballads, the Baluch accentuate the positive. They revel in the gory details of ancient battles against Persians, Turks, Arabs, Tartars, Hindus, and other adversaries, focusing on how valiantly their generals fought rather than on whether the Baluch won or lost. They point to the heroes who struggled to throw off the yoke of more powerful oppressors and minimize the role of the quislings who sold out the Baluch cause. Above all, they seek to magnify the achievements of their more successful rulers, contending that the Baluch were on the verge of consolidating political unity when the British arrived on the scene and applied their policy of divide and rule. This claim is difficult to sustain with much certainty on the basis of the available evidence. Nevertheless, the Baluch did make several significant attempts to draw together politically, and their failure to establish an enduring polity in past centuries does not prove that they would fail under the very different circumstances prevailing today. As Baluch writers argue, given the technologies of modern transportation and communication, the contemporary Baluch nationalist has new opportunities for cementing Baluch political unity that were not open to his forebears.

From the book

In Afghanistan’s Shadow:

Baloch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations

By Selig S. Harrison

General Information About Baluch people & Baluchistan

Balochistan is located in the eastern part of the Middle East, linking Central Asian states with the Indian subcontinent, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

The Baloch landscape covers approximately 690,000 sq. km. Out of its total area about two hundred and eighty thousand (280,000) sq. km. is occupied by Iran, 350,000 sq. km by Pakistan (Including the Baloch populated districts of Sindh and Punjab) and some sixty thousand sq. km. (60,000) was given by the British imperial forces to Afghanistan under the Anglo-Afghan boundary commission decision in 1896. Balochistan commands more than 900 miles of the Arabian coast line and the Persian Gulf.

People

Population

The total population of Baloch is 13 to 15 million people. Although there are no independent figures about Baloch population in Iran, it is approximated at 4 million Baloch, who do not enjoy even limited political and cultural autonomy. The Baloch population is deliberately sidelined and marginalized in policy and practice by the occupant governments.

Language

The Baloch speak Balochi and Brahui derived from the Indo-European – and Dravidian branches of language respectively.

Culture and religion

The majority of Baloch are Sunni Muslims with small minorities of Shia and Zekri.
Balochs are ancient people. In 325 BC, as Alexander the great after his abortive India campaign, made his way back to Babylon through Makuran desert, the Greeks suffered greatly at the hands of marauding Balochs.

The poet Firdausi records them in the Persian epic, the Book of Kings, thus: �Heroic Balochs and Kuches we saw/Like battling rams all determined on war. Ethnically, Balochs are no longer homogeneous, since the original nucleus that migrated from the Caspian Sea (Northern side of the plateau of Iran) has absorbed a variety of disparate groups along the way. Among these “new” Baloch were displaced tribes from Central Asia, driven southward by the Turkish and Mongol invasions from the tenth through the thirteenth centuries, and fugitive Arab factions defeated in intra-Arab warfare.

Nevertheless, in cultural terms, the Baloch have been remarkably successful in preserving a distinctive identity in the face of continual pressures from strong cultures in neighbouring areas.
Despite the isolation of the scattered pastoral communities in Balochistan, the Balochi language and a relatively uniform Baloch folklore tradition and value system have provided a common denominator for the diverse Baloch tribal groupings scattered over the vast area from the Indus River in the east to the Iranian province of Kerman in the west. To a great extent, it is the vitality of this ancient cultural heritage that explains the tenacity of the present demand for the political recognition of Baloch identity. However, the strength of Baloch nationalism is also rooted in proud historical memories of determined resistance against the would-be conquerors who perennially attempted, without success, to annex all or part of Balochistan to their adjacent empires.

Economy

Traditionally the people of Balochistan are farmers but in the coastal area fishery is also a source of living for them. Although Balochistan is rich in gas, oil, gold and other minerals and marine resources, as a result of being occupied and not trusted by the occupant regimes, the people of Balochistan are not benefiting from their vast resources and hence live in some of the poorest conditions in South East Asia.

Environmental problems

In May 1998, Pakistan carried out a series of nuclear tests in the Chagahi Hills region of Eastern Balochistan. It is widely accepted that high doses of radiation are harmful and can cause various diseases like leukaemia. The aftermath of atomic bomb explosions and fallout from nuclear weapons testing and radiation accidents are proof of this.

The fallout particles enter the water supply and are inhaled and ingested, affecting communities perhaps thousands of miles from the blast site.

The water supply of Chagahi region before the nuclear tests conducted in this area was in ample quantity but now people have come to the streets to protest against acute shortage of water in Chagahi town and its surrounding areas.

Staging of protests against shortage of water in scorching heat has become routine here in Chaghi area. An official of international aid agency Nasrullah Warraich who is posted in Chaghi, said the nearly forty per cent of population has started migration from Chagahi due to acute shortage of water. He said that people have come out onto the streets and started migrating from the area due to severe heat where no portable water is available for human beings or animals.

For an agricultural community a shortage of water in what were already parched desert conditions are detrimental to the livelihoods of thousands, which are further exacerbated by the absence of any other employment opportunities in the area.

Water shortages are merely one direct consequence of the nuclear testing with other more severe consequences yet to reveal in time as is still taking place in the aftermath of Chernobyl. What is awaiting future generations of Baloch in terms of exposure to radiation and the often accompanied birth defects, one can only wait and see.

History

Through most of their history the Baloch administered themselves as a loose tribal confederacy.
The current Balochistan is divided into three parts namely Northern Balochistan, Western Balochistan and Eastern Balochistan which are controlled respectively by the three countries of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

Some of the earliest human civilizations emerged in Balochistan. Mehrgar the earliest civilization known to mankind is located in Eastern Balochistan; the Kech civilization in central Makuran dates back to 4000 BC; The Burned city near Dozaap (Zahidan), the provincial capital of Western Balochistan, dates back to 2000 BC.

Among the most significant invasions of Balochistan was the Arab incursion in the seventh century AD, which brought far-reaching social, religious, economic and political changes into the region. In 644 AD an Arab army, under the command of Hakam, defeated the combined forces of Makuran and Sindh. The period of Arab rule brought the religion of Islam to the area. The Baloch tribes gradually embraced Islam, replacing their centuries-old religion.

During the anarchic and chaotic last phases of Arab rule, the Baloch tribes established their own semi-independent tribal confederacies, which were frequently threatened and overwhelmed by the stronger forces and dynasties of surrounding areas.

The period from 1400 to 1948 AD can be distinguished for the declining grip of the surrounding powers on Balochistan and the rise of Baloch influence. The predominance of Baloch socio-political and cultural institutions is the characteristic of this period. By the 18th century Kalat was the dominant power in Balochistan and the Khan of Kalat was the ruler of Balochistan.

