Category Archives: Balochistan

Producing Tribal Balochistan: Sovereignty and Rule in a Colonial Frontier State

By Hafeez Jamali
University of Texas, Austin

District Map Balochistan


A key question in recent historiography of South Asia has been the production of people and production of space-time through the apparatuses of colonial rule and their persistence in the post-colonial period of nationalist rule (Chatterjee 2006; Goswami 2004). However, most of these studies have focused on ‘regulation’ or ‘settled’ districts of India where British control was relatively uniform and the administrative machinery sufficiently well-oiled to introduce projects of ‘improvement’. One the one hand, where the British did encounter adivasi or indigenous peoples of India as in Jharkhand, their presence or activities did not impinge on strategic imperial interests and the problem of their regulation was subsumed within the broader question of district management. On the other hand, in the frontier territories of Balochistan and the Tribal Areas of North West Frontier Province, colonial authorities had to operate in an environment over which they had less than full control. Moreover, in these territories, at the edge of the empire, the question of protecting imperial interests from the unhealthy influence of rival European powers such as Russia and France and the defense of British India haunted the imperial self much more. Thus, colonial authorities were faced with the problem of securing the attachment to their cause of reluctant tribesmen who had historically shown only nominal allegiance to any central authority and defied it openly whenever the opportunity was offered. My archival research in the British library suggests that in the case of colonial Balochistan (or Kalat Khanate), a frontier state, the exercise of rule was based on a mix of relations of force (sovereignty) and methods of rule (consent).

The method of indirect rule inaugurated by Robert Sandeman, Agent to the Governor General and first Chief Commissioner of Balochistan, is understood both by colonial writers as well as contemporary historians/ analysts/ opinion-makers of Balochistan (Nicolini, Redaelli, etc.) to have solved the problem of subduing the Baluch frontier1. It is popularly believed to have been an exercise in empire-light or a form of rule which\ involved a minimal expenditure of force and depended, for the most part, on the consent of the governed. However, a closer scrutiny of the archive – including comments by Sandeman’s contemporaries and successors on his administrative methods- suggests that it was far more intrusive and relied much more on the strategic use of military force than has been made out so far. More importantly, it brought together or fused disparate Baloch territories and tribes (and cut-out/separated others) to engender or produce a territory “Balochistan” and a particular subject of colonial rule, the ‘Baloch tribal’ with specific characteristics which required particular administrative methods of dealing i.e. through ‘tribal jirgas’ or councils of elders. Ostensibly, the ‘tribal jirgas’ were native institutions through which the colonial state gave Baloch people a certain degree of autonomy in resolving their differences and managing their internal affairs. However, in actual  practice the Jirgas were supervised by British officers or their native assistants (like Rai Bahadur Hittu Ram, Sandeman’s Assistant) and served to integrate the Baloch tribesmen, especially the tribal elite, into the structures of empire through which they learned to submit to colonial rule2. Over time, these arrangements led to the near total dismantling of the pre-colonial relations between the Khan of Kalat, his Sardars and ordinary Baloch tribesmen and by the end of colonial period the Khan had become a mere figure-head with no real power and the fulcrum of power in Balochistan shifted from the Khan’s headquarters at Kalat to the British Agent’s headquarters at Quetta.

The fault-lines of Sandeman’s method of rule become particularly evident in the case of colonial governance in Mekran region of Balochistan. The anthropological knowledge that Sandeman and his contemporaries had acquired about Baloch people through their encounters with Marri and Bugti tribes on Sind-Punjab frontier and with Brahui tribes of central Balochistan became questionable in managing the affairs of Mekran. Unlike the rest of Kalat, which was a Khanate, Mekran was a Hakomate although it was formally under Kalat jurisdiction. It had a clearly delineated class/status structure with a fractious elite or Hakum class at the top, independent Baloch landowners and herdsmen in the middle, and agricultural tenants/cultivars, fishermen, servants and slaves at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Tribal affiliation did not carry the kind of force or weight in dealings of people in Mekran which it did elsewhere in Balochistan. As a result, the British Political Agents’ attempts at resolving issues through tribal Jirgas and soliciting bonds of good behavior were repeatedly frustrated by non-compliance on behalf of the local actors. So the archival evidence pertaining to Mekran is particularly useful in studying colonial rule in Balochistan. Moreover, since the British perception of a Russian attack or advance from Persia/Iran was less alarming than was the case in Afghanistan, colonial rule in Mekran is marked by a certain lack of coherence and disunity of purpose and method. The affairs of Mekran were managed by multiple authorities based in Karachi (Sindh), Muscat (Persian Gulf) and Quetta (Balochistan)3.

Another important consideration here is the emergent grammars of citizenship, sovereignty and territoriality in Balochistan / Mekran at the moment of the colonial encounter. The pre-colonial relations were expressed in terms of matrimonial alliances between ruling families, payment of annual tribute, reception at the Durbar, conferring of Khillats/ titles, reading of the Friday sermon (Khutba) in the name of the ruler, etc. It was  a discontinuous body-politic animated by relations of in/fidelity, genealogical affinity, etc. as opposed to strictly delimited/mapped territory and uniform extension of sovereign authority. Matrimonial alliances and kinship relations did not necessarily span geographically contiguous areas/territories or correspond neatly to distinct/exclusive spheres of influence of various sovereigns to whom the local chiefs professed or owed allegiance4. Moreover, while Persia and Muscat had recorded documents, treaties, etc. to show for their claims over territory, Baloch claims over territory were argued in the form of genealogical and rhizomic maps that were recorded in popular memory and supported by limited documentation in the form of Sanads.

It appears that the colonial encounter transformed these relations in two important respects in Mekran region. On the Persian side of Mekran there was a more rapid assimilation of and a greater willingness to adopt the trappings of modernity and its territorial imagination due to Persia’s long encounter with French and British empires and a relatively stable historical/cultural past or memory of statehood. From the beginning of 19th  century onwards, Qajar monarchs of Persia were steadily modernizing their army andre-asserting their claims on Afghan and Baloch territories eastward of the Persian heartland5. They sent regular military expeditions to discipline the recalcitrant Baloch Sardars of Mekran, exact tribute, and force them to declare allegiance to the Persian monarch6. Persian authorities’ ultimate (although rather ambitious) object was to bring the entire intervening Baloch territories between British India and Persia under their control (Shahvar 2006; Hopkins 2007)7.

In the Baloch Khanate of Kalat, on the other hand, contradictory forces were at play. Initially (i.e. 1839-76) British policymakers sought to treat the Khan of Kalat as a sovereign ruler of all Baloch territories and to this end gave him a generous subsidy, encouraged him to keep a standing army comprised of mercenary soldiers, and discouraged Baloch Sardars (chiefs of individual tribes) from dealing directly with colonial authorities or soliciting British intervention against the Khan. This policy failed  spectacularly as the Sardars felt that the British government was curbing their independence by making them bear the Khan of Kalat’s heavy yoke. Subsequently (1876- 1948), however, British policymakers took a U-turn in the face of growing Russian threat in Central Asia (so-called Great Game). They intervened directly and decisively in the affairs of Balochistan by declaring the Khanate as a confederate structure where the Khan of Kalat was merely ‘first among equals’ viz a viz his Sardars.

In sum, the British sought to uphold the stability or maintain the status-quo of the indigenous political arrangements (system of rule) in Balochistan (rather than attempt to modernize it) based on their own anthropological understandings of Baloch society8. These understanding tended to vary over time based on the influence of ambitious frontier officers like John Jacob and Robert Sandeman and the changing perception of threat from Russia in London. Through these categories, colonial authorities sought to ‘locate’ and ‘fix’ the fluid dynamics of inter-tribal relations and the complex skein of alliances and multiple allegiances in Balochistan in imperial space-time. The acceptance of the British offer of ‘mediation’ by Baloch Sardars and the Khan of Kalat in 1876 appended them formally and irreversibly into the orbit of British rule in India (Redaelli 1997)9. This process enabled British administrators like Sandeman to inscribe an imperial margin or frontier in the ‘savage’ space of Balochistan where careers could be made and honors won10 (Dutta 2003).


1 Some contemporary authors have tried to raise Sandeman from the dead in a bid to give strategic advice for pacifying the insurgents fighting the US military and Pakistani authorities in the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

2 I do not wish to imply here that British intervention was entirely an externally imposed grid of relations. Baloch Sardars (tribal chiefs) actively sought for colonial ‘protection’ or ‘mediation’ and participated enthusiastically in structures of colonial rule. The integration of Baloch tribesmen into colonial governance structures was facilitated by the relatively stable relations of mutual obligations and respect of authority between Baloch Sardars and ordinary tribesmen. This trait was repeatedly praised by colonial writers on Balochistan who characterized the Baloch as ‘frank’, ‘generous’ and ‘hospitable’ as opposed to the Pashtuns who were declared ‘fanatic’, ‘priest-ridden’ and ‘bigoted’. Some of these characterizations are still quoted favorably by Baloch nationalists.

3 For instance, during the period 1860-79, British authority in Mekran region was maintained by the Assistant Political Agent at Gwadar who was considered “Assistant to the Resident, Persian Gulf, for the country between Gwadur and Jask; as well as Assistant to the Political Agent, Maskat, for Gwadur affairs; and Assistant to the Agent to the Governor General, Baluchistan for the Mekran possessions of the Khan of Khelat”. Reference J.A. Saladana (1905) Précis of Mekran Affairs.

4 For instance, the Nawab of Kharan- a powerful Sardar in western Balochistan- simultaneously professed allegiance to and received subsidies from the Amir of Afghanistan and the Shah of Persia while his territory was ‘legally’ part of Khanate of Kalat.

5 During the second half of 19th century, Persian government repeatedly sought the help of Britain as well as France to send in their military officers to train its army in techniques of modern warfare. The Shah also requested the British to supply him with Naval warships and help train a nascent Persian Navy. Moreover, at the height of Ango-Russian rivalry, the Persian Government gave an extraordinary lease/ concession to a British industrialist to set up a cotton processing factory in Bushire.

6 See Najmabadi’s Story of the Daughters of Quchan. Baloch, Turkoman and other nomad tribes of Persian borderlands were inscribed in mainstream Iranian cultural memory as savage and barbarian raiders who would loot caravans and abduct Persian girls to sell them into slavery or reduce them to domestic servitude. There was and still remains in Iran unstinting popular support for Tehran’s oppressive measures against the Baloch. Among Mekran Baloch, however, there is a counter-memory of Tehran’s atrocious military expeditions for the exaction of tribute. These punitive raids would lay the country to waste and reduce the ordinary people to starvation. In Balochi language, the word ‘Qajar’- literally the Qajar rulers of Persia- is a metaphor for wanton cruelty and depredation.

7 Soli Shahvar (2006) Communications, Qajar Irredentism and the Strategies of British India: The Mekran Coast Telegraph and the British Policy of Containing Persia in the East. Iranian Studies: 39:3. B.D. Hopkins (2007) The Bounds of Identity: the Goldsmid Mission and the Delineation of the Perso- Afghan Border in the Nineteenth Century. Journal of Global History: 2.

8 Reference Mahmood Mamdani’s argument in “Beyond the Native and Settler as Political Identities: Overcoming the Political Legacy of Colonialism” in the context of Africa. Mamdani argues that for colonial authorities in Africa, the ‘improvement’ of natives did not only mean modernizing them according to European standards, but in certain cases, helping them stay true to their ‘authentic’/native’ traditions which implied propping up of indigenous governance structures by colonial authorities.

9 Redaelli, Ricardo (1997) The Father’s Bow: the Khanate of Kalat and British India. Manent.

10 Disraeli’s famous declaration that the East was a career (quoted in Said 1973) was exemplified by Sandeman’s career in Balochistan. As British Prime Minister in 1876, Disraeli gave wide-ranging powers to the Viceroy, Lord Lytton, who was to give his full backing to Sandeman’s proposals for intervention in Balochistan under the rubric of the “Forward Policy”. The supposed object was to prevent a Russian attack on India from the direction of Afghanistan by establishing forward military posts on the mountain passes at the gates of Afghanistan at the Khyber, Gomal, Tochi (NWFP) and Bolan (Balochistan) backed by military cantonments/garrisons in Peshawar and Quetta. These proposals were considered ill-advised and dangerous by some of Sandeman’s colleagues such as Major Loch and his immediate supervisor Sir William Mereweather, the Commissioner in Sind. From an obscure frontier officer reporting to the Commissioner in the 1870s, Sandeman became the first Agent to the Governor General (AGG) in Balochistan who reported directly to the Viceroy in Delhi. See also Simanti Dutta (2003) Imperial Mappings in Savage Spaces: Balochistan and British India. Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corp.

Select Bibliography:
Primary Sources:
a) India Office Records (IOR), British Library
Agent to Governor General’s Office (1886) Raids: Deputation of Col Reynolds, PA
Southern Baluchistan to Mekran. IOR/R/1/34/3
Agent to Governor General’s Office (1888) Raids: Proposals for the Future
Management of Rind tribe. IOR/R/1/34/5
Agent to Governor General’s Office (1888) Raids: Mr. Crawford, PA Southern
Balochistan’s tour in Mekran and Panjgur. IOR/R/1/34/8
Burne, O.T. (1869) Memorandum on Persia. IOR/L/PS/20/MEMO40/1
Goldsmid, F.J. (1962) Mission to Mekran. IOR/L/PS/20/MEMO39/7
Moore, A.W. (1868-1875) Memoranda on Central Asian Question.
Ross, E.C. (1905) [1866] Report on the nature of Trade at Gwadur and the probable
amount of its Revenues. In J.A. Saldanha Precis of Mekran Affairs, pp
113-117. Calcutta; Office of the Superintendent of Government Press.
(1868) [1865] Memorandum of Notes on Mekran. In Selections from the
Records of Bombay Government No. CXI. Byculla: Education Society’s
Press. IOR/V/23/248, No 111
(1884-1889) Report on the Administration of the Persian Gulf Political
Residency and Muscat Political Agency. Calcutta; Office of the
Superintendent of Government Press. IOR V/23/42 No. 190.
Saladanha, J.A. (1905) Precis of Mekran Affairs. Calcutta: Government of India
(Foreign Department). IOR/L/PS/20/C244
(1906) Précis on Slave Trade in the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf,
1873-1905. Simla: Government of India, Foreign Department. )

b) Parliamentary Papers (Blue Books), British Library:
House of Commons (1877) Biluchistan No.1 Papers Relating to the Affairs of Khelat.
Biluchistan No 2. Papers relating to the treaty concluded
between the Government of India and the Khan of Khelat,
on the 8th December 1876. IOR/L/PS/20/B23/2
(1878) Biluchistan No 3. Papers relating to the re-organization
of the Western and North-Western Frontier of India.

c) European Manuscripts (Private Papers) Collection, British Library
Goldsmid, F.J. Papers of Maj-Gen Sir Frederic Goldsmid, Madras Army 1839-75,
including material relating to his work on the Perso-Baluch and Perso-Afghanistan
boundaries Mss Eur F134
Jacob, John J. Papers of Maj. Gen. Sir John Jacob relating to the Persian War.
Keyes, Terence. Papers of Brig-Gen Sir Terence Keyes, Indian Army 1897, Indian
Political Service 1903-33. Mss Eur F131
Mereweather, W.L. Papers of Sir William Mereweather, Bombay Army 1841,
Council of India 1877-80. Mss Eur D625

d) Private Papers Collection at South Asian Study Center, University of Cambridge
Showers, H.L. Box 4. Personal files of Captain H.L. Showers (1862-1916) kept
while he was Political Agent. Showers Family Collection (1781-1904)

e) Home Secretariat Archives (HAS), Quetta, Pakistan:
Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan (1898) Slavery in Balochistan.
AGG/V.I 164.
Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan (1898) Kardar of Panjgur’s Report on
the Causes Which Led to the Rising in Mekran 1897-98. AGG/V.I 20.
Agent to the Governor General in Balochistan (1890) Confidential Order Regarding
Action to be Taken in Cases of Slavery. AGG/V.I 34.
Books and Journal Articles:
Bokhari, M. (Ed.) ( 1997 [1906]) Gazetter of Balochistan: Mekran District. Quetta, Pakistan:
Gosha-e-Adab Publications.
Chatterjee, P. (1993). The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories.
Princeton studies in culture/power/history. Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.
—. 2004. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the
World. University seminars/Leonard Hastings Schoff memorial lectures. New York:
Columbia University Press.
Dutta, S. (2002). Imperial Mappings– in Savage Spaces: Balochistan and British India. New
Delhi: BR Publishing Corporation.
Goldsmid, F.J. (1876). Introduction. In St. John, Lovett and E. Smith. Eastern Persia: An
Account of the Journeys of the Persian Boundary Commission. London: Macmillan and
Mamdani, M. (2001). Beyond Settler and Native as Political Identities: Overcoming the
Legacy of Colonialism. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 43(4): 651-664.
Nicolini, B. (2007) Baluch Role in the Persian Gulf during the Nineteenth and Twentieth
Centuries. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 27 (2):
— (2006). The Makran-Baluch-African Network in Zanzibar and East Africa during the
XIXth Century. African and Asian Studies, 5(3-4): 347-370.
— (2004). Makran, Oman and Zanzibar: Three Terminal Cultural Corridor in the Western
Indian Ocean (1799-1856). Penelope-Jane Watson Tran. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers
Onley, J. (2007) The Arabian Frontier of British Raj. London: Oxford University Press.
Redaelli, Riccardo (1997) The Farther’s Bow: the Khanate of Kalat and British India
(19th-20th Century). Frenze, Italy: Manent.
Hafeez Jamali is a graduate student in anthropology at the University of Texas, Austin  (


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Posted by on March 23, 2014 in Balochistan



Dr. Hanif Khalil
Assistant Professor NIPS
Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad

Javed Iqbal
 Lecturer, Pashto Department
University of Balochistan Quetta

The Pashtoons is an ancient race, nation or tribe on this earth having its own identity, specific values, norms and traditions and a peculiar charm since thousands of years. To trace the origin of the Pashtoons various theories have been presented by renowned scholars in different periods. In these theories, the theory of Israelies and the theory of Arian Tribes became very hot and famous for academic discussions among the historians and researchers.
In this paper along with other miscellaneous theories, these two famous theories have been discussed with references and evidences. At the end the conclusion has been given and the most acceptable theory has been pointed out.

The topic is under discussion since very long that who are the Pashtoons and what is the origin of the Pashtoons? To trace to origin of the pashtoons various theories have been presented by some eminent scholars, researchers, historian and linguist. But this question has not been answered yet scientifically with proved evidences. However some theories came under discussion in this respect. In these the most popular theories are as under
1. The Pashtoons are from semitic races and belong to the Israelies.
2. The Pashtoons are the descendents of Qatora, the wife of Hazrat Ibrahim (P.B.U.H).
3. The Pashtoons are basically from Greek races.
4. The Pashtoons are from Arian tribes.

Some other theories have also been presented and analyzed but the following two theories became most popular and always remain under discussions of researchers in different times.
1. the theories of Bani-Israels
2. the theories of Arians
In this discussion we will try to analyze these two major theories and to trace the most acceptable theory about the origin of the Pashtoons.
The Theory of Bani Israelies
The first famous and old theory about the genealogy of the Pashtoons is that they are Bani Israel. We find this theory for the first time in Makhzan-e-Afghani written by Niamat Ullah Harvi, a scholar at the court of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He has completed his research about 1612 A.D. Most of the other historians and writers in their books and writings followed this theory, which was presented by Niamat Ullah Harvi. In these historians and writers the most popular Pashtoon writer Afzal Khan Khattak, the grandson of Khushal Khan Khattak in his Pashto book Taareekh-e-Murrassa, and Hafiz Rahmat Khan in his history book, containing the genealogies of the Pashtoons, Khulaasat-ul-Ansaab, followed and accepted this theory without any analysis and criticism and made this theory as the base and fundamental evidence of their writings. Famous orientalist and historian Olaf Caroe repeats the story in his book the Pathans. In the words of Olaf Caroe.
“The Afghan historiographers maintain that Saul had a son named Irmia (Jeremiah) who again had a son named Afghana, neither of course known to the Hebrew Scriptures. Irmia, dying about the time of Saul’s death, his son Afghana was brought up by David, and in due course in Solomon’s reign, was promoted to the chief command of the army. There follows a gap of some four centuries to the time of the captivity. Since Bakhtunnasar is mentioned, one must presume that the reference is to the second captivity early in the sixth century B.C, that of Judah from Jerusalem, and not the first captivity over one hundred years earlier, that of Israel by Shalmaneser the Assyrian, from Samaria, If this is so, it rules out any suggestion, often made, that the Bani Israel, the sons of Afghana, are in any way connected with the lost ten tribes. Nevertheless the theory of the ten tribes has had its notable supporters. In its aid it was suggested, originally by Sir, William Jones, pioneer of oriental studies in Warren Hastings, time that the Afghans are the lost ten tribes of Israel mentioned by the prophet Esdras as having escaped from captivity and taken refuge in the country of Arsarath, supposed by that elegant scholar as identical with the modern Hazarajat, the Ghor of the Afghan historians. But the reference in the afghan chronicles to Nebuchadnezzar makes nonsense of any identification with the ten tribes. The truth is that Muslims commentators of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were not well up in the history of the Hebrews. They make no distinction between Israel and Judah, and do not seem even to be aware that there were two captivities.” ( Caroe:1958:5)
Olaf Caroe also quotes Raverty who was an excellent scholar of Pashto literature as well as the history of the Pashtoons. Caroe admitted him as the last pleader of this theory in English writers. He narrates about the concept of Roverty as:-
“The last pleader for the Bani Israel tradition in English is the redoubtable Raverty. Referring to Cyrus, the first of the Persian Achaemenids, he notes that it was customary for the great King to transport a whole tribe, and sometimes even a whole nation, from one country to another. The Jews were even a stiff-necked race, and he asks form credence to the possibility that the most troublesome anong them had been moved to the thinly peopled satrapies of the Persian Empire where they would be too far away to give trouble. It is not possible he asks, that those Jew who could make their escape might have fled eastward, preferring a wandering life in a mountainous country with independence to the grinding tyranny of Cyrus successors and their satraps? In facts there was no other direction in which they could have fled”( Caroe:1958:6-7)
Our scholars linked the historical background of this theory, related to Hazrat Suleman, Saul, Talut, Armia and Barkhia and Afghana, to Hazrat Khalid Bin Walid and Qais Abdur-Rasheed, who is considered as the old grandfather of Pashtoon tribes, Saraban, Ghorghashts, and Beetan. Sir Olaf Caroe writes about this historical background in the following words.
“The Afghan chroniclers would have it that Khalid Bin Walid, the most famous of the Prophet’s Ansar (companions) and the first great Arab conqueror, belonged to the tribe of the descendants of Afghana resident near Mecca. (All other Muslims tradition states him to have been an Arab of the Makhsum family of the prophet’s tribe of Quraish.) On conversion to Islam, while the Prophet was still alive and before Khalids conquest of Syria and Iraq, Khalid either proceeded in person, or sent a letter, to his kinsmen of the Bani Israel settled in Ghor, to bring them tidings of the new faith and an invitation to join the Prophet’s standard there resulted a deputation of a number of representatives of the Afghan of Gohar, led by one Qais, which proceeded to meet the prophet at Medina. This Qais is said to be descended from Saul in the thirty-seventh generation, an under-generous allowance for a period of some seventeen hundred years. This Qais and his comrades then waged war most gallantly on the Prophet’s behalf. TLe chronicle proceeds:
The Prophet lavished all sorts of blessing upon them; and having ascertained the name of each individual, and remarked that Qais was a Hebrew name, whereas they themselves were Arbas, he gave Qais the name of Abdur Rashid and observed further to the rest that, they being the posterity of Malik Talut, it was quite proper and just that they should be called Malik likewise… and the prophet predicted that God would make the issue of Qais so numerous that they would out vie all other people, that their attachment to the faith would in strength be like the wood upon which they lay the keel when constructing a ship which seamen call Pathan; on this account he conferred upon Abdur Rashid the title of Pathan also.” ( Caroe:1958:7-8)
Renowned historian and researcher Sayyed Bahadur Shah Zaffar Kakakhel also narrated this background in his Pashto book Pukhtana da Tareekh pa Rana kay (The Pashtoons in the perspective of history). He explained the story of Qais Abdur Rasheed and also criticized the theories of Bani-Israel at the end. Bahadur Shah Zaffar explains that
“All the Pashtoons got entered into Islam. The Holy prophet Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) prayed for them and changed the name of their leader Qais into Abdur Rasheed. Hazrat Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) gave him the title of Bathan. It means the leader of the boat of his nation. Hazrat Khalid bin Walid married his daughter Sara Bibi with Abdur-Rasheed than Qais came back to his own area and in his area he started to preach Islam. He died in 41 Hijri at the age of 77 during a war. He had three sons, the eldest Saraban, the second Beetan, and the third Ghurghasht. These three being the ancestors of the various branches of the Pashtoons” (Kakakhail: 1981:32-33)

Criticism on this theory
As mentioned earlier that along with Bahadur Shah Zafar Kakakhel some other historians and writers presented this theory that Pashtoons are from Semitic races and they are Israelies. But a number of scholars rejected this theory with new evidences and authentic sources. First of all we must quote Sayyed Bahadur Shah Zafar Kakakhel who are of the opinion that “There is no solid proof to accept this theory, even in Arabian history or in Islamic history”(Kakakhail: 1981: 35). An another scholar Dr. Abdur-Raheem author of the Afghans in India, wrote about this theory “The theory of the Semitic origin of the Afghan does not stand the serious analysis. The resemblances in features cannot be considered as providing scientific criterian for grouping different peoples into one race. The Sumerian resemble the Aryans in features through they are not considered to have any affiliation with Aryan people. The portraits of the koshan kings found their coin has the same type of feature but they are certainly neither Afghans nor Semitic” (Abdur-Raheem: 1969: 43)
Similarly the author of “History of Afghanistan” Sir Percy Cycks also criticized the theory of Bani Israel in the following words.
“A protest must here be made against the erroneus view that the Afghans are members of lost tribes of Israel, which various writers including Bellew and Holdich advocated. Actually this theory is of purely literary origin and is merely an example of the wide spread customs among Muslims of claiming descent from some personage mentioned in the Quran or some other sacred work. In the case of the Afghan they claim Malik Talat or king Savl their ancestor. Among the reasons advanced in support of this claim are noticably curved noses of the Afghan but this peculiarity is equally striking in the portraits of the koshan monarch of the first century A.D who had no Hebrew blood in their veins.” (Percy: 1973:78)
Renowned orientalist James.W. Spain quoted some other European scholars who had been discussed in their writings that Pashtoons are basically belonged to Semitic races. He narrates that “The idea that the Pathans were descended from the nation of Israel was encouraged by their tight tribal structure, their stark code of behaviour, their strikingly Semitic features, their bearded patriarchal appearances, and their predilection for biblical names (acquired from the Holy Quran): Adam, Ibrahim, Musa, Daud, Suleiman, Yaqub, Yousaf, Esa, and the rest. It was a favourite subject of speculation by British soldiers, administrators, and missionaries, and persisted in memoirs and travel books well into the twentieth century.
The only trouble is that it was not true. I feel something of a coward saying this here in a book written half a world away from the Frontier, when I know that I would never have the courage to say it to a Pathan. Nevertheless, we must face the facts, although, happily, the facts about the Pathans are anything but prosaic. The myth of the Semitic origins of the Pathans was debunked more than a hundred years ago by Bernhard Dorn, Professor of Oriental Literature at the Russian University of Kharkov, in a book with the interesting title, A Chrestomathy of the Pashto or Afghan language, which was published by the Imperial Academy in Saint Petersburg in 1847. The most recent and comprehensive treatment of the subject appears in the Pathans by Sir Olaf Caroe, a former British governor of the North West Frontier Province ” (Spain:1972:28-29)
James .W. Spain further says that in the connection of the Pashtoons to Semitic races, the tale of the Qais is not authentic. This story is based on mythical traditions. He wrote “This is not to say that the genealogies should be ignored or taken lightly. They were first set down by Persian speaking chroniclers at the court of the Moghul emperors in the early part of the seventeenth century. The sophisticated Moghul historians, possibly impressed by the same outward signs of Semitic connections that misled the British two hundred years later, apparently made up the decent of the border tribes from the mythical Qais and improvised a connection for Qais with Saul of Israel” (Spain:1972: 29) In the same way English writer G.P Tate also argues that this so-called genealogy of the Pathans was compiled under the religious influence on the Pathans, which has no historical evidence. He writes in his book, the Kingdom of Afghanistan in the following words:-
“The origin of the tribes who call themselves Afghans has attracted a great deal of attention, owing to the fact that they claim to be the descendants of Jews, who had settled in Ghor; and the various clans refer their origin to some one of the three sons of Qais, the chieftain of that community, who is said to have been the 37th in descent from Saul, king of Israel, Owing to intercourse with the Jews settled in Arabia, so the story goes, Qais was induced to visit the Prophet Muhammad, who won the Jewish Chief to Islam, and bestowed on him to the name of Abdur Rashid, and the title of Pathan. This last is a mysterious word which cannot be traced to an origin in any known language, but it is believed to means either or both, the rudder, or the mast of a ship. So say those who have committed the genealogy of the Afghans to paper. The conversion of Qais is not mentioned in the history of Islam. The so-called genealogy of the Afghans was complied at a time when all the races of Mankind were believed to have been the offspring of the first man and woman created by the Almighty and the eponymous ancestor of every tribe appears at some stage in the genealogy, which there seems every reason to believe was concocted in the 15th century A.D., probably when the Afghans began to attain to power in India. The main feature in it is the alleged Jewish ancestry of all the tribes, and this belief must have been very strong for the retention of the legend, when the tables of descent were complied. All that can be said at present is that the legend has preserved the memory of a fact which has dropped out of history. It is not improbable that there may have been a Hebrew community in Ghor.” (Tate:1973:10)
We have seen in the above mentioned references that the theory of Bani Israel about the origin of the Pashtoons is not reliable and nor it is based on authentic evidences. But this theory remained under discussion for a long time among the scholars of Pashtoon history. However at the mid decades of 20th century (AD) a new theory has been presented by some scholars of Afghanistan, Pakistan as well as some orientalists. This Theory was that Pashtoons are from Arian races or Pashtoons are Arians in origin.

Are Pashtoons Arians?
As mentioned earlier with quoting a few references that the theory of Bani Israelies has been criticized by some eminent scholars and historians. Thus this theory has been rejected by presentation of the theory of Arians put forward by some orientalists and some Afghan writers and historians. In orientalists Morgan Strine and Dr. Trump were in favour of this theory. In Afghan writers Professor Abdul Hai Habibi and Bahadur Shah Zaffar in Pakistani historians accepted and explained the theory of Arians in detail.
According to this theory the Pashtoons is the branch of the Arian tribes which are known in history as Indo Arian tribes. Actually the Indic branch is divided in two major parts named Indo European and Indo Arian and then the Indo Arian branch is divided in two sub branches named Indo Iranian and Indo Arian. Pashtoons are belonged to the branch of Indo Iranian. This theory is based on the words “Pashtoon” (name of nation or tribe) and Pashto (name of the language of that tribe or nation). The scholars and historians of Indus civilization have found these words in Vedic literature especially in Rig-Veda, the Holy Book of Arian tribes and Hindus. According to Bahadar Shah Zafar “In Rig-Veda the word phakt or phakta were used for the geographical surrounding of the Pashtoons. “Phaktheen” was used for Pashtoon. Initially Phakthean was converted into Pashteen and than into Pashtoon. It is also mentioned in Rig-Veda that Pashtoons used to stay in Bactria (Bakhtar) the old name of Pashtoon area and the present Afghanistan for so many years. In Bactria the Pashtoons are known as the inhabitants of Bakhd. After that the city of Balkh in the present Afghanistan became famous because of these Pashtoons as stated by some Greek historians they were known as pakteen and pashteen, and these words resembled with word Pashtoon and Pashtoonkhwa. So for the first time Mr. Lasan accept the resemblance between the words paktnees and Pashtoon. Keeping in view all these facts it became believable that the Pashtoon nation was a branch of the Arian tribes and their languages was one of the languages of Arian stock”(Kakakhail:1981:33)
We have seen in the above mentioned references that the scholars of modern era emphasized that the theory of Bani Israelis loses it authenticity and the theory of Arians can be considered comparatively authentic with solid evidences. Although some contemporary scholars are inclined to declare that Pashtoons are related to Greeks. In these scholars a Pashtoon intellectual Ghani Khan argues in his book the Pathan A Sketch that “The oldest relics, you see are of distinctly pre-Greek period. They are the same in conception and style as those of the united provinces or Orissa, e.g. the features of dolls and gods two things the humanity has of mixing up are most unlike those of Pathans of today. But when we came to Buddhist and the features of the dolls Budhas and Kings and saints take the likeness of those of the Pathans of today. The great ferocity of the Pathan will be a reaction to a rather long dose of Buddhist non-violence” (Khan: 1990:4)
But in the presence of Arians theory and the availability of supporting evidences the theory of Greeks also could not been accepted. As a whole a majority of scholars, researchers and linguists are stressing to prove that Pashtoons are from Arian tribes.

Although it has been explained in detail the historical references and the validity of evidences proved that Pashtoons can be considered from Arian races. However it is also mandatory and should make it clear that the Pashtoon tribes have their own peculiar charm and specific values. On the base of these peculiarities we can consider the Pashtoons as an individual tribe or nation in Arian tribes or a specific tribe of South Asian nations.

Caroe, Olaf, The Pathans, Oxford University Press Karachi, 1958.
Kakakhel, Syyed Bahadur Shah Zafar, Pashtoon Taareekh Kay Aienay Main (Pashtoons in the light of history), Abdur Rasheed Press Gujrat, 1981.
Abdur-Raheem, Afghans in India, Oxford University Press Karachi, 1969.
Percy Cycks, Sir, History of Afghanistan, Oxford London, 1973.
Spain, James W., The way of the Pathans, Oxford University Press Karachi, 1972.
Tate, G.P. The Kingdom of Afghanistan a Historical Sketch, Indus publications Karachi, 1973.
Khan, Ghani, The Pathans – A Sketch, Pashto Adabi Society Islamabad, 1990.

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Posted by on December 21, 2013 in Balochistan


The Archaeology of Southeastern Balochistan

By: Ute Franke Vogt

1 Introduction

Balochistan is Pakistan’s largest province(1). It is marked by a rugged, highly differentiated environment with many different habitats (2). The Makran Range in the south divides the interior from the coastal plain. A number of successive mountain chains run from the Arabian Sea to the Hindukush, and form a barrier towards the fertile Indus plain in the east. These mountains enclose interior highland bassins and deserts and are intersected by many river valleys (3,4).

Southeastern Balochistan is characterized by narrow river valleys which only occassionally provide space for alluviation, and thus agriculture. The catchment areas are smaller and, due to the high gradient of the tributaries, the seasonal floods are often destructive and wash away the soil (5). In such a harsh and barren environment, irrigation through channels, qanats, or seasonal flooding is an essential prerequisite for settlement (6).It thus developed early as an essential measure for the production of crops required by a growing population. The rising number of settlements from the beginning of settled life in the 6th millennium through the mid-third millennium BC witnesses the success of food production through farming and pastoralism. Pioneering archaeological fieldwork in this region was carried out by the great explorer Sir Aurel Stein, Hargreaves, W.Fairservis,B. de Cardi, J.-M.Casal, G.Dales, the Dept. of Archaeology and Museums, Karachi, and a couple of other explorers. The French excavations at Mehrgarh, Nausharo and Pirak in the Kachhi plain revealed a long culturalsequence from the Neolithic Period through the Iron Age. While another French Mission resumed work in Makran after a 30 year long gap in the late 80ies, southeastern Balochistan had remained a “white spot” on the archaeological landscape.

In winter 1996-7, the Joint German-Pakistani Archaeological Mission to Kalat was founded to re-openwork in this area. To date, three seasons of exploration were carried out in the plain of Las Bela, in the Kanrach and the Greater Hab (Hab, Saruna, Bahlol, Loi, Talanga) River valleys, and long the eastern foot of the Kirthar Range, covering altogether about 1900 square kilometers. As a result of this work, more than 300 archaeological sites were discovered and documented (7,8,9). Many of them were threatened by destruction. The large number of prehistoric settlements, the size and sophisticated lay-out of some of them came as a surprise: nowadays the area is barren and inhabited by a few people. Interestingly, the sites indicate that a development from village to town and then to camp, and from agriculture to migratory pastoralism took place.

2 Background

The prehistoric period was certainly the most prosperous period in this cycle: during in the earlier 2nd millennium BC, the settlements were abandoned and no human traces left, whereas after a short intermezzo during the Historic Period, the sites clearly reflect that away from the cultural, economic, and political centers, migratory pastoralism and a nomadic life-style was the only mode of subsistence and land use. The earliest site, Adam Buthi, dates to the 4th millennium, but the early 3rd millennium BC was a period of grow thin terms of number and size of settlements (Rakhia Kot). Many sites appear to be associated with dams. The pattern is very similar during the later 3rd millennium, but then occupation was either restricted to a small area of an earlier site, or sites were newly founded. This late Kulli occupation to which the largest number of sites in southern Balochistan belong, co-existed with the Indus Civilization (Kanri Buthi). The presence of quite a number of town-like settlements added a new and unexpected dimension to this cultural complex and to an area which so far had remained in the shadow of the Indus Civilization. These new and exciting findings require a rethinking of models of interaction and center-periphery relations between these two areas.

After 1900/1800 BC the Indus Civilization disintegrated into several regional cultural complexes. In southeastern Balochistan, however, the settlements and irrigation systems were abandoned. No sites dating to the subsequent centuries were found. The only possible explanations are major population movements or a large-scale and enduring shift in subsistence economy and lifestyle. However, while the transition to a mobile lifestyle is attested to by hundreds of camp sites during the Islamic period, the second millennium BC is devoid of any human remains. Likewise, none of the known regions experienced a massive influx of people during that time. On the contrary, areas such as Sindh and Punjab obviously experienced the same development.

The next traces of settled life date to the so-called Historic Period. However, although some of the Achaemenian and Greek, Mauryan, Kushana, and Sasanian rulers and historians mention southern Balochistanin their records, archaeological correlates for their presence are rare: Settlement types, pottery and small finds are rather unknown and if no coins are at hand, dating is a hazardous undertaking (Hadera Dhan). Diagnostic links to the north, where Pirak and the Swat Valley are well explored and Buddhist sites flourished have yet to be found. Many of them were threatened by destruction. The large number of prehistoric settlements, the size and sophisticated lay-out of some of them came as a surprise: nowadays the area is barren and inhabited by a few people. Interestingly, the sites indicate that a development from village to town and then to camp, and from agriculture to migratory pastoralism took place.

The Islamic Period is marked by a few settlements and fortifications which are located in central areas of Las Bela and Sindh Kohistan or strategic positions in the Hab Valley(13), while no sites other than seasonal camps (14) which are marked by hundreds of “stone benches” and sherd clusters werefound In the interior mountain valleys. These sites date to the 12/13th century AD, the 17/18th cent. and the British Period. The transition to a tribal society, and several conflicts and raids between different tribes and ethnic groups which also caused large-scale migrations were probably major forces behind this development. The Historic and Islamic Period are times of both cultural and economic growth, and of political strength and conflicts. Many sites in Sindh, Punjab, and the NWFP mirror this development in one way or the other. Both affected the administrative and political centers, among which Bela, Nal-Kaikanan, and Khuzdar are the most important in this region, but not the remote mountain areas which until very recently were the sole domain of migrating tribes and clans.

3 Las Bela

The plain of Las Bela, or the Porali trough, is a triangular lowland embankment. Only in this plain true mounds are found. Sites located on the gravel plains have very shallow cultural deposits. Despite the rather fertile environment, the number of sites was surprisingly low. The most important prehistoric settlements are Adam Buthi, Niai Buthi, and Balakot. Balakot which is located 80km south of Bela on the Khurkera plain, is the only prehistoric settlement south of Bela. Adam Buthi, Muridaniand sites dated to the Historic period and the so-called Edith Shahr Aand B Complexes are situated north of Bela, closer to the mountains bordering the plain towards Jhalawan, while Niai Buthi lies more towards west. These zones are environmentally very different (16).

Apart from one Islamic site, Kaiara Kot, which was first noted by A. Stein, and sites dating back to the British Period, the southern central and eastern portions of Las Bela are devoid of archaeological sites. This part is flooded during rains and, south of Sirinda Lake, through tidal waters, turning the whole area into a large, in accessable mud plain (17). These conditions seem to make the presence of sites unlikely, but, considering the fact that the plain level on the Khurkera plain has risen since 3000BC by about 8m, lower sites might well be buried under sediments in the central portion. The sedimentation rate appears to be much lower there, but the palaeo-drainage pattern of the perennial Porali and its tributaries and overflow channels has not yet been studied.

4 Fourth Millenium BC:3500 – 3000 BC

Adam Buthi

Adam Buthi is the earliest site discovered in southeastern Balochistan (18, 19). It was occupied around the mid-4th millennium BC and abandoned around 3000BC, well before the height of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. It is a small (0.14 hectares), but high mound (7.5 meters). The sections revealed several phases of super-imposed, well-built stone houses terraced along the slope of the mound (20,21,22). Pottery is not very abundant.

The vessels are partly hand made, but the slow wheel was also used (23, 24). The shapes and the shiny red to violet slips resemble Kile Ghul Mohammad pottery from northern Balochistan, but, in general, the assemblage is a distinctive local production. The surface of the site is covered with several blades and flakes indicating an extensive silex industry (25,26,27).

5 The Third Millenium BC:3000-2500 BC

Niai Buthi

Niai Buthi is the most impressive early 3rd millennium BC site in the plain of Las Bela. It is 13ha large and 13m high (31). Two trenches were opened in 1999 (32, 33,34). Virgin soil was not reached, but the levels exposed at plain level correspond to the last phase of occupation at Adam Buthi. In addition to purplish slipped unpainted pottery, Togau B and Kechi Beg pottery was found (35). Two trenches were opened in 1999 (36, 37,38). During the early 3rd millennium BC. the site reached its maximum extension. Well-built stone and mud brick architecture was exposed in the sections and on the surface. In the east, several stone-lined hearths and dump pits containing animal bones and a large number of discarded and broken pots were excavated (39, 40,41).

Apart from the typical buff “Nal”-pottery with black paint, fine orange and coarser household wares (42,43),polychrome vessels, partly still complete, were unearthed (44,45,46,47). A single Faiz-Mohammad Grey ware sherd (48) and a chlorite fragment with an imtricate design are important finds since they provide cultural links to the north and the west. The pottery changes through the levels. Polychrome sherds are outlasted by monochrome Nal wares and in the upper layers of trench II carinated bowls with hammer-head rims and reddish-brownish slips foreshadow the later Kulli pottery (49). A typical motif is the single-bracket design which becomes a hallmark of the late 3rd millennium BC occupation (50, 51).

Balakot, which is located in the southeastern Bela plain, was excavated between 1973 and 1976 by G.F.Dales, of the University of California, Berkeley. It is the only properly excavated site in the region. Despite its small size (ca. 4.5 hectares), the site is thus of crucial importance due to its long Early Harappan cultural sequence which is now dated to between 3100/3000 and 2600 BC. It is the southernmost find spot of Quetta- and Nal-pottery, but has also many affinities to Amriin Lower Sindh.
Although the transition to the Harappan period (II) is stratigraphically not very clear, there appears to be a gap. Despite some pottery forms which continue into the later third millennium BC, the classical Harappan pottery appears suddenly and fully fledged at the site. Kulli elements are also present, but not as pronounced as at Nindowari or the many Kulli sites found in the Kanrach, Hab- and Saruna Valleys.

Murda Sang

Murda Sang is the largest prehistoric site in the Kanrach Valley (53). It was discovered in 1997 and trial trenched in 1998. The nucleus of the settlement consists of houses grouped along lanes and streets. This central portion is about 6ha large, but scattered occupation and a kiln area cover altogether ca. 35ha. The eastern edge is eroded by the Kanrach River (55). Two dams were found to the north of the site and we assume that fields were located there. The site and the whole valley are overlooked by a fortification built on top of a terrace hill at the southern edge of the site.

The soundings revealed two main periods of occupation, the lower with three very compact building phases, the upper one with two. The ground was terraced with gravel and pottery before construction. The ground was terraced with gravel and pottery before construction. Houses have a stone foundation, but mudbricks were also used (54,56), the roof was covered with mud-smeared reed. The pottery from the earlier occupation is very similar to that from the earlier levels of Balakot I (57,58,59,60). An AMS date run on charcoal suggests a dating into the very early third millennium BC. After 2700/2600 the site was abandoned. The uppermost, badly preserved occupation dates to the later Kulli period. Very small parts of the site were re-used during the late Islamic or British period. A very large platform-house site of the Historic Period was built over scattered houses and possibly fields north of the main settlement.

A sounding revealed a sequence of finely banded sand and mud layers (61). This evidence and the accumulation of humus above the old gravel surface indicate frequent flooding (62). Most probably, the river and wadis which have deeply cut their bed into the rock, flew at a very different level 5000 years ago. A substantial change in the topography and drainage pattern since the 3rd millennium BC thus appears likely.

6 Later Third Millenium BC Sites

Most sites in northern and central Balochistan were abandoned around 2600 BC. This development is probably related to the expansion of the Indus Civilization. Southern Balochistan, however, continued to be inhabited by a people labelled “Kulli.” This cultural complex is named after a site in Kolwa which was discovered by Aurel Stein. Since then, several other sites became known from Makran to southern Kalat, to Nausharo in the Kachhi plain, and to the eastern foot of the Kirthar Rangein southwestern Sindh. Some motifs and vessel shapes found in southeastern Iran and on the Arabian Peninsula, are sometimes also linked to the Kulliand seen as indications for long-distance contacts.

Several Kulli sites were discovered in our survey area (64). As a matter of fact, this phase coincided with the maximum number of settlements. The large number of settlements along with the developed plan and large size of a couple of sites, in particular in the Hab- Saruna Valley, added a new and unexpected dimension to this complex. The lay-out of some sites resemble the plan of Harappan sites: rows of houses are built along lanes and streets, which are sometimes paved. Sometimes, stairs provide access to upper terraces (65). Building materials were large ashlars or boulders, and the houses are often preserved to a considerable height. Many of these sites are located in strategic positions, on top of mountains or terrace hills, overlooking the valleys and controlling the plains and passes (66).Other sites are small hamlets built in the open plain. Although they have no defenses, they are of a very compact appearance. Most sites are associated with dams.

Bakkar Buthi
Bakkar Buthi is a small Harappan site located in the Kanrach Valley, a remote area bordered by the Mor and Pab Ranges. The site overlooks the valley from a terrace hill above the Kharari River, nearthe watershed of the Windar River (67). It was founded on the alluvium, but a small early third millennium BC site was discovered across the Kharari. Bakkar Buthi comprises of a fortified southern partand a couple of houses and working spaces which are obviously related to chert production to the north (68). Two trenches dug in 1998 revealed several building phases built above a fine grained alluvial silt deposit (69)). Whereas the mud, brick and stone walls of the earlier phases were well-built (70,71), the standards decline in the uppermost level where pottery and broken stones were also used for building (72).

The site is remarkable for its lay-out and the predominantly Harappan character of the pottery. Much of the pottery is identical to pottery from urban centers such as Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, but wasters indicate also a local production (73,74,75,76,77). Kulli elements (78,79) are more prominent than at Balakot, but, altogether, the assemblage is clearly different from that found on “classical” Kulli sites. A date between ca.2400 and 2000 BC is supported by the radiocarbon samples. (80,81,82,83,84). About 200m to the south, in an old and now dry meander of the Kharari Riveran impressive dam blocked the river just before its entrance to the Kanrach Valley. The huge dam which is the eastern most in a series of three dams, betrays a well advanced level of hydraulic engineering (85).

Greater Hab Valley
Following the Hab River from its mouth at the Arabian Sea towards north, the wide and fertile valley slowly rises and becomes intersected by spurs and several tributaries. North of the Bhootani Petrol Station, at the entrance to the Wirahab Valley, the typical topographical features, such as large north-south running river valleys and steeply rising mountain ranges take shape. The Andhar Range (86) which is marked by a flat top and deep fissures, rises to 1250m amsl, while the Kirthar and Khude Ranges reach 1400 meters and 1600 meters above sea level. The Hab Valley is wider and less steep than the Kanrach Valley. It thus has better potential for the accumulation of sediments and agriculture.

During the surveys carried out in 1998 and 1999, 106 sites were discovered. Chronologically and culturally, they belong to the same horizon as the sites in the Kanrach Valley and the Las Bela plain. No real mounds were found, but, in general, the settlements tend to be larger than in the other areas (87, 88), and in Sind Kohistan. This is in particular true for the Kulli sites which cluster in large numbers between Dureji and Barag, and at points where tributaries such as the Loi, Bahlol, and Saruna Rivers enter the Hab Valley. Nowhere were similarly large, nucleated towns found in such large numbers (89, 90,91,92).These settlements apparently formed a network controlling the access routes between Sindh and interior Balochistan. Unvariably, they are associated with dams, some of which are true masterpieces of construction (93,94). The pottery and objects found at these sites are clearly related to Harappan types (95, 96,97,98), but the fabric is usually coarser, the variety of shapes and motifs is smaller, and a number of local elements are also present.

7 Historic Period

Subsequent to the Kulli occupation, all sites in southeastern Balochistan were abandoned. Not even remains of camp sites were discovered. The next archaeological traces belong to the so-called Historic Period. Very little is known about this time beyond the few cultural, religious, and political centers which are located in the northern areas of Pakistan, and in Punjab and Sindh. The lack of archaeological correlates to historic references dating back to Achaemenian, Greek, Parthian, Sasanian, Hindu and Buddhist times, makes the dating of these remains difficult and only very slowly a cultural sequence takes shape. The sites belong to three different structural, cultural, and probably chronological horizons.

Northern Las Bela and the Kanrach Valley produced a number of enigmatic large and small sites with a very peculiar architecture and plan. Up to 120 structures, which can reach lengths of more than 40 meters without being more than 6 meters wide, were built on rectangular boulder and gravel platforms oriented along the cardinal axes. Their lay-out makesthem look like “giant’s tombs” (99). The houses have annexes and, occassionally, stairs (100). Sometimes, two structures are linked through a shared wall. At least one circular building is usually present in these “platform house-sites”. At some sites, a couple of buildings is associated with flat extra-mural or elevated intra-mural boulder pavements. On these pavements, bone splinters, predominantly human, but also animal bones, were scattered (101).

Some structures had a small stone cists at one end. Manybone fragments carry traces of cremation. An AMS dating run on bones from Kariya Buthi in the Hab Valley provided a date of 3500-2000 BP cal. These sites cluster in northern Las Bela (Welpat) and the Kanrach Valley, while in the much larger Hab Valley only one site was found (101).Compared with prehistoric sites, the amount of pottery is very small. Most common are coarse, handmade, gritty wares. Finer fabrics are the exception. Decoration is confined to applied and then punched or impressed bands (101),or to a purplish slip.

Another historic horizon is marked by Londo pottery, a type widely found throughout Balochistan to Iran (102).The pots are made of a rather gritty fabric which carries thick, often glossy slips of various shades of red and brown. They are painted in tonesof red, brown and in black with geometric patterns, scrolls and spirals. Figurative designs were only found at some sites (103,104,105). The most typical pottery was found at large sites with mudbrick-architecture in the plains (106, 107),but also at sites like Nindowari and Londo which comprise of stone architecture. Only a few typical Londo sherds were found at large, deflated sites on the gravel plains along the Kanrach River where the pottery is usuallya coarse, unpainted fabric. Here, a black painted buff pottery is more common (108, 109, 110).Typical Londo ware was not found at platform house sites, but a couple of coarse sherds provide a link between these types of sites.

Londo sherds with spirals and scrolls were also found in Iran and Makran. There, many sherds were excavated from cairns. Although cairns are also a common feature in southeastern Balochistan, none of the cairns opened by our mission (109, 110) and by de Cardi yielded any Londo pottery. It is known that cairns were in use until recently; attributing a date without finds is therefore very unreliable. It appears most likely, that the Londo horizon in this large region is not a single, homogeneous cultural complex. Up to now, the variety which is reflected by the structures and the pottery is not more than an impression. It is sufficiently evident, however, to underline the need to differentiate this amorphous cultural complex which only slowly takes shape. Accordingly, suggested datings have widely shifted through time. Recent research has narrowed the margins to a couple of centuries before and after Christ. Two new radio carbon samples read 360 – 170 BC cal. and 180 to 50 BC calibrated. The third structural type of sites are large rectangular buildings which are built with huge ashlars. They are usually isolated. Associated with them was a coarse, red slipped pottery which occasionally also occurs at Londo settlements.

8 Islamic Period

After Mohammad Ibn al-Qasim had conquered Makran and Sindh in 712 AD, many sites continued, or started, to flourish (113,114, 115,116). However, as during the previous times, very little is known about the peripheral and remote areas. In Sindh Kohistan, the Hab Valley, and in the plain of Las Bela we found the remains of a few settlements or fortifications which can be dated to the 12th/13th and the 17th/18th century AD, but in the Kanrach, Bahlol and Loi Valleys no such sites were discovered.

The only remains are hundreds of camp sites, marked by a few stones which were aligned to benches, and by a few potsherds (117,118, 119). The pottery is similar to types found in southern Sindh, in the Indus delta and in Banbhore. The date applied to this red micaceous, black painted pottery ranges between the 13th and 18th century AD. Whether this shift to pastoralism is related to the immigration of the Baluch tribes from thewest, to the invasion of turkish tribes such as the Ghaznavids and Mongols who destroyed the oasis cultures of interior Makran and caused larger population movements towards Sindh, or to an overall change in the economic, social and political structure is unknown. In the 17th century AD, Mir Ahmad, the leader of a Brahui tribal confederation founded the Ahmadzai Khanat of Kalat, to whom the Jam of Bela paid tribute.

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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Balochistan


Zikri Dilemmas:Origins, Religious Practices, and Political Constraints

By Sabir Badal khan

The Zikris (locally pronouncedzi gr¯ı) are a minority Muslim group found exclusivelyamong the Baloch population with the main concentration in south-western PakistaniBalochistan. Zikris have at times faced violence and political assaults from non-Zikris,and their beliefs and practices have been misrepresented. This trend has continued inrecent years as Zikris have come under increasing pressure from Islamic fundamental-ists. The purposes of this paper are to provide a more accurate account of the likelyhistorical development of the Zikri faith, describe Zikri rituals and prayers, andhighlight the oppressive situation Zikris face today.

