Monthly Archives: June 2011

Few examples of Balochi and Brahui Morphological Similarities

Prof Dr. Abdul Razzaq Sabir

Prof Dr .Abdul Razzaq Sabir


Balochi a language from Northwestern Iranian language group of Indo European languages and Brahui a Proto Dravidian language and member of the northern group of Dravidian languages, spoken in a common region, despite having relation with different language groups have various linguistic similarities. The verbal system, like that of the Iranian languages, is based on the two stems present and past. Present stems are based on the imperative, present indicative, present subjunctive, agent nouns and present participle. In both languages the past stems are used in the preterit indicative, in the compound tenses, such as past indicative, past subjunctive, past perfect, perfect participle, pluperfect and infinitives.


In Balochi the infinitive is to be made from (imp+ag): kan+ag=kanag (to do), war+ag=warag (to eat), jan+ag=janag (to beat), di+ag=diag (to give). On the same pattern the Brahui infinitive is also made from (imp+ing) i.e. at+ing=ating (to bring), khall+ing=khalling (to beat), paach+ing=paaching (to skin), taf+ing=tafing (to tie), chikk+ing=chikking (to catch) etc1.


One of the most characteristic features of Brahui and Balochi languages is the formation of compound verbs i.e. nouns, adjectives and adverbs plus colorless verbs like kanag/kanning (to do), daiag/tinning (to give), booag/manning (to be come), janag/khalling (to beat).The following are examples of the compound verbs:
Brahui Balochi Meaning
kanning/kanag(to do)
Tawaar kanning tawaar kanag (to call)
Bahaa kaning Bahaa kanag (to sell)
jor kanning jor kanag (to make)
Hit kanning habar kanag (to speak)
Manning/beyag(to be come)
deer manning aap beyag (to became water)
khurt manning hurt beyag (to become grind)
Tinning/daig(to give)
dikka tinning dikka deag (to push)
hail tinning hail deag (to learn)
Doo tinning dast deag (to shake hand, to stop)
mon tinning dem deag (to send)
Du khalling dast janag (to touch)
Chakk khalling chakk janag (to turn and see back)
Sar khalling sar janag (to search dissolute)
Kan khalling Cham janag (to inform one by eye)
agent nouns
Agent nouns in both languages are formed by adding of /ok/ to the
present stem, e.g.
Brahui Balochi Meaning
Karok Kanok (doer)
Kunok Warok (eater)
Pulok Pulok (catcher)
Khalok Janok (beater)


Adjectives in Brahui commonly take suffix of /un/ and Balochi takes /en/ and precede the noun. Some common adjectives in Balochi are draajen (long), mazanan (big), sohren (red), kohnen (old), noken (new) while the main common adjectives in Brahui with the suffix of /un/ i.e. balloon (big), murgun (long), paalun (wet), peeun (white), kharrun (green), baasun (hot). In Brahui an adding of /ingaa/ is used after adjectives i.e. baasun /baasningaa/, paalun /paaluninga/ etc2.


The attributive adjective mazan in Balochi means (big) and for the abstract noun the prefix of mazan is commonly used in all the dialects of Balochi. The same morphological construction is used in Brahui with a minor phonetic change by deleting the ending consonant of /n/, and remaining maza is used for the purpose before the noun for example3:
Balochi Brahui Meaning
mazan ponz. maza baamus. (the person having a big nose)
mazan pad. maza paacha. (the person having big legs)
mazan sar. maza sara. (the person having a big head)
mazan dil. maza ust. (the person having big heart)Brave
mazan shaan. maza shaan. (the person having big dignity)


The Baloch and Brahui both languages distinguish two numbers singular and plural by the endings in Balochi /aan/ like:
gis (house) gisaan (houses)
chuk (child) chukaan (children)
kitab (book) kitabaan (books)
In Brahui the main number ending is /aak/ like:
uraa (house) uraak (houses)
chunaa (child) chunaak (children)
kitaab (book) kitaabaak (books)

Apart from the common main number ending in Brahui, there are two other ways are:
a)kaaffi:- In this formation the number ending is only /k/ like, doo (hand), dook (hands), khan (eye), khank (eyes), khaf (ear), khafk (ears).
b)gaaki:- The singular words ending with /a/ have /gaak/ added to them in order to make plural e.g, bala (grandmother), balaghaak (grandmothers), ghala (wheat), ghalaghaak (wheat, many), doosha (snake), dooshaghak (snakes) etc.


Balochi and Brahui both have no distinction of grammatical gender, in case of Brahui, all other Dravidian languages, except Toda and Brahui have kept the old gender system. About this construction in Brahui M.B. Emenue says that “this loss of gender system in Brahui is to be ascribed to Balochi influence on Brahui” 4. Both languages have common use of different words to distinguish between male and female.
piruk (grandfather), baluk (grandmother)
pis (father), maas (mother)
Braas (brother), gwaar (sister)
bachak (boy), jinik (girl or daughter)
Pira (grandfather), balla (grandmother)
Ilum (brother), ir (sister)
baava (father), lumma (mother)
maar (son), masir (girl or daughter)

Some male and female are distinguished by the use of additional words, such as, nar (male) and maadag (female) in Balochi, and naringaa (male) and maadaingaa (female) in Brahui such as:
nar shinik (male lamb), maadagen shinik (female lamb)
nar mazaar (lion), maadagen mazaar (lioness)
Nar tolag (male jackal), maadagen tolag (female jackal)
Nar maar (male snake), maadagen maar (female snake)

naringaa dusha (male snake), maadaingaa dusha (female snake)
naringaa sor (male lamb), maadaingaa sor (female lamb)
naringaa khakho (male crow), maadaingaa khaakho (female crow)
naringaa sher (lion), maadaingaa sher (lioness)