The British first came to the region in 1839 on their way to Kabul when they sought safe passage. In 1841 they entered into a treaty with Kalat state. The British annexed Sindh in 1843 from the Talpur Mirs, a Baloch dynasty. In 1876, the British, however forced another treaty on the Baloch and forced the Khan of Kalat to lease Quetta city to them. The Khan’s writ still ran over Balochistan, but now under the watchful eye of a British minister.

Historically, the British occupation of the Baloch State of Kalat in 1839 was perhaps the greatest event and turning point in Baloch history. From the very day the British forces occupied Kalat state, Baloch destiny changed dramatically. The painful consequences for the Baloch were the partition of their land and perpetual occupation by foreign forces.

In 1849, an Iranian army defeated Baloch forces in Kerman and captured Bumpur. The Baloch political status was changed radically in later decades, when in 19th century the British and Persian Empires divided Balochistan into spheres of influence, between the British Empire in India and the Persian Kingdom. The Anglo-Afghan wars and subsequent events in Persia in respect of �the great game played out between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire further marginalized the Baloch people.

Baloch tribes in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century showed their disdain of the unnatural and unjust partition through their revolts against British and Persian rule. Gul Khan Naseer, a Baloch historian, writer and poet, wrote: “Due to the decisions of (boundary) Commissions more than half of the territory of Balochistan came under the possession of Iran and less than half of it was given to Afghanistan.

The factor for the division of a lord-less Balochistan was to please and control Iran and Afghanistan governments against Russia” in favour of Britain. In 1932, the Baloch Conference of Jacobabad voiced itself against the Iranian occupation of Western Baluchistan. In 1933, Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd, a prominent national leader of Balochistan, showed his opposition to the partition and division of Balochistan by publishing the first map of Greater Balochistan. In 1934, Magassi, the head of the Baloch national movement, suggested an armed struggle for the liberation and unification of Balochistan. However, it was a difficult task because of its division into several parts, each part with a different constitutional and political status.

The Baloch in Western Balochistan have been in constant rebellion against the domination and discrimination by chauvinistic policy of Persian regimes e.g.:
1. The revolt of Jask in 1873.
2. The revolt of Sarhad in 1888.
3. The general uprising in 1889.
4. A major uprising under Baloch chieftain Sardar Hussein Narui in 1896 provoked a joint Anglo-Persian expeditionary force to crush the struggle of Baloch. After two years Baloch resistance was defeated and Chief Narui was arrested.

The death of Muzzafar ul Din Shah and the declining power of the Qajar dynasty in Persia and furthermore the preoccupation of British Colonial army dealing with the Baloch uprisings in Eastern Balochistan gave the Baloch in the Western part prospects.

The Baloch tribal chiefs took this chance and began consolidating their hold on the Baloch territories in West Balochistan. In the beginning of the twentieth century Bahram Khan gained control of almost the entire central and southern region of Western Balochistan, ending the occupation of Baloch-lands. Ultimately in 1916 the British Empire recognized Bahram Khan as the effective ruler of Western Balochistan.

Bahram Khan�s nephew, Mir Dost Muhammed Khan Baloch succeeded his uncle. Mir Dost Muhammed consolidates his power and even then in year 1920 he proclaimed himself as �Shah-e-Balochistan� (King of Balochistan). Sadly his attempts to further strengthen his power coincided with the rise of Reza Khan to power in Persia.

In the fatal year of 1928 the Persian forces began the annexation operation against Baloch forces, the battle continued for seven months and ended with the victory of the enemy over Baloch forces. The defeat of Baloch forces under the command of Mir Dost Muhammed Khan resulted in his capture. In year 1928 in a Tehran jail Mir Dost Muhammed Baloch was executed and Western Balochistan was finally annexed by the Persian Forces.

The defeat of Baloch forces and the execution of Mir Dost Muhammed Khan Baloch in 1928 by the Persian army symbolizes the annexation of Western Balochistan in Baloch history. Until the Shah’s overthrow in 1979, the Baloch Nationalist Movement in Iran was a relatively insignificant force compared to the movement in Eastern or Pakistani Balochistan.

Due to suppression, the harsh methods that were used by Iranian security forces and persecution by SAVAC (the Iranian security secret police under the Shah), its leaders were forced to emigrate and operate underground from foreign countries. They had little ongoing contact with their widely scattered supporters inside Iran. Nevertheless, while it never amounted to much in organisational terms, the pre- 1979 nationalist movement proved to have great psychological importance.

The handful of Baloch activists who braved the Shah�s repression kept alive the spirit of resistance to Persian domination and thus directly set the stage for the resurgence of nationalist activities that took place after the overthrow of the Shah. A new political force emerged in Balochistan alongside traditional leaders comprising mostly of the educated young people. First they attempted to organise themselves but lack of political experience and ideological divisions soon disintegrated political workers into different political groupings, lessening their political importance.

Current Situation

In the Iranian controlled part of Balochistan, the Baloch are rapidly losing their identity. The previously Baloch-dominated regions of Bandar Abbas, part of Kerman, Seistan and Zabol are the most affected areas of the assimilation policy and efforts by the Persian state. Now in all these areas Balochs are a minority, even the capital city Dozzaap (Zahidan) does not look like a Baloch city. Balochs in Iran are completely excluded from the main structure of the political, social and economic establishments of the country.

The dissemination of Balochi culture and language is a declared act of treason against the state and is dealt with through brutal measures. Many army garrisons are permanently stationed in Baloch areas.

For most of the fifty years of Pahlavi rule, Tehran had to depend primarily on the use of overt military force to keep the Baloch areas under control, even when there was little co-ordinated insurgent activity. Mahmoud Khalatbary, who served as Director General of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO), in a discussion with Selig S. Harrison (author of book �Baloch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations�) recalled that: In CENTO, we always assumed that the Baloch would attempt to create their own independent state some day with Soviet support. So it was desirable to keep them as politically weak, disunited, and backward as possible.

This policy was implemented in practice so that in the last years of the Shah�s regime Balochistan was the poorest province �with an estimated annual per capita income of $975, less than half of the $2200 national average for rural areas and less than one-fifth of the overall national average. Balochistan is still the poorest province in Iran, followed by Kurdistan. The demise of the Palavi dynasty and establishment of the Islamic Republic have not brought about any positive changes to the situation of the Baloch people, but rather have worsened the oppression.

Baloch people in Iran are treated as third class citizens, and are deprived of their cultural, social and economic rights.

Some highlights of Iranian government’s chauvinistic policies are:

1) The use of the Balochi language is forbidden in public places and Baloch children are deprived of using their mother tongue as the medium of instruction at school. The Iranian government does not allow any kind of freedom of press in Balochistan.

2) Successive Iranian governments have been engaged in demographic manipulations to systematically reduce the population of Baloch people to a minority in their own homeland.
3) Government policy has been based on giving easy access and facilities to non-Baloch to purchase land at a cheap price and set up businesses.