Zikris in Balochistan

The Zikri faith arose in Makran in the late 16th century and later flourished there. Noprecise figures are available on the number of the Zikris because they are counted underthe general title of Muslim in the census reports in Pakistan (MALIK 2002:11). Theirpresent number may be estimated at around 600,000 to 700,000 with more than 100,000living in Karachi, and a considerable number in interior Sindh (M OHAMMAD2000).Besides Makran, Zikris are found in large numbers in the Mashkay and Gresha areas of Khuzdar district, throughout Awaran district and in many parts of Lasbela district (GULKHANNASIR1982:233; AZAD2003:371, 389). Some Zikris have also migrated to theArabian Gulf peninsula where the majority live in the Sultanate of Oman.2
Until the first half of the 20th century Zikris were estimated to be about half of Makran’s population3, and there were Zikris in almost all major towns in Makran.Owing to constant persecution and forced conversions, presently there are many townswith no Zikris at all.4
The Bulaida valley (40 km north of Turbat) in Kech district may be taken as anexample. It had entire villages of Zikris until the early 20th century. Now, however,there is not a single Zikri family left in major towns there. The last major attack onZikris in Bulaida took place in 1980 when an outlaw from Iranian Balochistan,Shahmurad (called Shahmuk5by the Zikris), declared jihad against them. He killedmany Zikris and forced others to convert to Sunni Islam until he was killed by someZikris.6
A few Zikri families escaped from Bulaida and settled in the Kech valley,others migrated to the Balgitar valley, where Shahmurad pursued them and killed fivemore. The last remaining Zikri family from Bulaida found it hard to stay there andmigrated to Turbat a few years back.7
A large number of Zikris also used to live in Iranian Makran, where Kaserkand, Gihand Sarbaz were their major centres (BALOCH1996:237; cf. CURZON
1966/II:260).However, very few are to be found in that part of Balochistan today (cf. ZANDMOQADDAM1991:322).8 The last major group was driven away from there when acertain Qazi Abdullah Sarbazi declared jihad against them in the 1930s, which resultedin a major massacre (cf. ZANDM OQADDAM
1991:252). Iranian Zikris left their home-land, abandoned their possessions, and migrated to eastern Makran where the Zikriswere still strong in number (ABDUL GHANIBALOCH1996:102; HOSHANG1991:22). Inspite of their decision to avoid conflict with the Sunni clerics, the Sunni mullahsattacked the village of Jakigwar with 100 armed men one morning in 1936, killing ShayGulabi, a spiritual leader of the Zikris, along with six of his family members(DURRAZAI 2005:102, NORAIEE, this volume). Their homes and properties were distributed as war booty (m¯ al-i ˙gan¯ımat ) (see ABDUL GHANI BALOCH 1996:103-105,110). Abdul Ghani Baloch, whose family came from Jakigwar in Iranian Makran, writes that prior to this killing and forced migration, hundreds of other Zikris were killed from time to time in the areas of Farod, Baftan and Kishkaur by fanatic Sunnis at the instigation of mullahs (ABDUL GHANI BALOCH1996:105; cf. DURRAZAI2005:102-03).The Zikris are almost exclusively speakers of Balochi.9
Some are found among theBrahui speaking tribes but none are from the other ethno linguistic groups of the region, which probably indicates a local origin of this branch of Islam. For this reason,PASTNER /PASTNER1972:235 have described Zikrism as a uniquely Baloch religion, and many Baloch nationalists and intellectuals depict it as the national religion of the Baloch, and a Zikri as the archetypal Baloch.10 Members of the Zikri sect are found in most Baloch tribes (A ZAD 2003:389),11 with the exception of the tribes living on the eastern sides of Kalat and Khuzdar districts (which more or less corresponds to the areaof Eastern Balochi as definded by E LFENBEIN 1966, 1989:637). 12

1 This paper is primarily based on my field notes taken during various trips to Balochistan when I wascollecting material about the folklore and oral traditions of the Baloch. Most of the data used herecome from interviews held at Koh-i Murad and elsewhere in Turbat, Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara andKarachi in September 2005. Very sincere thanks are due to all my informants, but especially to M.Ishaq Durrazai, with whom I spent many hours discussing issues related to the Zikris, consulting hismanuscripts and searching through his notes. Special thanks are also due to Profs. Adriano Rossi andAlberto Ventura of Università degli studi di Napoli, “l’Orientale” (Italy) for reading earlier drafts of this paper and making valuable comments. Needless to say, I am the only one responsible for anyshortcomings and the opinions expressed here.

1996:21 probably overestimates the number of Zikris at one million while H ARRISON 1981:187 putsit at 500,000 to 700,000 in the early 1980s (cf. also B RESEEG 2004:77; Library of Congress report BUZDAR 1986-87:5 writes “approximately one-fourth of theMakran population are members of the Zikri community”; A HMED 1987:51 gives the same figure.

3. SeeBDGS VII:112, B ALOCH 1996:224, and the British traveller Charles M ASSON (1844:294) on thedistrict of Kech. L ORIMER (1915/I,2:2150-2151) notes Zikris “dominated the whole of Makr¯an up toJ¯ask until 1740″, and B UZDAR (1986-87:5) says that “historically, Makran has been the bastion of theZikri sect of Islam”. He believes that “the main reason behind the invasion of Makran by NaseerKhan of Kalat was to stop the spread of this new sect”, while G UL K HAN NASIR (1993:60) opinesthat Nasir Khan’s aim was to bring Makran under his domain and unite all Baloch areas into a singleBaloch state. The Zikri state of Makran was consolidated under one of the last rulers of the Malikdynasty, continued with the Bulaidais in the early 17th century, and terminated with the Gichkis inthe second half of the 18th century. By defeating Malik Dinar Gichki, the last Zikri ruler of Makran,Nasir Khan conquered all western Baloch territories previously occupied by the Zikri rulers (cf.P
OTTINGER 1816:250; BDGS VII:47-49; S POONER 1989:626; GUL KHAN NASIR 1993:56ff.).
4 .BDGS VII:121 observes that the faith was already on the decline in the early 20th century.
5 The diminutive may be used to convey a pejorative meaning (see B ADALKHAN 2003:296).
6 .For more information on Shahmurad, see HOSHANG 1991:41, and Zikri issue of Makran 1995:2;DURRAZAI
7 .Interview with head of the family in Turbat, summer 2004.
8 .Some Zikris are said to be found in Garmen Bet, Jugri Bet, Saidabad, Kahurburz and Kishkaur areasin western Makran but their number is reported to be very small (H OSHANG 1991:22). ZAND MO-QADDAM 1991:322 also reports some Zikris in the Bahu Kalat area belonging to the Rais tribe. Saeed Saeedi informed me (Turbat, February 2006) that there are about 500 Zikris in the Garmen Bet area.His late father, Haji Karim Bakhsh Saeedi, gave them protection during attacks by a Sunni mullah.
9.Cf.KAWSAR 1968:35; DAMES 1981:340; B OSWORTH1981:222; GULK HAN NASIR1982:233; and B ALOCH 1996:248, n. 5.
10 .See A DENAG 1999:132; GUL KHAN NASIR 1982:233; BALOCH 1987:72, and MALIK2002:11.
11 .There are Zikris from the following tribes: Rind, Rais, Mullazai, Hot, Sangurr, Kalmati, Gishkauri,Nohani, Darzadag, Mengal, Bizanjo, Mahmad Hasani, Kurd, Sajidi, Maldar, Banr, Hangara, Gorgej,Shaikh Ahmadi, Sasoli, Sumalani, Kambarani, Gurgunari, Omarani, Umrani, Kahdai, Sopakk,Syahpad, Jadgal. This list is far from being complete as my 2005 stay in Pakistan was too short todo a more exhaustive investigation. This data is based on my interviews carried out in Kech, Gwadarand Karachi (in Karachi, I met office bearers of the All Pakistan Muslim Zikri Anjuman). See also GUL KHAN NASIR 1982:233; HOSHANG 1991:23; BALOCH 1996:224; AZAD 2003:368, 389.
12. SHAH M UHAMMAD MARI 2000:397 mentions about 100 Zikris among the Bugti tribe in Sui villageof Dera Bugti district, but this seems questionable, as I did not hear of any among the Bugtis duringmy visit to the region in 1991.

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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in Balochistan


Heterogeneity and the Baloch Identity

Professor Dr. Taj Mohammad Breseeg

By Professor Dr. Taj Mohammad Breseeg
University of Balochistan, Quetta


As the saying goes, “nations are built when diversity is accepted, just as communities are built when individuals can be themselves and yet work for and with each other.” In order to understand the pluralistic structure of the Baloch society, this paper begins with a critical study of the Baloch’s sense of identity, by discarding idealist views of national identity that overemphasize similarities. From this perspective, identity refers to the sharing of essential elements that define the character and orientation of people and affirm their common needs, interests, and goals with reference to joint action. At the same time it recognizes the importance of differences. Simply put, a nuanced view of national identity does not exclude heterogeneity and plurality. This is not an idealized view, but one rooted in sociological inquiry, in which heterogeneity and shared identity together help form potential building blocks of a positive future for the Baloch.

Yet the dilemma of reconciling plurality and unity constitutes an integral part of the definition of the Baloch identity. In fact, one flaw in the thinking by the Baloch about themselves is the tendency toward an idealized concept of identity as something that is already completely formed, rather than as something to be achieved. Hence, there is a lack of thinking about the conditions that contribute to the making and unmaking of the Baloch national identity. The belief that unity is inevitable, a foregone conclusion, flows from this idealized view of it.

Another equally serious flaw is the tendency among some of the Baloch nationalists to think in terms of separate and independent forces of unity and forces of divisiveness, ignoring the dialectical relationship between these forces. Thus, we have been told repeatedly that there are certain elements of unity (such as language, common culture, geography, or shared history) as well as certain elements of fragmentation (such as communalism, tribalism, localism, or regionalism). If, instead, we view these forces from the vantage point of dialectical relations, the definition of Baloch identity involves a simultaneous and systematic examination of both the processes of unification and fragmentation. This very point makes it possible to argue that the Baloch can belong together without being the same; similarly, it can be seen that they may have antagonistic relations without being different.

The Sense of Belonging

The specificity of Balochistan geography and geopolitics has affected and shaped the character of the Baloch, their vision of the world and the way they have continued to reproduce and reinterpret their cultural elements and traditions. The Baloch myths and memories persist over generations and centuries, forming contents and contexts for collective self-definition and affirmation of collective identities in the face of the other.[1]

Located on the south-eastern Iranian plateau, with an approximately 600,000 sq. km., an area rich with diversity, that also incorporates within it a wide social variety, Balochistan is larger than France (551,500 sq. km.).[2] It is an austere land of steppe and desert intersected by numerous mountain chains. Naturally, the climate of such a vast territory has extraordinary varieties.[3] In the northern and interior highlands, the temperature often drops to 400 F in winter, while the summers are temperate. The coastal region is extremely hot, with temperature soaring between 1000 to 1300 F in summers, while winters provide a more favourable climate. In spite of its position on the direction of southwest monsoon winds from Indian Ocean, Balochistan seldom receives more than 5 to 12 inches of rainfall per year due to the low altitude of Makkoran’s coastal ranges.[4] The ecological factors have, however, been responsible for the fragmentation of agricultural centres and pasturelands, thus shaping the formation of the traditional tribal economy and its corresponding socio-political institutions.[5]

Balochistan’s geographical location between India and the Mesopotamian civilization had given it a unique position as cross roads between earlier civilizations. Some of the earliest human civilizations emerged in Balochistan, Mehrgar the earliest civilization known to man kind yet, is located in eastern Balochistan, the Kech civilization in central Makkuran date back to 4000 BC, Burned city near Zahidan, the provincial capital in western Balochistan date back to 3000 BC. Thus, by the course of time, a cluster of different religions, languages and cultures coexisted side by side. Similarly in the Islamic era we see the flourishing of different sects of Islam (Sunni, Zikri and Shia), remarkable marriage of tribal and semi-tribal society enriched with colourful cultural and traditional heritage.[6]

The Baloch, probably numbering close to 15 million, are one of the largest trans-state nations in southwest Asia.[7] The question of Baloch origins, i.e., who the Baloch are and where they come from, has for too long remained an enigma. Doubtless in a few words one can respond, for example, that Baloch are the end-product of numerous layers of cultural and genetic material superimposed over thousands of years of internal migrations, immigrations, cultural innovations and importations.Balochistan, the cradle of ancient civilizations, has seen many races, people, religions and cultures during the past few thousand years. From the beginning of classical history three old-world civilizations, Dravidian, Semitic and Aryan, met, formed bonds, and were mutually influenced on the soil of Balochistan. To a lesser or greater extent, they left their marks on this soil, particularly in the religious beliefs and the ethnic composition of the country.[8]

The exact meaning and origin of the term Baloch is somewhat cloudy. Its designation may have a geographical origin, as is the case of many nations in the world. Etymological view supported by some scholars is that the name Baloch probably derives from Gedrozia or “Kedrozia” the name of the Baloch country in the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC)”.[9] The term Gedrozia with the suffix of “ia” seems to be a Greek or Latin construction, like Pers-ia , Ind -ia, Kurdia, etc. Gedrozia, the land of the rising sun, was the eastern most Satrapy (province) of the Median Empire. Probably, its location was the main source of its designation as “Gedroz or Gedrozia”. It should be noted that there are two other eastern countries in the Iranian plateau, namely Khoran and Nimroz, both have their designation originated from the same source, the sun. They are known as the lands of rising sun. Like the suffix “istan”, Roz (Roch) is also a suffix for various place and family names construction in Iranian languages.

Having studied the etymology of the term “Kurd”, the Kurdish scholar Mohammad Amin Seraji believes that the term “Baloch” is the corrupted form of the term Baroch or Baroz. Arguing on the origin and the meaning of the term, Seraji says, the Baroz has a common meaning both in Kurdish and Balochi, which means the land of the rising sun (ba-roch or “toward sun”). Locating at the eastern most corner of the Median Empire, the county probably got the designation “Baroch or baroz” during the Median or early Achaemenid era, believes Seraji. According to him, there are several tribes living in Eastern Kurdistan, who are called Barozi (because of their eastward location in the region). Based on an ancient Mesopotamian text, some scholars, however, opine that the word “Baloch” is a corrupted form of Melukhkha, Meluccha or Mleccha, which was the designation of the modern eastern Makkoran during the third and the second millennia B.C.[10]

Historically, defeating the Median Empire in 549 BC, the mightiest Persian King, Darius (522-485), subjugated Balochistan at around 540 B.C. He declared the Baloch country as one of his walayat(province) and appointed a satrap (governor) to it.[11] Probably it was during this era, the Madian and the later Persian domination era, the Baloch tribes were gradually Aryanised, and their language and the national characteristics formed. If that is the case, the formation of the Baloch ethno-linguistic identity should be traced back to the early centuries of the first millennium BC.

Etymologically speaking, there are many territorial or regional names, which are derived after the four cardinal points (East, West, North and South).[12] For example, the English word Japan is not the name used for their country by the Japanese while speaking the Japanese language: it is an exonym.[13]The Japanese names for Japan are Nippon and Nihon. Both Nippon and Nihon literally mean “the sun’s origin”, that is, where the sun originates, and are often translated as the Land of the Rising Sun. This nomenclature comes from Imperial correspondence with Chinese Sui Dynasty and refers to Japan’s eastward position relative to China.
Being a Balochi endonym, the origin of the word “Balochistan” can be identified with more precision and certainty. The term constitutes of two parts, “Baloch” and “–stan”. The last part of the name “-stan” is an Indo-Iranian suffix for “place”, prominent in many languages of the region. The name Balochistan quite simply means “the land of the Baloch”, which bears in itself a significant national connotation identifying the country with the Baloch.[14] Gankovsky, a Soviet scholar on the subject, has attributed the appearance of the name to the “formation of Baloch feudal nationality” and the spread of the Baloch over the territory bearing their name to this day during the period between the 12th and the 15th century.[15]
The Baloch may be divided into two major groups. The largest and the most extensive of these are the Baloch who speak Balochi or any of its related dialects. This group represents the Baloch “par excellence”. The second group consists of the various non-Balochi speaking groups, among them are the Baloch of Sindh and Punjab and the Brahuis of eastern Balochistan who speak Sindhi, Seraiki and Brahui respectively. Despite the fact that the latter group differs linguistically, they believe themselves to be Baloch, and this belief is not contested by their Balochi-speaking neighbours. Moreover, many prominent Baloch leaders have come from this second group.[16] Thus, language has never been a hurdle for Balochs’ religious and cultural unity. Even before the improvement of roads, communication, printing, “Doda-o Balach and Shaymorid-o Hani” stories were popular throughout the length and breadth of Balochistan.

Despite the heterogeneous composition of the Baloch, however, in some cases attested in traditions preserved by the tribes, they believe themselves to have a common ancestry. Some scholars have claimed a Semitic ancestry for the Baloch, a claim which is also supported by the Baloch genealogy and traditions, and has found wide acceptance among the Baloch writers. Even though this belief may not necessarily agree with the facts (which, it should be pointed out, are very difficult to prove, either way), it is the concept universally held among members of the group that matters. In this connection Kurdish nationalism offers a good parallel. The fact is that there are many common ethnic factors which have contributed to the formation of the Kurdish nation; there are also factors which have led to divisions within the Kurds themselves. While the languages identified as Kurdish are not the same as the Persian, Arabic, or Turkish, they are mutually unintelligible. Geographically, the division between the Kurmanji-speaking areas and the Sorani-speaking areas correspond with the division between the Sunni and Shiite schools of Islam. Despite all these factors, the Kurds form one of the oldest nations in the Middle East.Tribal loyalties continue to dominate the Baloch society, and the allegiance of the majority of the Baloch have been to their extended families, clans, and tribes. The Baloch tribes share an ideology of common descent and segmentary alliance and opposition. These principles do actually operate at the level of the smaller sub-tribes, but they are contradicted by the political alliances and authority relations integrating these sub-tribes into larger wholes. In a traditional, tribal society a political ideology such as Baloch nationalism would be unable to gain support, because loyalties of tribal members do not extend to entities rather than individual tribes. The failure of the tribes to unite in the cause of Baloch nationalism is a replay of tribal behaviour in both the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch revolts. Within the tribes, an individual’s identity is based on his belonging to a larger group. This larger group is not the nation but the tribe. However, the importance of the rise of a non-tribal movement over more tribal structures should not be underestimated. In this respect the Baloch movements of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s provide us a good example.[17]

The Baloch have devised a nationalist ideology, but realise that the tribal support remains a crucial ingredient to any potential success of a national movement. By accepting the support of the tribes, however, the nationalists fall vulnerable to tribal rivalries. Tribal ties, however, are of little significance in southern Balochistan (both Pakistani and Iranian Balochistan), Makkoran, which was originally a stratified society, with a class of nominally Baloch landowners controlling the agricultural resources. The great majority of the tribes in Balochistan view them and are viewed by outsiders as the Baloch.[18]

Politically, the British occupation of the Baloch State of Kalat in 1839 was perhaps the greatest event and turning point in the 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. Concerned with con taining the spread of the Russian Socialist Revolution of 1917, the British assisted Persian to incorporate western Balochistan in 1928 in order to strengthen the latter country as a barrier to Russian ex pansion southward. The same concern also led later to the annexation of Eastern Balochistan to Pakistan in 1948.

Thus, colonial interests worked against the Baloch and deprived them of their self-determination and statehood. Confirming this notion, in 2006, in a pamphlet, the Foreign Policy Centre, a leading European think tank, launched under the patronage of the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, revealed that it was British advice that led to the forcible accession of Kalat to Pakistan in 1948. Referring reliable British government archives, the Foreign Policy Centre argues, that the Secretary of State Lord Listowell advised Mountbatten in September 1947 that because of the location of Kalat, it would be too dangerous and risky to allow it to be independent. The British High Commissioner in Pakistan was accordingly asked “to do what he can to guide the Pakistan government away from making any agreement with Kalat which would involve recognition of the state as a separate international entity”.[19]

Since the early 20th century, Balochistan’s political boundaries do not conform to its physical frontier; they vary widely. Eastern Balochistan with Quetta as its capital has been administered by Pakistan since 1948; western Balochistan, officially known as “Sistan-wa-Balochistan” with Zahedan as its capital, has been under the control of Iran since 1928; and the Northern Balochistan known as the Walayat-i-Nimrooz, has been under the Afghan control since the early 20th century.

Shared History

As the Kurd, Baloch make a large ethnic community in the Southwest Asia without a state of their own. Baloch folk tales and legends points out that major shift of Baloch population to the present land of Balochistan were brought about in different times and different places. From linguistic evidence, it appears that the Baloch migrated southward from the region of the Caspian Sea. Viewed against this background, the Baloch changed several geographical, political and social environments. Thus from the very beginning they learned to adjust themselves with different cultures and way of life.

The Baloch history is a chain of unsuccessful uprisings for autonomy and independence. It tells about genocide, forcible assimilation, deportation and life in exile. Since its inception, the Baloch national identity has been seen as based primarily on such experiences. However, the early political history of the Baloch is obscure. It appears to have begun with the process of the decline of the central rule of the Caliphate in the region and the subsequent rise of the Baloch in Makkoran in the early years of the 11th century.[20] The Umawid general Mohammad bin Qasim captured Makkoran in 707 AD. Thereafter, Arab governors ruled the country at least until the late 10th century when the central rule of the Abbasid Caliphate began to decline.[21]

The period of direct Arab rule over Makkoran lasted about three centuries. By gradually accepting Islam, the scattered Baloch tribes over vast area (from Indus in the east, to Kerman in the west), acquired a new common identity, the Islamic. Thus Islam gave them added cohesion.[22] The Arab rule also relieved them from the constant political and military pressure from Persia in the north. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, they benefited materially from the growth of trade and commerce which flourished in the towns and ports under the Arabs, reviving the old sea and land-based trade routes that linked India to Persia and Arabia through western Makkoran.[23]

Under the Arab rule, the Baloch tribal chiefs became a part of the privileged Muslim classes, and identified themselves with the Arab caliphate and represented it in the region. The conflicts between the Arab caliphate and the Baloch on the one hand, and the neighbouring non-Muslim powers on the other, strengthened the “Muslim” identity of the Baloch, while the conflicts between the Arab caliphate and the Baloch contributed to their “tribal unity and common” consciousness. The threats posed to the Arab Empire and to the Baloch, would gradually narrow the gap between the warlike Baloch tribes. In this process, Islam would function as a unifying political ideology and promote a common culture among the Baloch tribal society and its different social classes as a whole. These developments appear to have played a significant role in enabling the Baloch to form large-scale tribal federations that led to their gradual political and military supremacy in the territories now forming Balochistan during the period of 11th to 13th centuries.[24] Thus, the early middle ages saw the first emergence of a distinctive Baloch culture and the establishment of the Baloch principalities and dynasties. As the power of Arabs after the first Islamic staunch victory declined with fragmentation of Islam across the Sunni and Shiites theological lines, the Baloch tribes moved to fill the administrative, political and spiritual vacuum.

Since the 12th century the Baloch formed powerful tribal unions. The confederacy of forty-four tribes under Mir Jalal Khan in the 12th century, the Rind-Lashari confederacy of the fifteenth century, the Maliks, the Dodais, the Boleidais, and the Gichkis of Makkoran, and the Khanate of Balochistan in the 17thcentury, united and merged all the Baloch tribes at different times. Moreover, the invasions of the Mughals and the Tatars, the wars and the mass migrations of the thirteenth and the fourteenth centuries, and the cross tribal alliances and marriages, contributed to the shaping of the Baloch identity.[25]

Thus, historical experiences have played an important role to the formation of the Baloch national identity. In this regards the Swiss experience shows a remarkable similarity. In the Swiss case strength of common historical experience and a common consensus of aspirations have been sufficient to weld into nationhood groups without a common linguistic or cultural background. The history of the Baloch people over the past hundred years has been a history of evolution, from traditional society to a more modern one. (“More modern” is a comparative term, and does not imply a “modern” society, i.e. a culminating end-point to the evolution.) As such, the reliance on tribal criteria is stronger in the earlier movements, and the reliance on nationalism stronger in the later ones. Similarly, the organizing elements in the early movements are the tribes; the political parties gradually replace the tribes as mass mobilization is channeled into political institutions.[26]

Culture and the Baloch Identity

Geography helps, because it accustoms the Baloch to the idea of difference. Thus, the Baloch culture owes much to the geography of the country. The harsh climate and mountainous terrain breeds a self-reliant people used to hardship; the same conditions, however, result in isolation and difficulties in communication. In terms of physical geography, Balochistan has more in common with Iranian plateau than with the Indian subcontinent. On the north, it is separated from India by the massive barrier of the southern buttresses of the Sulaiman Mountains. On the south, there is the long extension from Kalat of the inconceivably wild highland country, which faces the desert of Sindh, the foot of which forms the Indian frontier. The cultural heartland lies in the interior, in the valleys of Kech, Panjgur and Bampur in the Southern and central Balochistan.[27]

Being expressed through language, literature, religion, customs, traditions and beliefs, culture is a complex of many strands of varying importance and vitality. The Balochs’ adjustability, accommodation and spirit of tolerance enable their culture survive several vicissitudes. The Baloch people are distinct from the Punjabi and the Persian elite that dominate Pakistani and Iranian politics – they are Muslims but more secular in their outlook (in a similar fashion to the Kurds) with their own distinct language and culture. Spooner points to the importance of the Balochi language as a unifying factor between the numerous groups nowadays identifying themselves as “Baloch”. He wrote, “Baluch identity in Baluchistan has been closely tied to the use of the Baluchi language in inter-tribal relations”.[28] In spite of almost half a century of brutal assimilation policy, both in Iran and Pakistan, the Baloch people have managed to retain their culture and their oral tradition of story telling. This explains the tendency to dismiss the existing states as artificial and to call for political unity coinciding with linguistic identity. The prevailing view is that only a minority of the people of Balochistan lack a sense of being Baloch; this minority category includes the Persians of Sistan and the Pashtuns of Eastern Balochistan.[29]

It is, however, worth mentioning that the linguistic and ethnic plurality had been the rule in the almost all Baloch tribal unions in the past. The Rind-Lashari union of the 15 century, the Zikri state of Makkuran and the Brahui Confederacy of Kalat, all constituted of diverse tribal confederacies. No attempt had been made to force Kalat subjects to speak Brahui, a large number of tribes did not speak it as their first language and perhaps most Kalat subjects did not speak it at all. The Brahui tribes spoke Barahui, the Lasis and Jadgal spoke Jadgali, and the Baloch spoke Balochi.

Being a tribal people, religion plays a less important role in the daily life of the Baloch. It is generally believed that before the emergence of the Islamic fundamentalism in the region, Baloch were not religiously devout as compared to their neighbours, the Persians, Punjabis and the Pashtuns. Their primary loyalties were to their tribal leaders. Unlike the Afghan he is seldom a religious bigot and, as Sir Denzil Ibbetson, in mid-19th century described the Baloch, “he has less of God in his head, and less of the devil in his nature”[30] Thus, historically speaking, the Baloch always have had a more secular and pluralistic seen on religion than their neighbours.

Because the Pakistani state assumed the mantle of two-nation theory (Islam/Hinduism) based on Islam for its legitimacy, as a countermovement one can expect most Baloch to rely on ethno-nationalism. In 1947, Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo voiced the Baluch opinion against the religious nationalism of Pakistan: “We are Muslims but it (this fact) did not mean (it is) necessary to lose our independence and to merge with other (nations) because of the Muslim (faith). If our accession into Pakistan is necessary, being Muslim, then Muslim states of Afghanistan and Iran should also merge with Pakistan.”[31]

As mentioned earlier, linguistically the Baloch society is diverse. There are a substantial number of Brahui speakers in the central and northern Balochistan who are culturally very similar to the Baloch, and the Baloch, who inhabit the Indus Plains, Punjab and Sindh retain their ethnic identity though they now speak Sindhi or Seraiki. Although Brahui and Balochi are unrelated languages, multi-lingualism is common among them. Having considered this reality, Tariq Rahman believes, “The Balochi and Brahvi languages are symbols of the Baloch identity, which is a necessary part of Baloch nationalism.”[32]

Of the various elements that go into the making of the Baloch national identity, probably the most important is a common social and economic structure. For while many racial strains have contributed to the making of the Baloch people, and while there are varying degrees of differences in language and dialect among the various groups, a particular type of social and economic organisation, comprising what has been described as a “tribal culture”, is common to them all. This particular tribal culture is the product of environment, geographical, and historical forces, which have combined to shape the general configuration of Baloch life and institutions. Describing the Baloch economy in early 1980s, a prominent authority on the subject of Baloch nationalism, Selig S. Harrison wrote, “Instead of relying solely on either nomadic pastoralism or on settled agriculture, most Baloch practice a mixture of the two in order to survive”.[33]

A classic sociological principle proposes a positive relationship between external conflicts and internal cohesion.[34] One such exclusive focus is the constantly expressed view that the only thing the Baloch agree on is the hatred of Gajar (Persian) and Punjabi dominance. The common struggle against the alien invaders, while strengthening the common bonds, develops national feelings. According to Peter Kloos, for reasons that are still very unclear, people confronted with powerful forces that lie beyond their horizon, and certainly beyond their control, tend to turn to purportedly primordial categories, turning to the familiarity of their own ethnic background. In the process they try to gain an identity of their own by going back to the fundamentals of their religion, to a language unspoken for generations, to the comfort of a homeland that may have been theirs in the past. In doing so, they construct a new identity.[35]

The Baloch people face unique challenges contingent on the nation-state in which they reside. For example, in Iran, where the Baloch are thought to comprise more than two million are restricted from speaking Balochi freely and have been subjected in military operations by the Persian dominated state. The harsh oppression of the Iranian and Pakistani states has strengthened the Balochs’ will to pass on their heritage to coming generations. The Balochi language is both proof and symbol of the separate identity of the Baloch, and impressive efforts are made to preserve and develop it.[36] Having realized the significance of the language (Balochi) as the most determinant factor for the Baloch identity, the Persian and Punjabi dominated states of Iran and Pakistan have sought to “assimilate” the Baloch by all possible means.[37]

Globalization and the Baloch Identity

Since the early 2000, electronic media has been a continually changing forum for communicating, which has been taken up by the Baloch communities to maintain connections with their brethren all over the world. In that capacity, the technology has been an easy and innovative avenue for cultural expression. The Baloch, for instance, have established on-line magazines, newsgroups, human rights organizations, student groups, academic organizations and book publishers for a trans-national community. Some of these informative and insightful English media include: Balochistan TV,,,,,, baloch2000.orgetc. Based out of the country, they have significantly contributed to the development of the Baloch identity.

The revival of ethnic identity is converging with the emergence of continental political and economic units theoretically able to accommodate smaller national units within overarching political, economic, and security frameworks. The nationalist resurgence is inexorably moving global politics away from the present state system to a new political order more closely resembling the world’s ethnic and historical geography. Thus, the new world order may hold light of hope for oppressed ethnic communities, who have survived empires, colonization, nation building processes by brutal neighbors who systematically eroded them, reduced their existence to rival tribes. Therefore, contrary to the globalist argument, the new media are not eroding the sense of national identity but rather reinforcing and providing it with a broader and much independent context to an ethno cultural identity across the juridical boundaries of states to strengthen and solidify its distinct cultural identity.


There is a general consensus among the scholars about the Baloch community with regard to heterogeneity in Baloch political society, that voluntary association, independence, autonomy, equality and consultation had remained its basic principles and ingredients. It is the idea of an ever-ever land – emerging from an ancient civilization, united by a shared history, sustained by pluralistic way of life. In fact this way of life made it possible for people with different social realities come under the umbrella of a free, willingly accepted social and cultural code. The Baloch em braced and assimilated other minor groups to extend their strength. The pre sent-day Baloch are not a single race, but are a people of different origins, whose lan guage belong to the Iranian family of languages. They are mixed with Arabs in the South, Indians in the East, and with Turkmen and other Altaic groups in the North West.

The very survival of the Baloch, as a distinctive nation is characterised by decentralisation and diversity: diversity of racial origins, of dialects, of tribes and communities, of religions. But it’s diversity within a unity, provided by common tribal culture, common history, common experiences and common dreams. Thus, it is necessary to understand the forces of unity and the forces of divisiveness in relation to each other. These forces operate within the context of underlying conflicts and confrontations and under certain specific conditions. The Baloch identity is therefore developed to the extent that it manifests itself through a sense of belonging and a diversity of affiliations. The Baloch also recognize a shared place in history and common experiences. Similarly, social formations and shared economic interests have helped to shape the Baloch identity. And, finally, the baloch identity is shaped by specific, shared external challenges and conflicts.


Baloch, Inayatullah, The Problem of Greater Baluchistan: A Study of Baluch Nationalism, Stuttgart : Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, 1987.
Baluch, Muhammad Sardar, History of Baluch Race and Baluchistan, Quetta : Khair – un -Nisa, Nisa Traders, Third Edition 1984;
Baluch, Muhammad Sardar, The Great Baluch: The Life and Times of Ameer Chakar Rind 1454- 1551 A .D., Quetta , 1965.
Breseeg,Taj Mohammad, Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development, Karachi, Royal Book Company, 2004.
Harrison, Selig S., In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1981.
Holdich, Thomas, The Gate of India : Being a Historical Narrative, London , 1910. Sabir Badalkhan, “A Brief Note of Balochistan”, unpublished, 1998. This ariticle was submitted to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Folklore, New York-London, (in 13 vols): vol. 5, South Asia, edited by Margaret Mills.

Hosseinbor, M. H., “Iran and Its Nationalities: The Case of Baluch Nationalism”, PhD. Thesis, The Amerikan university, 1984.

Jahani, Carina, “Poetry and Politics: Nationalism and Language Standardization in the Balochi Literary Movement” in: Paul Titus (ed.), Marginality and Modernity: Ethnicity and Change in Post-Colonial Balochistan, Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Kloos, Peter, “Secessionism in Europe in the Second Half of the 20th Century” in: Nadeem Ahmad Tahir (ed.), The Politics of Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe and South Asia, Karachi , 1998.

Malik Allah-Bakhsh, Baluch Qaum Ke Tarikh ke Chand Parishan Dafter Auraq, Quetta :, Islamiyah Press, 20 September, 1957.

Possehl, Gergory L., Kulli: An Exploration of Ancient Civilization in Asia, Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1986.
Rahman,Tariq, “The Balochi/Brahvi Language Movements in Pakistan ”, in: Journal of South Asian and Middle East Studies Vol. XIX, No.3, Spring 1996.

Spooner, Brian, “Baluchistan: Geography, History, and Ethnography” (pp. 598-632), In: Ehsan Yarshater, (ed), Encyclopadia Iranica, Vol. III, London – New York : Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1989.

The Foreign Policy Centre, Balochis of Pakistan : On the Margins of History, Foreign Policy Centre, London 2006.
The Gazetteer of Baluchistan: Makran, Quetta: Gosha-e Adab (repr. 1986).

The Imperial Gazetteer of India, vol. VI, Oxford : Calaredon Press, 1908.


Seraji, Mohammad Amin, leading political figure since 1950’s, from Iranian Kurdistan, was borne in September 1934, Mahabad Kurdistan, educated from the faculty of Law, University of Tehran . Interview made in Stockholm in April 2006, (on tape in Persian).

[1] Muhammad Sardar Khan Baluch, History of Baluch Race and Baluchistan, Quetta : Khair – un -Nisa, Nisa Traders, Third Edition 1984, p. 26.

[2] Inayatullah Baloch, The Problem of Greater Baluchistan, 1987, pp. 19-23; See also Janmahmad, Essays on Baloch National Struggle in Pakistan, p. 427.

[3] For a good description of the natural climate of Western Balochistan see Naser Askari, Moghadamahi Bar Shenakht-e Sistan wa Balochistan, Tehran: Donya-e Danesh, 1357/1979 pp. 3-14.

[4] Ibid., p. 9

[5] Taj Mohammad Breseeg, Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development, Karachi, Royal Book Company, published in 2004, p. 64.
[6] Ibid., pp. 74-77.

[7] For more information, see Ibid., pp. 66-70.

[8] Gergory L. Possehl, Kulli: An Exploration of Ancient Civilization in Asia , pp. 58-61.

[9] Taj Mohammad Breseeg, Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development, Karachi, Royal Book Company, published in 2004, p. 56.

[10] J. Hansman, “A Periplus of Magan and Melukha”, in BSOAS, London , 1973, p. 555; H. W. Balley, “Mleccha, Baloc, and Gadrosia”, in: BSOAS, No. 36, London , 1973, pp. 584-87. Also see, Cf. K. Karttunen, India in Early Greek Literature, Studia Orientalia, no. 65, Helsinki : Finnish Oriental Society, 1989, pp. 13-14.

[11] I. Afshar (Sistani), Balochistan wa Tamaddon-e Dirineh-e An, pp. 89-90.

[12] Etymology is the study of the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. In languages with a long detailed history, etymology makes use of philology, the stu how words change from culture to culture over time. However, etymologists also apply the methods of comparative linguistics to reconstruct information about languages that are too old for any direct information (such as writing) to be known. By analyzing related languages with a technique known as the comparative method, linguists can make inferences, about their shared parent language and its vocabulary. In this way, word roots have been found which can be traced all the way back to the origin of, for instance, the Indo-European language family.

[13] An exonym is a name for a place that is not used within that place by the local inhabitants (neither in the official language of the state nor in local languages, or a name for a people or language that is not used by the people or language to which it refers. The name used by the people or locals themselves is called endonym . For example, Deutschland is an endonym; Germany is an English exonym for the same place.

[14] That is also the case with other similar names such as Kurdistan (the Kurdish homeland), Arabistan (the Arab homeland), Uzbakistan, etc. In these names, the Persian affix “istan” meaning land or territory is added to the name of its ethnic inhabitants.

[15] Yu. V. Gankovsky, The People of Pakistan : An ethnic history, pp. 147-8.
[16] Many prominent Baloch nationalists, such as Mir Gaus Bakhsh Bizenjo, Sardar Atuallah Megal, Gul Khan Nasir are Brahui-speaking.

[17] Breseeg, 2004, pp. 195-227.

[18] Ibid., pp. 92-95.

[19] The Foreign Policy Centre, Balochis of Pakistan : On the Margins of History, Foreign Policy Centre, London 2006.

[20] M. H. Hosseinbor, “ Iran and Its Nationalities: The Case of Baluch Nationalism”, pp. 45-46.
[21] Ibid., and see Breseeg, p. 109.

[22] The Imperial Gazetteer of India , vol. VI, Oxford : Calaredon Press, 1908, p. 275.

[23] Thomas Holdich, The Gate of India : Being an Historical Narrative, London , 1910, pp. 297-301. See also Dr. Sabir Badalkhan, “A Brief Note of Balochistan”, unpublished, 1998. This ariticle was submitted to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Folklore, New York-London, (in 13 vols): vol. 5, South Asia , edited by Margaret Mills.

[24] Ibid.

[25] For more detail, see Inayatullah Baloch, The Problem of Greater Baluchistan, pp. 89-125.

[26] Breseeg, 2004, pp. 248-51.

[27] It was in Makkuran that the early middle ages saw the first emergence of a distinctive Baloch culture and the establishment of the Baloch principalities and dynasties.
[28] Brian Spooner, Baluchistan: Geography, History, and Ethography p. 599.

[29] Breseeg, 2004, pp. 361-63, 296-98.

[30] Sir Denzil Ibbeston, The races, castes and tribes of the people in the report on the Census of Punjab , published in 1883, cited in: Muhammad Sardar Khan Baluch, The Great Baluch, pp. 83-100. It is important to note that the Baloch way of life influenced the way in which Islam was adopted. Up to tenth century as observed by the Arab historian Al-Muqaddasi the Baloch were Muslim only by name (Al-Muqaddasi, Ahsanul Thaqasim, quoted in Dost Muhammad Dost, The Languages and Races of Afghanistan, Kabul, 1975, p. 363.) Similarly, Marco Polo, at the end of the thirteenth century, remarls that some of people are idolators but the most part are Saracens (The Gazetteer of Baluchistan: Makran, p. 113).

[31] Malik Allah-Bakhsh, Baluch Qaum Ke Tarikh ke Chand Parishan Dafter Auraq, Quetta :, Islamiyah Press, 20 September, 1957 , p. 43.

[32] Tariq Rahman, “The Balochi/Brahvi Language Movements in Pakistan ”, in: Journal of South Asian and Middle East Studies Vol. XIX, No.3, Spring 1996, p. 88.
[33] Selig S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow, p. 8.

[34] See Peter Kloos, “Secessionism in Europe in the Second Half of the 20th Century” in: Tahir, Nadeem Ahmad (ed.), The Politics of Ethnicity and Nationalism in Europe and South Asia, Karachi , 1998.
[35] Ibid.
[36] Carina Jahani, “Poetry and Politics: Nationalism and Language Standardization in the Balochi Literary Movement”, p. 110.

[37] Selig S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow, pp. 95-96.

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Posted by on August 20, 2012 in Balochistan


A historical survey of the Baloch of Sistan

A village in Seistan region

By: Behrooz Barjasteh Delforooz

Historically, the arrival of the Baloch in Sistan is not very clear, but accord- ing to early muslim writers, the mountains southeast of Kerman were mainly inhabited by people who did not speak Persian and lived in goat-hair tents keeping flocks. In the 11th and 12th centuries, due to the invasion of Kerman by the Saljuqs, the Baloch began to migrate eastwards, beyond Makrān to Sind and Punjab in several waves. These migrations continued for the next five centuries.

On historiographic and linguistic evidence, the Baloch have probably immi- grated from the north (Spooner 1989:607). According to an early muslim geographer, Istakhri (10th century), the Baloch lived in a separate district of Kerman and in two districts of Sistan (ibid.:606). However, the first migra- tions from the Caspian area seem to have started earlier, likely in late Sasa- nian times, and to have continued in several independent waves over several centuries. Therefore, these areas, i.e. some districts in Kerman and Sistan, may have been occupied by Baloch migrants by the 8th century (Elfenbein

The Baloch in Sistan and those living southeast and southwest of them kept in touch throughout the centuries. This can be proved by the spread of heroic ballads such as those of the Čākar cycle and Mīr Hammal Jīhand which were formed mainly in the south during the last quarter of the 15th century and throughout the 16th century (ibid.:640-641) but which are also found among the Baloch in Sistan The old historical ballads of the Baloch probably go back to the 16th century and provide them with a ‘true Islamic’ genealogy (Jahani & Korn 2009:634). According to these ballads, the Baloch are of Arabic origin from Aleppo and after a seemingly imaginary period of fighting on the side of Imam Hussein against the Caliph Yazid at Karbalā, they left Karbalā and reached Sistan where they settled in the region of Rūdbār in peace under the rule of “Šams- al-Dīn” who was friendly to them. Because of the next ruler, “Badr-al-Din”, who was hostile to them, some of the Baloch went southeastward and some went southwestward (Elfenbein 1989:640).

The migrations back and forth may have continued during the next centuries because of different reasons. The last ones happened at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries from Sistan to Turkmenistan (Axenov 2006:19), as well as in Reza Shah’s time, from 1928 onwards, from Iranian Balochistan to Pakistani Balochistan. Migration also took place at different times during the 20th century from Sistan to Khorasan and Golestan provinc- es, mainly because of prolonged droughts and, in 1979 and subsequent years from Afghanistan to Iran after the Soviet invasion.

The exact size of the Baloch population in Sistan is not known since there are no statistical data according to ethnic groups, but an approximate estima- tion is possible. According to the Statistical Centre of Iran (SCI) the popula- tion of Sistan and Balochistan in 1385/2006 was 2 405 742 which is predict- ed to have increased to 2 733 205 by 1389/2010. The population of Iranian Sistan with its two cities, i.e. Zabol and Zahak according to the latest statis- tics from 2006 is shown in Table 1.1. Our estimation for the Baloch popula- tion is at least 25% of the whole population of Sistan, i.e. about 100 000. They mostly live near the Afghan border.

Table 1.1. Population of Iranian Sistan


• Zabol

Urban : 153 742

Rural : 174 593

Unsettled : 982

Total : 329 317

• Zahak

Urban : 11 401

Rural : 60 061

Unsettled : ?

Total: 71 462

• Total : 400 779

The Central Statistics Organization (CSO) of Afghanistan gives the popula- tion 148 000 for the Nimruz province in 2009, 61% of which are Baloch, i.e. about 90 000. They nowadays mostly inhabit the valley of the river Hilmand in Nimruz including five main districts, i.e. Chaharburjak, Zaranj, Kang, Chakhansur, and Khash Rod.1 The total population of the Balochi speakers is therefore likely to amount to about 200 000 both in Iranian and Afghani Sistan altogether.


1.2.1 The Balochi language

The position of Balochi among Iranian languages From a historical point of view, Balochi belongs to the so-called north- western group of Iranian languages which also includes other new Iranian languages such as Kurdish, Zazaki, Gilaki, Mazandarani, and Taleshi, whereas Persian, Lori, Bakhtiari, etc., are classified as south-western Iranian languages.2 Geographically, Balochi is now spoken in the south-eastern part of the Iranian language area. The north-western group shares some charac- teristics with each other and with the Middle Iranian language Parthian (Korn 2003:49). Korn (2005:329-330) puts Balochi, in addition to Kurdish, in a position between the north-western and the south-western Iranian lan- guages and calls them “Transitional western Iranian languages”. She further suggests more studies on the historical morphology of Balochi and the histo- ry of neighbouring Iranian languages in order to confirm this position.

1.2.2 Balochi dialects

Axenov (2006: 21-22) gives a brief history of the scientific dialect divisions suggested for Balochi from 1889 to 2003. Here we are going to mention the latest and the most scholarly accepted divisions and subdivisions of the Ba- lochi language (see Map 1.2). The three main dialects of Balochi are West- ern (or Rakhshani), Southern (or Makrani), and Eastern Balochi (Barker & Mengal 1969:I:xxv; Carleton & Carleton 1987:9; Jahani 2001:59, 2003:117; Jahani & Korn 2009:636). Elfenbein (1966) divides Balochi into six major dialects on the basis of pho- nology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. Later, he repeats the same dialect description with the correction of Loṭūnī to Lāšārī as the name of one of these dialects (Elfenbein 1989:636-637). The six dialects from north to south are:

1) Raxšānī with its three subdialects: a) Sarhaddī (including Balochi of Sistan = BS and Balochi of Turkmenistan = BT); b) Panǰgūrī; c)
2) Sarāwānī
3) Lāšārī
4) Kēchī
5) Coastal dialects
6) Eastern Hill Balochi
Jahani and Korn (2009:637) consider Sarāwānī and Panǰgūrī as transitional dialects between Western and Southern Balochi in Iran and Pakistan, respec- tively.

The Balochi of Sistan (BS) which the corpus data for this thesis are in, can be classified as belonging to the Sarhaddī subdialect of the Raxšānī or West- ern group of Balochi dialects.

1.2.3 The number of Balochi speakers

Due to the lack of appropriate census data, the exact number of speakers of Balochi is unknown. Estimations which are now twenty years old were made by Jahani (1989:93) and Elfenbein (1990/I:1). These give between 4.5 and 4.8, and 3.5 million Balochi speakers, respectively. Considering all limita-tions for such an approximate calculation, this number should have increased by up to 7 to 10 millions by 2010.

The Balochi speaking area covers a vast territory stretching north to south from Mari in Turkmenistan to the Gulf States and west to east from the south-eastern part of Iran to the lower Indus. The main areas where the Baloch live are in the Province of Sistan and Balochistan in Iran, the Prov- ince of Balochistan in Pakistan, and the Provinces of Nimruz and Hilmand in Afghanistan as well as in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. In each of the above mentioned countries, Balochi is under the influence of local languages and the national language of that country.

1.3 Previous research on the Balochi of Sistan

Studies of Balochi are numerous and date back to the nineteenth century, but almost all of these early studies are on Balochi dialects in Pakistan. For this study, we just review previous works on BS and BT since we consider them as closely related subdialects of Rakhshani. I. I. Zarubin published two col- lections of folktales, Beludžskie skazki, from BT in 1932 and 1949. The tran- scribed stories are followed by a Russian translation. In 1963 Josef Elfenbein published A Vocabulary of Marw Baluchi which contains all the words oc- curring in the published Marw texts including those of Zarubin’s texts.

Elfenbein’s work ‘Report on a Linguistic Mission to Helmand and Nīmrūz’ in 1979 drew attention to the Balochi dialect in Afghan Sistan. After that, two works dedicated to this dialect were published in 1980 and 1989, respec- tively. The first one is Baluchi by Tetsuo Nawata with short texts and a brief description of the phonology and morphology, and the second one is Aus dem Leben eines jungen Balutschen von ihm selbst erzählt by Georg Buddruss (1988) with an oral text (a life story) told by a young Baloch from Afghani Sistan plus a grammatical sketch and a glossary. During the recent decade two other articles were published in 2003 and 2009 on BS. Both of them, i.e. ‘Some Thoughts and Material on Balochi in Afghanistan’ and ‘Code-Copying in the Balochi language of Sistan’ were written by Lutz Rzehak. Rzehak and Naruyi edited Balochi Gālband: Balochi-Pashto-Dari- English Dictionary written by Abdul Rahman Pahwal and published it as new edition in 2007. This dictionary is based on the Balochi dialect in Af- ghani Sistan. There are also a number of books and articles on the Baloch ethnicity in Afghanistan (see Afghanistan Bibliography, pp. 23-24)3.

The most recent work dedicated to BT, which is closely related to BS, is a Ph.D. thesis, The Balochi Language of Turkmenistan: A corpus-based grammatical description. It was written by Serge Axenov and defended in 2007 at Uppsala University. This work is the most complete analysis of the morphology and syntax of BT so far. In addition to the above mentioned works, there are a small number of other works on ethnography of the Baloch in Turkmenistan, and the phonology and morphology of BT (see Axenov 2006:25f).

It can be seen that the works on BS are few and that no discourse study has been conducted on this dialect or any other dialect of Balochi.

1.4 Purpose of the study

A considerable amount of research has been done on Balochi syntax, pho-nology and morphology, but, as stated in the previous section, no research has been undertaken on Balochi discourse structure.

This work can therefore be considered as the first one which focuses on some discourse features ofBalochi oral narrative texts. First, the term ‘discourse’ refers to a broad area of human life, and has received various interpretations for scholars working in different disciplines such as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, computa- tional linguistics, etc. A linguistic approach to ‘discourse analysis’ is taken in this study. Secondly, like any other language, Balochi, on the one hand, uses linguistic devices to produce patterns in communication and, on the other hand, these patterns have correlations with the circumstances in which they occur, which are only explainable at the discourse level rather than at the grammatical level. In other words, we are going to see how speakers of BS convey meaning in their speeches, and how the addressees understand meaning from the uttered speeches. This work deals with various discourse features, such as constituent order, grounding and information flow, cohesion, represented speech and referenti- ality realized by linguistic means in the sentence structures found in BS nar- ratives. The present study is based on a corpus of 25 oral narrative texts listed in §1.6. Appendix 2 contains ten of these texts with glossing and trans- lation. Among the significant features of these oral texts (or spoken dis- courses) we can mention are modifications to cater to the audience, sponta- neous talking and face-to-face encounters, etc., which usually leads to ex- tralinguistic signals such as gesticulation, and rhythm and intonation in speech.

As stated above, this is the first study of discourse structure in Balochi. As a consequence, this work is introductory and it follows the approach to dis-course analysis proposed by Dooley and Levinsohn (2001).

1.5 Theoretical remarks

Whereas syntactic analysis tries to determine what are the properties of well- formed sentences, discourse analysis investigates what are the properties that make for well-formed texts in a language. Hence, the alternative name for discourse analysis is text linguistics. This type of research is concerned with the structure of texts and deduces its explanations for this structure from within natural texts produced by native speakers. These can be oral or writ- ten texts. According to de Beaugrande and Dressler (1981:3-10) a text is defined as a communicative occurrence which meets seven standards of tex- tuality. These are cohesion, coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informa- tivity, situationality, and intertextuality.

There are many approaches to discourse analysis and most approaches focus on a particular aspect of text formation. The approach to text linguistics or discourse analysis taken in this work is based on Dooley and Levinsohn’s Analyzing Discourse: A manual of basic concepts (2001) (henceforth D&L). Instead of applying a narrow aspect of text linguistics they take an eclectic and practical approach to discourse research. Their work demonstrates a methodology for investigating the following aspects of text composition: coherence, cohesion, thematic groupings and thematic discontinuities, the activation status of discourse referents, the discourse-pragmatic structuring of sentences (e.g. topic and focus), foreground and background information, signalling relations between propositions, and the tracking of participant reference. Their approach has been developed over many years and has been successfully applied by field linguists to languages where little or no dis- course research has been undertaken.

According to Levinsohn (2007:2-4), text linguistics has three basic key con- cepts that motivate the analysis of texts:

1. Choice implies meaning.
2. There is a difference between semantic meaning and pragmatic ef fects.
3. There are default versus marked phenomena.
The first concept is one of the basic principles of a functional approach to text linguistics, which stipulates that any author has the option of expressing the same concept in more than one way which cannot be considered as just stylistic variations. The second principle is about the difference between semantic meaning of expressions in a given language and the pragmatic ef- fects of expressions in relation to their user. Semantics is the property of expressions in a given language: what does expression X mean? It is the inherent or natural meaning of the expression. Pragmatics is meaning in rela- tion to the user of the expression: what does the speaker mean by X? The third concept is about the contrastive use of default and marked constituents in clauses and sentences. A marked form is a non-basic or less natural form.
An unmarked form is a basic, default form. Markedness can apply in differ- ent linguistic domains, such as the phonological, morphological, syntactic, or semantic domains. At the discourse level explanations are sought for the use of marked features at this level.

Roberts (2009:51) says that D&L assume that the way a text is linguistically organized reflects how the discourse content is stored as a mental representat- ion in the mind. They also take into account that a discourse occurs in a con- text. Other things that go into the hearers’ mental representation of a discourse are their prior knowledge of the way things happen in the real world and their expectations of what the speaker means. In addition, such knowledge and ex- pectations will be based heavily on culture-specific experience.

The dimensions of discourse structure we cover in this study include:
• discourse-pragmatic structuring of sentences
• foreground and background information and highlighting
• deixis in discourse
• logical relations between propositions
• the reporting of conversation
• participant reference and activation status of discourse referents

It is important to mention that for the main research topic of this dissertation Roberts’ (2009) application of D&L’s methodology to Persian is consulted. We apply this same methodology in this study of discourse structures in our Balochi text corpus.

1.6 Material

The language data used for this work are oral narratives. These narratives include folktales, fables, parables, real-based stories, and religious stories.
They are all third person narratives. The data were recorded during 2000 to 2005 in Sistan and transcribed phonemically into a Latin script presented in Tables 1.3 and 1.4. All the language examples in the dissertation are given in this phonological transcription. More than a hundred stories, ethnographic texts, classical and modern poetry, epics and common speech on various topics were recorded and transcribed. Out of this material, 25 oral texts have been used as linguistic data for the dissertation. The data are presented in the book in such a way as to make the corpus accessible also to researchers to other fields of linguistics than text linguistics and Iranian languages. Poetic texts were not included in the present study because of the peculiarities of the poetic language.