Baloch and Brahui both have three case system, direct, genitive, oblique, both in singular and plural, with the following case endings.
Direct Genitive Oblique
Singular unmarked -na e
Plural unmarked -ta te
Singular unmarked -ay a
Plural unmarked -i a


The case suffix /a/ in common in both languages. J. Elfenben a eminent linguist points out an other this case suffix of -a common in Balochi and Brahui languages. Balochi and Brahui both have a case suffix of /a/ and some times in Brahui /ga/ after a noun e.g.5
Balochi: man mastunga rain (i go to Mastung)
man gisa rain (I go to home)
Brahui: Ee mastungaa kaaava (i go to Mastung)
Ee uraghaa kaava (i go to home)


The echo words in both languages are formed either by changing the initial consonant of the word into the consonant /m/ or by adding /m/ to a word beginning with a vowel e.g. 6
Naan (bread) maan
Log (house or home) mog
Aap (water) map
Chuk (child) muk
Kaagad (paper) maagad
Iragh (bread) miragh
Uraa (house) muraa
Deer (water) meer
Chunaa (child) munaa
Kaaghaz (paper) maaghaz

In the other Iranian languages like Pashto has the same construction, and echo sign in Pashto also has the suffix of /m/ like:
Dodai (bread) modai
Kor (house) mor
Uba (water) Muba

In Balochi and Brahui the initial consonant of the followed by /m/ do not change:
Brahui Balochi
mom, mom (wax) mages, magas (fly)
malakh, malakh (locust) malakh, malakh (locust)
maee, maee (buffalo) maee, maee (buffalo)

Balochi and Brahui both languages some times have echo words in the sense of plural also.
Brahui Balochi
uraa, muraa gis, mis (some houses)
ulee, mulee usp, masp (some horses)
deer, meer aap, map (some water)
chunaa, munaa chuk, muk (some children)


The most common vocative interjections in Balochi and Brahui are e, o, eh, ya, oh and also va, eh, are, urc, pah, toba, ah etc.

USE OF kah.

In Dravidian languages neither the word ki nor the construction is found. It is said that Brahui has borrowed this either from Indo-Aryan or Iranian languages. According to J. Elfenbein “Iranian is by far most likely source for it in Brahui, since its use in the Indo-Aryan languages most likely to have influenced Brahui is much too restricted to account for the large variety of different functions it possesses in Brahui”7.
In Balochi and Brahui both “ki” (if) is used in the following forms:
a)In the meaning of /if/ likely
Brahui: ee ki makhaat oh hum makhaar.
Balochi: man ki handitun a hum handitant
(when I laughed they also laughed)
b)”ki nava”
Brahui: huris ki navaa tamos
Balochi: chon ma bi ki bikapai
(mind your steps)
c)taanki (unless/until) The both languages have borrowed this construction from Persian “ta an ki”.
Brahui: taanki o batane he inpara.(until he/she doesn’t come I will not go)


Other than first three numbers in Brahui asit (one), irut (two) and musit (three) all other numerals in both languages are same. The musit (three) has also become from si (three) of Persian. The numbers from ten to twenty are formed by the appropriate unit da (ten) with certain common phonetic changes:
yaanzda (eleven) dwaanzda (twelve)
Senzda (thirteen) Chaanrda (fourteen)
paanzda (fifteen)
In other instance, in both languages the addition of a unit with tens, hundreds, thousands is brought by means of the suffixial conjunction /o/ , with the large number placed in the first position followed by smaller number e.g.

Balochi Brahui
beest o hapt beest o haft (twenty seven)
chil o char chil o char (forty four)
shast o panch shast o panch (sixty five)
haptaad o sai haftad o sai (seventy three)
chaar sad o navad Chaar sad o navad (four hundred and ninety)
The ordinal numerals are formed from cardinals with the adding of the suffix /mi/ in Balochi and /miko/ in Brahui e.g.8
Brahui Balochi
Chaarmiko Chaarmi (4th)
Beestmiko Beestmi (20th)
See o shash miko See o shash mi (36th)
Chil o do miko chil o do dumi (42nd)
shast o panch miko Shat o panch mi (65th)


Some of the conjunctions used in Balochi and Brahui are same and some of them are of Persian and Arabic origin. Important Brahui/Balochi common conjunctions are under:
Brahui Balochi
Maga Maga (but)
Hum Hum (too, also)
Nai Na (neither…nor…)
wakhtas ki Wahde ki (when)
Aga Aga (if)
Gwaraa Gwaraa (with, near)
Padaa Padaa (behind)
Some other miscellaneous common conjunction in both languages are /ki/ (that) /o/ (and) ,/ya/ (or) etc.


Balochi and Brahui both languages have same sentence structure: minor sentences, major sentences, nominal, verbal and interrogative and compound sentences are to be seen with common structure.


1. Sabir, Abdul Razzak “Some Morphological and structural similarities of Brahui and Balochi languages” Proceedings of the International Symposium on “Linguistic contacts in Balochistan ancient and modern time” published by Department of Iranian Studies, Uppsala University Sweden.2004.pp-151-60.
2. –do—
3. –do—
4. Emeneau, M.B, “languages and linguistic area” edited by Anwar S. Dil essays Murrey, M.B Emeneau, Stanford University Press Stanford California 1980.Page 319.

5. Elfenbein. J “Notes on the Balochi Brahui linguistic commonality” Phiologica Society, Council 1981-82, Oxford pp-77-99. Page 85.