4) The policy of keeping the Baloch backward has resulted in the lack of job opportunities and impoverishment of the entire Baloch population.

There is no Baloch representation in the central government in Tehran e.g. minister or even a Baloch deputy. The high ranking officials and decision makers in Balochistan are outsider or non-Baloch locals who have been helped to migrate from other areas.  The successive Iranian regimes have never trusted Baloch even those who are willing to voluntarily corporate with the regime�s own conditions to represent Baloch in some high post.

5) The policy of Iranian governments in dealing with different sectors of Baloch society is based on �divide and rule�. Baloch society traditionally is tribal and feudal. The Shah based its policies on using these different rival tribes or feudal families to keep its hold over Baloch society without giving any attention to the Baloch majority�s aspiration for social, economic and political justice. The Islamic regime of the ayatollahs, in addition plays the religious card, by dividing religious leaders and using them for its own purposes.

6) Women in Iran are in general considered second class citizens and not treated equally to men in any aspect of life. Baloch women are in a worse situation than their Persian and Shiite sisters because of national and religious differences. The Baloch are mostly Sunni Muslims. Iranian law does not give Baloch women adequate protection. Protection that is provided by the tribal system and Baloch tradition is not enough to give women their due share and equal right to participate in the development of a modern society, so women are the poorest segment in the Baloch society, suffering from gender, national and class discrimination and oppression.

7) The politic of the Iranian Government in Balochistan is characterised by human rights abuses. It has distorted political, economical and cultural development of Balochistan and insulted the human dignity of Baloch people. Balochs are discontent because they have not been allowed the right to use their native Balochi language. Balochs are disenchanted, as they do not receive any benefits from the resources found in their homeland.

They are disillusioned because of their economical exploitation that in the process are kept away from the power structure of the state. Balochs are disappointed because of religion manifestation, which used as a mean to assimilate Baloch nationality into Persian national identity in Iran. These basic realities have reinforced and frustrated Baloch�s general feelings.

Literature 

Selig S. Harrison, In Afghanistan�s Shadow: Baloch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Carnegie Endowment for Peace, New York 1981.
Shahid Fiaz, Peace Audit Report 3, The Peace Question in Balochistan, South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Katmandu 2003.
Inayatullah Baloch, 1987, the Problem of Greater Balochistan, Stener Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH Stuttgart.

Khan, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, Inside Balochsitan, Maaref Printers Karachi, 1975.
Ahmad Ali Khan Waxir, Tarikh Kerman, p 65-66-, (In Persian).
Farhang- e Iran Zamin, Compiled and edited by: Iraj Afshar, Tehran 1990.
Dr Naseer Dashti, Baloch in Iran: What Option they have

Population: 19 – 15 million of which about 4.4 million in Iran

The Baloch are the indigenous people of Balochistan

Unlike the universally agreed and long-established historical facts about the characteristics of the Baloch, the actual origin of the Baloch remains a matter of debate. Where did the Baloch come from? , or they did not!   Research scholars have different opinions and theories about the origin of the Baloch. Lets outline the three serious existing theories about the origin of the Baloch:

baluch nationalism1- The Baloch came from the Caspian Sea region:  Some say they belong to the northern regions of Elburz and east of Caspian Sea, now inhabited by Ashkanis, originally Aryans.  They believe that the Baloch and the Kurds are of Aryan origin and the true Iranian. Although scholars such as Sir Richard Burton and Professor Keane were of the same opinion, this theory is more acceptable to the Persian for some reasons. They refer to the Balochi language as a very strong evidence for their claim. Moreover, people of Baloch origin who speak Baloch still live in Turkamenstan and around that area. The opponents of this theory believe that those Baloch have migrated from Balochistan more recently than it could be attributed to the migration of Baloch. They claim that the first Baloch migration from the Caspian See region, most probably around 1200 B.C., must have been motivated by this general historical phenomenon.  They first settled in northern Persia.  They cling to the authority of Persian poet, Firdousi (935-1020 A.D.) and also strong historical evidences that the Baloch were a political and military force during the times of Cyrus and Combyses. However, the Baloch movement from Kirman and Seisran to Makoran and then Eastern Balochistan was not the only result of the lack of sufficient productive forces to meet their demands, or insufficient grazing fields for their flocks, because the area they migrated to was no better in natural resources than the area in which they had been settled for centuries.  The main reason was their conflict with rulers and their own internal enmity which resulted in a weakening of their political position.  yet another factor most probably was the Mongolian invasion of Central Asia and the subsequent political anarchy in the whole region.

2- The Baloch are the indigenous people of Balochistan :  Some researchers hold the opinion that the Baloch are the original cave-dewellers and hunters of Balochistan who created the first civilisation of the World aound Mehergarh. They regard the Baloch as the remnants of indigenous population of the area. They refer to the fact that the Baloch are neither related to the Persian nor to the Punjabis or Pathans, while at the same time they have racial and linguistic affinity to both sides. These theory is supported by Baloch Nationalists for obvious reasons.

3- The Baloch came from Halab (Allepe)  :   3-Some historians maintain that they came from Halab, Allepe, and are Semites.  It is also believed that they from the old stock of Sumerians of Mesopotamia. The historians, however, mostly concern themselves in tracing the Baloch racical origin either from among the Indo-Europeans or the Semites.  Neither should one object on these methods for historical research, nor doubt the fact that there had been an admixture of various people with Baloch like the Scythians, Pathians, Ashkanis, Sakas, Kushans, Huns, Turks and many others; nor contest the proposition that Baloch, culturally, were greatly influenced by Tigris-Euphrates civilization at different stages of history. Subscribers to this school of thought believe that the Baloch and Kurds were two large tribes of common origin. For whatever reasons, the Kurds decided to move towards the East by hundereds of kilometers only, while the Baloch moved thousands of kilometers eastward. This theory might prove the most accurate. Apart from historical evidence and academic debates, there are certain sceintific markers which makes this theory more plausible than the other two. These sceintific markers are the prevelance of certain genetic diseases such as Glucose 6 Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency ( Favism) and Thalaseamia. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) The Baloch have the same occurance rate as the Kurds, Iraqis, original Syrians and the Khuzestanis of Iran. The occurance rate of the Baloch is very different from Punjabis, Sindis and Pathans. Surely science can shed some lights where history fails to illuminate.

