RSS

Category Archives: Balochistan

The Baluch Role in the Persian Gulf during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

By Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini
Faculty of Political Sciences,
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart,
Milan—Italy,
Email: beatrice.nicolini@unicatt.it

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, evidence of the Baluch popula-tion could be found in the service of the Al Ya’rubi of Oman, mainly as mercenarytroops.’ Officers were called jam’darand soldiers sowar.2 To the Arabs of Oman, these Baluch corps constituted their military power (alshawkah) and their strength and were an indispensable tool in the conquest and maintaining of Omani tribal power. It was, however, with the Omani dynasty of the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman—starting around the first half of the nineteenth century—that the Baluch, and the coastal strip of Makran, the main region in south Central Asia of their origin, became an institutional part of the Omani governmental forces and major political leaders. Baluch tribes also settled in other Gulf areas beside Oman, and in separate villages, practicing their tribal customs and speaking their language.

PersianGulf3

Persian Gulf

Being Baluch is a question of geographical and cultural identity; therefore their integra­tion in the Arab regions of the Gulf has been always assured and stable when closely related to their original corporate role of defense force. Consequently, the role of Baluch—espe­daily Makrani—in the Arab Gulf countries has been growing and modifying itself since the nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, Baluch cultural identity, and most of all the Baluch presence in numerical terms with respect to Arab Gulf nationals, did become a significant reality, and also a cultural reality. Today there are many integration problems between nationals and nonnationals in most of the Arab Gulf countries, and the Baluch con­tribution to the richness of Gulf culture and society could represent a significant step toward future cooperation and integration through reform governmental projects. Consequently, when talking about globalization, one should keep in mind that this concept is not new for this particular region. The society of the Gulf has in fact been a “globalized” community from time immemorial; nevertheless, each ethnic group composing this cosmopolitan world suc­ceeded in preserving its own cultural identity.
In the United Arab Emirates, for example, there are today 135,700 southern Baluch (7 percent of the population) as a part of a larger community of about S million.3 Starting in the late 195os, sudden wealth made this region one of the richest of the world. Here the Baluch found work as unskilled laborers, policemen, or fishermen. Other Baluch joined the military. Still others labored in the oil fields and on the farms of the wealthy Gulf states. Although the Baluch work extremely hard, they are much better off than they were in Baluchistan, one of the poorest areas of the world. One of the main causes of the Baluch “diaspora” to the other shores of the Arabian Sea largely results from their lands of origin, which I describe together with their society’s conditions and customs.
The Baluch reside mainly in Baluchistan, a dry, desolate region in the southeastern part of the Iranian plateau. It extends from the Ker­man desert to the east of Bam and the Besha­gard mountains and to the western borders of the Sind and Punjab provinces of today’s Paki­stan. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Baluchistan was divided by the British between Iran and Pakistan.’ These two states had a dispute concerning the border dividing the two parts of Baluchistan; it was resolved by an agreement signed in 1959.5
Iranian Baluchistan is a part of the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces.’ The barren land of Iranian Baluchistan, situated on the southeast­ern side of the country, is part of “Great Baluch­istan,” with the other half located in Pakistan.? The province is divided into four regions—Sar­hadi, Sarawan, Bampur, and Makran—based on their environmental differences.
One of the main characteristics of Balu­chistan is the variation in flora and fauna that exists because of the climatic differences. This multifeatured, inhospitable land has given rise to people of different ethnos. The ethnic diver­sity is such that one can find Baluch and Brohi Arabs, Jats and Kurds, and also blacks, whose ancestors had once been brought to this land as slaves from East Africa by the Omani Arabs.’

History:
Historically it is believed that the Baluch moved to Makran from Kerman province to flee an expedition of the Seijuks during the eleventh century. At that time, the Baluch were nomads.’ They have never had a centralized govern­ment and live under a tribal system. Baluch is the name of several tribes, a small number of which live in Turkmenistan. They speak Balu­chi, believed to be a west Iranian language of the Indo-European family of languages and influenced by eastern Iranian dialects. There are two branches of northern (Sarhadi) and southern (Makrani) Baluch. The Iranian Ba­luch tribes are divided into a number of clans.'” The Iranian Baluch belong mostly to the Hanafi school of the Sunni faith of Islam. A few tribes in the Sistan area are also regarded as Baluch, but they speak a Sistani dialect, an abandoned Persian language.”
The Baluch are a people of about 6 mil­lion, scattered mainly across Pakistan (of which they occupy nearly a half), southeastern Iran, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates, where they form a large immigrant community. They appear to have first occupied the center of Iran (Kerman), or perhaps even the north, before migrating toward the southeast.
Although the presence of Baluch nomadic tribes is documented before Muslim times, their current territory was populated in the past by a number of ethnic groups speaking various idioms, among which were the Dravidian lan­guages. Some would more or less consider the Baluch to be any nomadic tribe, and the latter would accept this identification, but this iden­tity was not enough for the Baluch to be able to identify themselves as an ethnically homoge­neous community.
From the end of the eighteenth century, and for all of the nineteenth century, it was these tribes of pillaging warriors who protected, hid, supported, and faithfully defended the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman. The tribal structure and clan-family relationships of their society, which was traditionally nomadic, could count on Makran, peninsular, and continental solidarity.
It was only in the eighteenth century that a Baluch national identity arose.12 It won over and brought together various tribes, essentially on the condition that they would speak the same language and share their culture. Proba­bly around that time, epic poetry was developed among the tribes, thus unifying all the groups and subgroups, whatever nuances there might have been, into an entity that today is called the Baluch people. Language is the essential factor in cultural cohesion, which is remarkable given the heterogeneous character of their society; music, too, by highlighting poetry, has been an important element in establishing cultural unity.
Baluchistan is the largest province of Paki­stan. It covers 44 percent of the land surface, an area of 347,190 square kilometers, but has a population of only 4.5 million (around 4 per­cent), making it the least populated province of the country. About half of this population lives around Quetta, the provincial capital of Paki­stani Baluchistan, located in the north, close to the border with Afghanistan. To its north and west, thousands of kilometers of barren desert and stark mountains form the borders with Iran and southern Afghanistan, while due east it is divided from the rest of Pakistan by the Kirthar and Sulaiman mountain ranges. Toward the south, along the Arabian Sea, stretch the sandy desert beaches of the Makran coast.
Most of Baluchistan lies outside the mon­soon system of weather; therefore the climate is extremely dry. The annual rainfall is about fifteen centimeters and is even less along the Makran coast. In terms of physical geography, Baluchistan has more in common with western Asia than with the Indian subcontinent. Its vis­tas of arid wastelands, great deserts, and formi­dable mountain ranges (dramatically contoured and twisted by the earth’s violent geological movements) make it a dramatic area. The dry climate combined with the natural geographi­cal features make it one of the most daunting environments for successful human habitation; thus it is sparsely populated. Many observers think that the region resembles the surface of the moon.
The most important tribes of Pakistani Baluchistan are the Brohi, Baluch, and Pathan, who speak Brohi, Baluchi, and Pushto, respec­tively. The northeast of this province receives rain and snowfall, a measurable precipitation that supports juniper forests, cultivated land, and orchards that produce apples, almonds, apricots, peaches, and grapes. Most of the peo­ple in central Baluchistan lead serninomadic lives herding sheep, goats, and camels, while others are subsistence farmers and laborers working in Punjab and Sind during the win­ter months. Some areas of the south, near the Makran coast, are famous for growing three hundred different varieties of dates!’
Covering an area of sixty-two thousand square kilometers, Makran forms the southern­most strip of Baluchistan province, with a coast­line of over six hundred kilometers. It is hard to envision the vast wilderness of this remote area, where miles of virgin beaches stretch along the sea in bright sunshine and blue skies during the winter months. Because there is hardly any rain, the few villages and settlements depend on spring water and wells. The coast has several tiny fishing villages, while main towns like Gwadar, Ormara, jiwani, and Pasni have small fishing harbors, where the fishermen can be seen com­ing in with their catch every morning and eve­ning.’ Makrani Baluch in the past traded with other maritime communities along the west­ern Indian Ocean; in fact, since ancient times Makran has held a historically strategic position as the most direct route between the Middle East and the riches of the Indian subcontinent.
Known to the ancients as Gedrosia, the Greeks were among the first recorded visitors to Makran. At the end of his conquest in 325 BC, Alexander the Great marched with his army through its harsh deserts, suffering heav­ily because of shortages of both food and water. Earlier, only Semiramis and Cyrus are known to have tried to traverse Makran’s wastelands with an army, but with devastating results.
According to the Greek historian Near­chos, Alexander did not take that route in ig­norance of its difficulties, but he chose it on learning that no one had yet traversed it with an army except Semiramis, who escaped with only twenty men of all his army, and even Cyrus, the son of Kambyses, escaped with only seven soldiers. When Alexander heard these accounts, he was seized with an ambition to outrival both Cyrus and Semiramis.15
The Greeks exerted more of a nominal influence over this region. In 305 BC Chandra Gupta defeated Alexander’s successor, Selecus Nicator, and the region fell under the control of the Mauryan empire. Later the area came under the Sassanian dynasty and remained under its control until the end of the sixth century. Raj Shah of Sind controlled the area for some time. The Arabs of Oman exercised their power over Makran from the seventh to the tenth century.
For the next seven centuries the region was under the loose control of many foreign dynas­ties, which followed one another in quick suc­cession, but their power was short lived.
Toward the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese found their way to India and captured several places along the Makran coast. They never penetrated inland and were unable to establish anything more than heav­ily defended military bases at various ports. In 1581 they destroyed Gwadar and Pasni by burn­ing the two trading and fishing villages to the ground. In the eighteenth century, Makran came under the nominal control of the khanate of Kalat, which was ruled by Nasir Khan I (the Great, 1749-95). The khanate of Kalat, which developed around the seventeenth century, was a refuge for waves of invaders coming from southwest Asia, directed to India; from the tenth to the fifteenth century Kalat and the border­ing provinces were subdued by foreign powers imposing tributes, often with the use of force; but it was not before the end of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century that the khanate succeeded in affirming its power in Baluchistan. Once it subdued the sedentary ag­ricultural tribes and enforced tribal authority on the pastoral nomadic groups, the khanate began developing a centralized bureaucratic apparatus through territorial expansion, which included Makran.i6
It was not until the nineteenth century that the British became interested in this area, first during Napoleon’s menacing presence in Egypt and later during the time of the first Anglo­Afghan War in 1838. A British expedition was sent into the area to pave the way for the build­ing of the Indo-European telegraph line, which passed through Makran. On the line’s comple­tion in 1863, Major F. Goldsmid was posted to Gwadar as a British assistant political agent. In 1872 a firm boundary between Persia and Brit­ish Baluchistan was established.° During the twentieth century, after the creation of West Pakistan in 1947, it became a part of Pakistan itself. In 1953, Pakistan Petroleum Limited dis­covered natural gas in Sui, a town in eastern Baluchistan. For most of Pakistan, the discov­ery was a big boon: within ten years, residents in major cities were enjoying gas stoves and fur­naces. In Islamabad today, gas is cheaper than electricity. Only thirty years after discovery the gas was piped to Quetta; yet, to this day, resi­dents in Sui have no access to piped gas.

The Wastes of Creation:
Traveling to Baluchistan, one covers hundreds of kilometers of endless desert road through dust and sandstorms, where an eternal cloud of dust stands over the mountains and valleys overlooked by a sun covered in haze, an agitated atmosphere heavy with the presence of ever-existing dreadful, unexpected events. Were it not for the windswept tamarisk bushes by the road and the occasional tents set up here and there in the dust, or the bell sound­ing on a goat, the presence of humans would not be evident. It feels as if one is walking on an empty, forgotten planet in the burning heat of its blazing sand deserts and the illusive waves of the ever-existing mirages, haunted by all the devils and wicked ghosts of all time, the famous jinn.1B
“When the Lord created the universe, Ba­luchistan was formed out of its wastes.” Whether or not God created this land out of the wastes of the universe, as this Baluch proverb describes, Baluch people had been residing in some other land in the past and migrating to this land in search of shelter. Baluch people then living in the eastern region of the Caspian Sea were driven to the southern part of the country (Ker­man), from whence they were once more moved to the eastern parts and the dry deserts of Balu­chistan. Those who invaded this land forced the Baluch people to leave their green pastures and watersheds and move in tribes riding on the backs of camels and mules and carrying their hard, yet lightweight, accommodations on their saddles, leading their cattle toward this remote corner of the world in search of a refuge. The Baluch name in history is accompanied by de­scriptions of massacres and invasions. It was first mentioned in inscriptions and petroglyphs at­tributed to Darius the Great in Persepolis and Bistoun as the fourteenth province of the Achae­menian empire. It is the place Alexander turned to after his Indian conquest, in the sandy des­erts where half his weary army died. During the golden days of Islam, Arabs invaded and looted this land many times. The caliph’s commander, expressing his concern over being sent to Ba­luchistan, was quoted as saying, “You sent me to a land where her water is hidden under the ground, her dates are eaten up, and her warriors are brave. If the soldiers are few, they will be de­feated, otherwise, they shall starve to death.”19
After the Arabs came the Turkmens, Ghuzz, Mongols, and Timurids, who in turn in­vaded this land right up until the Qajar dynasty came into power in Persia in the nineteenth cen­tury, a period in which violation and oppression reached such a climax that the word Qajaris still synonymous with “stranger” and “invader.” Late in the nineteenth century, the British govern­ment of India penetrated the Persian territory, following its domination over the Sind region, under the pretext of extending telegraph lines from India to the “Oman Sea” and guarding the area. They finally succeeded in separating from Persia a part of Baluchistan, later known as Pakistan’s Baluchistan, in 1871.
In Persian Baluchistan, local khans and commanders rebelling against the central gov­ernment were thoroughly suppressed during the Pahlavi reign in the twentieth century, put­ting an end to tribal autonomy and local rulers. Since the second half of the twentieth century, the primitive lifestyle in which nature plays a decisive role, together with the background of historical invasion and confrontation with other tribes and the tax-gathering, forceful cen­tral government, has led to a call for a militant-tribal structure to defend against invaders and bring the tribes into harmony with one another and their superiority and thus win the challenge of power.2° Common people take refuge in the closed, internally consistent communities where their predetermined, ascribed socioeconomic status is guarded.

Ways of Subsistence:
Adaptation has become a necessity through generations because the Baluch live in a land of scarce water, unfavorable winds, untimely rains ending in floods, and a dry, barren soil. The sit­uation makes cattle raising more profitable than farming and migrating more suitable than set­tling. However, variations allow for oscillations between farming and cattle raising, the major economic activities in the area. Nevertheless, because of the unfavorable climate, contempo­rary migrations to other provinces and the Gulf sheikhdoms account for a supplementary source of income, together with drug smuggling and illegal imports.
Agricultural products in most regions suit­able for the purpose are as follows: date palms are planted in areas that have minimal access to water; paddy fields and nonirrigated wheat fields with a small yield can be seen near rivers; tobacco, corn, and broad bean are cultivated in the plains; and very small quantities of citrus products and tropical fruit are planted in areas with abundant water. Although farming in Balu­chistan is an ancient practice, it has never been greatly developed because of the water short­age, poor soil, lack of investment in the area to improve soil conditions (e.g., leveling steep hills located by rivers, where the soil is more suitable for agriculture), and the primitive tools and absence of advanced technology to counteract the floods and droughts. The problem of water shortage is replaced by the lack of agricultural land along the rivers. Where good soil is found, there is no water, and vice versa. Water scarcity, however, poses the main problem.21
In general, in droughts and years of fam­ine agriculture is a more reliable source of income compared with cattle raising, despite problems such as tribal rivalries and the very high taxes levied by local governments until the beginning of the twentieth century. Several fac­tors, namely, soil, water, labor, and tools, influ­ence agricultural production. In most areas the land is shared, and its potential value cannot be estimated. Landownership is accompanied by water rights, and one’s right to land where cultivation is possible is determined by one’s share in providing the water pumps or digging the qanat/kariz, a widespread system of com­plex underground networks for channeling the water present in the impervious strata at the foot of the mountains. These traditional and highly sophisticated systems are long channels dug out of the subsoil, which, by using the slight inclination of the mountain slopes, make it pos­sible to direct the water along the underground strata, channeling it toward potentially fertile terrain to make possible agricultural activity and the establishment of permanent human settlements. Obviously, the significance of these elaborate irrigation systems extends beyond the economic sphere into the social and political: ownership is linked not so much to space as to the water hours, provided according to the lunar cycle, that may be destined for irrigation of the fields.”
In an inherited water-well realm, land is not divided, nor does it have a particular value in and of itself. It is only during harvest time that one’s share of water is observed. The Per­sian Baluchistan land reform of 1961 absorbed the heads of many tribes into the central gov­ernment and thus contributed to strengthening their power. So the farmers working on their land who had a right to that land were deprived of their ownership in favor of these tribal heads who supported the government. After the Is­lamic revolution of 1979, the removal of local tribal chiefs (sardars) introduced some minor changes in landownership. Some of the people who migrated to the Arab Gulf states because of the droughts came back home and, with the money they had earned, bought the lands that had belonged to the distinguished men of the tribe. Purchase of these properties changed the face of ownership in the region to some extent. In the rural society of Baluchistan, as in other parts of Iran and Pakistan, different methods of production exist alongside one another, char­acterized mainly by historical variations of life reflecting a transitional period.

Animal Husbandry:
According to tribal beliefs and traditions, pas­tures belong to the whole tribe, but animals, such as goats, cows, and camels as well as poul­try and bees, belong to their immediate owners. There are two modes, of cattle raising in the re­gion. The first is the rural mode, in which each family keeps a limited herd in a corner of their living area, apart from their farming activities. The beasts roam in a restricted area during the day and are taken back home at night. The sec­ond is the tribal mode, in which the tribe moves with the herd to warmer areas during the cold months and returns to the cooler mountainous regions during the summer months. The tribe depends on grasslands for grazing the herd, but during the hard drought periods, after the in­fliction of sometimes heavy losses, the animals are fed with barley.
Another prevalent migration style is one in which families that own one hundred to two hundred heads of cattle move together in groups, holding three hundred to five hundred heads among them, toward pastures where they spend a few days to allow the beasts to graze on the few existing bushes and plants. Afterward, the families set off toward new grasslands. In the past, dairy products such as milk, butter, cheese, dried whey, sour milk, and yogurt, as well as wool and animal hair, were used mainly within the tribes. After a transition from a natu­ral, self-sufficient economy to a producing one, however, these products were also exchanged in the marketplace. The tribes would gain access to land, water, and pastures in the past by giv­ing a share of their crop to the khan. This pay­ment also usually included the government tax. Since the Qajar rule in the nineteenth century, the heads of the Persian Baluchistan tribes and clans have allocated one-tenth of the tribal in­come earned through cattle products to them­selves and have supplied a military force to aid the central government. The labor force among the tribes is based on the family unit and the wage-earning shepherd and is manipulated and maintained in a primitive order. Labor division among the tribes depends on age, gender (nat­urally divided tasks), and class. Women in the richest tribes have a slight role in production and daily tasks. Poorer women, by contrast, play a vital role in their families’ economy and are less restricted in their social lives.

Handicrafts:
A natural economy based on handmade articles ruled in Iranian Baluchistan before the land reform of 1961. Most products were consumed within the tribe, and raw materials and primitive tools were produced in the area. Animal skins, wool hair, hides, horns, and tree leaves mainly provided the raw materials needed for the tools used in farming, cattle raising, and maintain­ing the living requirements of the settled tribes, who formerly lived a migratory lifestyle. Tools needed to produce handicrafts either were im­proved by family members and relatives or were made to order by skilled craftsmen. In the latter case, an exchange of agricultural or dairy prod­ucts would pay for the tools.
Primitive tools were not exchanged, nor were they rented among the producing fami­lies; production organization was limited to one family or related families within a village. Labor division was natural and accompanied by a social division based on the individual’s status both in an assumed kinship system and in a real one. Products and the producing tools were for inside use and would not find their way into the market. After the land reform, some changes were introduced regarding the rules governing production, distribution, and exchange, result­ing in a greater production level for sales in the market. Consequently, handicrafts have been divided into two groups, the first related to in-ternal consumption goods, the second to prod­ucts for the market:2s
To decorate their houses, women sew coins and buttons on a piece of cloth and adorn the sleeves and the front parts of women’s cloth­ing with a kind of well-known needlework. This type of embroidery work has been common among Baluch tribes since old times and is used in the family and sent to the market for sale. Handicrafts sent to the market as well as those used within the tribe include the tegard (a type of mat used as a carpet); coins sewn on a piece of cloth for use as decoration; needle­work made to order, which is more or less ex­changed as in the past but can also be found occasionally in the market; rugs and carpets; and, to a limited extent, kilims, for which the government has provided some workshops. Pot­tery making has been done in Baluchistan since ancient times. Pottery discovered in the village of Damen in Iranshahr is now on display in the museum of anthropology in the city of Zahe­dan. Nowadays, pottery is made only in a small region, to a limited extent. Kalpuregan, a vil­lage about thirty-five kilometers to the south of Sarawan, is now famous as a pottery center in Iranian Baluchistan. Men provide the clay from the nearby hills and prepare it for production, and women make and paint the pots. The pots are made in a primitive style, without the aid of a potter’s wheel. They are dried in the sun and then painted with colorful, dotted patterns. These products are both for personal consump­tion and for sale in the market.