6. Sabir, Abdul Razzak ”Morphological similarities in Brahui and Balochi languages” IJDL, ISDL, Therivenanthapuram, Kerala S.India 1995.

7. Elfenbein. J “Notes on the Balochi Brahui linguistic commonality” Phiologica Society, Council 1981-82, Oxford pp-77-99.

8. Sabir, Abdul Razzaq” Balochi aur Brahui zubanoon ki rawabit” Ph.D dissertation submitted to University of Balochistan, 1994 p.218.


Professor Saba Dashtyari………… mostly known for his contribution to progressive Balochi language and literature

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By: Kambar Baloch

I’m writing this article in the memories I shared with this great teacher, philosopher, poet, writer, linguist, activist, socialist, nationalist and above all great human being – Professor Saba Dashtyari, shaheed.
As a young boy, I’ve heard fascinating stories from my cousins and friends about a Lyari born Baloch Professor who was an atheist but, ironically, thought Islamic studies and theology at University of Balochistan. Another thing that took my attention was he’s love and deviation for Balochi language, literature, culture, history and the desire to build and institutionalise Balochi language and culture for research purpose which eventually laid the foundation of first Balochi Library, Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi Reference Library.
It was the mild winter of 2002 when my cousin Aamir and friend Alam introduced me to one of the greatest man I have ever met and shook hands with ; Professor Saba Dashtyari.
There was this tiny cafeteria located in Lyari where I first interacted with the Professor. As I entered the cafeteria my friend pointed at a man facing the wall, saying; Ustaad auda neshta (The ‘’Teacher’’ is sitting there). He was having a cup of tea and a news paper beside him along with his brown threaded bag, hooked on the edge of the chair; I walked closer to him facing his back, looking at his curled whorl hairs with specs visible from behind. As I stood in front of him I had a feeling of meeting a clean shaven Saint sitting with a pen in his fist. I shook his hand and introduce myself:
Salaam Waja (Hello Sir), mani naam Kambar’e (My name is Kambar). He replied spontaneously: ‘’O bezaa’n tae naam Kambar’ee… Meer Kambar’e shayra zanee? (Oh so your name is Kambar, do you know the couplets on Mr Kambar?) Kambar is a famous heroic figure in western Baluchistan (Iranian Baluchistan) which dates back from 18th century; many poets and singers have written and sung verses for Mr Kambar.
I humbly replied Ji waja (Yes Sir) Man Zana (i know it) and I started to recite the verses just to show off that I know it:
‘’Meer kambar o sabze sagaar.. Zahma beja naama bedaar’’! (Great Kambar of an astonishing gesture… Swing the sword and prints your name in History)
He use to be very happy when his students recites Balochi poems and proverbs in a situation where Balochistan’s borders are occupied and both the Superior state, Iran and Pakistan, has imposed Farsi and Urdu languages in all means of life.
Professor Saba Dashtyari, mostly known for his contribution to progressive Balochi language and literature, was born as Ghulam Hussain in 1953 in Lyari district of Karachi and attained his education in the slums. He was highly influenced by Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi, another late Baloch intellectual and linguistic. He obtained a master degree in Philosophy and Islamic studies. He was fluent in many languages including English, Farsi and Arabic. The Professor always believed in freedom of speech and expression.
His literary contributions include more than 24 books on Balochi literature, history, poetry and translations. He also established the Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi reference library, Pakistan’s largest library on Balochi literature, in Malir area of Karachi. From 1996-2002 the Professor went on charity mission and travelled to Gulf Countries, Europe, and America requesting Baloch masses to join the cause in order to preserve our balochi language and literature in a shape of library. You know what, he told me one day in a lighter humour ‘’I spend six years travelling in four different continents to collect nearly four to five hundred thousand rupees in order to start the library work and construction, but I could only collect Rs 250,000! Then he continued ‘’ If a mullah (priest) would have travelled for charity in the name of Masjid (Mosque) he would have received bigger amount of money in few months from your nation and elsewhere’’. But Waja Dashtyari was very much optimist and continued until finally he laid the foundation of first Balochi reference library. He funded the library with his own salary and spent on its development until his death.
Currently, the library houses more than 150,000 books in various languages on Balochi literature, culture and civilisation. Furthermore, he also compiled an index and bibliography of Balochi literature published in the past 50 years.
I remember once I went to visit him in Balochistan University, along with my cousin and a friend, back in 2003, he was lecturing a class on Islamic Philosophy. Three of us quietly entered his classroom and sat down. He was explaining the characteristic of Islamic states in the Khalifa era, the concept of charity, Zakat system, the actual phenomena of masjid, the rights of women and care of ageing people as mandatory duties in Islam etc, which took me to immense surprise to see the level of passion he did carried on his job, keeping aside his own believes. As the class ended we walked toward his apartment, I being sceptical to what I saw, impatiently raised a stupid question;
Waja (Sir), Shoma Islamiyat baaz shariye sara dar borta (You really have a good knowledge in Islamic studies). I say it was a stupid question because I knew that he had remained a lecturer of Islamic studies and philosophy for past 30 years.
The Professor very charmingly said ‘’Aday bechaa Elm’e Zaanag dege gapp’e O Elm’e Mannag dege chiss ze ‘’ (Acquiring knowledge on a particular thing doesn’t necessary means you have to believe in it as a sole truth). I just loved the way Saba spoke Balochi. The tone, the style and variant he had while speaking sounded like a hymn to my ears. Then we sat at his apartments for an hour where you could see medium size posters of Gandhi and Syed Hashmi next to each other on the wall, numerous numbers of audio cassettes in his cupboard, mostly those of Mohd Rafi Saab’s and when I expressed my favouritism to Rafi, he smiled and said:
‘’Achaa guda to haa choo borzee surr’ey goshdaaroke haa’’ (So you also prefer the high pitch singers ha) I smiled and replied ‘’Jii Waja’’ (Yes Sir).
Saba was astonishingly brave with a charismatic personality. He was an ardent reader and one who purely understands the philosophy of democracy, liberalism and nationalism. He drew more of his respect as being one of the most versatile teachers who has mastered in many field of life. If he speaks on history it means he have mastered the science of it, if he spoke on politics or philosophy then he would cite several books to support his arguments.
One of Balochistan University student- turned- journalist, Malik Siraj, has rightly argued in his recent article that ‘’Saba ran kind of a (liberal) university within the (strictly controlled) university’’.
I completely indorse to Malik wrote. “Often students would sit beside him and hear him for hours. He was in all sense a Balochi Encyclopaedia; he carried an Academic account in himself. He could speak and debate on any topic be it religion, politics, philosophy, history, linguistic, science. As a keen learner I’ve always listened and admire what he said about literate balochi words, adjectives and the style. He’d always increased my interest and knowledge for the language. He was the gravity of attention among the scholars, teachers, students and activist where ever he went.