4- The Baloch are of Arab origin For obvious reasons, the religious leaders of Balochistan have done their bit to prove that the Baloch are from the Hamzeh family. To sustain this theory, nor more evidence has been introduced than a couple of poems and a holy wishful thinking (praying).baluch nationalism

The Origin of word “Baloch”

“The origin of the word ‘Baloch’ is still unknown. E. Herzefeld believes that it is derived from brza-vaciya, which came from brza-vak, a Median word meaning a loud cry, in contrast to namravak, quiet, polite way of talking.  Some writers maintain that the Baloch owe their name to Babyloian King ‘Belus’, also the name of their God.  It is also believed that the word is anick-name meaning a `cock’s comg`.  As the Baloch forces who fought against Astyages (585-550 B.C.) wore distinctive helmets decorated with a cock’s comb, the name `Baloch’ is said to have been derived from the token of cock.  Some writers believe that etymologically it is made of two Sankrit words, `Bal` and `Och`.  `Bal` means strength or power, and `Och`, high or magnificent.  The word `Baloch’ therefore, means very powerful and magnificent.  Yet another erroneous version is that Baloch mean `nomad` or `wanderer`.  This has been presumed perhaps due to the innocent use of the word for nomadic people, and may be because of the fact that the term may be used by indigenous settlers for the Baloch nomads.

From the evidences available, it is establiched that by the beginning of the Christian era, the Baloch were one of the major people inhabiting Iranian Balochistan, Seistan and Kirman.  Their migration further east into Makkuran must also be the result of Anushervan’s (531-578 A.D.) attack on them. But according to some Iegends, it was at a later stage and was the result of a quarrel between the Kirman ruler and the Baloch Chief who was the successor to the most powerful leader, Ismael Romi.   The former demanded forty-four girls, one from each Baloch tribe, for his harem.   The Baloch dressed up boys in girls’ disguise and, fearing the wrath of the ruler, migrated from Kirman and took refuge in Makkuran (Makoran)

From Baloch Warna

Balochistan Area and Location

Mir Nasir Khan II, Khan of Kalat (1840-75), was questioned about the borders of Baluchistan by the British and Afghan envoys at his court. Replied the Khan: “My ancestor and namesake Nasir Khan Nuri had already replied in geographical terms to a similar question long ago, and I repeat: all those regions where the Baluch are settled are a part and parcel of our state.”

Geography has played a very significant role in preserving Baloch identity. Baluchistan which is at present divided politically between three different countries, is, physically, a compact unit. Its total area is approximately 340,000 sq. miles, which is larger than several European states.

Different views are expressed on the national and ethnic borders of Baluchistan. The Encyclopadia of Islam says: “The exact boundaries of Balochistan are undetermined. In general, it occupies the southeastern part of the Iranian Plateau from the Kirman desert of Bam and Bashagird to the western borders of Sind and the Punjab.” The Encyclopadia Britanica defines the borders as stretching “from the Gomal River in the northeast to the Arabian Sea in the south and from the borders of Iran and Afghanistan in the west and northwest to the Sulaiman Mountains and Kirthar Hills in the east, including the region of southeastern Iran.” Lord Curzon had defined Baluchistan as “the country between the Helmand and the Arabian Sea, and between Kirman and Sind.” A.W.Hughes asserts that “Baluchistan in the modern acceptance of the term, may be said in a general sense to include all that tract of country which has for its northern and northeastern boundry the large kingdom of Afghanistan, its eastern frontier being limited by the British province of Sind and its western by the Persian state, while the Arabian Sea washes its southernbase for a distance of nearly six hundred miles ……. however,this can only be regarded as a very general description of the boundaries of Baluchistan.” Dames remarks: “Apart from modern political boundaries, Balochistan includes Persian Baluchistan, the Khanate of Kalat, and the British districts of Dera Ghazi Khan (with the adjoining mountains), Jacobabad, and part of Shikarpur as far as the Indus.” Davies defines the ethnic border between the Pashtuns (or Afghans) and the Baloch in Pakistan as follows: “The boundry between Baluchistan and the Frontier Province is political, not ethnic ….. What approximates more nearly to an ethnic boundry between Pathan and Baluch runs from near the town of Chaudhwan in the Dera Ismail Khan district, through Thal Chotiali and Sibi to Chaman.” Major Raverty had referred to “Sair-ul-Bilad” for the boundaries of Balochistan, saying that “it extends from the town of Pahar-pur lying at the foot of the Salt Range, nearly 10 Kuroh north of the derah (Dera) of Ismail Khan, and includes Derha-Jat, to the ocean.”

The author of Khulasatul-Tawarikh, Sujan Rai Batalwi, describes “River Chanab as the eastern border between Baluchistan and Mughal India.” Mir Nasir Khan II, Khan of Kalat (1840-75), was questioned about the borders of Baluchistan by the British and Afghan envoys at his court. Replied the Khan: “My ancestor and namesake Nasir Khan Nuri had already replied in geographical terms to a similar question long ago, and I repeat: all those regions where the Baluch are settled are a part and parcel of our state,” Sir Thornton, foreign secretary to the Government of India had described the territory of Baluchistan under the control of the Khanate of Kalat: “That territory may be described as the mountainous country west of the Indus Valley, bounded on the north by Afghanistan, on the east by Sind and the Punjab, on the west by Persia, and on the south by the Arabian Sea ….. Its (Kalat) area is more than ten times that of Switzerland ….. and its coastline extends for nearly 600 miles.” Robert Sandeman wrote on April 10, 1872, that the Khanate of Baluchistan “before we interfered in her affairs, extended in the north to Shaulkot, or, as called by us, Quetta; to the sea on the coast of Mekran; from the frontier of Persia beyond Kharan and Panjgur on the west; to Sind and the Punjab in the east.” Iranian writers describe Western Baluchistan as bounded by Central Kawir in the north, by the Sea of Oman in the south and Pakistan in the east, and by the Kirman province of Iran in the west. Mohammad Sardar Khan has suggested the map of Baluchistan “be drawn from Sarakhs on the Russian border to Gunabad, Meshad, thence straight to Bampur, Ramish and finally to Bander Abbas, the territory to the east of this line, touching the boundaries to the Baloch territories of Afghanistan and Mekuran is mainly a Baluch country.” Several other maps published by the nationalists claim more or less the same territory as described by Sardar Khan. It is interesting to note that most of the maps are based on the information collected by Lord Curzon during his travels in Iran.

Most of the nationalists forget that Eastern Khorasan is a multi-national area, consisting of Baluch, Turkmen, and several other ethnic groups. This also applies to their claim on Farah in Afghanistan. After careful study we conclude that Balochistan constitutes the following areas, on the basis of a common territory, history, culture, and language: the Indus and Hub rivers and the mountain of Kirthar form a natural border between Balochistan and the Indian subcontinent; in the northeast, the Sulaiman mountains and the river Gomal separate Balochistan from the Pashtuns of Pakistan; while western Balochistan is separated by Dasht-e-Lut and Dasht-e-Kavir from the bulk of Persian-speaking Iran; in the south, the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf divide the Arabs and the Baloch; in the northwest, desert (Registan) and the mountains form the natural boundry between the Afghan and the Baloch.