The data were recorded from several male informants aged between 40 to 60. They are from both Iranian and Afghan Sistan although the informants from Afghan Sistan are in the majority as they still continue the tradition of storytelling. All the informants were aware that their speech was recorded for an investigation of the Balochi language and folklore, and that the texts might be published later. Only one of the informants had an academic educa- tion and the others were either illiterate or had a traditional religious educa- tion, which means that they could read and write basic religious texts.

1.7 Layout of the study

Structurally this work is organized into eight chapters, a bibliography and two appendices. The present chapter, chapter one, is devoted to a brief ac- count of the classification of the Balochi language within the family of Irani- an languages, different approaches to dialect division of Balochi, previous research on BS, purpose, method and material used in the study. In the intro duction a short historical survey of the Baloch of Sistan as well as infor-mation about their settlements in the Sistan area are also given.
Chapter two introduces the reader to the discourse-pragmatic structuring of sentences in BS. In this chapter, concepts such as sentence articulation, left- dislocated elements, right-dislocated elements, and order of constituents in the clause in BS are discussed and exemplified. The discourse functions of these various marked constructions are also discussed. Chapter three shows how different syntactic devices can distinguish foreground and background information in BS oral texts. In this chapter some devices which are used in BS narratives for highlighting are also illustrated. Chapter four examines the deixis of time and place and how the concept of proximal and distal deixis applies across a range of deictic elements. In proximal deixis the report of the event is in some way near to the deictic centre of the event and in distal deixis the report of the event is distant to the deictic centre of the event.
Chapter five examines some basic connectives and how they link proposi- tions in the discourse context. Chapter six deals with represented speech. It is found that as well as direct and indirect reported speech, some examples of semi-direct speech occur in BS texts. Semi-direct speech has properties of both direct and indirect speech. Chapter seven illustrates how different par- ticipants are introduced into a discourse and how their activation status is signalled throughout the discourse. The three activation states discussed are active, accessible and inactive. An important analysis in this chapter is find- ing out what is the participant reference tracking strategy employed in BS discourse. Finally, the last chapter of the study presents conclusions from the presentation and discussions in the previous chapters.




2. Historically, Iranian Languages are divided into three periods: Old (before Alexander’s
invasion), Middle (after Alexander until the Arab invasion), and New (after the Arab invasion
until now).

3. [Retrieved 29
July 2010]

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Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Balochistan


Archaeological sites and monunents in Balochistan

1. Pirak mound, Village Kolachi, Kachhi.
2. Nindo Damb, Ornach Valley, Tehsil Wadh, Kalat.
3. Fort wall of Jalawar Pass, Jhalawar, Kharn.
4. Fort of Azad Khan (Kharan Fort), Kharan twon, Kharan.
5. Pally Kalat, Washbohi, Kharan.
6. Nauroze fort, Nauroze Kharan.
7. Aneient tomb, Jhalawar, Kharan.
8. Har-o-Goke, Garuk, Kharan.
9. Ancestral graveyard of Jam of Lasbella, Babrs, Lasbella.
10. Tomb of General Muhammad Ibn-e-Haroon, Bela town, Lasbella.
11. Tombs at Hinidan, Pir Mubarakm Lasbella.
12. Chowkhundi (Rumi) graves, Bhawani Sarai, 5 miles from Hub Chowki, Lasella.
13. Tordheri site, Tordheri, Loralai.
14. High cound, Dabarkot, Loralai.
15. Pre-historie mound, Harian Haider Zai, Loralai.
16. Damb Judeir or Judeir-jo-daro, Deh Jodher No.2 between Jhatpat and Dera Murad Jamali,
17. Mound No. 2, Village Samangali, west side of Airport, Quetta.
18. Mound No.1, Village Kotwal Near Killi Gul Muhammad, Quetta.
19. Mound No. 3, Damb Sadat, 14 miles from Quetta, Quetta.
20. Mound No. 5, Ahmad Khan Zai, Quetta.
21. Mound No. 6, Shahi Khan, near Pir Ballo or Sariab Road, Quetta.
22. Mound No. 7, Kachlak on Chaman Road, Quetta.
23. Mound NO. 8, Village Samali (Dosak-i-Khasyan), Quetta.
24. Mound No. 9, Village Metar Zai, Quetta.
25. Mound No. 10, Shaikh Manda on Chaman Road, Quetta.
26. Mound No. 11, Village Vauhisar, Quetta.
27. Quaid-i-Azam Residency Building, Ziarat, Sibi.
1. Fort of Miri
2. Fort of Tump
3. Fort of Turbat
4. Kech e Chennal
5. Koh e Murad

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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Balochistan


State of education in Balochistan

By: Mir Balach Baloch

In modern times, no government, and particularly an economically shattered country like Pakistan, could control a massive land and its people through outdated colonial policies and an oppressive regime

Pakistan’s strategic heartland and resource-rich province Balochistan is deprived and suffering from all types of social, political and economic crises. Unbearably mismanaged and misgoverned by Islamabad’s puppet leaders, Balochistan is only thriving in the field of institutional corruption, appalling human rights violations, mutilated corpses and endless political violence.

The major concerns of Balochistan are rarely mentioned and highlighted in the Pakistani media. Centuries-old perceptions and rhetoric coined by the colonial rulers and followed by the current establishment is widely repeated by the less-informed and mostly controlled media persons, journalists and TV anchors.

Along with other appalling issues, education in Balochistan has always been intentionally neglected by the federal and provincial puppet regimes. The recent spate of violence, started in 2001 and escalated into a full-fledged civil war during 2005, has unimaginably resulted in worsening meagrely available education resources and institutions.

Indiscriminate military operations, condemnable killings and intimidation of teachers by armed groups, a corrupt regime, daily protests, strikes and growing insecurity among the Baloch youth has resulted in a sharp decline in the quality of education.

Over the last six decades, the federal government very successfully and uninterruptedly established a security network consisting of naval bases, cantonments, airfields and strategic developments but when it comes to education, Islamabad’s colonial mindset always blames the Baloch people and so-called Sardars for the poor and outdated education network and facilities.

In the words of former Senator and Baloch leader, Sana Baloch: “How can a region progress when it has more soldiers than teachers, more garrisons than universities, more naval bases than science and research centres and more funds for extermination rather than training? In Balochistan today, the Frontier Corps (FC) cantonments outnumber colleges, there are more police stations than vocational training centres and more checkposts than government high schools.”

This is the exact cause of frustration among the Baloch youth that in this modern age Balochistan has all modern security arrangements but when it comes to its demand for just rights, education and graceful employment the same security institutions are being used to intimidate and torture them.

The poorly designed education system in the province is further destroying the life of thousands of students. At an early age, in the public schools they are compelled to read and write in Urdu, which is not even recognised at the provincial and federal public service structure. With 43 percent of the total national territory and vast natural resources, Balochistan happens to be the largest province of Pakistan. But the province has the lowest literacy rate.

The province also has the smallest number of educational institutions, according to the NES: “Out of the total number of institutions, 48 percent are to be found in the Punjab, 22 percent in Sindh, 17 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 5 percent in Balochistan.”

No doubt, students in Balochistan have eagerness and talent but lack of proper institutions, modern teaching techniques and guidance are stumbling blocks in their career. If the government of Pakistan is truly sincere and wants to win the hearts and minds of the Baloch people and particularly enraged youth, they have to focus and modernise Balochistan’s education system rather than the FC and police. They have to ensure slow but steady social change through education, not by force. They have to focus on recruiting more qualified teachers than soldiers, building modern schools and institutions rather than expending security networks.

In modern times, no government, and particularly an economically shattered country like Pakistan, could control a massive land and its people through outdated colonial policies and an oppressive regime.

The only way out of Balochistan’s appalling crisis is to develop a social and economic bond between the Baloch and the state by increasing the Baloch people and Baloch youth’s stake in the system. If the FC, Coast Guard, Navy, police and all government security consists of non-locals, what option and trust will the Baloch youth have in the state system?

Trust and respect must be mutual and investment in the social sector, particularly in modern education, and the security sector must be just and fair.

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Posted by on January 17, 2012 in Balochistan


A Brief History of Baluch Tribes

“…Such a system might work well so long as there was a strong ruler in Kalat, but once his power diminished, the natural result was civil war…”

R. Hughes-Buller, 1901

The tribes inhabiting Baluchistan came under the identical pressures influencing the tribes of Afghanistan during their violent histories. Living at the crossroads of Central Asia had one great disadvantage, and this involved the repeated and serial invasions by migrating tribes pressed from their original homelands and armies bent upon conquest. Generally, these invasions came from the west – along the same route of the tribal migrations. In southern Afghanistan, individual tribes began to organize themselves into larger aggregations in hopes of defending themselves against the repeated threats emerging from the west of their tribal areas. Only the armies of Alexander the Great entered the region using the “northern route,” and even he chose the more obvious southern route as his men struggled to depart from Central Asia. The terrain of the south, less the large desert areas, wasban ideal invasion route and army after army used it.
The Baluch tribes also migrated into the region from the west. Their traditions say they originated from the vicinity of Aleppo, Syria, while scholars studying comparative linguistics suggest their origin in an area of the Caspian Sea, possibly a waypoint with extended residence before being pressed further east by the arrival of more aggressive migrants. Regardless, the Baluch tribes were present in Baluchistan in 1000 A.D. and were mentioned in Firdausi’s book, Shahnamah (the Book of Kings), and like all invading armies they were described as being aggressive, “like battling rams all determined on war.”1
As the last of the migrating tribes to arrive, the Baluch had to displace or assimilate the tribes that were already present and occupying the land. Opposed by the powerful Brahui2 tribes, the Baluch were able to overcome them until an extended civil war broke out between the Rind and Lashari Baluch tribes which weakened them substantially.
After defeating the Brahui under their chief, Mir Chakar of the Rind tribe in approximately 1487, the Baluch kingdom was destroyed in the 30- year civil war between the Rind tribe and its rival, the Lasharis. The Baluch had expanded eastward as they spread into modern Pakistan’s Sind and North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) before being halted by the powerful Mughals of India. The names of Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan serve as reminders of the Baluch presence in these areas in the 16th century.3
Once they were weakened by civil war, the Baluch tribes fell under the control of the population they once defeated – the Brahui – whose leaders became the powerful Khans of Kalat. Any attempt at understanding of the Baluch tribes requires a careful review of the role played by the Brahui ethnic group. Kalat was well-positioned to divide the two large branches of the Baluch tribes, making them easier to control. To the north of the Brahui and Baluch tribes are broad areas under the control of the Pashtuns – the Kakar, Tarin, Pani, and the Shiranis that occupy Zhob, Quetta-Pishin, Loralai, and Sibi districts as well as the vicinity of Takht-i-Sulaiman.4
The presence of these martial tribes, combined with their allied tribes in Afghanistan, effectively blocked the weakened Baluch tribes from a northward expansion while the Khan of Kalat’s Brahui tribes kept them divided. And the Khans were also limited in options they might consider:
“The rulers of Kalat were never fully independent. There was always … a paramount power to whom they were subject. In the earliest times they were merely petty chiefs; later they bowed to the orders of the Mughal emperors of Delhi and to the rulers of Kandahar, and supplied men-atarms on demand. Most peremptory orders from the Afghan rulers to their vassals of Kalat are still extant, and the predominance of the Sadozais and Barakzais was acknowledged as late as 1838.”5
But the Brahui tribes, speaking Dravidian and not integrated within the Baluch tribes, were able to control the larger and warlike Baluch. More was involved than the Khan’s geographical location. British officer R. Hughes-Buller explained in a section of the 1901 Baluchistan gazetteer: “The Brahuis consist, in fact, of a number of confederated units… of heterogeneous and independent elements possessing common land and uniting from time to time for the purposes of offense or defence, but again disuniting after the necessity for unity has disappeared. “Thus the two bands which unite the confederacy are common land and common good and ill, which is another name for a common blood feud.
“At the head of the confederacy is the Khan, who, until recent times at any rate, appears to have been invested in the minds of the members of the confederacy with certain theocratic attributes, for it was formerly customary for a tribesman on visiting Kalat to make offerings at the Ahmadzai Gate before entering the town. Below the Khan, again, are the leaders of the two the two main divisions, who are the leaders of their particular tribes, and at the head of each tribe as a chief, who has below him his subordinate leaders of clans, sections, etc.
“Such a system might work well so long as there was a strong ruler in Kalat, but once his power diminished, the natural result was civil war…”6
The Brahui not only out-organized the Baluch tribes, they managed to form alliances that further strengthened them. First, they were allied with Persia’s Nadir Shah, then with Ahmad Shah Durrani during the Pashtun invasions of India, before forming an alliance with the British that left the Khans of Kalat in charge of Baluchistan until Pakistan gained its independence in 1947. But once the powerful and influential Khans were removed from their positions from which they controlled Baluchistan, R. Hughes-Buller’s prophecy became self-fulfilling as a series of civil wars and rebellions continued throughout Pakistan’s history.
Hughes-Buller also wrote that “…the welding together of the tribes now composing the Brahui confederacy into a homogeneous whole was a comparatively recent event…. Their traditions tell us that they acquired Kalat from the Baloch, and that they were assisted in doing so by the Raisanis and the Dehwars … the assistance given by the Raisanis is to be noted because the Raisanis are indisputably Afghans.”7
“Welding together tribes” and forming external alliances that allowed the Brahui Khan of Kalat and his forces to maintain significant levels of control over the larger, more populous Baluch and Pashtun tribes found in Baluchistan. Their position, alone, in Kalat allowed the Brahui to split the two large Baluch tribal divisions and this system provided much of the stability that made Baluchistan far more governable than nearby Afghanistan. In 1955, it all changed. Kalat had survived through its alliances, if not its outright subjugation to powerful external forces, such as Nadir Shah’s Persians, Ahmad Shah Durrani’s Pashtuns, and Robert Sandeman’s Imperial British Army, but the newly formed Pakistan was less reliable as an ally. As Pakistan’s ability to control its internal politics, its partially independent “states” were absorbed into Baluchistan to form one of Pakistan’s four provinces in 1955.8
Unfortunately, the “Iron Law of Unintended Consequences” resulted in increasing instability. This was predicted by Hughes- Buller in 1901 in his essay on the Brahui that appeared in the 1901 Baluchistan census: “So long as there was a strong leader in Kalat … once his power was diminished, the natural result was civil war.” More unfortunately, the increasing instability soon started to draw nearby Afghanistan into the political and military fray.
The key question that emerges is simple. If the British realized the importance of the Khans of Kalat in the tribal balance of power that was so critical to Baluchistan’s stability, why did Pakistan’s new rulers miss this? The removal of the stabilizing impact of the Khan of Kalat whose prestige and semi-theocratic influence left a power vacuum in the wake of this unfortunate decision that was soon filled by individual tribal leaders and Hughes-Buller’s “natural result” was not long in coming. Pakistan’s largest political grouping, those speaking Punjabi, were intent upon creating a modern nation-state and Baluchistan had ports and considerable natural resources that were unavailable elsewhere in new Pakistan. Independent states with ports and natural resources were not to be tolerated by the Punjabis.9
When the Brahui Khan of Kalat refused to join the newly created state of Pakistan in 1947, Kalat was swiftly occupied by Pakistan’s army in 1948 – provoking a first rebellion that was led by the Khan’s brother, Prince Karim Khan.10 Unfortunately, nearby Afghanistan was landlocked, lacked the region surrounding Gwadar port, an area ruled by Oman at the time. Equally unfortunate for future Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, Prince Karim Khan and his followers relocated into sanctuaries within Afghanistan’s nearby Kandahar Province. Relations between the ancient state of Afghanistan and the new country of Pakistan had already been poisoned by demands for the creation of Pashtunistan, a vassal state for the Afghans that would have stretched from today’s North-West Frontier Province’s northern limits southward to the Arabian Sea. These conflicting claims developing over Baluchistan resulted in Pakistanis becoming increasingly angry as Afghanistan’s Durrani monarchy began to refer to the region as “South Pashtunistan.” Prince Karim Khan’s arrival in Afghanistan did little to settle the frayed nerves among Pakistan’s new and inexperienced leadership.11
Prince Karim Khan’s short-lived revolt failed because of his inability to attract foreign support for the creation of an independent Baluchistan.
Britain worked to ensure that Pakistan remained stable while the Afghan royal government remained unable to support Karim Khan alone. Stalin’s Soviet Union remained interested, but was non-committal because they felt the greater opportunity for Soviet expansion lay with Pakistan. As a result, Karim Khan was forced to return to Kalat where he continued his rebellion until he and his small group of followers were captured and jailed – by Pakistanis. In the wake of this unsuccessful revolt, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan became increasingly bitter and as Pakistan’s Punjabis took greater control of Baluchistan’s resources, the Baluch tribes began to build grievances – toward Pakistan. Unfortunately, seeds of a lasting type were being sown in very fertile tribal soil. Now the significantly weakened Brahui tribes were no longer able to act as a buffer between the Baluch tribes while tense relations between old Afghanistan and new Pakistan grew to the point that reconciliation was unlikely to occur. On one side, Afghanistan wanted to see the creation of “Greater Pashtunistan” that would provide both resources and access to ports for the landlocked nation while Pakistan knew the Afghan goal would result in the loss of half of their national territory, leaving its two remaining provinces, Punjab and Sind, unable to survive economically – and militarily. Pakistan had just fought its first war with India and the concept of “Greater Pashtunistan” became a lasting national survival issue for Pakistan.
This situation worsened as Pakistan’s dominant population, the Punjabis, began to complain that Baluchistan comprised 40 percent of Pakistan’s territory, but contained only four percent of its total population. Baluchistan’s tribes failed to recognize the Punjabi logic as a series of rebellions continued, culminating – to date – in a four-year outbreak of fighting in which Pakistan’s new army engaged the Baluch tribes that once fought a 30- year civil war among themselves.
Another careful observer of tribal behavior, British officer C. E. Bruce who spent 35 years in the region following his father’s 35 years, provided useful insights into the relationship between the tribes and the emerging town-based and generally “de-tribalized” inhabitants:
“…the politically minded of the official class, to which must be added the ‘middlemen,’ as well as the ‘intelligentsia,’ were jealous of the tribal leaders. ‘They looked upon them as revolutionaries and against the interests and aspirations of the educated classes.’ For, as Sir Henry Dobbs pointed out, ‘Civil officials are mostly educated Orientals brought up in towns, who have a great dislike and suspicion of the tribes, the tribal organization, and the tribal chiefs, and more often than not are out to destroy them by every means in their power.’ Written of Irak [sic], it was equally true of the frontier.”12

Bruce also wrote about the position of the tribal leaders regarding the growing animosity with the emerging town elites:
“Up to now you have always worked through us. Just because a man can read and write it does not necessarily mean that he is a better man or that he can control our tribes better than we can. Yet these are the men you are putting over our heads and deferring to. And what have been the results?”13
Here lies the clue to understanding the tension between the rural tribes and the urban classes, led by Pakistan’s Punjabis, as they looked at the land and resources under the control of tribal chiefs from the Baluch and Pashtun ethnic groups. The process controlled by the urban elites that began in 1947 is still underway that was described by C. E. Bruce:
“…more often than not are out to destroy them by every means in their power.”
By 1973, Pakistan’s government had run to the limits of their patience with the Baluch tribes. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto imposed central rule, arrested the principal Baluch leaders, and ordered 70,000 troops into the province. A student of Baluchistan’s politica, Selig Harrison, wrote accurately about this stage of the Baluch rebellion:
“At the height of the fighting in late 1974, American-supplied Iranian combat helicopters, some of them manned by Iranian pilots, joined the Pakistani Air Force in raids on Baluch guerrilla camps. These AH-1J Huey-Cobra helicopters provided the key to victory in a crucial battle at Chamakung in early September when a force of 17,000 guerrillas of the Marri tribe, one of the 27 major Baluch subdivisions, were decimated. “… Allowing for distortion by both sides, nearly 55,000 Baluch were fighting in late 1974, some 11,500 of them in organized, hard core units. At least 3,300 Pakistani military men and 5,300 Baluch guerrillas as well as hundreds of women and children caught in the crossfire, were killed in the four year war…. “Although military conflict between the Baluch and the central government dates from the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the wanton use of superior firepower by the Pakistani and Iranian forces during the 1973-1977 conflict instilled in the Baluch feelings of unprecedented resentment and a widespread hunger for a chance to vindicate their martial honor.”14
By this time, Baluch guerrillas had been allowed to shelter in Afghanistan, once again implicating the Afghan government in the eyes of Pakistan’s leaders. But the impact was greatest on the Baluch tribes, especially the Marri tribe that suffered a military defeat and heavy losses at the hands of the Pakistani and Iranian air forces – that flew American helicopters. For the Baluch tribes, not only was their tribal territory now split and occupied by Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan, instead of becoming Greater Baluchistan, their resources were now being appropriated for use in Pakistan’s larger provinces, Sind and Punjab.
One of the Baluch leaders predicted the future from his safe haven in Afghanistan:
“If we can get modern weapons,” said guerrilla leader Mir Hazar at the Kalat-i-Ghilzai base camp in southern Afghanistan, “it will never again be like the last time…. Next time we will choose the time and place, and we will take help where we can get it….”15

Low level insurgent operations continued until 2005 when an event occurred to galvanize the Baluch tribes into action. A female Baluch doctor was raped by four Pakistani soldiers guarding the Sui gas fields at Dera Bugti. Instead of the Marri tribe attacking Pakistani forces, this time it wasthe Baluch Bugti tribe doing the fighting.16 Time magazine provided details:
“In Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, nothing is held in higher regard than a woman’s honor, and the allegations of rape have the rough-and-tumble province, rich with natural gas fields, up in arms literally. Baluch tribesmen have attacked a refinery and pumping station at the Sui gas fields, have sabotaged the pipeline that sends the natural gas to the rest of Pakistan, have blown up railway lines, and have rocketed the provincial capital, Quetta. In response, President Pervez Musharraf has
sent 4,500 paramilitary troops, backed by 20 tanks and nine helicopter gunships, to Baluchistan to try to restore order. It will be a tricky mission. ‘This could be our last battle,’ Baluch tribal chieftain Attaullah Khan Mengal told Time. ‘At the end of it, either their soldiers will be standing alive, or we will.’ “…Workers at PPL reported the incident to Akbar Khan Bugti, the Nawab (or ruler) of the powerful Bugti clan. He says they told him the assailants were four soldiers in the Pakistani army. (Government troops protect the gas facilities.) Says the Nawab: ‘This gang rape took place on our land, in our midst. It has blackened our name.’ “The Nawab says he is taking the woman’s violation personally, and he can muster 4,000 armed men to back him up. Other leaders from the Mengal and Marri tribes have vowed to join him in his campaign for justice.”17
Soon, Akbar Bugti and some Marri leaders were killed in attacks by the Pakistani military. A Pakistani newspaper reported the details, but left out the reason for the revolt, the rape of the Baluch doctor:
“Nawabzada Baramdagh Bugti, grandson of Nawab Bugti, was among the dead but Agha Shahid Bugti said he couldn’t confirm the report. A private TV channel said that Mir Balaach Khan Marri was also killed in the operation. However, the report could not be confirmed. Mr. Durrani also said that Nawab Akbar Bugti had been killed along with two of his grandsons, adds Online.
“According to the sources, security forces started the operation in Bhambhoor area three days ago using heavy weapons and helicopter gunships. On Saturday, the sources said, more troops were inducted into the operation and helicopter gunships shelled the area throughout the day. “The sources said that helicopter gunships targeted the Chalgri area of Bhambhoor mountains and dropped troops who took action in the area. Armed militants of Marri and Bugti tribes resisted the troops and heavy fighting was reported for several hours.”18
And the survivors of the Pakistani raid? As usual, they went across the border into Afghanistan’s sanctuaries in what may be an implicit warning by the Afghan government to the Pakistanis to halt their alleged support for the Taliban insurgency or face a Baluch insurgency quietly supported by Afghanistan. Akbar Bugti’s grandson19 and probable heir, Brahmdakh Bugti, took the usual route into the safety across the border, but this only adds
to the tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan while both the Bugti and Marri tribes took casualties from the Pakistani army attacks. This will ensure a ready supply of antagonized militant tribesmen who will be available to rally to support the first charismatic leader to emerge against the Pakistan government that remained determined “more often than not are out to destroy them by every means in their power,” as C. E. Bruce’s words became prophetic. He knew that the “middlemen” living in towns believed that tribes must be eliminated as social organizations if new nation states are to survive and his prophecy is clearly playing out in Baluchistan.
The dictum “more often than not are out to destroy them by every means in their power” appears to have played itself out as well among the Brahui since they seem to have vanished from the tribal and political scene. The very ethnic group that assembled a powerful confederation to control the Baluch tribes is no longer a major participant and is usually reported as being assimilated into the Baluch tribes. There was no doubt in the reports filed by R. G. Sandeman in 1869:
“…with reference to the present disturbed state of Khelat, and the effect it has on the Khan’s hill subjects, the Murrees, Boogtees, &c…. The whole of Beloochistan, from Humund (a town of Dera Ghazee Khan) to the sea, was under the sway of Nurseer Khan of Khelat, a chief noted for his justice and prowess. He kept the Murrees, Boogtees, and other tribes resident along the Kafila route from Central Asia, as in good order as he did the people of the plains….”20
Another report showed the authority of the Khans of Kelat:
“…Still there is the fact … that the Shum Plain belongs chiefly to the Murrees and Boogtees (nominal subjects of the Khan of Khelat….”21
But all of the tribal balance of power shifted dramatically when the Pakistanis absorbed Kalat. The last Brahui leader, Ahmad Yar Khan, declared Kalat independent in 1947 and Pakistan’s army occupied Kalat and forced the Khan to sign the accession documents.22 Since then, the Brahui influence in Baluchistan has nearly vanished and observers of the slowly evolving insurgency in Baluchistan should remember the following:
“Such a system might work well so long as there was a strong ruler in Kalat, but once his power diminished, the natural result was civil war…”

The Baluch
(Baloch, Balooch, Beluch, Biluch)
Tribal Structure
The Baluch ethnic group is comprised of approximately 15-25 independent units, more akin to confederations than tribes. Baluch tribal hierarchies are somewhat loosely defined, being based more on alliance and location than tribal identity. Largely independent from one another, each tribe recognizes a clear internal hierarchical structure, a characteristic that differentiates the Baluch from the more egalitarian neighboring Pashtun tribes. This hierarchic structure greatly impacts Baluch tribal unity and interaction with other groups. The Baluch have traditionally been more responsive to both internal and external authority and more willing to incorporate outsiders than Pashtun tribes.
The Baluch are broadly divided into eastern and western linguistic groupings with the Brahui ethnic group falling between. The western Baluch tribes, referred to as Mekrani Baluch after the Mekran region, is the smaller of the two and includes those tribes located in Mekran Division, Kharan District of Kalat Division, Chagai District of Quetta Division in Baluchistan, and those living in southeastern Iran and southwestern Afghanistan. Most of the tribes of the eastern grouping, referred to as Sulaimani Baluch after the Sulaiman Range, are located primarily in Sibi Division, Baluchistan.
Others live in Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan, and large numbers live outside Baluchistan in Punjab and Sindh Provinces. A few also live in the North-West Frontier Province. The western or plains Baluch have historically been seen as more peaceful than the eastern or hill Baluch.
The British who dealt with the Baluch from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s saw both the western and eastern Baluch as easier to manage than the Pashtun tribes to the north and northeast. Stereotypes of the independent, egalitarian Pashtun with a strong sense of Pashtun identity contrast with those of the less independent, more hierarchical Baluch who mix more freely with other tribes. The stereotypes still exist, even among the Baluch and
Pashtuns themselves. Pashtun tribes usually claim descent from a common ancestor and recognize a familial-like bond within their division, clan, and tribe. They also recognize a very strict common set of characteristics that make one a Pashtun, including speaking Pashtu and following the Pashtun code or Pashtunwali. The Baluch on the other hand define their tribe according to more political and geographic criteria: loyalty to an authority and common location. Anyone choosing to live under the authority of the tribal chief can be considered a part of the tribe. An outsider wishing to join a Baluch tribe or section first moves into a Baluch tribe’s area, shares in the tribe’s good and ill fortune, is eventually able to obtain tribal land, and is fully admitted upon marrying a woman from the tribe.
The tendency of Baluch tribes to take on outside groups or members, and likewise for groups or members to leave one tribe for another, makes establishing a basis for a tribal hierarchy difficult. One often encounters the same sub-element split between two or more tribes. To further complicate matters, elements sometimes change their names or take on the name of their host, even in the case where they are not ethnically Baluch. In many parts of Baluchistan, it is popular to be considered a Baluch, so non-Baluch will sometimes take on Baluch tribal names, and after many years, may become considered as such. For example, Gichkis, Khetrans, and Nausherwanis are considered to be of non-Baluch origin (Khetrans do not even speak Baluchi), and yet multiple sources list them as Baluch in tribal hierarchies.

The structure within each Baluch tribe follows a more or less common pattern:23

I. Tuman/Toman (Tribe):
The Baluch are divided into tumans led by a tumandar/ tomandar (chief).24 The term tuman also refers to a Baluch village.

A. Para/Phara (Clan): Tumans are divided into paras led by a mukadum/ mukadam (headman or chief).

1. Pali/Phalli (Sept or Division): Paras are divided into palis led by a headman, sometimes called a wadera.

a. Family: Palis are sometimes further divided into family groups led by the head of the family, sometimes called a motabar.
A grouping called a sub-tuman occurs in some cases between tuman and para and is a large clan or sub-tribe, having its own significant sections akin to clans. Examples of these are the Haddiani clan of the Leghari tribe, the Durkani and Lashari clans of the Gurchani tribe, the Ghulmani clan of the Buzdar tribe, the Shambani clan of the Bugti tribe, and the Mazarani clan of the Marri tribe.
According to legend, when the Baluch first arrived in Baluchistan, they were united under one headman, one Jalal Khan, but soon split either along ancestral lines or based on which headman they chose to follow as they spread north and east across Baluchistan. Some sources indicate the Baluch are essentially made up of three or five main tribal groupings, though these vary according to the source. Some list the Narui, Rind, and Magzi, some the Rind, Magzi, and Lashari, and some the Rind, Hot, Lashari, Kaheri, and Jatoi.25 In addition to these, there were several other unaffiliated Baluch tribes. These divisions seem to serve little purpose today. Though a Baluch tribe may hearken back to their Rind or Lashari origins, they are independent of these tribes.

Analysis of multiple sources indicates the following are the primary Baluch tribes in Pakistan:26


Bugti (aka Bughti): An eastern Baluch tribe located almost exclusively in Dera Bugti District of Sibi Division, Baluchistan. A few also live in Sibi District of Sibi Division and Barkhan District of Zhob Division. The Bugtis, along with the Marris, Dombkis, and Jakranis, are known as the “hill tribes” and have historically been more independent and warlike than the rest of the Baluch. In the past they raided their neighbors, including those in Sindh and Punjab Provinces, and were the most troublesome Baluch tribes for the British. Today the Marri and Bugti tribes lead the Baluch nationalist movement, along with the Mengal Brahuis. As of 1951, there were approximately 31,000 Bugtis..

Buledi (aka Boledi, Bolidi, Buledhi, Bulethi, Burdi): Originally located near the coasts of Iran and Pakistan, the Buledi moved north and east into Kalat Division, Baluchistan and northern Sindh, near the Indus River, having been pushed out of Mekran by the Gichki tribe. Some likely remained in Sistan va Baluchestan Province, Iran and Mekran Division, Baluchistan. Most sources list the Buledi as belonging to the eastern Baluch, but some list them as western. One source lists them as a Rind clan. As of 1951, there were approximately 12,500 Buledis.

Buzdar (aka Bozdar): Located in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab. The Buzdars are of Rind descent, but have become an independent tribe.

Chandia (aka Chandya): Located primarily between the Indus River in Sindh and the Baluchistan border where they have reportedly assimilated with the local inhabitants. They also reside in Dera Ismail Khan District of the North-West Frontier Province and Muzaffargarh District, Punjab. They may have originally been a Leghari Baluch clan.

Baghdar/Bhand/Brahmani/Dinari/DirKhani/Fattwani/Gabol/Galatta/Galoi/Ghaziari/Gishkaun/ Gurgel/Hara/Jekrani/Jumnani/Khosa/Lashari/Mirozai/Muhammandani/Shabkor/Singiani/Sohriani/Talani/Wazirani.
Dombki (aka Domki, Dumki): An eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in the vicinity of Lahri in Bolan District of Nasirabad Division,Baluchistan, but also found in Sindh. The Dombkis are hill tribes, and like the Marri and Bugti, carried out raids against their neighbors up to the late 1800s. The Dombki, Marri, Bugti, and Jakrani tribes often feuded with and raided one another, but sometimes allied against other tribes or the British. Dombkis are reputedly the storytellers of the Baluch and the recorders of Baluch genealogy. As of 1951, there were approximately 14,000 Dombkis.

Drishak: Located primarily in the vicinity of Asni in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab. The plains tribes between the eastern border of Baluchistan and the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh, including the Drishaks, Gurchanis, Lunds, and Mazaris, suffered most from the raids conducted by the hill tribes, the Bugtis, Dombkis, Jakranis, and Marris. The plains tribes generally cooperated with the British who controlled Punjab and Sindh
from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s.

Gichki (aka Ghichki): A western Baluch tribe located primarily in Panjgur District of Mekran Division, Baluchistan. The Gichkis are not ethnically Baluch, likely originating in Sindh or India as Sikhs or Rajputs, but now speak Baluchi and have become assimilated into the Baluch. The Gichki likely also absorbed a number of smaller Baluch tribes in the Mekran region. The Gichki reportedly entered Mekran around the end of the 17th century and, though a small tribe, by inter-marrying and using other tribal militias, soon became a powerful tribe in the area. In the late 1700s, the Brahui Khan of Kalat seized control of the Mekran region, but allowed the Gichki chiefs to manage it as a state within the Khanate. In the late 1800s,
the Nausherwanis, who had entered western Baluchistan from Iran and settled in Kharan District of Kalat Division, expanded into Mekran, reducing Gichki power until the British checked their advances. As of 1951, there were approximately 3,500 Gichkis.


Gurchani (aka Garshani, Gorchani, Gurcshani): Located in the vicinity of Lalgarh, near Harrand in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab. They are reportedly originally descended from the Dodai, a once important tribe that no longer exists. The Gurchani tribe has over time absorbed elements of the Buledi, Lashari, and Rind Baluch. The plains tribes between the eastern border of Baluchistan and the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh, including
the Drishaks, Gurchanis, Lunds, and Mazaris, suffered most from the raids conducted by the hill tribes, the Bugtis, Dombkis, Jakranis, and Marris.
The plains tribes generally cooperated with the British who controlled Punjab and Sindh from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s.

Hot (aka Hut): Located primarily in central Mekran Division, Baluchistan, but also found in the vicinity of Bampur in Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran. They are a significant tribe in both areas. According to legend, they are one of the five original Baluch tribes, descended from Jalal Khan, the others being the Jatoi, Kaheri, Lashari, and Rind tribes, though others say they are the aboriginal inhabitants of the Mekran region and are not ethnic Baluch.

Jamali: Babar/Bhandani/Dhoshli/Manjhi/Mundrani/Pawar/Rehanwala/Sahriani/Shahaliani/ Shahalzal/Taharani/Tingiani/Waswani/Zanwrani.
Jamali: An eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in northern Sindh, but also found in Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan, on the border between Baluchistan and Sindh. As of the late 1800s, they were reported to be a small, poor tribe of farmers and herders, numbering about 2,500. As of 1951, there were approximately 15,000 Jamalis.

Jatoi (aka Jatui): A wide-ranging Baluch tribe located in the following areas: Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan; Dera Ghazi Khan, Lahore and Muzaffargarh Districts, Punjab; Dera Ismail Khan, North-West Frontier Province; and northern Sindh. According to one source, they are no longer a coherent tribe but are spread among other Baluch tribes. According to legend, they are one of the five original Baluch tribes, descended from Jalal Khan, the others being the Hot, Kaheri, Lashari, and Rind tribes.

Kaheri (aka Kahiri): A small, eastern Baluch tribe located in Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan. According to legend, they are one of the five original Baluch tribes, descended from Jalal Khan, the others being the Hot, Jatoi, Lashari, and Rind tribes.

Kasrani (aka Kaisrani, Qaisarani, Qaisrani): Located in the Sulaiman Range along the northwestern border of Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab. The most northerly of their clans resides on the border of Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan District, North-West Frontier Province. They are reported to be originally descended from the Rind tribe.

Khetran: The Khetran tribe is not Baluch and so is not included in the Baluch tree, but they are closely associated with the Baluch and warrant some mention. Like the Gichki, they are thought to be of Indian origin, but unlike the Gichki who have taken on the Baluchi language, the Khetran speak an Indian dialect akin to Sindhi and Jatki. Some sources class the Khetran among the Baluch hill tribes, as they formerly shared the same propensity for raiding as the Bugtis, Dombkis, Jakranis, and Marris. The Khetrans allied with the Bugtis against the Marris when conflicts arose, though conflicts and alliances among hill tribes were short-lived. As of 1951, there were approximately 19,500 Khetrans.


Khosa (aka Kosah): An eastern Baluch tribe located in Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan, Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab, and in the vicinity of Jacobabad in northern Sindh. Some sources list them as a Rind clan, though one source claims they are of Hot descent. As of 1951, there were approximately 11,300 Khosas.

Alkai/Bhangrani/Chuk/Dinari/Goharamani/Gulllanzai/Mianzai/Sumrani/ Muhammadani/SPachi/Tajani/Tawakalani/Tumpani/Wasuwani.
Lashari (aka Chahi, Lashar, Lishari): An eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in Baluchistan, but also found in small numbers in the vicinity of Bampur in Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran. According to legend, they are one of the five original Baluch tribes, descended from Jalal Khan, the others being the Hot, Jatoi, Kaheri, and Rind tribes. The Rinds and Lasharis, originally enemies, allied and conquered the indigenous populations of modern Kalat, Nasirabad, and Sibi Divisions in the 16th century. As of 1951, there were approximately 11,000 Lasharis.

Leghari (aka Lagaori, Lagari, Laghari): Located primarily in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab, but also found in Barkhan District of Zhob Division, Baluchistan and possibly in northern Sindh. According to one source, the Leghari are a Rind Baluch clan.

Lund (aka Lundi): Located primarily in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab. The Lund is a large tribe divided into two sub-tribes, one located at Sori and the other in Tibbi. The Sori Lunds are more numerous than the Tibbi Lunds. The plains tribes between the eastern border of Baluchistan and the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh, including the Drishaks, Gurchanis, Lunds, and Mazaris, suffered most from the raids conducted by the hill tribes, the Bugtis, Dombkis, Jakranis, and Marris. The plains tribes generally cooperated with the British who controlled Punjab and Sindh from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s.

Magzi: Ahmadani/Bhutani/Chandraman/Hasrani/Hisbani/Jaghirani/Jattak/Katyar/Khatohal/ Khosa/Lashari/Marri/Mughemani/Mugheri/Nindani/Nisbani/Rahajs/Rawatani/Sakhani/
Magzi (aka Magasi, Magassi, Maghzi, Magsi): An eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in Jhal Magsi District of Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan. The Magzi were historically farmers but occasionally committed raids against neighbors. They, along with the Rinds, accepted the authority of the Khan of Kalat in the late 1700s. The Magzis and Rinds, who border one another occasionally, feuded in the past. The Magzis, though fewer in number, defeated the Rinds in 1830. As of 1951, there were approximately 17,300 Magzis.

Marri (aka Mari): An eastern Baluch tribe located almost exclusively in Kohlu District of Sibi Division, Baluchistan; some also reside in northern Kalat and Nasirabad Divisions in the Bolan Pass area. The Marris, along with the Bugtis, Dombkis, and Jakranis are known as the “hill tribes” and have historically been more independent and warlike than the rest of the Baluch. In the past they raided their neighbors, including those in Sindh and Punjab Provinces, and were the most troublesome Baluch tribes according to the British. Today the Marri and Bugti tribes lead the Baluch nationalist movement, along with the Mengal Brahuis. As of 1951, there were approximately 38,700 Marris.

Mazari: An eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in the vicinity of Rojhan in southern Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab, and between the Indus River and the border of Sibi Division, Baluchistan in northern Sindh. The plains tribes between the eastern border of Baluchistan and the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh, including the Drishaks, Gurchanis, Lunds, and Mazaris, suffered most from the raids conducted by the hill tribes, Bugtis, Dombkis, Jakranis, and Marris. The plains tribes generally cooperated with the British who controlled Punjab and Sindh from the mid-1800s to mid- 1900s. Prior to British rule, the Mazaris were known as “pirates of the Indus” because of attacks they conducted and fees they extorted from traders on the river. Most recently, following the rape of a female doctor at the Sui gas facility in 2005, the Bugti, Marri, Mazari, and Mengal Brahuis joined forces and attacked the facility, resulting in gas shortages throughout Pakistan.

Nausherwani (aka Naosherwani, Nawshirvani): The Nausherwani tribe is not Baluch and so is not included in the Baluch tree, but they are closely associated with the Baluch and warrant some mention. Their origins are obscure, but they have now fully merged with the Baluch. They primarily inhabit Kharan District of Kalat Division, Baluchistan and Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran. The Nausherwanis, who nominally fell under the authority of the Khan of Kalat, were the most powerful tribe in the Kharan area as of the early 1900s. Around that time the British checked their efforts to expand south into the Mekran region.

Rakhshani (aka Bakhshani, Rakshani, Rekhshani): A western Baluch tribe located in Kharan District of Kalat Division and Chagai District of Quetta Division, Baluchistan and along the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan. There are also Rakhshanis in eastern Baluchistan, Sindh, and Iran. Some list the Rakhshani as a Rind Baluch clan and others as a Brahui tribe.27 The Rakhshanis of Kharan were loyal to the Khan of Kalat and well-disposed toward the British as of the early 1900s. As of 1951, there were approximately 35,000 Rakhshanis.

Rind: The Rind is a western Baluch tribe. Their headquarters is reportedly in Shoran in Jhal Magsi District of Nasirabad Division, but they are also located in Quetta and Mekran Divisions in Baluchistan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, and Multan Districts in Punjab, and Dera Ismail Khan District in North-West Frontier Province. Many other Baluch tribes claim to be Rinds or descended from Rinds. Many of those listed as Rinds are now completely independent and have long-since moved away from the Rind core. This could account for sources reporting such a wide geographic distribution of the tribe. According to legend, the Rind tribe is one of the five original Baluch tribes, descended from Jalal Khan, the others being the Hot, Jatoi, Kaheri, and Lashari tribes. The Rinds and Lasharis, originally enemies, allied and conquered the indigenous populations of modern Kalat, Nasirabad, and Sibi Divisions in the 16th century. They, along with the Magzis, accepted the authority of the Khan of Kalat in the late 1700s. The Magzis and Rinds, who border one another, occasionally feuded in the past. The Magzis, though fewer in number, defeated the Rinds in 1830. As of 1951, there were approximately 26,400 Rinds.

Umrani: A small eastern Baluch tribe located primarily in Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan. Some may also live between the Indus River and eastern border of Baluchistan in Sindh. As of 1951, there were approximately 2,400 Umranis.

The Baluch in Afghanistan for the most part have different names and groupings from those in Baluchistan and are not usually included in the Baluch tribal lists provided by British sources from the 1800s and 1900s. The only Baluch tribe tha seems to inhabit territory on both sides of the border is the Rakhshani. The Baluch in Afghanistan are mostly nomads living primarily in Nimruz Province, along the banks of the Helmand River and on the western border of Afghanistan between Kala-i-Fath and Chakhansur (Zaranj). Some sources place them all along the southern border of Afghanistan in Nimruz, Helmand, and Kandahar Provinces, with small pockets farther north in Farah, Badghis, and Jowzjan Provinces. The following are the most commonly mentioned Baluch tribes in Afghanistan:28



Gorgeg (aka Gargeg, Ghurchij, Gorgaiz, Gorget, Gurgech, Gurgeech, Gurgich): Located in southern Afghanistan along the Helmand River. According to one source, the Gurgech (Gorgeg) are a section of the Rakhshani Baluch.

Kashani: Located in southern Afghanistan along the Helmand River.


Mamasani (aka Muhammad Hasani, Muhumsani): Located in southern Afghanistan along the Helmand River and in Farah Province. There are also some Mamasani located in Mekran Division, Baluchistan, Pakistan, but their relationship to one another is unclear.

Nahrui: Located in southern Afghanistan.

Rakshani: Gurgech/Jianzai/Sarai/Usbakzai.
Rakhshani (aka Bakhshani, Rakshani, Rekhshani): Located in southern Afghanistan. They are divided into the following sections: Badini, Jamaldini, Gurgeh, Jianzai, Usbakzai, Saruni, Betakzai, Sarai, and Kalagani.

Reki (aka Rek, Rigi, Riki): According to legend, the Reki remained behind in Persia (Iran) when the majority of the Baluch tribes moved into Baluchistan. Many still remain in Iran, but according to one source, some live in central Baluchistan, Pakistan, and southern Afghanistan.


Sanjarani (aka Sinjarani): Located in southern Afghanistan in Nimruz and Helmand Provinces, along the Helmand Valley. The Sanjarani Baluch claim to have originally come from Baluchistan about 1800. Some are also located in Iran.

The following are Baluch tribes in Sistan va Baluchestan Province, Iran:29


Baranzai: Located in Sistan va Baluchestan. They may be of Pashtun origin.


Damani: Located in Sistan va Baluchestan. The Damani are divided into the Gamshadzai and Yarmuhammadzai sections. Some may also be located in Baluchistan, Pakistan.


Located in along the coast in Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran and also in Mekran Division, Baluchistan, Pakistan. As of 1923, they were reported to be the largest Baluch tribe living in Iran. Many of them were nomadic.


Ismailzai: Located in Sistan va Baluchestan. Most are nomadic. The Reki tribe borders them to the east. They are noted to be stricter in their religious observances than their neighbors.

Kurd (aka Kurt): The Kurds are thought to be identifiable with the Kurds currently located in northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and southern Turkey. They were reportedly induced (presumably by the Shah of Persia) to settle in Sarhad, Sistan va Baluchestan in order to keep the Baluch in check. However, they got along relatively well with the Baluch and conducted raids against Persian as well as Baluch territory. While acknowledging their Kurdish origins, they now refer to themselves as Baluch.

Lashari: The Lasharis are a well-known Baluch tribe in Baluchistan, Pakistan, but some are nomadic and live in Iran around Bampur in Sistan va Baluchestan, Iran. The relationship between the Lasharis in Iran and Pakistan is unknown.


Nausherwani: Though not originally a Baluch tribe, some sources list the Nausherwanis as such or as a Rind Baluch clan. The Nausherwanis listed as Baluch lived in Sistan va Baluchestan as of 2003. They enjoyed close ties to the Nausherwanis in Baluchistan, Pakistan.


Rais: Located primarily along the Iranian coast in Sistan va Baluchestan. Some also live in Mekran Division along the Pakistan coast in Baluchistan.

Reki: Natuzai.
Reki (aka Rek, Rigi, Riki): As of the late 1800s, the Reki were said to be numerous and scattered over southern Iran and between Kuh-i-Taftan Mountain and the Helmand River. They were primarily herders. Reki are also located in Afghanistan, but their relationship with the Iranian Reki is unknown.

Taukhi: Gurgich/Jamaizai/Saruni.
Taukhi: Located in Sistan va Baluchestan. Many of the Baluch tribes in Iran hearken back to Taukhi origins. It is unclear if Taukhi is a separate tribe or a hereditary group encompassing several tribes.


According to tradition and historical evidence, the Baluch entered their present territory from the west—some legends claim from as far west as Syria—arriving in Mekran in approximately the 7th century. From there they spread north into Kalat Division and east into Sindh and Punjab Provinces. They currently inhabit parts of Baluchistan, Sindh, and Punjab Provinces, Pakistan, parts of southeastern Iran, and parts of southern and northwestern Afghanistan. Some also live in the Middle East, and some may live in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Pashtun tribes border them on the north and northeast, Punjabis and Sindhis on the east, and Persians on the west. The Brahui ethnic group, residing in Kalat Division, interrupts the Baluch tribal extent within Baluchistan. Most Baluch practice limited nomadism, though some are settled agriculturalists. The Baluch inhabit an area that varies geographically from mountains, to plains, to deserts, and climatically from semi-arid to hyper-arid. As of 1981, approximately half of the Baluch resided in Baluchistan Province. A high percentage resided in Punjab and Sindh Provinces and Sistan va Baluchestan Province, Iran, and fewer lived in Nimruz, Helmand, Badghis, and Jowzjan Provinces, Afghanistan and the North- West Frontier Province, Pakistan. Some have migrated to the Middle East, primarily to Oman, and Baluch speakers can be found in Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. As of the early 1900s, one quarterof the population of Sindh Province was estimated to be Baluch. As of the late 1800s, the Baluch held most of Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab Province. However, as of the early 1900s, the Baluch living to the east of the Indus River in Sindh and Punjab no longer spoke the Baluchi language and had more or less assimilated with their neighbors.
Traditionally, many Baluch were nomadic herders who practiced limited agriculture. Though
cultivation has increased with improved irrigation, many Baluch, especially in the Chagai area of Quetta Division, are still nomads. As of the early 1900s, most Baluch in Zhob Division were nomads, though they were beginning to acquire land. Even settled Baluch tend to view themselves as a nomadic people, the term “Baluch” often being used to refer to nomads in general. During times of droughts, normally settled Baluch might migrate to a more prosperous tribal area, where they would receive assistance from fellow tribesmen. Nomadic Baluch live in blanket tents called ghedans/gedans/gidans, made of goat hair and
generally consisting of 11 pieces, about three feet wide by 15-24 feet long. The pieces are stitched together and stretched over curved wooden poles.
Wealthy families use a separate ghedan to shelter their livestock, but most families live with their animals in the same ghedan. A group of ghedans constituted a tuman. Some hill nomads live in small groups in three to four-foot high loose stone enclosures covered by a temporary roof of matting or leaves. The Kachhi Plain in Nasirabad Division is a common winter residence for nomadic Baluch, Brahui, and other tribes.

The Baluch have at one time occupied, and likely continue to occupy, the following areas:

Badghis Province:
As of the late 1800s, there were approximately 650 families of Baluch who claimed to have moved there from Baluchistan Province..

Farah Province:
The Mamasani Baluch resided in Farah Province as of the early 1900s.

Helmand Province:
Most Baluch live along the Helmand River. – Deshu.

Jowzjan Province:
A very small number of Baluch lived in Jowzjan Province as of the late 1800s. – Shebergan.

Kandahar Province

Nimruz Province:
Most Baluch live along the Helmand River or around Chakhansur (Zaranj) near the Iranian border.
- Chahar Burja
- Chakhansur (Zaranj)
- Rudbar.

Sistan va Baluchestan

• Baluchistan
- Kalat Division:

As of 1951, 79,398 Baluch resided in Kalat Division, in Kalat, Kharan, and Lasbela Districts. A few Baluch also live in Khuzdar and Mastung Districts.

- Mekran Division:
As of 1951, 71,840 Baluch resided in Mekran Division.

- Nasirabad Division:
The Baluch reside in Jhal Magzi District and in southern Bolan District. Some may also live in or migrate to Nasirabad District. They occupy the following villages, among others: Gandava, Bhag, Dadhar, Lahri, Shoran, and Jhal. Some hill Baluch from the east may still winter in the Kachhi Plain in Nasirabad Division.

- Quetta Division:
The Baluch are scattered over the southern portion of Quetta District, Quetta Division. They also reside in Pishin, Killa Abdullah, and Chagai Districts. Many of the Baluch living in Chagai are nomads. As of 1951, 13,233 Baluch resided in Quetta Division.

- Sibi Division:

As of 1951, 110,953 Baluch resided in Sibi Division, most in Kohlu and Dera Bugti Districts.

- Zhob Division:
The Baluch reside in Barkhan and Musa Khel Districts and in the Duki and Sinjawi Sub Divisions of Loralai District.
As of 1951, 25,107 Baluch resided in Zhob Division, most in Loralai District.

• North-West Frontier Province:
Most Baluch in the North-West Frontier Province reside in the vicinity of Dera Ismail Khan.

• Punjab:
The Baluch primarily occupy the area of Dera Ghazi Khan, between Baluchistan (Zhob and Sibi Divisions) and the Indus River. A few Baluch also reside in Multan, Muzaffargarh, and Lahore.

• Sindh:
The Baluch primarily occupy the area between Baluchistan (Sibi and Nasirabad Divisions) and the Indus River.



United Arab Emirates

The following are the significant features and towns found in Baluch areas:

Helmand River,
Nimruz and Helmand Provinces, Afghanistan.

Hingol River,
Lasbela District, Kalat Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Indus River:
The Baluch live mostly to the west of the Indus River in Punjab and Sindh Provinces, Pakistan.

Sori River:
There are multiple streams and rivers in Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan named Sori, but the primary is located in Dera Bugti District and flows southeast toward the Indus River.


Kalat Valley,
Kalat Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. Baluch, along with Brahuis, Dehwars, and Babi Pashtuns reside in the Kalat Valley.

• Bugti Hills,

Dera Bugti District, Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. The Bugti tribe resides in the Bugti Hills.

Central Mekran Range,
Kech District, Mekran Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Chagai Hills,
Chagai District, Quetta Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. Many Baluch living in Chagai are nomads.

Giandari Range:
The Giandari Range is located on the border of Baluchistan (Dera Bugti District, Sibi Division) and Punjab Provinces, Pakistan. It is part of the end of the Sulaiman Range. The Bugti tribe inhabits the area.

Kirthar Range,
Sindh Province, Pakistan. The Kirthar Range is located to the east of Khuzdar District of Kalat Division, Baluchistan.

Marri Hills,
Kohlu District, Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. The Marri tribe resides in the Marri Hills.

Mekran Coast Range,
Gwadar District, Mekran Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Ras Koh Hills,
Baluchistan Province, Pakistan. The Ras Koh Hills are located on the border between Kharan District of Kalat Division and Chagai District of Quetta Division. The Baluch living in the Ras Koh Hills are principally nomads.

Sulaiman Range,
Pakistan: The Sulaiman Range runs north and south through Pakistan, roughly parallel to the Indus River, ending in Baluchistan in the Giandari Range and the Marri and Bugti Hills.


• Bolan Pass,

Bolan District, Kalat Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: The Bolan Pass has strategic significance as the major communication route between Afghanistan and Punjab and Sindh Provinces, and the coast of Pakistan. It is located at approximately latitude 29 30’ N. and longitude 67 40’ E., about five miles northwest of the town of Dadhar. The pass itself is a succession of narrow valleys between high ranges. The Bolan River runs through it. Some Marri tribesmen live in the area of the Bolan Pass.


Kachhi Plain,
Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Some Baluch inhabit the Kachhi Plain, and some tribes, including the Marri and Bugti Baluch, migrate there in the winter.