The best time for me to see more of Waja Dashtyari was in the summer of 2007, when I arrive to Karachi from Australia on a family visit. He had an amazing sense of humour. I met him at a friend’s place. Where I saw him first after long time.
Saba had a very unique style of hand-shakes. He will shake your hand and bring the dorsal surface of your hand to his cheeks – merely showing love and care to his students in his own way. Once we were walking from Jatpat market towards chankiwara in Lyari district (Karachi) with Waja Dashtyari, my friend Alam praised him by saying ‘’ Waja, Khuda bika to sadd saal’a gesh zindag bebaye ‘’ (I pray you would live more than 100 years, God willing) he looked at him enigmatically and replied ‘’Bachaa sadda che shartar guda hazaar-i beka‘’ (Why don’t you make it for thousand years instead of one hundred). We laughed, knowing he least bothered in the quantity of life.
Those were the days where I frequently met him at Syed Hashmi reference Library, at friends place and also got chance to invite him at my home. He was very busy in library’s work as his comrade friend, Hameed Baloch, arrived from Canada. I recall one of meeting at a friend’s place in Lyari where Saba was invited for dinner; he spoke about the atrocities of Pakistani state in Balochistan and on Baloch nation, the systematic genocide of Baloch culture, language and people. He spoke about the need of unity within the political parties and civil societies, irrespectively whether in or out of the country. He strongly emphasized on education, especially on women education. He believed that even a revolutionary struggle needs to be pursuing through an academic progressive way in order to understand the basic right of the deprived people. Writers, Poets and Teachers must be highly educated to give appropriate guidance and awareness to society through means of education in order to tackle the enemy on multiple plat forms, although no struggle is completed without shedding blood, said the Professor.
Most of his debates with my circle of friends were on the principles of nationalism and the philosophy of language. ‘’Language’’ he says; is a uniquely human gift and to preserve ones mother language is every individual’s responsibility. He quoted Syed Zahoor Hashmi, Karl Marx, Bertrand Russell and many more free thinkers while talking. Here I would like to share an interesting sight of Waja Dashtyari which left kind of an imprint in my mind and the way I see things i.e. the understanding of words in different languages to those of one’s mother language. I remember discussing with him the impact of language in society and the process of mind in taking the exact meaning of words as we see or hear them to a different level. He beautifully compounded the philosophy of Freud’s concept of ‘conscious versus unconscious mind’ to that of Wittgenstein’s ‘‘ordinary language philosophy’’ theory, in order to strengthen the argument that language has so much to do with practical science and social science than just mere conversation.
What I’ve understood from him and later reading other philosophers work is that ‘’Language is an independent creature which has its own roots in past, but our future is based on it’’. It’s because we think in our mother language. It is now learnt through neuroscience studies that people who speak different languages do indeed think differently. I think in my Balochi language. I see things in my language. In my eyes, the colour of my hair is ‘’Siya’ah’’ and not ‘’Black’’. There is a difference. Saba insisted that one can learn as many languages but should always ‘’study’’ in his/her native language. There is a difference between learning and studying in that language. Unfortunately, we Baloch don’t have any basic education system where Balochi is studied in primary and high schools.
Waja Saba Dashtyari was a firm believer in peace and democracy. He was a very humble person. He never married, instead spent all his life working and promoting Balochi language. He was a man of a strong soul and an honest person. Syed Hashmi goshi ‘’ Raastiye baama johar ka dataa.. Mulk sho maal o methak sarr shoo. (Syed says ; If one doesn’t stand at the side of truth then nothing would remain, everything will vanish) said the Professor. He always urged us to speak the truth no matter how bitter it is.
He expressed his grievances towards the Baloch political parties and the elite class of the society for not helping in promoting the cause of Balochi language. He once said ‘’Balochi language is an Ocean; the more you dig the more pearl you are able to discover. It is immensely rich in vocabulary and grammar.’’ Saba’s future plan was to expand the space of library, in building more storeys and dreamt of giving this Academy a status of ‘’National Institute of Balochiology ‘’.
My last conversation with Waja Dashtyari happen to be a month ago on phone, where he spoke about library’s work and the books that I was suppose to courier him. I never thought in my wildest dream that it will be my last conversation with him. He knew the threats he had but never hesitated to speak freely. I have always requested him to maintain his focus in Balochi literature and language as he was one of the greatest, probably the greatest, prominent Baloch linguist I knew which was an asset to Balochistan Waja Saba Dashtyari was an intellectual, a teacher, a historian, a philosopher, a liberal, a free thinker, and a self made man. Empowered by education and wisdom. He was not a son of Sardar or Nawab but an extraordinary man from a lower middle class background who stood against the might of the state in all form. He staged rallies, protest, attended seminars and fearlessly oppose to the genocide of Baloch population. Saba is our hero, the voice of voiceless, echoed from the slums of Karachi to the cities of Balochistan and across the oceans. In past 30 years Saba inspired thousands of students in Karachi, Quetta and rest of Balochistan. He’s legacy will remain from generation to generation as a Martyred Professor.