Physically Balochistan is part of the Central-Asian plateau. This fact is recognized in the writings of political historians, scholars, and legal experts. Edward Wakefield, a British political officer, travelled in Balochistan and made the following observations about the climate and geography of Balochistan: “From Karachi, we travelled north by rail. Dawn was breaking as the two engines pulling our train laboured up the Bolan pass. From our carriage windows Lalage and I looked out on a new world, a world that had nothing in common with the India we had known before. Here were rugged, barren, sunbrowned mountains, cleft by deep ravens and gorges.Forbidding of aspect in the full light of day, the hills were now, in the first light of dawn, clothed with a gentle effulgence that made them seem welcoming and friendly. The air, too, was different from that of India, but of the Central Asian plateau. Simply to breathe such air in such surroundings was exhilarating.”

In 1946, M.A. Jinnah, the legal advisor of the Khan, submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet Mission, demanding the separation of Balochistan from British India on geographical terms: “Geographically Kalat does not fall within the territorial limits of India. In the north it is separated from India by the massive barrier of the southern buttresses of the Sulaiman Mountains. In the south there is the long extension from Kalat of the inconceivably wild highland country which faces the desert of Sind, the foot of which forms the Indian frontier. Thid the land of the Baluch, and the flat wall of its frontier limestone barrier is one of the most remarkable features in the configuration of the whole line of Indian borderlands.”

Several Pakistani scholars admit that Baluchistan, geographically, is part of the Central Asian plateau rather than part of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. Similarly, western Baluchistan is separated from Persian-speaking Iran. Richard W. Cottam admits the weakness of Iranian nationalism with regard to geography. Cottam writes that “the climatic and geographical conditions have hindered the growth of Iranian nationalism. The impregnable triangle served to isolate from the plateau areas those sections of Iran that lie outside the legs of the triangle. Khuzistan, the Caspian coastal area, Khorasan, Sistan and Iranian Baluchistan — all located outside the triangle — could disregard the central government to a considerable degree.”

Natural barriers have helped several countries to preserve their independance. Difficult mountains and climate helped the Afghans, for example, to protect their independance from British invasion. Saudi Arabia and Mongolia were protected from invasions by their muntains and deserts.

Baluchistan, also, was saved from permanent occupation by foreign invaders because of its difficult mountain and desert terrain. The Persians, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, and the British failed to incorporate it into their kingdoms and empires.

In the 7th century, Caliph Osman was warned about the difficulties of communications and the harsh climate in Balochistan. This fact can be noticed, too, from the lament of an Arab Governor, Sinan bin Salma: “Thou showest me that road to Makran (Balochistan) but what a difference there is between an order and execution. I will never enter this country, as its name alone terrifies me.”

The same geographical features which helped to preserve Baluchistan from foreign occupation and established its separate identity also prevented the growth of a central government at Kalat to control the areas over a long distance. Dodai chiefs and the Khan of Kalat tried to develop the communications system in order to overcome these natural barriers. It was a result of this lack of communications that in 1839, when the British army invaded Kalat, the Khan failed to rally the Baloch tribes in time.

Strategic Importance

The strategic importance of Balochistan has had, and still has, a positive and negative effect on Baluch nationalism. Because of its strategic location in the Perso-Oman Gulf, with 700 miles long seacoast, the area has been important to the trade of the West since the rise of the imperialism. Its strategic importance provides an opportunity to the Baluch nationalists to deal with big or superpowers in order to liberate the country. During the “Great Game”, the major reason for the occupation of Baluchistan by British was to check the advance of the Russians towards the Baluch coast in the Arabian Sea. During the two World Wars, Britain did not share the occupation of Western Baluchistan with the Russians because of the fear of Russian access to warm waters. In 1928, Britain refuse to recognize the regime of Mir Dost Mohammad Baranzai in Western Baluchistan. because he was alleged to be in contact with the Soviets.

In 1944, General Money, after studying the constitutional position of Baluchistan, favoured its independence. In 1947, Britain opposed the independence of Baluchistan and urged Pakistan to occupy Baluchistan in order to crush the nationalists and anti-imperialist or pro-Soviet forces.

(Source: The Problem of Greater Balochistan, written be Innayatullah Baloch)

Cultural Facts

Cultural facts about Balochistan Language: 
Balochi is the major language of Balochistan. It is spoken over extensive areas of the province. It is also rich in poetic and romantic literature. Besides, other languages which are spoken in Balochistan are Brahui and Makrani. Brahui is spoken in Qalat areas while Makrani is spoken in Makrani, the coastal region of Balochistan.

Food: 
Their dry fruits are also very popular all over the world. Their special item, Sajji is very famous in Balochistan and also all over the Pakistan. They also eat roasted lamb sand mutton.

Dress: 
They wear shalwar qamees and turban. Women wear embroider frocks and shalwar. They also wear jewelery made of metals. This jewellery is also very famous among the women of Pakistan. Women also wear long dress with long sleeves.

Festival: 
Wrestling, horse-racing, religious feasts are the recreational and the seasonal functions. In the Makran region, the seasonal harvest of the date palms is an occasion for the rejoicing and reunion of friends and relatives who return home for the harvest.

Crafts: 
Balochistan has a strong individual character. Its varied landscape includes deserts plains, and mountain. In fact northern Balochistan is a perfect maze of mountain. The country experiences great fluctuation of temperature caused by extraordinary differences in the elevation of land. Balochistan is mostly barren, with scanty rainfall and great water deficiency.

It has few large towns. The population is thinly scattered over a large area. Their crafts to have a strong individual character. Balochistan processes skins and hides and manufactures goods in leather, wool and goat’s hair. Two raw material’s, typical to Balochistan are crude clay; and the dwarf palm. The first is used to make coarse, green glazed earthenware, such as hookas, bowls, and platters. The latter are commonly available in the Kandhari Bazar in Quetta, and largely used by the local population. Secondly the dwarf palm, which grows wild on the Sibi frontier, is used for making prayer mats, matting for stone shelters, sandals, shoes and now also ladies hand-bags. Women also participate actively in the practice of crafts. Women do all embroidery work and most of the work in wool and goat’s hair.

Leather works: 
Most of Baluchi leatherwork is embroidered upon. Lehri refers to the application of chain stitch in colored silk, to leather. The motifs and designs in leatherwork and specially embroideries, are different. Products of Balochistan, the distinctive Balochi stamp on them. Leather is produced almost everywhere in Balochistan. However it may be localized in the Kachhi district where the raw material for manufacture is largely available. The work consist chiefly of saddles, horse gear, embroidered shoes and sword belts, all of which are made in Muhammadpur in the Nasirabad tehsil and Lahri, further north.

The sword belts made in Lahri have considerable local repute and are extensively used by Balochi and Brahui tribesmen. The leather used is of dark red color, ornamented with green and embroidered in minute circles placed between parallel lines. The work is in yellow golden yellow silk, minutely embroidered in chain stitch, similar to Lahri. This stitch, originally used on bedspreads and the top of the Peshawari sandals, is now employed for leather book covers, wallets, belts, ladies hand-bags and cushions.