Gwadar Port,
Gwadar District, Mekran Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Gwadar Port is located on the Arabian Sea at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. The port is extremely significant strategically and economically, and control of it has caused contention both historically and in the present day. Construction to make Gwadar a functioning deep sea, warm water port began in 2002, and it became fully functional on 21 December 2008. Baluch nationalist groups have opposed the port’s construction, due to concerns the Baluch people will not benefit from its opening. They contend the government of Pakistan will employ the thousands of people required to operate the port from outside Baluchistan, primarily from the Punjab, which will disenfranchise the Baluch residents and also drastically alter the demographics of the area. Many Baluch fishermen have already suffered due to not being able to access their of Oman, who had been forced to flee Oman. Sultan-bin-Ahmed eventually returned to Oman and became Sultan but retained claims on Gwadar, which resulted in a dispute over whether Gwadar had been loaned or permanently gifted to him. Oman eventually sold it back to Pakistan in 1958.

Gwadar District, Mekran Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Location of Pakistan naval base.

Gwadar District, Mekran Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Location of Pakistan naval base.

Significant Towns:
Bolan District, Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Dadhar is located at the southern entrance of the Bolan Pass.

Dera Bugti,
Dera Bugti District, Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Dera Bugti is a relatively small town, but serves as the headquarters of the Bugti tribe.

Jhal Magzi District, Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan

• Jhal,
Jhal Magzi District, Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Kohlu District, Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Kahan is a relatively small town, but serves as the headquarters of the Marri tribe.

Kalat District, Kalat Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: Brahuis are the primary residents of Kalat, but some Baluch reside there as well. Kalat is the headquarters of the Brahui Khan of Kalat.

Quetta District, Quetta Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan: A mixed population of Baluch, Brahui, and Pashtun tribes reside in Quetta, along with many muhajirs (immigrants who came from India during Partition). Quetta is the headquarters of the Taliban’s senior leadership..

Bolan District, Nasirabad Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Sibi District, Sibi Division, Baluchistan Province, Pakistan.

Military Installations:
Baluchistan nationalist groups are opposed to Pakistan army presence in Baluchistan and contend the Baluch are proportionately under-represented in the Pakistan military in general.

• As of 2006, there were military cantonments in the towns of Quetta, Sibi, Loralai, and Khuzdar.
• As of 2006, three out of Pakistani’s four naval bases were located in Baluchistan at Gwadar, Ormara, and Pasni.

Refugee Camps:
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, over three million refugees fled to Pakistan (another 2.9 million entered Iran).


The Brahuis are the dominant and most numerous race in Baluchistan. British ethnology documents do not fully determine the Brahui origin except to say, they are possibly of the Tartars, while more recent census reports (1998) lend to the possibilities of Turko-Iranian extraction (the same with the Afghan and Baluch).
The name Brahui means “highlander,” as opposed to Narui (Baluch) “lowlander.” They are divided into a number of tribes or khels (kheil) and are a wandering, unsettled nation. The Brahui always reside in one part of the country in summer and in another during the winter; they likewise change their immediate places of residence many times every year in quest of pasturage for their flocks – a practice which is rare among the Baluch
The Brahuis are equally faithful in an adherence to their promises, and equally hospitable with the Baluch, and on the whole [as noted by British], are preferred as to their general character.
The 1930 Military report on Baluchistan notes that the “Brahui tribe [is] based on common good and ill; cemented by obligations arising from blood feud. Unsurpassed in strength and hardiness; excellent mountaineers and good marksmen; “mean, parsimonious, avaricious, exceedingly idle…”

The bulk of the present Baluch and Brahui populations are bilingual, and sometimes trilingual. Baluchi and Brahui may be their mother tongues but they are equally fluent in Sindhi and Saraiki.

Brahuis are all Sunni Muslims and their external forms, such as marriage and interment, are practiced according to the tenets of that sect. They are, however, very lax as to religious observances and ceremonies, and very few of their tomans are furnished with a place of worship.

Occupy the great mountainous band extending from the south of Quetta to Lasbela. In the northeast of Kharan, Brahuis are numerous. Brahui tribes usually migrate to the plains of Bolan District for winter from Kalat, Mastung, and Quetta districts and return to their homes after winter.


Note: Locational and other relevant information pertaining to Brahui tribes and sub-tribes is available but has not yet been consolidated into product format.


Tribal Element /Ethnic Group/ Tribe/ Division Sub-Division/Section/ Fraction

Ababaki /Brahui/ Mengal (Mingal)/ Shadmanzai/ Pahlwanzai/Ababaki
Adamani /Brahui/ Zahri(Zehri)/Jattak/Adamani
Adamzai/Brahui/Sarparra(Sirperra,/ Sarpara)
Adenazai /Brahui/ Zahri (Zehri)/ Bajoi /Adenazai
Afghanzai /Brahui/ Rekizai /Afghanzai
Ahmadkhanzai/Brahui/Muhammad Shahi/ Samezai (Samakzai)/ Ahmadkhanzai
Ahmadzae (Ahmadzai) /Brahui/Kambarani (Kambrani)
Ahmadzae /(Ahmadzai)
Ahmadzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Ahmadzai
Ahmadzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Ahmadzai
Ahmadzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Ahmadzai
Ahmedari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Ahmedari
Aidozai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Aidozai
Aidozai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Aidozai
Ajibani Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Ajibani
Ajibari Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Ajibari
Akhtarzai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Akhtarzai
Akhundani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Akhundani
Alamkhanzai Brahui Langav Ali Alamkhanzai
Ali Brahui Langav Ali
Alimuradzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Alimuradzai

Tribal Element Ethnic Group Tribe Division Sub-Division Section Fraction
Alizai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/

Alizai Alizai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai
Allahdadzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Allahdadzai
Allahyarzai Brahui Langav Ali Allahyarzai
Amaduni Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in
Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Amaduni
Amirzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Amirzai
Anazai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Anazai
Angalzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Angalzai
Azghalzai Brahui Gurgnari Azghalzai
Baddajari Brahui Kalandrani Baddajari
Badduzai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Badinzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai
Baduzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Baduzai
Baduzi Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Brahui Nichari Bahadur Khanzai
Bahadurzai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Bahadurzai
Bahdinzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Bahdinzai

Tribal Element Ethnic Group Tribe Division Sub-Division Section Fraction
Bahl (upper)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Bahl (upper) Nakib
Bahurzai (Bohirzai) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Bahurzai (Bohirzai)
Bajai (Barjai) Brahui Bajai (Barjai)
Bajezai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Bajezai
Bajoi Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi
Balochzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Balochzai
Balokhanzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Balokhanzai
Bambakzae Brahui Bambakzae
Bambkazai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Bambkazai
Bangulzai Brahui Bangulzai
Bangulzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Brahui Bangulzai(Bangulzae)
Bangulzais Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Bangulzais
Banzozai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Banzozai
Baranzai Brahui Bangulzai(Bangulzae)
Baranzai Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Baranzai
Baranzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Baranzai
Baranzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai Baranzai
Beguzai Brahui Rekizai Beguzai
Bhadinzai Brahui Kalandrani Ferozshazai Bhadinzai
Bhadinzai Brahui Nichari Bhadinzai
Bhaet Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Bhaet
Bhuka Brahui Bhuka
Bhuldra Brahui Bhuldra
Bijarzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Brahui Bangulzai(Bangulzae)
Bijarzai (Bijjarzai)
Bijjarzai Brahui MuhammadHasni (Mamasani,Mohammad Hassani)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo,Bizanju)
Bizanzai Brahui Isazai Bizanzai
Biznari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Biznari
Bohirzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi BohirzaiBolan Mengal(Comment:May be just the Mengals located in BolanDistrict)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Bolan Mengal (Comment:May be just the Mengalslocated in Bolan District)
Brahimzai Brahui Lahri Brahimzai
Brahimzai Brahui Nichari Brahimzai
Bratizai Brahui Langav Ali Bratizai
Buddazai Brahui Dehwar (Knownin Baluchistan asDehwar, in Iran-Tajak,in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun)Pringabadi Buddazai
Burakzai Brahui Kalandrani Burakzai
Burakzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sheikh Husaini Burakzai
Burjalizai Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari BurjalizaiChakarzai Brahui MuhammadHasni (Mamasani,Mohammad Hassani)
Chakarzai Chamakazai Brahui Dehwar (Knownin Baluchistan asDehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, inAfghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun)Mastungi Chamakazai
(Chamrozai)Brahui Chamrozae (Chamrozai)
Chanal Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo,Bizanju) Chanal
Chanderwari Brahui Kalandrani Chanderwari
Changozae(Changozai)Brahui Changozae(Changozai)
Charnawani Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Chaunk Brahui Rekizai Chaunk
Chhutta Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Chhutta
Chotwa Brahui Chotwa
Daduzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Daduzai
Dahmardag Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Dallujav Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Dallujav
Darmanzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Hammalari Darmanzai
Darweshzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Darweshzai Brahui Kalandrani Darweshzai
Dastakzai Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Degiani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Degiani
Dehwar Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Dehwar

Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as
Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)
Dhahizai Nichari Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Dhahizai Nichari
Dhajola Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Dhajola
Dilsadzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Dilsadzai
Dilshadzai Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Dilshadzai Dinarzai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Dinarzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Dinarzai
Dinas Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Dinas
Dodai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Dodai
Dodaki Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as
Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Dodaki
Dombkis Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Dombkis Dost Muhammadzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Dost Muhammadzai
Dostenzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Zarrakzai Dostenzai
Driszai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Driszai
Durrakzai (Darakzai) Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Durrakzai (Darakzai)
Fakir Muhammadzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Fakir Muhammadzai
Fakirozai Brahui Rekizai Fakirozai
Fakirzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Fakirzai Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Fakirzai
Fakirzai Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Ferozai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as
“Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Ferozai Ferozshazai Brahui Kalandrani Ferozshazai
Gabarari Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Gad Kush Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani Gad Kush
Gador Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gador
Gahazai Brahui Langav Ali Gahazai
Gaji Khanzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Gaji Khanzai
Gajizai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Garr Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Garr
Garrani Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Gazainzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Gazainzai
Gazazai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gazazai
Gazbur Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gazbur
Gazgi Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Gazgi
Ghaibizai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Ghaibizai
Ghaibizai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as “Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Ghul Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani)
Ghulamani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Ghulamani
Ghulamzai Brahui Nichari Ghulamzai
Gichki Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Gichki
Gichkis Brahui Gichkis
Gichkizai Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai
Gichkizai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Gichkizai
Goharazai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Goharazai
Gorgejzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gorgejzai
Gorgezai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Gorgezai
Gowahrizai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Gowahrizai
Guhramzai (Gwahramzai)
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Guhramzai (Gwahramzai)
Gujjar Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gujjar
Gul Muhammadzai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Gul Muhammadzai
Gungav Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gungav
Gurgnari Brahui Gurgnari
Gwahramzai Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gwahramzai
Gwahramzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Gwahramzai
Gwahramzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Gwahramzai
Gwahrani Brahui Muhammad Shahi Gwahrani
Gwahranjau Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Gwahranjau
Gwand Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Gwand
Gwaramzai Brahui Rekizai Gwaramzai
Gwaranjau Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Gwaranjau
Gwaranzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Hammalari Gwaranzai
Habashazai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Habashazai
Haidarzai Brahui Lahri Haidarzai
Hajizai Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Hajizai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai) Hajizai
Hajizai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Ramadanzai Hajizai
Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis) Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Halid Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Halid
Hammalari Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Haruni Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Harunis Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Harunis
Hasanari Brahui Kalandrani Hasanari
Hasilkhanzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani)
Hasni Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani)
Hirind Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Hirind
Horuzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Horuzai
Hotmanzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Hotmanzai
Hotmanzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Hotmanzai
Husain Khanzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Husain Khanzai
Husaini Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Husaini
Idozai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Ihtiarzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Bahl (upper) Nakib Ihtiarzai
Isai (Isazai, Esazai) Brahui Gichkis Isai (Isazai, Esazai)
Isazai Brahui Isazai
Isazai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Isazai
Isazai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Isazai
Isazai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Isazai
Isiani Brahui Raisani Isiani
Issufkhanzai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Issufkhanzai
Jahl (lower)
Nakib Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Jahl (lower) Nakib
Jalambari Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Jalambari
Jallabzai Brahui Kalandrani Jallabzai
Jamalzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Jamalzai
Jamandzai Brahui Langav Ali Jamandzai
Jamot Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Jamot
Jangizai Brahui Rekizai Jangizai
Jararzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo,
Hammalari Jararzai
Jarzai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra,
Jattak Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak
Jaurazai Brahui Langav Jaurazai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal
Jhangirani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Jhangirani
Jhikko Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko
Jiandari Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Jiandari
Jiandzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Jiandzai
Jogezal Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Jogezal
Jogizai Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Jola Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, inAfghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Jola Jongozai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Jongozai
Kahni Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Kahni
Kaisarzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Kaisarzai
Kakars (Alien group contained among Ali division) Brahui Langav Ali Kakars (Alien group contained among Ali division)
Kalaghani Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Kalandrani Brahui Kalandrani
Kalandranis Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Kalandranis
Kallechev Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kallechev
Kallozai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai Kallozai
Kallozai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Bahl (upper) Nakib Kallozai
Kamal Khanzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Hammalari Kamal Khanzai
Kambarani (Kambrani) Brahui Kambarani (Kambrani) Kambrari
(Kambari) Brahui Kambrari (Kambari)
Kanarzai Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kanarzai
Karamalizai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Karamshazai Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Karamshazai
Karelo Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Karelo
Karimdadzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Karkhizai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Karkhizai
Kasis (Alien group contained among Ali division) Brahui Langav Ali Kasis (Alien group contained among Ali division)
Kassabzai (Shahozai) Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Kassabzai (Shahozai)
Kawrizai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Zarrakzai Kawrizai
Kechizai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Keharai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Kehrai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Khairazai Brahui Rekizai Khairazai
Khakizai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Khakizai
Khalechani Brahui Lahri Khalechani
Khanis Brahui Kambarani
Khanzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Khanzai
Kharenazai Brahui Isazai Kharenazai
Khatizai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Khatizai
Khedrani Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani
Khidrani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani
Khidrani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani
Khidri Brahui Gurgnari Khidri
Khidro Brahui Kalandrani Khidro
Khoedadzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Madezai Khoedadzai
Khurasani Brahui Langav Khurasani
Khushalzai Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Khushalzai
Khwajakhel Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)
Mastungi Khwajakhel
Khwashdadzai Brahui Nichari Khwashdadzai
Kiazai Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Kiazai
Kiazai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Kishani Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Kishani
Koh Badduzai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Koh Badduzai
Korak Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Korak
Kori Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Kori
Kotwal Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kotwal
Kubdani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani
Kulloi Brahui Langav Kulloi
Kurd (Kurda) Brahui Kurd (Kurda)
Lahraki Brahui Nichari Lahraki

Lahri Brahui Lahri
Lahri Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Lahri
Lahrizai Brahui Kalandrani Lahrizai
Lahrki Brahui Raisani Lahrki
Lallazai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Bahl (upper) Nakib Lallazai
Langav Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Langav Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Langav
Langav Brahui Langav
Laskarizai Brahui Rekizai Laskarizai
Lijji (Lijjai) Brahui Langav Lijji (Lijjai)
Loharzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Loki-Tappar Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Loki-Tappar
Lotani Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Lotari Brahui Kalandrani Lotari
Lotiani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani
Ludani (possibly the same as Lotani) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Ludani (possibly the same as Lotani)
Madezai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Madezai
Mahamadari Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
(Muhammadzai) Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai Mahmadzai (Muhammadzai)
Mahmudani Brahui Gurgnari Mahmudani
Mahmudani Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Mahmudani
Mahmudari Brahui Mahmudari
Mahmudzai (Muhammadzai) Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mahmudzai (Muhammadzai)
Makakari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Makakari
Makali Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Makali
Malangzai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Malangzai
Malikdadzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Malikdadzai
Malikzai Brahui Gichkis Malikzai
Mandauzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, inAfghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Mandauzai
Mandavzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Siahpad (Siapad) Mandavzai
Mandavzai Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani,
Mohammad Hassani)
Mandozai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Mandwani Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Mardan Shahi Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani,
Mohammad Hassani)
Mardan Shahi
Mardanshai Brahui Muhammad  Hasni (Mamasani,
Mohammad Hassani) Haruni Mardanshai
Mardoi Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mardoi
Mastungi Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)
Masudani Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Masudani
Mazarani Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Mazarzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Mazarzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Mazarzai
Mehani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Mehani
Mehr Alizai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Mehr Alizai
Mehrani Brahui Raisani Mehrani
Mendazai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Mendazai
Mengal (Mingal) Brahui Mengal (Mingal)
Mengals Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Mengals
Miari (Mihari) Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Miari (Mihari)
Mir Dostzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Mir Dostzai
Miraji (Mir Haji) Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji)
Miranzai Brahui Gurgnari Miranzai
Miranzai Brahui Kalandrani Miranzai
Miranzai Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Miranzai
Miranzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Miranzai
Miranzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Miranzai
Mirgindzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Mirgindzai
Mirkanzai Brahui Langav Ali Mirkanzai
Mirwari Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mirwari
Mirwari (Mirwani) Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani)
Misri Khanzai Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Misri Khanzai
Mithazai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Mithazai
Motani Ramazanzai Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Motani Ramazanzai
Mughalzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)
Mughundoi Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Mughundoi
Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani,
Mohammad Hassani)
Muhammad Hasnis Brahui Langav Ali Muhammad Hasnis
Muhammad Shahi Brahui Muhammad Shahi
Muhammadzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/
Deggaun) Pringabadi Muhammadzai
Muhammadzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Muhammadzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Muhammadzai
Muhammadzai Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Muhammadzai Brahui Rekizai Muhammadzai
Mulla Hasanzai Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Mulla Hasanzai
Mullazai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mullazai
Mullazai Brahui Rekizai Mullazai
Muridzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Muridzai
Murrai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra,
Musa Khanzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)Tirchi Musa KhanzaiMusiani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musian

Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Nangarzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Nangarzai
Nasir Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Nasir
Natwani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Natwani
Nichari Brahui Muhammad Shahi Nichari
Nichari Brahui Nichari
(Nindowari, also noted as a separate clan of the Brahui- must deconflict) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Nindawari (Nindowari, also noted as a separate clan of the Brahuimust deconflict)
Nindowari Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Nindwani Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Notakzai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Notani Brahui Mahmudari Notani
Notani Chhutta Brahui Langav Ali Notani Chhutta
Notezai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Nozai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai
Numrias Brahui Langav Ali Numrias
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Nur Muhammadzai
Pahlwanzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Pahlwanzai
Paindzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Bajezai Paindzai
Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani) Brahui Muhammad Shahi Pandarani (Pandrani,
Pandarani (Pandrani,
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani,
Pandrani Brahui Raisani Pandrani
Pandrani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Pandrani
Phullanzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Phullanzai
Pir Walizai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Pir Walizai
Pirkani Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Pirkani Pringabadi Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Pringabadi
Pug Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Pug Puzh Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Puzh Qazizai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Qazizai
Radhani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Radhani
Rahatzai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai) Rahatzai
Rahmatzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Rahmatzai
Rahzanzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Rahzanzai
Rahzanzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Rahzanzai
Rais Tok Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)
Rais Tok
Raisani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Raisani
Raisani Brahui Muhammad Shahi Raisani
Raisani Brahui Raisani
Raj-o-kabila Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Raj-o-kabila
Ramadanzai Brahui Isazai Ramadanzai
Ramadanzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani)
Rathusainzai Brahui Raisani Rathusainzai
Razanzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Razanzai
Rekizai Brahui Rekizai
Rekizai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Rekizai
Rodeni (Rodani) Brahui Muhammad Shahi Rodeni (Rodani)
Rodeni (Rodani) Brahui Rodeni (Rodani)
Rodenzai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Rustamari Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Rustamari
Rustamzai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai
Sabagazai Brahui Rekizai Sabagazai
Sabzalkhanzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Sabzalkhanzai
Safarzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Safarzai
Sahakzai Brahui Kalandrani Sahakzai
Sahakzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Sahakzai
Sahibdadzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Sahtakzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai
Saiadzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Saiadzai
Saidzai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Sajdi (Sajiti,
Sajadi) Brahui Muhammad Shahi Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi)
Sajdi (Sajiti,
Sajadi) Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi)
Sakazai Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Sakazai
Sakhtaki Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sakhtaki
Salabi Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Salabi
Salahizai Brahui Kalandrani Salahizai
Salarzai Brahui Langav Ali Salarzai
Salarzai Brahui Langav Salarzai
Salehzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Salehzai
Samalanri Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Samalanri
(Samakzai) Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai)
Sangor Brahui Mahmudari Sangor
Sanjarzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Sanjarzai
Sannaris (Alien group contained among Ali division) Brahui Langav Ali Sannaris (Alien group contained among Ali division)
Sarajzai Brahui Raisani Sarajzai
Sarang Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Sarang
Sarpara) Brahui Muhammad Shahi Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra,
Sasoli Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo,
Hammalari Sasoli
Sasoli Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Sasoli
Sasoli Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Sasoli
Sasoli (Sasuli) Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli)
Saulai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun)  Mastungi Saulai
Sayari Brahui Mahmudari Sayari
Sewazai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani Sewazai
Shadenzai Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Hotmanzai Shadenzai
Shadiani Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Shadiani Brahui Lahri Shadiani
Shadizai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Shadizai
Shadizai (Shadi) Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi)
Shadmanzai Pahlwanzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shadmanzai Pahlwanzai
Shah Muradzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Shah Muradzai
Shahakzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Shahakzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Shahakzai
Shahalizai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Shahalizai
Shahbegzai Brahui Gurgnari Shahbegzai
Shahbegzai Kambrari Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari
Shahdadzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Shahdadzai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Shahdadzai
Shahezai Brahui Langav Shahezai
Shahezai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Shahezai
Shahizai Brahui Isazai Shahizai
Shahizai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shahizai
Shahozai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Shahozai Brahui Langav Ali Shahozai
Shahozai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Shahozai
Shahozai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Shahozai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai Shahozai
Shahozai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Shahozai
Shahristanzai Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Shahristanzai
Shahristanzai Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Shirwani ,
Sherwani) Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani)
Sherwani) Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani, Sherwani)
Shambadai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Shambav Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shambav
Shambezai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Shambezai
Shangrani Brahui Lahri Shangrani
Sheakzai Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Sheakzai
Sheikh Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Sheikh
Sheikh Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Sheikh
Sheikh Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Husaini Sheikh
Sheikh Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Sheikh
Sheikh Ahmadi Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Sheikh Ahmadi
Sheikh Amadi Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Sheikh Amadi
Sheikh Husain Brahui Raisani Sheikh Husain
Sheikh Husaini Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sheikh Husaini
Sheikh Hussaini Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Sheikh Hussaini
Sher Muhammadzai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Sher Muhammadzai
Sheruzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Shimmalzai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Shimmalzai
Shoranzai Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Shudanzai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Shudanzai
Siahizai Brahui Gurgnari Siahizai
Siahizai Brahui Isazai Siahizai
Siahizai Brahui Kalandrani Siahizai
Siahizai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani)
Siahizai Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Siahizai
(Siahhezai) Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Siahizai (Siahhezai)
Siahpad (Siapad) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Siahpad (Siapad)
Sikhi Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sikhi
Smailzai Brahui Kalandrani Smailzai
Sobazai Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Sobazai
(Subazai) Brahui Muhammad
Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Sobazai (Subazai)
Somailzai Brahui Langav Ali Somailzai
Somalzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Somalzai
Sulaimanzai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
(Sumlari) Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari)
Sumali Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Sumarani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Sumarani
Sumarzai Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Sumarzai
Sumarzai Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra,
Sunari Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sunari
Sundwari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Sundwari
Surizai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani)
Surkhi Brahui Rekizai Surkhi
Surozai Brahui Muhammad Shahi Surozai
Tallikozai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Tallikozai
(Tamarari – also noted as
“Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Temurari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Temurari
Tirchi Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi
Tolonti Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tolonti
Trasezai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Trasezai
Tuk-Shahizai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Tuk-Shahizai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Pringabadi Turrazai (Tuhranzai
Umarani Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari,
Shirwani , Sherwani)
Umarzai Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Umarzai
Umrani Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Umrani
Umrani Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Umrani
(Umarari /
Omarari /
Homarari –
also noted as
“Umarari” as a
separate clan of Brahuis) Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as
“Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Usufari Brahui Gurgnari Usufari
Usufari Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Usufari
Yaghizai Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Yakub Khanzai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Yakub Khanzai
Yusafzai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Pringabadi Yusafzai
Zagar Mengal (of Nushki)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki)
Zagar Mengals Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Zagar Mengals
Zahhrazai Brahui Langav Ali Zahhrazai
Zahri (Zehri) Brahui Zahri (Zehri)
Zahri (Zehri) Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Zahri (Zehri)
(Zahrozai) Brahui Langav Zahrizai (Zahrozai)
Zahrozai Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Zahrozai
Zahrozai Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Zahrozai
Zakarzai Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Zakarzai
Zakriazai Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Tirchi Zakriazai
Zangiani Usafi Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Zangiani Usafi
Zardazai Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Zardazai
Zarkhel Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/ Deggaun) Mastungi Zarkhel

Zarrajzau Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Zarrakzai Brahui Zahri (Zehri)

Zirakani Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Zirakani
Zirkari Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)

Zirkari Zoberani Brahui Lahri Zoberani


Tribe Division Sub-Division Section Fraction
Brahui Bajai (Barjai)
Brahui Bambakzae
Brahui Bangulzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Dhahizai Nichari
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Gwand
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai Koh Badduzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Badduzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Baranzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Bijarzai (Bijjarzai)
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Dinarzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Garrani
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Guhramzai (Gwahramzai)
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Langav
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Mandwani
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Mazarani
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Mughundoi
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Pug
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Puzh
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Saidzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Shadiani
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Shahozai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae) Shoranzai
Brahui Bangulzai (Bangulzae)
Brahui Bhuka
Brahui Bhuldra
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Baduzi
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Chanal
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Gabarari
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Aidozai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Bahurzai (Bohirzai)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Darmanzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Dost Muhammadzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Fakir Muhammadzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Ghaibizai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Gwaranzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Jararzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Kamal Khanzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Karkhizai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Langav
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Malikdadzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Nindawari (Nindowari, also noted as a separate clan of the Brahui- must deconflict)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Safarzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Sasoli
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Shah Muradzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Shahristanzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari Sheikh Ahmadi
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Hammalari
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Lotani
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Ludani (possibly the same as Lotani)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Mahamadari
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Nindowari
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Siahpad (Siapad) Mandavzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Siahpad (Siapad)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Darweshzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Fakirzai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Gajizai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Tambrari (Tamarari – also noted as “Tamarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as “Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Ferozai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as “Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis) Ghaibizai
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju) Umrani (Umarari / Omarari / Homarari – also noted as “Umarari” as a separate clan of Brahuis)
Brahui Bizanjau (Bizanjo, Bizanju)
Brahui Chamrozae (Chamrozai)
Brahui Changozae (Changozai) Brahui Chotwa
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Alizai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Dodaki
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Chamakazai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Goharazai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Jola
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Khwajakhel
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Qazizai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Sarang
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Saulai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Sheikh
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi Zarkhel
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan Dehgan/Deggaun) Mastungi
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Mughalzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Pringabadi Buddazai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Pringabadi Muhammadzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Pringabadi Turrazai (Tuhranzai)
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Pringabadi Yusafzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Pringabadi
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Rais Tok
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Amaduni
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Anazai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Husain Khanzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Mandauzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Mehr Alizai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Musa Khanzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Pir Walizai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Sanjarzai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi Zakriazai
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tirchi
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun) Tolonti
Brahui Dehwar (Known in Baluchistan as Dehwar, in Iran-Tajak, in Bokhara-Sart, in Afghanistan-Dehgan/Deggaun)
Brahui Gichkis Isai (Isazai, Esazai)
Brahui Gichkis Malikzai
Brahui Gichkis
Brahui Gurgnari Azghalzai
Brahui Gurgnari Khidri
Brahui Gurgnari Mahmudani
Brahui Gurgnari Miranzai
Brahui Gurgnari Shahbegzai
Brahui Gurgnari Siahizai
Brahui Gurgnari Usufari
Brahui Gurgnari
Brahui Isazai Bizanzai
Brahui Isazai Kharenazai
Brahui Isazai Ramadanzai
Brahui Isazai Shahizai
Brahui Isazai Siahizai
Brahui Isazai
Brahui Kalandrani Baddajari
Brahui Kalandrani Burakzai
Brahui Kalandrani Chanderwari
Brahui Kalandrani Darweshzai
Brahui Kalandrani Ferozshazai Bhadinzai
Brahui Kalandrani Ferozshazai
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis) Bijarzai
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis) Karimdadzai
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Mir Dostzai
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis) Sahibdadzai
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Brahui Kalandrani Halazai (Claim connection
to the Kalandrani Brahuis)
Brahui Kalandrani Hasanari
Brahui Kalandrani Jallabzai
Brahui Kalandrani Khidro
Brahui Kalandrani Lahrizai
Brahui Kalandrani Lotari
Brahui Kalandrani Miranzai
Brahui Kalandrani Sahakzai
Brahui Kalandrani Salahizai
Brahui Kalandrani Siahizai
Brahui Kalandrani Smailzai
Brahui Kalandrani
Brahui Kambarani (Kambrani) Ahmadzae (Ahmadzai)
Brahui Kambarani (Kambrani) Khanis
Brahui Kambarani (Kambrani)
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Baranzai
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Khushalzai
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Kiazai
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Miranzai
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Sheikh Amadi
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari) Sobazai
Brahui Kambrari (Kambari)
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Gorgezai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Madezai Khoedadzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Madezai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Masudani
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Muhammadzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Phullanzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Ahmadzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Bahdinzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Driszai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Khakizai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai Rahmatzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Sahtakzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Shadizai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Shudanzai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda) Zardazai
Brahui Kurd (Kurda)
Brahui Lahri Brahimzai
Brahui Lahri Haidarzai
Brahui Lahri Khalechani
Brahui Lahri Shadiani
Brahui Lahri Shangrani
Brahui Lahri Zoberani
Brahui Lahri
Brahui Langav Ali Alamkhanzai
Brahui Langav Ali Allahyarzai
Brahui Langav Ali Bratizai
Brahui Langav Ali Gahazai
Brahui Langav Ali Jamandzai
Brahui Langav Ali Kakars (Alien groupcontained among Alidivision)
Brahui Langav Ali Kasis (Alien groupcontained among Alidivision)
Brahui Langav Ali Mirkanzai
Brahui Langav Ali Muhammad Hasnis
Brahui Langav Ali Notani Chhutta
Brahui Langav Ali Numrias
Brahui Langav Ali Salarzai
Brahui Langav Ali Sannaris (Alien groupcontained among Alidivision)
Brahui Langav Ali Shahozai
Brahui Langav Ali Somailzai
Brahui Langav Ali Zahhrazai
Brahui Langav Ali
Brahui Langav Jaurazai
Brahui Langav Khurasani
Brahui Langav Kulloi
Brahui Langav Lijji (Lijjai)
Brahui Langav Salarzai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Bangulzais
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Dombkis
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Harunis
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Isazai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Kalandranis
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Khatizai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Malangzai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Mengals
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Nur Muhammadzai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Shahalizai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Tallikozai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Zagar Mengals
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi) Zakarzai
Brahui Langav Shadizai (Shadi)
Brahui Langav Shahezai
Brahui Langav Zahrizai (Zahrozai)
Brahui Langav
Brahui Mahmudari Notani
Brahui Mahmudari Sangor
Brahui Mahmudari Sayari
Brahui Mahmudari
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Ahmadzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Allahdadzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Angalzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Baranzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Bolan Mengal (Comment: May be just the Mengals located in Bolan District)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Chhutta
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gazazai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Ghulamani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gorgejzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Gungav
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Samalanri
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Sasoli
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal Shahezai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Jhalawan Mengal
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Dhajola
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Gichki
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Mehani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Miranzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Rahzanzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Shahozai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani Umarzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Khidrani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mahmudzai(Muhammadzai)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Makali
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mardoi
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Dilsadzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Horuzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji) Shambezai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Miraji (Mir Haji)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mirwari
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Mullazai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Natwani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Pahlwanzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Raisani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Sasoli
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shadmanzai Pahlwanzai Ababaki
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shadmanzai Pahlwanzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shahizai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Shambav
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Sheikh
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Tuk-Shahizai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Umrani
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Amirzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Bajezai Paindzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Bajezai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai Trasezai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Badinzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai Baranzai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai Mahmadzai(Muhammadzai)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki) Nozai
Brahui Mengal (Mingal) Zagar Mengal (of Nushki)
Brahui Mengal (Mingal)
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Fakirzai
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gazbur
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gujjar
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Gwahramzai
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Halid
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Jalambari
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Jiandari
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kallechev
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kanarzai
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Karamshazai
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Korak
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Kotwal
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Rustamari
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Salabi
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani) Sumarzai
Brahui Mirwari (Mirwani)
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Bangulzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Bijjarzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Chakarzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Charnawani
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Dahmardag
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Dastakzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohamma Hassani) Dilshadzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Durrakzai (Darakzai)
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Fakirzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Gaji Khanzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Hajizai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Haruni Mardanshai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Haruni
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Husaini Sheikh
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Husaini
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Idozai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Jongozai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Kalaghani
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Karamalizai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Kechizai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Keharai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Kehrai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Kiazai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)Loharzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Mandavzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Mandozai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Mardan Shahi
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Mazarzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Nindwani
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, MohammadHassani) Notezai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Shahakzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Shahdadzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Shahozai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Sheikh Hussaini
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Sheruzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Siahizai (Siahhezai)
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Sobazai (Subazai)
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Sulaimanzai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, MohammadHassani)Sumali
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, MohammadHassani) Yaghizai
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, MohammadHassani)Zangiani Usafi
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, MohammadHassani)Zirakani
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani) Zirkari
Brahui Muhammad Hasni (Mamasani, Mohammad Hassani)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Bambkazai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Dodai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Gwahrani
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Bahadurzai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Shahdadzai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko Shimmalzai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Jhikko
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani Gad Kush
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani Sewazai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Khedrani
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Nichari
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Raisani
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Rodeni (Rodani)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai) Ahmadkhanzai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai) Hajizai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai) Rahatzai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Samezai (Samakzai)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Brahui Muhammad Shahi Surozai
Brahui Muhammad Shahi
Brahui Nichari Bahadur Khanzai
Brahui Nichari Bhadinzai
Brahui Nichari Brahimzai
Brahui Nichari Ghulamzai
Brahui Nichari Khwashdadzai
Brahui Nichari Lahraki
Brahui Nichari
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani) Jogizai
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani) Motani Ramazanzai
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani) Muhammadzai
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani) Zarrajzau
Brahui Pandarani (Pandrani, Pindrani)
Brahui Raisani Isiani
Brahui Raisani Lahrki
Brahui Raisani Mehrani
Brahui Raisani Pandrani
Brahui Raisani Rathusainzai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Akhtarzai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Gowahrizai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Gul Muhammadzai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Issufkhanzai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Jogezal
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai Sheakzai
Brahui Raisani Rustamzai
Brahui Raisani Sarajzai
Brahui Raisani Sheikh Husain
Brahui Raisani
Brahui Rekizai Afghanzai
Brahui Rekizai Beguzai
Brahui Rekizai Chaunk
Brahui Rekizai Fakirozai
Brahui Rekizai Gwaramzai
Brahui Rekizai Jangizai
Brahui Rekizai Khairazai
Brahui Rekizai Laskarizai
Brahui Rekizai Muhammadzai
Brahui Rekizai Mullazai
Brahui Rekizai Sabagazai
Brahui Rekizai Surkhi
Brahui Rekizai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Dinarzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Jamalzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Jiandzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Nangarzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Nasir
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Pirkani
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Shahakzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Somalzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Yakub Khanzai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani) Zahrozai
Brahui Rodeni (Rodani)
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Ahmedari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Ajibani
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Bhaet
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gador
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Biznari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Makakari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Sakazai
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Sundwari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Temurari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai Usufari
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi) Gichkizai
Brahui Sajdi (Sajiti, Sajadi)
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Adamzai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Jarzai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Murrai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Notakzai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Rodenzai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Shambadai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara) Sumarzai
Brahui Sarparra (Sirperra, Sarpara)
Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Burjalizai
Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Misri Khanzai
Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Mulla Hasanzai
Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani, Sherwani)
Brahui Shahbegzai Kambrari
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai Kallozai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai Shahozai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Alizai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Ghul
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Hasilkhanzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Hasni
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Kishani
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Ramadanzai Hajizai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Ramadanzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Siahizai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Surizai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Balochzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Gazainzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Kaisarzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Sher Muhammadzai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani Zahrozai
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani) Umarani
Brahui Shahwani (Sherwari, Shirwani , Sherwani)
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Balokhanzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Daduzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Dehwar
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Gwahramzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Hotmanzai Shadenzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Hotmanzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Isazai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Loki-Tappar
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Mahmudani
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Muridzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Razanzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Saiadzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sakhtaki
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sheikh Husaini
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari)
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sheikh Husaini Burakzai
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Sikhi
Brahui Sumalari (Sumlari) Zahri (Zehri)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Adenazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Bohirzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Gwaranjau
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Radhani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi Sabzalkhanzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Bajoi
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Adamani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Banzozai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Gazgi
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Jhangirani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Sumarani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak Umrani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Jattak
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Ahmadzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Alimuradzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Dallujav
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Gichkizai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Miari (Mihari)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Miranzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Rahzanzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani Shahozai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Khidrani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Baduzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Hirind
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Kahni
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Mithazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani Salehzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Lotiani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Dinas
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Khanzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Isazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Kassabzai (Shahozai)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Mendazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Rekizai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Sahakzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani Siahizai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Kubdani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani Raj-o-kabila
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Musiani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Ajibari
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Akhundani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Degiani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Garr
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Gwahranjau
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Hotmanzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Jamot
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Karelo
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Kori
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Lahri
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Bahl (upper) Nakib Ihtiarzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Bahl (upper) Nakib Kallozai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Bahl (upper) Nakib Lallazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Bahl (upper) Nakib
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Aidozai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Gwahramzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Habashazai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Mazarzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib Mirgindzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan) Jahl (lower) Nakib
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Nakib (Counted among the Sasoli, but really tenants of the Khan)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Pandrani
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli) Sheikh
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sasoli (Sasuli)
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Sunari
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Zarrakzai Dostenzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Zarrakzai Kawrizai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri) Zarrakzai
Brahui Zahri (Zehri)


1. accessed on 15 August 2009.
2. The Brahui tribes were probably in the region long before the arrival of the migrating series of invaders from the east and may have been the original inhabitants of the region.
Alone among the region’s inhabitants, the Brahui speak Dravidian, a language found deep within India.
3. accessed on 15 August 2009 and Asimov, M.S. and Bosworth, Clifford Edmund, History of Civilizations of Central Asia,
Vol. 4, UNESCO, 1999, pg. 302.
4. Imperial Gazatteer of India, Provincial Series: Baluchistan, Vol. 3, Calcutta, 1908, pg. 28
5. Ibid, pg. 14.
6. Gait, Edward Albert, Census of India, 1901, pg. 67.
7. Ibid, pg. 66.
8. Accessed 10 August 2009.
9. See Selig Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptation, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1981.
10. In March 1948, the Pakistani army surrounded Kalat city and attacked the Khan’s palace with jets left behind by the British, killing more than 50 Baluch soldiers, looted the palace, removed records, and arrested Khan Ahmadyar Khan.
11. accessed 20 August 2009. Additional information is available in Selig Harrison’s “Nightmare in Baluchistan,” Foreign Policy,
No. 32 (Autumn, 1978), pg. 145.
12. Bruce, C.E., Waziristan, 1936-1937: Problems and Solutions, Aldershot: Gale and Polder, pg. 52.
13. Ibid, pg. 54.
14. Harrison, pg. 139.
15. Harrison, pp. 139-140.
16.,9171,1022648,00.html accessed 20 August 2009.
17. Ibid.
18. accessed 21 August 2009.
19. accessed 21 August 2009. According to the article, Pakistan intelligence agencies located Brahmdakh and
demanded of Afghan government to hand him over to Pakistani authorities. Pakistan intelligence agencies demanded the Afghans hand over Brahmdakh to Pakistan as he was
involved in several acts of murder and terrorism, their usual complaint about tribal leaders leading insurgencies.
20. Papers Related to the Affairs of Khelat, No. 482, dated 14th December 1869, Enclosure 3 in No. 1, from R. G. Sandeman, Officiating Deputy Commissioner, Dera Ghazee Khan
to Lieutenant-Colonel S. F. Graham, Commissioner and Superintendent, Derajat Division.
21. Papers Related to the Affairs of Khelat, Enclosure 1 in No.1, No. 8, dated 11th January 1870, from Lieutentant-Colonel S. F. Graham, Commissioner and Superintendent, Derajat
Division. To T. H. Thornton, Esq., D. L. C., secretary to the Government of Punjab.
22. Kukreja, Veena, Contemporary Pakistan: Political Processes, Conflicts, and Crises, pg. 131.
23. The Marri tribe does not use the same terms for its elements. Some sources refer to the element between tuman and pali as a takkar rather than a para.
24. Tribe, clan, or division/section heads are often referred to as sardars as well.
25. Narui or Nharui is also a term meaning “non-hill men” often used by the Brahui ethnic group to refer to all Baluch.
26. This list is far from comprehensive and includes only those Baluch tribes most commonly listed.
27. There are likely several different Rakhshani groups that may have split from a single source to become independent tribes or join other tribes.
28. Little is known about the Baluch living in Afghanistan. They do not seem to have a significant relationship with the Baluch in Iran or Pakistan.
29. Little is known about the Baluch living in Iran. With the exception of the Nausherwanis, they do not seem to have a significant relationship with the Baluch in Afghanistan
or Pakistan. Most information on Iranian Baluch comes from two sources from the early 1900s.


Tribal Analysis Center

Traditional anthropological research conducted among tribes inhabiting remote areas where insurgents and criminals operate has become increasingly difficult to implement. Studies carried out among people living in small-scale societies now are nearly impossible due to the physical dangers associated with the civil and religious unrest found in those areas. Swat, for example, has become
so dangerous that Frederick Barth’s studies only could be repeated at the risk of the investigator’s life. Similar research is not feasible among Burma’s Rohinga tribes located on both sides of the border with Bangladesh, as well as with the Pashtuns in Afghanistan’s interior and within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where even Pakistan’s army enters with reluctance. Given the difficulties of conducting direct fieldwork in conflictive areas, the Tribal Analysis Center utilizes an indirect approach. Using multidisciplinary research, we seek to collect and analyze data obtained from a wide variety of sources, both current and historical. In the absence of new ethnographic fieldwork to update our base of knowledge, the Tribal Analysis Center compiles and summarizes existing research and documents on tribal societies, combining this material with contemporary press reports and articles. We assume that much can be gleaned from well-informed observers who are not anthropologists, ranging from journalists and travelers to government officials.

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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Baloch Culture, Balochistan


The Brahui Race

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The Nation known as the Brahui (also Brohi) live in the rugged hills of Balochistan. Various explanations of the name Brahui have been suggested. The most likely one is that it is a variation of Barohi, meaning “mountain dweller” or “highlander.”
During the seventeenth century, the Brahui rose to prominence in Kalat, in Baluchistan.. For the next 300 years there was an unbroken line of Brahui rulers. The British eventually acquired control over the strategically located Kalat, although the state remained independent until it was incorporated into Pakistan in 1948.

Estimates of the Brahui population vary from 861,000 to over 1.5 million. Most of this number is concentrated in Pakistan’s Baluchistan Province around the town of Kalat. Brahui-speakers are also found in southern Afghanistan and Iran.
The Brahui homeland lies on the Kalat Plateau, where elevations vary between 7,000–8,000 feet (2,100–2,400 meters). The region is extremely arid (dry), with annual rainfall averaging less than eight inches (twenty centimeters). Strong northwesterly winds prevail through the area, bringing dust from the Iranian deserts and scorching temperatures in summer, and bitter cold in winter. The plateau consists of extensive areas of barren rock, or hills with a thin cover of drought-resistant vegetation.

The Brahui language is related to the languages spoken in South India. This language similarilty to people living almost 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away has long puzzled South Asian linguists (people who study language). There is no Brahui script. Many Brahui-speakers are bilingual, speaking Baluchi or other local languages.

A Brahui story tells of Mulla Mansur, an orphan who got a job in the house of a qadi (a Muslim religious leader). The qadi was an insensitive man. Even though Mansur had served him loyally for seven long years, he beat him over a trifling mistake. Mansur left the qadi and took to traveling the world. He met an old shepherd, fell in love with his daughter, and married her. When Mansur and his wife returned to his home, the beauty of his wife caused such a stir that everyone from the qadi to the king desired to possess her. However, Mansur’s wife was steadfast in her fidelity to her husband. When the qadi continued to make advances and tried to seduce her, she exposed him publicly. All the people joined in condemning the qadi, and the king banished him from the Brahui lands. This tale presents the Brahui view of the qualities and strength of character desirable in a wife, as well an element of scepticism toward religious leaders who preach purity to the world but practice otherwise.

The Brahui are Muslim, belonging mostly to the Sunni sect of Islam. They follow Islamic religious beliefs and practices as set out in the Qu’ran (Koran), though many of their social customs are Indian in origin. Communal worship focuses on the mosque, and mullahs (Muslim priests) see to the spiritual and ritual needs of the people. Reverence for saints (pirs) is also deeply entrenched in Brahui culture. Every family has its particular saint, and women often keep in their houses some earth (khwarda) from the saint’s shrine to be used in time of need. The Brahui believe in sorcery and possession by jinn or evil spirits. A mullah or sayyed (holy man) is often called in to read from the Qu’ran or provide charms and amulets to exorcise these spirits. Should this fail, a sheikh, who is known for his power over jinn may cast them out by dancing.

The Brahui observe the usual holy days of the Muslim calendar. The holiest of all is the eve of the tenth day of the month of Muharram, which is known as Imamak . Women prepare special dishes of meat and rice during the day. The family gathers near sunset in the presence of a mullah (Muslim priest), who reads from the Qu’ran and recites prayers for the dead over the food. Dishes of food are then sent to relatives and neighbors, who reciprocate with their own offerings. The following morning is an occasion for the head of the house to visit the graveyard to pray at the graves of his dead relatives.

The birth of a son is of utmost importance for a Brahui. A daughter is seen as little more than a gift to one’s neighbor. When a son is born, the father announces it to the community by firing gunshots in the air. Various rituals are followed to protect the mother and child from the attention of witches and jinn (evil spirits). Sheep are killed (two for a son and one for a daughter) and a feast held for relatives, friends, and neighbors. The child is then named, sometimes after a worthy ancestor. The head-shaving ritual (sar-kuti) is performed by the time the child is two years old, often at the shrine of a favored saint. A male child may undergo circumcision (sunnat) within six months, though the cost associated with the celebrations cause many to postpone it until as late as the age of ten or twelve.
No particular ceremonies accompany the male reaching puberty. An unusual rite is reported to be followed when a girl begins to menstruate for the first time. At sunset, the mother arranges three stones in a triangular pattern on the ground and has her daughter leap over them three times. It is thought that this will ensure that the girl’s periods during the rest of her life will last no more than three days. If a girl were not married as a child, she would be soon after puberty.
At death, word is sent to relatives and friends, who gather for the funeral. A shroud is sent for from outside the house, and when the mullah (Muslim priest) arrives, the body is carried to a place of washing. It is washed by the mullah and near kinsmen (or the mullah’s wife and female relatives, in the case of a woman), then wrapped in the shroud. The body is taken in procession to the graveyard, with the mourners reciting the kalima, the profession of faith. At the graveside, the mullah offers the prayer for the dead, and the body is given its burial. Other rituals include the singing of dirges (moda), and a death feast (varagh). Another feast is held on the first anniversary of the death.

On meeting, the Brahui stop, shake hands, and embrace each other. The encounter continues with inquiries after each other’s health and then proceeds to an exchange of news (hal) concerning family, friends, cattle, and other matters of interest. Brahui are known for their hospitality to their guests.

Brahui settlements essentially reflect the economic activities of their inhabitants. Pastoral nomadism was the traditional occupation of many Brahui: nomadic herders lived in tents and temporary camps, migrating with their herds in search of pasture. Pastoralism has declined in importance in recent years. Many Brahui have adopted a way of life based on a seasonal migration to differing elevations. Villages in the highlands suitable for cultivation are occupied for nine-month growing season. During the winter months, these Brahui drive their herds to the lowlands where they live in tent camps.

The Brahui are organized into tribes, each of which has a hereditary chief (sadar). The tribes are loosely structured units based on patrilineal descent (tracing descent through the father) and political allegiance. This clan system allows for Baluchi and Pathan groups to be incorporated into the Brahui tribal units. Some of the largest Brahui tribes are the Mengals, Zahris, and Muhammad Hosanis.
The favored marriage among the Brahui is with the father’s brother’s daughter. Marriages are arranged, although the wishes of the couple are taken into consideration. In the past, child marriage was common, though this practice is now banned under Pakistani law. The betrothal and marriage ceremonies are important events in the life of both family and tribe. Disputes within tribes are usually settled at the time of marriages. A bride price (lab) is paid by the groom’s family. Although Muslim law allows polygyny (multiple wives), economic realities mean most Brahui marriages are monogamous. Family structure tends to reflect economic systems. The nuclear family predominates among nomadic Brahui, while extended families are common among village inhabitants. Divorce, though simple, is rare. In the past, adultery was punishable by death, although such practices are forbidden by Pakistani law. Widow remarriage is accepted.

A young boy is given his first trousers at about three years of age, and thereafter wears clothes similar to those of adult males—the kurti (long shirt), worn over the salwar, the loose, baggy trousers found throughout the area. For men, a turban (pag) completes the outfit.
Women wear a long shift over trousers, although among Brahui nomads women wear skirts rather than trousers. Among the Brahui of the Jhalawan region, women’s shifts are typically black in color. Women’s clothes are embroidered with various patterns and designs in colored thread. Women’s ornaments include finger rings (challav), nose rings (vat), and earrings (panara). Brahui settled in the Sind region tend to dress like the Sindhi population.

The settled Brahui cultivate wheat and millet, which are ground into flour and baked into unleavened breads. Rice is also eaten, but usually only on special occasions. Mutton and goat are important in the diet of the Brahui. The more-affluent farmers in lowland areas may raise cattle. As is common throughout South Asia, food is eaten with one’s hands, and often from a communal platter. Milk is drunk and also made into curds, ghi (clarified butter), buttermilk, and butter. Dates, wild fruits, and vegetables are also part of the Brahui diet. Tea is drunk at meals and is also taken as part of various social ceremonies.

Levels of literacy (the ability to read and write) among the Brahui are extremely low. The 1972 census for the Kalat Division of Baluchistan Province recorded an overall literacy rate of only 6 percent in the population over ten years of age. The Brahui live in areas of Pakistan where there is no access to formal schooling, and even where schools do exist, attendance is low. In settled areas such as the Sind region where Brahui children are more likely to attend school, they are taught in the local language rather than in Brahui.

The Brahuis have an oral tradition of folk songs and heroic poems. These are sung by a class of professional minstrels and musicians called Dombs, who are attached to every Brahui community. Musical instruments include the rabab (an Afghan stringed instrument plucked with a piece of wood), the siroz (a stringed instrument played with a bow), and the punzik (a reed instrument). These have replaced the dambura (a three-stringed instrument played with the fingers) which is found in the more isolated areas. Dancing is an important feature at events such as weddings and funerals.

Historically, the Brahui were pastoral nomads, migrating with their herds of sheep, goats, and cattle from the upland plateaus to the low-lying plains. Today, however, many Brahui have abandoned their pastoral activities in favor of transhumant (seasonal migration between lower and higher elevations) or settled agriculture. In the Kacchi lowlands, river and canal irrigation support cultivation, but settlements in other areas of the Brahui region depend on qanat irrigation, a system of tunnels dug between shafts to carry water.

Horse-racing and target-shooting were traditional sports popular among the more affluent sections of the Brahui community.

In the past, the Brahui had to depend on their own resources for entertainment and recreation. They found this in their family celebrations, their traditions of folk song and dance, and in the festivities accompanying religious observances. This is still true for nomadic Brahui today. Those settled in Karachi or villages on the plains have access to more modern forms of recreation.

Brahui women embroider their garments with colorful designs. Tents and rugs are made from sheep’s wool or goats’ hair.

The Brahui tribes inhabit some of the harshest, most-isolated, and least-productive environments in Pakistan. This is reflected in the relative inefficiency of traditional economic systems and the generally low standards of living of the community. Belated government efforts to bring development to the region have done little for the welfare of the Brahui, who are essentially nomadic and rural in character. The Brahui are one of the many tribal minorities in a country dominated by ethnic elites such as the Punjabis and Sindhis. The lack of a written literature (what there is dates only from the 1960s) has hindered the development of a tribal consciousness, and matters are made worse by the declining numbers of people speaking Brahui. The Brahui appear to be rapidly assimilating with the surrounding Baluchi populations.

Bray, Denys. The Life-History of a Brahui. Karachi, Pakistan: Royal Book Company, 1977 [1913].
Rooman, Anwar. The Brahuis of Quetta-Kalat Region. Memoir No. 3. Karachi, Pakistan: Pakistan Historical Society, 1960.
Swidler, Nina. “Brahui.” In Muslim Peoples: A World Ethnographic Survey, edited by Richard Weekes. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1984.
Embassy of Pakistan, Washington, D.C. [Online] Available , 1998.
Interknowledge Corp. [Online] Available , 1998.
World Travel Guide, Pakistan. [Online] Available , 1998

Read more: Brahui – Introduction, Location, Language, Folklore, Religion, Major holidays, Rites of passage, Relationships, Living conditions

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Balochistan


Balochistan home to lowest-literacy rate in Pakistan

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QUETTA, June 12(Daily Times)

Balochistan is home to the largest number of school buildings that are falling apart. It also has the least number of educational institutions, the lowest literacy rate among both males and females, the lowest ranking in the Gender Parity Index (GPI) and the smallest presence of private educational institutes in the country, according to the recently issued National Economic Survey (NES).

According to the survey, 8.6 percent out of the 10,381 educational institutions in the province are in a ‘dangerous’ condition. About 24.7 percent of these need major repairs while 36.6 percent require minor repairs. Only 30.2 percent are in satisfactory conditions.

“The total number of institutions in the country that have buildings is 216,490. Out of those, 51.6 percent are in satisfactory conditions, 26 percent need minor repairs, 17 percent need major repairs, and ‘only’ 5.7 percent are in dangerous conditions.

The highest percentage of school buildings that fall into this category are from Balochistan, said the survey.

About six percent of the schools in Balochistan do not have buildings, nine percent lack electricity, 12 percent are devoid of clean drinking water and 11 percent are without proper latrine.

The province also has the smallest number of educational institutions-10,381 against the national number of 216,490 out of which 106,435 are located in the Punjab, 46,862 in Sindh and 36,029 in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). This, according to the NES, means that “out of the total number of institutions, 48 percent are to be found in the Punjab, 22 percent in Sindh, 17 percent in the NWFP and 5 percent in Balochistan.” With 43 percent of the total national territory and vast natural resources, Balochistan happens to be the largest province of Pakistan. But the province has the lowest literacy rate.