Gathering:
Living in the inhospitable natural conditions of Baluchistan and lacking the know-how to coun­teract the deficiencies of their surroundings, the Baluch take pleasure in the minor phenomena they find in nature. They founded a life that dates back to the dawn of civilization, when they subsisted on food provided by the fruit and plants they gathered from their parsimo­nious environment. Their diet has consisted of dates (either wild or cultivated), raw mountain grasses, onion juice, pepper juice, and bread.
Baluch make use of all that is found in na­ture. During the springtime famine, men even compete with beasts over grass. In the past few decades, keeping pace with the developing in­dustries in Iran and Pakistan, all kinds of con­sumer goods produced inside the country or abroad could be found in the remotest parts of Baluchistan. The exports consist chiefly of salted fish, fish maws, shark fins, raw wool, goat hair, hides, cotton, dates, and dwarf palm, while the imports include cotton piece goods, silk, sugar, wheat, rice, iron, and oiI.24 The rush of goods from the Gulf states, India, and Pakistan as well as those produced inside the country has had a great impact on families’ consumption, diet, clothing, and even taste and cultural val­ues. Through these various goods, such as man­made fabrics from China and great quantities of illegal alcohol from the Gulf, numerous Baluch families have become acquainted with different cultures and lifestyles and other world markets.

Plunder and Smuggling
As stated above, the land is so infertile and cul­tivation so close to impossible that despite palm plantations, cattle raising, and the recent devel­opment of irrigated farming, extra sources of income seem almost necessary. During the time when the Baluch were relatively independent and autonomous, they used to gain this income by raiding farms in nearby villages or robbing caravans traveling to or from India. Extra in­come was also supplied through smuggling and illegal imports and by selling their labor force in or out of the country, since the tribal military organization was abolished and they no longer disobeyed the law of the land. The vivid testi­monies of the Baluch plundering nature given by the nineteenth-century British explorers con­firmed the Baluch as great warriors and power­ful adversaries. They were described as capital marksmen and were notorious for their lawless habits such as the chupao (raid). Among the Nar-rhoi and the Yaramadzai, the looting was con­ducted on camels. They reached the villages at night and at dawn started the raids, using the fundamental element of surprise; captives were taken as slaves, and the route back was never the same. These raids were a permanent factor of blood revenge among Baluch tribes.25 Loot­ing brings honor to the tribal society, showing manliness, bravery, and merit and thus uniting the tribe. Smuggling plays the same role and is organized, as in the past, by warlike, militant, self-sacrificing men. It brings honor as well as solidarity to the tribe because it requires de­tailed planning and cooperation among the tribe members involved.

Migration:
Let’s travel to Dubai together, as it’s senseless without you.

—From a Baluch song
Migration is very common among the Baluch, for numerous reasons. Some migrate to the re­gion’s ports and cities or go abroad in search of food and shelter, and others to escape from the law, at the risk of losing everything. Sometimes it is simply a test of manhood, of going out into the world, or an attempt to escape the prevailing restrictive tribal system or to save some money for marriage or a new, better life. Youth tend to migrate in order to enter the labor force and fill the income gap; older people, by contrast, rarely migrate unless they no longer possess anything to guard. Pakistan, where the other half of the homeland that was divided by political games but never recognized by the Baluch is located, promises a refuge. Historical connections, to­gether with the racial, lingual, religious, and cul­tural unities as well as the similar lifestyle, family ties (most Baluch have relatives in Pakistan), and economic relations, give most Pakistani Baluch the right to ancestral land and water in Iran, and vice versa, and are considered to be the main reasons for this migration pattern.
Other factors include geographic vicin­ity, the easy crossing to Pakistan, and the lower cost of living in that country. Most migrations to Pakistan involve the whole family, whereas the Gulf states draw only the youth and the poor, often single men by themselves because of the dangers involved. In the latter cases, most mi­grants are deprived of a legal passport and cross the border through organized illegal bands that demand much money for the task.

Health:
In this rough land only the Baluch, the goat, the palm, and the camel can survive. The common poverty motivated by the lack of production and the consequent malnutrition, accompanied by the consumption of nonessential products such as tea, tobacco, and drugs, accelerate the suscep­tibility to all kinds of diseases among children and adults alike. Bread is the main food people subsist on. Contaminated drinking water plays a great role in inducing diseases. Other sources of water such as rain, rivers, springs, and Banat/ kariz are used both for drinking and for wash­ing. Rainwater in some places is collected in pools and ponds and is contaminated with par­asites and microbes. A polluted environment, together with lack of bathing and changing of clothes (especially among the cattle raisers, and not the farmers), an absence of toilets, and so on, add to this dramatic problem.

Education: A Case Study:
The individual is first educated within the fam­ily and then inside the tribe. The education re­ceived is mainly automatic and behavioral and results in socialized stereotypes. In the past, only the male offspring of the upper class would receive a formal education that would enable them to write and to read the Koran and other religious books. The modern education system that was started under the Pahlavi regime with the establishment of schools in Persian towns and cities and aimed at training children only to read and write did not succeed, because of the lack of possibilities for advanced education in small centers and the absence of educational structures. Despite the great incentives for edu-cation and the wish to save the children from poverty and tribal restrictions, and also the oc­casional governmental aid (there is even a uni­versity established in Zahedan, the center of the province), the highest percentage of literate people are among city dwellers and males. Sta­tistics related to literacy in cities show that the majority of literate people are the children of governmental officials and clerks. In Pakistani Baluchistan, the education of young females de­veloped thanks to an important element of the Rind tribe: Zobaida Jalal. Following the military coup d’etat in Pakistan on 12 October 1999 that installed the new government of General Pervez Musharraf, she was appointed general federal minister of education, women, development, social welfare, and special education. Zobaida started the first school for girls, gradually intro­ducing new cultural ideas, such as male teach­ers, and new social and political balances in the tribal local society. Zobaida fights for the eman­cipation of Islamic women through their edu­cation. She bears the typical features—round eyes, long nose, and fair complexion—of the Rind tribe, to which she belongs, and is the most famous and admired woman throughout Balu­chistan. Thanks to Zobaida’s generosity, it has been possible for me to study the Mand area, where she lives with her family, and to have the opportunity to enrich the dialogue among peo­ple, cultures, and religions.
Mand is situated in the northwestern part of Makran, close to the border with Iran. Significantly, it was in this area, where tribal traditions are deeper and more widespread, that Zobaida decided to found and direct the Zobaida Jalal Khan Primary Girls School. In the early 198os, only a few pupils attended the school, but thanks to Zobaida’s firmness and to the creation of special facilities, such as a trans­portation service and a boarding program for those girls whose families live far from Mand, she succeeded in her design. In addition to the main subjects, lessons in languages, including Baluchi, Urdu, English, Arab, and Persian, are taught; all of them are important in Pakistan, a state characterized by a multiethnic presence and a plurality of languages. The school was built and sponsored by Zobaida’s father, Jalal Khan, and today is financed by the government of Baluchistan, together with the association of many prestigious personalities throughout Paki­stan, including Bishop A. Lobo of Islamabad-Rawalpindi. The teachers are both Pakistani and European. In 1993 Zobaida’s care and de­termination overcame all obstacles to the intro­duction of a male teacher, the first in Pakistan’s women’s educational system. Zobaida’s commit­ment in the diffusion of cultural values among females of Islamic tribal societies represents a long and difficult task. This route will hopefully lead not only to better conditions for women but also to the acceptance of equal human rights for all. Zobaida represents a bright examplefor many women of this area: a Baluch woman who, having started from one of the most impover­ished and forgotten places in Pakistan, devoted her life to the people, but never forgot her own identity as an Islamic woman. Her commitment in spreading culture among women in Islamic tribal societies not only works toward female emancipation but also aims to acknowledge the values of human dignity. Hers is undoubtedly a strong testimony of the Baluch contribution to the Gulf’s development.

Accommodations:
Owing to geographic variations and differ­ent lifestyles, accommodations in Baluchistan are varied, as are other aspects of Baluch life. Houses in towns and cities have arched roofs and earthen walls. Those made of cement are either governmental offices or accommodations for government officials. Traditional houses made of palm and wild palm leaves can be observed along the desert border. Apart from the old castles, whose remnants are still visible in some regions, and the two-story buildings belonging to local tribal chiefs (sardar), accommodations in Baluchistan consist mainly of semicircular or elliptical structures made of palm leaves. They have dome-shaped roofs, which when seen from the inside are rectangular. Another type of ac­commodation has large earthen rooms with high ceilings and a fireplace, showing perfect settlement and the good status of the owner. There are no other facilities such as toilets, bath­rooms, storerooms, and so on. Still another type of accommodation belongs to the cattle-raising tribes in Baluchistan. It is woven of goat’s hair and is easy to set up and to move; twelve people can do it. A number of sticks are used to form a frame, which is then covered with a goat’s hair mat woven by the women of the tribe.

Family:
As the smallest social units, families in Baluch­istan are often extended. In cattle-raising cul­tures, women’s labor plays a greater role in the economy than it does in towns and villages. In such systems, women’s role in the division of work is quite remarkable; they are considered to be men’s equal in production. This role does not exist in towns and villages because of the differences between the cattle-raising lifestyle and the sedentary one and also because of the existence of new jobs that symbolize men as the only effective labor force in economic produc­tion. Women automatically enjoy the rights and respect due to their class, which is not an indi­cator of their role in production. In fact, they take no part in production and have darzada, or servants (in the past they had slaves), at their service. The number of women who belong to the richest tribes in towns and villages is very small. Some of these women never leave their houses. A man in Chahbahar was proud that one of the women in his family had not left her house in the past eighty years, even though so many historical events had taken place in this country. These rich women are normally seen only by their husbands and close relatives.
Despite the fact that the tribal system in migratory and sedentary groups prevents women from marrying outside their class, the development of villages and towns, new jobs, formal education, and moving out in search of money, as well as the reduced power of local tribal chiefs, has introduced some changes in local society. This has also caused changes in wealth allocation among families, leading to new cultural and economic possibilities in Ba­luch life. These changes have influenced in­tertribal marriages to some extent. Although most marriages are still arranged within tribes, polygamy is common among the rich tribes. In the majority of cases, monogamy persists as a result of the prevailing poverty. Marriages are arranged in the poor tribes for socioeconomic reasons, whereas in the rich groups the incen­tive is to strengthen political and kinship ties.

Marriage:
Wives are selected from among the young girls belonging to the same tribe as the mother of the boy to be married, and it is the boy’s mother who makes the selection. The fathers are then informed of the decision. In the past, girls and boys of the same tribe would be engaged to each other at birth. The endogamous practice, how­ever, was the most widespread. The father would inform the family and the old respected men of the decision, and on approval, they would go to visit the girl’s family. After a few visits, the girl’s father would declare his consent to the boy’s fam­ily or to the elder man who acted as mediator.
The girl and the boy who are to be mar­ried have no right to express their personal views, and at times they are not even told about the matter until before the wedding ceremony; it is their parents who declare their own wish. The marriage age for boys is between fifteen and eighteen, and for girls between twelve and fifteen. In a ceremony arranged prior to the wedding, an elder man acting as a mediator in­forms the boy’s father of the conditions set out by the father of the girl.
After mutual agreement, the bride’s fa­ther receives cash from the boy’s father in ex­change for the dowry of furniture and house­hold items such as bedding and utensils. If the bride is from a rich tribe, servants (and in the past slaves) and a few palm trees are also added to these articles. The engagement ceremony is festive, with singing and dancing. A woman from the groom’s side, perhaps his sister or his elder sister-in-law, carries a suitcase containing the groom’s gifts on her head and sings aloud some songs accompanied by the other women. The wedding may follow immediately after the engagement, or it may take place a few years later, after the groom’s return from a journey during which he has saved enough money to pay for the wedding ceremony. The ceremony can last as long as fifteen days for the rich tribe, but only a day or two for the poor people.
The relatives take part in the ceremony by presenting what they can afford in cash or as gifts. In the past, a few days and nights were spent dancing, singing, and reciting Baluch epic poems and listening to the poet and the music player until daybreak. When the wedding is over, the groom is taken to the bride’s house in a brand new Toyota, which has replaced the adorned camel of the past. A woman carrying a Koran and perfumed oil welcomes the groom at his arrival. He is a stranger in a familiar land.

Baluch Cultural Identity:
Among the many migrating groups, it is inter­esting to note the numerous African elements, mostly of slave origin, that contributed to the Baluch cultural identity. Within comparative slave history, the “Oriental” slave route was not a mild or peaceful process; the slave trade from the main ports of Sub-Saharan East Africa to the markets of Central Asia was not characterized by either small quantities or lack of violence. The historiographical debate about these issues is very intense. While much attention and research have been devoted to the history of the Atlan­tic slave trade, studies of the Asian slave trade routes have been at the center of numerous in­ternational conferences and workshops. Many publications have debated the issues concerning migration patterns of Africans in Asia and the role of the African elements in the numerous Arabian and Asian cultures and societies.”
“Negroes of Pakistan are called Makrani.”‘ Makrani is a term often used to identify black people of south Central Asia. The slave trade routes spread Africans through the Muscat port by sea and through Persia by land to Las Bela, Kharan, Kalat, and Karachi. Abyssinian origins were assumed because of the occasional traces of woolly hair and inverted lips. The African pres­ence in Baluchistan was due both to absorption and the substratum of black people: settlements of healers and sorcerers of East African origins, traced since the eighth and ninth centuries from Gujarat, possibly moved west, and succeed­ing waves of migration patterns developed from • the monsoon routes of the South Seas. Con­sequently, identity absorption has been a long and often painful process within the Baluch concept of cultural identity, potentially through African migrations to the coast of Makran and subjugation by stronger Baluch tribes by direct slave importation. Other Africans were brought to Makrani Baluchistan as captives after fights with Persia and Afghanistan. During the eight­eenth century, there were many recorded slaves in the Kharan district. Slaves were exchanged for indigo madder (a plant whose root is used as a source of dye), hides, and cotton by the tribes of Makran and Las Bela. They were also captured by the rulers of Kharan in battles with Persia and Afghanistan, especially during the eighteenth century, and others were brought to Karachi from pilgrimages to Mecca. As is well known, despite abolition in 1843, slavery flour­ished throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the western Indian Ocean. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, Africans have found their freedom and become part of a new society: a multicultural and a multireligious society composed of Sunni Muslims, Shia, and Zikris. At the beginning of the twentieth cen­tury, most of the Makranis were skilled or un­skilled laborers, craftsmen, fishermen, owners of small restaurants, schoolteachers, or drivers. After the partition, and in recent times as well, the diffusion of crime, drug and illicit alcohol smuggling, and illiteracy resulted from new il­legal routes, including human trafficking.
Most of the Baluch are very fond of music and dance, and here the African element be­comes a distinctive feature of the Baluch cul­tural identity. The drum beater, with his drums, sits in the center, and other participants dance around him. This dance—lewa—is claimed to be of African origin, and during the singing that accompanies the performance, Baluch use a combination of Arabic, African, and Asian languages. The still-complex situation of Baluchistan and its historical, institutional, and po­litical marginal position represents a challenge that appeals to ethnic and cultural identities, with the aim of shaping a better future both for this region and for the Baluch presence in the Gulf region.28
According to F. Barth’s observations, the Baluch even once settled on Arabian shores of the Gulf, attired in their dress, the females with wide and flowing sleeves and a loose bodice, in contrast to the Arabs’ more close-fitting and swung-waisted dress.29 The pantaloons are wide at the top and very narrow at the calf, whereas those of the Arabs are more straight. The em­broideries of both dress and trousers are beauti­fully colored, full of sexual and cultural symbols and significances. Baluch marry in the summer season, and Arabs avoid the summer. The Ba­luch groom buys gold for his bride, while the Arab groom gives a bride-price to his father-in-law; virginity for Baluch remains a private mat­ter, while Arabs give public proofs. The Baluch nuptial but is constructed in the bride’s home, whereas Arabs place it in the groom’s home. Baluch homes in Arabia showed a cultural vital­ity in colors that Arabs houses did not.
Baluch cultural identity is preserved in many Gulf countries, especially in the Sultanate of Oman. Here Baluch people represent the sec­ond largest cultural group after the Omani from Zanzibar. There are approximately 405,400 people of Baluch origin living in Oman.” This amounts to i g percent of the country’s popu­lation. Despite the loose contacts with their homeland, the Baluch in Oman have main­tained their ethnic and linguistic distinctions. The various Baluch groups speak different lan­guages, each with distinctive traits. Like other ethnic groups, they have attained the ranks of management. Although further research is needed on this issue, Al Ismaily and McKiernan provide information about the role of Baluch in this country and their cultural influences on managerial styles. Baluch culture in Oman suggests a more autocratic management style. Moreover, the majority of managers exposed  to the Baluch culture recognize that their management is influenced by their military service. These observations confirm the strong military tradition among the Baluch people.

Conclusion:
The Gulf’s history and its pivotal role in world politics have attracted the interest of many scholars since ancient times. The strategic role of the Gulf region has always represented a cross-cultural articulation of broad diversities, where culture and society play today a significant mean also of conflict resolution. The role of the Baluch in the Gulf was well defined during the nineteenth century as mainly a human source for the recruitment of mercenary troops especially for the sultans of Oman, and still today the sultan of Oman’s bodyguards and the Bahrain police are composed of Baluch.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the well-characterized identity of Baluch culture was widespread in the Gulf, with its strong Asian and African elements. The gradual process throughout two centuries of the intermingling of two main elements—military strength and cultural and political identity—contributed to an unquestionable presence and deep influ­ence of the Baluch in the Gulf’s society.
As most agree, terrorism today represents one of the major plagues to be defeated through­out the world. Within this broad and complex subject, when trying to analyze social, economic, and cultural differences like those of the Bal­uch in the Gulf region, one should tend toward a more analytical and empathic approach, in order to use it as a methodological key for re­reading and understanding what could be de­fined as one of the contemporary world’s major crises. Only by also understanding the Baluch’s main motivations for their presence in the Gulf today (my starting hypothesis) could one try to identify that kaleidoscopic character of the so-called globalized Gulf region, which as I have said is a fascinating and unique example of all the different cultures in the whole world.

References:
1. S. B. Miles, The Countries and Tribes of the Persian Gulf, 2 vols. (Glasgow: Garnet, 1994), 201-63; W. Floor, The Persian Gulf: A Political and Economic History of Five Port Cities, 1500-7730 (Washington, DC: Mage, 2000,347-51.

2.  Much of the content of my essay is the result of several sea­sons of fieldwork in Pakistani Baluchistan. The term jam’clor seems to correspond to “master of the gate” or “head consta­ble”; it has been transliterated in various ways by British sources mainly on a phonetic basis as farnadari orjemadari.

3. Joshua Project: Pakistan, www.joshuaproject.net/countries.php?rog3= PK (accessed 18 April 2007).

4.  On this subject, see, e.g., V. F. Piacentini,”Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the Nineteenth Century,” in Yad-Nama: In memoria di Alessandro Bausani (Yad­Nama: In Memory of Alessandro Bausani), 2 vols., ed. Scarcia Amoretti and B. Rostagno (Rome: Bardi, 1991), 189-203; F. Goldsmid, “Exploration from Kurrachi to Gwadur, along the Mekran Coast,” Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 7, no. 3 0874: 91-95; and P.J. Brobst, “Sir Frederick Goldsmid and the Containment of Persia, 1863-73,” Middle Eastern Studies 33, no. 2 (1997): 197-215.