Goat hair works: 
Goat hair is woven chiefly in the border hills in Darajat and in Marri and in Bugti country. The coarser forms of this pastoral craft is rough goat’s hair ropes, the crude cloth on which grain is winnowed and cleaned, corn sacks and camel bags. The more refined forms are saddlebags, nosebags, and astringes or multicolored rugs. The saddlebags have a fine woven pattern, round the neck. In addition they are ornamented with tassels and risottos, with little shells sewn to the borders.

Baluch Nationalism, Since Its Birth

Baluch nationalism, since its birth, has faced the problem of “international” frontiers which divide the Baluch among countries – Pakistan, Iran/and Afghanistan. The genesis of the problem pre-dates the Perso-Baluch (1871 and 1895-1905), 4 Seistan (1872-1896)(and Baluch-Afghan (1895) frontiers. The demarcation of these frontiers made the problem more acute and protracted it so that^ with the rise of Baluch nationalism in 193O, the Baluch were divided between Iran, Afghanistan and what was then British India. For obvious reasons, Pakistan and Iran had a common interest in suppressing the Baluch claim of self-determination and they have adopted a joint policy for this purpose. Afghanistan did not share the Iranian and Pakistan policies but stated its own claim for Baluchistan, as part of its demand for Pushtunistan. The Baluch-Afghan line as an international border is disputed by the Afghans, who regard the frontier with Pakistan as drawn by the British and agreed to by the Afghans only under duress.

To understand the complexity of the issue involved in the division of Baluchistan, it is important to have some understanding of the historical circumstances involved. The strategic position of Baluchistan, Iran, and Afghanistan in terms of commanding the principal trade routes between South-West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia became important for Britain and Russia in the context of the geopolitical expansion of the two empires in Asia during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. In 1854, Britain entered into a treaty with the Khan, ruler of Baluchistan, in order to defend its territories against an external invasion from Central Asia and Iran. At the same time the Iranian rulers, who had lost their northern provinces to the Russians, pursued a policy of expansion towards Baluchistan in order to compensate for the lost areas. However, in 187O,the British Government agreed to demarcate the border with the Khanate of Baluchistan. In 1871, the British Government accepted the Iranian proposal and appointed Maj. General Gold-smid as Chief Commissioner of the joint Perso-Baluch Boundary Commission, Iran was represented by Mirza Ibrahim, and the Khanate of Baluchistan was represented by Sardar Faqir Muhammad Bizenjo, the Governor of Makran, The Baluch delegate submitted a claim for Western Baluchistan and Iranians claimed most of Makran including Kohuk. After several months of negotiations, Goldsmid divided Baluchistan into two parts without taking into consideration history, geography, culture or religion, and ignoring the statements of Baluch chiefs^ho regarded themselves as subjects of the Khan. Goldsmid’s decision was based on political considerations. He aimed to please Iran in order to keep Iran away from Russia.

The Kohuk dispute; Kohuk is situated on the Perso-Baluch line. In 1871, General Goldsmid assigned Kohuk to the Khanate of Baluchistan on the following bases:
1. That the chief of Kohuk stated that he considered himself a feudatory of the
Khan.
2. That the Persian Commissioner, Ibrahim, refused to investigate the merits of
the question.
The Iranian government finally agreed to the decision in a letter dated September 4, 1871, but in a separate note to Allison (the British Minister at Tehran) “on the same day requested that, on consideration, a small portion of territory, including Kohuk, Isfunda and Kunabasta, would be made over to Persia.” The question was referred to the Government of British India and General Goldsmid was consulted. Goldsmid changed his view and favoured the transfer to Iran because “it would make a far more compact and better boundary for Persian than for Khelat territory.” At the same time, British India did not deem it necessary to justify declaring that territories which were not legally part of it should belong to Iran. Consequently, the British Government decided to prepare an amended map and to exclude Kohuk and other villages from the Khan’s territory in order to give Iran the opportunity to occupy the area. An amended note and map were then sent to Tehran. In the amended note the districts of Kohuk, Isfunda,and Kunabasta were excluded from the Khanate of Baluchistan. When the decision to exclude this area from Baluchistan was conveyed to the Khan, he protested against the amended decision. The Khan was informed that the question was not definitely settled, as in April 1873, the Iranian government had refused to accept the

note. It does not appear to have been necessary to take any further account of his objections. In the late 19th century, the Iranians practically settled the question of Kohuk by military occupation and continued their policy of expansion in pushing their claim and their raids further and further into the Khanate. In 1896 and 1905, an Anglo-Persian Joint Boundary Commission was appointed to divide Baluchistan between Iran and Britain. During the process of demarcation of the frontier, several areas of the Khanate of Baluchistan were surrendered by the British authorities, who were hoping to please the Iranian government in order to check
the Russian influence in Iran. The frontier imposed by two alien powers on the Baluch people was demarcated without the consent of Kalat. The agreement of 1896 was a clear violation of the treaties of (the agreement) 1854 and 1876, declaring the Perso-Baluch line to be the frontier of Iran and India. It is interesting to note that the border demarcated by General Gold-smid was between the independent Khanate and Iran. The agreements of 1896 and 19O5 show a clear shift in British policy towards the Khanate; it was treated now as an Indian state. Under the treaty of 19O5, the Khanate lost the territory Of Mir Jawa and in return the Iranian government agreed that this frontier should be regarded as definitely settled in accordance with the agreement of 1896 and that no further claim should be made in respect of it. In 1872, the British government appointed General Goldsmid to settle the dispute over Seistan between Iran and Afghanistan. The dispute, however, was ended with the partition of Seistan between Iran and Afghanistan without the consent of the Baluch people. Ethnically, culturally, and geographically, Seistan is part of Baluchistan. Seistan ruled by Sanjrani chiefs was the vassal of the Khanate until 1882. A secret diary prepared by the British representative at Kalat on April 2o, 1872, to the British Government of India suggests that Sardar Ibrahim Khan Sanjrani of Chakansur (Seistan) acted as a vassal of the Khanate. Sir Robert Sandeman, in the letters to Lord Curzon dated November 22, 1891 and January 12, 1892, described the western limits of the Khanate as Hassanabad Q (Irani-Seistan) and the Halmand river near Rudbar. The final demarcation of Seistan took place in 19O4 by the British Commissioner, Sir McMahon, but the historical right of the Khanate and the principle of the right to self-determination were ignored. Sanjrani, chief of Chakansur, refused to acknowledge the Afghan rule under Amif Abdul Rahman. Nonetheless, the Kabul policy of British India encouraged Abdul Rahman to occupy the country. Nothing is known about the reaction of Mir Khudadad Khan, the ruler of Baluchistan.