According to the latest NES, Balochistan’s total literacy rate is 34 percent against the national literacy rate of 52 percent-57 percent of which is for the Punjab, 50 percent for Sindh and 49 percent for the NWFP. The literacy rate among males in Balochistan is 39 percent, the lowest in the country. The Punjab has 60 percent and Sindh and the NWFP both have 54. Similarly, the literacy rate among women in Balochistan is also the worst in the country. With only 27 percent literate women, Balochistan stands poorly against the national female literacy rate of 48 percent – 53 percent for the Punjab, 42 percent for Sindh and 27 percent for the NWFP.

Balochistan also lags behind all the three provinces in the Net Enrolment Rate (NER). “The NER for primary schools was 42 percent in 2001-02, which increased significantly to 52 percent in 2005-06. Overall, both the sexes have recorded a 10 percent increase in 2005-06 as compared to 2001-02. The Punjab (57 percent) has ranked first followed by Sindh, the NWFP, and then Balochistan,” the survey stated.

Though the GPI has seen a considerable increase over time, “the smaller provinces of the NWFP and Balochistan, with a literacy GPI of 0.46 and 0.37 respectively, deserve special consideration by the decision makers and planners at both the federal and provincial levels.”

According to the survey, the GPI for GER at the primary level increased from 0.37 in 2001-02 to 0.85 in 2005-06. The NER at the primary level increased from 0.82 to 0.85 during the same period.

The latest data marks the literacy GPI for Pakistan at 0.46 with a provincial break-up of 0.67 for the Punjab, 0.89 for Sindh, 0.46 for the NWFP and 0.37 for Balochistan. Balochistan’s journey towards the attainment of a higher literacy rate from 2001-02 to 2005-06 has been embarrassingly slow as compared to the other three provinces. The Punjab has outdone all the other provinces improving its literacy rate from 47 to 57 percent. Similarly, Sindh has increased to 55 percent from 46 percent in 2001-02 and the NWFP from 38 to 46 percent.

Balochistan has proved to be the slowest with only a two percent increase in its literacy rate during the past seven years. The province, according to the NES, has only progressed from 36 to 38 percent.

Balochistan also has the lowest presence of private schools – 1,750, as compared to 48,541 in the Punjab, 12,574 in Sindh and 11,276 in the NWFP. The NES has noted that more than 76,000 private institutions in Pakistan attend to the educational needs of 12 million children. The trend in enrolment shows that the gender gap is closing down in the case of private schools as compared to public schools.

One strong reason could be the presence of almost twice the number of female teachers in the private sector as compared to the public sector. In private schools, the student to teacher ratio is 1:29. The male teacher to female teacher ratio is 1:2. In the case of the public sector, the ratio of male teachers to female teachers is 1:0.6.

“Private sector institutions are growing rapidly, i.e., from 36,096 in 1999-2000 to 81,103 institutions in 2005, showing an annual average increase of 25 percent,” the report said. Despite Balochistan’s abysmal state of education, the cash-starved province has been left in lurch by the federal government in its efforts to improve the state of education. The NES states that the provincial government will need to rationalize the suggested allocation increase by enhancing non-salary expenditures for primary and secondary schools. This includes the provision of missing facilities in existing infrastructure, the provision of quality services such as teacher training, the increase of resources for new infrastructure, a girls incentive programs, and the provision of on-the-side incentives such as free textbooks, uniforms, transport, and scholarships.

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Posted by on October 13, 2011 in Balochistan


Balochistan A Backgrounder

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By: Priyashree Andley
Research Officer
Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies
New Delhi

Balochistan forms 44 percent of Pakistan’s geographical territory with a 770 km long coastline and straddles three countries (Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanista.1 It is sparsely populated; according to the 1998 census, the ethnic makeup of the province include 54.7 percent Baloch tribes and 29 percent Pashtun tribes.

Economically, its vast rangelands, large numbers of livestock, rich mineral and gas deposits, and good quality deciduous fruits are of significant value. However, there is relatively less industrialization in the province, it remains poverty stricken, underdeveloped and receives a small share of the revenue it generates.


The Baloch has a strong sense of cultural distinctiveness with their recorded folk literature dating back to tenth century, devoted to glories of Baloch homeland and victorious battles against the Persians, Arabs, Tartars and other invaders.2 Baloch nationalism is based on secular principles, with tribal and clan loyalties playing a crucial role in determining identities. Islamabad’s attempt to impose a ‘national identity’ upon the Balochis and, the longstanding resentment towards federal policies ,were the main reasons for the four major insurgencies in 1948, 1958, 1963 and 1973.

Before colonial rule, Balochistan was a highly fragmented society. It was in the eighteenth century that Nasir Khan, the sixth Khan of Kalat, established a unified Baloch army of 25, 000 men and organized the Baloch tribes under an agreed military and administrative system.

Kalat was the largest of the four princely states in Balochistan; the other three include Makran, Kharan and Las Bela. Under British rule a part of Balochistan was named ‘British Balochistan’, was centrally administered by British India.3 The Khan’s powers were reduced and he was forced to accept a contractual notion of sovereignty, according to which tribal chiefs were to accept his authority but could legally refute it in certain circumstances.

When the British left the subcontinent, Mir Ahmed Yar Khan declared Kalat as an independent state, and both the houses of parliament in Kalat unanimously refused to merge with Pakistan. Subsequently, the Pakistan army’s garrison in Balochistan was ordered to march on Kalat and arrest the Khan, following which Kalat was annexed. Nationalists rejected Khan’s capitulation and Prince Karim, his brother, launched the first armed insurgency in 1948.4 Jinnah decided to introduce a governorgeneral’s council in Balochistan for governance and administration thereby laying the foundations for direct federal authority over the province. The insurgency continued till 1950 until the arrest of Prince Karim.

In 1955, the “One Unit” scheme was introduced by the federal government. Under this scheme the four western provinces of Balochistan, Sindh, NWFP and Punjab were amalgamated into one. This attempt to strengthen national unity and end Baloch antagonisms was strongly condemned by the nationalist leaders.5 By 1955,

Prince Karim had completed his prison term and mobilized widespread demonstrations through tribal chiefs. He launched the People’s Party, representing a new Baloch nationalism that cut across tribal and linguistic lines. The Pakistan army moved in during October 1958, and arrested the Khan and his retainers, accusing them of secretly negotiating a rebellion with Afghanistan. The arrest sparked massive violence. The unrest continued when tribesmen refused to comply with the army’s demand that weapons be handed over. A guerilla movement was organized under Nauroz Khan but died when he was arrested, and five of his men were hanged in July 1960, on charges of treason.6

After 1959, the Pakistan army started building new garrisons at key points in Balochistan, triggering another guerilla movement. The armed Baloch revolt comprised of left leaning militants led by Sher Mohammad Marri. He set up a network of base camps spread from the Mengal tribal areas of Jhalawan in the south to the Marri and Bugti areas in the north. By July 1963, the guerrillas had established numerous base camps of varying size spreading over 45,000 square miles. The guerillas ambushed convoys and bombed trains; in retaliation, the army damaged acres of land owned by the Marri tribesmen. The sporadic fighting ended in 1969, when General Yahya Khan withdrew the ‘’One Unit” plan and the Baloch agreed to a ceasefire.7 In 1970, Balochistan was granted the status of a ‘province’.

In 1972, the People’s Party and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) based National Awami Party (NAP) allied with the Islamist Jamait-Ulema-i-Islam to oppose President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Having won the elections, the alliance sought to increase the representation of the ethnic Baloch in government, and demanded greater control over development and industrialization. Bhutto, representing the national ruling elite of Pakistan, resisted this regional elite. In 1973, Bhutto dismissed the Balochistan government on charges of treason and Governor’s rule was imposed in the province.

The dismissal of an elected provincial government led to the fourth insurgency.8 Large numbers of Marri tribesmen and Baloch students fought against the government and attacked the Pakistani and American oil companies leading to the halting of drilling and survey operations. The Pakistani army deployed 80,000 soldiers, used helicopter gun ships provided by Iran and $ 200 million as financial and emergency aid, to put down the insurgency that continued until 1977 in which more than 5,000 insurgents and 3,300 army men lost their lives.9

The rebels formed the Balochistan People’s Liberation Front (BPLF), under Khair Bakhsh Marri, and raised the level of guerrilla warfare.10 The BPLF manifesto stressed that it was ‘not fighting a secessionist war for the Baloch alone, but a war of national liberation for all the nationalities of Pakistan’. For its members secession was unrealistic and greater autonomy was a better option. Mir Hazar Khan Marri led the Baloch liberation movement under the BPLF.


Baloch grievances are rooted in their denial to political rights, the exploitation of natural resources by the federal government and the fear of being swamped by the Punjabis and the army. They also resent their land being parceled out to outsiders and the impact of development projects in the province.


During his eleven years of military rule, General Zia-ul Haq intensified efforts to bribe and co – opt the Baloch elite. He succeeded in buying loyalties of the former Baloch Students Organization president, Khair Jan Baloch. His decision to turn Pakistan into a frontline state to help the US, to topple the regime in Afghanistan and eject the Soviet Army, created a corrupt political culture in Balochistan.11 Billions of dollars worth war material entered Pakistan and the NWFP and Balochistan became the Pakistani base for Afghan Mujahids. In the post 1988 democratic phase, the Baloch tribes were represented in the governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, and ethnic tensions subsided. Baloch nationalist parties were given an opportunity to articulate their grievances through national and provincial legislatures. In the 1988 elections, Akbar Bugti led the Baloch National Alliance (BNA) – a coalition of tribal leaders and left-wing nationalists that won number of seats in the provincial assembly.12 However, the October 1999 coup and follow up efforts to undermine the real democratic and political forces reignited the Baloch issue. Baloch representation in the armed forces is minimal and makes up only 1.3 percent of the armed forces with Punjabis dominating senior positions in civil and military service.13

Exploitation of natural resources

The Baloch tribes feel that their natural resources and assets are being exploited without little benefit to them. A case in point is the Sui Gas; its first deposits discovered in 1953. Gas was supplied to Multan and Rawalpindi, in Punjab in 1964 but Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, waited until 1986 for its share of gas. This too was possible only after the federal government set up a Corps Headquarters in Quetta. Dera Bugti received gas in the midnineties when a para military camp was set up there. Overall, only four of the 26 districts constituting Balochistan are supplied with Sui gas.14 The federal government pays a lower price for Baloch gas than it does for gas produced in other provinces, particularly Sind and Punjab.

Development Projects

The Baloch tribes fear that developmental projects in Balochistan, intended for greater economic opportunities, will solely serve the interests of the ruling elite and state institutions in the military establishment. The Gwadar Port, which Pakistan has been propagating as another ‘Karachi’, is a project entirely under the control of the central government. In 1992, Nawaz Sharif government decided to build a seaport at Gwadar on Makran post. Initially, Baloch nationalists supported the idea of a port but subsequent developments like the creation of a land market, a planned military base and the expected massive inflow of non-Balochis in a province with a total population of six-seven million, were not discussed with the Baloch Assembly leading to dissatisfaction with the government. The Baloch in Gwadar fear that they will become a minority in their own land.15 In addition, if the port is not connected to Baloch populated areas of Turbat, Panjgur, and Khuzdar, the province will derive little benefit from the project. Gwadar has only one intermediate college and no technical school. No major steps have been taken to improve health facilities or access to safe drinking water. Most of the locals rely on fishing for a livelihood and lost the prime fishing grounds after the port was constructed.16

The Saindak copper and precious minerals project was supposed to provide training and employment to local youth. The project halted for ten years because of the unwillingness of the federal authorities to provide Rs. 1.5 billion for it to proceed. It was revived however, with assistance from the Chinese who receive 50 per cent of the profits. Of the remaining 50 per cent, only two per cent accrues to Balochistan, while central government of Pakistan receives 48 per cent.17

Security concerns

The Baloch tribes also distrust the security agencies in their province. The Frontier Corps, a para-military force operates under the federal government. Complaints of abuse by the locals at many FC check posts include extortion, humiliation, threats and the use of lethal force.

The security presence is overwhelming and most personnel are not locals.18 The Baloch opposition demands the removal of FC check posts, the return of the army to the barracks and the release of political prisoners for the restoration of peace.


In Balochistan, there are three main tribes headed by nationalist Sardars; the Marris (led by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri), the Bugtis (led by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti), and the Mengals (led by Sardar Ataullah Mengal). There exist serious differences amongst these tribal leaders, but the cause they have espoused and the issues they have raised strike a chord amongst Baloch people. According to Yusufzai, Sardars with a political and popular following – like those mentioned above – folllow an independent line, which the State finds difficult to handle.19

The Marri tribe is a Baloch tribe on the Dera Ghazi border of Balochistan. It occupies large parts of Kohlu district. The Marri tribe is divided into three sub tribes namely Bijrani, Gazini and Lohrani. Khair Bakhsh Marri, the Nawab of this tribe, became a Marxist politician in 1958. He was responsible for victory by the nationalists in the 1970 poll. In 1981, he moved to Afghanistan where he mobilized a welltrained and well-armed guerilla force of five thousand men.20

The Bugti tribe led by Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti (killed recently) has many sub tribes : Rejai or Raheja, Masuri, Kalpar, Mondrani, Shambani, Mothani and Pirozani. Akbar Bugti assumed governorship of Balochistan after Zulfukar Ali Bhutto dismissed the Ataullah Mengal’s NAP led government. He also became the chief minister of Balochistan’s first provincial government after the restoration of Democracy in 1988.21

The Mengal tribe, headed by Ataullah Mengal, was engaged in an armed struggle with the Pakistani Army, during the rule of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. During Mengal’s self exile in 1980, he said that, it was impossible to live in a federation since Punjabi dominance would continue over the Baloch.22

There are four main Baloch nationalist parties in the province that propagate Baloch rights.

•The Balochistan National Party (BNP) was formed by Sardar Ataullah Mengal. It resulted from a merger between the Mengal’s Balochistan National Movement and Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo’s Pakistan National Party. The BNP demands maximum provincial autonomy, limiting federal government authority to four subjects namely, defence, foreign affairs, currency and communications. The BNP won 12 seats in the general elections in 1997 and three seats in the National Assembly and formed the provincial government.23

•The Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) was formed in 1990 and headed by (late) Akbar
Bugti. The JWP support base is largely limited to the Bugti tribe. Bugti’s defiant stand, however, won him the support of many other Baloch who were initially skeptical about his motives, given his past history of working with the centre against the Baloch nationalist forces.24

•The Baloch Haq Talwar (BHT) is largely tribal in its structure and membership. It is headed by Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri of the Marri tribe. The Marris’ are at the forefront of the resistance to military rule. The government accused Nawab Marri’s son, Balach Marri of leading the insurgency in 2005.

•The National Party (NP) is headed by Dr. Abdul Hayee. It was formed out of a merger of Balochistan National Movement and Balochistan National Democratic Party.
It strongly opposes central government projects like Gwadar port, and demands Baloch rights to control their own resources and their own political and economic priorities.25 The NP is opposed to the Sardari system as most of its members are educated and belong to the non tribal cadre. It holds the military responsible for the Balochistan crises.

•The Balochistan Students Organisation (BSO) formed in 1967 represents the Baloch middle class and students. It strongly opposes military rule and demands more jobs for the youth. It is not aligned with any political party and acts as an independent force. In the 1990’s the BSO armed itself and nearly 20,000 trained militants remained in the fold of Jamait Islami, Jiye Sindh and BSO.26

•The Pashtun Khwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) formed in 1987 believes that the Pashtuns should form a separate province or be merged with Pashtun majority in NWFP; until then it advocates a democratic, parliamentary federation in which all nationalities are empowered. The PKMAP was formed following a dispute between Pashtun (Khan Abdul Samad Khan) and Baloch (Khair Bakhsh Marri) leadership on raising Balochistan to the status of an administrative province. In the 1988 general election, the party got two seats in the Balochistan Assembly.27 In March 2006, it declared its willingness to resolve differences through a dialogue with the Baloch.

•The Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) is comprised of the Marris and other non tribal Baloch educated middle class, with Balach Marri leading the Marri resistance. In Kohlu, the stronghold of the Marris, there are 30 to 40 militant camps, with each camp having 300 to 500 recruits.28 The BLA’s objectives are based largely on a pan-Baloch demand for an independent State or more powers for the province. For the BLA, mega projects such as Gwadar are a means for the Punjabis to overwhelm the Baloch. What remains unexplored is the link between the BLA and the tribal leaders. According to Chandran, the relation operates at two levels: first, at political level where the Sardars and the Ittehad (an allianceof four political parties) fight for the same cause and second, at the operational level where the latter seems to take its own decisions. The Ittehad justifies BLA’s attacks.29 BLA has considerable support from the Baloch Diaspora spread across many continents. Baloch pockets in Afghanistan and Iran, which have a common border with the area, have always been vocal supporters of their brethren in Pakistan. On 9 April 2006, Musharraf banned the BLA as a terror organization and ordered arrests of anyone linked with it. 30


Although it accounts for 36 per cent of Pakistan’s total gas production, Sui province recieves only 17 per cent of the gas produced in the region. The remaining 83 per cent is sent to the rest of the country. Moreover, Balochistan receives no more than 12.4 per cent of the royalties due to it for supplying gas. Balochistan supplies more than 40 per cent of Pakistan’s primary energy needs (natural gas, coal and electricity). The government has announced that the gas deposits being exploited at present will be depleted by 2012, leading to the need to drill deeper and undertake fresh exploration. Reports by geological experts indicate the presence of 19 trillion cubic feet of gas and 6 trillion barrels of oil reserves in Balochistan. The Baloch, however, are determined to prevent further exploration and development without their consent. They want an agreement for the equitable sharing of resources.31

Apart from the state’s economic exploitation, there is an intra-tribal economic conflict over
Sui royalties. According to Chandran, the Kalpars claim that the Sui gas fields are located in their area; hence, they should be the primary beneficiaries of its royalties, which further infuriated Akbar Bugti. Jalal Khan, nephew of Amir Hamza, claimed that Sui belongs to the Kalpars; hence, its royalty is their right. According to reports, Akbar Bugti received 120 million rupees annually as royalty in addition to the two million he is paid monthly for providing security to the Pakistan Petroleum Ltd (PPL) installations and pipelines. Bugti claimed that the royalty had to be revised and accused the government for not settling its dues.32 On 27 August 2006 Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in Pakistan followed by rioting in many parts of the Balochistan province. In spite of the pro-Bugti and anti-Bugti factions in themprovince, his demise coupled with the aggressive policies of the government, have the potential to create a cohesive opposition and pose a serious security challenge on Pakistan’s border provinces.


In 2003, the latest round of armed conflict ensued with a series of bombings through the year. Dr. Chandran asserts that the BLA led these acts with one main objective: to force Islamabad to withdraw the federal garrisons in Balochistan as well as the federally sponsored mega projects. The insurgents mainly targeted developmental activities and infrastructure such as Gas pipelines, railway tracks, bridges, power transmission lines, telephone exchanges, military and government installations.

The Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), the Balochistan National Party (BNP) and National Party (NP) led by the merger of factions of Hasil Bizenjo and Abdul Hayee, and Baloch Haq Tawaar (BHT) led by Nawab Khair Marri, joined to form the Ittehad in 2003. The Ittehad favors more power and autonomy for smaller provinces, hence drafted proposals for constitutional amendments. 33 A new development took place in May 2005, as Akbar Bugti suggested the formation of a joint political platform, while offering to dissolve his own party provided the other members of the Ittehad do the same to have a common Baloch forum, but there was no serious response during the last year. S. Zulfiqar asserts that most of the demands made were against developmental activities seen as efforts to exploit Baloch resources; and against the military cantonments, a symbol of Punjabi military domination.34

In 2004,there were series of attacks all over Balochistan, the most important being the BLA attack in Gwadar on 3 May 2004, when three Chinese Engineers were killed. Also, in Khuzdar on 1 August 2004 in Khuzdar, five military personnel were killed.

Later in the year, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, (then interim Prime Minister), constituted a Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan. There were two sub committees to look into current issues and Constitutional issues. The Current issues committee (led by Mushahid Hussain) dealt with building of military cantonments, mega developmental projects and violence, whereas the constitutional committee (led by Wasim Sajjad) dealt with issues related to provincial autonomy. The sub-committees recommended a 15 to 20 per cent increase in gas royalty, 20 to 30 per cent resource allocation for local development, and 5.4 per cent quota for Baloch workers in federal ministry divisions. Moreover, they recommended social sector development and constitutional changes for providing greater provincial autonomy to the province.35 Sajjad Committee also recommended a complete revision of the concurrent list and distribution of federal resources on the basis of poverty, backwardness, unemployment and development level of provinces, instead of using the criterion of population. For Akbar Bugti the Pakistani constitution did not apply to the Baloch, as the majority of their leadership refrained from endorsing it when the Parliament approved the constitution in 1973. According to Chandran, “one of the major problems with these initiatives was the failure to follow them up when faced with armed resistance at the ground level – especially after the January 2005 attacks.’” 36 As a consequence, state coercion and military action continued and Mengal, Marri and Bugti leaders gradually lost trust in the Parliamentary committees. Musharraf’s visit to the area was followed by another round of military operations against the BLA and armed Bugti tribes. On 17 March 2005, when the personnel of a convoy stopped a Bugti tribesman outside Dera Bugti and tried to disarm him, tensions regained momentum.37

This led the Frontier Corps (FC) and tribesmen to start firing rockets and shelling mortars at each other and at civilians. May 2005 witnessed a positive development in the Parliamentary Committee on Balochistan, as it was agreed to delete 30 items from the concurrent list that In October 2006, Salim Saifullah Khan, Interprovincial Coordination Minister, stated that a number of subjects in the concurrent list would be transferred to provinces to enhance the quantum of autonomy, and the government will get a constitutional amendment passed from the parliament before the next budget.39 However, he did not explain whether Wasim Sajjid‘s constitutional committee had prepared a suitable report and if it would be made public.


Political developments in the state after the death of Bugti are not indicative of an emerging anarchy or an end to Musharraf’s rule in the near future. The King’s party in the Parliament remains undivided and other political parties have not made any strong comments on the killing of Bugti. Hence, there is only a slim would be devolved on the provinces after the constitutional amendments.38 possibility that Bugti’s death could be used to form a united political front against Musharraf. Moreover, Bugti’s death is unlikely to bridge the apparent divide between Punjab and Balochistan. Most parts of Punjab and rural Sindh remained unaffected by the protests and strikes in Balochistan and Karachi.40

General Musharraf’s position has not weakened after Bugti’s killing. Rather, he has become even more determined to reemphasize the supremacy of the writ of the state. However, he needs to be cautious of the hardened Baloch stance after the incident as this can play a significant role in the forthcoming national election.


1 Frédéric Grare, “The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism”, South Asia Project, Pakistan Paper,
Number 65, January 2006, re.FINAL.pdf

2 Selig S Harrison, “Nightmare in Baluchistan,” Foreign Policy, Vol.32, Fall 1978, p.140

3 Selig S Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet temptations (New
York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1981) p.16

4 Owen Bennett Jones, Pakistan: Eye of the storm (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002) p.133

5 Lawrence Ziring, Pakistan: At the crosscurrent of History (Lahore: Vanguard Press, 2004) p.71

6 Selig S Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow, pp.27-28

7 “Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan,” International Crisis Group, Asia Report No. 119, p.4

8 Mary Anne Weaver, Pakistan: In the shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan ( New York: Farrar, Straus
and Giroux Press, 2002) p.111

9 Selig S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow, pp. 36 & 46-47.

10 Hassan Abbas, Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism (New Delhi: Pentagon Press, 2005) p.79

11 Feroz Ahmed, Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998) p. 177

12 Paul Titus, “Introduction,” in Sylvia A. Matheson, The Tigers of Balochistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1997) pp. 18-19

13 Hasan-Askari Rizvi, Military State and Society in Pakistan (London: Macmillan Press, 2000) pp.240-241.

14 Frédéric Grare, “The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism,” South Asia Project, Pakistan Paper, Number 65, January 2006.

15 ibid.

16 “Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan,” International Crisis Group, p.14

17 Rashed Rahman, “The Balochistan Issue”, Daily Times, 11 August 2004.

18 Zahid Hussain, “Gathering storm,” Newsline, February 2005.

19 Rahimullah Yusufzai, “At boiling point,” Newsline, October 2004, p.36.

20 Mary Anne Weaver, Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan ( New York: Farrar, Straus
and Giroux Press, 2002) p. 104

21 Feroz Ahmed, Ethnicity and Politics in Pakistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998) p. 392

22 Selig S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow, p.66

23 Siddiq Baluch, “Balochistan National Party,” in ABS Jafri’s, The Political Parties of Pakistan,( Karachi: Royal Book Company, 2002) pp. 16-17

24 “Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan,” International Cris is Group, Asia Report No. 119, p.10

25 ibid.

26 See Prashant Dikshit, “Threats to security,” in Sreedhar ed. Pakistan after 9/11 ( New Delhi:
Manas, 2003)

27 Saleem Shahid, “Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party,” in ABS Jafri’s, The political parties of
Pakistan, (Karachi: Royal Book Co mpany, 2002) pp. 79-81

28 Shahzada Zulfiqar, “Edging towards Anarchy,” Newsline, September 2004, p.35.

29 D. Suba Chandran, “Pakistan: Tribal Troubles in Waziristan and Balochistan,” in Suba Chandran ed.
Armed Conflicts and Peace Proces in South Asia (forthcoming)

30 “BLA declared terrorist organization,” Nation, 10 April 2006

31 Frédéric Grare, “The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism”, South Asia Project, Pakistan paper, Number 65, January 2006.

32 D. Suba Chandran, “Balochistan: Kalpars, Masuris and the Intra Bugti Clashes in Dera Bugti,” IPCS Article no. 2052, 28 June 2006

33 ibid.

34 Shahzada Zulfiqar, “We have launched a struggle for our freedom from the yoke of Punjab’s
slavery,” Newsline, Sept 2004, p.38.

35 “Pakistan: The Worsening Conflict in Balochistan,” p. 20

36 D. Suba Chandran, “Pakistan: Tribal Troubles in Waziristan and Balochistan.”

37 “Miscreants’ camp targeted in Kohlu,” The News, 22 December 2005; “Kohlu operation continues,”
The Nation, 24 December 2005

38 D. Suba Chandran, “Pakistan: Tribal Troubles in Waziristan and Balochistan.”

39 Editorial, “Defining Autonomy,” The Nation, 18 October 2006

40 D. Suba Chandran, “Akbar Bugti and After:Implications for Balochistan and Pakistan,” IPCS Issue Brief No. 38 September 2006,

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Balochistan


West Balochistan

Iran regions map

Report by UNPO

West Balochistan is an occupied territory, annexed in 1928 to Iran in the Reza Shah Pahlavi era.
Since many parts of Balochistan land after occupation has been partitioned into neighbouring Persian Provinces of Kerman, Khorasaan and Hormozgaan, Baloch population inclusively is about 4.8 million.
Capital of Province: Zahidan
Total Baloch inhabited landscape is 690,000 km², of which 280,000 km² is occupied by Iran, 350,000 km² occupied by Pakistan and 60,000 km² by Afghanistan.
Balochi, Brahvi
The majority of Baloch are Hanafi Sunnis. There is also a community of zikri Baloch and a small population of Shia.


The Baloch people in Western Balochistan are represented at the UNPO by Balochistan People’s Party (BPP).They became a member of the UNPO on 26 June 2005


Twenty percent of the Baloch population lives in southeastern Iran in the area known as ‘West Balochistan’ the majority live in East Balochistan (Pakistan) and a small number are located in Afghanistan. The Balochistan People’s Party represents only the Baloch’s in Iran and not the larger Baloch community that resides in Pakistan and Afghanistan also known as ‘Greater Balochistan. Parts of West Balochistan have been partitioned to three neighboring provinces in the south east of Iran: Khorasan, Kerman and Hormozgan. There has been some migration of Baloch throughout in Iran as they seek employment opportunities particularly in Tehran The Baloch population in Iran consists of approximately 4 million people although there are no independent census figures. While the CIA Factbook estimates that they account for 2% of Iran’s population (total 66,429,284 July 2009 estimate) in reality this represents an underestimation. The majority of Iran’s Baloch are Sunni Muslims with small minorities of Shia and Zekri. The national language is Balochi and the second-most commonly spoken language is Brahui, a language of unknown origins with Iranic loanwords.


The British and Persian Empires divided Balochistan into spheres of influence when Balochistan was partitioned during the 19th century. In 1928 West Balochistan was annexed into Iran by Reza shah Pahlavi, who took over the power from Qajar dynasty through a British backed military coup soon after the famous historical “constitutional revolution” in the early 20th century. The Pahlavi dynasty in Iran marked the beginning of a centralized state based on Persian national features, where the Persian language and Shiite religion were given prominence leaving Baloch people struggling to defend their rights under Iranian Rule. Iran became an Islamic republic in 1979 and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was forced into exile. The new regime outlawed political organizations and in 1981, began a major assault on political activists in the form of persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and assassination.
Baloch people in Iran are deprived of their cultural, social and economic rights leaving them feeling like third class citizens. They face discrimination, particularly with regard to political participation and the job market. The punishment for dissemination of Baloch culture and language is a declared act of treason against the state and assimilation policies carried out by the Persian state mean that the Baloch are rapidly losing their identity. Baloch people face systematic intimidation, harassment arrests, and torture.


UNPO condemns the unwarranted military operation against Baloch people which has resulted in mass displacement, killings, disappearances and mass imprisonment in Balochistan.
UNPO deplores the discrimination against Balochs, particularly in economic and political sphere. In addition, UNPO condemns the denial of linguistic rights to speak and be educated in their mother tongue.
UNPO supports the Balochistan Peoples Party in their campaign to develop Baloch culture and promote the organization of people on the basis of a national Baloch identity.


The Balochistan Peoples Party is a national democratic movement which is struggling to achieve sovereignty for the Baloch people within a secular, federal and democratic republic in Iran. BPP is one of the founding and most active members of “The Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran” (CNFI). The CNFI consists of parties and organizations representing Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Balochs, Kurds and Turkmen. CNFI seeks to establish a secular, democratic republic with a federal structure based on parity of its constituent parts.


Early History

Balochistan is the location of some of the earliest human civilizations and the Baloch were mentioned in Arabic chronicles from 10th century AD. Mehrgar the earliest civilization known to mankind is located in Eastern Balochistan and the Kech civilization in central Makuran dates back to 4000 BC.
The Arab invasion of Balochistan in the seventh century AD was amongst the most significant incursions in terms of the extensive social, religious, economic and political impacts. The Arab army controlled by Hakam, defeated the combined forces of Makuran and Sindh in 644 AD. 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. This period brought Islam to the area which was gradually embraced by Baloch tribes.
The Selijuq suppression of the Baloch was epitomized with the invasion of Kerman in 11th century AD which stimulated the eastward migration of the Baloch. The Selijuq ruler, Qaward, also sent an expedition against the Kufichis. The Safavid rule ran from 1501-1736.
The British occupation of Kalat state was a turning point which had had severe consequences for the Baloch who suffered the partition of their land and perpetual occupation by foreign forces. 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 Balochistan in 1839 when they sought safe passage and they signed a treaty with Kalat state in 1841. The British annexed Sindh in 1843 from the Talpur Mirs, a Baloch dynasty. Another treaty was imposed on the Baloch in 1876 when the British forced the Khan of Kalat to lease Quetta city to them. The Khan’s authority over Balochistan still applied but under the watchful eye of a British minister. In 1849, an Iranian army defeated Baloch forces in Kerman and captured Bumpur. The Baloch people became further marginalized during the Anglo-Afghan wars and subsequent events in Persia, particularly in light of “the great game” between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire.
West Balochistan was conquered by Iran in the 19th century and the partition of Balochistan by British and Persian Empires dramatically changed Balochistan’s political status as it was divided into spheres of influence. The border that splits Iranian and Pakistani Balochistan was fixed in 1872 by a British colonial official, ceding territory to Iran’s rulers in a bid to win Tehran’s support against Czarist Russia.
Baloch rebellions against dominations occurred throughout the 19th century, including the revolt of Jask in 1873, the revolt of Sarhad in 1888 and the general uprising in 1889. A major uprising under Baloch chieftain Sardar Hussein Narui in 1896 provoked a joint Anglo-Persian expeditionary force to crush the struggle of Baloch. Baloch resistance was defeated after two years.
The reign of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran was the beginning of a centralized state with Persian national identity based features which ruled Iran from the crowning of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925. Western Balochistan was annexed by Iran in 1928 after the defeat of Baloch forces by Reza Shah’s Army. Reza Shah Pahlavi was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in September 1941 when his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, became the emperor of Iran.

Recent History

During the 1970s the Iranian government began to assist settlement and economic development by building dams and power plants but these efforts ceased abruptly following political changes at the end of the decade. The Baloch Nationalist Movement in Iran was a relatively insignificant force compared to the movement in Eastern or Pakistani Balochistan until the overthrow of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution 1979 when there was resurgence of nationalist activities. Iraq attempted to destroy the Revolution in its infancy and invaded Iran marking the beginning of a bloody, indecisive war between 1980 and 88.
The death of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 marked a shift in Iran foreign policy from the idealistic post-revolutionary hardline during the Iran-Iraq. Iran became more pragmatic and improved relations with its non-revolutionary Muslim neighbours, particularly Saudi Arabia.
After the destruction of a Sunni mosque, there were a series of riots in 1994 in Zahidan which were quelled when Revolutionary Guards fired live ammunition into the crowd. In response to popular dissatisfaction, political reform was initiated following the election of reformer Hojjat ol-Eslam Mohammad Khatami in 1997. In the 1990s Baloch political activists set about founding a new political party, facilitated by the post cold war climate which favored oppressed nations struggle for self-determination and sovereignty.
Conservatives were able to regain power during municipal elections in 2003 and Majles elections in 2004, which culminated in the August 2005 inauguration of hardliner Mahmud Ahmadinejad as president who returned Iranian policy to reflect Islamic revolutionary policies. The president was re-elected in the controversial elections in June 2009.


1. Human Rights Violations

There are serious allegations about Iran’s military operation including mass arrests, harassment of Baloch people and the execution of innocent Baloch civilians in Zahidan.
The recent escalation in the number military exercises conducted in Balochistan has resulted in an increasing death toll. In most cases however there is little or no investigation into the incidents, and consequently little in the way of justice for the victims. Despite being prohibited from entering Iran, Amnesty International has received reports of gross human rights violations at the hands of security forces (see their 2007 report) During 2006-7, numerous Baloch were shot dead in the street, including an 11 year old on 16 May 2007 killed by the Law Enforcement Force. There are examples of forced disappearances, such as Vahid Mir Baluchzahi, aged 23, who went missing in February 2007 and was found dead in June later that year. In June 2009, 17 young Baloch were killed in street clashes with security forces and over 500 arrested after a demostration in the streets of Zahidan.
There is a heavy military presence in the east of the country, the base for the branch of the military called Mersad is located in Zahidan. One of the leaders is reported to have said, “We have not been given orders to arrest and hand over those who carry weapons. On the basis of a directive we have received, we will execute any bandits, wherever we capture them.”
The use of the death penalty represents a major concern, particularly since there is sparse information available about the trials of some Balochs who are often arrested, tried and executed within days. It is unclear how many Baloch have been executed over the years, but in 2006 it is known the number rose dramatically when at least 32 and possibly 50 Balochs were executed. In 2007, the Ayyaran newspaper reported that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan Balochistan. In the aftermath of the presidential election in May 2009 19 Baloch prisoners were executed after short trials in closed-door court rooms without having access to defence lawyers.
The system of trying suspected criminals in Iran is inherently unfair. Defendants only have access to lawyer after investigations have been completed and they have been formally charged. Lawyers can be imprisoned if they protest unfair proceedings. Judges have powers to refuse a public trial if the case is incompatible with ‘morality or public order’ and they have discretionary powers to exclude lawyers in sensitive cases. The lack of separation of powers of investigator prosecutor and judge mean that their functions remain merged, making an impartial hearing impossible. Confessions to certain crimes may be used as sole means of proving defense under Islamic penal code. Amnesty International has expressed concern about torture and ill treatment in pre trial detention, particularly the allowing confessions extracted under duress to be used.
Members of civil society organisations face oppression and are prevented from carrying out their activities. A Baloch youth group were only granted permission after much difficulty to stage first cultural music conference in 2005 and permission to stage a similar concert by another group refused in 2006. Six members of Voice of Justice Youth Association were arrested for their activities in 2007. The following year, the head of the organisation, Mr. Mehrnehad was subjected torture and executed.

2. Political Representation and Discrimination

The Baloch are unrepresented at the central government in Tehran which has led to marginalization of Balochi people. There is a lack of meaningful dialogue on a domestic scale between interstate and state leaders about the desire for greater autonomy and self-determination.
In Iran, there is an ideological selection procedure called gozinesh which requires state officials and employees to demonstrate allegiance to Islam and the Islamic republic of Iran including velayat-e faqih (Rule of Jurisconsult). This is in conflict with Sunni beliefs meaning that equality of opportunity in employment both in the public, parastatal sector (e.g. Bonyads or Foundations) and sometimes in the private sector is severely impaired. Gozinesh excludes non-Shi’a from certain state positions such as the President and restricts access to higher education.

3. Governmental dismissal of Baloch Culture

Baloch people have been reduced to a minority in their own homeland by demographic manipulations at the hands of a succession of Iranian governments and systematic assimilation policy severely threatens the continuation of Baloch identity. For instance non-Baloch are able to purchase land at reduced prices enabling them to set up businesses. On June 30 2005, a community of Baloch were reportedly forcibly evicted from homes in Chabhar when their huts were demolished by security forces. Protesters were injured and no compensation or re-housing was offered.
Despite provisions in Iran’s constitution under article 15 that ‘the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass media as well as for teaching of their literature in schools is allowed in addition to Farsi’ the Baloch’s language is subject to elimination and assimilation by Iranian rulers. Although Balochi publications were allowed for the first time after 1979, the following year the government closed down 3 Balochi publications (Mahtak, Graand and Roshanal) and today Balochi publications are banned. There is a state radio station with a few Balochi programmes, but no Balochi appears on television. Balochi is forbidden in formal and public places and Baloch children are deprived of using their mother tongue as the medium of instruction at schools.

4. Socio-economic Rights

According to UN 2003 indicators, Balochistan is the poorest region in Iran with the worst indicators for life expectancy, adult literacy, primary school enrolment and access to improve water and sanitation and infant and child mortality. This is despite the region’s natural wealth: Balochistan produces 40% of Iran’s energy, yet only 5-6% population have a gas connection. After the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005, many Balochs were reportedly forced from their jobs.

Does Balochistan seek autonomy?
The Balochistan Peoples Party believes in non-violent and peaceful means of seeking national self-determination and popular sovereignty for Baloch people within Iran. It is campaigning to achieve this sovereignty within a federal Democratic Republic of Iran based on parity of its constituent parts. It seeks to create a liberal democratic system based on political pluralism, secularism and social welfare free from discrimination.
BPP seeks to work in co-operation with Iranian nations in a peaceful co-existence based on parity and mutual respect. It also seeks to develop peaceful relations with neighbouring countries. BPP aims to support and guide grassroots Baloch organisations which are emerging in civil society inside Balochistan in Iran.

Does West Balochistan want to unite with Balochistan in Pakistan and Afghanistan?
Iranian Baloch identify with their kin in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan where communities are also engaged in their own struggle for greater rights and self determination. Baloch regions are referred to in their entirety as “Greater Balochistan” and are united by historic persecution at the hands of imperial powers. The circumstance of a nation divided without a state of its own pervades the Baloch national consciousness. The truth of the Baloch National question is the existence of a unified Baloch nation with one homeland.

Why is a wall being built dividing Pakistani and Iranian Balochistan?
Iran has started constructing a 700km concrete wall along the border that has divided Baloch people into Pakistan and Iran from Taftan to Mand. The Iranian government claims that 3 feet thick and 10 feet high concrete wall is being constructed to stop illegal border crossings and stem the flow of drugs.
The BPP strongly believe that construction of the wall serves political goals of the Iranian regime which is to divide the Baloch people and to suppress opposition voices claiming a unified Baloch nation. Close relatives live on both sides on the border and the wall will divide community politically and socially and seriously impede trade and social activities of the Baloch.

Language and Culture
Iranian Baloch see themselves as the heirs of an ancient and proud tradition distinct from Iran’s ethnic Persian population. They have a distinct language one of the oldest living languages of the Indo-Iranian group of the Indo-European languages, which is among the oldest and constructive in the region. They prefer to use the Nastaliq script which is a variant of Arabic.
The Baloch have close ties with populations in Pakistan and Afghanistan because of family or tribal links. Baloch live in a stratified society and historically have administered themselves as a loose tribal confederacy. Each tribe (tuman) consists of several clans and acknowledge one Sardar or hakim (leader) who has traditional social ties with his retinue (who include pastoralists, farmers, lower level leaders and hizmatkar).

The Baloch are traditionally nomads but increasingly they are converting their farming practices to settled agriculture. In the coastal area, fishing represents a major income source. Although Balochistan is rich in gas, oil, gold and other minerals and marine resources occupation of their land and lack of trust from occupant regimes means that the people of Balochistan do not benefiting from their vast resources. Hence Baloch live in some of the poorest conditions in South East Asia.

The majority of Baloch are Sunni Muslims whereas approximately 90% of the Iranian population are Shi’a. There is also a community of zikri Baloch and a small population of Shia.

Nature & Environment
The dry season in Balochistan runs for 8 months of the year, Sistan Balochistan being the driest region in Iran. Seasonal winds visit the province including the 120-day wind of Sistan known as Levar. Erosion is a serious problem as precipitation is scarce but mostly falls in violent rainstorms which cause heavy flooding. In the centre of the region there is abundant groundwater and streams, such as the Māshkīd and the Konārī rivers. Storms in 2007 causing widespread flooding and damage to property killed 23 people and threatened the health of thousands. The iconic Mudy Mountain towers over Chahbahar, Balochistan, Iran and the unique Mudy volcano is located in northwestern Chabahar city. Each eruption involves a loud gunshot sound with an explosion of gas and mud. Sistan Baluchistan Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department has proposed mud volcano be registered on UNESCO World Heritage List.

Amnesty International 2007 Report: ‘Iran: Human Rights Abuses Against The Baluchi Minority’

Amnesty International 2009 Report on Iran

Balochistan Peoples Party

Baloch Unity

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, ‘The Problem of Greater Balochistan’ Stener Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH Stuttgart 1987

Khan, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan ‘Inside Balochsitan’ Maaref Printers Karachi, 1975.

‘Farhang- e Iran Zamin’ compiled and edited by: Iraj Afshar, Tehran 1990.

Dr Naseer Dashti, ‘Baloch in Iran: What Option they have’

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Balochistan



By: J. G. Shaffer

The archeological record of Iranian Baluchistan, in the southeastern corner of Iran, is very limited. Although early travelers often described the region’s antiquities, the first significant archeological research was done by Sir Mark Aurel Stein during the early 1930s. His efforts focused on the Bampūr valley, where he recorded numerous sites and conducted a few, limited excavations. Stein’s research confirmed that Baluchistan had been inhabited during prehistoric times by groups believed to have cultural affiliations with those in western Iran. Until recently, Stein’s research constituted the extent of archeological knowledge about Baluchistan.

In 1966 Beatrice de Cardi conducted limited excavations at Bampūr (q.v.) to clarify the region’s prehistoric sequence. While limited in scope, these excavations revealed a sequence which remains the basic reference for the prehistory of Iranian Baluchistan. Gary W. Hume surveyed the Sarhad (Sarḥadd) plateau region in 1966-67 looking especially for Paleolithic sites and also discovered a few later prehistoric sites. The pottery from these sites was studied by Judith T. Marucheck who later conducted a systematic archeological survey of that region (see Miragliuolo, 1979) in 1975. The only other archeological research completed to date was Maurizio Tosi’s study of the Damin grave goods in 1970.

Baluchistan may have been inhabited first during the Pleistocene as proposed by Hume (1976), based on Paleolithic sites found in the Ladiz valley. The most important were three locations which yielded simple stone tools such as choppers, flakes, and flake tools. These tools stylistically resemble those associated with the Lower Paleolithic period in areas outside of Iran. Precise dating of these materials is debated, but the finds suggest a potential for other Paleolithic research in this region.

There is little other evidence of subsequent human settlement in Baluchistan until the late fourth millennium b.c. Based on her Bampūr excavations de Cardi (pp. 257-68) thought these early settlements, Periods I-IV, had close cultural affiliations with contemporary settlements in Kermān Province and that, as a group, they may have had ultimately some type of indirect cultural affiliation with developments occurring farther to the west. Using more recent data Tosi (1970) and Lamberg-Karlovsky (1972; Lamberg-Karlovsky and Tosi, 1973) have argued that the Bampūr data reflect an extension of basically indigenous cultural developments which occurred in Turkmenistan, eastern Iran, especially Šahr-e Sūḵta, and southern Afghanistan. The number and size of these archeological sites which date between ca. 3200-2000 b.c. are very modest and appear to reflect the activities of village agriculturalists and pastoral nomads. At the same time, several scholars (Dales, 1977; Kohl, 1978; Lamberg-Karlovsky and Tosi, 1973; Potts, 1978) contend that these communities were also involved in extensive trade networks which linked such areas as Turkmenistan, Sīstān, Pakistani Baluchistan, the Persian Gulf, and the Indus valley. These same scholars, as well as de Cardi, feel that after 2500 b.c., Bampūr Periods V-VI, this area became increasingly involved with a Persian Gulf trading network linking Mesopotamia, southeastern Iran, Oman, Bahrain, and the Indus valley. Despite the possibility of involvement in such extensive trading networks, the extent and intensity of which may be debated (Shaffer, 1982), cultural developments in Iranian Baluchistan remained modest by comparison with surrounding regions.

Early in the second millennium b.c. many of these settlements were abandoned, suggesting a population decrease or, perhaps, a shift to increased pastoral nomadism. These changes are often attributed to the impact of the Indo-Aryan invasions and/or a long period of drought. During the first millennium b.c. and especially in the Parthian and Sasanian periods, the situation altered and there was a population increase suggested by a larger number of archeological sites. One important factor in this increase was the introduction of qanāt (q.v.) irrigation which allowed the first major settlement of lowland plain areas. Consequently both agricultural and pastoral nomadic elements of the economy expanded. This expansion continued into the latter half of the first millennium a.d., resulting in the increasing use of ever more marginal agricultural lands and a decreasing ability of the region to meet subsistence and surplus production requirements. Population increases and competition over resources ultimately required stronger political controls reflected in the appearence of early fortifications. The problems of increasing population combined with a decreasing carrying capacity of the land, due to overgrazing and soil exhaustion, continued into the medieval period. Ultimately these insurmountable problems of ecological decline resulted in another widespread abandonment of the region until the Baluchis arrived in approximately the seventeenth century.

Bibliography : F. G. Dales, “Shifting Trade Patterns between the Iranian Plateau and the Indus Valley in the Third Millennium B.C.,” in Le plateau iranien et l’Asie Centrale des origines à la conquête islamique, ed. J. Deshayes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, 1977, pp. 67-68. B. de Cardi, “Excavations at Bampur: A Third Millennium Settlement in Persian Baluchistan, 1966,” Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History 51, 1970, pp. 233-355. G. W. Hume, The Ladizian: An Industry of the Asian Chopper-Chopping Tool Complex in Iranian Baluchistan, Philadelphia, 1976. P. Kohl, “Western Asian Trade in the Third Millennium B.C.,” Current Anthropology 19, 1978, pp. 463-92. C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, “Trade Mechanisms in Indus-Mesopotamian Interrelations,” JADS 92, 1972, pp. 222-29. Idem and M. Tosi, “Shahr-i Sokhta and Tepe Yahya: Tracks on the Earliest History of the Iranian Plateau,” East and West 23, 1973, pp. 21-53. J. T. Marucheck, A Technological and Comparative Analysis of Pottery from Iranian Baluchistan, M.A. thesis, 1972, Department of Anthropology, The American University, Washington, D.C. J. T. Miragliuolo, Non-Urban Sites and Mobile Settlement Patterns: A Survey of an Unknown Corner of Baluchistan, Ph.D. dissertation, 1979, Department of Anthropology, The American University, Washington, D.C. D. Potts, “Towards an Integrated History of Culture Change in the Arabian Gulf Area: Notes on Dilmun, Makkan and the Economy of Ancient Sumer,” Journal of Oman Studies 4, 1978, pp. 29-51. J. G. Shaffer, “Harappan Commerce: An Alternative Perspective,” in Anthropology in Pakistan, ed. S. Pastner and L. Flam, South Asia Occasional Papers and Theses no. 8, Ithaca, 1982, pp. 166-210. Sir M. Aurel Stein, An Archaeological Tour in Gedrosia, Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, no. 43, New Delhi, 1931. Idem, Archaeological Reconnaissance in Northwestern India and Southeastern Iran, London, 1937. M. Tosi, “A Tomb from Damin and the Problem of the Bampur Sequence in the Third Millennium B.C.,” East and West 20, 1970, pp. 9-50.


Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


Bibliography of Brian Spooner Research

Given its historical marginality, the size of the literature on Baluchistan is remarkable. But this is due to the interest of the neighboring and other powers that competed to control it as their hinterland—the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Afghans, British and other colonial powers, Pakistanis, and finally in recent decades the Baluch themselves. The sources therefore fall into the following general categories:
(I) pre-Islamic sources;
(2) works by Muslim (Arab, Persian, and Mughal) historians and travelers before the arrival of the British in India;
(3) works by British administrators, scholars, and travelers;
(4) official publications of the government of India;
(5) official publications of the government of Pakistan;
(6) works by Pakistani scholars;
(7) works by Western and Soviet scholars since 1947;
(8) reports generated by U.N. and other international and bilateral development projects since 1950;
(9) works by Baluch scholars since 1950. What follows is an alphabetical listing of the more significant and accessible sources, including those which have served as the basis of the present article.