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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Baloch People


Rough Guide to Balochi Languages Spoken by Country

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Compiled by: Marsha Sanders/ Shoaib Shadab

1. Afghanistan:
Pashto, Dari (Afghan Farsi/Uzbek, Turkmen), Farsi, Balochi,Pashai,

2. Bahrain:
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu, Balochi,

3. Iran:

4. India:
English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujerati, Malayalam,
Kannada,Oriya,Punjabi, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Sanskrit, Hindustani, Bihari, Khatahi,
Khasi, Konkani, Tulu, Korku, Parji, Telugu, Turi, Kachchhi,

5. Kenya:
English, Swahili, Kiswahili, Dhopadhola, Luo,Rendille, Somali, Bukusu, Gikuyu, Kamba,
Kimeni, Logoli, Kahe, Kambe, Kikuyu, Masaba, Balochi,

6. Kuwait:
Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Balochi,

7. Oman:
Arabic, English, Balochi, Urdu, Hindi,

8. Pakistan:
Punjabi, Urdu, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, Hindi, Siraiki, , Hindko,
Brahui, English,Burushaski, Kashmiri, Balti, Khawar,Potohari,Hazargi,

9. Qatar:
Arabic, English,Urdu,Hindi, Balochi ,

10. Sri Lanka:
Sinhala, Tamil, English , Hindi, (Balochi 800 Speakers),

11. Turkmenistan:
Turkmen, Russian, Uzbek, Balochi,

12. United Arab Emirates:
Arabic, Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu ,Balochi, Bangali,

13. Yemen:
Arabic , English, Urdu, Hindi, Balochi


The closest language to Balochi is Kurdish

Area of distribution of the Iranian Languages

Hamid Ali Baloch

Hamid Ali :

Interview By: Karlos Zurutuza

Karlos Zurutuza is a freelance journalist covering off-the-radar conflict regions in the Caucasus and Central Asia. He was awarded the Nawab Bugti Reporting Award 2009 for his reporting on the Baloch areas in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.

“Despite the appalling illiteracy rate among us, many Baloch speak more than four languages.”

Hamid Ali Baloch

It’s not only that the Baloch have managed to keep their language alive amid decades of terrible repression. Multilingualism is also a feature of a country where almost 80% of the people are illiterate.

How would you describe the Balochi language?
Balochi is an Indo-European language, hence close to English, Russian or Pushtun, just to mention a few. The closest language to Balochi is Kurdish, as ours also belongs to the Iranian family. Moreover, many scholars claim that Balochi has kept Sanskrit’s original pronunciation. Balochi is written in the Arabian-Farsi alphabet, even though several diaspora intellectuals use the Latin alphabet, which also matches the needs of our tongue. Unfortunately, we still haven’t agreed on a common standard for all of us.

What´s the current situation of Balochi in East Balochistan?
When East Balochistan was annexed by Pakistan in 1948, Islamabad promised our people that Balochi would be taught at school. In one way or another, this was observed until 1973. The Constitution signed that same year granted us an education in Balochi but, sadly enough, we got none of that. Today Islamabad does not support education in Balochi in any way so we have to do it by ourselves.

How do you manage?
Recently several private schools have taken up education in Balochi. The number of lessons is still very scarce as we rely solely on private funding. For example, my monthly salary is 22,000 rupees (180 euro) from which I give 1,000 to support education in Balochi. There is a very solid group in Quetta (East Balochistan’s capital) which deals with the issue and, as a teacher, I think it’s of the biggest importance. On the other hand, the diaspora is also helping. There are many Baloch in Arab countries such as Bahrein, Oman and Dubai who also support us. The Academy of Balochi publishes between 15-20 books every year and it will soon publish a Balochi-Balochi dictionary.

What can you tell us about the situation of Balochi in Western Balochistan?
As far as I know, our brothers from the other side of the border cannot publish anything in Balochi at all, at least not in an open way. Several Balochi magazines were published after the Islamic Revolution in 1979 but all of them were soon banned by the Atatollah’s regime. Bear in mind that being a Baloch in Iran implies a double “handicap”: you’re “non Farsi”, but also “non Shiite”. Besides not getting any support at all to sustain their language, Western Baloch are also prosecuted for it. Another matter of deep concern for us is the ever growing influence of Farsi in Balochi.

But, against all odds, the Baloch are still a polyglot people, are they?
Very much indeed! Despite 80% of the Baloch being illiterate, many of them speak four languages, or even more. In Eastern Balochistan all of us speak Balochi as our mother tongue and Urdu as a second language, but also Pushtun because of the big intercourse with them. And don´t forget we were a colony of the British Empire for decades so many of us speak English too. Besides, around a million speak Brahvi as well.

Yes, it´s a local and very ancient language of Dravidian roots so it’s not Indo- European. For example, the Mengals always speak Brahvi among themselves. At some point Islamabad tried to sustain “Brahvi nationalism” to enforce division among ourselves but they never succeeded The Brahvis have always taken themselves as Baloch, which is something none of us has ever disputed.

So we get two native languages for the same people, is that right?
Absolutely right.