The Baluch-Afghan or MoMahon Line: This covers an area from New Chaman to the Perso-Baluch border. The boundary was demarcated by the Indo-Afghan Boundary Commission headed by Capt. (later Sir) A. Henry McMahon in 1896. The boundary runs through the Baluch country, dividing one family from another and one tribe from another. As in the demarcation of the Perso-Baluch Frontier, the Khan was not consulted by the British, making the validity of the line doubtful, because:
1. The Goldsmid Line (the southern part of the Perso-Baluch Frontier) was imposed on the Khan by the British Government in 1871.
2. In 1896, when the rest of the Perso-Baluch Frontier was demarcated, the Khan ate, an independent state, was not consulted.
3. The partition of Seistan was unjust because Seistan was autonomous and the majority of the population, which was Baluch, recognized the Khan as their suzerain. The Sanjrani chief of Chakansur (Seistan) refused to accept Afghan rule in 1882.
4. The British reports clearly suggest that the Baluch people resented the rule of Iran and desired to accept, the status of a British protectorate against Iranian rule.
5. The partition of Baluchistan took place without taking into consideration the
4 factors of geography, culture, history, and the will of the people. However, the final outcome of the boundary settlements imposed on the Baluch was:
1. Seistan and Western Makran, Sarhad, etc. became part of Iran.
2. Outer Seistan and Registan came under the control of Afghanistan.
3. Jacobabad, Derajat and Sibi were included in British India.
4. The Khanate of Baluchistan was recognized as an independent state with status of a protectorate.

Nevertheless, Baluch tribes in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century showed their hatred of the unnatural and unjust partition through their revolts against British and Persian rule. Gul Khan, a nationalist writer, wrote: “Due to the decisions of (boundary) Commissions more than half of the territory of Baluchistan came under the possession of Iran and less than half of it was given to Afghanistan. The factor for the division of a lordless Baluchistan was to please and control Iran and Afghanistan governments against Russia” in favour of Britain. In 1932, the Baluch Conference of Jacobabad voiced itself

against the Iranian occupation of Western Baluchistan. in 1933, Mir Abdul ‘Aziz Kurd, a prominent national leader of Baluchistan, showed his opposition to the partition and division of Baluchistan by publishing the first map of Greater Baluchistan. In 1934, Magassi, the head of the Baluch national movement, suggested an armed struggle for the liberation and unification of Baluchistan. However, it was a difficult task because of its division into several parts, each part with a different constitutional and political status

Partition of Balochistan
“Divide And Rule” A famous quote of the Oppressors

Baluch nationalism, since its birth, has faced the problem of “International” frontiers which divide the Baluch among countries — Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan. The genesis of the problem pre-dates the Perso-Baluch (1871 and 1895-1905), Seistan (1872-1896), and Baluch-Afghan (1895) frontiers. The demarcation of these frontiers made the problem more acute and protracted it so that, with the rise of Baluch nationalism in 1930, the Baluch were divided between Iran, Afghanistan, and what was the British India.

For obvious reasons, Pakistan and Iran had a common interest in suppressing the Baluch claim of self-determination and they have adopted a joint policy for this purpose. Afghanistan did not share the Iranian and the Pakistan policies but stated its own claim for Baluchistan, as part of its demand for Pushtunistan. The Baluch-Afghan line as an internaional border is disputed by the Afghans, who regard the frontier with Pakistan as drawn by the British and agreed to by the Afghans only under duress.

To understand the complexity of the issue involved in the division of Baluchistan, it is important to have some understanding of the historical circumstances involved. The strategic position of Baluchistan, Iran, and Afghanistan in terms of commanding the principal trade routes between South-West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia became important for Britain and Russia in the context of the geopolitical expansion of the two empires in Asia during the 19th century and the begining of the 20th.

In 1854, Britain entered into a treaty with the Khan, ruler of Baluchistan, in order to defend its territories against an external invasion from Central Asia, and Iran. At the same time the Iranian rulers, who had lost their northern provinces to the Russians, pursued a policy of expansion towards Baluchistan in order to compensate for the lost areas. However, in 1870, the British Government agreed to demarcate the border with the Khanate of Baluchistan, In 1871, the British Government accepted the Iranian proposal and appointed Maj. General Goldsmid as Chief Commissioner of the joint Perso-Baluch Boundry Commission. Iran was represented by Mirza Ibrahim, and the Khanate of Baluchistan was represented by Sardar Faqir Muhammad Bizenjo, the Governor of Makran.

The Baluch delegate submitted a claim for Western Baluchistan and Iranians claimed most of Makran including Kohuk. After several months of negotiations, Goldsmid divided Baluchistan into two parts without taking into consideration, history, geography, culture or religion, and ignoring the statements of Baluch chiefs, who regarded themselves as subjects of the Khan. Goldsmid’s decision was based on political considerations. He aimed to please Iran in order to keep Iran away from Russia.

Source: The Problem of Greater Balochistan, written by: Innayatullah Baloch

More On Baloch History

History of Balochistan

Balochistan holds one of the earliest human settlements in the World. It was inhabited by Balochi cave-dwellers and fishermen. Balochistan is one of the ancient inhibited land. The history goes back to around 15,000 years ago. During the last century French archaeologists discovered a new site in Balochistan at Mehergarh (Mehregan), which is believed to be the earliest civilization in the world. It pre-dates the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The site was occupied from 7,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C. and it is the earliest Neolithic site where “we have first evidence of domestication of animals and cereal cultivation – wheat and barely – and also the centre for craftsmanship as early as 7.000 B.C.” The history of Balochistan since the settlement of Balochi tribes is a true tale of love and war. The Baloch who are inherently loving and peaceful people, have been forced to fight back for their existence and national identity throughout centuries. They have fought against various rulers and invaders.

Balochistan during Pre-historic era

Archeological and geological findings show that present day land of Balochistan was covered with water. The sea that used to cover Balochistan was known as “Tehthys”. Gary Hume of Minnesota University did a great deal of research in Balochistan. The evidence show that cave-dwellers and hunters inhibited Balochistan for thousands of years. Professor Carlton Coon and Huton who had researched the area came to the conclusion that the people around Hamoon sea were engaged in fishery and hunting. These people used to be white skin.

Up to around 12,000 years ago the present day land of Balochistan used to be green, fertile and rich in greenery as well as in various types of animals. The era was known as the “wet” era since the rainfall was plentiful. What type of people inhabited the land is not known. Presence of caves and of carved stone along with other evidence dictates that Balochistan was inhabited by cave dwellers. What is know is that those cave dwellers are not the present day race of Baloch.

The oldest evidence to come out of Balochistan are between 10,000 to 12,000 years old. These evidence have been found both in Eastern Balochistan as well as in western Balochistan. These evidence are examined in the next section.