Ḥājī ʿAbd-al-Nabī (Hajee Abdun Nabee), ed. Major Robert Leech (see below). I. Afšār, “Bīst šahr o hazār farsang,” Yaḡmā 19, 1345 Š./1966, pp. 87-94, 255-62, 314-19. C. U. Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Agreements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries XI, XIII, Calcutta, 1933. Abu’l-Fażl ʿAllāmī, Āʾīn-e akbarī, ed. Blochmann. Arrian, Anabasis and Indica, ed. and tr. P. A. Brunt, London, 1983. Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Moḥammad Bābor, Bābor-nāma, tr. A. S. Beveridge, London, 1922 (repr. New Delhi, 1970). Mir Khudabux Bijarani Marri Baloch, The Balochis through Centuries. History versus Legend, Quetta, 1965. Idem, Searchlights on Baloches and Balochistan, Karachi, 1974. Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Baluch, Inside Baluchistan: A Political Autobiography of His Highness Baigi: Khan-e-Azam-XIII, Karachi, 1975. Muhammad Sardar Khan Baluch, History of the Baluch Race and Baluchistan, Quetta, 1962 (repr. 1977). Baluchistan: List of Leading Personages in Baluchistan, Government of India Central Publication Branch, Calcutta, 1932. F. Barth, “Ethnic Processes on the Pathan-Baluch Boundary,” in Indo-Iranica. Mélanges présentés à G. Morgenstierne, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 13-20. Idem, “Competition and Symbiosis in North-East Baluchistan,” Folk 6, 1964, pp. 15-22. A. Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush, Muslims of the Soviet Empire, London, 1985. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Abolishes Sardari System, from his speech at Quetta, 8 April 1976. N. M. Billimoria, Bibliography of Publications Relating to Sind and Baluchistan, Lahore, 1930 (revised 1977). W. T. Blanford, Note on the Geological Formations Seen Along the Coasts of Baluchistan, etc., Records of the Geological Survey of India, Calcutta, 1872. E. Blatter and P. F. Halberg, “Flora of Persian Baluchistan and Makran,” Journal of the Bombay Natural Historical Society 24, 1910. H. Bobek, “Beiträge zur klimaökologischen Gliederung Irans,” Erdkunde 6, 1952, pp. 65-84. C. E. Bosworth, Sistan under the Arabs, from the Islamic Conquest to the Rise of the Saffarids (30-250/651-864), Rome, 1968. Idem, “The Kūfichīs or Qufṣ in Persian history,” Iran 14, 1976, pp. 9-17. C. E. Bosworth, R. M. Burrel, K. McLachlan, and R. M. Savory, eds., The Persian Gulf States. A General Survey, Baltimore, 1980. D. Bray, Life-History of a Brahui, London, 1913. Idem, “The Jat of Baluchistan,” Indian Antiquary 54, 1925, pp. 30-33. C. Brunner, “Geographical and Administrative Divisions: Settlements and Economy,” in Camb. Hist. Iran III/2, pp. 747-77. Cambridge History of India, Delhi, 1958-63. M. L. Chaumont, “Ētats vassaux dans l’empire des premiers Sassanides,” in Monumentum H. S. Nyberg I, Acta Iranica 4, Tehran and Liège, 1975, pp. 133-46. G. B. Castiglioni, “Appunti geografici sul Balucistan iraniano,” Rivista geographica italiana 67, 1960, pp. 109-52, 268-301. B. D. Clark, “Tribes of the Persian Gulf,” in Bosworth et al., pp. 485-509. G. F. Dales, The Role of Natural Forces in the Ancient Indus Valley and Baluchistan, Anthropological Papers 62, University of Utah, 1962. Idem, “Harappan Outposts on the Makran Coast,” Antiquity 36/142, 1962, pp. 86-93. M. L. Dames, Popular Poetry of the Baloches, 2 vols., London 1904a. Idem, The Baloch Race, Asiatic Society Monographs 4, London, 1904b (quoting Elliot, History of India). J. Dresch, “Bassins arides iraniens,” Bulletin de l’Association des géographes français 430, 1975, pp. 337-51. Idem, “Cuvettes iranaises comparées: Djaz Murian et Lut,” Geography (Tehran) 1, 1976, pp. 8-19. R. E. H. Dyer, Raiders of the Sarhad, Being an Account of a Campaign of Arms and Bluff against the Brigands of the Persian-Baluchi Border, London, 1921. W. Eilers, “Das Volk der Maka vor und nach der Achämeniden,” in Kunst, Kultur und Geschichte der Achämenidenzeit und ihr Fortleben, ed. H. Koch and D. N. Mackenzie, Berlin, 1983, pp. 101-22. J. Elfenbein, A Baluchi Miscellanea of Erotica and Poetry: Codex Oriental Additional 24048 of the British Library, AIUON 43/2, Suppl. no. 35, Napoli, 1983. Mountstuart Elphistone, An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, London, 1815. A. T. Embree, ed., Pakistan’s Western Borderlands, Durham, 1977. W. A. Fairservis, Preliminary Report on the Pre-Historic Archaeology of the Afghan Baluchi Areas, American Museum Novitates, American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1952. Fīrūz Mīrzā Farmānfarmā, Safar-nāma-ye Kermān o Balūčestān, ed. M. Neẓām Māfī, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963. K. Ferdinand, “The Baluchistan Barrel-Vaulted Tent,” Folk 2, 1960, pp. 33-50. Ferešta, tr. Briggs. J. P. Ferrier, Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan and Beloochistan, London, 1857. H. Field, An Anthropological Reconnaissance in West Pakistan 1955, Peabody Museum, New York, 1959. E. A. Floyer, Unexplored Baluchistan. A Survey with Observations Astronomical, Geographical, Botanical, etc., of a Route through Mekran, Bashkurd, Persia, Kurdistan and Turkey, London, 1882. R. N. Frye, “Notes on a Trip to Biyabanak, Sistan and Baluchistan in the Winter 1951-2,” Indo-Iranica 6, 1952, pp. 1-6. Idem, “Remarks on Baluchi History,” Central Asiatic Journal 6, 1961, pp. 44-50. A. Gabriel, Durch Persiens Wüsten, Stuttgart, 1935. Idem, “The Southern Lut and Iranian Balutschistan,” Geographical Journal 92, 1938, pp. 193-211. Idem, Aus den Einsamkeiten Irans, Stuttgart, 1939. E. G. Gafferberg, Beludzhi Turkmenskoĭ SSR, Institut Etnografii Miklukho Maklai, Leningrad, 1969. R. E. Galindo, A Record of Two Year Wanderings in Eastern Persia and Baluchistan, Simla, 1890. Y. Gankowsky, “Social Structure of Pakistan’s Brahui-Baluchi Population,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies 5/4, 1982, pp. 57-73. A. Gansser, “The Taftan Volcano (SE Iran),” Ecologae Geologicae Helvetiae 64, 1971, pp. 319-44. A. Gasteiger, Von Teheran nach Belutschistan. Reise-Skizzen, Innsbruck, 1881. Gazetteer, Baluchistan District Series, ed. R. Hughes-Buller and C. F. Minchin, Bombay, 1906-08. I. Gershevitch, “Travels in Bashkardia,” Royal Central Asiatic Society Journal 46/3-4, 1959, pp. 213-25. F. J. Goldsmid, ed., Eastern Persia. An Account of the Persian Boundary Commission 1870-1872, London, 1876. Government of Pakistan, White Paper on Pakistan, Quetta, 1974. N. P. Grant, “Journal of a Route through the Western Parts of Makran,” JRAS 5, 1839, pp. 328-42. W. Haig, draft of unpublished book concerning the period 1913-1918 in Persia including Baluchistan, in Collection of Private Papers, St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. J. Hansman, “A Periplus of Magan and Meluhha,” BSOAS 36, 1973, pp. 553-86. J. V. Harrison, “Coastal Makran,” Geographical Journal 97, 1941, pp. 1-17. Idem, “The Jaz Murian Depression, Persian Baluchistan,” ibid., 101, 1943, pp. 206-25. S. S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York, 1981. R. B. Hetu Ram, Tārīḵ-eBalūčestān, Quetta, 1907. A. Houtum-Schindler, “Notes on Persian Baluchistan. From the Persian of Mirza Mehdi Khan,” JRAS 7, 1877, pp. 147-54. A. Jahānbānī, ʿAmalīyāt-e qošūn dar Balūčestān az Mordād tā Bahman 1307, Tehran, 1336 Š./1957. Idem, Sargoḏašt-e Balūčestān, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959. Kayhān, Joḡrāfīā. Kent, Old Persian. N. de Khanikoff, Mémoire sur la partie méridionale de l’Asie Centrale, Paris, 1864. J. H. Lace, “A Sketch of the Vegetation of British Baluchistan,” Journal of the Linnaean Society 28, 1897, pp. 228-327. Lambton, Landlord and Peasant. R. Leech, “Brief History of Kalat Brought down to the Disposition and Death of Nawab Khan Braho-ee,” JASB 12, 1843, pp. 473-512. Idem, “Notes Taken on a Tour through Parts of Baloochisthan, in 1838 and 1839, by Hajee Abdun Nubee, of Kabul, Arranged and Translated by Major Robert Leech,” ibid., 13, 1844, pp. 667-706, 786-826. L. Lockhart, Nadir Shah. A Critical Study Based Mainly upon Contemporary Sources, London, 1938. Lorimer, Gazetteer. Markwart, Provincial Capitals. M. Maroth, “Sistan nach den arabischen geographischen Quellen,” in Studies in the Sources on the History of Pre-Islamic Central Asia, ed. J. Harmatta, Budapest, 1979, pp. 145-51. C. Masson, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and the Panjab, London, 1842. S. B. Miles, The Countries and Tribes of the Persian Gulf, London, 1919 (repr. 1966). V. Minorsky, “Mongol Placenames in Mukri Kurdistan (Mongolica 4),” BSOAS 19, 1957, p. 81. G. Morgenstierne, Report on a Linguistic Mission to North-Western India, Oslo, 1932. Erwin Orywal, Die Baluc in Afghanisch-Sistan, Kölner Ethnologische Studien 4, Berlin, 1982. C. McC. Pastner, “A Social, Structural and Historical Analysis of Honor, Shame and Purdah,” Anthropological Quarterly 45/4, 1972, pp. 248-61. Idem, “Cousin Marriage among the Zikri Baluch of Coastal Pakistan,” Ethnology 18, 1979, pp. 31-47. C. McC. Pastner and S. Pastner, “Agriculture, Kinship and Politics in Southern Baluchistan,” Man 7/1, 1972, pp. 128-36. R. N. Pehrson, The Social Organization of the Marri Baluch, ed. F. Barth, Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology 43, New York, 1966. Persia, Geographical Handbook Series, Naval Intelligence Division, London, 1945. M. Pikulin, Beludzhi, Moscow, 1959. Marco Polo, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venitian, Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, tr. H. Yule, rev. and enl. H. Cordier, London, 1926. H. Pottinger, Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde; Accompanied by a Geographical and Historical Account of Those Countries with a Map, London, 1816 (repr. Westmead, 1972). R. B. Diwan Jamiat Rai, The Domiciled Hindus, ed. Denys Bray, Delhi, 1913. R. L. Raikes, “The Ancient Ghabarbands of Baluchistan,” East and West, N.S. 15/1-2, 1964-65, pp. 26-35. H. G. Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan, Lahore, 1878. Razmārā, Farhang. P. A. Rittikh, “Poezdka v Persiyu i Persidskiĭ Beludzhistan 1900,” Izvestiya Russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva 38, 1902. K. M. Röhrborn, Provinzen und Zentralgewalt Persiens im 16 und 17 J., Studien zur Sprache, Geschichte und Kultur des Islamischen Orients, Berlin, 1966. A. Rooman, The Brahuis of Quetta-Kalat Region, Pakistan Historical Society, Memoir 3, Karachi, 1960. E. C. Ross, “Memorandum of Notes on Mekran, together with Report on a Visit to Kej and Route through Mekran from Gwadur to Kurrachie,” Bombay Geographical Society 18, 1867, pp. 36-77. J. P. Rumsey, “Some Notes on Leadership in Marri Baloch Society,” Anthropology Tomorrow (University of Chicago) 5, 1957, pp. 122-26. J. Saldanha, Official History of the Mekran Telegraph Line from Karachi to Jask, n.p., 1895. P. C. Salzman, “Adaptation and Political Organization in Iranian Baluchistan,” Ethnology 10/4, 1971, pp. 433-44. Idem, “Multi-Resource Nomadism in Iranian Baluchistan,” Journal of Asian and African Studies 7, 1972, pp. 60-68 (also published in W. Irons and N. Dyson-Hudson, eds., Perspectives on Nomadism, Leiden, 1972). Idem, “The Proto-State in Iranian Baluchistan,” in Origins of the State: The Anthropology of Political Evolution, ed. R. Cohen and L. R. Service, Philadelphia, 1978, pp. 125-40. Idem, ed., When Nomads Settle, Processes of Sedentarization as Adaptation and Response, New York, 1980. C. Schefer, tr., Histoire de l’Asie Centrale par Mir Abdoul Kerim Bouchary, Paris, 1876. W. H. Schoff, tr., Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century, New York, 1912. H. Scholberg, The District Gazetteers of India. A Bibliography, Inter Documentation Company AG ZUG, Switzerland, 1970. F. Scholz, Belutschistan (Pakistan). Eine sozialgeographische Studie des Wandels in einem Nomadenland seit Beginn der Kolonialzeit, Göttinger Geographische Abhandlungen 63, 1964. H. P. Schurmann, The Mongols of Afghanistan, The Hague, 1962. Schwarz, Iran, pp. 260ff. Mīrzā Moḥammad-Taqī Lesān-al-Molk Sepehr, Nāseḵ al-tawārīḵ, ed. J. Qāʾemmaqāmī, Tehran, 1337 Š./1958. E. A. Shteĭnberg, “Vosstaniya v Beludzhistane i Khuzistane,” Novyĭ Vostok 25, 1921. H. Humbach and P. O. Skjærvø, The Sassanian Inscription of Paikuli III/1: Restored Text and Translation, III/2: Commentary, Wiesbaden, 1983. C. P. Skrine, “The Highlands of Persian Baluchistan,” Geographical Journal 78, 1931, pp. 321-40. Idem, “The Quetta Earthquake,” ibid., 88, 1936, pp. 414-30. R. E. Snead, “Active Mud Volcanoes of Baluchistan, West Pakistan,” Geographical Review 54, 1964, pp. 546-60. Idem, Physical Geography of the Makran Coastal Plain of Iran, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1970. B. Spooner, Religious and Political Leadership in Persian Baluchistan, Ph.D. thesis, Oxford University, 1967. Idem, “Politics, Kinship and Ecology in South-East Persia,” Ethnology 8/2, 1969, pp. 139-52. Idem, “Notes on the Toponymy of the Persian Makran,” in Iran and Islam, ed. C. E. Bosworth, Edinburgh, 1971, pp. 517-33. Idem, “Nomadism in Baluchistan,” in Pastoralists and Nomads in South-East Asia, ed. L. S. Leshnik and G. D. Sontheimer, Wiesbaden, 1975, pp. 171-82. Idem, “Who are the Baluch?” in Qajar Iran, ed. C. E. Bosworth and C. Hillenbrand, Edinburgh, 1984, pp. 93-112. Idem, “Weavers and Dealers: The Authenticity of an Oriental Carpet,” in The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective, ed. A. Appadurai, Cambridge, 1986, pp. 195-235. Sir A. Stein, An Archaeological Tour to Gedrosia, New Delhi, 1931 (repr. 1982). A. W. Stiffe, “Mudcraters and Geological Structures of the Makran Coast,” Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 1874. N. B. Swidler, “Brahui Political Organization and the National State,” in Embree, 1977, pp. 108-25. Idem, The Political Structure of a Tribal Federation: The Brahui of Baluchistan, Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, New York, 1969. W. W. Swidler, Technology and Social Structure in Baluchistan, West Pakistan, Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, New York, 1968. Idem, “Economic Change in Baluchistan: Processes of Integration in the Larger Economy of Pakistan,” in Embree, 1977, pp. 85-108. P. Sykes, “Some Notes on Journeys in Southern and South-Eastern Persia,” Journal of the Manchester Geographical Society 21, 1905, pp. 1-12. Idem, Ten Thousand Miles in Persia or Eight Years in Iran, London, 1902. Ḥ. Taqīzāda, in Jahānbānī, 1957, historical chapter. G. P. Tate, Kalat, Calcutta, 1896. Idem, The Frontiers of Baluchistan, London, 1909. T. H. Thornton, Colonel Sir Robert Sandeman: His Life and Work on Our Indian Frontier, London, 1895 (Quetta, 1977). W. Tomaschek, “Zur historischen Topographie von Persien,” Sb. Wiener (Österreichischen) Akademie der Wissenschaften 102, 1883, pp. 145-231, 561-99. Ya. R. Vinnikov, Beludzhi Turkmenskoĭ SSR, Sovetskaya ètnografiya, 1952, no. 1. L. Virsa, Dera Ghazi Khan Field Staff Report, Islamabad, 1984. C. Vita-Finzi, “Quaternary Deposits in the Iranian Makran,” Geographical Journal 141, 1975, pp. 415-20. E. W. Vredenburg, “A Geographical Sketch of the Baluchistan Desert and Parts of Eastern Persia,” Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India 31/2, 1901, pp. 179-302. Idem, “Geology of Sarawan, Jhalawan, Mekran and the State of Las Bela,” Records of the Geological Survey of India 38, 1909, pp. 189-215. W. H. Waaltyer, A Geographical Statistical and Historical Description of Hindostan and the Adjacent Countries, London, 1820. Aḥmad-ʿAlī Khan Wazīrī Kermānī, Tārīḵ-eKermān, ed. M.-E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961. Idem, Joḡrāfīā-ye mamlakat-e Kermān, ed. M.-E. Bāstānī Pārīzī, Tehran, 1346-47 Š./1967-68. A. T. Wilson, The Persian Gulf, London, 1928. R. G. Wirsing, The Baluchis and Pathans, London, 1981. N. Zarudnyĭ, “Tret’ya èkskursiya po vostochnoĭ Persii,” Zapiski Russkogo geograficheskogo obshchestva 50, 1916, pp. 1-448.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan



By: Brian Spooner

The gazetteers provided a data base for the study of the habitat and society of British Baluchistan, and the states of Kalat, Las Bela, Kharan, and Makrān, which is unique for the Iranian area. Since the middle of this century a handful of contemporary scholars have sought to build on this base by applying modern theoretical approaches in new field studies, often asking new questions.
Modern ethnographic work began with Pehrson, who worked among the Marī for six months before he died in 1955. Barth visited the same group briefly in 1960 while editing Pehrson’s work for publication.
Pehrson’s work deals mainly with the social relationships of everyday life in herding communities, including gender relations. From 1963 to 1965 N. and W. Swidler worked among Brahui-speakers in Sarawan and Kacchi. W. Swidler established the connection between ecological conditions, the technological requirements of herding and pastoral production, and the social dynamics of camp and herding groups. N. Swidler reconstructed the political development of the khanate on the basis of a combination of ethnographic observation and a reading of the historical sources. In 1963-67 Spooner conducted a series of studies in Sarāvān and Makrān (Iran). He also worked briefly in the Baluch areas of Afghanistan in 1965, and later in 1982-83 he was able to make several brief tours of Pakistani Baluchistan. He focused on the ecology of pastoralism and the dynamics of leadership in what was effectively a mixed, pluralist society, especially the function of the ḥākom (Ar. ḥākem). His main concern was to work out to what extent ecological explanations might illuminate the history of the Baluch. Salzman worked among the Yār-Moḥammadzay (renamed Šahnavāzī under Reżā Shah) of the Sarḥadd (Iran) in 1967-68, 1972-73, and 1976. He showed how nomads may rely not only on pastoralism but on a variety of unrelated resources and use their mobility to exploit each geographically separate resource at the appropriate season. He has also explored the relationship between ecological adaptation and political organization and the conditions under which nomads might modify their ecological adaptation and become settled farmers, and he applied an evolutionary approach to the analysis of variation in political organization, and investigated under what circumstances a state structure might develop out of tribes and settled life out of nomadism. In addition to pursuing similar interests C. and S. Pastner also investigated gender relations in Panjgur in 1969 and in a Baluch coastal village outside Karachi in 1976. In 1976 also Bestor described a community of Kord during a brief stay at the foot of Kūh-e Taftān in the Sarḥadd (Iran), and Orywal worked for a season among the Baluch in Afghanistan in 1976-77. This final section gives basic information on traditional Baluch society, culture, economy, and habitat, based on the works of the above scholars and the unpublished field notes of the author.
Baluch society is stratified. There are four social classes, which are essentially hereditary and occupational: ḥākomzāt, Balōč, šahrī, and ḡolām; convenient glosses for these terms are aristocracy, nomads, cultivators, and slaves. Ḥākom is the Baluchi pronunciation of ḥākem, the Qajar term for ruler; ḥākomzāt are the extended families of sardars who were able to establish a direct relationship with the governor in Bampūr or otherwise usurp that status. (Nawab and sardar carry similar connotations in Pakistani Baluchistan.) Balōč are those nomads, or descendants from nomadic tribes, who are considered to have been the original Balōč who brought the name and the language into Baluchistan. Šahrī (from Baluchi šahr “cultivated area”) signifies settled cultivator. Ḡolām entered Baluch society as slaves (other terms are also found, such as darzāda, naqīb). Although there were slaves of various origins, physiognomies, and skin color, since abolition only those of African origin are unable to manage any change in their social status. They are now free according to the law of each country, but at least through the 1960s their status and options within Baluch society had changed little. Apart from African ḡolām, mobility across class boundaries is possible but it is relatively uncommon.
Secondary distinctions are also made within these classes on the basis of tribe (zāt), and the relative status of a Balōč and a šahrī varies in practice according to tribal affiliation and the experience of particular communities, since a šahrī community may accumulate wealth and cultivate honor over generations, and a Balōč community may lose its honor. There is a wide range of status within the šahrī category. Some are equivalent to helots. Many are probably descendents of pre-Balōč communities, and have retained relatively large holdings. Although all are now spoken of in tribal terms, it is very likely that this idiom derives from the cultural dominance of the tribally organized Balōč, and that before the Baluchization of the area the population was not tribal. Tribalism seems to have become the pervasive idiom of social organization with the arrival of the Balōč, whose leading families were able to take over some of the settlements and acquire a new basis of power (though they lost some of them to later immigrants). If this interpretation is valid, recent assessments of Makrān as a detribalized part of Baluchistan may be misinterpretations: it is possible that tribalism was always weak or nonexistent in communities that were originally not tribal but only adapted their discourse to the tribalism of their masters. But the tribal ideology, which is implicitly associated with the Balōč, pervades all communication.
Baluch tribal organization is not uniform. Some tribes follow a strict patrilineal reckoning of descent, give no inheritance to daughters, and in assessing social status ascribe little importance to the origin of the mother, while others reckon descent bilineally, give equal inheritance shares (of land) to sons and daughters, and ascribe equal importance to the origin of the mother in questions of social status. (Unlike Persian, Baluchi makes no terminological distinction between matrilateral and patrilateral kin.) The model of patrilineal genealogy is used to model links between groups and to represent political affiliation and legitimacy, and as a means of relating historical events to the present. Where the father is an important leader and it is likely that the eldest son will take his place, it is usual for the father to set aside an extra portion for him before the general division of the inheritance. This must be done with the consent of the other sons and daughters, and is known as mīrwandī.
The tribal ideology extends throughout Baluchistan and beyond, but each family belongs to one or another small community, whose size and stability is related to the local conditions of pastoralism or agriculture. These primary groupings are strung together in chains of hierarchical relations, which integrate the various types of larger grouping. Each community is encapsulated in an asymmetrical model of the larger society, which is rationalized in tribal terms. It may have little or no interest in lineage or genealogy to provide a framework for everyday social relations.
Each individual is identified by membership in a tribal group, and each tribal group belongs to one or other of the four classes. Many tribes, though now accepted as Baluch, are of known recent alien origin—from Iran (e.g., the Nowšērvānī), Afghanistan (e.g., the Bārakzay), Muscat (possibly the Bulēdī), or the Indus valley (the Gīčkī). Most tribes are small, a few hundred or at most a thousand or so families. (The Marī with a population of 60,000 are by far the largest.) Each is generally known as belonging to one of the four classes, and each family has a place in a chain of allegiance or fealty relationships which cut across class categories. Marriage between classes occurs (especially in the few cases where a tribe which is Balōč or šahrī has a branch which has become ḥākomzāt), but a woman should not marry down. In the case of mixed parentage the lowest status prevails. The settled and nomadic communities are closely interrelated economically, and interdependent. Names of the major tribes in each district of Baluchistan are given in the geographical section above. A fuller list may be found at the end of Baloch (1974) and Jahānbānī (1957).
The tribes of the khanate were ranked in two distinct groupings, one of Sarawan and one Jahlawan. The rank was symbolized in a number of ways: Seats in the khan’s council (majles, dīvān) were assigned. Those nearest the khan had the greatest prestige. The Sarawan sardar ranked first and sat on his right; the Jahlawan sardar sat on his left. Then the sardars from Sarawan and Jahlawan alternated according to rank. The presents given by the khan upon the succession of a new sardar also varied according to the position the tribe held in the rank order. The khan would formally recognize a new Zarakzay sardar by conferring on him a Kashmir shawl, a length of brocade, a horse with a silver harness, and a dagger with a golden hilt. A new Mengal sardar would receive the same with the exception of the dagger. A Bīzenjō sardar would receive only the shawl and brocade, plus a broadcloth coat. Similarly, the sum of money given by the khan at the death of a sardar or a member of a sardar’s family also varied according to rank. When a high-ranking sardar died, the khan would personally visit the bereaved family. The death of a middle-rank sardar called for a visit by the khan’s son or brother. For minor sardars the khan would send one of his officials (Gazetteer VI/B, p. 112).
Beside the classes there are other categories of tribe, such as Kord, Brahui, Dehwār, Jat (Jaṭṭ), Jaḍgāl, Lāsī, Lorī, Mēd. In some sense these categories were and are both Baluch and not Baluch, depending on the context, and some were high status while others were low. All these categories, however, as distinct from others that will be discussed briefly below, were essentially within Baluch society because they were incorporated into the political structure of the Baluch polity. While there is presently a tendency to emphasize the ethnicity of these terms, historically their meaning has probably fluctuated and there is some evidence that they have been somewhat elastic categories. It has been assumed generally that the Kord have migrated from Kurdistan, and the Kord themselves currently make the same assumption (for which there seems to be no evidence). The Kūfeč or Kūč of the early Islamic period were considered to be a kind of Kurds (Ebn Ḥawqal, p. 221.1). They are found today in two areas: around Kūh-e Taftān in the Iranian Sarḥadd, and in Sarawan (Pakistan). In status they are equivalent to Balōč. The Brahui are distinguished only by their language, which shares a large amount of vocabulary with Baluchi (which most Brahui also speak). The core of Brahui-speaking areas are Sarawan-Jahlawan, but scattered Brahui-speakers are also to be found in most of the northern districts, including Sīstān and Soviet Turkmenistan. The Dehwār speak a form of Persian, close to Darī and Tajik. They appear to have been the agricultural community of the plateau, in Mastung and Iranian Sarāvān, and could be the descendants of the pre-Islamic agricultural community, when these areas were controlled by the provincial ruler of Sīstān. They have been important in recent history as the ūlūs (Baluchi olos) of the khan, forming both his peasantry on the plateau and his bureaucracy. (Ūlūs, which has been used as the name of a Baluchi magazine, also includes Baluch who for one or another reason have lost their tribal connections.) The relationship between the khan and his ūlūs differs from that between a sardar and his tribesmen. In the latter case both are members of the same kawm (Arabic qawm), related by ties of kinship and the obligation to share in the common weal and woe (šādī-ḡam). No idiom of kinship or shared honor obtains between the khan and his ūlūs (N. Swidler, p. 151), and they were not subject to military service. Under the khan, therefore, the Dehwār had a separate non-Baluch status. Their status under the Bārakzay in Iranian Sarāvān may have been similar, but currently among the Iranian Baluch they enjoy a status similar to šahrī. Jat, Jaḍgāl, and Lāsī (assumed to be related to the Jats of India) all speak related forms of Sindhi. The Lāsī are the peasants (ūlūs) of the jām (hereditary ruler) of Las Bela. The Jaḍgāl are the population of Daštīārī. The Jat are the peasants (again, the khan’s ūlūs) of Kacchi. The Lāsī and Jat have a relatively low status within the ūlūs of the khan and the jām, but the Jaḍgāl of Daštīārī enjoy a higher status because of their local autonomy under their own ḥākom. Finally, the Lorī and the Mēd are despised and barely differentiated from the ḡolām. The Lorī are gypsies who wander throughout Baluchistan, entertaining and performing other services. The Mēd are the small fishing communities that live on the beaches of Makrān. There is some evidence that these sub-ethnic identities are not absolute even where they involve the use of different languages. Morgenstierne (p. 9) first noticed the evidence suggesting that some communities had switched back and forth between Baluchi and Brahui (a Dravidian language) at least once. In seems likely on linguistic grounds that the original Brahui probably migrated from south India around a thousand years ago (J. Bloch apud Morgenstierne, pp. 5-6, and Elfenbein, personal communication). Baluch and Brahui were not mutually exclusive identities (as has been claimed by some both among the Brahui and among writers such as Rooman). Similarly, we should not assume that the Jaḍgāl are necessarily descended from the Jat or Lāsī because of their language. The Mēd probably represent a pre-Islamic population that may be descended from the Ichthyophagi encountered by Alexander’s fleet. The Jat and Jaḍgāl (literally “Jaṭṭ-speakers”), and the Zott (referred to in early Islamic sources), could be descendents of the Yutiya or Outii of the Achaemenian empire, and represent an earlier settled population of Indian origin (cf. Brunner, p. 772). The remaining ḡolām were brought in through the Muscadine trade mainly in the 13th/19th and early-14th/20th centuries.
The relationship between the Baluch and the Pashtuns also deserves some attention. Pashtuns constitute a very large minority in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. Most of them live in the northern districts, which were never occupied by Baluch, but there are also Pashtun entrepreneurs and traders elsewhere in the province. In the northeast there is some evidence that the Baluch-Pashtun relationship also is less absolute than at first appears. Barth (1964 explains the relationship by contrasting the structures of the two societies, Baluch and Pashtun. He shows that the cultural border between Baluch and Pashtuns in northeast Baluchistan (Pakistan) has moved slowly and intermittently northward at the expense of the Pashtuns, without any associated movement of population. Groups known to have been formerly Pashtuns and Pashto-speaking were, when he was there in 1960, Baluchi-speaking and fully accepted by themselves and others as Baluch. Others have suggested that the Marī may be of Pashtun origin because of similarities in their tribal organization. Although several factors suggest that the border would move in the opposite direction (e.g., relative population growth rates, comparative affluence and aggressiveness), this Baluch assimilation of Pashtuns could have been predicted on the basis of a comparison of the ways their social and political relations are organized. The structure of Baluchi-speaking society is better adapted to the problems of incorporating refugees. Owing to the disorder that had been chronic in the area for over a century before its incorporation into India, many whole communities disintegrated into bands of refugees. The model for the whole Pashtun system might be characterized as a group of brothers, each of which expects to be equal with the others. But Baluch society, though ostensibly derived from the same concepts of kinship and descent, is not based on an egalitarian council. Defense of honor is important among the Baluch, but the essential model for their society is the relationship between a father and his sons. In Baluch society, everyone knows implicitly where he stands in relation to everyone else—in terms of authority and loyalty, status and honor. Equality of authority and honor do not have to be upheld in every interaction. Refugees in Baluch society find a secure position by operating in Baluchi. By speaking and doing Baluchi they come to be assimilated into the Baluch polity. (Other explanations of the apparent assimilation of Pashtuns by Baluch are of course possible. For example, Pashtuns could have become Baluch simply as a result of being isolated from their main polity. The phenomenon of change of identity and its relation to change of language and change of social status requires more careful investigation.)
There are also other groups that live in Baluchistan and are not considered to be part of Baluch society or capable of assimilation. The most significant of these are Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Ismaʿilis, and Bahais, who have traditionally formed small trading communities around the forts of sardars and in the ports. In what is now Pakistan these were encouraged and protected by the British as well as the sardars. Partition saw a significant decline in these communities on the Pakistan side. In Iran the Bahais have been generally free from persecution in Baluchistan. There are also communities of Hazāras, especially in Quetta, who migrated from Afghanistan in the late 13th/19th and early 14th/20th centuries. Finally there are Persians (mainly Yazdis) and Pakistanis (mainly Punjabis) who moved to Baluchistan as civil servants and bought land and stayed.
The most important event in the life of a Baluch is marriage. Even in the relatively small number of cases where a man marries more than once, the first marriage is the most important socially. It gives him a new set of relatives, or (if the marriage is to a close cousin) rearranges his existing kin ties and establishes his social position for the rest of his (and her) life. The main prestation associated with the event is the Islamic mahr, which is high. It was rials 10,000 (about $130,00) for poor Baluch nomads in eastern Iranian Makrān in 1964. For ḥākomzāt it was reckoned as 75 percent of the expected patrimony of the groom, as a way of ensuring that at least three quarters of his property would be inherited by the bride’s children. However, in most Baluch communities divorce is rare.
Weddings are the classic celebration, among the Baluch (see Gabriel, 1935, pp. 233-61 for an example). Details vary from place to place but the following are standard practice for relatively affluent Baluch. The rite and the celebration take place in the bride’s community and are accompanied by music and dancing; by tās-gardēn, passing round the bowl to collect toward the expenses; by ceremonial washing of bride and groom, separately, the groom preceded by dancing musicians to a convenient stream; by ḥannā-gardēn, circulating the henna (with which the nails of the bride are tinted) for a collection for the bride’s nurse; by čam-dīdukānī, literally “eye-seeing,” a toll taken by the bride’s old nurse from the groom for the right to see his bride’s face as he enters the ḥejla (bridal chamber). (For examples of songs sung at each stage, see Morgenstierne, 1948, p. 278.)
Much of Baluch culture is not unfamiliar to students of other tribal populations in the Iranian world, but there are a number of distinguishing features. One of the more obvious distinguishing features of Baluch society is the high respect accorded to status and authority and especially to the authority of the sardar or ḥākom. Marī talk about the pāg-wāja (Pehrson, p. 26), the “turban-chief,” and to confirm a man in the position of sardar is to tie the turban on him. A sardar (and even more so a ḥākom or na(w)wāb, or the khan himself, who had managed to establish a supra-tribal status for themselves) was based in a fort in the main agricultural center under his control. His income depended more on what he could control than on what he owned. It consisted of the produce of land personally owned by him (worked by ḡolām who received their keep, or local šahrī who took a share of the harvest or some other compensation such as use of the ḥākom’s water for their own land); a tithe (dah-yak) on all agricultural produce of the šahrī whom he controlled (this included all in his center plus a hinterland which varied according to his strength and prestige); service (Baluchi srēnbandī) from all Balōč who acknowledged his position; tax (mālīyāt) from both šahrī and Balōč (originally tax due to Qajar, khan, or British representatives). These are Baluch revenue concepts—practice varied from place to place. Basically the ḥākom relied on the labor of his subject peasant population for income and on the allegiance of nomadic pastoralists for physical strength. The sardar is obliged to make himself available to his tribesmen, to hear disputes and petitions when they are brought to him. Informants talk about this in terms of mardomdārī. Each person has the right of direct appeal, and a good portion of each day the sardar is in residence is spent holding court (Swidler, 1977, p. 113). One of the more common words in Baluch usage is kamāš, which denotes senior. In any social situation someone is implicitly recognized as kamāš (whether inter pares or not), and there is never any doubt about who it is (except in cases of open conflict). The rulers of agricultural settlements vie with each other for the allegiance of the nomads. In their forts in the agricultural settlements they are able to store grain, which they can then use to finance a militia. Such militias were used to impose a tithe and other contributions on the agricultural or pastoral populations they could control. The nomads are egalitarian, but they are encapsulated in a hierarchical system.
The overwhelming majority of Baluch are Hanafite Muslims. Although there is wide variation in the degree of religiosity, being Muslim is for these an essential component of being Baluch. There are, however, two important non-Hanafite communities. The first of these is the Bāmerī community centered on Dalgān west of Bampūr, who are Shiʿite—probably as a result of their location, which put them in close contact with the Qajar authorities. (However, it is not known when they became Shiʿite, and it should be remembered that some of the early Islamic sources suggest that some of the Baluch were Shiʿite.) The second was in the 12th-13th/18th-19th centuries a relatively large community in Makrān, Māškay, and the coast of Las Bela, who called themselves Ḏekrī (Zikri, Bal. Zigrī). Zikrism appears to have begun as a branch of the Mahdawī sect which was established late in the 9th/15th century by Sayyed Moḥammad Kāẓemī Jawnpūrī (847-910/1443-1505, q.v.), who proclaimed himself mahdī. The leaders of the sect in Makrān are said to have books, including Ṣafā-nāma-ye Mahdī and Tardīd-e mahdawīyat. Moḥammad Jawnpūrī was expelled from Jawnpūr; went to Deccan where he converted the ruler, but on the outbreak of a religious rebellion he was driven out. Eventually with a small group of followers he arrived in Sind. Again he was expelled. He went to Qandahār, where Shah Bēg Arḡūn, son of Ḏu’l-Nūn Bēg is said to have become his disciple. But the people and mullas demonstrated against him there as well. Next he went to Farāh, where according to the Tardīd he died. However, the Makrān Ḏekrīs allege that he disappeared from Farāh and after visiting Mecca, Medina, Aleppo, and other parts of Syria traveled through Persia by way of Lār to Kech, where he settled on the Kūh-e Morād outside Torbat. He preached there for ten years, converted all Makrān and died. The sect appears to be the remnant of the Mahdawī movement which assumed a definite shape in India at the end of the 9th/15th century through the teaching of Sayyed Moḥammad but died out early in the 11th/17th century. It was most probably introduced into Makrān by his disciples. As noted above, there seems to have been some connection between the success of Zikrism and rise of Bulēdī power. At the beginning of the eighteenth century when Mollā Morād Gīčkī (who has a special place in Ḏekrī history) ousted the Bulēdī, Zikrism was advanced again. (There is no evidence of any connection between this and the supposed Sikh origin of the Gīčkī tribe in Makrān.) Mollā Morād may have introduced the idea of Kūh-e Morād as substitute for the Kaʿba, and he may have dug the well known as čāh-e zamzam in front of the Torbat fort. Naṣīr Khan I sought to wipe out the heresy, and attacked and defeated Makrān partly for that purpose during the rule of Malek Dīnār, the son of Mollā Morād.
The principal doctrines of Zikrism are: that the dispensation of the Prophet has come to an end and is superseded by the Mahdī; that the Prophet’s mission was to preach and spread the doctrines of the Koran in their literal sense, but that it remained for the Mahdī to put new constructions on their meaning (the Mahdī is ṣāḥeb-e taʾwīl; ḏekr replaces namāz (ritual prayer); the fast of Ramażān is not necessary; the šahāda (confession of faith) is changed to “lā elāh ella’llāh wa Moḥammad Mahdī rasūl Allāh;” zakāt (alms tax) is replaced by ʿošr (tithe); and, finally, this world and the goods of this world should be avoided. Religious observance takes the form of ḏekr and keštī. Ḏekr is performed at stipulated times throughout the day, similarly to namāz which it replaces, and keštī is performed on specific dates. Ḏekr is repeated in two ways: ḏekr-e jalī, the formula spoken aloud and the ḏekr-e ḵafī formula is said silently. The ḏekrs are numerous, and each consists of ten or twelve lines. They are said six times a day: before dawn, early dawn, midday, before sunset, early night, and midnight. Keštī is held any Friday night which falls on the 14th of the month, and during the first ten nights of the month Ḏu’l-ḥejja, and the day following the ʿīd al-żoḥā. Principal keštī is held on the 9th night of Ḏu’l-ḥejja. It is also performed at births, circumcisions, and marriages, and in pursuance of vows. Performers form a circle, as for a typical Baluch dance. One or more women with good voices stand in the center, while the men circle round. The women sing songs praising the Mahdī and the men repeat the chorus. The ceremonies continue into the night. Ḏekr is held in places set apart as ḏekrāna. In settled communities the men and women are segregated, but not among nomads. There is no burial service. The Ḏekrī are said to hold their mullas in greater respect than Muslims (Gazetteer, VII, pp. 116-20). Since Naṣīr Khan’s crusades in the 12th/18th century, and more especially since the increased association of Islam with the ideas both of Baluch autonomy and of Pakistan, the number of adherents appears to have declined. The practice of taqīya makes it difficult to assess the number of adherents. In Iran it may have died out completely, but it appears still to be significant in Pakistani Makrān.
A number of factors seem to have led to an increase in Islamic consciousness among the Baluch in recent decades. The power of the sardars has suffered at the hands of the state in all three countries. The mawlawī (religious authorities educated in India) have taken the place of secular sardar authority in many communities—especially in Iran, where they also represent Baluch Sunni Islam, as distinct from the Persian Shiʿism. With the increase in Islamic awareness there has been an increase in the practice of secluding women among the higher classes in settled communities. However, the type of religious interest that made many Baluch susceptible to Zikrism is still in evidence in the widespread use of shrines (which may be developed out of graves or simply from natural features such as trees or hills), and the attention given to wandering dervishes (religious mendicants). It may be significant that dervishes wear their hair long, and it appears that it was customary earlier for all Baluch to wear long hair (see two photographs of Mīr Ḵodādād Khan, the tenth khan of the Baluch who ruled 1857-93 in Baluch, 1975, after p. 108).
The primary values of Baluch society are those of the pastoral Balōč, and Islamic precepts tend to be suppressed where they conflict. The Baluch are proud of their code of honor, which embodies the following principles: to avenge blood with blood; to defend to the death anyone who takes refuge in one’s dwelling; similarly to defend any article of property that is entrusted to one’s safekeeping; to extend unquestioning hospitality to any that seek it and to defend one’s guest with one’s life so long as he chooses to stay, escorting him to one’s borders (if necessary) when he chooses to leave (however, a guest who chooses to stay more than three days becomes a client and is required to explain his situation); never to kill a woman, a minor, or a non-Muslim; in a case of homicide or injury, to accept the intercession of a woman of the offender’s family; never to kill within the ḥaram of a shrine; to stop fighting if a mulla, a sayyed, or a woman carrying the Koran on the head intervenes; to kill an adulterer. None of these principles differs essentially from the similar code held by the Pashtuns and by other tribal societies in southwest Asia. They are obviously not the principles of a society with a centralized system of social control.
Other values which are prominent in Baluch discourse about the ideal Baluch society include the principle that Baluch do not engage in trade and especially that though they may sell grain and meat that they produce, they would not sell fruit or vegetables. It is the right of any traveler to sate his hunger on growing crops as he passes by. The underlying principle of the relationship of the Baluch to his land is that this territory (that all outsiders despise as waterless mountain and desert) is the ideal country, and it is up to the Baluch to adapt themselves to it, to know its resources and enjoy them. The Baluch is first and foremost a warrior and a pastoralist, and serves his community by being unquestioningly loyal to his sardar; though he may take up many other activities, he does not forget what makes him Baluch. Many writers have remarked on Baluch inattention to matters of hygiene and prophylaxis—an attitude that may derive from these principles.
The idea that Baluch society is a society of travelers is highlighted by the importance given to the institution known as ḥāl. This is a ritual of greeting and exchange of information that is enacted in various degrees of formality whenever two or more Baluch meet, whether as host and guest or away from village and camp. In the classic case, two groups of riders whose paths cross in the desert, first dismount, shake hands, and sit facing each other. Then they determine who is kamāš, who ranks senior among them. Usually this is obvious to all, or can be accomplished by a nod. The kamāš then “takes the news”—presides over a session in which each asks after the health of the others and their families and recounts what is newsworthy in their recent experience. The ritual may or may not include real or important news. It is carried out even if both sides have met recently. It is often done in Baluchi, even by travelers who have another native language. Most of the phrases are stereotyped and given in a peculiar intonation. The right to take the news is the test of social rank in Makrān.
The code along with these other related values constitutes the ideal against which Baluch-ness is measured. In practice there is much deviation. In the case of vengeance killing it is interesting to see how some of those interested in establishing some degree of centralized authority in Baluch society (not only the khan) modified the code. The Marī tribal council recognized a graded scale of blood compensation for men: sardar or other member of ruling lineage, Rs 8,000; wadēra (leader of a section of the tribe), mukaddam (Ar. moqaddam, leader of a community), and other prominent men (muʿtabarē mard), Rs 4-7,000; kawmī mard (commoners), seyyāl (other Baluch, Pathans), Rs 2,000; women and non-Baluch, Rs 1,000. In western Baluchistan there was a traditional blood price alternative to vengeance killing, which varied from tribe to tribe, generally between twelve and eighteen thousand rupees earlier in this century. For instance, for the Rind it was Rs 12,000: if a Rind were killed by a man from another tribe Rs 12,000 would have to be paid to the dead man’s family to settle the feud. However, it was not usually paid in cash, and the interpretation in kind varied according to circumstances. Furthermore, before settlement could be made the two parties had to be brought together, which would be difficult unless both parties acknowledged the same sardar. If they did, the sardar would exact a fine from the offender (say 500 rupees) and attempt to bring them to agreement. For instance, in an area where donkeys were valued, a good donkey might be accepted as the first Rs 1,000. If the settlement was earnestly desired by the injured party, Rs 100 might be accepted for another thousand, and so on. If agreement could not be reached, the close relatives of the dead man (father, brother, son, uncle, or cousin, according to age and means) would seek to kill the killer, or, in some cases a comparable man from the same tribe. Such a second killing again would require settlement in the same way and negotiations would reopen. Once the settlement was made the offending party might give a woman (of suitable social status) in marriage to a close relative of the dead man to seal it. Alternatively, the killer would go to the home of the killed according to the refugee principle in the code of honor. But he would be likely to do this only if the killing had been accidental, or if he very much regretted it. He would normally take with him a shaikh (religious man) or other kamāš. The Bārakzay, who aspired to create a centralized Baluch state, claim that they had no hūn (Persian ḵūn “blood”); they would either kill or forgive.
The material culture and technology of the Baluch also differ little from those of their neighbors. The dress of men is wide baggy trousers drawn in at the ankle and tied at the waist, a long shirt, and turban. But women’s dress is distinctive—a full shift with a deep front center pocket. The women’s dress still (and the men’s dress previously) is distinguished by embroidery. It is not clear to what extent the ornateness of men’s dress until recently was a function of the pomp that developed around the khan of Kalat under the British, and may have been derived from India. But although they are generally geometrical (like, for example, those of the Turkmen) it is difficult to trace the designs of women’s embroidery to non-Baluch origins. Carpets (see v, below) do not appear to have been woven in Baluchistan until very recently. The only textiles of any significance produced traditionally in Baluchistan, other than clothing, were a coarse thick one-sided flatweave, and the dhurrie that was woven in Las Bela. Other handicrafts that deserve mention are the products of the ubiquitous pīš. Nomads weave the dried leaves into matting and elaborate basketry and even spoons and water pipes; they twist them into rope from which they make sandals (Baluchi sawās) and harnesses. There is also local pottery made by specialists in a few village communities. The subject of dwelling construction requires a special note. Beside goat-hair (black) and pīš-matting tents and mud-brick and adobe houses, there are a number of dwelling types in Makrān that are less mobile than tents and less permanent than mud. One of these is a frame constructed of date-palm leaf stems tied with pīš rope and covered with pīš matting in the shape of an egg cut lengthwise. Another type is domed; the dome is covered with pīš stems, the walls built of reeds or date palm stems, covered with mats and sometimes roughcast with mud, resembling a yurt. There are also flat-roofed shelters without walls (Baluchi kāpar, Persian kapar), and the water-cooled ḵār-ḵāna, in which an opening on the windward side is packed densely with camel thorn (Alhagi camelorum) and kept wet. Most of these types are also found elsewhere in southern Iran (see Gershevitch, 1959, passim, with illustrations).
The material culture and technology of Baluch pastoralism emphasize accommodation to the variation in natural conditions. Apart from their seasonal movement between pastures, and their movement from camp to camp in the continual reshuffling of camp-communities, nomadic Baluch are always on the move. They need to travel widely in order to cultivate small plots of land, to find stray animals, to keep up visiting obligations, to purchase grain and other nonpastoral commodities, to make pilgrimages, and to cultivate political connections. They live in a mētag or halk (ḵalq “camp”); typically they cooperate with kin and affines in the management of one or more flocks; they cultivate small plots which provide fruit and vegetables and sometimes a little grain or a fodder crop, and they have a reciprocal relationship with a farming community which allows them to participate in the date harvest in return for sharing their milk and dairy products in the spring. In the summer of 1964 a typical area for Makrān mountain nomads (Salāhkoh) contained 72 tents in an area of some 400 square miles. They were distributed in twelve encampments of two to nine tents each. The camps move irregularly according to rainfall. Rains produce various effects: a slow steady rain resuscitates the range, but does not produce runoff to irrigate a crop; a flash flood often alters the configuration and depth of a torrent bed and the subsequent availability of surface water, and affects rights to agricultural land. Beside different combinations of agriculture and pastoralism, the Balōč run varying numbers of camels, sheep, goats, cattle, and even water buffalo, with the addition of donkeys for transport, and in some parts mules or horses for prestige riding. Their nomadism allows them the flexibility not only to exploit the best pasture within reach, but to integrate other resources into their annual cycle. They think of their society in terms of a community of camps rather than a collection of separate camp communities. Although there has been a tendency toward sedentarization since the 1960s, it has been stronger in the Sarḥadd, Sarawan-Jahlawan, and the northeast than Makrān, where it continues to be possible for nomads to offset drought years with earnings in the Persian Gulf states.
The main fixed point around which the annual cycle revolves is āmēn (Persian hāmīn), the date harvest, when all (except a minimum number of shepherds who remain behind with the flocks) move off to the vicinity of a large date-growing area. For while the greater part of the date crop is probably grown by šahrī settlements, dates are of no less importance to the Balōč than to the šahrī. Āmēn is looked forward to as the axis of the annual cycle. Prophesies are made of the exact day when the dates will turn color (which happens a month before ripening). Everyone talks about how much fruit the palms will bear this year, and later how the season is progressing, and takes samples from community to community for comparison. There are no other essential agricultural or pastoral tasks. Āmēn is the season for visiting and all forms of celebration that do not have to be held at another time of the year.
Many nomads spend a disproportionate amount of their time on band cultivation. A band maximizes the use of irregular and ephemeral stream flow or runoff and at the same time accumulates and evens out soil deposits in mountainous or undulating terrain, where either soil or soil moisture would otherwise be insufficient for cultivation. It is a dry stone or earthen structure built across the course of drainage in order to hold the water while it drops its silt and sinks slowly through the accumulated deposit. As a low investment technology in isolated mountainous areas with sparse population such as Baluchistan, and especially Makrān, it provides them with the capability of raising small quantities of fruit and vegetables and supplementary crops of grain. It may have been more important in pre-Balōč times (Raikes, 1965).
Throughout most of Baluchistan direct rainfall is of negligible value for agriculture, but one of the most important sources of water for irrigation is the runoff and wadi flooding which are the immediate results of rainfall. With little assistance the runoff from a whole catchment is gathered by the nature of the terrain itself and directed onto prepared fields, along with its invaluable sediment. However, although a considerable volume of water is thus made available, the supply is extremely irregular, and will not generally support permanent settlement. In some parts wells are operated by hand by means of counterpoised water-lifts (see ābyārī). The most important example is probably in the Dalgān, west of Bampūr. In places where there is a shallow water table with a large catchment these can be reasonably reliable, but nevertheless do not provide enough water to justify permanent agricultural settlement. In the mountain ranges which cross the southern part of the area many of the larger river beds retain flowing water in parts throughout the year. Staple crops include wheat, barley, millet, sorghum, rice, beans, onions, and dates, but pomegranates, bananas, papaw, mango, and many other fruits and vegetables are also grown.
The conditions of irrigated agriculture in settled communities in Baluchistan are very different from the cultivation of nomads. Communities vary between a few hundred and a few thousand, but conform mostly to a recognizable pattern: The cultivation is done largely by serfs or helotized smallholders; in the center is a fort—often high and imposing; the fort was traditionally occupied by a ruler, who by means of various forms of taxation or ownership effectively commanded the greater part of the agricultural production, and used his position to build and rebuild networks of alliances with similar agricultural centers and with the nomads who controlled the expanses of mountain and desert between the settlements. Although most holdings in Baluchistan were small compared to the more fertile part of the plateau, some sardars accumulated considerable estates. The most significant were those of Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan Aḥmadzay, Ataullah Khan Mengal (the sardar of one of the largest tribes), Qaws Bux Bizenjo, Qaws Bux Raisani, Dōdā Khan Zārakzay, Nabī-baḵš Zehrī. Similarly, in Kharan the Nowšērvānī, especially Ḡolām Moṣṭafā Nowšērvānī; in Makrān the Gīčkī; in Sibi the Būgṭī, especially Nawab Moḥammad Akbar Khan Būgṭī, and the Marī, especially Nawab Khair Bux Mari, and in Chagai and Afghanistan the Sanjarānī, Jamāldīnī, and Bādīnī. In Iran the Bārakzay had by far the largest holdings, but the Bozorgzāda, Bulēdī, Sardārzay, and Šīrānī were also wealthy.
Despite these large holdings, Baluchistan is extremely arid, and for the most part suited to only the most extensive forms of resource use, such as goat or camel husbandry. Perennial irrigation on any significant scale has until recently been available only at Bampūr. Other historically important agricultural areas are Kolwa, Dasht, Las Bela, Daštīārī, and Kacchi (the last three of which have been developed recently to varying extents); but these depended traditionally on seasonal flood diversion and were less reliable. Otherwise, reliable cultivation is supported only in a certain number of well-defined locations, where cultivable soil and an accessible supply of water suitable for irrigation coincide, mostly in river valleys, especially the valleys of the Māškīd and its tributaries, the Kech and the Sarbāz. Investment in qanāts (Baluchi kahn; the standard term in Pakistan otherwise is kārēz) irrigation, which has always been important in the Māškīd and Kech basins, possibly from the earliest times, began to be expanded in the last century. Since the middle of this century irrigation has expanded again as a result of the availability of cheap energy for pumping ground water—diesel in Iran and the national electricity grid which has been extended into Sarawan in Pakistan. Kārēz building is being expanded again in Makrān, financed by remittances from the Persian Gulf.
Final remarks. Compared to most of the other tribal or ethnic minorities of the Iranian world the Baluch (in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) are probably more linguistically diverse and stratified and pluralistic. The nature of the topography has made communication difficult and the paucity and sparseness of natural resources have limited the size of settlements. Potential leaders have been unable to build up large confederacies or otherwise extend their authority beyond their immediate constituencies. Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Bashkardis, Sistanis all experience natural conditions similar to those of their nearest Baluch neighbors. Apart from the use of Baluchi as a lingua franca and a particular hierarchical type of political structure, most Baluch cultural features are also shared by their neighbors. Similarly, the history of most parts of the world is to some extent a function of interference from outside. The geography and ecology are directly related to the settlement pattern, which places special constraints on political development and others particular opportunities to outside influence. The structural factors are a function of both the settlement pattern and the cultural history of the populations that came to the area. The final result could not have come about if the history of Iran and India had not led to particular types of interference and withdrawal at particular times. What distinguishes the Baluch (as distinct from the Balōč) from their neighbors is presumably, therefore, the peculiar combination of their geography, culture, and dependency which has led them to subscribe to a common language and set of political ideas.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The diaspora

By: Brian Spooner

Beside the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, the Iranian province of Balūčestān o Sīstān, and the neighboring corner of Afghanistan, Baluch communities extend into neighboring areas in each country—Sind and Punjab in Pakistan, Farāh, Herat, Bādḡīs, Fāryāb, Jūzjān (Jawzjān) in Afghanistan, and Kermān, Khorasan, Semnān, and Gorgān in Iran. They also extend into neighboring countries—Soviet Turkmenistan, India, the countries of the Persian Gulf, Oman, Kenya, and Tanzania (especially Zanzibar).
Very little has been published about these diaspora communities, and it is difficult to obtain reliable information about them. They tend not to be encouraged to develop their ethnic identity. In Iran, those in Gorgān moved in from Sīstān as migrant labor in the 1960s. Others, in Khorasan and Semnān, have been there longer, in some cases much longer. Many of them have lost their language, some within living memory. Those to the north of Baluchistan are all pastoralists, or have been until recently. As for the carpets that are known as Baluch in international trade see baluchistan v, baluch carpets, below. The best Baluch rugs were made before the middle of this century in Baluch communities living among Turkmen on either side of the current border between Afghanistan and Soviet Turkmenistan. Their handicraft is derivative of the Turkmen product, though distinctive in both design and texture. The Baluch in Soviet Turkmenistan include Shiʿites. They all came from Sīstān, some from the Afghan and some from the Iranian side of the border. There were three main waves of migration. The first arrived in the late 19th century; the second between 1917 and 1920; and the last and largest between 1923 and 1928. In 1959 they numbered 7,842, but had increased to 18,997 in 1979 by natural fertility. They live in the Mary oblast’ on kolkhoz and sovkhoz. There are also small groups of Baluch in Tajikistan but these have already assimilated linguistically to the Tajik. Small groups of Brahui in Turkmenistan still speak Brahui but are rapidly assimilating to Baluchi. The Soviets seem to favor the ethnic survival of the Baluch (Bennigsen, pp. 120-21), probably for reasons similar to the Pakistani encouragement of the Brahui. The Baluch of Ḏahīra in Oman have been there so long that they are now classed as an Omani tribe. They retain no direct connection with the Baluch on the Bāṭena coast or elsewhere in Oman. Another group is located some ninety miles to the south of Boraymī in the interior. In Zanzibar the Baluch had established themselves in the service of the Muscadine empire. After the coup in 1963 they lost their privileged status and, in order to avoid being ruled by an African government which did not respect their separate identity, some of them wrote letters to distant relatives in Makrān, attempting to make arrangements to return. In 1965 a Baluch from Kenya enrolled as a foreign student at Tehran University.
There are records of migration out of Makrān since about 1800, and most of the diaspora seems to have occurred in the 12th/18th and 13th/19th centuries. But some moved out as early as the 9th/15th century, while others may have followed different itineraries from earlier points of dispersal in Iran, and may hold clues relevant to some of the problems treated in the first section of this article. They moved mainly for economic reasons, and worked in the pearl industry before the oil industry. They have wandered as soldiers of fortune possibly since Sasanian times. Many of the émigré communities have assimilated in language and other respects to the surrounding society, but still retain their identity. Many more may have assimilated and lost their identity. It is characteristic of areas of low biological productivity such as Makrān that they are net producers of people.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The modern period