5. T. M. Breseeg, Baloch Nationalism: Its Origin and Development (Karachi: Royal Book, 2004).

6. Its main towns are Zahedan, Zabol, Iranshahr, Sar­swan, and Chahbahar.

7. Its area equals 273,661 square kilometers and sus­tains a population of about 2,388,000. It is bounded on the north to Sistan and Kerman provinces, on the south to the Gulf of Oman, on the east to Kalat, and on the west to Roudbar-e-Bashagard.

8. B.Nicolini, Makran, Oman, and Zanzibar: Three-Terminal Cultural Corridor in the Western Indian Ocean (7799-7856) (Leiden: Brill Academic, 2004).

9. See the extensive collection by J. G. Lorimer, Gaz­etteer of the Persian Gulf Oman, and Central Arabia, 8 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Print­ing, 1908-15).

10. The most important tribes, variously transliter­ated by British explorers during the nineteenth cen­tury, were the Baveri, Balideh, Bozorgzadeh, Riggi, Sardaar, Zaie, Shahbakhsh, Lashari, Mobaraki, Mir Morad Zaie, Narroi, Nousherwani, Brohi, Baram-Zehi, and Shir-Khanzal.

11. The notable Persian dialects were Sarbandi, Shah­raki, Sargazi, Zamlr-Farsyoon, Mir-Arab, and Sanja­rani.

12. R. Redaelli, The Father’s Bow: The Khanate of Kalat and British India (Nineteenth—Twentieth Century) (Fi­renze: Manent,1997).

13. A British explorer of the nineteenth century de­scribed the date palms and their abundance in Balu­chistan. See R. Leech, “Notes Taken on a Tour through Part of Baloochistan in 1838 and 1839 by Haji Abdun Nubee of Kabul, Arranged and Translated by Major Robert Leech,”Journal of the Asiatic Society 69 (1844): 667-706.

14. Gwadar was an enclave of the Sultanate of Oman from the second half of the nineteenth century up to 8 September 1958, when West Pakistan bought it back from Oman for f3 million. Gwadar is today a town of 80,000 people. The building of the first five-star hotel, the Pearl Continental, is almost complete, but just 20 percent of people in Baluchistan have ac­cess to safe drinking water. Pakistan and China had signed a comprehensive agreement on 16 March 2002 in Beijing undertaking the task of construct­ing Gwadar’s deep sea port according to universal standards. Islamabad expects that a fully function­ing port at Gwadar will create thousands of jobs and improve peoples’ livelihoods and thus erode tribal bonds and make the sardars (local chiefs) obsolete. Of the $250 million needed for the first phase of con-struction, Beijing provided $200 million. Six hundred engineers moved to Gwadar. The construction labor force is totally Chinese, and the exclusion of Baluchis led to a massive car-bombing in Gwadar in May 2.004 that killed three Chinese engineers. The Chinese naval presence in the Indian Ocean and the access to the Middle East markets are obviously only a part of the geostrategic relations between China and the United States in the Gulf. B. Nicolini, “Historical and Political Links between Gwadar and Muscat from Nineteenth-Century Testimonies,” in Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies, vol. 32 (London: Brepols, 2002), 281-86; Nicolini, “Gwadar: A Place to Live or a Place to Hunt?” Quaderni Asiatic’ 50 (1999): 5-13:See also Gwardar News, www.gwadarnews .com/gwadar.asp.

15. Bivar, “Gil Achemenidi e i Macedon’: Stability e turbolenza” (“The Achaemenids and the Macedo­nians: Stability and Turbulence in Central Asia”), in Asia Centrale, ed. G. Hambly (Milan: Storia Universale Feltrinelli, 1970), 30 (originally published in Zentral­asien, no.16 [Frankfurt: Fisher,1966]); M. Sordi, Ales­sandro Magno try Storia e Mito (Alexander the Great between History and Myth) (Milan: Jaca Book, 1984); J. A. Saldanha, Precis of Makran Affairs (Calcutta: Su­perintendent of Government Printing,1905).

16. Nicolini and R. Readelli, “Quetta: History and Archives; Notes of a Survey of the Archives of Quetta,” Nuova Rivista Storica 78, no. 2 (1994): 401-14.

17. See the report of the British commissioner for the joint Anglo-Persian Boundary Commission: F. Gold­smid, Eastern Persia: An Account of the Journey of the Persian Boundary Commission, 1870-1890 (London: Royal Geographical Society,1876).

18. During, ‘African Winds and Muslim Djinns: Trance, Healing, and Devotion in Baluchistan,” Year­book for Traditional Music 29 (1997): 39-56.

19. F. Piacentin i, “Traces of Early Muslim Presence in Makran,” Islamic Studies 35 (1996): 122-34.

2o. See P. Titus and C. Jahani, “Knights, Not Pawns: Ethno-Nationalism and Regional Dynamics in Post-colonial Balochistan,” international Journal of Middle East Studies 32 (2000): 47-69.

21. F. Van Steenbergen, “Water Rights as Social Con-tracts,” In Baluchistan: Terra incognita; A New Meth­odological Approach Combining Archaeological, His­torical, Anthropological, and Architectural Studies, ed. V_ Piacentini and R. Redaelli (London: British Archaeo­logical Reports, 2003).4959.

22. R. Redaelli, The Father’s Bow, 30-32.

23. S. M. al Ameeri, “The Baloch in the Arabian Gulf States,” in The Baloch and Their Neighbours: Ethnic and Linguistic Contact in Balochistan in Historical and Modern Times, ed. Carina Jahani and Agnes Korn (Wi­esbaden: Reichert Verlag, 2003), 23745.

24. R. Hughes-Buller, Imperial Gazetteer of India: Provincial Series, Baluchistan (Lahore: Sang-e-Meel, 1984), 51-53.

25. H. Potti nger, Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde (London: Langman, Reese, Orte, and Brown, 7816); C. Masson, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan, the Panjab, and Kalat, 4 vols. (1844; Ka­rachi: Oxford University Press0977),4:349.

26. Within the so-called diaspora studies, see, for example, W. G. Clarence-Smith, The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century (London: Routledge,1989); Clarence-Smith, Islam and the Abolition of Slavery (London: C. Hurst, 2006); G. Campbell, Structure of Slavery in Indian Ocean Africa and Asia (London: Routledge, 2003); E. Alpers, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa: Changing Patterns of international Trade to the Late Nineteenth Century (London: Heinemann, 1975); R. L. Powells, Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 800-1900 (Cambridge: Cam-bridge University Press,1987); J. Glassman, Feasts and Riot: Revelry, Rebellion and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888 (London: James Currey, 1995); Glassman, “The Bondsman’s New Clothes: The Contradictory Consciousness of Slave Resistance on the Swahili Coast,”Journal of African History 32 (1991): 277-312; J. Middleton, The World of the Swahili: An African Mercantile Civilization (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); M. Horton and J. Middleton, The Swahili: The Social Landscape of a Mercantile So­ciety  (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000); and P. Caplan and F. Topa n, eds., Swahili Modernities: Culture, Politics and Identity on the East Coast of Africa (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2004). See also the collection of essays dedicated to these complex issues in “The African Di­aspora in Asia—Historical Gleanings,” special issue, African and Asian Studies 5, nos. 3-4 (2006).

27. J. B. Edlefsen, K. Shah, and M. Farooq, “Makranis, the Negroes of West Pakistan,” Phylon 21 (1960): u-3

28. Titus and Jahani, “Knights, Not Pawns,” 47-69.

29. F. Barth, Sohar: Culture and Society in Omani Town (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983),107; A. Melamid, “Batinah Coast of Oman,” Ge­ographical Review 80 0990); 431-33•

3o. S. B. Nasser Al Ismaily and P. McKiernan, inside the Omani Corporate Culture: ,4 Research in Manage-ment Styles (Muscat: Oman Economic Review, 2007),
____________________________________
Courtesy:
Comparative Studies of  South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
Vol 27, No 2, 2007
DOI 10. 1215/108920X-2007-012 @ 2007 by Duck University Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Comments Off on The Baluch Role in the Persian Gulf during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Balochistan

 

The Makran-Baluch-African Network In Zanzibar And East-Africa During The XIX Century

By Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini
History and Institutions of Afroasian countries,
Faculty of Political Sciences,
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart,
Milan—Italy,
Email: beatrice.nicolini@unicatt.it

Abstract

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini

Throughout the western Indian Ocean during the XIXth Century there were not just one, but people from many regions, merchandise and slave routes. They were generally divided in two main monsoon directions: one from East Africa and the Red Sea to Arabia, to India and to South East Asia, and the other in the opposite direction; consequently, slaves were not only black Africans, but also Asians.1 African slaves were imported in great numbers annually from East Africa to Oman, travelling on Arab dhows (sanbuq). Around the first half of the XIXth Century there was an extensive commerce of slaves from Ras Assir (“The Cape of Slaves”) and Pemba, and many African people were bought with cloth and dates on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, enslaved, and transported to the Arabian Peninsula where they were mainly engaged in fishing pearls in the Persian/Arab Gulf.2 Slaves also became lords of African “reigns”, as they were considered to be more loyal than anybody else within their clans and tribes. In this regard, Omanis used to recruit mercenary troops also from the Baluch tribes, who developed a long-lived military tradition, representing a real element of power within Omani areas of influence in East sub-Saharan Africa. T his article examines the role played by the Makrani-Baluch tribes during the XIXth Century’s sub-Saharan East African apogee with the Omanis, and their influence on the social, political and economic level giving special attention to slavery.

Introduction
In the Indian Ocean religious elements, such as Hinduism in India, Buddhism in the Malaysian-Indonesian Archipelago, and the spread of Islam through short as well as long-distance trade routes, strongly influenced, and in many cases, modified the concept and use of slavery. The social, political and economic functions of slaves were generally: a) domestic patriarchal, b) productive-agricultural (bonded labour directed into intensive wet crop agriculture); c) military administrative. Within the Islamic world, armies of slave-soldiers came from Central Asia, mainly Turkish peoples from the Caucasus and from the Steppes till their islamization; while domestic slaves came chiefly from the coastal strip of East Africa.

Methodology
This article evaluates the cultural synthesis of different local realities through fieldwork and, at the same time, integrates this with the archival and bibliographical research that lies at the basis of the work itself. In this respect, the new historical perspective which tends to the relations between the coasts, islands and interior of the continents no longer a state of incommunicability, isolation and stasis but rather an intense and dynamic movement of peoples, goods and ideas—with marked effects on local societies—is also to be considered an extremely valid tool in providing a more complete and up to date interpretation of events. It is well known that studies in the history of the western Indian Ocean can no longer be considered merely as hagiographic reconstructions, but must take into consideration a number of historical political institutional aspects. These include: the presence of different ethnic, social and religious groups together with the affirmation of Arab-Omani domination between the end of the XVIIIth and start of the XIXth Century; the fundamental influence of the Indian mercantile and other Asian communities; the impact with the Swahili populations of the East African coast and the sub-Saharan areas. All of these factors must, naturally, also be considered in relation to links with Europe.

Slavery in the Western Indian Ocean
O man occupies the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula and is located between latitudes 16° 40′ and 26° 20′ north and longitudes 51°–50′ and 59° 40′ east. The coastline extends 1,700km from the Strait of Hormuz in the north, to the borders of Yemen in the south and overlooks the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The total land area is approximately 309,500 square kilometres and it is the third largest country in the Arabian Peninsula. Oman’s territory has a varied topography, consisting of plains, deserts, mountain ranges and oases. The rock matter is predominantly sedimentary and is rich in metallic mineral deposits, such as copper, chromite and gold. The two main mountain ranges are the Hajar range, running from Musandam to Ras al Hadd; and the Qara range in Dhofar, which attracts the light monsoon rains during the mid-summer months. Around 82% of Oman consists of desert. Most conurbations arise on the coast. There are many caverns in Oman and the country is home to one of the largest caves in the world, Teyq Cave, which is 250 metres in depth, 300 million metres in size. It is thought that the cave was formed as a result of several chambers collapsing due to erosion. There are several islands located in Oman’s waters, the largest of which is Masirah in the southeast which is accessed by sea. The climate differs from one area to another. It is hot and humid in the coastal areas in summer; while it is hot and dry in the interior with the exception of the higher mountains, which enjoy a moderate climate throughout the year. Rainfall is generally light and irregular; although heavy rains and thunderstorms can cause severe flooding. In the south, the Dhofar region has a moderate climate and the pattern of rainfall is more predictable with heavy monsoon rains occurring regularly between May and September. Average temperatures for the north of Oman are 32 to 48°C. from May to September; 26 to 36°C from October to April. Due to the monsoon season, June to September, Dhofar in the south of the country maintains a fairly steady year-round temperature of around 30 to 35°C. The average rainfall in Muscat is 75mm. In the Jebel al Akhdar region, the average rainfall can be from 250mm to 400mm. The monsoon season in Dhofar can bring rainfall of between 100 and 400mm.
From the descriptions of travel accounts by Europeans during the XIXth Century, the picturesque bay of Muscat was a semicircle, enclosed by the mountains and with rocks dropping down to the sea on which fortifications had been built to watch out for keeping a lookout for enemies. The town was surrounded by hills and rung round with walls and, with a green valley beyond the shore, it was a pleasant place. The hinterland of Muscat is so mountainous that, in the XIXth Century, it could only be reached on camel or donkey back. Just outside the town, the coast is mainly desert, hilly and desolate.
frican slaves were imported in great numbers annually from East Africa to Oman, travelling on Arab dhows (sanbuq). In the first half of the XIXth Century there was an extensive commerce of slaves from Ras Assir “The Cape of Slaves” and Pemba, and many African people were bought with cloth and dates on Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, enslaved, and transported to the Arabian Peninsula where they were mainly engaged in pearl fishing in the Gulf. They were forced to dive forty times a day or more and their mortality was high.
Slaves also became lords of African “reigns”, as they were considered by their masters to be more loyal than anybody else within their clans and tribes. In this regard, Omani Arabs used to recruit mercenary troops also from the Baluch tribes, who developed a long-lived military tradition, representing one of the real elements of power within Omani areas of influence in East sub-Saharan Africa.
This paper examines the role played by the Makrani-Baluch tribes during XIXth Century’s sub-Saharan East African apogee with the Arabs from Oman, and their influence on the social, political and economic level with special attention to slavery.
It is important to emphasize that the Islamic Arab world’s perception of slavery as an economic and power policy was entirely different from that of the Christian West which had undersigned the Holy Alliance and strove for abolition. In Islamic society, unlike many others, slavery was not prohibited. It even finds precise dispositions in its support in the Koran: the equality of all men before God implies clear duties also in regard to slaves, but not the suppression of slavery itself, even though it is severely forbidden to reduce another Muslim to the state of slavery. In terms of rights, no political or religious function may be performed by a slave, but owners may delegate to slaves any responsibility or task related to the exercise of their authority. Thus, the slaves of important individuals enjoyed a privileged status and could often attain higher positions of power than free men, the cases of slaves themselves becoming princes not being entirely exceptional, either. In the context of Islam, slavery is a highly-structured concept, regulated down to the smaller detail by the civil and criminal codes. As a result, it is difficult to pass judgement on the moral or physical condition of slaves in the Islamic African world as compared to those in other societies. Conditions obviously varied, and there were certainly those who attempted to escape, but there is no doubt that this institution lay at the very foundation of the entire Islamic society of the cosmopolitan commercial empire ‘founded’ on the seas by an Omani Sultan: Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid (1806–1856). Moreover, as we have noted, it was inevitable that there would have to be a clash with the Christian West, as represented by Great Britain, over this question.3
rom the Islamic religious point of view slaves are considered persons, but being subject to their masters they are not fully responsible, and they are at the same time a thing.4 Slavery can originate through birth or through captivity, if a non-Muslim who is protected neither by treaty nor by a safe conduct falls into the hands of the Muslims. Slaves can get married: the male slave may marry up to two female slaves; the female slave may also marry a free man who is not her owner, and the male slave a free woman who is not his owner. The marriage of the slave requires the permission of the owner; he can also give the slave in marriage against his or her will. The permission implies that the master becomes responsible with the person (rakaba) of the slave, for the pecuniary obligations that derive from the marriage, nuptial gifts and maintenance. Minor slaves are not to be separated from their near relatives, and in particular their parents, in sale. The children of a female slave follow the status of their mother, except that the children of the concubine, whom the owner has recognised as his own (umm walad), and this was the case of the numerous sons of the Omani Sultans during the XIXth Century, is free with all the rights of children from a marriage with a free woman. And this rule has had the most profound influence on the development of Islamic society. The Islamic law of slavery is patriarchal and belongs more to the law of family than to the law of property. Apart from domestic slaves, Islamic law takes notice of trading slaves who possess a considerable liberty of action, but hardly of working slaves kept for exploiting agricultural and industrial enterprises.
n Swahili coast slavery was mainly characterised as an open and very much absorptive system, although during the XIXth Century the majority of slaves from the interior such as Unyanyembe and the Great Lakes region were destined to cultivations, and consequently totally excluded from any chance of paternalistic generosity from their masters. The search for a better life on Zanzibar and on the Swahili coast was tempted by slaves in many ways: those who were outside the master’s household worked in the master’s mashamba—from the French champ, or field, that is the plantations5—and were expected to take care of their subsistence, cultivating a small plot of the mashamba; the more privileged cultivated by themselves a small piece of land, paying an annual or monthly tribute to their master.6
Vibaruna were hired slaves, mainly in urban centres; they were extremely poor, but in some cases joined Hadrami Arab’s caravans and succeeded in modifying their humiliating conditions of life. The trading slaves, mafundi, craftsmen, reached a decent level of dignity, but they remained under strict control of their master, and ‘illegal’ or personal initiatives were severely punished.
In Africa slaves were thought of as less than human and, even when they embraced Islam—Sunni and never Ibadi as only the Arabs of Oman—were thought of as being less than Muslims.
The burning question of slavery went hand in hand with another and no less relevant factor.7 In the sub-Saharan East African regions, and in the eastern Mediterranean, there was no local ‘peasant class’ that could be employed on the new cultivations which European demand had induced rich landowners to introduce and which were proving to be both extremely successful and profitable (sugarcane, rice, copal, vanilla, pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and, especially on Zanzibar, cloves). Consequently, the use of slaves for tilling the land and other heavy labour on the plantations had become a question of routine; in other words, when England undertook her crusade against slavery, it was precisely this most miserable section of society which constituted the economic foundations of the entire region.
We also agree with Barendse that trade and tribe relationships between Swahili coast and Makran littoral during the second half of the XIXth Century were pre-existing to the power of the Al Bu Saxid of Oman, and highly influenced by the role of Indian—both Hindu and Muslim—merchant communities all over the region of the western Indian Ocean, who became extremely rich and powerful.8
Therefore, within this framework, the Makran-Baluch presence along the Swahili coast, apparently was closely related to their military and mercenary role within the tribes of Oman, further on developing in trading in East Africa, but this is an interesting hypothesis which requires further research.
From the end of the XVIIIth Century, and for all of the XIXth, it was precisely these tribes of pillaging warriors who protected, hid, supported and faithfully defended the Al Bu Saxid of Oman, thanks also to the tribal structure and clan family relationships of their society which, traditionally nomadic, could count on both ‘Makran’, on the today’s Iranian and Pakistani coasts, and ‘peninsular’ and ‘continental’ solidarity. From the accounts of travellers, explorers and British officials of the time—as well as from Archive documents sources—we see emerge among other Baluch tribes in Africa the Hot, the Rind and the Nousherwani.9
The Baluch tribes from Makran, a very tough people, very skilled in the use of weaponry, adaptable to climate change and environmental conditions, were pushed from the extreme misery of their country towards Persia and towards the coasts of Arabia. Here, they offered themselves as soldiers, sailors and bodyguards for a salary that, though even modest, could represent the difference between life and death for themselves and their families. During the XIXth Century the condition of life of these people was so hard that the British explorer Sykes wrote: “they are adscripti glebae and in miserable conditions, nominally receiving a third of the crop . . . only enough to keep body and soul together”.10 During the XVIIIth and XIXth Centuries the Baluch were known to British agents as ‘ferocious freebooters’, and they protected and hid the ‘Arabs’ of Oman in their desolate lands; they were mainly employed on the dhows of the Muscat rulers, or sent on military expeditions in the Omani deserts.11
anzibar is an archipelago made up of Zanzibar and Pemba Islands, and several islets. It is located in the Indian Ocean, about 25 miles from the today’s Tanzanian coast, and 6° south of the equator. Zanzibar Island (known locally as Unguja, but as Zanzibar internationally) is 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, occupying a total area of approximately 650 square miles. At that time the island of Zanzibar was administered by governors representing Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid and exercised all power on his behalf. The military support which furnished these representatives with absolute authority over the island and its affairs, consisted of special troops of proven trustworthiness, that is to say, the Baluch corps closely tied to the Al Bu Saxid by fundamentally economic agreements. The local governors also had the support of the local, autochthonous Swahili aristocracy, mainly merchants. These came under the mwinyi mkuu, subdivided into diwan, jumbe, wazee; and were tied to the Omani elite by mutual interests in the exploitation of the resources offered by the island and the eastern shores of Africa.12 This mercantile empire, with Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid moved its economic and political centre of gravity to Zanzibar, making control of the neighbouring islands and the nearby African coast one of the cornerstones of its vast system of interests. Many years later, the English explorer Richard Burton, would claim that: “If you play the flute in Zanzibar it will sound as far as the Great Lakes”.13 Without a shadow of a doubt, European rivalry in the Gulf and the western waters of the Indian Ocean from the start of the XIXth Century on, combined with related upheavals in power and strategy, had a decisive impact also on the deviation of the maritime routes followed by this immense commercial traffic mainly based on human flesh.
learly, however, the ability and modernity of Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid in exploiting such political contingencies was also to carry a certain weight.
Within this framework of trade, commerce, bargaining, conflict and struggle for the control of trade in this or that valuable merchandise, the island of Zanzibar inserted itself with the dynamism of its officials, merchants, cunning adventurers and slaves. Turning once again to the question of slavery, we must remember how the very backbone of Zanzibar’s economy at this sensitive stage in its rise was formed precisely by slaves, the key element in both the local economy and the immense wealth of its merchants.
These, therefore, were the foundations on which Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid and the Indian mercantile communities built their great commercial emporium in the face of inevitable conflict with the English in the Gulf over the question of piracy.
he contrast is self-evident between the two, profoundly different ways of perceiving objectives and strategies. On the one hand, we have an ‘Arab’ merchant prince and his traditional court of advisers, warriors, merchants and slaves and, on the other, we have Great Britain which, greatly influenced by marked public pressure, decides to launch a crusade against the slave trade and traders. In other words, an undertaking which has the aim of tearing up from the roots the real economic foundations of the entire western Indian Ocean region and of revolutionising both the traditional mechanisms of local power and traditional culture itself. We thus have a conflict between the force of superior technology and military power of the Europeans and the cunning and ambivalence of the merchant prince of Muscat and Zanzibar, Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid, conscious though he was of his own military weakness. Since 1800, when Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid received the model of a 74-gun ship as a present from the visiting British envoy, Major-General John Malcolm (1769–1833), from the start he recognised the importance of cultivating British friendship. And this was a relationship valued too by Britain.14
In sub-Saharan East Africa during the XIXth Century, it was believed that slavery, if we go beyond the mere capture of human beings, was also caused by the tribes of the interior accumulating debts to the slaving merchants of the coast, as well as by the recurrent periods of drought suffered along the Mrima coast, sometimes along that part facing the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba. In alternating phases, therefore, the populations ‘decided’ to travel to Zanzibar and there sell themselves into slavery.15
The slave trade practised along the East African shores had certain principal characteristics: the slaves did not come from areas of Swahili cultural influence, and were called mshenzi (pl. washenzi), that is to say, barbarians, uncivilised. They were not Muslims, as were all free Swahili within the domains of the Omani Arabs, and were the property of their owners, slavery being regulated by the principles of Koranic law.
The slaves formed a separate caste. There were watumwa wajinga, not yet assimilated into the coastal populations, the wakulia, transported as children to Zanzibar, and, in this category, also the wazalia (pl. of mzalia), those generations born on the coast and fully acculturated into coastal Islamic culture.
Those enjoying more privileged conditions were, naturally, the domestic slaves. Their relationship with their owners was more that of a member of the family than one of submission and they were called udugu yangu, my brother, and the women suria, concubines of their owners or nannies. As they were often entrusted with manual labour, household slaves thus became msimamizi, guardians, nokoa, kadamu, first or second head slaves in the spice and coconut plantations on Zanzibar and along the coasts. Others had the task of leading caravans towards the interior. The slave of the mashamba hoed the fields, sieved copal and carried the merchandise to the ports. They could also be assigned a piece of land with which to support themselves, working there on Thursdays and Fridays, the two days of rest. They were also permitted, on payment of a tax, to get married.16
The demand for slaves came, primarily, from the various parts of the Arabian Peninsula, where the cultivation of date palms called for a continuous supply of labour, but also from western India, where they were employed in local oases and on sugarcane and tea plantations from Central Asia, where cotton was beginning to be grown, as well as from various regions of the Ottoman Empire and from the American continent. African slaves were also used as domestic help or in craftwork in rich families and at the Arab courts. The demand was especially high for young women and girls to serve in the home. Slaves destined for the courts were given special training in entertaining important guests with their singing and dancing.
Another speciality was that of the eunuchs, held in particular esteem especially in the Ottoman Empire.17 These were mutilated without any regard being shown for hygiene, a fact reflected in the survival rate for those transported from Africa of only one in ten. According to Islamic law, mutilation is forbidden inside the dar al-Islam, therefore, only slaves were mutilated, with some exemptions in Central Asia and in Persia. The eunuchs were highly priced, three times more than a slave, and reached high ranks within Islamic societies. The eunuchs were harim guardians, as well as guardians of everything sacred, like the Holy Places, such as Mecca. They retained great prestige and richness; black castrated slaves were powerful figures in the Ottoman Empire and eunuchs were highly respected within the whole of dar al-Islam being very close to Muslim sovereigns.18
Great Britain was the first nation to undertake an international campaign with humanitarian goals. There remained, however, a weighty and complex knot to unravel. How could they combat slavery and, at the same time, ally themselves with the most famous and powerful protectors of the slave traders, such as Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid who, in their turn, obtained their greatest profits precisely from this trade in human flesh?
It was around this crucial question that relations during the XIXth Century between the Omani Arab Sultan, the East India Company and Britain revolved, a problem which animated lively political debate also within the various forces in play.
The slave trade, therefore, represented a highly destabilising elements for British policy, not only on the political but also on a social and economic level. To this was added the imposing humanitarian pressure brought to bear by public opinion in Britain which forced the Government to take decisive action with the specific aim of putting an end to such trade.19