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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Balochi Language


Nāku Faiz Muhammad: the biggest name in the Balochi Musical World

By: Hamid Ali

If, therefore, we take a glance over the kinds of the Balochi Music, we see that in this field a lot of best and famous names, such as, Mir Ashraf Durra Gichki, Rais Darbish, Begum Jan, Mullah Ibrahim, Mulla Ramzan Rami and others1. But we want to discuss here about the sweet-voiced Late Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch “Paizuk”. About the above-mentioned and Balochi Music my new book “Zeimer Darya” (the sea of Music) is due to come soon, this is first book on music with pictures. Inshallah, the time is very near that this treasure of music will be in your hands. Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch; yes, the leader of the Baloch artists Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch was born at Kasar Kand2 in 1900. His respected father name was Bashir Ahmad Baloch, who was the residence of Iran. Nāku Faiz Muhammad was interested to learn Damburag3 and Balochi dance at the age of fifteen. Nāku Faiz was a singer who visited different countries of the world, such as, Africa, east and west Europe and the biggest and famed countries of the Asian continent. And enlightened the Balochi art and music, and he let the Englishmen danced with his music and sweet tone. Beside, Naku Faiz got his first marriage at the age of eighteen at Turbat and got a child named Master Muhammad Shafi. Nāku Faiz Muhammad came to Karachi to earn his livelihood and settled in Lyari Karachi, and started business and laboring. Naku Faiz got his second marriage in Karachi.
In the second marriage, he got four sons and four daughters. The musical Ustād (teacher) of Naku Faiz Muhammad was a famed singer Faiz Muhammad Ramzan Rami a resident of Pasni or Gwadar. And he learnt music from him and learnt other light music from Ustād Khair Muhammad.
He worked in the Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1948. At that time, he had visited Russia, America, Germany, China, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Afghanistan, Aljazair and Britain and enlightened the name of the Balochi language. Naku had also learnt Hindi and Sindhi music. It is said, that the Damburag was his fingers play. Nāku had managed his first musical show at Singolane Sarbazi village(Karachi) in the marriage of late Abdul Ghafoor Sarbazi.
He maintained the musical show till seven days and people came to participate in it from every part of Liyārī. Nāku had endured a lot of hardness. He hard labored at the daytime in Kimāŕī and served the language at night time. His struggle and distresses have a long story. From morning to evening, heat-stroke of summer and harsh cold of winter, he worked hard for legal earnings for his children and at the night time he facilitated the unease life of the people with his sweet music and voice and sung songs for the people. This was the reason of finger segment disease of Nāku. But it was his greatness that he never complained to others. He passed his unfavorable circumstances with joy and happiness. The greatness and goodness was that, he demanded nothing from the Government. The Radio and TV of Šalkōt (Quetta) were in the hands of unfair persons, and still the pasture of ills.
They had only some unskilled musicians, lazy and dull. The policy of unknown persons of Islamabad became changed and the doors of Radio and TV were opened in Šalkot. This was the happiest time of Naku’s life. This was another matter, that the rights of Nāku Faiz Muhammad were embezzled by the luxurious officers. The disloyal life of Nāku crinkled its face and darkened itself untimely, and the nation till today suffering this.
From Nāku Faiz Muhammad till today, the artists have done more, but he was the unique person, if you see the next side of the mirror, that is bad and unclean. Without Nāku Faiz the artists (Baloch artists) are backless. No one had the sense to let someone coming behind them. If someone has two sons, one is a banjo master and other is a drumbeater, they are not called real artists. This is a sorry state, that someone could took the path of Nāku in the field of singing and music, but it was not so. Nāku took his art with himself and went away.
Only Manzūr Bulaidī, son of Murīd Bulaidī is well prepared in this field. It is expected that he will enlighten the name of Murīd Bulaidī. It’s a state of sorry, that the sweet-voiced singer Jāduk took his art to the grave. The Balochi (language) is therefore, not developed, but the sky of it was broadened but voiceless. The artists have adorned the sky of expectations like a bride, such as, Ustād Muhammad Shafi, Ustād Imam Bakhsh Mastana, Ustād Imam Bakhsh Majnoon, Ustād Rasheed and other who say themselves Ustād.
Our artists are said to be as Ustād. According to Qayyum Sarbazi, I and other folk musicians don’t know who the Ustāds are. It is the custom of the world that, Ustad is he, who is a learned and trained man, and teaches others. In the schools they are called master and in the colleges and Universities, who teach the students are called lecturers and Professors. They are called Ustād.
Basically, advisor of every work is called Ustād. He provides knowledge and education. But it is a sorry state that our some artists have still hidden their arts, and they do not touch them. Knowledge and art are not the things to be hidden; these bring changes when they are used. These (artists) are behind the popularity and money. There are some young singers in them who are very famous today, but they have famed themselves by money. They also call them as Ustad. If they had worked whole-heartedly, they would have created fifty or sixty disciples approximately. The disciples would have become Ustad. But oh the unknowingness! The artists are very worried that if the youngsters were encouraged then they will lose their hegemony and no one asks them i.e. they will lose their earnings. Among the old artists, Ustad Abdul Sattar, Ustad Noor Muhammad Nooral, Ustād Ghulam Rasool Dinarzai, Ustād Wali Muhammad Baloch and somehow Ustad Abdul Aziz are the personalities who have worked a lot in the Balochi art. Their works are admirable. Credits also go to Ustad Jumma Khan, who is leading the new generation in Pasni. This news spread everywhere that the artists are poor and deprived class and every one knows about their distresses. People would be happy, if they (artists) were prosperous, but what is the sin of this distressed nation? The deprived and distressed artists have kept stones on their chests, endured the nights and lullabyed their sons for forthcoming expectations. The biggest disease among the artists is nonunification. These “fortunate” artists do not tolerate each other. They waste most of their time criticizing each other and consider backbiting sweetness of their mouth. Some objective-less people come to the clubs of the artists and work as message-conveyer. The work of these types of fraud people makes disputes among the artists. According to Qayyum Sarbazi, this job has been made a habit.
Allegation, conspiracy and revenge are pouring like rain and the experts are doing their job. The knowledge of revenge of the artists is as gushed out that (Sar-rech)“Sar” (head) has lost; “Rech” (to pour) is darkened and terrible because of their deeds. The clean-hearted and sympathizing nation is closing its eyes over the artists, feeling sorrows upon them. This news is like the strong rock, losing, and intoxicatingly uprooting itself. What will be the destination of this un-ended and unadvised destination? Every body knows it.
It seems that the national artists are senseless, and why they do not open the eyes of the truth? To what destination they ride the horse of self-makings? How many things would be there in the pack saddle of lie and allegations? Is anyone become famous of cutting down their hands? The famed artist come to the sense; do not burn your homes that ashes are not costly. That is it, before the Nehing (river) and Bolan will take you away, be careful of it. Today’s time is in your hands but tomorrow’s? No one knows about tomorrow, behind the power of unification and amity, the sky trembles and the wind takes way the mat of an individual.
We were discussing about Naku Faiz Muhammad, but we went onward, these things were necessary to be discussed. Take this news with yourself. If there was not Naku Faiz Muhammad Baloch, neither there would be Mureed Bulaidi, nor Muhammad Jaduk and Muhammad Shaif, neither abdul Aziz and nor Akhtar Channal and Sabzal Samagi and other singers.
That’s why, Nāku Faiz Muhammad has made a structure and color on the Balochi musicAnd God may alive him till doomsday. This fragranced garland if for the neck of Nāku Faiz Muhammad, that is spread today in every aspect of the Balochi Music. At last, Nāku was a part and parcel of Radio Pakistan Quetta where he suffered in ill. And he left us and passed away on 6th may 1980, but, when the artist dies, their arts alive. It’s said that the artistes never die………….