By: Brian Spooner

Since the end of World War II great changes have occurred for all Baluch throughout Baluchistan—gradually at first, accelerating since 1970 because of the changed political economy of the Persian Gulf. At the same time Baluch history has diverged. Since the state of Kalat became an integral part of the new independent state of Pakistan, three separate national governments, none of which included Baluch representation, have sought to integrate and assimilate them into national life at minimum cost. In Afghanistan the major factors affecting the Baluch have been the Helmand river development schemes, the government’s Pashtunistan policy, and (most recently and drastically) the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In Iran the successive Pahlavi governments attempted to neutralize the sardars and at the same time suppress any activity among the Baluch that could lead to ethnic consciousness or solidarity. Their tactics were similar to those of the Qajars, and the tactics of the Islamic Republic since 1979 have not differed significantly. However, the significance of these tactics and the relative power of the government of Iran to control the area have changed in important ways. In Pakistan, where ethnic awareness has been most developed, the political discourse has revolved around the general objective of reestablishing the autonomous Baluch polity, the khanate, in something resembling its mid-13th/19th-century form, independent of Afghan (local Pathans or Pashtuns), Persian, or Punjabi (in the guise of Pakistani bureaucracy) interference, though probably connected in some form of federation with Pakistan. Failure to achieve this objective led to fighting with the Pakistan army in 1973-74 and isolated guerrilla activity before and since. Overall, as a result of increased literacy and access to the outside world, this period has seen the growth of ethnic and cultural awareness among all Baluch, which should be evaluated in the context of similar phenomena in other parts of the world during the same period.
The Baluch in Afghanistan have received the least attention from their national government. The main effect on their lives of the Helmand project that began in 1948 and continued in various forms until the end of the Dāwūd regime in 1978, was that it brought a steady stream of outsiders into an otherwise isolated part of the country. The declaration of the Afghan government for a “Pashtunistan,” which (though left purposely vague) was inspired by the idea of restoring to Afghan rule the areas lost to Kalat and the British which were ruled from Qandahār in some cases as late as the mid-13th/19th century, similarly barely affected them. Until 1978 many Baluch in Afghanistan related more closely to their kin in Iran and Pakistan than to the rest of Afghanistan.
Soon after the coup in April, 1978, however, officials of the new government entered the area and attempted to reconstruct community life in accordance with Marxist principles. The Baluch reacted strongly, especially to measures that interfered with their ideas of gender relations, property, and authority. Since the Soviet occupation in 1980, most of the estimated ninety thousand Afghan Baluch have moved into Iran or Pakistan. A relatively small number are engaged in resistance activity inside Afghanistan, with medical and other support from relatives mainly in Iran. Generally, the great majority of the Baluch of all three countries have avoided commitment either for or against the Kabul regime, because of their rivalry with the Pashtuns and the Punjabis in Pakistan and with the national government in Iran.
One policy of the Ḵalq regime in Afghanistan (1978-79) deserves special notice. Immediately after the coup, Baluchi (along with Uzbek, Turkman, Nūrestānī) was added to Pashto and Darī in the list of official languages of Afghanistan. Baluchi, therefore, became a language of publication and education in Afghanistan. However, there is currently no evidence that the policy continues, or that books or periodicals in Baluchi continue to be published.
In Iran the Baluch were barely the majority of the population in the province of Balūčestān o Sīstān. There were no institutions that could serve as a focus for the development of a Baluch ethnic or cultural awareness. Publication in Baluchi was illegal. Education was in Persian only. Baluch dress was not allowed to be worn in school or in any official activity.
The Bārakzay, who returned to Iran after the departure of the British, campaigned successfully for the return of the ḵāleṣa lands which had been their main support up to 1928. Government policy was to provide a livelihood for the old ruling families throughout the province in order to make them dependent and coopt them into the national system. They also used them for local positions such as town mayors. The policy worked in the long term, and with few exceptions in the short term as well. On the other hand, the province was barely touched by the economic and social reforms that were carried out at the national level. For example, no Baluch owned enough land to be affected by the land reform law. The province was still not entirely quiet, but serious incidents were rare. Minor revisions were made to the border with Pakistan in 1958.
Several members of the old ruling families, especially the Bārakzay and the Sardārzay in Sarāvān, Sarbāz, Qaṣr-e Qand, and Daštīārī, showed an interest in a Free Baluchistan movement beginning in the 1960s. They had a small but loyal following among the nomads in the Makrān mountains and connections with Baluch of a similar mind in the émigré communities across the Persian Gulf. Through these connections they developed contacts with the government of Iraq, which was always ready to stir up Baluch in Iran in retaliation for the shah’s interference among the Kurds in Iraq. Mīr ʿAbdī Khan Sardārzay was the major figure in this movement, but he eventually submitted and was pardoned by the shah on condition he live the rest of his life in Tehran, which he did. Another figure in the movement was Amān-Allāh Bārakzay, who took up the cause again after the revolution of 1357 Š./1978-79.
The most significant events in Baluch history since the departure of the British have occurred, as might be expected, in the area they vacated. They left behind a significant degree of confusion about the status of the princely states, such as Kalat, in relation to the successor governments of India and Pakistan. Kalat, in addition, had made it clear that its position was different from that of other princely states, because it was not “Indian.” On August 15, 1947, the day after the creation of Pakistan, the khan accordingly declared the independence of Kalat. But he offered to negotiate a special relationship with Pakistan in matters of defense, foreign affairs, and communications. His offer was rejected. The strategy pursued by the government of Pakistan in the following decades was conditioned partly by Afghanistan’s Pashtunistan policy and partly by the imperative need to build a viable state. We still do not know to what extent international interests in the stability of the region, especially on the part of the British and the Americans, may have played a role. In March, 1948, the khan was persuaded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the founder of Pakistan; 1876-1948) to bring Baluchistan into Pakistan, despite the fact that the sardars had not agreed to the move. Less than a month later the Pakistani army annexed Baluchistan (Baluch, Inside Baluchistan, pp. 150-66).
A major factor in the opposition of the Baluch sardars to straightforward accession to Pakistan was the fact that Pakistan had insisted on perpetuating the separate status of the three “leased” Baluch territories (Las Bela, Kharan, and Makrān) that had been detached by the British (Harrison, p. 24). But the use of coercion was mitigated by its action a few years later in constituting the Baluchistan States Union within West Pakistan (1952-55), which provided for substantial autonomy and postponed final integration (Wirsing, p. 10). The final blow to Baluch aims came in 1955 when Baluchistan along with all the other provinces of West Pakistan were incorporated into One Unit. (Gwadar remained with Oman until it was purchased by Pakistan for 3 million sterling [$8,400,000] in 1958.)
To begin with, the biggest problem of the Baluch was lack of strong leadership. As resistance built up during the One Unit period (1955-70), three men gradually began to stand out as potential modern leaders. These were Khair Bux Marri (Ḵayrbaḵš Marī), Ghaus Bux Bizenjo (Qawsbaḵš Bīzenjō), and Ataullah (ʿAṭāʾ-Allāh) Mengal (Harrison, pp. 40-69). When the One Unit was dissolved in 1970 the Baluch reacted cautiously. In the following general election, Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won no seats in Baluchistan, only 2 percent of the vote, and no seats in the provincial assembly. The National Awami Party (NAP) emerged with three seats in the National Assembly and eight seats in the Baluchistan provincial assembly. The NAP was headed by Khan Abdul Wali (ʿAbd-al-Walī) Khan, a Pashtun who was the son of the veteran Pashtun nationalist Khan Abdul Ghaffar (ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār) Khan, and was basically a regionalist alliance of Baluch and Pathans. It had been founded in 1957 and was to some extent a descendant of a pre-independence anti-partition movement. Within days of the election Bhutto attempted to set aside the results by appointing one of his own supporters among the Baluch, Ghaus Bux Raisani (Qawsbaḵš Raʾīsānī), as governor of Baluchistan. Under pressure, however, he agreed to let the NAP, in coalition with the conservative Jamiat-ul-Islam (Jamʿīyat-al-Eslām) party (JUI), form a government. Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo was appointed governor of Baluchistan in April, 1972. The NAP-JUI parliamentary coalition in the Baluchistan Provincial Assembly elected Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal as its leader, who thus became chief minister of the province. In February, 1973, Bhutto replaced both governors, and dismissed the government of Baluchistan on the pretext that the NAP-JUI government had allowed and even encouraged the spread of lawlessness and violence throughout the province, and that it aimed at independence. A cache of Soviet arms was discovered in the Iraqi embassy, supposedly destined for Baluchistan. Bhutto then appointed Akbar Khan Bugti, the leader of the Būgṭī tribe and hostile to NAP, as governor. But Bugti was forced to resign in less than a year, and the disorder and violence spread. Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and Ataullah Khan Mengal, as well as Khair Bux Marri, who was the president of NAP in Baluchistan, were arrested. Between 1973 and 1977 eastern Baluchistan became the scene of a major tribal rebellion against the government of Pakistan. At its height in 1974 an estimated 55,000 Baluch were engaged, mainly from the Mengal and Marī tribes. The number of Pakistani troops has been estimated at 70,000. Iran, which continued to fear Baluch separatism, sent a number of helicopters. Many Baluch fled to Afghanistan. As many as 10,000 Marī remained there in 1986. The major part of the fighting was over in 1974, when the government of Pakistan published its view of what had happened in a white paper, but hostilities continued intermittently until the end of Bhutto’s regime in 1977. In April, 1976, Bhutto announced the abolition of the “sardari system” in a speech in Quetta, making illegal the traditional tribal system of social control and revenue. (Ayyub Khan had already attempted to abolish it, without success.) In 1977 the martial law administration released the NAP leaders and hostilities ceased (Wirsing, p. 11).
Meanwhile, in Pakistan Baluchi had been given the status of an official language for both publication and education. Two academies were established for the promotion of Baluchi and Brahui languages and cultures. (It was in the government’s interest to see Brahui develop as a distinct identity, which would weaken Baluchistan solidarity.) Quetta radio became the major producer of programs in Baluchi. (Radio Zāhedān and Radio Kabul had less than ten hours a week each.) Baluch writers published magazines and books in Baluchi, English, and Urdu. Beginning in the 1960s an increasing number of Baluch writers have published on the history and culture of the Baluch.
In Pakistan Baluch nationalism continues to be a political factor at the national level. It has been suggested that the idea of Baluch nationalism began with Dūst-Moḥammad Khan’s resistance to Reżā Shah in Iran in 1928 (Harrison, p. 3). But it is doubtful whether the combination of general ethnic awareness, interest in political unity, and potential for strong leadership, which are necessary for a successful nationalist movement, existed in a significant proportion of the Baluch anywhere before the 1960s at the earliest. Since then it has motivated an increasing number of young Baluch in Pakistan, Iran, and the Persian Gulf. In February, 1981, Khair Bux Marri and Ataullah Mengal were persuaded to help create a London-based coalition of Baluch émigré groups called the World Baluch Organization, the purpose of which is to raise money for the Baluch cause.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The British period, 1839-1947

By: Brian Spooner

The next hundred years saw an explosion of publications on the Baluch and Baluchistan. The information was produced through the interest of the neighboring powers, who finally achieved a definitive division of the area into three separate provinces of the adjacent nation-states.
Early in the 19th century the British set about gathering and organizing information on the whole of India, which they eventually published in the form of district gazetteers. The district gazetteer series for Baluchistan (1906-08) comprises eight volumes. Each gazetteer deals with an administrative district or group of districts and is organized into four chapters: basic geographical description, including an historical review of the social situation; a statement on the economic condition (agriculture, rents, labor and prices, weights and measures, forests and other natural resources, trade and transportation); an account of the administration (revenue, justice, police, public works); and finally miniature gazetteers describing individual settlements. The Baluchistan series is an extraordinary compendium of information, and ranks among the best of all the Indian gazetteers (Scholberg, p. 49) as well as other literature of the same type. This section is based on information taken from the gazetteers, the Persian syntheses by Taqīzāda and Jahānbānī, and the author’s unpublished ethnohistorical research except where otherwise noted.
The extension of British interest westward through Makrān stimulated Persian interest in pursuing ancient claims to the area. As they sought to reestablish their authority the Persians also began to gather information. Early efforts resulted from the interest of governors-general of Kermān under Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (see Farmānfarmā, Wazīrī, Sepehr). Later and more detailed efforts followed on the pacification of the area under Reżā Shah (see Jahānbānī, Kayhān, Razmārā, Taqīzāda). The Russians began to explore Persian Baluchistan around the turn of the century (see Rittikh, Zarudnyĭ). Other Europeans, especially Germans, also took an interest (e.g., the Austrian Gasteiger), though they published little new information.
From 1839 to 1947 the greater part of Baluchistan was—formally or informally—under the British Empire, whose interest was essentially in securing and protecting its North-West Frontier Province from both Afghanistan and Iran. At a particular stage in this endeavor the British negotiated formal international borders through the territories of Baluch tribes with both Iran and Afghanistan, roughly according to the effective sphere of influence of the khan of Kalat, but with some attention to the interests of local leaders. They then sought to control the administration of the state of Kalat, at first through the khan, later in the name of the khan, and they gradually took on the direct administration of buffer areas between them and Afghanistan as well as some other especially troublesome areas such as the eastern districts of the Marī and Būgṭī tribes. The British intervened in the life of the Baluch mainly in order to bolster the authority of the khan and the subsidiary rulers in Makrān, as a means of maintaining peace and internal security, to establish the frontier, to lay the telegraph line, and (after some delay) finally to abolish the slave trade. The government of Afghanistan paid little attention to its Baluch population. But the Persian government sought to control as much as possible of Baluchistan by exploiting the ambitions and animosities of the local rulers; it did not establish a functioning administrative structure for the area until later.
The agreement between the British and Mīr Meḥrāb Khan in 1839 soon ran into trouble. Many of the sardars opposed it, and some of them sabotaged it by waylaying Burnes on his way back from Quetta, stealing the document and making out that they were acting on the instructions of the khan. The British were deceived, and resolved to punish the khan. In November of the same year they invaded Baluchistan and attacked Kalat. Mīr Meḥrāb Khan was killed in the action. Determined to control the route into Afghanistan, the British then installed in Kalat a great grandson of Mīr Moḥabbat Khan, the fourteen-year-old Mīr Šahnavāz Khan, with a Lieutenant Loveday as regent, and dismembered the khan’s dominions. Mastung and Quetta were given to Shah Šojāʿ, though the British continued to control them in his name. Kacchi was placed under the political agent for Western Sind. However, Meḥrāb’s son, whom he had named Mīr Naṣīr Khan II, was able to rally the tribes and retake Kalat in the following year (Rooman, pp. 41-43). Benefiting from a wave of popular support Naṣīr was able soon after to regain Quetta, Mastung, and Kacchi. Local skirmishes continued till 1842, when the British retired from Baluchistan because of more pressing problems in Afghanistan and elsewhere. As a condition of their withdrawal, Sibi remained under the British and Pishin was reoccupied by the Afghans, though Quetta remained with Kalat. The British undertook to help Naṣīr in case of outside attack, while Naṣīr accepted Shah Šojāʿ and the East India Company as suzerain powers who could station their forces anywhere in Kalat in emergency. The khan further agreed to act under British advice, refrain from any engagement without their previous sanction and to fix a pension for Mīr Šahnavāz and his family (Aitchison, XI, pp. 210-11). Essentially, the khan had secured British support for local Baluch autonomy under conditions similar to his historical relationship to the Afghans. The new ingredient was the role the British now played in Afghan interests. Shortly afterward the British also contrived to control the Marī through the khan, though the relationship did not last. The British annexed Sind in 1843, and Punjab in 1849. In 1854 the situation was formalized by a treaty in Khangarh (later Jacobabad) which included an annual subsidy to the khan of Rs 50,000 (Rooman, p. 44).
The state of Kalat was now incorporated into the British colonial system. Even the Baluch who were not controlled by Kalat were deeply influenced by the British connection. The khan was essentially a paid official, an intermediary between the British and the sardars (who continued until recently to hold real authority with the tribes). As a result the khan gradually lost his authority with the sardars (N. Swidler, p. 49), and the British were obliged to an increasing extent to work directly with, and to subsidize, each sardar. This practice was later extended into western Baluchistan (Iran) with the construction of the telegraph in the 1860s.
Naṣīr was succeeded in 1857, on his death, by his stepbrother Mīr Ḵodādād Khan, aged sixteen. Ḵodādād ruled until 1893—a period marked by serious conflicts with the sardars. Ḵodādād appears not to have understood the significance of the colonial power, which continually frustrated his efforts to rule, while not only he but many of the sardars were dependent on British subsidies. For a while the British were content simply to contain events through diplomacy and subsidies. But in 1875 in response to the Russian advance into Turkestan they decided to construct a railway and a telegraph link to Baluchistan. They sent Captain Robert Sandeman to Kalat to develop the basis for a more positive “forward” policy. Sandeman succeeded in composing outstanding disputes between the khan and the sardars, and designed a way of administering the tribes through their own chiefs in accordance with tribal custom but under British supervision, which later became well known as the Sandeman system of indirect rule (Thornton). In the following year Sandeman concluded the Mastung Settlement, according to which the Treaty of 1854 was renewed and enhanced: the khan was to have no independent foreign relations, a permanent British garrison was to be posted in Kalat, the khan was to send a representative to the government of India, the British were to be the sole arbiters in disputes between the khan and the sardars, and the projected railway and telegraph were to be protected in the interests of both parties. The khan’s annuity was raised to Rs 100,000, beside Rs 25,000 for the construction of more outposts and for ensuring the security of transport and communications. The trade rights of the khan with Afghanistan and India were also transferred to the British for another Rs 30,000 per year (Aitchison, XI, pp. 215-18).
The subsidies paid to the sardars were contingent upon their loyalty to the khan and the maintenance of internal peace. The sardars were still encouraged to settle disputes by traditional procedures, through sardar circles for intratribal cases, and jirgas when disputes were intertribal. However, all jirga decisions were subject to review by the British political agent. In general, the British system seemed to fit the tribal system well (N. Swidler, p. 53). The sardars and the British agents understood each other’s conception of authority and were able to work together. But in the long term the British system had the effect of dividing the Baluch into numerous personal fiefdoms based on individual sardars, and elevated the khan to an exclusively ceremonial status.
In 1877 Sandeman occupied Quetta, and with the khan’s consent established the administrative center of the Baluchistan Agency. Quetta was used as a base for the second Afghan War (q.v.) in 1878 (brought on by increasing British fear of Russian influence in Afghanistan). The war was concluded by the Treaty of Gandamak in 1879, which ceded Pishin to the British. One after another all the districts along the border with Afghanistan were leased to the British in return for an annual payment and incorporated into the province of British Baluchistan. Kalat was sealed off from all territories that were of strategic interest to the British. The Quetta cantonment soon surpassed Kalat and Mastung both as an administrative and as a commercial center. Although Baluchistan remained a relatively isolated area, peripheral to the Indian economy, the social effects of British investment should not be underestimated. Gash crops were introduced close to the major routes. A certain amount of sedentarization took place as new villages were built. Some sardars were knighted, and British Indian dress and pomp began to appear in Baluchistan (N. Swidler, p. 51).
Mīr Ḵodādād Khan did not accommodate to the changing situation. Gradually his position became untenable, and in 1893 he was forced to abdicate. He was succeeded by Mīr Maḥmūd Khan II, who ruled until 1931. Maḥmūd identified himself with British interests and received strong British support, but at the price of continued erosion of the power of the khanate. In 1899 a treaty was signed which leased out Nushki in perpetuity for Rs 9,000 per year (Aitchison, XI, pp. 224-25). Another treaty in 1903 added the perpetual lease of Nasirabad for Rs 115,000. In 1912, as one of a series of bureaucratic reforms, a state treasury was established with branches at Mastung, Khuzdar, and other provincial centers. A veterinary hospital was opened at Kalat. A road was built to Wad and to Panjgur, and some schools were opened. The khan also made a nominal contribution to the British war effort, but the sardars were beginning to react to his subservience and the British were forced to intervene more than once to put down a revolt.
After the death of Maḥmūd in 1931, Mīr Aʿẓam Jān, the third son of Ḵodādād, who ruled for two years, showed some sympathy for local anti-British sentiments. He was succeeded in 1933 by Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan, who ruled for the remainder of the British period. On the accession of Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan the state of Kalat was comprised of Sarawan and Jahlawan, Kacchi, with Kharan, Las Bela, and Makrān as client principalities. Chagai, Nushki, Nasirabad, Zhob and Loralai and the Mari-Bugti district constituted the British province of Baluchistan under British political agents; Dera Ghazi Khan was part of Punjab, and Jacobabad was in Sind.
Although not entirely unaffected by British influences from the east, the western Baluch had fared very differently. After the death of Nāder Shah in 1160/1747, what is now Persian Baluchistan had for a time been under the Dorrānī rulers of Afghanistan, but after 1795 it was divided among local rulers. Although for a short time the khans of Kalat, and especially Mīr Naṣīr Khan I, were able to extend their hegemony into parts of it, the rulers of the small agricultural settlements scattered throughout the area, and of the nomadic groups, continually rebelled against any imposition of taxes or other exaction, and even relationships based on marriage alliance were never reliable for long. There was always a tendency to play off one leader against another, and Qandahār competed with Kalat for the allegiance of local leaders.
Persian interest was re-aroused in 1838 when the Āqā Khan (q.v.), head of the Ismaʿili sect, fled to India after rebelling against Tehran. In 1843 he was given asylum by the British in Karachi, which they had recently occupied. At the end of the same year, his brother, Sardār Khan, took 200 horsemen with him by land to Čāhbahār, where the small Ismaʿili community provided a base from which he was able by intrigue to gain possession of Bampūr. He was soon defeated by the governor-general of Kermān on orders from Tehran. But from then on the Persians took a more serious interest in Makrān, and began to pursue a policy of encouraging the local rulers to compete for formal titles in return for the obligation to levy and remit annual taxes (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2157). A garrison was established at Bampūr (which has always been the major agricultural district in western Baluchistan) and military expeditions were mounted periodically toward the east and southeast. Bampūr was occupied on a permanent basis in 1850, and one by one the local rulers of Dezak, Sarbāz, Geh, and Qaṣr-e Qand acknowledged the obligation to pay taxes to the governor, Ebrāhīm Khan (Taqīzāda). In 1856 Moḥammadšāh Khan of Sīb rebelled, trusting in the impregnability of his fort, which (judging by the almost contemporary description given by Sepehr, and what could still be seen in 1965) was probably at least as high and strong, if not as large as the Bampūr fort. But the Sīb fort was taken by a force from Kermān.
The British telegraph project changed the geopolitical balance of relations in the area (Saldanha). A report to Bombay in 1861 by a Rev. G. P. Badger (who had experience as British chaplain and interpreter in Persia and the Persian Gulf) explained clearly the British problem of having to deal with both the local chiefs, the sultan of Oman, and the Persian government. They dealt with the problem by respecting the authority of each wherever they found it in force, and resolving conflicts among them as and when they arose. They made agreements for the passage and protection of the line with Kalat, Las Bela, Pasni, and Kech. When construction began in 1863 Ebrāhīm Khan, the governor in Bampūr, threatened the Omani representatives in the ports, and incited Rind tribesmen to harass communities on the outskirts of Gwadar, though he did not molest the telegraph working parties. Tehran actually repudiated his efforts, though official communications continued to emphasize that both Gwadar and Čāhbahār were part of Persia. British plans to build the telegraph had reawakened in the Persians their ancient territorial consciousness and determined them initially to claim the whole of Makrān up to the British frontier in Sind. At the same time they desired the security of a formal agreement. They therefore bargained hard and actively from a position of relative weakness. The Persian envoy who visited Kalat in 1862 declared that Persia had no designs on Kech or Makrān, and requested negotiation of the boundary. Similarly, Ebrāhīm Khan, the governor of Bampūr, wrote to the political agent at Muscat in April, 1863, saying that Gwadar was not under his authority. The British meditated on the problem for two years and finally demurred; they had nothing to gain, and they stood to lose the good will of the local rulers without gaining the protection of the Persian government (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2163). The Persian government continued its policy of playing off the local rulers one against another with the aim of reducing their authority and establishing its own as far as possible, and gave out that they were planning an attack on Kech (ibid., p. 2157). During this period the principal rulers in western Makrān were Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh Bulēdī of Geh who controlled the coast from Jāsk to Čāhbahār, and Dīn-Moḥammad Sardārzay in Bāhū who beside Daštīārī controlled the coast from Čāhbahār to Gwadar. They were related by marriage, but they were potential rivals, since both accepted payment from the sultan of Oman to protect the ports. (Protection was essential both against local disorder and against the claims of Kalat: In 1847 Faqīr Moḥammad, the khan’s nāʾeb in Kech and the principal power in eastern Makrān, had attacked Gwadar with 1,000 men in order to extort from Saʿīd Ṯowaynī, the regent of Oman, a supposedly customary annual present which had been withheld for two years in succession, but was unsuccessful. The khan of Kalat continued to claim Gwadar, and periodically sent similar expeditions.) ʿAbd-Allāh and Dīn-Moḥammad had both acknowledged Persian suzerainty, but now that the telegraph was coming they let it be known that they would work with the British. Around 1866 Shaikh ʿAbd-Allāh who ruled Qaṣr-e Qand and Sarbāz had recently been murdered, and the Persians had recognized his son as ruler of Qaṣr-e Qand, but had given Sarbāz to the head of another family, who was devoted to the Persian interest.
The telegraph line was finally continued in 1869 to Jāsk and Hanjām Island, and in 1870 the British were obliged to set up a tripartite commission (with representatives of Persia, Kalat, and Britain) for the definition of the frontier (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2034). From 1863 a British assistant political agent was stationed at Gwadar, and from 1879 a native agent took his place. They reported to the director of Persian Gulf Telegraphs in Karachi. Beginning in the 1870s yearly subsidies for the protection of the Indo-European Telegraph line were paid by the British to the khan of Geh (Rs 1,000), to eleven elders of the Baluch communities of the oasis of Geh (Rs 1,600), to the leader of the Nārūʾī tribe (Rs 600), to the sardar of Daštīārī (Rs 600), to three elders of Baluch communities of the oasis of Daštīārī (Rs 400 each), to the sardar of Bāhū Kalāt (Rs 100), among others (Pikulin, p. 123). The subsidy to the ruler of Geh was reduced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 1,000 in 1899, the remainder being distributed among minor chiefs along the line; Daštīārī and Bāhū then received Rs 1,000 each. In 1864 the protection of Čāhbahār devolved upon two local chiefs, Dīn-Moḥammad Jaḍgāl of Daštīārī, and Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh of Geh, who received Rs 900 and 200 respectively per year from the revenue of 7,000. In 1868 or 1869 Dīn-Moḥammad quietly occupied it, and it was never recovered for Oman. But a period of struggle and negotiation ensued between Oman, Dīn-Moḥammad, and Persia, in the course of which the Persian governor-general of Kermān appeared in Qaṣr-e Qand. In 1869 Ebrāhīm Khan occupied Čāhbahār, but in 1871 the Persians waived all claim to Gwadar (ibid.). In 1872 Ebrāhīm Khan annexed Čāhbahār permanently to Persia, initially under the protection of Ḥosayn Khan of Geh. Its thriving commercial community soon dispersed apparently with the encouragement of Ebrāhīm Khan, much of it to Gwadar (Lorimer, loc. cit.; Goldsmid, p. lii). Despite Ebrāhīm Khan’s efforts the British Sandeman system of indirect rule with the aid of subsidies had extended into western Makrān, and when he died it was the major power in the area.
In the meantime, a division of influence between Kalat, Afghanistan, and Persia had been worked out and legitimized for the time being by the boundary commissions. But the Persians (working through Ebrāhīm Khan) both preempted and disputed some details of the commission’s findings. They took Pīšīn (east of Rāsk; not to be confused with Pishin north of Quetta) in 1870, and Esfandak and Kūhak in 1871—directly after the commission had awarded it to Kalat. In the north Ebrāhīm Khan also defeated Sayyed Khan Kord, known as sardar of the Sarḥadd, in Ḵāš (Sykes, 1902, p. 106). From then on Ebrāhīm controlled most of the settlements of the Sarḥadd and Makrān up to the present border by a combination of force, threats, and the posting of minor officials, but he was not able to control the tribes of the Sarḥadd (see Pikulin, p. 122; Zarudnyĭ, p. 164; Galindo, p. 251), and Baluch raiding remained a problem on both sides of the Iran-Afghanistan border (Ferrier). Ebrāhīm Khan was the son of a baker from Bam, and had achieved almost total subjugation of western Baluchistan. He died in 1884, after three decades in the position. His son died a few months later, and Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn, his son-in-law, became governor, but in 1887 he was replaced by Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan, a Turk. Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan was, however, dismissed, and Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Khan reappointed.
During the remainder of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s reign the pattern of Persian exactions continued unchanged, with consequent hostilities between competing chiefs. Around 1883 ʿAbdī Khan Sardārzay, son of Mīr Dīn-Moḥammad was put in charge of Gwatar. In 1886 the population of Gwatar moved across the frontier to avoid his exactions, but returned in 1887 on the death of Mīr Hōtī in Geh. In 1896 it was reported that 2,000 people had emigrated from the district, and the British Indian traders of Čāhbahār who had reestablished themselves complained that their trade was ruined. Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah agreed to a new Perso-Baluch boundary commission because of unrest on the border (Sykes, 1902, p. 225). Minor revisions were made to both the Persian and the Afghan borders in the mid-1890s.
During this period the Bampūr governors had been encouraged in their aggressive treatment of the local Baluch rulers by the governors-general in Kermān who made frequent winter visits to Bampūr. In 1891, after an absence of two years, the governor-general revisited the district, making solemn promises that he would imprison nobody, but the promises were broken, and several Baluch leaders were seized and detained for several years (Sykes, 1902, p. 106).
After the death of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah in 1313/1896, the Baluch thought there was no new shah, and the absence of a Persian force fostered this delusion. Because of fear of the Kermān governor-general (Farmānfarmā) there was no rebellion until he left Kermān. But in 1897 the Acting Superintendent in the Indo-European Telegraph Department at Jāsk was robbed and murdered while camping on an annual tour of inspection near the Rāpč river east of Jāsk. In the same year Sardār Ḥosayn Khan attacked Fahraj (Sykes, p. 132; Zarudnyĭ, p. 200) and led a general rebellion against the Persian government in the Sarḥadd, Sarāvān, and Bampūr, demanding reduction of taxes. This was refused and the revolt spread to Sarbāz, Dezak, Lāšār, and Bampošt. Ḥosayn Khan occupied Bampūr, Fahraj, and Bazmān and other places which had small Iranian garrisons, and controlled most of the northern part of the province, and several Baluch groups which had hitherto remained neutral in troubles between ruling families and the “Qajars” (as the Baluch now called Persians) joined him. A large Persian force sent from Kermān to restore order in 1897 was defeated. The uprising lasted about three years and finished only when Ḥosayn Khan was given the governorship—a major precedent. Now a Baluch leader, the head of a principal family, officially had the right and duty to collect the taxes of the whole of Baluchistan within Iran. In return for the added legitimacy of the title the Baluch leader had acknowledged all Persia’s claims. Up to this time the Baluch seem not to have acknowledged such claims, though they expected to have to deal continually with the claims of outside powers, including Persia, Oman, Qandahār, and Delhi. On the other hand, in this new arrangement the Persian government appeared to acknowledge the local autonomy of the Baluch. It might be expected that in this situation unless there was a strong governor in Kermān no taxes would leave Baluchistan, and in fact from this time until 1928 Persian control of Baluchistan was once again only nominal (Pikulin, pp. 123-26).
In January, 1898, in consequence of the murder of Graves and the generally unsettled state of the country, 150 rifles of the Bombay Marine Battalion under two British officers, of whom 100 were to be located at Čāhbahār and 50 at Jāsk, were dispatched from India. No objection was made by the Persian government. In April the Čāhbahār detachment was reduced to 50 rifles and Indian officers replaced the British. As the presence of these guards had an excellent effect in giving confidence at both places, they were maintained after the troubles subsided, and permanent barracks were built at Jāsk and Čāhbahār. However, away from the ports there were other difficulties. In 1903 two despised communities, one of Mēds (fishermen) on the coast and another of Lattis (mixed farmers) inland, were driven out of Bāhū. They moved across the border to Jiwanri and Paleri. Around the same time Moḥammad Khan Gīčkī of Kech had fled across the border in the other direction when his uncle, Shaikh ʿOmar, was expelled from the fort of Turbat by the khan of Kalat’s nāʾeb in Kech. Increasing disorder in Makrān, along with Russian and French activity in the Persian Gulf, caused anxiety among the British, who by now were concerned to protect Indian trade interests in the Persian Gulf, as well as the telegraph, beside their general interest in border security. The Persian government was unable or unwilling to meet the British halfway by matching British power on their side of the border. The British, therefore, tried to protect their interests unilaterally. In 1901 they asked permission to set up a vice-consulate at Bampūr for the protection of British subjects. Persia opposed it, but allowed them to set one up in Bam instead. Later Persia allowed the British to lead a punitive expedition against Magas and Ērafšān.
On the death of Ḥosayn Khan, Saʿīd Khan, his son, succeeded to the forts of Geh, Bent, and the ports. He also inherited Qaṣr-e Qand from his mother. He decided to expand, and took Sarbāz. Next, he joined up with Bahrām Khan Bārānzay (from a tribal group also known as Bārakzay, apparently from the Afghan Bārakzay [see bārakzī], who had entered the area from Afghanistan early in the 19th century, though by this time they were fully assimilated as a Baluch and Baluchi-speaking) who ruled Dezak, and they took over Bampūr and Fahraj in 1907 when there was no governor in residence. An army was sent against them from Kermān in 1910. Saʿīd submitted. But Bahrām resisted. Saʿīd was made governor of Baluchistan, but the real power in the province remained with Bahrām Khan (Jahānbānī, pp. 35-38).
Early in 1916 German agents extended their activities to the Sarḥadd and endeavored to raise the tribes there against the British. Seeing their supply lines in danger, the British sent a Colonel R. E. H. Dyer to organize the Chagai levies. At this time the Gamšādzay under Halīl (Ḵalīl) Khan held the area around Jālq and Safēdkoh. West of them were the Yār-Moḥammadzay under Jīānd Khan (an elderly man who had been informal overlord of the Sarḥadd for many years). West of Ḵāš were the Esmāʿīlzay under Jomʿa Khan. Each tribe had around a thousand families, or one to two thousand fighting men each. Dyer succeeded in his task with the help of a small local tribe, the Rīgī, and the conventional British strategy of subsidizing the local leaders for their efforts to enforce order.
Mīr Bahrām Khan died in Bampūr in 1921. Having no son, he was succeeded by his nephew, Dūst-Moḥammad Khan. The Bārakzay family had become the most powerful government in Persian Baluchistan, by virtue of personal control over both Fahraj-Bampūr and Saravan and marriage alliances with the rulers of the major settlements of Makrān. Dūst-Moḥammad made considerable progress in consolidating the power of his predecessor, mainly through more strategic marriage alliances.
In March, 1924, the control of the tribes of the Sarḥadd district of Persian Baluchistan (who had enjoyed conventional British subsidies since the occupation of the country in 1915-16 under Dyer) was formally surrendered by the British to the Persian government, which undertook to continue the payments. Not surprisingly, the Persians failed to keep this undertaking, and disturbances broke out in the Sarḥadd during the summer of 1925 and again in 1926, owing partly to the high-handed methods of certain of the military officials and partly to discontent due to loss of the subsidies. The disturbances were quelled, without serious fighting, after further assurances had been given by the Persian government (Aitchison, XIII, p. 37; cf. Pikulin, p. 200).
In 1928, however, the new Pahlavī government of Iran was sufficiently well established to turn its attention to Baluchistan. Dūst-Moḥammad Khan refused to submit, trusting in the network of alliances he had built up over the whole of the province south of the Sarḥadd. However, as soon as Reżā Shah’s army under General Amīr Amān-Allāh Jahānbānī arrived in the area, the alliances dissolved. Dūst-Moḥammad Khan was left with a relatively small force and few allies of any consequence. The Persian army had little difficulty in defeating him. Once again Baluch political unity proved highly brittle. Dūst-Moḥammad eventually surrendered and was pardoned on condition he live in Tehran. After a year, he escaped while on a hunting trip. In due course he was recaptured, and having killed his guard in the escape was hanged for murder. In the meantime the rest of the Bārakzay family sought refuge in British territory, and the leading members of the family were given allowances there so long as they remained. The Persians continued to govern through local rulers. They recognized Jān-Moḥammad Bulēdī as sardar of Qaṣr-e Qand; Meḥrāb Khan Bozorgzāda as sardar of Jālq, returning to him the property which he had lost to Dūst-Moḥammad Khan; Moḥammadšāh Mīr-Morādzay as sardar of Sīb; and Šahbāz Khan Bozorgzāda as sardar of Dezak (Baluchistan, pp. 30-33).
Intermittent outbreaks of disorder continued in Baluchistan throughout the remainder of Reżā Shah’s reign. They were due to a number of factors, including the zealousness or corruption of Persian officials, and Baluch inability to understand why the Persian officials should be interfering in their affairs. Major examples were the rebellion of Jomʿa Khan Esmāʿīlzay in the Sarḥadd in 1931, who was subdued and exiled to Shiraz; and a rebellion of a number of tribes in Kūhak in 1938, demanding reduction of customs duty on livestock, in which 74 were shot under orders from General Alborz (Jahānbānī; Pikulin, p. 140).
No account of this period would be complete without some mention of slavery (see bardadārī), which was allowed to continue in Baluchistan (as in other parts of the Persian Gulf) long after it had been prohibited internationally. In the mid-13th/19th century along the Makrān coast there appears to have been both an export trade and an import trade in slaves. Unsuspecting Baluch tribesmen (probably from the despised groups such as the Mēd) were picked up in raids along the coast and sold to merchants, who shipped them from isolated western coastal settlements, such as Galag and Sadēč. It is not clear how late African slaves were still arriving in Makrān. Gwadar and Čāhbahār were excluded from the British agreement with Oman for limiting the slave trade in 1839, when Pasni was set as the western limit of prohibition. Baluch tribesmen were still indignant in the 1960s about the prohibition on slavery. On several occasions between the 1880s and 1930s groups of Rind tribesmen at Mand caused trouble over British attempts to restrict their use of slaves (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2475). Slavery was abolished officially in Persian Baluchistan in 1929 (Pikulin, p. 144), but the status of black slaves in western Makrān barely changed until well into the second half of this century.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The Aḥmadzay khanate of Kalat up to the intrusion of British power (1666-1839)

By: Brian Spooner

The major factors in the history of Kalat in this period (before the encroachment of the British and the reawakening of Persian interest in the area) were the expansion of Kalat territory under the early khans, the effects of Nāder Shah’s activities with regard to India, and the Persian Gulf; the power of Nāder Shah’s successor in Qandahār, Aḥmad Shah Abdālī; the decline of the khanate after the death of Mīr Naṣīr Khan I in 1795; the ambitions of Moḥammad Shah Qājār, and the development of British interest. The uplands and the lowlands continued to have distinct political histories, though the success of Naṣīr Khan I in the second half of the 12th/18th century integrated them to some extent for the duration of his reign. From this period onward the history of the area has been seen in relatively exclusive terms as the history of Baluchistan (though its exact boundaries were often vague). Outside interest in the area, such as that of Oman (in Gwadar) and of Afghanistan (in “Pashtunistan”), have been seen as intrusive. However, a deeper historical perspective makes it clear that up until this period the area was neither an exclusive nor an integrated political or cultural unit; rather it formed part of a larger area that included Qandahār and Sīstān to the north and Oman to the south, and lay between the political poles of Iran and India. Within Kalat the highlands and lowlands were only loosely related: The lowlands were closely related to Oman, and the highlands were an extension of Qandahār. The subsequent history of the area is easier to follow when seen in these larger geopolitical terms. (This section is based on the more detailed discussions in Baluch, Lockhart, Rooman, the Gazetteers, and the author’s unpublished ethnohistorical research.)
Continuity of authority in Kalat dates from the accession of Mīr Aḥmad Qambarānī in 1666. Mīr Aḥmad ruled for thirty years and became an ally of the Mughal emperor Awrangzēb ʿAlamgīr I. He spent his life fighting the Bārōzay Afghans to the north and the Kalhora rulers of Sind to the south in order to preserve and expand his territory. He finally succeeded in controlling both Sibi and the Quetta-Pishin area. But his son, Mīr Meḥrāb Khan I, was still obliged to fight the Kalhoras. He defeated them in 1695, though he died in the battle. Mīr Samandar Khan, Meḥrāb’s brother’s son and successor, continued to keep the Kalhora family in check and also defeated a military expedition from Iran under Ṭahmāsb Bēg, who planned to annex western Baluchistan to Iran. Samandar was rewarded for these services by the Mughals with the port of Karachi and other gifts.
The acquisition of power by a local leader, who was able to establish the framework for dynastic succession in Kalat, transformed the political economy of the area, and set the scene for the later development of Baluch society. During the two centuries up to the time when the British took over the affairs of Kalat the general pattern of the khan’s external relations was accommodation with the political power in Qandahār and in Delhi, hostilities with Sind, and disorder in relations with Kermān. Baluch tribes in western Makrān and the Sarḥadd often raided into Iran—especially during the reign of Shah Sultan Ḥosayn, the last Safavid monarch 1105-35/1694-1722 (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2152). In 1721 the British and Dutch factories at Bandar-e ʿAbbās (q.v.) were attacked by a force of four thousand Baluch on horseback, who (apparently encouraged by the Afghan invasion of Persia) overran the province of Kermān and raided westward into Lorestān.
The rise of the Ḡelzay under Mīr Ways in Qandahār early in the 12th/18th century changed the political climate in Baluchistan. Quetta and Pishin were reattached to Qandahār in 1709. Mīr Aḥmad Khan II, the son of Mīr Meḥrāb Khan, whose profligacy displeased the Baluch sardars, was killed by his younger brother Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh Khan who then succeeded him. ʿAbd-Allah (r. 1714-34), who was known as Qah(h)ār Khan, was one of the stronger Aḥmadzay rulers, and remained relatively free to pursue his military and political ambitions during the period immediately preceding Nāder Shah’s appearance at Qandahār. He managed to conquer Kacchi in the south, Harand and Dajil in the northeast, Panjgur, Kech, and even Bandar-e ʿAbbās to the west, and Shorawak in the northwest. The last brought him into more direct conflict with Shah Ḥosayn Ḵaljī (r. 1725-38) of Qandahār, who joined forces with the Kalhoras in Sind in an attempt to defeat him. They were successful, and the khan tried to punish the Kalhoras again, but was defeated and killed in Kacchi.
Though the Aḥmadzay’s alliance with the Mughals had served them well, their enforced accommodation with the highland power of Nāder Shah and his successor in Qandahār, Aḥmad Shah Abdālī, served them even better. The conflict between Nāder Shah and the Mughals allowed the Aḥmadzay to establish themselves to the point where the British would later decide to rule through them, despite their declining abilities.
In concentrating his attention on the south, Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh Khan had served the Mughals too well and incurred the wrath of Nāder Shah. Nāder had named ʿAbd-Allāh his governor of Baluchistan and required him to move against the ʿAbdālīs in Qandahār from the south, while he, Nāder, moved in from the west. Owing to his entanglement with the Kalhoras, which led to his death in battle, ʿAbd-Allāh had failed to respond. Before Nāder was able to punish Kalat, ʿAbd-Allāh’s son, Mīr Moḥabbat Khan, was found unsatisfactory by the Baluch sardars, and replaced by his brother Mīr Ahltāz Khan. However, the sardars soon found Mīr Ahltāz no better and reinstated Moḥabbat (though Ahltāz seems to have retained some power among the Dehwār in Mastung). Nāder sent Pīr Moḥammad, the beglarbegī of Herat, against Kalat. In 1149/1736, rather than fight, both Moḥabbat and Ahltāz went to Qandahār and submitted to Nāder Shah, who took the elder, Moḥabbat, into his service and appointed him governor of Baluchistan including Makrān. Nāder also gave them the lowland plains of Kacchi (then ruled by the Kalhoras of Sind) as blood compensation for the death of Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh Khan. As a result the khanate now controlled both highland and lowland grazing and more land for cultivation throughout the year. Their resource base was greatly increased and the stage was set for further internal political development.
Following the assassination of Nāder Shah in 1160/1747, Aḥmad Shah Abdālī, later known as Dorrānī, who was heir to Nāder Shah’s paramountcy over Kalat, deposed Moḥabbat and put in his place another younger brother, Mīr Naṣīr Khan, who with his mother had been a hostage in Nāder’s camp since 1737. Naṣīr was historically the most significant of the Aḥmadzay rulers. He ruled for nearly half a century, and established the organization of the state of Kalat for the remainder of its existence. He was the only khan who successfully transcended tribal loyalties.
Of the land that had accrued to the state of Kalat up to this time half was reserved for the Aḥmadzay as crown land and the other half was divided among the tribes that made up the fighting force from Sarawan and Jahlawan. The khan allocated land to the tribes in two categories: gām lands and jāgīr lands. Gām lands were allocated according to the number of fighting men supplied by each tribe, with the stipulation that the land be used to raise crops to support the fighting force in the field. Since it was communal property of each tribe, it could not be alienated. One-twelfth of the income was gathered by the leader of each tribe and submitted to the khan as revenue. Unlike the jāgīr this land could be confiscated by the khan if the tribe failed in its obligations. It is interesting to note that this communal tenure originated with the khan and was not generated by the tribal community itself, as is often assumed. The khan’s crown lands were worked by Dehwār, whereas the tribes used Jat cultivators.
Naṣīr set about building his fighting force in three “regiments”: the Sarawan regiment, the Jahlawan regiment, and a special regiment directly under his own command. He chose one tribe each from Sarawan and Jahlawan (which may have laid the basis of the later ranking of the tribes) to lead and to be responsible for recruitment from their respective areas. He also formed a bureaucracy, by creating offices of government: a wazīr was given charge of internal and foreign affairs; a wakīl was made responsible for the collection of tribute and blood compensation, and the revenue from crown lands; a dārōḡa was put in charge of the organization of the Dehwar cultivators on crown lands, and worked through Brahui nāʾebs (deputies). Finally, a šāh(ā)qāsī (after Nāder’s ešīk-āqāsī was given direction of darbārs and the seating arrangement for leaders according to their rank. Beside these officers, he created two councils. Membership in one of the councils (majles-e moṣāḥebīn) was by his own nomination, and primarily from among his close kinsmen, but it also included the two leaders of the tribes of Sarawan and Jahlawan. The second was a council of sardars (majles-e mošāwarat). Members of the first council, or their representatives, had to remain at Kalat continuously along with one-twelfth the number of soldiers raised by each tribe (gāmē paškar). Judicial powers were vested in the sardars who were subject to guidance by qāżīs (judges) according to the religious law (Šarīʿa), except that local custom took precedence in matters of adultery and murder. The written language for state business was Persian, and bureaucratic positions were recruited from the Persian-speaking Dehwār peasant community.
Quetta had come under Nāder Shah when he took Qandahār, and he assigned it to Naṣīr and his mother during the time that Mīr Moḥabbat Khan held Kalat. Aḥmad Shah is said to have finally given it to Kalat after receiving assistance from Naṣīr in a campaign in eastern Iran in 1751—as a kind of šāl (lit. present of a shawl) for his mother, Bībī Maryam. But Pishin remained under the Dorrānīs.
Kalat was still subordinate to the Abdālī court of Qandahār. The treaty between them called for an annual payment of Rs 2,000 from Kalat to Qandahār, and the provision and maintenance of 1,000 soldiers in Qandahār. An apparent act of insubordination on the part of Naṣīr, who failed to respond when summoned to Qandahār, led to the negotiation of a new treaty after Aḥmad Shah Abdālī failed to defeat him outright.
Because Aḥmad Shah needed Naṣīr’s support elsewhere, the new treaty was more equal. The khanate no longer paid tribute or maintained a force at Qandahār. Instead, Kalat provided a fighting force only when the Afghans fought outside their kingdom, and then the khan would be provided with money and ammunition. The new treaty was sealed by a pledge of loyalty to Qandahār and the marriage of the khan’s niece to Aḥmad Shah Abdālī’s son. In the settlement with Qandahār the final accommodation was that the shah gave Naṣīr the title of beglarbegī while the khan recognized him as suzerain.
With the security and freedom of action afforded by the new treaty with Qandahār and the resulting stabilization of the northern and eastern border, Naṣīr was able to move against the neighboring territories of Kharan, Makrān, and Las Bela. The Gīčkī (who had become dominant in Makrān in 1740) and most of the Bulēdī were Ḏekrī. Naṣīr made nine expeditions against them. The struggle was ended, apparently before 1778, by a compromise under which the revenues of the country were divided equally between the Gīčkī leaders and the khan, with the direct administration remaining in the hands of the Gīčkī, who were divided into two branches, a senior branch in Panjgur and a junior one in Kech and Gwadar.
Naṣīr led some twenty-five military expeditions during his rule. Beside the Gīčkī in Makrān, he fought against Las Bela, Kharan, the Marī, and the Baluch Tālpūr family that had succeeded the Kalhoras in Sind. All these accepted his suzerainty. He also fought with the Sikhs of Punjab and with ʿAlī Mardān Khan of Tūn and Ṭabas in eastern Iran. At the end of his rule his authority extended over an area not very different from the later Pakistani province of Baluchistan, though it did not extend so far to the north or northeast, and only the central parts were directly administered.
Meanwhile, the course of events in the Makrān lowlands had been changed by activities in Oman and by the interest Nāder Shah had taken in the Persian Gulf—although Nāder’s officers were incompetent and corrupt and were defeated by the Gīčkī. The imam of Oman continued a practice, possibly originated by the Portuguese, of recruiting Baluch from Makrān into his service. At least one exclusively Baluch community on the Omani coast today dates from this period. In 1740 Aḥmad b. Saʿīd, governor of Sohar, conducted a coup and founded the Āl Bū Saʿīd dynasty. Being a merchant and shipowner, he was unable to rely on tribal connections and was obliged to recruit Baluch and African slaves as mercenaries. In 1784 a pretender to the government of Oman, named Sayyed Solṭān b. Aḥmad, sought refuge in Makrān. According to local traditions Solṭān came first to Zik, a fortified village of the Mīrwārī tribe in Kolwa, and thence, having been joined by Dād-Karīm Mīrwārī, proceeded to Kharan, where his cause was espoused by Mīr Jahāngīr, a Nowšērwānī leader. The group then paid their respects to Mīr Naṣīr Khan at Kalat. Naṣīr at first seems to have undertaken to help the supplicant to establish himself in Oman, but in the end only gave him Gwadar. At the time Gwadar had declined in prosperity and was an insignificant fishing village. There is no record of Naṣīr’s intention. He appears to have given no thought to the interests of the Gīčkī. Later Oman claimed that the gift was intended to be in perpetuity—which later khans denied but were generally unable to contest. The situation was contested by the Gīčkīs, who argued that Naṣīr could alienate only his own half of the revenue, not the half that belonged to them. Until 1792, when Solṭān finally became ruler of Oman, he appears to have made Gwadar a base for expeditions against the Omani coast. After establishing himself in Oman he made Gwadar a dependency and sent a representative with troops to occupy it and build a fort. He then sent a force to Čāhbahār, which (with the aid of the Ismaʿili merchant community) entered the harbor under the pretext of fishing, and then took the town by surprise. Čāhbahār had been under a Bulēdī, named Šafīʿ Moḥammad, who paid a quarter of his revenue to Mīr Sobḥān, the Jaḍgāl ruler at Bahu, though he had for some time also paid another quarter to Oman. Čāhbahār seems to have been lost to Oman on the death of Solṭān in 1804, but to have been recovered again after a short interval. Its revenue in 1809 was Rs 5,000 per year, which still went entirely to the Sultan of Oman. Little more is known of Gwadar and Čāhbahār until the encroachment of the British attracted the interest of the Persian government in the 1860s, except that it rapidly overtook the neighboring ports, Pasni and Jiwanri, in prosperity. The rulers of the major Makrān settlements were in continuous contact with Oman with regard to the status and security of the ports.
Mīr Naṣīr Khan was a strict Muslim. He protected the Hindu traders in his territory, and felt an obligation to combat the heresy of the Ḏekrīs (Zikris) in Makrān. The half-century of political stability he provided had significant economic results. Both agriculture and trade increased. Some sections of the Nārūʾī in Kharan, Chagai, and southern Sīstān turned to agriculture. But after Naṣīr’s death the decline was rapid. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Maḥmūd, who was still a minor aged seven. Almost immediately the influence of Kalat ceased to be felt in Makrān and the area became divided among the local leaders. The circumstances of the succession are unclear. But it appears that it was disputed by a grandson of Moḥabbat, called Bahrām. Bahrām took Karachi, but was defeated by the regent acting in the name of Maḥmūd, with assistance from Shah Zamān, the ruler of Qandahār.
When he came of age, Maḥmūd proved inadequate to the task of rebuilding his father’s state. Seeing his lack of aptitude for the position, the peripheral territories all reasserted their independence. In 1810 Henry Pottinger, one of the first English travelers to visit Baluchistan, found the sardars acting independently. Maḥmūd’s son, Mīr Meḥrāb Khan II, stopped the decline for a while. He regained Kech, but had trouble with his ministers, which caused him losses in the north and east.
For this period immediately preceding British intervention in the area, there is for the first time some relatively detailed economic data. The khan had crown lands in most of the provinces of the state, but most of the revenue was consumed by the agents who collected it. Most of his income was drawn from Kacchi, which was the most productive of his provinces. His revenue from this source was estimated at Rs 300,000 per annum. Kalat had earlier (as Kīzkānān) been an important entrepôt for merchandise from Khorasan, Qandahār, Kabul, and India, but by the 1820s its trade was insignificant (Waaltyer, II, p. 528; Masson, II, pp. 122-23). The entire income of Baluchistan and its dependencies in 1810 was estimated at no more than Rs 200,000 (Schefer, p. 7). Ḥājī ʿAbd-al-Nabī (who according to Leech undertook a secret reconnaissance of Makrān in 1838) traveled part of the way from Mastung toward Panjgur with the khan’s šāh-qāsī, who was on his way to collect the revenue with a body of 300 horse, foot, and camelry. The revenue is later stated to be 2,000 Kashani rupees, plus a proportion of the crop. The same traveler reported that at Kharan, which was independent of Kalat and under the suzerainty of Qandahār, there were five or six ironsmiths, one Hindu trader, many carpenters, and sixty weavers. At Dezak in the west he found at least 1,000 cotton weavers and fabrics exported in all directions, and a hundred Hindu traders. He continues to give figures for many of the settlements of the Sarḥadd and the Makrān, with many interesting political and economic details and accounts of his adventures. Beyond the authority of the khan of Kalat and the sultan of Oman the territory—most of what is now Baluchistan within Iran—was generally divided into miniature republics based on forts in the agricultural settlements. Pottinger in 1810 found that Persian authority was held in contempt by the ruler of Bampūr. The Persian claim to the whole of Baluchistan up to India had continued since the Achaemenids, though in the medieval period only Nāder Shah Afšār sought to enforce it. It was finally the activity of the rebellious Āqā Khan (q.v.) between 1838 and 1844 that led Moḥammad Shah Qājār to send forces into the area.
During the same period the eastern part of Baluchistan appears to have had more trade. We are told that Bela had about 300 houses, one third occupied by Hindus. Wad in Jahlawan was a small town, comprising two groups of mud houses about 100 yards apart, the western group containing about 50 houses mainly inhabited by Hindu traders, the eastern group containing 25-30 houses of Muslims including sardars of the Mengal tribe, ʿĪsā and Walī Moḥammad. Nal, the seat of the Bīzenjō tribe, 15 miles to the west, was roughly the same size but had a fort. Khuzdar had a ruined fort and several small hamlets of 2-3 houses each, perhaps 60 houses altogether, only three of Hindus, though there had formerly been 30. Kalat itself had as many as 800 houses, many inhabited by Hindus, and two outlying settlements inhabited by the Bābī tribe of Afghans in exile (Masson, II, pp. 121-23).
Early in the 19th century the British in India began to take a more serious interest in the interior because of their concern about their northwestern frontier. In 1809, when the first Englishman, a Captain Grant, set out to explore whether a European army might enter India from that direction, the British resident in Muscat (Captain Seton) advised him that the whole area was unsettled. Gwat(a)r, where Grant landed, belonged to Mīr Sobḥān, a Jaḍgāl leader who ruled from Daštīārī and Bāhū and was the strongest ruler in Makrān (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2154). From there he marched to Čāhbahār, then to Nigwar, the coastal plain to the east of Čāhbahār, where he met Mīr Sobḥān and was well received. At the end of February he reached Qaṣr-e Qand, where he found an independent ruler, Shaikh Samandar. He waited there for Moḥammad Khan, the ruler of Geh (now Nīkšahr), under whose protection he was to travel into the interior. Geh was second only to Kech in local power. From Geh he marched to Bampūr. The ruler in Bampūr was unreliable, and Grant returned to Qaṣr-e Qand, Geh, and Čāhbahār, and then along the coast to Jāsk, and on to Bandar-e ʿAbbās. Grant reported that his journey was possible only because of the letters of introduction he carried from the British resident in Muscat to Mīr Sobḥān. Grant also carried letters of credit from Muscat, and there was plenty of trade between Muscat and Čāhbahār. He traveled in European clothes and found everyone “more civil and hospitable than they had been represented.” Like Pottinger, he found no Persian influence in Makrān.
In 1839 the failure of a British diplomatic mission to Kabul and the arrival there of a Russian envoy led to the British viceroy’s decision to invade Afghanistan and reinstall Shah Šojāʿ in Kabul (see anglo-afgan wars, i). In order to ensure safe passage of the army to Qandahār, it was necessary to control Baluchistan. Leech, the first Englishman formally dispatched to conclude an agreement with the khan, failed. Later Sir Alexander Burnes was sent and an agreement was arrived at in March, 1839, which guaranteed the sovereignty and borders of Kalat and made the khan responsible for the safe passage and provisioning of the British troops in return for Rs 15,000 in addition to the cost of provisions (Aitchison, XI, p. 209). This agreement marked the end of the autonomy of Baluchistan.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


Events leading to the establishment of the Baluch khanate of Kalat

By: Brian Spooner

The 10th/16th century saw the rise of Safavid power in Iran and of Mughal power in India, and the arrival of European ships in the Sea of Oman and the Persian Gulf. The interests and conflicts of these three outside powers could not fail to affect the internal politics of the Balōč and other communities that lay between them. The major events that form the basis of Baluchi epic poetry, remembered as the wars between the Rind and Lāšārī tribes, occurred during this period and were obviously conditioned by the opportunities and incentives afforded by the larger geopolitical context.
The Safavids reestablished some Iranian control in Makrān, mainly from Bampūr, Dezak, and Sīstān (Röhrborn, pp. 12, 74, 82-83). In 1515, Shah Esmāʿīl (who had no navy) was forced to accept the Portuguese occupation of Hormoz, and concluded a treaty with the admiral, Alfonso de Albuquerque (q.v.), on terms that included the provision that the Portuguese would assist the shah in suppressing a revolt in Makrān. However, this collaboration, which would have been the first of its type with a European force in the area, proved abortive because of Albuquerque’s death. In 1581, for reasons that are unclear, the Portuguese destroyed the ports of Gwadar and Tīs, (Lorimer, I/1A, pp. 7-8).
The Dutch arrived in Hormoz at the beginning of the 11th/17th century and the British appeared soon afterward. In 1613 Sir Robert Sherley, who stopped at Gwadar on his way to Isfahan as ambassador, was nearly killed when a group of Baluch made a surprise attack on his ship. But afterward he wrote to the East India Company (established in 1600) in London recommending that they set up a factory in Gwadar, because it was autonomous, tributary to Iran, safe from the Portuguese, and promised “the richest traffic in the world.” In 1650 a Baluch guard defended Muscat (Masqaṭ) on behalf of the Portuguese (though the Imam of Muscat ousted the Portuguese later in the same year; see Lorimer, I/1A, p. 39). All the Europeans readily took on various groups of Baluch as guards and mercenaries. The Baluch did not display any solidarity in relation to these non-Muslim aliens. Baluch and foreigner cooperated or fought, according to local interests and animosities.
At this time the overland traffic was still taxed by the ruler (malek) of Kech, who also controlled Gwadar, and according to Pietro della Valle was on friendly terms with the Persian government. But around 1029/1620 Kech was taken over by the Bulēdī tribe, who appear to have been followers of the Ḏekrī (Zikri) heresy (see 11 below: ethnography), and dominated the whole of Makrān up to Jāsk until 1740 (Lorimer, 1/2, pp. 2150-51).
The prevalence of heresy in Makrān during this period may have separated it more than usual from the events of the highlands. Qandahār and the Quetta-Pishin area to the north changed hands between the Safavids and Mughals more than once, but although the Safavids eventually retained Qandahār and claimed the highlands down to Kalat (Röhrborn, p. 13), the Mughal influence was more significant in the history of the Baluch. Homāyūn is reputed to have given Shal (Quetta) and Mastung to a Baluch named Lawang Khan (Gazetteer V, p. 34). A Mīr Qambarānī (Kambarānī) used Mughal support to drive out the Jats from the Jahlawan district to the south, though his son, Mīr ʿOmar, was confronted with the Arḡūns of Qandahār. When Bābor took Qandahār (1522), Shah Bēg Arḡūn had moved to Sind, and Mīr ʿOmar seized an opportunity to take Kalat. He was driven out and killed by Rind and Lāšārī Balōč from Makrān, who included the figures celebrated in the heroic ballads, Mīr Šayhak Rind, his son Mīr Čākar Rind, and Mīr Gwahrām Lāšārī. But the Baluch did not stay; they moved on to Kacchi, leaving Mīr Čākar’s father-in-law, Mīr Mandō, in Kalat. Mīr Čākar appears to have remained in the area of Sibi and the Bolan Pass. In 1556 shortly before he died he is said to have acknowledged the suzerainty of the Mughals. In Kalat Mandō was soon overpowered by Brahui tribesmen under Mīr Bijjar, the son of ʿOmar. After Mīr Bijjar, Kalat was again taken by the Mughals, though they never managed to control the surrounding tribes. But with the loss of Qandahār the Mughal hold on the highlands weakened and the Brahui under Mīr Ebrāhīm Khan Mīrwārī managed to regain Kalat. Mīr Ebrāhīm declined to rule, and the khanate was offered to Mīr Ḥasan, his brother-in-law. Mīr Ḥasan was the first “khan of the Balōč.” The term Baluch (as used in this article) applies to participants in the polity that developed under his rule and that of his successors.
Mīr Ḥasan died without issue shortly after acceding to the title, the government passed to Mīr Aḥmad Khan Qambarānī, who became the eponymous founder of the Aḥmadzay dynasty of the State of Kalat (Ratuch, pp. 69-75; Rooman, pp. 28-29).