Connections between Seaboard Communities
During the XIXth Century, the growing effectiveness of British measures aimed at abolition caused a reduction in the availability of African slaves. This lack was, however, partly compensated for by Asiatic slaves, as shown by the commerce in Asian people from the coast of Baluchistan destined to be sold in the squares of Arabia during the first decades of the XXth Century.20 And this was one of the alternative, and little studied, slave routes in the western Indian Ocean.
At this point it is useful to indicate another, important factor which played a part in the impressive economic-commercial growth of Zanzibar, as well as the labyrinth of suspicion, diffidence, envy, misunderstanding and open conflict between Britain and Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid of Oman. And here we come to that delicate and precious material which had been exported throughout the Orient since time immemorial: ivory.21
S ince the II Century BC, ivory had been exported from East Africa to the Mediterranean. From the VIIth Century A.D., India and China emerged as the main markets for African ivory. Superior to Asian ivory in quality, consistency and colour, African ivory had followed the maritime routes of the Indian Ocean until the end of the XVIIIth Century, departing from Mozambique. New fiscal burdens and taxes, however, imposed by the Portuguese at the start of the XIXth Century and termed ‘suicidal’ by Sheriff,22 together with the mercantile ascendancy of France and Great Britain in the Indian Ocean, caused a shift in the ivory trade. The ports of Mozambique having been progressively abandoned, the dealing and sale of this precious material would henceforth be conducted on the island of Zanzibar.
S tarting from the second decade of the XIXth Century, Europe entered the ivory market with its considerable demands. The splendid, shining African ivory, pure white and strong but at the same time easily worked, was increasingly sought after in the west for luxury items such as elegant elements of personal toilette, billiard balls, piano keys, elaborate jewels, fans, cutlery and clothing accessories. In that particular atmosphere of a fin de siècle Europe increasingly fascinated by all things Chinese or exotic, ivory was a must. This is made crystal clear by the fact that British imports of ivory rose from 280 tons in 1840 to 800 in 1875.
The economy of the East African interior thus witnessed an immense growth in the demand for pagazi, free men recruited from among the African tribes allied between each other (mainly Yao and Nyamwezi), and for slave porters.23 Women with small children were obliged by ‘Arab’ slave traders and Baluch soldiers and bodyguards to abandon their offspring in order to continue transporting elephant tusks.
A complex exchange network soon developed between the interior and the coast, leading to the introduction of rice cultivation in the interior in those areas under Arab dominion such as Tabora, Nyangwe, in modern day northern Congo, and in nearby Kasongo.
Later, thanks to the entrepreneurial ability of Tippu Tip, the greatest and most powerful slave trader of the XIXth Century,24 the borders of what had been identified by the English as the Ottoman Empire, pushed further to the north-west into modern-day Rwanda and Burundi. At that time, “their movement was like a snowball”.25
Another wealthy protagonist in this chapter of Zanzibar’s history, Jairam Sewji, also profited greatly from this opening up to western markets. A member of the Topan family, who was the richest and most influential merchant in Zanzibar, personally financed almost all of the caravan traffic, accepting responsibility for all the risks and eventual losses this entailed. Throughout the first half of the XIX Century, Jairam Topan represented the financial and political kingpin of all activity occurring on Zanzibar (around the year 1840, for example, he had four hundred slaves in his personal service). As such, it was with him that Europeans and Arabs had to deal. A somewhat singular political-financial phenomenon thus came into being, in the figure of Jairam Topan who concentrated Arab, Asian and European interests in his own hands, conducting as though with a baton the ancient, admirable and sophisticated system of commercial currents, connections and links of the western Indian Ocean.26
A further factor, and no less important than ivory, was the extraordinary and revolutionary expansion of clove cultivation on the island of Zanzibar. The creation of a new niche for agricultural exploitation on Zanzibar and Pemba was destined to transform the twin islands into a true commercial empire. According to English publications of the time, at the end of the eighteenth Century the introduction of cloves (Eugenya caryophyllata, of the Myrtacae, Myrtle family) altered completely the perceptions of the economic and commercial potential not, take note, in the eyes of the Europeans but in those of Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid and his Indian protégés.
Since the II Century BC envoys from Java at the Han court of China had sucked cloves to sweeten their heavy garlic breath during audiences with the emperor. Clove plants, originating in the Moluccas, were first exploited by the Dutch who grasped the commercial value of this precious, perfumed spice which also possessed medicinal properties. Around the year 1770, the French merchant, Pierre Poivre, succeeded in obtaining a few seeds with which to start a cultivation on the Mascarene Islands. It was, therefore, the French who, at the start of the XIXth Century, introduced cloves onto the island of Zanzibar.
These initial attempts proved successful, the environment being perfectly suited to this cultivation which eventually led to Zanzibar being the primary producer of cloves in the world. From available English accounts, it appears that Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid decided to invest his wealth and energy in a project of this kind. Such a move required both courage and faith, as the plants take from seven to eight years to reach maturity and produce the first blooms, and ten years for the first crop. As budding does not occur at regular periods and the buds themselves must be removed before flowering, harvesting occurs in three phases, between August and December. This requires numerous and skilled labour, especially as the plantations also need to be weeded in continuation.27
We must also bear in mind the fact that the cultivation of cloves was very similar to that of dates practised in Arabia and understood to perfection by the Arabs, who proceeded to acquire land on Zanzibar, mainly by expropriation to the coast of the Swahili. The management of land on Zanzibar was organised in three different categories: wanda, natural scrubland; kiambo, areas suitable for building upon; msitu, rural areas and lands surrounding villages. The legalised expropriation practised by the Arabs and a somewhat questionable interpretation of the juridical institution of usufruct often led to Swahili lands effectively being confiscated.
The mashamba of the Sultan of Zanzibar, initially concentrated around Mntoni and Kizimbani, gradually grew to include Bumwini, Bububu and Chiwini. In 1835, Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid possessed as many as forty-five mashamba on the island.
Clove ‘fever’, with its high profit on initial expenditure, produced a real ‘Arab’ landowning aristocracy, continually financed by the Indian mercantile communities, that slowly replaced the old Swahili aristocracy. This did not, however, cause any kind of rupture, thanks to the dexterity of the Indian exponents who gradually involved the local African elite by delegating to them certain tasks and responsibilities, thus making them active participants in this major Indian Ocean business.
On the coasts of the continent, on the contrary, society experienced significant changes due to the massive influx of slaves from the interior and of Arabs and Asians from abroad (Tabora—a key site on the commercial route towards the heart of the continent—practically became an ‘Arab’ town with a considerable Baluch presence). Thus, profound differences developed between the cultural identities of the islands, on the one hand, and the continent on the other, where, from the third decade of the XIXth Century onwards, the opening up of caravan routes wrought a true revolution in economic, military, social and cultural terms.
This agricultural turning-point rapidly undermined the traditional order, and the plantations and slaves needed to cultivate them led to the phenomenon known as ‘clove fever’.
Naturally, hand in hand with the growth of the plantations went an ever increasing demand for slaves. In 1811, of the 15,000 slaves that arrived on Zanzibar, 7,000 were destined for labour on the mashamba.28 By 1822 the plants had grown to a height of roughly four and a half metres.
T his ‘clove fever’, therefore, pushed the annual number of new slaves up from 6,000 at the start of the Century to 20,000 in the second half, and it was the clove plantations which would prove vital to Zanzibar’s economic growth. Profits, in fact, rose phenomenally from 4,600 Maria Theresa thalers in 1834 to 25,000 in 1840.29 For Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid, it was a triumph.
Britain viewed the cultivation and exportation of tropical agricultural produce with an extremely favourable eye insofar as this could represent for oriental leaders a valid economic alternative to the slave trade. The increasing number of clove plantations on Zanzibar, however, also necessitated a notable increase in the labour force. High mortality rates on the mashamba meant that almost the entire workforce had to be replaced every four years which, as we have seen, created enormous problems and far reaching changes within East African society. The confiscation of the more fertile Swahili lands, the overwhelming influx of slaves and limited numbers of the Hadimu and Tumbatu tribes present on the island resulted in these latter being relegated to the very margins of society. In addition, the arrival of Arabs, Indians and Baluch drawn by this new and profitable market further exacerbated the situation in the eyes of the English (in 1819 there were 214 Indians resident on the island).
Maritime city state of the Swahili coast had always been sustained by intimate interaction with the non-Muslims of their rural hinterlands, and this contributed also to the consolidation of the coastal identity.30
During the first half of the XIXth Century the demand for ivory came mostly from western India. The Omani Arabs exploited the old slave trade routes to the interior bringing new people to the coast of East Africa with Elephant tusks. The Mrima was the major source of ivory’s export for Zanzibar economy. The imports of cloths from India were given by the ‘Arabs’ as presents to main African chiefs of the interior and this represented a clear sign of prestige and superiority within their tribes, although agriculture remained for long periods the primary source of the Swahili coast, long before the booming introduction of commerce. Salted and smoked fish became an important item of trade: Zanzibar and Pemba islands soon developed the production of fish to provide the porters to the interior and for the very profitable exchange with ivory. Also copal resin’s demand grew during this period and was produced in Bagamoyo area and bought by the Indian traders, as well as mangrove poles for vessels to be taken to Arabia and to the Gulf.
There were three major sets of slave and ivory trade routes to the interior often safeguarded by Baluch corps: 1) the ‘southern’ route from southern ports such as Kilwa to Lake Nyasa and the highlands of the south western interior where the Nyamwezi carried tusks and other goods; 2) the ‘central’ ivory route from Bagamoyo in west and northwest directions, where the caravan trade became progressively monopolised by the Omani Arabs and by the Indian merchants; 3) the ‘northern’ route, the Masai route from Mombasa and Malindi towards Kilimanjaro where the Mijikenda were ivory hunters together with the Kamba. The Saadani caravan route did not develop an Arab merchant community, while the Pangani route led to the foundation of Ujiji around 1840 and passed through the Bondei hills and along the foot of Usambara and Pare mountains, well watered and preferred by travellers from other towns of the northern Mrima; large quantities of ivory, pembe, of soft and high quality, came from Pare and the Rift valley, and this route became the second in importance after Bagamoyo. The Taveta trading station never became dominated by coastal Muslims, as it was too dangerous.
The Nyamwezi caravan labour was cheaper than slave porters, and was seen as a way to proving manhood as initiation for young men. Caravans arrived usually in September and porters announced their approach by blowing horns and beating drums.

