The Baloch are a Muslim community found in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They are descended from Baluch tribesmen who settled in this region of North India in the late Middle Ages. The community use the surname khan, and are often known as Baloch Pathan.
History and origin
The Baloch claim a mixed ancestry, asserting that they are descended, on the one hand, from Amir Hamza an uncle of the Prophet Mohammed and from a fairy (Pari), and on the other, from the Kurds living in the area of Aleppo, Syria from which they were expelled in A. D. 580 by the Sasanian Persian King Chosroes I Anoshervan. Their migration took them first to the area of Alborz Mountains and Qazvin to Kerman, then Sistan, and finally into Makran. In time, most of the territory of Makran has come to be known as Balochistan (“Land of the Baloch” in the Persian language). In the 13th century, some of the Baloch moved into Sindh (where they are known as the Sindhi Baloch) and also into Punjab.
Mir Jalal Khan was one of the Baloch historical rulers, and from his four sons— Rind, Lashar, Hot and Korai spring the four main Baloch tribes. The Jatoi are the children of Jatoi, Jalal Khan’s daughter. These main sections are now divided into innumerable septs. Historically, in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the term Baloch denoted any Muslim camel-man. The word has come to be associated with the care of camels, because the Baloch settlers of the Western plains have taken to the grazing and breeding of camels rather than to husbandry.
About the beginning of the 16th century the Balochis were driven out of the Kalat valley by the Brahuis and Turks. Yielding to pressure they moved eastward into the Sulaiman Mountains, drove out the Pashtuns, and settled along the banks of the Indus. Three Baloch adventurers Ismail Khan, Fatteh Khan, and Ghazi Khan, founded the three Dehras (encampments) that bear their names, and established themselves as independent rulers of the Lower Derajat and Muzaffargarh, which they and their descendants held for nearly 300 years. The three brothers founded the settlements of Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan and Darya Khan. Thence the southern Balochis gradually spread into the valleys of the Indus, Chenab, and Sutlej, and in 1555 a large body of Balochis, under their great leader Mir Chakar, accompanied the Emperor Humayun into India. It is probable that many of the Baloch settlements, in North India (Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh), were founded by Humayun’s soldiers. Mir Chakar settled in Sahiwal and his tomb still exists at Satgarha, where he founded a military colony of Rinds.
Baloch of the Doab
Now the most important Baloch colonies in Uttar Pradesh are those of Amirnagar, Garhi Abdullah Khan, Garhi Pukhta, Jasoi and Baghra in Muzaffarnagar District. They settled in the district during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and rose to prominence as the Mughal Empire disintegrated. Another two prominent Baloch families were those of Chanderu and Jhajhar, in Bulandshahr District. The Chanderu Baloch are descended from Nahar Khan, who is said to have from Seistan during the rule of Alauddin Khilji. Nahar Khan was latter appointed governor of Deccan, and his son Sardar Khan founded a settlement in Ganaura Shaikh, and the family rose to some prominence during the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. While the Jhajhar family claim descent from Syed Mohammad Khan, a Leghari Baluch, who was granted a jagir by the Mughal Emperor Humayun. They played a key role in the post Mughal history of the Doab region, but began to decline with the rise of British power in the 19th Century. The Baloch of Haryana all emigrated to Pakistan at the time of partition. The Baloch now speak Urdu and the Khari Boli dialect, and are found in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh.
Baloch of Rohilkhand
The Baluch of Rohilkhand accompanied Hafiz Rahmat Khan, Rohilla conqueror. They have now been assimilated into the Rohilla community, and lost their distinct Baloch identity. The Rohilkhand Baloch belong mainly to the Magsi, Leghari and Mazari tribes. These Baloch are found mainly in the districts of Badaun, Bijnor, Shahjahanpur and Moradabad.
There is also a single settlement of Baloch in Lucknow District, at Baluchgarhi. These Baloch are descedents of mercenaries brought by the Nawabs of Awadh.
The Baloch of North India are now altogether separated from the Baloch tribes of Balochistan and tribal divisions are no longer important. They are found in the districts of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshar and Aligarh. Their customs are similar to those of the neighbouring Muslim communities such as the Jhojha and Ranghar. The Baluch reside in mixed caste villages, occupying their own quarters, and are largely small and medium sized farmers, with a small number being landless agricultural labourers. Their most important settlements are in several villages in and around the town of Baghra in Muzaffarnagar District. A second cluster of Baloch villages exist in Bulandshahr District, where there are several villages near the towns of Jhajhar and Chanderu. In addition, the town of Faridnagar in Ghaziabad District is home to an important colony of Baloch. They are strictly endogamous, marrying with in close kin, and like other North Indian Muslim communities. The Baluch practice both cross cousin and parallel cousin marriages. They speak both Urdu and Khari Boli, the local dialect in the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh.
The Baluch are almost entirely Sunni Muslims, and like other Doab Muslim communities have been influenced by the Deobandi reformist movement. They have no formal caste association, although most villages with Baloch do have traditional caste associations, known as panchayats. These panchayats exercise social control, and are deal with intra community disputes.
The Baloch of Balochgarhi in Lucknow District considers themselves simply as a sub-group of the Pathan, with whom they intermarry. They speak the Awadhi dialect, as well as standard Urdu. The community are mainly small and medium sized farmers, although historically many were employed by the state police. They have no connection with the Baloch of the Doab. There are also small number of Baloch colonies in Sitapur, Kheri and Hardoi. Many of the Awadh Baloch are Shia.