Balochistan before Christ (BC)

The geological and archeological evidence show that the rainy era finished about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. Since then the era of dryness and barrenness started. This so-called “dry” era which is still continuous has seen gradual decrease in rainfall associated with the rise in sea level and the degradation of the land. It is no wonder that the Balochi folklore is full of songs which celebrates the earlier years of plentifullness and rain. It seems that almost all generation of the Baloch have experienced this deterioration in their life-time.

Balochistan is one of the ancient inhibited land. The history goes back to around 15,000 years ago. Whether it was initially inhibited by the Balochi tribes or some other tribes is rather unclear. Last century French archaeologists discovered a new site in Balochistan at Mehergarh (Mehregan), which is believed to be the earliest civilization in the world. It pre-dates the civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The site was occupied from 7,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C. and it is the earliest Neolithic site where “we have first evidence of domestication of animals and cereal cultivation – wheat and barely – and also the centre or craftsmanship as early as 7.000 B.C.”

Lapis Lazuli and sea-shells were used to make beautiful ornaments as found in large number of graves. The site later became a centre of production of beautifully painted pottery and human and animal figurines and such economical and social development helped to understand the process of formation of the urbanized civilization to the west of the Indus Valley in the 3rd millennium B.C. The site of Mehergarh which is situated at the foot of the Bolan Pass also shows good evidence of contacts through trade exchanges with Afghanistan, Central Asia and Persia (Iran). Graves found at the site show that the dead were buried in flex position Children were buried separately and not mixed with the adults. He added Grave pottery was found in all the graves including ornaments of beads of high quality craftsmanship which showed connections with fishermen of Makran Coast.

There are many historical sites across Eastern Balochistan (politically part of Pakistan), Western Balochistan (politically part of Iran), and Northern Balochistan (politically part of Afghanistan). Evidence from these sites show a very clear deep rooted history of civilization.

Amir Tavakol Kambozia wrote that Cupper was first discovered in Balochistan. It was transported from Balochistan to present day Iraq by water-born vessels.

The names Baloch and Balochistan appears in literatures as old as 2000 years ago. However, other names have been used to describe the land of Balochistan. Old Persian literature refers to Balochistan as “Macka” or Mecka as well as Mackiya and Mackiyan. The Greek used to call it “Gedrosia” (pronounced as Gedroshia) or Gedrozia. Others used to call it Makoran or Makaran. Holdich believed that the word Makoran was originally Mahikhoran ( Fish eaters i.e. those whose staple diet was fish). Throughout centuries the word “Mahikhoran” changed into “Makoran”. MarcoPolo referred to Balochistan as “Kasmakoran” or Kasmehkoran”.

Balochistan during Persian Empires

Most of the literature of this era is written from a Persian view by the Farsi scholars throughout the centuries. It is clear from the literature that successive Persian dynasties tried to subdue the Baloch under their own rule. However, the history seems to be a constant fight by the Baloch against the Persian rule.

Darius (Dariyush) The Great was the first Persian king to invade Balochistan. This was the prelude to conquer India. The war between the Baloch and the Persian continued into the reign of Kaykhosrow. Ferdousi, the Great Persian poet and writer writes about the baloch as such:

*An Army of the Baloch & Kouch (Brahui). * bred and ready like Ewes. * They never turned their back to the battlefield. * They were armed to teeth – not even a a finger uncovered. * Their brave heads could reach the glaring Sun.

Nobody suffered in Balochistan as the Army of Alexander the Great. Alexander’s official biographer writes: “I had never seen the Great Alexander so sad and dejected – filled with sorrow and uncertainty. When Leon Natos, the great commander of the Alexander’s ary entered Balochistan, they faced fearless Balochi fighters ready to fight. They knew fighting against the Baloch was risky. Nonetheless they entered into fight against the Baloch. The outcome was disastrous for Alexander’s army and against himself. They run and gathered their forces in Pahrah area ( Todays Iranshahar).

Neark(Neyarkhos), the Navy commander of Alexander, writes ” The Baloch were armed with long arrows and Javeline like wooden cross. By the force of fire they had made the wood much stronger than Iron. It was these weapons which defeated Macedonians.”

During Sasanian era, King Ardeshir invaded Kerman and annexed it to its kingdom. He tried to do the same with Balochistan but was defeated by the Baloch. The Baloch also, from time to time, made excursions to Kerman. After the death of Ardeshir, his son, Shapoot I succeeded him. During the reign of Anosheervan, the tension between the Baloch and the Persian increased once again. Anosheervan who used to call himself Aadel (Just), planned to invade Balochistan. He gathered a very large army equipped and ready to fight. One of the greatest battle of all time took place between Anosheervan’s unjust Army and the Baloch. What was the extent of the victory for either side, nobody knows.

Omar, the second khalifat of Islam, who conquered Iran, sent two of his commanders to conquer Balochistan. Initially, the primary Arab armies were defeated. Once the Arab commanders learnt about the Balochistan and Beloshi people as they call it, they told their rulers that going into Balochistan is not wise for ” there is scarce water, the deate palm trees are dried and dead, bandits are very brave and fearless. If you send a small Army, it will be defeated, if you send a large Army, they will die of thirst and hunger”. During the first 100 years of Islam, the Baloch refused to accept Islam. However, throughout centuries they accepted Islam as the main religion.

The next largest invasion of Balochistan was carried out by Joghtayeh Mogul ( son of Gangiz Khan). He defeated Sultan Jalal-odin and looted Balochistan with little mercy.

Immediately after his crowning, Nader Shah Afshar dispatched more than 12,000 armed soldiers to conquer Balochistan. Initially they fought against 3000 armed men of Amir Mohabat Khan and Amir Imtiaz Khan ( sons of Abdullah Baloch). This battle took place around Minaab and Jask which are part of Balochistan. Nadershah sent more troops towards the Kalat (Capital of the State of Balochistan). Another war broke out between the Baloch and the Persian. However, the real winner this time was King Ahmad Durani of Afghanistan.

The Ghajaar dynasty was toppled by the Reza Shah Pahlavi. Reza initially followed the path of his predecessors by suppressing the Baloch. Once again wars followed. Hundreds of thousands of the Baloch escaped from Balochistan. Most of them settled in Karachi and Sind. Reza Shah’s war against the Baloch started from different fronts. He brought tens of thousands of troops from the north (Mashahad), north west (Kerman), Yazd, and from the west (Bander Abbass).

Balochi Sardars such as Doust Mohamed Khan Baragzahei started fighting against the fully equipped army of Iran which had been modernized by their masters i.e. the British. Eventually, the British helped Reza Shah to suppress the Baloch at all cost. The Baloch were the only nation in the region to have defeated the British. Hence, the British had a particular disliking towards the Baloch. Thousands of the Baloch and scores of tribal chiefs were executed in the aftermath of the war.

FROM Baloch Warna

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