Mercenary Groups and Power Politics in the Western Indian Ocean
A nother important item destined to change deeply the hinterland power balances was represented by firearms: during the first half of the XIXth Century matchlocks began to appear in the hands of Omani mercenary troops, who, imported them from the Ottoman Empire and from Europe.31 The Shirazi, the Swahili important families, gradually ‘lost’ their power and were pulled apart by the Al Bu Saxid within the growing trade of Zanzibar, although they retained control of the northern caravan trade but the great wealth soon passed into ‘Arabs’ and ‘Indian’ hands. As the central route was the most controlled by Arabs, Tabora, near the heart of Unyamwezi, as we have seen above, became an ‘Arab’ town together with Ujiji. Here Baluch soldiers settled, intermarried, and soon became influencing figures. The impact of the Al Bu Saxid political power and of the Baluch military power in Zanzibar on the African hinterland was therefore destined to influencing the lives of East African men and women; considerable modifications underwent in traditional elite patterns of power relationships where client patronage perspectives never were to be the same, and where new actors were destined to emerging on the new western Indian Ocean scenario in its connections with the East African hinterland. In this regard, the ivory trade became a means of travel, adventure and wealth offering a way to modifying the status within the coastal communities. Everybody could share this ambition, but at the same time new tensions were introduced between Swahili rich families, struggling to preserve their precarious domination, and the demand of the ‘parvenus’ on whose support they relied.32
Although Great Britain in 1815, represented by Lord Castlereagh (1769–1822) had convinced the European powers to sign the agreement for abolition of the slave trade, the Arabs felt themselves in no way bound to respect its terms, and least of all Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid.
While Britain continued on its anti-slavery crusade, motivated by the more pragmatic purpose of weakening the growing mercantile fortune of the Omani Arabs and other oriental leaders—without foreseeing the enormous wealth that would result from the agricultural conversion introduced by Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid on Zanzibar —France, showing fewer scruples, took advantage of the situation to recapture some of its positions.
To the English, Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid never allowed a chance to slip by to indulge in double-crossing. On the one hand he reassured the English, and on the other he courted the French with a view to them possibly supporting him against enemy Arab tribes on the islands of Mafia and Kilwa and in Mombasa.
The combination of these ideal conditions for the slave trade, furnished by the ‘Arabs’ in East Africa, was exploited to the full by French merchants. Under the Treaty of Paris in 1815, French had regained sovereignty over the island of Bourbon.33 The French explorer, Guillain, commented that: “rapports intimes qui continuaient d’exister entre l’Arabie et la côte orientale d’Afrique, où nous avons le commerce des esclaves avait lieu de temp immémorial”.34
A synergy thus developed between Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid and France of common interest in finding new ports and commercial bases. However, after taking the potential purchase of Zanzibar and Pemba into consideration, Paris instead turned its attention towards Madagascar.35 Given the by now unrivalled supremacy of the Royal Navy, backed also by the Bombay Marine in the western stretches of the Indian Ocean, and the defeats inflicted on the pirates of the Gulf, France did not really have any other choice.36
In 1817, Lord Hastings (1754–1826), the Governor General of Bengal from 1813 to 1823, proposed strengthening Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid and supporting his power policy in East Africa.
The choice made by the Anglo-Indian Government was without doubt influenced by the difficulties caused in that period by the continual raids of pirates in ‘oriental’ waters, by the commercial and political instability afflicting the entire region and, lastly, by the presence of the French who continued to represent a threat to Great Britain.
From a study of English documents it can clearly be seen how the fickleness and political digressions of Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid were a constant cause for alarm among the British. They were perceived as constituting yet another element of insecurity in a region which was by this time the object of great interest and importance. Since a determined line had to be adopted, Hastings’ decision represented a firm stance in favour of Al Bu Saxid Sultan as a political point of reference for Britain, also in relation to those regions of East Africa in which the Omani Arab dynasty exercised an indirect form of control.
Throughout the XIXth Century the shame and humiliation of slavery in sub-Saharan East Africa had been imposed and exploited by numerous social groups for many lucrative purposes mainly originated from southern Arabia and western India. Amongst the many, the role played by the Baluch mercenaries coming from the southern coast of South-Central Asia, was identified initially within the Omani Arab elite. The Makrani-Baluch came to East Africa as soldiers, warriors, and body guards of the Arab leading dynasties. Later on during the XIXth Century, we presume, the Baluch, called bulushi in Kiswahili, took gradually knowledge of lands and people, intermarried with African women, and became traders themselves. The presence of Asians in East Africa, often identified by the available literature on the subject primarily with Indians, was therefore much more fragmented and diversified, due to the exercise of power within Arab societies of the time, and to the richness of the western shores of the Indian Ocean.
On the other side of the coasts of the western Indian Ocean, that is on South-Central Asian shores, slavery was practiced with similar patterns.
During the second half of the XIXth Century, more precisely in 1874, a group belonging to the tribe of the Rind from eastern Baluchistan bought domestic slaves at Gwadar;37 they came from the coasts of East Africa. This gave rise to a conflict of interests between the Rind and the representative (Naxib) of the Khan of Kalat in Kej (today’s Turbat, capital of Makran); a conflict which ended in bloodshed and saw the death of four members of the “blue-blooded tribe” of Baluchistan. Sir Robert G. Sandeman (1835–1892), the Deputy-Commissioner of Dera Ghazi Khan, affirmed that the death of four members of the Rind tribe had nothing to do with the slave trade at Gwadar. Sandeman, as described by biographers of the time was very charismatic and ambitious, understood the psychology of intertribal relations much better than his Political Agents, his representatives, as, in his opinion, they were not able to identify the real causes of tribe conflicts between the members of the Baluchistan groups.38 In this regard he reminded: “domestic slavery is a time honoured institution in Baluchistan as in other eastern countries, and much of the land is cultivated by slave labour . . . at the same time it must be remembered that many of the ideas attaching to the word ‘slavery’, which are so repellent to civilized minds, are absent from the manners of the Baluch tribes”.39 This affirmation by Sandeman could be interpreted in different ways: for example as eurocentrist and full of contempt for local populations. Nevertheless, the following elements suggested different interpretations of the “justification” of slavery in Asia within a wider scenario: the strategic importance of Baluchistan within Anglo-Russian rivalry; the second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80); the recent construction of the telegraph line which connected Calcutta to London (Indo-European Telegraph Line) after the political consequences of the Great Mutiny in India of 1857; the growing importance of the North West Frontier of British India; the need for definition of the borders between Persia and the Khanate of Kalat which begun with the Commission directed by Sir Frederic Goldsmid in 1870 and ended with the sign of an Agreement in Teheran on 24 September in 1872.40
In 1877 Sandeman became the Agent to the Governor General and Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan. During the first years of the XXth Century, the British measures adopted against the slave trade contributed to diminishing the number of slaves from East Africa; to this reduction corresponded a new slave trade of Baluch origin, as testimonied by the trade in Asians coming from the coast of Baluchistan directed to Arabia to be sold in Arab markets during the first decades of the XXth Century.41 As clear proof, on 20 May 1903 the responsible Agent of Jask area sent a telegram to the Director of the Persian Gulf section in Karachi saying that: “a great number of them are brought to these places from the Kej district . . . not only Africans but low caste Baluchis are now being sold by petty headmen”.42 The poorest among the Baluch were sold as slaves, and the cause was the following: “the reason there is such a demand for slaves from these parts, is that the trade from the African Coast has been effectually stopped, and Baluchistan is the only place now open to them”.43 The Baluch were collected within the district of Kej and sent as slaves also in Persian territory.44 Baluch slave women had their heads totally razed, then covered with quicklime, so that their hair could not grow, rendering them perfectly unrecognizable to their own tribes, and forbidding them coming back to their places of origin.

Conclusion
To conclude, the role of Baluch mercenary groups within the slave trade in sub-Saharan East Africa was represented by a specific ethnic group who was enslaved in South-Central Asia by other groups in a much more powerful position; and this was a continuous process of shame and humiliation of weak and desperate people in this maritime part of the world, and a process of different perceptions held by various powers between the land and the seaboard areas.

Acknowledgement
I am grateful to Dr. Shihan de Silva Jayasuriya, King’s College, University of London, for her comments on a previous draft of this article.

Abbreviations
A.G.G. : Agent to the Governor-General B.A. : Baluchistan Archives, Quetta, Pakistan C.O.Q.D.A. : Commissioner of Quetta Archives, Pakistan H.S.A. : Home Secretariat Archives, Quetta, Pakistan H .S.A.—B.A. A.G.G. OFFICE Records, File 292/1874 Misc., Slavery in Baluchistan. The Gazetteer of Baluchistan (Makran), Quetta, 1906 (repr. 1986), pp. 98–101. H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office—Essential Records, Baluchistan Archives, Complaint about existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901, Political, 5–2/57. H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office—Essential Records, From the A.G.G. to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, Quetta, 25 March, 1884, Report n. 942; Selections from the Records of the Government of India. Foreign Department, No. CCXI, First Administration Report of the Baluchistan Agency, Calcutta, 1886, p. 290. H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Assistant Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Telegram dated 20th May, 1903. H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Assistant Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Extract of a Letter n. 11 dated 28th March, 1904. H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from Russell, Under Secretary to the Government of India to the A.G.G. Quetta, 1903, File 23, n. 1510.

References
1 B. Nicolini, “The 19th century Slave Trade in the Western Indian Ocean: the Role of the Baloch Mercenaries”, in Carina Jahani, Agnes Koru, Paul Titus (Eds.), The Baloch and Others: Linguistic, historical and sociopolitical perspectives on Pluralism in Balochistan, Wiesbaden (Reichert) 2008, 81–106. The transliteration of Arabic names here follow a simplified system of the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Cd Rom Edition, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, 1999.
2  From now on the Persian/Arab Gulf will be referred to as the Gulf.
3 On the history of slavery in Islamic African societies, amongst the many, see Lovejoy, The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery; Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa; Lovejoy, Africans in Bondage: Studies in slavery and the slave trade in honour of Philip D. Curtin; Cooper, From Slaves to Squatters: Plantation Labor and Agriculture in Zanzibar and Coastal Kenya; Pouwels & Levtzion (Eds.), The History of Islam in Africa; see the papers presented at the Conference on Slavery, Islam, and Diaspora, H. Tubman Resource Centre on the African Diaspora, Department of History, York University, Toronto, Canada, 24–26 October, 2003 where it was considered that comprehensive study on slavery was needed.
4 Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic Law, p. 127; Sheriff, “The Twilight of Slavery in the Persian Gulf”. pp. 23–37.
5 Lodhi, Oriental Influences in Swahili. A Study in Language and Culture Contacts, pp. 46–47.
6 Glassman, Feasts and Riot, Revelry, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856–1888, pp. 79–114.
7 On the lively debate on the question of slavery, amongst many, see Heuman, Slavery, The Slave Trade, and Abolition, in Winks (Ed.), Historiography, The Oxford History of the British Empire, pp. 315–326.
8 Barendse, The Arabian Seas: The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century.
9  Miles, Notes on the Tribes of Oman by L.C.S.B. Miles, p. 94.
10  Sykes, Ten Thousands Miles in Persia, p. 108.
11  Hourani, Arab Seafaring, p. 89.
12 Glassman, The Bondsman’s new clothes: the contradictory consciousness of slave resistance on the Swahili Coast, pp. 277–312.
13 A claim that has been interpreted in many conflicting ways. Nicolini, Makran, Oman and Zanzibar: Three Terminal Cultural Corridor in the western Indian Ocean (1799–1856).
14 Davies, The Blood-Red Arab Flag. An Investigation into Qasimi Piracy 1797–1820, p. 55.
15 Akinola, Slavery and Slave Revolts in the Sultanate of Zanzibar in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 215–228.
16 Clarence-Smith, The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century: An Overview; Martin, Ryan, A Quantitative Assessment of the Arab Slave Trade of East Africa, 1770–1896; Alpers, Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa; Alpers, The East African Slave Trade; Gray & Birmingham, Pre-Colonial African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900; Manning, Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental and African Slave Traders.
17 Clarence-Smith, Slavery and Islam, pp. 22 onwards; Toledano, Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East.
18 Vercellin, Tra veli e turbanti. Rituali sociali e vita privata nei mondi dell’Islam, pp. 186–191.
19 See the extensive archival documentation contained in Thomas Clarkson Papers e Liverpool Papers, The British Library, London. McCaskie, Cultural Encounters: Britain and Africa in the Nineteenth Century, pp. 665–689.
20  H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office—Essential Records, Baluchistan Archives, Complaint about existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901, Political, 5–2/57. Nicolini & Redaelli, Quetta: history and Archives. Note of a Survey of the Archives of Quetta, pp. 401–414.
21 Ylvisaker, The Ivory Trade in the Lamu Area 1600–1870.
22 Sheriff, Slaves, Spices & Ivory in Zanzibar: Integration of an East African Commercial Empire into the World Economy, 1770–1873, p. 81.
23  Rockel, “‘A Nation of Porters’: the Nyamwezy and the Labour Market in Nineteenth-Century Tanzania”, pp. 173–195.
24 At the end of the XIXth Century, Hamed bin Muhammad Al Murjebi, nicknamed Tippu Tip, owned 7 mashamba and 10,000 slaves in Africa, a capital worth approximately 50,000 Maria Theresa thalers in total. Farrant, Tippu Tip and the East African Slave Trade. Tippu Tip’s family has not died out, the last descendant of this great XIXth Century slave and ivory trader was a doctor in Muscat, Oman in 1993.
25 Wilkinson, The Imamate Tradition of Oman, p. 60.
26 Nicolini, A Glimpse to Indian Merchant Communities in Zanzibar during 1800: the Topan Family through British Archival Sources, paper presented to the International Conference TADIA/UNESCO, The African Diaspora in Asia, Goa, January, 2006.
27 The cultivation of cloves on Pemba was less successful than on Zanzibar due to a cyclone which destroyed most of the plants in the first decades of the XIXth Century. Bennett, A History of the Arab State of Zanzibar, pp. 28–29.
28 Bhacker, Trade and Empire in Muscat and Zanzibar: Roots of British Domination, p. 128.
29 Clara Semple, The Society for Arabian Studies, London, affirmed that, since 1763, testimonies of German Crowns minted in Austria came from Yemen and, even earlier, from Jedda; many coins were sent on from Arabia to India during the XIXth Century. The silver content of the thalers was kept constant at 833.3/1000, therefore it was considered very reliable, unlike the Spanish dollar which was debased, although it had a higher silver content. Also the Maria Theresa thaler could not be ‘clipped’ because it had an elaborate edge inscription and this made it very popular—spreading throughout the western Indian Ocean even reaching Central Asian bazaars—and people soon began to trust it. Semple, Silver Legend, The Story of the Maria Theresa Thaler.
30  Glassman, Feasts and Riot, p. 33 on.
31  Nicolini, The Traffic of Arms and Ammunitions in the Gulf and in the Western Indian Ocean between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century, paper presented to the International Conference ‘The Global Gulf’, Exeter University, Exeter, July 2006.
32  Glassman, Feasts and Riots, p. 78.
33  The Treaty of Paris, 20 November 1815, provided for the restitution of the island of Bourbon. Complete text in De Martens, Nouveau Recueil de Traités de l’Europe, Traité de Paix du 20 Nov. 1815 avec les Conventions Speciales, pp. 682 onwards.
34 Guillain, Documents sur l’Histoire, La Geographie et le Commerce de l’Afrique Orientale, p. 162.
35 Mosca, Il più bell’enigma del mondo: il popolamento dell’isola del Madagascar. Alcune riflessioni in merito.
36 On 23 March 1819 the Government of Bourbon stipulated a secret Treaty with the Sultan of Kilwa, under the terms of which French would provide military support to the Sultan in exchange for support in retaking Pemba, Zanzibar and the island of Mafia from Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid for which the French would recognise the authority of the Sultan of Kilwa over the island of Pemba. This treaty was to remain only in French hands to prevent the Sultan from showing it to the English, but it never, in fact, came into effect. The Ministère de la Maison du Roi feared British naval superiority and, as a result of further political complications in Europe, the French decided not to place their relations with the increasingly important Saiyid Saxid bin Sultan Al Bu Saxid at stake.
37  H.S.A.—B.A. A.G.G. OFFICE Records, File 292/1874 Misc., Slavery in Baluchistan. The Gazetteer of Baluchistan (Makran), Quetta, 1906 (repr. 1986), pp. 98–101.
38 Piacentini & Redaelli (Eds.), Baluchistan: Terra Incognita. A new methodological approach combining archaeological, historical, anthropological and architectural studies.
39 H .S.A.—A.G.G. Office—Essential Records, From the A.G.G. to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, Quetta, 25 March, 1884, Report n. 942; Selections from the Records of the Government of India. Foreign Department, No. CCXI, First Administration Report of the Baluchistan Agency, Calcutta, 1886, p. 290.
40 Piacentini, Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the 19th Century, pp. 189–203.
41 H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office—Essential Records, Complaint about existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901, Political 5–2/57.
42 H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Ass. Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Telegram dated 20th May, 1903.
43  H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Ass. Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Extract of a Letter n. 11 dated 28th March, 1904.
44 H.S.A.—A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903–1905, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from Russell, Under Secr. to the Gov. of India to the A.G.G. Quetta, 1903, File 23, n. 1510.

Bibliography 
AA. VV. 1999 The Encyclopaedia of Islam, CD Rom Edition, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. A kinola , G. A. 1972 “Slavery and Slave Revolts in the Sultanate of Zanzibar in the Nineteenth Century”, Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. 6(2): 215–228. A lpers , E. A. 1967 Ivory and Slaves in East Central Africa. Changing Patterns of International Trade in East Central Africa to the late Nineteenth Century, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. A lpers , E. A. 1975 “The East African Slave Trade”, Historical Association of Tanzania. 3(1). Barendse, R. 2001 The Arabian Seas: The Indian Ocean World of the Seventeenth Century, East Gate Book, New York: M.E. Sharp. B ennett , N. R. 1987 “A History of the Arab State of Zanzibar”, Studies in East African History. 3(4): 28–29. B hacker , M. R. 1992 Trade and Empire in Muscat and Zanzibar: Roots of British Domination, London: Routledge. C larence -S mith , W. G. 1989 The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century: An Overview, in, W. G. Clarence-Smith (Ed.), The Economics of the Indian Ocean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century, London: F. Cass. C larence -S mith , W. G. 2006 Slavery and Islam, New York: Oxford University Press. C ooper , F. 1980 From Slaves to Squatters: Plantation Labor and Agriculture in Zanzibar and Coastal Kenya, 1890–1925, New Haven, New York: Yale University Press. D avies , C. E. 1997 The Blood-Red Arab Flag. An Investigation into Qasimi Piracy 1797–1820, Exeter: Exeter University Press. D e M artens , G. F. 1818 Nouveau Recueil de Traités de l’Europe, Traité de Paix du 20 Nov. 1815 avec les Conventions Speciales, Tome II, 1814–15, Gottinge. G lassman , J. 1 991 “The Bondsman’s new clothes: the contradictory consciousness of slave resistance on the Swahili Coast”, Journal of African History. 32(2). G lassman , J. 1995 Feasts and Riot, Revelry, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856–1888, London: J. Currey. G ray , R. & B irmingham , D. 1970 Pre-Colonial African Trade: Essays on Trade in Central and Eastern Africa before 1900, London: Oxford University Press. G uillain , M. 1856 Documents sur l’Histoire, La Geographie et le Commerce de l’Afrique Orientale, 3 vols., Paris: Bertrand. H euman , G. 1999 Slavery, The Slave Trade, and Abolition, in Winks R. W. (Ed.), Historiography, The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. V, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
H ourani , G. F.  1995 Arab Seafaring, I ed. 1951, revised and expanded edition by J. Carswell, Princeton: Princeton University Press.  L odhi , A.  2000 Oriental Influences in Swahili. A Study in Language and Culture Contacts, Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis.  L ovejoy , P.  1983 Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa, “African Studies Series” 36.  L ovejoy , P.  1986 Africans in Bondage: Studies in slavery and the slave trade in honour of Philip D. Curtin, Madison: African Studies Program.  L ovejoy , P.  1997 “The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery”, Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation. 2(1).  M anning , P.  1990 “Slavery and African Life: Occidental, Oriental and African Slave Traders”, African Studies Series. 5(2).  M artin , E. B. & R yan , T. C. I.  1977 “A Quantitative Assessment of the Arab Slave Trade of East Africa, 1770–1896”, Kenya Historical Review. 5(1): 71–91.  M c C askie , T. C.  1999 Cultural Encounters: Britain and Africa in the Nineteenth Century, in, Porter, A. (Ed.) The Oxford History of the British Empire, vol. 3, Oxford: Oxford University Press.  M iles , S. B.  1984 Notes on the Tribes of {Oman by L. C. S. B. Miles, 27 May 1881, in, Sirhan I. S. I. Sirhan (Ed.), Annals of Oman to 1728, Cambridge: The Oleander Press.  M osca , L.  1994 Il più bell’enigma del mondo: il popolamento dell’isola del Madagascar. Alcune riflessioni in merito, C.S.I.: Napoli.  N icolini , B. & R edaelli , R.  1994 “Quetta: History and Archives. Note of a Survey of the Archives of Quetta”, Nuova Rivista Storica. 78(2): 401–414.  N icolini , B.  2004 Makran, Oman and Zanzibar: Three Terminal Cultural Corridor in the western Indian Ocean (1799–1856), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers.  P iacentini , F. V.  1991 Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the 19th Century, in Scarcia Amoretti B.—Rostagno L. (Eds.), Yad Nama. In Memoria di Alessandro Bausani, 2 vols., Rome: 189–203.  P iacentini , F. V. & R edaelli , R. ( Eds .)  2003 Baluchistan: Terra Incognita. A new methodological approach combining archaeological, historical, anthropological and architectural studies, Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.  P ouwels , R. & L evtzion , N. ( Eds .)  2000 The History of Islam in Africa, Athens: Ohio University Press.  R ockel , S. 2 000 “‘A Nation of Porters’: the Nyamwezy and the Labour Market in Nineteenth-Century Tanzania”, Journal of African History. 41: 173–195.  S emple , C. A.  2005 Silver Legend, The Story of the Maria Theresa Thaler, Barzan Studies in Arabian Culture, 1, Manchester: Barzan Publishing.
S chacht , J.  1993 An Introduction to Islamic Law, I ed. Oxford, 1964, II ed. Hong Kong.  S heriff , A.  1987 Slaves, Spices & Ivory in Zanzibar: Integration of an East African Commercial Empire into the World Economy, 1770–1873, Athens: Ohio University Press.  S heriff , A. 2 005 “The Twilight of Slavery in the Persian Gulf”, in, A. Sheriff (Ed.), ZIFf Journal Monsoons and Migrations. 2: 23–37.  S ykes , P. M.  1902 Ten Thousand Miles in Persia, London: C. Scribner’s Sons.  T oledano , E. R.  1998 Slavery and Abolition in the Ottoman Middle East, Seattle: University of Washington Press.  V ercellin , G.  2000 Tra veli e turbanti. Rituali sociali e vita privata nei mondi dell’Islam, Venezia: Marsilio.  W ilkinson , J. C.  1987 The Imamate Tradition of Oman, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Y lvisaker , M.  1982 “The Ivory Trade in the Lamu Area 1600–1870”, in, J. De V. Allen and T. H. Wilson (Eds.), “From Zinj to Zanzibar”, Paideuma. 28: 221–231.
___________________
Courtesy: Uncovering the History of Africans in Asia
LEIDEN • BOSTON 2008
© 2008 Koninklijke Brill NV

 
Comments Off on The Makran-Baluch-African Network In Zanzibar And East-Africa During The XIX Century

Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Balochistan

 

The Tupak Of The Jemadar: Notes On The Baluch Presence Along The Swahili Coast During The Nineteenth Century

By Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini
Faculty of Political and Social Science
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Lombardy, Italy

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini (2)

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini

 Abstract
Between the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century, it was the blood-red flag of the Omanis that formed a tie, and not merely in the figurative sense, between the ports of Makran-Baluchistan, the principal ports of Oman itself, and the ports along the Swahili coast from Mogadishu to Kilwa. This short note aims to re-read Baluch presence during nineteenth century’s Swahili coast during the ‘apogee’ with the ‘Arabs’ from Oman, as well as its potential influence on local society.