1. The above-mentioned names are renowned musicians.
2. Name of a town in Iranian Balochistan in which the total population is Balochi speaking. Kasar kand is
the ancient name of this town but the Iranian government has changed the name into Qasr e Qand…
3.One of the primary Balochi musical instruments, which has been a part and parcel of the Balochi classical
music from centuries

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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Balochi Music


The Baluchis from East Africa

Abdul Kadir Noor Muhammad, Kenya

By: Abdul kadir Noor Mohamed,
Kenya, East Africa

The Baluchis of East Africa We came in armoured dhows; three hundred years ago as soldiers of fortune, sent to the east coast of Africa to build an empire for the Sultan of Oman, perhaps without quite realizing the impact that fateful journey down the Indian Ocean would have on our future, or how lasting its effects would be. The first Baluchis to set foot in East Africa were the mercenaries who were deployed in the Sultan’s army to first, flush out the Portuguese from the east coast of Africa and consolidate the Sultan’s control of the region, and later to quash the Mazrui uprising against the Busaidi Sultan. The loyalty these Baluchi soldiers had for the Busaidi royal family at a time when there was much anarchy amongst the tribes of Oman, each eyeing the royal seat, earned them lasting trust with the Sultan who deployed them to guard all his palaces and interests in the region. (Interests, if I dare say, that included the grabbing of land and an inhuman slave trade.) There is no existing record of the exact numbers of these early soldiers. All there is, is the remarkable story of how these brave men from the Makran coast laid siege on the Fort Jesus in Mombasa, and how they wrested the Fort from the Portuguese and drove them out of East Africa for good. That is the legend. The truth of course is that the Portuguese sources of food and water was depleted by the siege, and they died slowly, from hunger and disease.

Settlements Makadara, the Old Town area of Mombasa historically with the largest Baluch population, though this fact has lately been changing. This is a picture from the 1920s. The first settlers were the soldiers, who until the formal establishment of the Sultanate in the 1840s, maintained army posts in the major centers of Mombasa, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar and Pemba. These men inter-married with the local Arabs and Waswahili and were quickly assimilated into their society. They were later followed by whole families who left Baluchistan in the hope of finding a better life in East Africa, which was at the time the hub of international maritime trade with Asia. Most of the emigrants came from Nikshahr and Kaserkand in Southern Iran, although their brothers and sisters later followed them in from Sarbaz, Lur and Muscat (Muttrah, actually).

The life and times of these Baluchis in East Africa around the 1800s is obscure, as there is little documentation of it. It seems however that at all times, Mombasa was the major Baluchi settlement of the time, followed by Dar-es-Salaam. As the population grew, the younger Baluchis ventured the African hinterland in their pursuit to satisfy the Baluchi wanderlust. The stories of the people of those times differ, and they are as varied as they are interesting.

It is believed that the first non-African to go into Maasailand was a Baluchi, so too was the first non-African to be welcomed into the royal court of the Kabaka of Buganda. As they moved inland, the Baluchis founded cluster communities in Djugu and Bunia in the Congo; Soroti, Arua and Kampala in Uganda; and Iringa, Tabora, Bagamoyo, Mbeya and Rujewa in Tanzania. In time there was probably a Baluchi family in almost every major East African town.