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The eastward migrations of the Balōč.

By: Brian Spooner

Although many Balōč moved into and through Makrān starting in the 5th/11th century, others were probably already present in the general area east of Kermān. Evidence for the migration is sparse. There are two major types: the corpus of traditional Baluchi poetry and later Mughal histories.
The poems claim that the Balōč are descended from Mīr Ḥamza (Mīr is a Baluchi title for leaders, Arabic amīr), the uncle of the Prophet; that they fought with the sons of ʿAlī at Karbalāʾ, whence they migrated to Baluchistan. There are two possible interpretations of this epic history. First, tribal populations in the Muslim world have typically traced their genealogies back to the time of the Prophet as a way of legitimizing their Islam in their own tribal (i.e., genealogical) terms. Second, there are a number of ways in which Arab groups could have found their way into the heterogeneous tribal population that eventually assimilated Baluch identity east of Kermān, whether or not their forebears had fought at Karbalāʾ. Some of the original Arab invaders may have remained in the area, and there is evidence of migration across the Persian Gulf from Arabia into the Kermān region in the early centuries of Islam.
The poems tell of arrival in Sīstān and of the hospitality of a king named Šams-al-Dīn. A ruler (malek) by that name claiming descent from the Saffarids is known to have died in 559/1164. After a time another ruler called Badr-al-Dīn (of whom we have no independent record, unless he was a Ghurid) persecuted them and drove them out. Little else of any significance is identifiable, except the occasional place name in Makrān (see discussion in Dames, 1904b, pp. 35-36). It seems likely that this sort of eastward progress was determined by the use that various minor rulers may have had for a mercenary force.
The first record of movement into Sind is from the 7-8th/13-14th centuries. The main divisions of the Balōč tribes described in the poems presumably reflect events during this period. According to the poems a Mīr Jalāl Khan who was leader of all the Balōč left four sons, Rind, Lāšār, Hōt, and Kōraī, and a daughter named Jātō, who married his nephew Morād. These five became the eponymous founders of the five main tribes of the poems, the Rind, Lāšārī, Hōt, Kōraī and Jātōī. The poems tell of forty-four tribes (called tuman or bōlak), of which forty were Balōč, and four were servile tribes dependent on them. Other important names that have survived to the present are Drīšak, Mazārī, Dumbkī, Khōsā. The Hōt seem to have been in the area earlier than the others. It may be significant that some names are derived from known place names in Baluchistan. Many of the prominent tribes of today are not mentioned in the poems, such as Būgṭī, Bulēdī, Buzdār, Kasrānī, Lēgarī, Lund, Marī. Since these tribes were probably there in the 9th/15th century, the absence of their names in the poems suggests that either they are later branches of the old tribes, or they were not then Balōč and have been assimilated since.
In the 9th/15th century another wave carried the Balōč into southern Punjab. This was the period of Mīr Čākar (Čākor) Rind, the greatest of Baluchistan heroes. Some groups from the Rind tribe migrated from Sibi to Punjab, and spread up the valleys of the Chenab, Ravi, and Satlej rivers. Meanwhile, the Dōdaī (probably a Sindhi tribe assimilated during the previous 200 years) and Hōt moved up the Indus and the Jhelam. Bābor, the first Mughal emperor, found Balōč in Punjab in 925/1519. He hired them, as did his successor, Homāyūn. The first actual settlement of Balōč in Punjab appears to have been made in the reign of Shah Ḥosayn in Multan 874-908/1469-70-1502, who gave them a jāgīr (probably in return for military service)—an act which attracted more Balōč into the area. In Punjab many Balōč turned to settled agriculture in the 10th/16th century. (The references for this period are listed and discussed in more detail by Dames, 1904b, pp. 34-43.)
Although large numbers of Balōč moved into the Indus valley, there has never been any question of moving the boundaries of Baluchistan eastward to incorporate them. Balōč who settled in the lowlands, with the exception of Kacchi, tended to assimilate linguistically with the surrounding population, and lose their ties with kin in the highlands, though many (we cannot know what proportion) have retained their Balōč identity.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The early history of the area

By: Brian Spooner

Throughout its history the area between Iran and India has been strongly affected by influences from the more fertile areas surrounding it, particularly Kermān, Sīstān, Qandahār, Punjab, Sind, and Oman. Sea traffic connected it to the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Little historical research has yet been focused on it, and the relevant syntheses so far available derive coincidentally from the pursuit of answers to questions arising from primary interests in the civilizations to the east and west.
What is now Baluchistan has long interested scholars as the hinterland of the settled societies of the Indus valley, the Iranian plateau, and Mesopotamia. A number of important archeological sites have yielded evidence of human occupation extending back to the fourth millennium (see baluchistan, ii, below). Archeologists and philologists have sought evidence of overland connections between the early civilizations of the Indus valley and Mesopotamia. Between 3000 and 2000 b.c. Sumerian and Akkadian records indicate trade relations between the Tigris-Euphrates valley and places called Dilmun, Makan, and Melukhkha, which, though their exact location has been a matter for debate, were obviously situated down the Persian Gulf and beyond. Makan is generally assumed to be related to Makrān which in later historical periods is the name of the southern half of the area, the coast, and its hinterland (Eilers, Hansman). Whether or not Makan always included this area, in the early periods the name seems to have applied mainly to the southern shores of the Gulf of Oman. This connection is significant, since it has continued into the present (though in more recent times the close relationship between the populations of what are now Baluchistan and Oman has been reduced by the apparatus of modern nation-states).
From the mid-1st millennium onward the area was divided into named provinces of the Persian empires. Maka and Zranka appear in the inscriptions of Darius at Bīsotūn and Persepolis. Maka here is certainly modern Makrān (the southern half of Baluchistan), and Zranka (NPers. Zarang), the Zarangai of Herodotus, Drangiane of Arrian, etc., was Sīstān, which appears then and later to have included most of the northern parts of the area and sometimes even to have extended into Makrān. More specific information is provided by Greek authors who began to be interested in the Persian Gulf as a result of the Persian wars (Herodotus, 3.93). Alexander’s expeditions beyond the Persian empire late in the 4th century generated more detailed writing. This was further encouraged by commercial interest in the sources of various luxury commodities, mainly spices and dyestuffs, which were already reaching the eastern Mediterranean from the Indian Ocean.
The province Alexander traversed on his return to Iran from India was named Gedrosia. The experience of his army and fleet given by Arrian is interesting because it suggests that (contrary to the assessments of modern ecologists) the natural conditions of Baluchistan have not changed significantly over the past 2,300 years. There were ports in Sonmiani Bay, northwest of modern Karachi, and at Gwadar (Badara) and Tīs (Tesa; earlier Talmena). Population was generally sparse, partly Indian, including the Arbies and Oreitae, partly Iranian, including the Myci (assumed to be related to Maka). Water and provisions were difficult to find without good guides. In the inland valleys agriculture was facilitated by sophisticated engineering of small-scale irrigation, based mainly on the yield from summer rains. The most fertile area was the Kech valley, which was densely settled. A highway to the Indus ran from the capital Pura, probably modern Bampūr, which is the largest area of fertile watered land, though it could have been in Kech, the next largest, or possibly even in one of the narrower river valleys, such as the Sarbāz. Indians, both Hindu and Buddhist, lived in Pura; through it both land and sea trade could pass onto the arterial route to Kermān.
Alexander founded an Alexandria at the principal settlement of the Oreitae in modern Las Bela. As he proceeded westward he was forced to strike inland by the difficulty of the coastal terrain. Between Bela and Pasni was the worst stretch of the whole expedition. Apart from intolerable heat and lack of food, water, and firewood, at one point a flash flood swept away most of the women and children following the army and all the royal equipment and the surviving transport animals. From Pasni they proceeded along the flat coastal plain to Gwadar, then inland to Pura. The experience of the fleet under Nearchos was similar. The daily search for food and water rarely produced more than fish meal and dates, sometimes nothing. Along the beach they found communities of Ichthyophagi (fish eaters), hairy people with wooden spears who caught fish in the shallows with palm bark nets and ate them raw or dried them in the sun and ground them into meal, wore fish skins, and built huts of shells and bones of stranded whales (Arrian, Anabasis 21-26, Indica 23-33).
The next significant information comes from the Sasanian period, when the area was once again integrated into a provincial administration. A king of Makrān paid homage to Narseh (son of the Sasanian Šāpūr I) at Narseh’s accession, who during the reign of his father bore the honorific (?) title of “king of Sakastān, Tūristān, and Hind up to the shore of the sea,” and later Bahrām’s son is called King of Sakas in the Paikuli inscription, which suggests that it was a not insignificant province (Skjærvø, III/2, pp. 10-11). Šāpūr I named four administrative entities within the area—Tugrān (later Tūrān, and presently Sarawan or Kalat), Pāradān (probably modern Kharan), and Hind (presumably Sind, or the land watered by the Indus), as well as Makrān—as appendages of Sakastān (Sīstān). The eastern boundary of the Sasanian province of Kermān was set at the port of Tīs on the coast, and at *Pohlpahraj (Fahraj), modern Īrānšahr, just beyond Bampūr at the far side of the irrigable area of the Jāz Mūrīān depression. Beyond that the kingdom of Makrān stretched along the coast to the port of Daibul at the mouth of the Indus. The kingdom of Pāradān stretched eastward from Bampūr to Tūrān. The kingdom of Tugrān probably extended from Kīzkānān (modern Kalat) and the Bolan pass (that connected Walishtan, modern Quetta, with the Sibi and Kacchi lowlands) through the Budahah district and the Pab and Kirthar ranges to a vague border with Makrān and Hind near Daibul. It appears to have been well populated by people who spoke a non-Iranian language, possibly Brahui as today. The main town was called Bauterna (modern Khuzdar). (For references and more detailed discussion see Brunner, pp. 772-77; Chaumont, pp. 130-37.)
Toward the end of the caliphate of ʿOmar, Makrān was invaded by the Arabs (23/644), who found it as unattractive as most outsiders appear to have done both before and since. After defeating the local ruler and marching almost to the Indus, they reported back to ʿOmar that it was an unattractive region, with the result that ʿOmar ordered that the Arabs should not cross the Indus. A similar sentiment is attributed to another commander: that the water in Makrān was scanty, the dates poor in quality; that a small army would be swallowed up in the deserts and a large one would die of hunger (Bosworth, 1968, pp. 1-25).
After the Arab conquest most of the area soon returned to its more characteristic condition of internal autonomy under alien hegemony. In particular it continued to serve as a refuge for people who had been displaced from the more fertile conditions of Iran and India. Especially, in the next few centuries, since Sīstān was a major center of Kharijite sentiment, many Kharijites found their way into Makrān (Bosworth, 1968, pp. 37-41 ).
In the early 5th/11th century the Ghaznavid empire established a pattern which has continued into more recent history. The geopolitical interests of the Ghaznavids, centered to the northeast of the area, complemented the decline of Sīstān, and brought Qoṣdār (Khuzdar), and through it much of Makrān, into dependency on Qandahār. Since then, although the governments of the western plateau (modern Iran) continued (until the establishment of Zāhedān as the administrative capital of the Iranian province of Baluchistan under Reżā Shah) to see Makrān as an extension of Kermān, governments on the eastern plateau (modern Afghanistan) have seen it as a southward extension from Qandahār.
Over the next three centuries, when first the Saljuqs and then the Mongols ruled in Iran, Iranian influence did not extend very far beyond Kermān, and Makrān became relatively autonomous again. In the 7th/13th century Marco Polo calls it Kesmacoran (Kech-Makrān), suggesting that the agricultural settlements along the Kech river were the most flourishing part of the area. Food was abundant and good (he mentions the full range of staples: rice and wheat, meat and milk). Kech had its own ruler (malek), and the people, who included non-Muslims and lived by commerce as much as agriculture, trading both overland and by sea in all directions, spoke a language Polo did not recognize. It is also worth noting that he identified the kingdom of Kesmacoran as the last in India, rather than the first in Iran (II, pp. 401-03). During this period Balōč migration intensified and the area began to take on the character of Baluchistan, absorbing a succession of immigrant groups, of which the Balōč were neither the first nor the last. But the history of the area cannot be understood as a refuge area or backwater. It is a borderland between India and Iran and a bridge between the Iranian plateau and the Arabian peninsula. Political and economic influences from both Iran (including what later became Afghanistan) and India continually affected the political economy, and local leaders have generally looked in both directions for potential sources of external support in their internal conflicts.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan


The origins of the Baluch

Balochistan Through The age

By: Brian Spooner

The earliest extant source (Šahristānīhā ī Ērān-šahr, a Pahlavi text written in the 2nd/8th century, though probably representing a pre-Islamic compilation; see Markwart, Provincial Capitals, pp. 5, 15, 74-76) lists the Balōč as one of seven autonomous mountain communities (kōfyār). Arabic writers in the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th centuries (especially Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh, Masʿūdī, Eṣṭaḵrī, Moqaddasī) mention them, usually as Balūṣ, in association with other tribal populations in the area between Kermān, Khorasan, Sīstān, and Makrān. All these tribes (of which only the Balōč survive in name) were feared by the settled population. The sources also add some detail, but the implications are unclear. The Balōč appear to have had a separate district of Kermān, but they also lived in two districts of Sīstān (Eṣṭaḵrī) and appeared in a tract some distance to the east of Fahraj (the eastern border of Kermān), probably modern Kharan (Ḵārān) or Chagai (Ebn Ḵordāḏbeh). Eṣṭaḵrī also records them as peaceful, though Moqaddasī claims they were more troublesome than the Kūč, with whom they are often paired (for references see Dames, 1904b, pp. 26-33, who also provides a more detailed discussion).
The Balōč are generally considered to have arrived in Kermān from the north (e.g., Dames, 1904b, pp. 29-30). The evidence for this assumption depends on two arguments: the classification of Baluchi as a “Northwest Iranian” language and the fact that in Ferdowsī’s Šāh-nāma (composed at the beginning of the 4th/10th century on the basis of earlier works now lost) they are mentioned in conjunction with Gīlān. According to Ferdowsī (see, e.g., Dehḵodā, s.v. Balōč) the Sasanian kings Ardašīr and Ḵosrow I Anōšīravān fought the Balōč and the Balōč fought for several other Sasanian kings. It has also been argued that the Balōč left traces of their language in the oases of the central deserts of the Iranian plateau as they migrated south (Minorsky, 1957; Frye, 1961). Some of this evidence (e.g., place names), if pertinent, could be the result of later raiding activities on the part of small numbers of Baluchi-speakers. (Such activities have been recorded as late as the 13th/19th and early 14th/20th centuries.) There is no other evidence that could be used either to date or to corroborate the theory of a southward migration by the Balōč.
It is clear that the desert areas east and southeast of Kermān have been generally insecure throughout much of the historical period. The early Muslim writers were preoccupied with the unpredictability of populations not controlled by the government, and by the danger to travelers. Their descriptions tell us little more about the populations of these areas than we might expect. They kept flocks and lived in goat-hair tents. Their native language was not Persian. They seem to have been concentrated in the more fertile mountains southeast of Kermān and to have plundered intermittently on the desert routes to the north and northeast.
The situation with regard to the security of travel apparently deteriorated, because in 361/971-72 the Buyid ʿAżod-al-Dawla (q.v.) considered it worthwhile to conduct a campaign against them. The Balōč were defeated, but they continued to be troublesome under the Ghaznavids and the Saljuqs. When they robbed Maḥmūd’s ambassador in the desert north of Kermān between Ṭabas and Ḵabīṣ, Maḥmūd sent his son, Masʿūd, against them (Dames, 1904b, pp. 32-33). Although the eastward migration of the Balōč appears to have intensified soon after this, there are still Balōč in eastern Kermān province.
It is important to note that the sources do not mention any leaders. It is likely that the Balōč at this period were a series of tribal communities not sharing any feelings of common ethnicity. In fact, the name Balōč (Balūč) appears to have been a name used by the settled (and especially the urban) population for a number of outlaw tribal groups over a very large area. The etymology is unclear, as is that of Kūč (also written as Kūfeč, Kōfč or—arabized—Qofṣ), a name generally taken to refer to a comparable neighboring tribal community in the early Islamic period. The common pairing of Kūč with Balūč in Ferdowsī (see, e.g., Dehḵodā, s.vv.) suggests a kind of rhyming combination or even duplication, such as is common in Persian and historically related languages (cf. tār o mār). The Balōč may have entered the historical record as the settled writers’ generic nomads. Because of the significance of their activities at this period they would gradually have become recognized as the nomads par excellence in this particular part of the Islamic world. It is possible, for example, that Balūč, along with Kūč, were terms applied to particular populations which were beyond the control of settled governments; that these populations came to accept the appellation and to see themselves in the cultural terms of the larger, more organized society that was established in the major agricultural territories; but they remained, then as now, a congeries of tribal communities of various origins. There is also ethnographic evidence to suggest that Balūč, irrespective of its etymology, may be applied to nomadic groups by the settled population as a generic appellation in other parts of eastern and southern Iran. The other tribal populations recorded in southeastern Kermān in the early Islamic period, which did not survive in name, may have assimilated to the Baluch identity. An important feature of the history of the Baluch up to the 14th/20th century has been their ability to assimilate numerous and diverse elements. Their history may have begun in the area east and southeast of Kermān around the time of the Arab conquest and their ethnogenesis may have been a product of the insecurity of a vast desert area which the governments of the period did not care to control despite their need for secure communications across it. It must be remembered, however, that such a theory of the origin of the Baluch leaves open the question of how and when the language spread to become the lingua franca (though not the mother tongue) of all assimilated Baluch.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan




By: Brian Spooner

Baluchistan has received relatively little attention from geographers. Apart from the initial descriptions provided by scholars like Vredenberg for the Gazetteers, and by Harrison for the Admiralty Handbook (Persia), Snead worked along the Makrān coast in 1959-60, and Vita-Finzi worked in western Makrān in the mid-1970s—both geomorphologists—and Scholz, a cultural geographer, conducted short studies from Quetta. The standard work on the geography of Afghanistan (Humlum) devotes a few pages to the Baluch areas in the southwest of the country. The following description is based mainly on the Gazetteers and the author’s field notes.
Throughout most of Baluchistan the topography is extremely broken and mountainous, varying in altitude from 1,500-2,000 m (the steppe on the edge of the Iranian plateau, at the base of mountains) to over 3,500 m in the north and northeast and to sea level on the coastal plain. In the part that is now southwestern Afghanistan, and here and there in the 500 km-wide zone between the Afghan border with Pakistan and the coast, the land opens out into vast expanses of featureless semidesert and desert. Temperatures are continental in the highlands with bitterly cold winters and extreme diurnal and seasonal ranges; the lowlands and coastal areas are subtropical. Extremes of summer heat (with high humidity during the monsoon) occur at low altitudes away from the coast in the Kacchi-Sibi plain and the larger Makrān valleys. High winds are also regularly recorded, related to the well known bād-e sad o bīst rūz phenomenon in Sīstān.
Rainfall varies mainly according to altitude. Though rare in summer on the Iranian plateau, it may come at any season, but may fail altogether for several years in succession, especially at the lower altitudes. The highlands and high mountains in the east and northeast receive up to 400 mm, even more in places on the eastern escarpment. Most of the rest sees an average of 100 mm or less—though averages are misleading because of wide annual fluctuations. Rain falls mostly in winter (as snow at high altitudes). The monsoon brings summer humidity and occasionally significant rain to the coast and lowlands. For example, in 1964 it rained heavily every day for two weeks in August over a large area of Makrān (see below, on baš). Sometimes such weather edges up the escarpments and marginally affects the Iranian plateau. Summer rain can be torrential and in the mountains flash floods may cause sensational damage. Heavy rain turns the coastal plain into a morass of clayey mud, impassible for human, animal, or motorized traffic until it dries out, possibly as much as a week. In the southern mountains some rivers flow continuously for stretches; elsewhere occasional pools often last till the next flood. In the Nahang and Sarbāz rivers some of the deeper pools contain crocodiles. (Game generally has become scarce except for ibex in the higher mountains, and the ubiquitous partridge and smaller game birds, such as chikara, sisi, pigeon, and some sandgrouse and quail. Wild sheep, deer, black bear, wild pig, wolf, jackal, hyena, fox, and porcupine also occur.) Here and there pools provide a trickle of water to irrigate a nomad’s garden plot. Water is nowhere abundant or (with few exceptions) perennial, but in the mountains soil is the limiting factor for agriculture. On the coastal plain on the other hand, the soil is often good but there is no water except from rain or runoff, and the ports have no reliable water supply.
The history of settlement in Baluchistan is reflected in its toponymy. Place names fall into three categories: Names that are of Baluchi origin, or have been Baluchized, are used for most minor natural features: rivers, streams, rocks, mountains; old settlements and major natural features tend to have pre-Baluch names; and new settlements, dating from the middle of the last century in Iran, and the middle of this century in Pakistan generally have Persian or Urdu names. Urban settlement in Baluchistan today is all the result of Persian and Pakistani administrative and (more recently) development activity. The Baluch have never developed an urban way of life, and though many now live in towns, the towns are essentially non-Baluch (Iranian or Pakistani) in character. Most of the major Baluch agricultural settlements, however, have developed on the sites of pre-Baluch towns, known from the time of premedieval prosperity, that was based on investment in agriculture, as well as trade. Since the medieval period, both before and since the Baluch became dominant, up to the beginning of modern development, agricultural settlement has been dependent on the protection of rulers who lived in forts. A few traders clustered around the forts. But the cultural center of gravity of Baluch life was among the nomads who controlled the vast areas between the settlements.
Within the geographical and cultural diversity of Baluchistan a number of districts have emerged historically, each with its own distinctive geographical features. Starting from the Iranian plateau in the north, the following are the significant natural and cultural divisions of Baluchistan (the modern administrative divisions are almost identical): the Sarḥadd, the Māškīd (Maškēl) depression, the Māškīd drainage are of Sarāvān-Panjgur, the northeast highlands of Quetta, Pishin, Zhob, Loralai, and Sibi, the Mari-Bugti hills, the eastern highlands of Sarawan-Jahlawan, the Jāz Mūrīān depression, Makrān, the Kacchi-Sibi lowlands, and the coastal plain including Las Bela and Daštīārī.
“Sarḥadd” appears to have come into use in the medieval period for the southern “borderlands” of Sīstān. It is a high plateau, averaging 1,500-2,000 m in altitude and dominated by the two volcano massifs, Kūh-e Taftān (4,042 m) and Kūh-e Bazmān (3,489 m). Although it is now thought of as coterminous with the šahrestān of Zāhedān, its historical boundaries were not strictly defined and usage of the term varied according to fluctuation in the relative strength of local rulers: It was sometimes considered to extend into the northeastern part of the Jāz Mūrīān depression and into the Māškīd drainage of Sarāvān, and westward through southern Nēmrōz and Helmand provinces and Chagai and even into Kharan. It is characterized by cold winters and moderate summers, with precipitation concentrated in the winters, as snow on the higher ground. There are large areas of sand on either side of the border with Afghanistan. Apart from the general steppe vegetation, there are relict stands of wild almond and pistachio on the plains, especially between Ḵāš (also Ḵᵛāš, Bal. Vāšt) and Gošt (Gwašt), and juniper in the mountains. The area is characterized by isolated hills and depressions that function as internal drainage basins. The larger depressions, hāmūn, are generally saline; the smaller ones, navār, in some cases contain sweet water. Traces of old bands (q.v.) are evident on the plain southwest of Taftān and elsewhere. The only significant agricultural settlement of any antiquity is Ḵāš, which lies to the south of Taftān. A few old villages nestle at the foot of the mountain, mainly on the eastern side. The most notable are Lādīz and Sangān. Ḵāš depends upon irrigation from qanāts, which though probably ancient were redeveloped by entrepreneurs from Yazd under Reżā Shah. There are also a few qanāts across the border in Chagai.
Since the medieval period the Sarḥadd has been divided among a number of tribes. The most important are the Esmāʿīlzay (renamed Šahbaḵš under Reżā Shah), Mīr-Balūčzay, Rīgī, Yār-Moḥammadzay (renamed Šāhnavāzī under Reżā Shah), Gamšādzay, Nārūʾī, and Gūrgēč. Across the modern borders in Afghanistan and Pakistan the major tribes are Sanjarānī, Jamāl-al-Dīnī, Bādīnī, Moḥammad-Ḥasanī, and the Brahui-speaking Mengal. Some ten thousand out of the estimated ninety thousand Baluch in Afghanistan, especially the Nārūʾī, Rīgī, Sanjarānī, and Gūrgēč tribes, are closely related to the groups across the border in Iran and Pakistan. Most Afghan Baluch are presently refugees in the neighboring part of Pakistan.
The hāmūn of the Māškīd river lies on the southwestern side of a large depression of some 15,000 square miles that, although geographically an extension of the Sarḥadd, has generally been controlled separately from a fort on its northeastern side, known as Kharan. In the British period Kharan was a separate principality under Kalat. Earlier it had been dependent on Qandahār. It is mostly desert and includes a large area of sand dunes on the southern side. It is bounded on the north by the range of Raʾskoh which divides it from Chagai, and on the south by the Siahan range which separates it from Panjgur and Makrān. There is a large area of thick tamarisk forest downstream from the seat of the principality (Kharan-Kalat) on a river that was once dammed and supports annual cultivation. On the western side of the Māškīd hāmūn there is a large area of rather poor quality date palms which have been important in the ecology of some of the Sarḥadd tribes to the west in Iran. A number of massive stone dams, now known in the archeological literature as gabar-bands, appear to have supported terraced fields in the hills bordering the main depression (Stein, pp. 7, 15-34, 145-47; Raikes, 1965). This type of engineering continues to be practiced on a small scale throughout Baluchistan (and in other parts of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan; see below and ābyārī). It was probably more important in earlier periods.
The ruling tribe in Kharan are the Nowšērvānī, who claim Persian origin. Other important tribes are the Raḵšānī, Moḥammad-Ḥasanī, and the Brahui-speaking Sāsolī and Samalārī.
South of Kūh-e Taftān the plateau drops away to below 1,000 m along the course of the Māškīd river and its tributaries, forming the districts of Sarāvān and Panjgur, before it turns back north into Kharan. Presently the river carries water only after rain. The ecology is transitional with elements from both the temperate plateau and the subtropical south. Where the main tributaries join, the river flows through a deeply eroded gravel plain and peneplain, completely barren except for clumps of pīš (Nanorrhops ritchiana) in the occasional wadis. Kūh-e Berg, a narrow 2,500 m ridge which runs 150 km northwest to southeast, divides Sarāvān from the Jāz Mūrīān depression. Magas (renamed Zābolī under Reżā Shah) at over 1,200 m below the southern end of Kūh-e Berg grows the best quality dates on the Iranian side of the border. East of it two long parallel valleys contain the old agricultural settlements of Paskūh, Sūrān and Sīb in the first, and Gošt, Šastūn (the modern town of Sarāvān), and Dezak (renamed Dāvarpanāh under Reżā Shah) in the second. Other old settlements lie farther downstream and in the mountains on either side: Kallagān, Esfandak, Kūhak, Nāhūk, Jālq, Kant, Hīdūč, Āšār, Afšān, Ērafšān. Bampošt, which is one of the major areas of mountain nomadism and āp-band (āb-band; see below) farming, lies to the south of the Māškīd. Both districts depend upon qanāts and settled populations have probably predominated over nomads throughout the historical period. A large proportion of the cultivators of Sarāvān and Sīb-Sūrān are Dehwār. Other tribes include the Bārakzay, most recently the dominant group, their predecessors in power the Bozorgzāda (of whom one branch, the Mīr-Morādzay, held the forts in Sīb, Sūrān, Paskūh, Kant, Gašt, Hūšak; while another branch, Neʿmat-Allāhī, controlled Jālq and Dezak), Nowšērvānī (in Nāhūk, Kūhak, Esfandak), Ṣāḥebzāda (who are sayyeds), Malekzāda, Lorī, Nātūzay, Sepāhī (who formed the militia of the Bozorgzāda), Arbāb (who are smallholders), Balōč tribes known as Sīāhbor, Čākarbor, ʿAbdolzay, Čārīzay, Dorrazay (in Bampošt and Hīdūč), Kord (in Magas); the Balōč in Salāhkoh and the neighboring mountains are Āskānī, Porkī, Sēpādak; the šahrī in Ērafšān are Raʾīs and Watkār.
In Panjgur, which in many ways is a mirror image of Sarāvān across the border in Pakistan, settlement is more restricted. The Raḵšān has a course of over 150 miles but from Nāg at the northeastern end of the valley down to the confluence with the Māškīd close to the Iranian border (although there are large areas of flood farming) it supports irrigation (either directly or by qanāt) only around Panjgur itself. Remains of a dam dating from the pre-Balōč period were still visible a hundred years ago at a place called Bonestān below Panjgur. Sarāvān has been most closely associated with the Sarḥadd and Bampūr. Panjgur has generally been most closely associated with Kech and therefore considered part of Makrān, but the influence of Makrān has always been disputed by Kharan, which has managed to remain dominant in the border area in Esfandak and Kūhak.
The districts of Zhob, Loralai, Pishin, Quetta in the northeast are based on river valleys that drain out of the mountains around Quetta, which include two peaks over 3,400 m. Until two hundred years ago they had been more closely related to Qandahār than Kalat, and they became part of Baluchistan as a result of the political relationship between Kalat and Qandahār, a situation that was later reinforced by British border interests. Except for Loralai these districts were never settled by Balōč and their population remains mainly Pashtun, unassimilated to Baluch identity. Although they enjoy relatively high rainfall they remained mainly pastoral until the recent commercial development of fruit growing. Important areas of forest survive in the mountains, especially juniper (Juniperus excelsus) between 2,000-3,000 m and wild olive (Olea cuspidata). Major earthquakes were recorded in 1888, 1892, 1900, 1902 (Gazetteer V, pp. 30-31), and again the 1936. The major Pashtun tribes are the Kākaṛ, Tarīn, Panī, Acakzay. The Baluch tribes in Loralai are the Buzdār, Lēgarī and Ḡōṛčānī. In Quetta-Pishin there are only few Baluch pastoralists, mostly Rind (Gazetteer V, p. 77). There are now migrants from many Baluch tribes in the vicinity of Quetta.
South of Quetta a tongue of highland and mountain extends almost to the coast, dividing the lower Indus valley from Makrān. The main rivers are the Hingol, Porali, Baddo, and Hab. This was the medieval Tūrān, and as Sarawan and Jahlawan it has provided the center stage of Baluch history. Sarawan is literally the “above-land” and Jahlawan is the “(be)low-land” (Jahlawan becomes Jhalawan in Pakistani Urdu nomenclature), but the terms derive not from the topography but from the two divisions of the largely Brahui-speaking confederation living there. Kalat is the seat of Sarawan and Khuzdar of Jahlawan. Nal and Wad are other important tribal centers. The 1936 earthquake destroyed the Aḥmadzay fort (Mīrī) in Kalat as well as the city of Quetta (Baluch, 1975, p. 121). Although these districts have slightly higher rainfall than most of Baluchistan south and west of Quetta, they were mainly pastoral and nomadic until the recent extension into them of the national power grid, which encouraged investment in wells and pumps and settled agriculture and led to neglect of the traditional qanāt and band technology (see below). Pastoral transhumance to the lowlands of Kacchi on the west, which was the basis of the political preeminence of the area, remains important. The major tribes are the Raʾīsānī, Šahvānī, Bangalzay, Lēhrī, Langaw, Rostamzay, Mengal, Bīzenjō, Kambarānī (Qambarānī), Mīrwarī, Gorgnārī, Ničatī, Sāsolī, Ḵedrānī, Zārakzay, and the Zēhrī (of which only the last is Baluchi-speaking).
East of Sarawan and Jahlawan the terrain drops almost to sea level within some 20 km. This is the piedmont plain of Kacchi (the northern part of it belongs to the district of Sibi that extends up the valleys into the high mountains east of Quetta). Kacchi is about 2,000 km2, sloping from an elevation of about 150 m at Sibi in the north to 50 m at Jacobabad in the south. Since the introduction of a canal from the Indus in the 1930s the southern part has become the most productive agricultural part of Baluchistan. The majority of the year-round population are Jats. Cultivation in Kacchi depends on harnessing the floods that arrive in July and August from the monsoon on the hills—there is less than 100 mm of rain on the plain. The main rivers are the Bolan and the Nari. Seasonal river discharge onto the agricultural land of Sibi, Kacchi, Las Bela, Bāhū, and Bampūr was traditionally managed in the same way (though on a smaller scale than) the discharge of the Helmand into the delta lands of Sīstān. (The annual rebuilding of the barrages in Sīstān is described in Tate, 1909, pp. 224-226.) It was the most important event of the year, using all available labor. Crops include sorghum, pulses, and sesame. There is a nāʾeb for each village, appointed by the khan. The Jats construct huge embankments across the dry riverbeds to catch and divert the torrential floods. As the fields are flooded, they break one dam and let the water rush down to the next. The Nari has more than fifteen such dams. Most of them require repair or reconstruction during winter, for which the labor is provided by the nomads. Nomads also provide the labor for harvesting. The traditional organization has been modified recently by administrative changes (N. Swidler, p. 102). The major tribes are the Rind, Magasī, Dumbkī, Omrānī, Bulēdī, Ḵōsa, Jātōī, Kēbārī, Mugārī, Dīnārī, Čālgrī, Marī, and Būgṭī.
South of Loralai an isolated area of hill country extends southward to the banks of the Indus, bounded on the east by the southern end of the Sulaiman range. These are the Mari-Bugti hills, called after the tribes that have controlled them with a considerable degree of autonomy into the modern period. They consist chiefly of narrow parallel ridges of closely packed hills, which form the gradual descent from the Sulaiman plateau into the plains, intersected by numerous ravines and generally barren and inhospitable. But here and there are good patches of grazing, and a few valleys which have been brought under cultivation. The Marī are the largest Baluch tribe and were estimated at 60,000 (Pehrson, p. 2). They are Baluchi-speaking and identify strongly as Baluch, claiming to be descended from a branch of the Rind tribe. But they speak a distinct dialect of Baluchi, and have always jealously guarded their autonomy from the larger Baluch polity, especially as represented by Kalat. In their political organization they display features that are reminiscent of their Pashtun neighbors, such as tribal councils.
To the northwest the historical boundary between Baluchistan and Kermān is a vague no-man’s land in the Jāz Mūrīān depression. The Jāz Mūrīān is a large hāmūn, about 300 km long and 70,000 km2 in area, into which the Bampūr river drains from the east and the Halīlrūd from the west. A low range separates it from Narmāšīr and the Dašt-e Lūt to the north. A large area of dunes impedes communication on the southeast side, and there is a thickly wooded area, mainly tamarisk, along the banks of the Bampūr river below Bampūr. Most of the rest, except for a varying amount of shallow water in the center, is flat desert, with high summer temperatures, but an open gateway to Kermān in the winter. There is a score of rich agricultural villages around Īrānšahr (previously Fahraj, Baluchi Pahra) and Bampūr (of which the largest is Aptar) depending partly on qanāts and partly on a dam above Bampūr, which is the site of the largest fort in western Baluchistan. The agricultural population is mainly low-status tribesmen and gōlāms. 100 km west of Bampūr, on the northeast edge of the central depression, is the center of the Bāmerī tribe, who breed the best fast riding camels. They engage in a small amount of cultivation based on shallow wells from which they raise the water by means of long counterbalanced poles (Arabic šādūf).
South of the Jāz Mūrīān and Sarāvān the Makrān mountains extend in a 150-220 km wide zone from Bašākerd in the west to Mashkai in Jahlawan in the east. There is a number of parallel east-west ranges and valleys that resemble steps from the Iranian plateau down to the coast. They are rugged and difficult to traverse, though the peaks rarely exceed 2,000 m. The most important rivers are the Jāgīn, Gabrīg, Sadēč, Rāpč, Sarbāz, Kech, and its tributary Nahang. The western rivers cut through the mountains in deep gorges, of which Sarbāz is the most spectacular. In the east the major river is the Kech, which runs 150 km due west between two ranges before joining the Nahang and turning south through a gap to the sea. Rainfall is scanty and irregular, and summer temperatures are high, but the monsoon brings humidity and occasional rain that reduces the temperature and resuscitates the vegetation. The Makrān mountains are the home of Balōč nomadic pastoralists. Natural vegetation is sparse, and they divide their time between their animals (mainly goats) and their āp-band. Where valleys open out and contain soil but no water, a band is built round a terrace of good alluvial soil to catch occasional rain, or water channeled from the river after flood. The few permanent settlements are riverine and small. Most are situated in the sweep of a bend or where a river issues onto desert plains. The main centers are Bent, Fannūj, Geh (renamed Nīkšahr under Reżā Shah), Qaṣr-e Qand, Bog, Rāsk, Čāmp, and Lāšār, Espaka, Mand, and Tump. There are over 50 villages on either side of a long gorge in the Sarbāz river, and an almost continuous string of oases lining the banks of the Kech river with fields and date plantations irrigated from both kārīz and cuts (Bal. kawr-jō; kawr is Baluchi for “river”) taking off from large pools in the river bed. Tump and Mand enjoy similar conditions. Kolwa is an 80-mile natural continuation of the Kech valley to the east separated by an almost imperceptible watershed. It contains by far the greatest dry crop area of the Makrān. The Dasht valley carries the united Kech-Nahang through the coastal range to the sea, irrigating important agricultural land on either side. The Buleda valley north of Turbat has some agriculture, as do some spring-irrigated areas in the Zamuran hills north of the Nahang river. Otherwise, apart from Parom and Balgattar which are saline flats, Makrān supports only pastoralism. The crops in the mountains are rice and dates, though a wide range of fruits and vegetables are grown in small quantities, and mangoes deserve special mention. Dates are par excellence the crop of the Makrān; 109 cultivated (nasabī) varieties are listed in the Makrān Gazetteer, apart from wild (kurōč) varieties. Pīš is the most typical of all Makrān plants. It grows on rocky ground up to 1,000 m, and provides a famine food, as well as fiber. The main tribes of the Makrān mountains are the Gīčkī, Bulēdī, Hōt, Bīzenjō, Nowšērvānī, Mīrwārī, Rind, Raʾīs, Lāndī, Kattawār, Kēnagīzay, Mullāzay, Šīrānī, Mubārakī, Lāšārī, Āhurānī, Jaḍgāl, Sardārzay. The Šīrānī hold Geh, Fannūj, and Bent; the Mubārakī, who are a branch of the Šīrānī, hold Čāmp and Lāšār. The Bulēdī held forts in Rāsk, Qaṣr-e Qand, Bog, and Hīt and their warrior zāt was the Bar. Katrī and Bāpārī are non-Baluch merchants. The cultivators in Makrān are mostly landless.
The coastal plain varies in width from almost zero to as much as 100 km in Daštīārī and more in Las Bela. It contains no reliable supplies of fresh water, but supports considerable forest and woodland of Prosopis, Zyziphus, and Acacia spp. The coastline is deeply indented with bays, which provide good anchorages for Čāhbahār (formerly Tīs, a little to the north of it) and Gwadar, among other ports. In the west the plain is mostly low and swampy or sandy, but farther east there are hills near the coast and headlands. Bare sandstone has weathered into fantastic shapes. At their seaward base some of them have deteriorated into badlands and are difficult to traverse. The main rivers, which only flow after heavy rain, pass between the sandstone massifs, providing the only passages inland. A line of mud volcanoes extends along the coast, of which the largest, Napag (10 miles north of Ras Tank/Raʾs Tang), has a cone built up to 50 m by constant eruptions of greenish mud (Persia, p. 141). There are extensive mangrove swamps intersected by creeks in the Gwatar bay and the rivers to the west. The rivers contain quicksands. The soil in Daštīārī and Bela, like Kacchi and some parts of Makrān such as Parom and along the Dasht river, has unusual moisture-retaining capability. After one good rain it will hold water long enough to obtain a crop of sorghum. Daštīārī relied on the Kājūkawr and Bāhū on the Mazankawr (the continuation of the Sarbāz river) for irrigation. But about a hundred years ago both of these rivers cut back so that except in exceptional floods the water was out of reach of the agricultural land. In both Daštīārī and Las Bela dams were built seasonally from earth and trees, as in Kacchi. Small fishing communities of Mēd live here and there on the beach. Scattered along the plain are mobile villages and camps of Balōč who are mainly pastoral, but practice a little cultivation after rain. All these populations have traditionally depended on rain and rain-filled ponds as the only source of water.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan



By: Brian Spooner

The total number of Baluch in Baluchistan (in Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan), the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, and elsewhere in Asia and Africa is variously estimated at between three and five million. Their history up to the time when they were drawn into Western colonial history in the 19th century is poorly known. A copious literature has been produced on them since then, especially in English, but also in Persian and several other European and regional languages. But so far there has been no attempt to synthesize and interpret all the available material.
Baluchistan is generally understood by the Baluch and their neighbors to comprise an area of over half a million square kilometers in the southeastern part of the Iranian plateau, south of the central deserts and the Helmand river, and in the arid coastal lowlands between the Iranian plateau and the Gulf of Oman. Its boundaries are vague and not consistent with modern provincial boundaries. It appears to have been divided throughout history between Iranian (highland) and Indian (lowland) spheres of influence, and since 1870 it has been formally divided among Afghanistan, Iran, and India (later Pakistan). It is unclear when the name Baluchistan came into general use. It may date only from the 12th/18th century when Naṣīr Khan I of Kalat during his long reign in the second half of the 12th/18th century became the first indigenous ruler to establish autonomous control over a large part of the area.
The origins of the Balōč and of their name are similarly unclear. They appear to have lived in the northwestern part of the area (southeast of Kermān) at the time of the Arab conquest. But their activities may even at that time have extended a considerable distance to the east. They appear to have migrated farther east, and beyond Makrān, beginning around the time of the arrival of the Saljuqs in Kermān in the 5th/11th century, and continuing intermittently for the next five centuries, up to the spread of Safavid power in the 10th/16th century, with major movements probably in the 6th/12th and 9th/15th centuries.
How and when the Balōč arrived in the region of Kermān is unknown. Their claim (in their epic poetry; see baluchistan, iii, below) to be Arabs who migrated from Aleppo after fighting at Karbalāʾ cannot be taken at face value. The various inconclusive theories concerning their origins are reviewed by Dames (1904, pp. 7-16).
The scanty evidence for them between the Arab conquest and the arrival of the Saljuqs is also difficult to evaluate, partly because of the authors’ characteristic urban prejudice against nomadic tribes. But it suggests that they numbered in the tens of thousands at most; that they were pastoralists, herding sheep and goats; and that, like other Middle Eastern pastoralists, they were highly mobile, if not entirely nomadic, living in tribal communities (in the sense that they construed their social relations according to genealogical—patrilineal—criteria); and that they were poorly integrated into the settled polity, which they continually harassed.
In terms of general cultural values and world view, the Baluch in recent times resemble neighboring Muslim tribal populations in both the historical and the ethnographic records. What has emerged as distinctively Baluch, beside the language, Baluchi, is the structure of their social and political relations. But this structure is more likely to be a product of their recent pluralist experience in Baluchistan than a heritage of their earlier history. (It has not yet been changed significantly by their incorporation into modern state structures.) Baluch identity in Baluchistan has been closely tied to the use of the Baluchi language in intertribal relations. Modern Baluchi has a clear pedigree, with a number of grammatical features and vocabulary of the “Northwest” Iranian type (see baluchistan, iii, below). But Baluch ethnicity today cannot be so clearly defined. On the one hand, many communities generally recognized as Baluch by themselves and by others are of alien origin and have been assimilated over the last four centuries. On the other hand, there is no evidence that all the considerable number of scattered communities known as Baluch in other parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Soviet Turkmenistan (most of which are not presently Baluchi-speaking) are in fact historically related, or, if they are related, that they separated from each other in Baluchistan.
Within Baluchistan the population is not ethnically homogeneous. Some communities are identified (by themselves and others) as Balōč (see 10 below), with the implication that they are descended from those who entered the area as Balōč; while others, though considered members of Baluch society now and identifying as Baluch in relation to the outside world, are known within Baluch society by other tribal (e.g., Nowšērvānī, Gīčkī, Bārakzay) and subethnic (e.g., Brahui, Dehwār, ḡolām, Jaḍgāl, Mēd) designations, with the implication that they have adopted Baluch identity relatively recently—but not that they are for that reason in any way outsiders. Some of these “Baluch” predate the arrival of the Balōč. Others (e.g., the Bārakzay, q.v., who are of recent Afghan origin) postdate them. There are also remnants of what were (under autonomous Baluch rule, as well as under the British, 1666-1947) larger non-Muslim communities, mostly Hindu, Sikh, Ismaʿili, or Bahai traders, who are not considered Baluch. The Baluchi language was the language of interethnic as well as intertribal relations. Although participation in Baluchi intercourse generally seems to have led to assimilation, being Muslim appears to have been a necessary precondition. However, the Baluch in the Makrān who became Ḏekrī (Zikri) in the 10/16th century did not for that reason cease to be Baluch. The Baluch generally claim that all Baluch are Hanafite Muslims, although, apart from the Ḏekrīs (who are known but rarely discussed), there are some small Shiʿite communities on the northwestern fringes of Iranian Baluchistan, a fact which is unknown farther east.
The vast territory of greater Baluchistan has been divided historically into a number of areas, among which Makrān (in the south), Sarḥadd (in the northwest), and the area known earlier as Tūrān that includes the modern towns of Kalat and Khuzdar (Qoṣdār/Qozdār; in the east), have been the most significant. Stronger Iranian and Indian political centers to the west, north, and east (particularly, Kermān, Sīstān, Qandahār, Delhi, Karachi), and even the sultan of Oman to the south, have intermittently claimed suzerainty over parts of these areas, and considered them as their legitimate hinterland. The idea of one Baluch community in a politically unified Baluchistan may have originated in Naṣīr Khan’s successes in the 12th/18th century. His successors were unable to maintain control of the part of the area he claimed to rule as khan, let alone continue to pursue what appear to have been his ambitions to incorporate all the Baluch into one nation. But the policy of indirect rule pursued by the British, who began to encroach in the area during the following generation, and maintained the khan irrespective of internal processes that would either have destroyed or transformed the khanate, kept alive the idea of a unified Baluchistan—against considerable odds—at least up to the borders that the British negotiated with the Qajar government in Iran, and the Afghan government in Kabul in the second half of the 13th/19th century. By 1947, the idea of Baluchistan was too firmly established to be superseded or transcended by the new concept of Pakistan. The political activities of the Baluch in Pakistan (who constitute probably two thirds of the total Baluch population) reinforce and confirm Baluch identity in Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
The Balōč appear to have become culturally dominant in the area in the late medieval period, along with the spread of Baluchi as a lingua franca—though the details and causes of each process are unclear. It was not until much later that the majority of the population of the area came to identify themselves as Baluch, probably as a result partly of the success of Naṣīr Khan’s policies, and partly because of the later British administrative classification. The assimilation of almost the whole population to Baluch identity and the dominance of Baluchi (at least for public, political purposes) is difficult to explain, since the tribesmen who established the khanate of Kalat (and therefore also the political autonomy and identity of the area) in the mid-11th/17th century spoke not Baluchi, but Brahui, and conducted their administration in Persian by means of a bureaucracy recruited among the Dehwār, who were Tajik peasants. Immigrant Baluchi speakers (Balōč) were probably not numerically dominant except in non-agricultural parts of the area.
Baluchistan remains a palimpsest of cultural and linguistic discontinuities. Although the existing literature is much greater than for other comparable tribal areas of the Iranian world, the underlying heterogeneity raises a number of problems for any systematic account of Baluchistan and the Baluch. These problems cannot yet be definitively treated. Far more historical and ethnographic research is needed. What follows is only a preliminary synthesis.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochistan

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