The Tupak was the muzzle-loading musket used by the Baluch soldiers of the Omani Sultans, and the Jemadar (Jamadar, Jam’dar) was the chieftain representative as well as the Baluch commander in the Sultans’ Omani army. The Baluch in Africa were brought between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the Omani Arabs as soldiers; once settled, their culture has undergone quite a metamorphosis from the end of the eighteenth century on. Traditional Baluch lifestyle gradually melted with the Swahili one. Baluch ancestors interacted with local people and assimilated to become part of the cultural and social life of the region. It must be noted however, that they did not lose their identity. Language and culture apart, the Baluch in Africa did maintain an identity from the rest of the people.

The famous British explorer, Richard Francis Burton (1872:16-17), once said, “Of the gladdest moments in human life, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Burton so expressed his feelings while sailing to Zanzibar during the second half of the nineteenth century.  The feelings of the Baluch soldiers sailing during much earlier times and in much different conditions from the coast of Makran to the Swahili coast1 were certainly less enthusiastic and romantic, although their sailings could have been pushed by similar emotions.

From the nineteenth century on, it was the blood-red flag of the Omanis that formed a tie, and not merely in the figurative sense, between the Omani enclave of the port of Gwadar in Makran-Baluchistan, the principal ports of Oman itself such as Muscat, Matrah, and Sur, and the Swahili coast from Mogadishu to Kilwa. This short note wishes to re-read Baluch presence during nineteenth century’s Swahili coast during the ‘apogee’ with the ‘Arabs’ from Oman, as well as its potential influence on local society. The Tupak was the muzzle-loading musket used by the Baluch soldiers, and the Jemadar was the chieftain representative as well as the Baluch commander in the Sultans’ Omani army. The Baluch in Africa were brought by the Omani Arabs as soldiers; once settled, their culture has undergone quite a metamorphosis from the end of the eighteenth century on. Traditional Baluch lifestyle gradually melted with the Swahili one. Baluch ancestors interacted with local people and assimilated to become part of the cultural and social life of the region. It must be noted however, that they did not loose their identity. Language and culture apart, the Baluch in East Africa did maintain an identity from the rest of the people.

In this regard, while many trace the African elements in Asian cultures and societies in general, and in Baluch culture and society in particular (During, 1997:39-56), we would like to re-examine the role of the Baluch elements into African culture and society. Thanks to research carried on in the Baluchistan Archives combined with research in the British Archives, and field work conducted in Pakistani Baluchistan, in the Sultanate of Oman, in the United Arab Emirates, and in the United Republic of Tanzania, Baluch presence in the Gulf and throughout the western Indian Ocean was apparently closely connected with piracy, and measures taken by the British authorities against slave trade during the nineteenth century (Nicolini and Redaelli, 1994:401-414). Illicit traffic of arms and ammunitions was flourishing on the shores of the Gulf and of the Indian Ocean, and the prohibition orders were simply ignored and weapons were obtainable in large quantities.

Starting from the nineteenth century, the level of influence on trade routes ‘controlled’ by Muslim merchants in the Gulf and in the Indian Ocean was high (Sweet, 1964:262-280; Shariff, 2001:301-318; Risso, 1995). The growing strategic importance of the Indian Ocean as a watering highway was soon to becoming the focal point of world politics, making the region the pivot of world affairs. The promotion of arms trade and its influence has been not only a source of complex relationships between different people and different cultures and religions, but also played an important role in searching for peace among all the littorals of the Swahili coast.

The coastal region of Baluchistan, Makran, since ancient times, did hold a historical strategic position as the most direct route between the Middle East and the riches of the Indian subcontinent. Covering an area of 62,000 squared kilometres, Makran forms the southern most strip of Baluchistan province. As there is hardly any rain, the few villages and settlements depend on spring water and wells (qanat/kariz) (Piacentini and Redaelli, 2003). The coast has several small fishing villages while main ports like Gwadar, Ormara, Jiwani and Pasni have fishing harbours where the fishermen can be seen coming in with their catch every morning and evening; and where Makrani Baluch used to trade with all the maritime world of the past in the western Indian Ocean.

The port of Gwadar lies on the coastal area of Makran (Nicolini, 2002:281-286). Its dry climate combined with the natural geographical features make one of the most daunting environments for successful human habitation. Therefore, it is sparsely populated. Makran was, and still represents today, a place of refuge for innumerable dissidents, rebels and fugitives. Among the first were, as stated above, the Omanis, who gradually imposed their power on the main coastal centres. The case of Gwadar was of particular interest as the town, its port and the surrounding territory were granted as a jagir (a temporary grant of land exempted from taxation) from the khans of Kalat to the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman. From a jagir Gwadar soon assumed the status of an enclave of the Sultanate of Oman.2

As close connections always existed between the two countries, the Omani presence in the Makran region eased the control of the local trade and of the regional and tribal mechanisms of power. The strategic role played by the port of Gwadar in the illegal traffic of arms and ammunitions coming from Europe to the Gulf and directed to East Africa had been essential.  So essential that during the second half of the nineteenth century, Sir Olaf Caroe did write, “The strategic value of Baluchistan, the desolation of the region is a resource”. It offers what Tucker called ‘space power’ (Brobst, 2005:82-83). It is interesting to note that, once in Africa, and having consolidated their military power on behalf of the Omani Sultans along the Swahili coast, some elements among these groups did not remain soldiers and started trading activities. Baluch settled and started different activities linked to the slave and ivory trade – the main merchandises of the time (Lobo, 2000:25; Kusimba, 1999). Therefore, Baluch role along the Swahili coast throughout 1800 was destined to considerable impact on local societies, and to significant modifications in its main motivations and objects. The result was an important contribution to Swahili culture and society, and to relevant changes within Swahili ‘traditional’ customs (Spear, 2000:339-373)3. Obviously, it must be noted that Baluch activities did not make them so wealthy according to the legendary prosperities described by most of the available literature. The wealth of the Sultans of Zanzibar, as well as the luxury of their court was different in reality. Consequently, Baluch role has been studied as closely, and often exclusively, related to the military and defensive role within the groups of Oman. It is believed that Baluch groups were found only along the Swahili coast littorals and in the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba; but they developed trading relationships into the hinterland of East Africa. Only few Arabs went to the interior of Africa, e.g. traders like for example Tippu Tip and his father who claimed to be Arabs. Swahili settlements were also viewed as Arab mainly due to the Islamic nature of their behaviour. The close connections between the Omani Sultans and their Baluch soldiers and body guards represented the crucial issue; the loyalty was the prerequisite for the recognition by the Arabs of Oman to their soldiers, and from the nineteenth century onwards, descendants of Baluch soldiers were absorbed into new categories and played new roles within Swahili society and economy (Middleton, 1992:97).

Starting from the end of the eighteenth century and for all of the nineteenth, as already stated, it was precisely the warriors of these South-Central Asian groups who protected, hid, supported and faithfully defended the Al Bu Sa’id of Oman, thanks also to the tribal structure and clan-family relationships of their society which, traditionally nomadic, could count on both ‘Makran’, on encompassing today’s Iranian and Pakistani coasts, as well as ‘peninsular’ and ‘continental’ solidarity. From the accounts of travellers, explorers and European officials of the time, we see emerging among other groups of Baluch along the Swahili coast the Hot, the Rind and the Nousherwani (Miles, 1881:94). These three groups were identified in archival available sources, although we assume that other Baluch groups were present on the field and in battles both in Arabia and in Africa.

The Baluch from the coastal Asian region of Makran were pushed from the extreme misery of their country towards Persia and towards the coasts of Arabia. Here, they offered themselves to the Omani Sultans as soldiers, sailors and bodyguards for pay that, though even modest, could represent the difference between life and death for them and for their families. During the nineteenth century the condition of life of these people in Makran was so hard that the British explorer Sykes vividly described it as terrible and miserable.

At that time, the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba were administered by governors representing Sa’id bin Sultan Al Bu Sa’id (r.1806-1856) and exercised all power on his behalf. The military support furnished by these representatives with extensive authority over the islands and their affairs, consisted of special troops of proven trustworthiness, that is to say, Baluch corps ‘closely tied’ to the Al Bu Sa’id by fundamentally economic agreements. The loyalty these Baluch soldiers had for the Omani ruling family at a time when there was much anarchy amongst the groups of Oman, earned them lasting trust with the Sultan who deployed them to guard all his palaces and interests in the region.

The first settlers on the East African coast were, as stated above, the Baluch soldiers, who until the establishment of the Sultanate in the 1840s, maintained army posts in the major centres of Mombasa, Zanzibar and Pemba. These men inter-married with the local Waswahili and were quickly assimilated into their culture and society. They were later followed by whole families who left Baluchistan in the hope of finding better life along the Swahili coast, which arose at the time as an important manufacturing centre and only later became the hub of international maritime trade with Asia (Kusimba, 2008:22). Most of the Baluch came from Kasarkand, although their brothers later followed them in from Sarbaz, Lur and Muscat. Although the life and times of Baluch on the Swahili coast during 1800 is quite obscure, it seems however that Mombasa was the major Baluch settlement at the time. According to Lane (Lane, 1993:133-141), it is believed that the first non-African to go into Maasailand was a Baluch, so too was the first non-African to be welcomed into the royal court of the Kabaka of Buganda. As they moved inland, the Baluch founded cluster communities in Djugu and Bunia in the Congo; Soroti, Arua and Kampala in Uganda; and Iringa, Tabora, Mbeya and Rujewa in Tanzania; probably there was a Baluch family in almost every main Swahili town.

The Baluch settled in Mombasa and developed a more cosmopolitan lifestyle, preferring to engage in small real estate ventures and trade, or keeping employment with the Omanis and later, the British. Those who lived in the fertile hills of Uganda and Tanzania flourished in the farming and trading industries. The mercantile skills and business acumen of the Baluch earned them high regard amongst the various communities in which they settled. This can also be said of the small but vibrant Nairobi community.

Since the first half of the nineteenth century, the Bulushi (pl. Mabulushi) Swahili communities – mainly from Persian origins – settled in Saa-teeni, outside Zanzibar town, in Fort Jesus in Mombasa, and later on in the Unyanyembe. The introduction of military terms such as jemadari (commander), singe (bayonet), bunduki (rifle), habedari (attention), have been identified into Kiswahili from Persian Baluch (Lodhi, 2000:62).

In regard to the political leadership along the Swahili coast, during the nineteenth century the local Omani-Arabs governors on main African trading ports often enjoyed the support of the local, autochthonous Swahili aristocracy, mainly merchants. They were tied to the Omani elite by mutual interests in the exploitation of the rich resources, offered by the eastern shores of Africa (Glassman, 1991:277-312; Lodhi, 2000).

Without a shadow of a doubt, European rivalry in the Gulf and in the western waters of the Indian Ocean from the start of the nineteenth century on, combined with related upheavals in power and strategy, had a decisive impact also on the deviation of the maritime routes followed by slave trade. Clearly, however, the ‘ability’ of the Omani Sultan in exploiting such political contingencies was also to carry a certain weight. These, therefore, were some of the causes on which Sa’id bin Sultan Al Bu Sa’id and the Asian mercantile communities, both Muslim and Hindu, built their commercial emporium in the face of inevitable conflict with the English in the Gulf over the question of piracy (Davies, 1997; Risso, 1995; Nicolini, 2006).

A complex exchange network soon developed between the interior and the Swahili coast, leading to the introduction of rice cultivation in the interior in those areas under ‘Arab dominion’ such as Tabora, Nungwe, in modern-day northern Congo, and in nearby Kasongo. On the coasts of the continent, on the contrary, local societies experienced significant changes due to the massive influx of slaves from the interior and of Arabs and Asians from abroad. Tabora, a key site on the commercial route towards the heart of the continent practically became an ‘Arab town’, with considerable Baluch presence (Reid, 1998:73-89). Thus, considerable differences developed between the cultural identities of the coast and the islands, on the one hand; and the interior of the continent on the other, where, from the third decade of the nineteenth century onwards, the opening up of caravan routes wrought a ‘revolution’ in economic, social and cultural terms.

Maritime ports of the Swahili coast had always been sustained by intimate interaction with the non-Muslims of their rural hinterlands, and this contributed also to the consolidation of the coastal identity (Glassman, 1994:33). Nevertheless, Rockel reminds us that Unyamwezi, the heart of the ivory trade and the home of most male caravan porters, was not a major source of slaves; rather, it was a region that imported slaves. Caravans arrived at the coast usually in September and porters announced their approach by blowing horns and beating drums (Rockel, 2000:173-195; Rockel, 2006).

Another important item destined to alter the power balances was represented, as stated above, by firearms, the Tupak of the skilled Baluch Jemadar, soldiers. During the first half of the nineteenth century matchlocks began to appear in the hands of Omani mercenary troops – composed also of Baluch – who imported them from the Ottoman Empire and from Europe. As is well known, Omani interests did not converge only on the island of Zanzibar and on the seaboard of the mainland in front of it; the Al Bu Sa’id, and their Baluch troops, moved down to Mozambique (Hawley, 1982:29-39; Pouwels, 2002:385-425). In this regard, a clear sign of the consistency of the Omani military aspirations along the coasts of East Africa during the first half of the nineteenth century were the political and diplomatic initiatives between the Portuguese and Oman. In 1830 the representatives of the Lisboa Crown in Lourenço Marquez (the present Maputo) sent to the Sultan of Oman what follows:

“27 de Março de 1830,  Relaçao dos artigos enviados para o imamo de Mascate, com indicação do respectivo valor: 1 espingarda de 2 canos e um par de pistolas também de 2 canos (150 pesos), uma bengala de abada con castão de ouro (70 pesos), una moldura com vidro para o retrato do rei (10 pesos); para embaixador do imamo havia sido dispensido o valor de outra bengala (20 pesos) e de um par de pistolas de um cano (12 pesos)”. 4

Tabora, near the heart of Unyamwezi, as we have seen above, became an ‘Arab’ town together with Ujiji. Here Baluch soldiers settled, intermarried, and soon became powerful figures. There were obviously considerable modifications in the traditional elites’ patterns of power relationships, where client-patronage perspectives never were to be the same, and where new actors were destined to emerging on the new western Indian Ocean scenario in its connections with the East African hinterland. Everybody could share this ambition but at the same time new tensions were introduced between Swahili rich families, struggling to preserve their precarious domination, and the demand of the ‘parvenus’ on whose support they relied (Glassman, 1991:277-312).

Throughout the nineteenth century the shame and humiliation of slavery in East Africa had been imposed and exploited by numerous social groups for many lucrative purposes mainly originating from southern Arabia and western India. Baluch were part of this framework. To this regard, the British explorer Stanley wrote:

“… this personage with a long trailing turban, was Jemadar Esau, commander of the Zanzibar force of soldiers, police, or Baluch gendarmes stationed at Bagamoyo. He had accompanied Speke and Grant a good distance into the interior, and they had rewarded him liberally. He took upon himself the responsibility of assisting in the debarkation of the expedition, and unworthy as was his appearance, disgraceful as he was in his filth, I here commend him for his influence over the rabble to all future East African travellers …” (Stanley, 1872).

And from another British testimony by Lieutenant General R.S.S. Baden-Powell: “… The first visitor from the outer world to come into the Uganda was a Baluch soldier, named Isau bin Hussein, of Zanzibar, who, in 1849 or in 1850, flying from his creditors, finally reached the court of Suna, King of Uganda. On account of his beard they named him ‘Muzagaya’ (‘The Hairy One’), and he became a power in the land. Through him the people there first heard of the Arabs and of white men, of whose existence only vague reports, treated as fairy tales, had hitherto reached them. The rumour arose among them that they too were originally descended from a white race …” (Kirkland, 1998).

During the second half of the nineteenth century, the growing effectiveness of British measures aimed at abolition caused a reduction in the availability of East African slaves. This lack was, however, partly compensated for by Asiatic slaves, as shown by the commerce in Asian people from the coast of Baluchistan destined to be sold in the squares of Arabia. And this was one of the alternative slave routes in the western Indian Ocean.

We confirm the theory which maintains that in the Indian Ocean, people of African origin may have moved to India and to the Gulf as free people as well as slaves – more than 70% (about 1,500) of soldiers in Oman were African from East Africa – and Asians were moved to Africa and Southeast Asia as slaves or moved as traders or indentured labourers (Mujitaba, 2000; Jayasuriya and Angenot, 2008). Here the Baluch moved as Jemadari, as soldiers, and as body guards to the Omani Sultans, and represented with their firearms their military and defensive strength in Africa. Later on, they settled and started different economic activities; the Baluch did acquire social status and considered themselves ‘better than the Africans’, while on the South-Central Asian coasts they were enslaved themselves by other ethnic groups in a much more powerful positions (Nicolini, 2007:384-396).5 To conclude, the role of the Baluch on the Swahili coast was deeply interconnected with the role played by the Omani Sultans; therefore, they were mercenaries within the slave trade along the Swahili coast during the nineteenth century which was generally ‘controlled’ by Omani-Arabs and was represented by many diversified groups. It was an endless process of power relationships within slave societies in the Indian Ocean. The conservation of Baluch cultural identity in Africa is a peculiarity of some descendants of the nineteenth century courageous Asian warriors although restricted to few small enclaves.

Our sincere hope is that the history of the Baluch, for a too long time considered the “black fellows” of the Gulf (Peterson, 2004: 32-51) will acquire the dignity it deserves also within Indian Ocean history, and will not remain a history still mere footnotes at best.

References
1  With the broad term Swahili coast, we would like to identify a cultural space which stretches from Cape Guardafui to Cabo Delgado. See for example Middleton, J. (1992). The World of the Swahili. An African Mercantile Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp.184-200.
2 Report of the British Commissioner for the joint Anglo-Persian Boundary Commission: F. Goldsmid, Eastern Persia: An Account of the Journey of the Persian Boundary Commission, 1870-1890. London. 1876. Goldsmid, F.J. 1863. Report by Col. Goldsmid on the Claims of Persia, Khelat and Muscat to Sovereign Rights on the Mekran Coast, Political Department. Bombay. 19 December.  3 The intense debate on the role of the Swahili culture and civilization is not the main focus of this note. Amongst the many, see for example T. Spear. 2000. Swahili History and Society to 1900: A Classified Bibliography. History in Africa. Vol. 27: 339-373; D. Nurse & T.J. Hinnenbush. 1993. Swahili and Sabaki: A Linguistic History. University of California Publications in Linguistics. 121. Berkeley and Los Angeles. University of California Press; M. Horton. 1996. Shanga. The Archaeology of a Muslim Trading Community on the Coast of East Africa. Memoirs of the British Institute of East Africa. 14. London. The British Institute in Eastern Africa; T. Spear. 2000. Early Swahili History Reconsidered. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Vol. 33, No. 2: 257-290; R.L. Pouwels. 2001. A Reply to Spear on Early Swahili History. The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Vol. 34. No. 3: 639-646; C.M. Eastman, 1971. Who Are the Waswahili? Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. Vol. 41. No: 228-236; P. Caplan & F. Topan (Eds.) 2004. Swahili Modernities. Culture, Politics and Identity on the East Coast of Africa. Trenton N.J. Africa World Press; F. Shami & G. Pwiti (Eds.) 2000. Southern Africa and the Swahili world Studies in the African Past. Dar-es-Salaam University Press; J. Middleton. 1992. The World of the Swahili. An African Mercantile Civilization. New Haven. Yale University Press; E. Gilbert, 2002. Coastal East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean: Long-Distance Trade, Empire, Migration, and Regional Unity, 1750-1970. The History Teacher. 36. 1: 67 pars; C.M. Kusimba. 1999. The Rise and Fall of Swahili States. Walnut Creek. Altamira Press.
4 Santana, F. (1967). Documentaçao Avulsa Moçambicana do Arquivio Histórico Ultramarino, II, Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos, Lisboa 63, p. 683.
5 Quetta Archives H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office – Essential Records. Baluchistan Archives. Complaint about existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901. Political 5-2/57.