The Mombasa Baluchis developed a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, preferring to engage in small real estate ventures, professions, and trade, or keeping employment with the Omanis and later in the 1900s, the British. Those who settled in the fertile hills of Uganda and Tanzania flourished in the farming and trading industries. The mercantile skills and business acumen of these Baluchis earned them high regard amongst the various communities they settled in. The Baluchis in Dar-es-Salaam, very much like their counterparts in Mombasa, adopted an urban lifestyle. This can also be said of the small but vibrant Nairobi families

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Baloch People


The culture of East African Baluchis

Abdul Kadir Noor Muhammad, Kenya

By: Abdul kadir Noor Mohamed,
Kenya, East Africa

The culture of East African Baluchis has undergone quite a metamorphosis from the 1700s to the present day. With time traditional Baluchi lifestyle gradually eroded and a more Swahili one took its place. Our ancestors interacted with the local people and assimilated to become part and parcel of the social life of the region. As the Baluchi language gave way to Kiswahili, the lingua franca of East Africa, so too did a lot of our traditional cultural norms. It must be noted however, that at no time did we ever lose our identity.

Language apart, the Baluchis here have always maintained a separate identity from the rest of the people. The use of Baluchi names and the continuous narration of our culture and Iranian history has kept the awareness of our roots still fresh in our minds, and our yearning for self- preservation still very much alive. Some families have successfully resisted the change of language and still proudly speak good Baluchi, albeit diluted in grammar and vocabulary, but fluent. We have also managed to maintain strong social cohesion amongst ourselves. For a very long time, families strictly married only from each other, perhaps in an effort to preserve the tribe. Although this provision is no longer strictly followed, it is still highly preferred.

Today the Baluchis of East Africa can be said to have inter-married with almost every other local community. Despite the observable diversity, we have remained essentially close knit. Perhaps what has remained more or less unchanged culture-wise is the way we celebrate our weddings. The ceremonies have remained the same, made even more pronounced by the bride, who can still be seen on her wedding day in full Baluchi regalia. The younger Baluchi population of Mombasa can be said to be developing an impressive impetus on self-awareness.

The Baluchi language, which was slowly fading away from the society, is gradually finding its way back with new awakened interest. The recent contacts with the Baluchis of Iran, Muscat and Quetta will perhaps help build an exchange of information, which should help us revive our culture.

Education Most of East African Baluchis are literate. Education in schools is secular with English as the medium of instruction. Mombasa Baluchi youth have attained High School education and almost all of the younger generation are advancing towards universities and colleges. One of Kenya’s top surgeons is Baluchi. The Mombasa and Nairobi communities have produced several young doctors, architects, aviation engineers, bankers, pilots, accountants and lawyers. Baluchis can also be found in respectable positions within Kenya’s tourism industry, Tanzania’s politics, the banking sector, and of course the various businesses Baluchis have done remarkably well in.

Religious education, however, is not so well developed, and in most cases it has taken a backhand to the secular one. Apart from one Quran school in Makadara run by a Baluchi mullah, there are literally no Baluchi institutions for Quranic instruction. However since the East African coast is predominantly Muslim, parents send their children to the various madrassas for Islamic lessons. There is the Baluchi Mosque that stands at the junction of Baluchi Street and Makadara Road in Mombasa, that was first built in 1865, and has since undergone two renovations, one in 1964 and another one recently in 2005.

Present day In Mombasa, Baluchis have successfully launched a community committee whose main aim is to promote social welfare, self-awareness and the propagation of culture. Mombasa now has a Baluchi Centre on Makadara Road. The Baluchi Centre’s most prominent function is the getting together of the Baluchis on various occasions and the running of the Baluchi mosque and the Mbaruk mosque, a local sunni mosque whose maintenance and welfare has been adopted by the Baluchi Community.

Presently, Mombasa Baluchis portray more as part of the modern Kenyan social life with hints of western urbanism. However the families in Mbeya and Rujewa are still admirably traditional. Despite rare inter-mingling, East African Baluchis are well aware of each other’s existence and all Baluchis, even of mixed race, hold a tremendous pride in being Baluchi. Mombasa’s Baluchi youth have moved on to establish communities as far off as in London in the UK, and Toronto in Canada.

Our hope now is to be able to establish a productive relationship with the Baluchis in Iranian Baluchistan, and help create, through medium like the internet, a cultural forum in which all Baluchis, those “back home”, and those of us in the diaspora, can engage in, to enable the Baluchi Nation of the world keep links with each other. As I said, we sailed here in armoured dhows three centuries ago to settle in this part of the world where in time we absorbed part of its culture into ourselves, and given a part of ours to the land. But despite the influence of the years and the erosion of time, we still hold dear in our hearts the richness of our heritage and the memory of our distant home in the vast mountains of Baluchistan.

Sources upon which I derived information for the article:

1. Searchlight on Baloches and Balochistan by Mir Khudda Baksh Bijrani
2. Khuda Baksh Bijrani’s book, History Versus Legend, which was translated by M. L. Dames, who is a major proponent of the theory of our origins being in thev Elborz Mountains around the Caspian Sea. This theory is supported by the Soviet anthropologist L.W Oshananen. The Caspian Sea origins was also recently propounded by Russian Orientalist Professor Yu Gankovsky.
3. Tarikh al Rasool wa al-Malook, Abu Jaffar Al Tabari, This historical chronicle is renowned for its historical detail and accuracy concerning Muslim and Middle Eastern accuracy. One version published under the editorship of M.J de Goeje in three series,comprising thirteen volumes, with two extra volumes containing indices, introduction and glossary.
4. The writings of E.Herzefield who is a major proponent of the Allepo Origins theory. He states that we inhabited Halab, northern Syria and later the Iranian Medes and that the name ‘Baluch’ comes from the Median word ‘brza-vak’ which is a Median war cry.
5. Baluch elders in Makadara.

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Baloch Culture

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