Bibliography 

Brobst, P. J. (1997). Sir Frederick Goldsmid and the Containment of Persia 1863-73. Middle Eastern Studies, London. Vol.33, No.2, pp.197-215. Brobst, P. J. (2005). The Future of the Great Game Sir Olaf Caroe, India Independence, and the Defence of Asia. Ohio:The University of Akron Press. Burton, R. F. (1872). Zanzibar, City, Island and Coast. London: Tinsley Brothers. Caplan, P. and Topan, F. (Eds.) (2004). Swahili Modernities. Culture, Politics and Identity on the East Coast of Africa. Trenton N.J. Africa: World Press. Davies, C. E. (1997). The Blood Arab Red Flag. An Investigation into Qasimi Piracy 17971820. Exeter: Exeter University Press. De Silva Jayasuriya, S. and Angenot, J. P. (2008). Uncovering the History of Africans in Asia. Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers. During, J. (1997). African Winds and Muslim Djinns. Trance, Healing, and Devotion in Baluchistan. Yearbook for Traditional Music, Vol.29, pp.39-56. Eastman, C. M. (1971). Who Are the Waswahili? Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. Vol.41, No.3, pp.228-236. Gilbert, E. (2002). Coastal East Africa and the Western Indian Ocean: Long-Distance Trade, Empire, Migration, and Regional Unity, 1750-1970. The History Teacher, Vol.36, No:1, p.67. Glassman, J. (1991). The Bondsman’s New Clothes: The Contradictory Consciousness of Slave Resistance on the Swahili Coast. Journal of African History, Vol.32, pp.277312. Glassman, J. (1994). Feasts and Riot. Reverly, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888. Portsmouth: Heinemann. Goldsmid, F. J. (1863). Report by Col. Goldsmid on the Claims of Persia, Khelat and Muscat to Sovereign Rights on the Mekran Coast, Political Department, Bombay. Hawley, D. (1982). Some Surprising Aspects of Omani History. Asian Affairs, Vol.3, No.1, pp.28-39. Horton, M. (1996). Shanga. The Archaeology of a Muslim Trading Community on the Coast of East Africa. Memoirs of the British Institute of East Africa. London: The British Institute in Eastern Africa. Kirkland, C. (1998). Some African Highways: An Electronic Transcription. Electronic Text Research Centre. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota. Kusimba, C. M. (2008). Leadership in Middle-Range African Societies. Unpublished paper. Kusimba, C. M. (1999). The Rise and Fall of Swahili States. Walnut Creek: Altamira Press. Lane, P. J. (1993). Tongwe Fort. Azania, XVIII, pp.133-141. Lobo, L. (2000). They Came to Africa. 200 Years of the Asian Presence in Tanzania. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Printers. Lodhi, A. (2000). Oriental Influences in Swahili. A Study in Language and Culture Contacts. Goteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis. Middleton, J. (1992). The World of the Swahili. An African Mercantile Civilization. New Haven: Yale University Press. Miles, S. B. (1984). Notes on the Tribes of Oman by L.C.S.B. Miles, 27 May 1881. In Sirhan, I.S.I. Sirhan (Ed.) Annals of Oman to 1728. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mujtaba, H. (2000). Afro-Asia in Pakistan. Historic, Political and Intellectual Linkages between Africa and Pakistan. Samar. 13: winter/spring. Nicolini, B. and Redaelli, R. (1994). Quetta: History and Archives. Note on a Survey of the Archives of Quetta. Nuova Rivista Storica. Year LXXVIII. II, pp.401-414. Nicolini, B. (2002). Historical and Political Links between Gwadar and Muscat through Nineteenth Century’s Testimonies. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies (PSAS). London, Vol.32, pp.281-286. Nicolini, B. (2006). The Traffic of Arms and Ammunitions in the Gulf and in the Western Indian Ocean between the End of the 18 and the Beginning of the 19 Century. Unpublished paper presented to The Global Gulf Conference, Exeter University. th th Nicolini, B. (2007). The Baluch Role in the Persian Gulf during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. University of Toronto. Vol.27, No.2, pp.384-396. Nurse, D. and Hinnenbush, T. J. (1993). Swahili and Sabaki: A Linguistic History. University of California Publications in Linguistics. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Peterson, J. E. (2004). Oman’s Diverse Society: Northern Oman. Middle East Journal, Vol. 58, No.1, pp.32-51.  Piacentini, V. and Redaelli, R. (Eds.) (2003). Baluchistan: Terra Incognita. A New Methodological Approach Combining Archaeological, Historical, Anthropological and Architectural Studies. Oxford. British Archaeological Reports (BAR). Piacentini, V. (1991). Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the 19th Century. In Scarcia, A. B. and Rostagno, L. (Eds.) Yad-Nama. In memoria di Alessandro Bausani, 2 Vols. Rome. Pottinger, H. (1819). Relazione di un viaggio nel Beloutchistan e in una parte della Persia. Verona, Sonzogno. 3 Vols. Pouwels, R. L. (2001). A Reply to Spear on Early Swahili History. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol.34, No.3, pp.639-646. Pouwels, R. L. (2002). Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean to 1800: Reviewing Relations in Historical Perspective. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol.35, No.2/3, pp.385-425. Quetta Archives H.S.A. (1901). Essential Records. Baluchistan Archives. Complaint about Existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901. Political, 5-2/57.  Reid, R. (1998). Mutesa and Mirambo: Thoughts on East African Warfare and Diplomacy in the Nineteenth Century. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol.31, No.1, pp.73-89. Risso, P. (1995). Merchants and Faith. Muslim Commerce and Culture in the Indian Ocean. Boulder: Westview Press. Rockel, S. J. (2000). A Nation of Porters: The Nyamwezi and the Labour Market in Nineteenth Century Tanzania. Journal of African History, Vol.41, No.2, pp.173-195. Rockel, S. J. (2006). Carriers of Culture: Labour on the Road in Nineteenth Century East Africa. Portsmouth: Heinemann. Santana, F. (1967). Documentaçao Avulsa Moçambicana do Arquivio Histórico Ultramarino. II Centro de Estudos Históricos Ultramarinos. Lisboa, 63. Shami F. and Pwiti G. (Eds.) (2000). Southern Africa and the Swahili World Studies in the African Past. Dar es Salaam University Press. Sheriff, A. (2001). Race and Class in the Polities of Zanzibar. Afrika Spectrum, Vol.36, No.3, pp.301-318.
Sheriff, A. (2007). Message to ZIORI (Zanzibar Indian Ocean Research Institute) supportes. 20 December. 2007. http://www.ziori.org. Spear, T. (2000). Swahili History and Society to 1900: A Classified Bibliography. History in Africa, Vol.27, pp.339-373. Spear, T. (2000). Early Swahili History Reconsidered. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol.33, No.2, pp.257-290. Stanley, H. M. (1872). How I found Livingstone. Travels, Adventures and Discoveries in Central Africa Including Four Months Residence with Dr. Livingstone. London. Sweet, L. E. (1964). Pirates or Polities? Arab Societies of the Persian or Arabian Gulf, 18th century. Ethnohistory, Vol.11, No.3, pp.262-280. Sykes, P. M. (1902). Ten Thousands Miles in Persia. London: C. Scribner’s Sons.
____________________________________________
Courtesy: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Beatrice_Nicolini/publications?sorting=newest&page=2

 
Comments Off on The Tupak Of The Jemadar: Notes On The Baluch Presence Along The Swahili Coast During The Nineteenth Century

Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Balochistan

 

Maritime Indian Ocean Routes: The Role of Gwadar/ Gwātar

By Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini
Faculty of Political and Social Science
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart
Lombardy, Italy

Abstract (Italian)

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini

Prof Dr Beatrice Nicolini

Fra le principali rotte dell’Oceano Indiano – sia marittime sia terrestri – Gwadar, divisa nella seconda metà del XIX secolo dalla Commissione Britannica per le Frontiere fra la baia orientale persiana di Gwātar e quella occidentale di Gwadar, rappresentò una delle principali vie di comunicazione tra il Medio Oriente ed il Subcontinente Indiano, giocando un ruolo strategico nel commercio di schiavi, avorio, datteri e spezie dall’Africa orientale e dalla Penisola araba verso l’Asia centrale e viceversa. Tanto Gwātar quando Gwadar, sulla regione costiera del Makrān, sono state definite scientificamente terra incognita.

History
long the shores of the Western Indian Ocean, trade relations between the people of the Asian, Arabian and East African coasts were innumerable and deeply intelinked. Such links and relationships of trade and power were to be sought in those elements that constituted the close equilibrium of the Indian Ocean, that is, in the monsoons, in the presence of commercial thalassocracies (the well known ‘merchant-states’), in the predominance of mercantile laws, and in the trade routes of spices, ivory and slaves. Starting from the sixteenth century onwards, the European desires for conquest of commercial monopolies in the slave trade, and in all those factors essential to the creation of multiple ties, contributed to the consolidation of a ‘red thread’ which would link three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa. Oman international trade activities during four centuries – 1500 to 1800 – saw irresistible waves of political leaders, brave seafarers, valorous merchants and adventurers in an escalating competition between leaders and merchants from every part of Asia and Africa as well as of Europe and the newly United States. During the period that saw the rise of European powers in the Indian Ocean, according to available historiography, a ‘revolution’ occurred from which new protagonists emerged along the Asian, Arabian and African regions. Against this backdrop, the gradual emergence of new Omani dynasties resulted from the polarization that followed the struggle against the Portuguese presence in the Persian/Arab Gulf and in the Indian Ocean. This gave rise to gradual and discontinuous processes of unification among the Omani groups, traditionally divided and in conflict with each other, which came to the fore in the progressive affirmation of what we could define as the international power of the Omani Arabs in the Gulf and in the Indian Ocean. The history of Oman international trade relations has been closely connected mainly to the maritime routes across the Western Indian Ocean: sailing the Gulf and the Western Indian Ocean had always been dependent on the fact that the winds occur in an annual sequence with great regularity. The balance created by the monsoons was achieved over the space of a year with the following rhythm: from December to March the monsoon blows from Arabia and the western coasts of India in the north-east, pushing as far as Mogadishu. The winds are light and constant, the climate hot and dry. In April the monsoon starts to blow from the south-west, from Eastern Africa towards the coasts of the Gulf, the climate cooler but much more humid. The rains are mainly in April and May, while the driest months are November and December. Until the nineteenth century, sailing from Arabia in November in a south-south-westerly direction took thirty to forty days in ideal weather conditions while, in December, thanks to the stabilization of the monsoon, the voyage took only twenty to twenty-five days. Consequently, thanks to the monsoons the international trade relations of Oman had been historically through the sea; although we must remember that Oman trades were intense through land as well. Maritime coastal trades, as well as long distance trades, constituted the expressions of an economy that was already highly sophisticated, developed and organized; therefore, the necessity of control of these sea trade routes represented a crucial element: a political element. Starting from the eighteenth century onwards, groups from the interior gradually began to settle on the coastal new centres.

Makrān
Suddenly the traveler comes upon a desert plain before the sea, where there are many boiling mud pools. Everything in the Makrān coastal region blends together in a kind of colourless mass; the sand, the houses, the people – the poverty. What is striking though, is the brightness of the veils and of the Baluch dresses of the Makrani women who walk around the old Arab-Indian-African market. This fascinating place is the ancient Ismaili (Khojas) community centre; the Ismailis played a crucial role in the history of the port town and still detain a determined power in the local society.

The role played by Gwadar within the framework of the slave, ivory and spice trade coming from East Africa had been crucial. And the African element is still very evident in this ex-Omani enclave; music has many African overtones and is played with African instruments. The dances, performed only by men dressed as women, start with some rupees placed on the top of your head, and the dancer moves around slowly picking the money up.

In front of Gwadar port there is Ashtola Island, explored by McGregor in 1877-78. It is a wild and beautiful island, with a high mountain that ends in a plateau. Here people tell the legend of the white horse of the Prophet, as remembered by the presence of a shrine. Guater (also Gwadar, Pers. Govāter) is a little known locality at the southeastern corner of Iran on the border with Pakistan. Gwātar (Gwuttur) (25° 10’ N. 61° 33’ E.) must not be confused with Gwadar (25° 6’ N. 62° 19’ E.). Since the British Commission definition of the borders in 1871-2 Gwātar bay, on the eastern shore, remained within the Persian borders; while Gwadar, on the western shore, about fifty miles west of Gwātar (De Cardi, p. 164; Potter, p. 139), is today part of Pakistan.

Gwadar is a small port on the neck of a hammer-headed promontory on the Makrān coast, about 250 miles east of Muscat (Hay, pp. 433443); it included the Persian town of Gwātar, the Persian port, and the whole sandy peninsula of that name, covering an area of about 307 square miles (Hughes-Buller, p. 280); it has been one of the main routes of communication between the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, together with a strategic role within slave, ivory, dates, and spice trade from East Africa and from the Arabian Peninsula, directed to Central Asia and vice versa (Saldanha, p. 19). One of the earliest detailed source that specifically names Gwātar/Gwadar within Gedrosia region is Anabasis Alexandri by Arrianus of 325 B.C. (Roberts, p. 187). Together with Pasni, a fishing village on the Makrān coast – today in Pakistan – , Gwadar was attacked and burnt by the Portuguese in 1581 (Stiffe, pp. 610-12; Badalkhan, pp. 153-169). In 1739, Taki Khan, Nāder Shah’s general (1736-1747), captured it (Hughes-Buller, p. 48; Miles, p. 252). In 1784 Mir Naṣir Khan I (1749-95), the khan of Kalāt, granted as a “jagir” (lease), a temporary grant of land exempted from taxation the port of Gwadar to Saʿid Solṭān b. Aḥmad Āl bu-Saʿid of Oman (r. 1792-1804) who ruled on Muscat, on a trust basis (Ross, p.113; Piacentini and Redaelli, pp. 3349). In 1784 half of the revenues on Gwadar belonged to the Gički family of Makrān (Broome, pp. 221-45); while Gwātar was nominally under the Persian influence through Jadghāl Baluch tribe chiefs (Pottinger, p. 30; Macgregor, p. 24; Rubin, pp. 59-72).

On the occasion of the construction of the Indo-European Telegraph Line, investigations made by the Makrān, Sistān and Persia Boundary Commission, directed by Sir Frederick Goldsmid (1818-1908) (Goldsmid, pp. 269-297), juridical-territorial claims were advanced (Soli, pp. 329-351).

On 24 January 1862 Mir Faqir Moḥammad Bizenjō, chief of the Bizenjō tribe of Makrān and ally of the Khan of Kalāt, who was representative of Kēč, signed a treaty with Goldsmid for the safety of the passage of the telegraph line through Makrān; the representative also granted to Goldsmid the safety of the lands belonging to Mir Bayan Gički, chief of the Gički family. At the beginning of 1863 Ebrāhim Khan, the Persian military governor of Bampūr, wrote letters to Saʿid Ṯowayni Āl bu-Saʿid of Oman (r. 1856-66), grandson of Saʿid Solṭān b. Aḥmad Āl bu-Saʿid of Oman, and to the Omani Arab deputy (wālī), named Mahomed (Leech, p. 702), of Gwadar suggesting not to give their approval to the prosecution of the telegraph line to the British before a Persian consent. Numerous raids followed, and the British were obliged to send forces to protect their political agents in Gwadar (Harris, pp. 169-190). Only in 1868 the Persian Government accepted to give up its “rights of sovereignty” on the oasis of Kēč and on Gwadar as part of the Kermān province: it was better for British India to border with Persia than with a tribal territories such as of Kalāt (Khazeni, pp. 1399-1411).

In 1863 Reverend George Percy Badger was put in charge of the Boundary Commission to investigate on the intricate question of the borders in this area (Badger, pp. 1-8); he considered politically advisable that Gwadar remained within Omani hands, with a well armed fleet strong enough to defend it, rejecting the hypothesis of restoration to the Khanate of Kalāt, who was unable to protect this important strategic port against Persian claims. During the second half of the nineteenth century Gwadar was at the same time: an enclave of  the Sultans of Oman, a place of interest for the Gički family from Kēč Makrān, a strategic observatory for the British Government along the coast of Makrān in Persian direction, and a station of the Indo-European Telegraph Line. On 24 September 1872, joined by the Persian Commissioner Mirzā Maʿṣūm Khan, (Piacentini, p. 200) the British Boundary Commission fixed the demarcation of the frontier, starting from the bay of Gwātar to the west of Gwadar, between Persia, Makrān and Sistān (Brobst, pp. 197-215; Nicolini, pp. 4-23).

Only on 8 September 1958, and for three million pounds, the request of the Khans of Kalāt to restore the “jagir” (lease) on Gwadar granted from Mir Naṣir Khan I of Kalāt to the Āl Bu-Saʿid of Oman, was finally satisfied. The price for a town, the price for an important harbour and a strategic base that has belonged to the Omani Sultans since 1784. Since that period, close relationships subsisted between the Āl bu-Saʿid of Oman and the Baluch tribes of the coastal area of Makran.

Slave Trade
During the second half of the nineteenth century, more precisely in 1874, a group belonging to the tribe of the Rind from eastern Baluchistan bought domestic slaves at Gwadar;1 they came from the coasts of East Africa. This gave rise to a conflict of interests between the Rind and the representant (Na’ib) of the Khan of Kalat in Kej (today’s Turbat, capital of Makrān); a conflict which ended in bloodshed and saw the death of four members of the “blue-blooded tribe” of Baluchistan. Sir Robert G. Sandeman (1835-1892), the Deputy-Commissioner of Dera Ghazi Khan, affirmed that the death of four members of the Rind tribe had nothing to do with the slave trade at Gwadar. Sandeman, as described by biographers of the time was very charismatic and ambitious, understood the psychology of intertribal relations much better than his Political Agents, his representants, as, in his opinion, they were not able to identify the real causes of tribe conflicts between the members of the Baluchistan groups. In this regard he reminded: “domestic slavery is a time honoured institution in Baluchistan as in other eastern countries, and much of the land is cultivated by slave labour … at the same time it must be remembered that many of the ideas attaching to the word “slavery”, which are so repellent to civilized minds, are absent from the manners of the Baluch tribes”.2 This affirmation by Sandeman could be interpreted in different ways: for example as eurocentrist and full of contempt for local populations. Nevertheless, the following elements suggested different interpretations of the  “justification” of slavery in Asia within a wider scenario: the strategic importance of Baluchistan within Anglo-Russian rivalry; the second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-80); the recent construction of the telegraph line which connected Calcutta to London (Indo-European Telegraph Line) after the political consequences of the Great Mutiny in India of 1857; the growing importance of the North West Frontier of British India; the need for definition of the borders between Persia and the Khanate of Kalat which begun with the Commission directed by Sir Frederic Goldsmid in 1870 and ended with the sign of an Agreement in Teheran on 24 September in 1872.

In 1877 Sandeman became the Agent to the Governor General and Chief Commissioner of Baluchistan. During the first years of the twentieth century, the British measures adopted against the slave trade contributed to diminishing the number of slaves from East Africa; to this reduction corresponded a new slave trade of Baluch origin, as testimonied by the trade in Asians coming from the coast of Baluchistan directed to Arabia to be sold in Arab markets during the first decades of the twentieth century.3 As clear proof, on 20 May 1903 the responsible Agent of Jask area sent a telegram to the Director of the Persian Gulf section in Karachi saying that: “a great number of them are brought to these places from the Kej district … not only Africans but low caste Baluchis are now being sold by petty headmen”.4 The poorest among the Baluch were sold as slaves, and the cause was the following: “the reason there is such a demand for slaves from these parts, is that the trade from the African Coast has been effectually stopped, and Baluchistan is the only place now open to them”.5 The Baluch were collected within the district of Kej and sent as slaves also in Persian territory.6 Baluch slave women had their heads totally razed, than covered with quicklime, so that their hair could any more grow, rendering them perfectly recognizable to their own tribes, and forbidding them to coming back to their places of origin. The role of Baluch mercenary groups within the slave trade in sub-Saharan East Africa was represented by a specific ethnic group who was enslaved in South-Central Asia by other groups in a much more powerful position; and this was a continuous process of shame and humiliation of weak and desperate people in this maritime part of the world, and a process of different perceptions held by various powers between the land and the seaboard areas.

Gwadar/ Gwātar
Gwadar today belongs to the jurisdiction of the Government of Baluchistan – Home and Tribal Affairs Department, within the Makran Division. As a consequence, the definition of Makran as a Tribal Area forbids tourists, especially westerners, to travel throughout this region without a N.O.C. (no objection certificate). Gwātar remained a fishing village within the Persian borders where today aquaculture and shrimps are farmed; in Pakistan instead, since 1964, the Gwadar Deep Sea Port Project was a dream of Pakistani government; after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the newly formed Central Asian republics – together with the rich transAfghan pipelines – China finally largely financed ($200 millions) and built the Gwadar Port Project first phase in January 2006 (Axmann, pp. 268-274). Although the Pakistani Gwadar should become a twenty-first century reality equipped with a highway and oil and natural gas pipelines (Kaplan, pp. 64-94), connecting both “horizontal” (Iran, Pakistan, China) and “vertical” (Afghanistan, Central Asia) strategic and economic interests, the traditions of the Makrāni and Baluch groups, still remain politically but not culturally divided.

Abbreviations
A.G.G.: Agent to the Governor-General B.A.: Baluchistan Archives, Quetta, Pakistan C.O.Q.D.A.: Commissioner of Quetta Archives, Pakistan H.S.A.: Home Secretariat Archives, Quetta, Pakistan

References
1 H.S.A. – B.A. A.G.G. OFFICE Records, File 292/1874 Misc., Slavery in Baluchistan. The Gazetteer of Baluchistan (Makran), Quetta, 1906 (repr. 1986), pp. 98-101.
2 H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office – Essential Records, From the A.G.G. to the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, Quetta, 25 March, 1884, Report n. 942; Selections from the Records of the Government of India. Foreign Department, No. CCXI, First Administration Report of the Baluchistan Agency, Calcutta, 1886, p. 290. 3 H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office – Essential Records, Complaint about existence of Slavery in Baluchistan, from Capt. P. Cox, Consul and Political Agent, Maskat to Lieut. Col. C. A. Kemball, Agg. Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 17th September, 1901, Political 5-2/57.
4 H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903-1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Ass. Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Telegram dated 20th May, 1903. 5 H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903-1905, File 23, n. 1510, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from the Ass. Superintendent Jask Sub-Division to the Director, Persian Gulf Section, Karachi, Extract of a Letter n. 11 dated 28th March, 1904. 6 H.S.A. – A.G.G. Office Confidential, 1903-1905, Traffic in Slaves from Kej to Persia, from Russell, Under Secr. to the Gov. of India to the A.G.G. Quetta, 1903, File 23, n. 1510.

Bibliography

F. Arrianus, Anabasis Alexandri, in E.I. Robson, Anabasis Alexandri, The Loeb Classical Library, Cambridge, 1933, repr. 1958, 2 vols, vol. 2, p. 187.

M. Axmann, “Phoenix From the Ashes? The Baloch National Movement and its Recent Revival,” in C. Jahani, A. Korn, and P. Titus, eds., The Baloch and Others. Linguistic, Historical and Socio-Political Perspectives on Pluralism in Baluchistan, Wiesbaden, 2008, pp. 261-292.

S. Badalkhan, “Portuguese Encounters with Coastal Makran Baloch during the Sixteenth Century. Some References from a Balochi Heroic Epic”, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Third Series, vol. 10, n. 2, Jul., 2000, pp. 153-169.

G.P. Badger, Memorandum by the Rev. G. P. Badger on the Pretentions of Persia in Beloochistan and Mekran, drawn up with especial reference to her Claim to Gwadar and Charbar, London, 1863, pp. 1-8.

F. Barth, Sohar. Culture and Society in an Omani Town, Baltimore, 1983.

P.J. Brobst, “Sir Frederic Goldsmid and the Containment of Persia, 1863-73”, Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 33, n. 2, Apr. 1997, pp. 197-215.

C.E. Davies, The Blood Arab Red Flag. An Investigation into Qasimi Piracy 1797-1820, Exeter, 1997.

B. De Cardi, “A New Prehistoric Ware from Baluchistan”, Iraq, vol. 13, n. 2, Autumn, 1951, pp. 63-75.

H. Furber, Rival Empires of Trade in the Orient 1600-1800, Minneapolis, 1976.

G. Geary, “Through Asiatic Turkey,” in P. Ward, ed., Travels in Oman, New York, 1987, pp. 35-53.

F.J. Goldsmid, “Notes on Eastern Persia and Western Beluchistan”, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 1867, vol. 37, p. 269-297.

C.P. Harris, “The Persian Gulf Submarine Telegraph of 1864”, The Geographical Journal, vol. 135, n. 2, 1969, pp. 169-190.

R. Hay, “The Persian Gulf States and Their Boundary Problems”, The Geographical Journal, vol. 120, n. 4, Dec., 1954, pp. 433-443. G.F. Hourani, Arab Seafaring, Princeton, 1951.

R. Hughes-Buller, The Gazetteer of Baluchistan (Makrān), 1st ed., Quetta, 1906; repr. Quetta, 1986.

J.C. Hurewitz, ed., Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East. A Documentary Record: 1535-1914, 2 vols., vol. I: European Expansion, Princeton, 1956, pp. 68; 77; 78.

R.D. Kaplan, Monsoon: The Indian Ocean and the Future of American Power, New York, 2010, pp. 64-94.

A. Kazeni, “On the Eastern Borderlands of Iran: The Baluch in Nineteenth Century Persian Travel books”, History Compass, vol. 5, n. 4, 2007, pp. 1399-1411.

R. Leech, “Notes taken on a Tour through part of Baloochistan in 1838 and 1839 by Haji Abdun Nubee of Kabul”, Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. 13, part 2, 1844, pp. 667-706.

J.G. Lorimer, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, Oman, and Central Arabia I. Historical Part, Calcutta, 1915.

C. Macgregor, Wanderings in Baluchistan, London, 1882, p. 2S.B. Miles, “Journey from Gwadur to Karachi”, The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, vol. 44, London, 1874, pp. 163-82.

S.B. Miles, The Countries and Tribes of the Persian Gulf, London, 1919, repr. 1994, p. 252.

B. Nicolini, Makran, Oman and Zanzibar: Three-Terminal Cultural Corridor in the Western Indian Ocean (1799-1856), Leiden, 2004.

V.F. Piacentini, “Notes on the Definition of the Western Borders of British India in Sistan and Baluchistan in the 19th Century”, B. Scarcia Amoretti, L. Rostagno, eds., Yād- Nāma in memoria di A. Bausani, vol. 1, Rome, 1991, pp. 189-203.

V.F. Piacentini and R. Redaelli, Baluchistan: Terra Incognita. A New Methodological Approach combining Archaeological, Historical, Anthropological and Architectural Studies, Oxford, 2003.

L. Potter, “The Consolidation of Iran’s frontier in the nineteenth century”, in R. Farmanfarmaian, ed., War and Peace in Qajar Persia: implications past and present Oxford, 2008, pp. 125148.

H. Pottinger, Relazioni di un viaggio in Belouchistan e in una parte della Persia, Milan, 1819, 3 vols, vol. 2, p. 30.

R. Redaelli, The Father’s Bow. The Khanate of Kalat and British India (19th-20th Century), Florence, 1997.

E.C. Ross, “Captain’s Ross Reports about Mekran, 1865-68”, Selections from the Records of the Bombay Government, new series, n. 111, Byculla, 1868, p. 113.

M. Rubin, “The Telegraph and Frontier Politics: Modernization and the Demarcation of Iran’s Borders”, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, vol. 18, n. 2, 1998, pp. 59-72.

J.A. Saldanha, Persian Gulf Précis. Précis on Makrān Affairs I, Calcutta, 1905.

S. Soli, “Communications, Qajar irredentism, and the strategies of British India: The Makran Coast telegraph and British policy of containing Persia in the east (Baluchistan)”, Part I, Iranian Studies, vol. 39, n. 3, Sept. 2006, pp. 329-351.

A.W. Stiffe, “Ancient Trading Centres of the Persian Gulf: IV Maskat”, The Geographical Journal,vol. 10, n. 6, Dec., 1897, pp. 608-618. P. M. Sykes, Ten Thousands Miles in Persia, London, 1902.

Wilks, Historical Sketches of the South of India, 3 vols., London, 1810.

L’Autore
Beatrice Nicolini Ph.D. She has a Degree in International Relations and Comparative Government, Harvard University, USA, and graduated in Political Science, Catholic University, Milan, Italy; Ph.D. in History of Africa, Siena University, Italy. She teaches History and Institutions of Africa and she is member of Ph.D. School Committee ‘History and Politics’, Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Catholic University, Milan, Italy. Her researches focused on connections between South-Western Asia, the Persian/Arab Gulf, and Sub-Saharan East Africa. The history of the Indian Ocean, slave trade routes, development issues, are her main research topics through archive and fieldwork investigations. She received grants and recognitions from the Sultanate of Oman and from UK for her studies, and contributed to the historical section of the new Museum of Muscat. She did publish 100 publications, most of them peer-reviewed in English, and some of them also translated in Arabic. Among her publications, B. Nicolini (2012), The First Sultan of Zanzibar. Scrambling for Power and Trade in the Nineteenth Century Indian Ocean. M., Wiener, Princeton; B. Nicolini (2013), Re-reading the role of Oman within its International Trade Relations from 16th to the 19th centuries, in S., Wippel (Ed.) (2013), Regionalizing Oman, Springer Science, Dordrecht.

__________________________________
Courtesy: Quaderni Asiatici 102 – giugno 2013

 
Comments Off on Maritime Indian Ocean Routes: The Role of Gwadar/ Gwātar

Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Balochistan

 

The British Advent in Balochistan

Javed Haider Syed
Assistant Professor,
Department of History,
Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

An Abstract
On the eve of the British advent, the social and economic infrastructure of Balochistan represented almost all characteristics of a desert society, such as isolation, group feeling, chivalry, hospitality, tribal enmity and animal husbandry. There was hardly any area in Balochistan that could be considered an urban settlement. Even the capital of the state of Kalat looked like a conglomeration of mud dwellings with the only royal residence emerging as a symbol of status and power. In terms of social relations, economic institutions, and politics, society demonstrated almost every aspect of tribalism in every walk of life.
The British Advent in Balochistan This paper, therefore, presents a historical survey of the involvement of Balochistan in the power politics of various empirebuilders. In particular, those circumstances and factors have been examined that brought the British to Balochistan. The First Afghan War was fought apparently to send a message to Moscow that the British would not tolerate any Russian advances towards their Indian empire. To what extent the Russian threat, or for that matter, the earlier French threat under Napoleon, were real or imagined, is also covered in this paper.
A holistic account of British advent in Balochistan must begin with “The Great Game” in which Russia, France, and England, were involved. Since the time of Peter the Great (1672-1725), the Russians were desperately looking for access to warm waters. The Dardanelles were guarded by Turkey. After many abortive attempts, Russians concentrated on the Central Asian steppes in order to find a route to the Persian Gulf as well as the Indian Ocean. The British perceived the Russian advances in Central Asia as a threat to their Indian empire because of the ancient historical, religious, and cultural linkages between Central Asia and South Asia. This linkage goes all the way back to the period of the Indus Valley civilization. Successive Indian rulers from Chandragupta Maurya onwards pursued a “forward” policy towards Central Asia. In turn, successive Central Asian leaders and people penetrated South Asia during the latter’s long periods of internal weakness. Both the areas were particularly linked since the Sultanate period. Apart from religious, cultural and linguistic links, commercial relations were perhaps the most important. Although the British did not want to lose the trade with Central Asia, they were apprehensive of possible influences emanating from the Muslim population of the region. No wonder, Russian advances in Central Asia were cause for much concern in London. By the end of the eighteenth century, the Russians had occupied the Central Asian steppes and, in fact, had started sending diplomatic missions to Iran, Afghanistan, Sindh and the Punjab, which was an independent state under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
These developments were complicated by Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt in 1798. The French had lost their Indian territories and were now keen to make up for the lost “French prestige in India.”1 After his initial success in Egypt and Syria, Napoleon had sent missions to the Qajar Shah of Iran, Fateh Ali Shah (1797-1834). His chief envoy, M. Jaubert, persuaded the Qajar King to seize Georgia from Russia. A military mission was also sent to train the Iranian Army.2 The other area of the French contact was Mysore under Tipu Sultan who was fighting a desperate war against the British. After Tipu’s defeat and death in 1799, the French concentrated on Iran. In 1807, the Russians defeated the Iranians at Arpatch and under the humiliating Treaty of Fars,3 Iran lost more territory to Russia. They also lost faith in the French pledges of help against the Russians. The British did not wait for long to take advantage of the changed situation. After the Treaty of Fars, the British Resident in Basra offered the Shah of Iran 125, 000 rupees and several diamonds from George III to fight the Russians.4 Not only that, the Governor General of India sent Mountstuart Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, who was well versed in Eastern languages, to Peshawar where the ruler of Kabul, Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk, had his winter capital. In 1809, he managed to extract a treaty of mutual defense between the British and the Afghans.5
Although the battle of Waterloo in 1815 put an end to the French threat to British India, the Russian presence remained effective in the region. Indeed, they emerged as the major rivals of the British in Asia. The Iranians tried to recover their lost territories from the Russians but invariably ended up loosing even more, whereas the Anglo-Persian Treaty of 1814,6 which promised military and financial aid to the Iranians in wake of a foreign aggression, did not change the situation. In fact, when Shah Abbas Mirza Qajar tried to recover part of the Caucasus in 1826,7 with the help of the British, it again resulted in a disastrous defeat. To add to their woes, the British never fulfilled their commitments. By the Treaty of Turkmanchai in 1828,8 the Russians not only gained full control of the South Caucasus but also received a heavy indemnity from the Iranians (equal to 15 million dollars)9 along with external territorial rights and commercial advantages. It seemed that the British had some sort of understanding with the Russians and in fact wanted to weaken Iran so that it would no longer pose a threat to the British interests in India and Afghanistan. In fact, one may argue that this attitude was typical of the British policies and postures in this region. On the one hand, they signed treaties with Iran for help in case of foreign invasion and, on the other, with Afghans against the Iranians, as was evident in Elphinstone’s contacts with Shah Shuja.
In 1809, however, Shah Shuja was replaced, and after unsuccessful attempts to seek help from different rulers of the area, he fled to Lahore in 1813. After five years, he became a British pensioner.10 By now, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh had become a formidable power and the British sought their help in reinstating Shah Shuja to the throne of Kabul. However, after many years of civil war the Afghans acknowledged Dost Mohammad Khan as the Amir. In the process, of course, the Afghans had lost their territories in Sindh and Balochistan. The Mirs of Sindh and the Khans of Balochistan had broken away from the influence of Kabul.
During the turmoil and uncertainty in Afghanistan, the Sikhs had occupied Peshawar in 1834. In 1836, Amir Dost Mohammad Khan defeated the Sikhs and had almost recovered Peshawar but instead of occupying the city, he sought British approval. He sent a letter to the new Governor General, Lord Auckland, and asked permission for retaining Peshawar. In the words of Louis Dupree, a noted scholar on Afghanistan, “Auckland replied that the British government followed a consistent policy of non-interference in the affairs of independent nations.”11 Ironically, “Auckland himself,” according to Fraser Tytler, “in fact, was responsible for the First Afghan War”.12 Yapp also agreed with this assessment. According to him, “Auckland went to war to safeguard the internal rather than the external frontier.”13 He dispatched Captain Alexander Burnes to sort out the Afghanistan situation. Burnes arrived at Kabul in 1837. He declared that the objective of his mission was to restore commercial relations between India and Central Asia and to “workout the policy for opening River Indus for commerce.”14 Amir Dost Mohammad Khan wanted British help in recovering Peshawar, only to realize soon that British would do nothing at the expense of their relationship with the Sikhs.
Interestingly, on December 19, 1837, a Russian diplomat, Captain Ivan Vickovich, arrived at Kabul with letters from the Russian government (the Czar also wrote a letter in response to a letter sent by Amir Dost Mohammad through Mirza Husain) ostensibly for the same purpose that Burnes had come.15 In order to make the British position absolutely clear, Burnes, the British envoy delivered the following ultimatum to Dost Mohammad Khan on March 6, 1838:
You must desist from all correspondence with Persia and Russia: you must never receive agents from (them) or have ought to do with him without our sanction: you must dismiss Captain Vickovich with courtesy: you must surrender claims to Peshawar on your account as that Chiefship belongs to Maharaja Ranjeet Singh: you must also respect the independence of Candahar and Peshawar and cooperate in arrangements to unite your family.16
Although the Amir agreed, but Burnes, refused to spell out the terms particularly with reference to Peshawar. Disappointed and frustrated, Dost Mohammad Khan entered into negotiations with the Russian representative. Meanwhile the Russians continued to help the Iranians in the siege of Herat and pledged more help in the future.17 These events in Herat and Kabul made the British reassess their policy in the area, which ultimately led to their occupation of Balochistan. Since Iran was wooing the Russian ambassador to the embarrassment of the British, Lord Auckland sent an army to Persian Gulf to occupy Kharaj Island in June 1838. In the same month, a treaty was signed between the British Governor General, the Sikh ruler (Ranjit Singh), and Shah Shuja.18 The treaty stipulated that with the Sikh and the British help, Shah Shuja would rule Kabul and Qandahar. Herat would remain independent. In turn, Shah Shuja would recognize the Sikh government in the Punjab, in North-West Frontier including Peshawar and Kashmir, but excluded from further advances against the Amirs of Sindh. Shah Shuja surrendered himself before the British and aligned his destiny with the Indian subcontinent, rather than with Central Asia. The GovernorGeneral was convinced that “a friendly power and intimate connection with Afghanistan, a peaceful alliance with Lahore and an established influence in Sindh are objects for which some hazard may well be run.”19
Consequently, the British raised a large military force known as the “Army of Indus,”20 at Ferozpur to attack Afghanistan and install Shah Shuja on the throne of Kabul.21 Consequently, so-called First Afghan War started in 1839. As the present study is not directly related with the causes of the war which brought the British into Balochistan, the discussion will be confined to the route that this army took and how this invasion affected the people and rulers of Balochistan.
When the time came for the Indus Army to attack Afghanistan, Ranjit Singh not only withdrew his pledge to support this mission but also refused to let Lt. General Sir J. Keane, Commandant of the Indus Army, to march through his territory. General Keane had to find an alternative route (almost threefold longer and through difficult terrain) through Sindh and Balochistan. Keeping in view the hostile environment in terms of supplies, General Keane denuded Balochistan of much of its meager resources to keep his army moving.22
The British had already signed a treaty (March 1839) with the Khan of Kalat who honoured this agreement to the best of his abilities. The army reached Quetta in March 1839 for its onward journey to Qandahar. General Keane took Qandahar without a fight on April 26, and then moved towards Ghazni, which was occupied on July 22, 1839. On August 7, 1839, the army entered Kabul along with Shah Shuja without any resistance.23 Dost Mohammad Khan fled to Bukhara.
During this period, two important events influenced the future. Ranjit Singh died in 1839, and thus the British prospects of occupying the Punjab became brighter. Secondly, the British realized that Shah Shuja was extremely unpopular among the Afghans and if they withdrew their forces, he would be dethroned. It was, therefore, decided to maintain a British garrison in Afghanistan. Realizing the difficulty of persuading the Afghan chiefs to accept a British ‘stooge’ as their leader, William Macnaghten was sent to do the job. Almost every conceivable move was made to reconcile the people to Shah Shuja but in vain. In a letter to Captain Macgregor, he confessed:
I have been striving in vain to sow ‘Nifaq’ (dissension) among the rebels and it is perfectly wonderful how they hang together.24
Finally, in desperation, the British decided to leave Afghanistan and their retreat proved the foolishness of the adventure. Their retreat began on January 6, 1842. In addition to the hazards of the freezing weather, the resistance and the attacks of the local people combined to make this retreat one of the most humiliating and bloody in the history of wars. The sole survivor, Dr. Brydon, saved the gory details for the future historians.25
The disastrous aftermath of the First Afghan War proved to be even more disastrous for Sindh and Balochistan. The British had realized the importance of both these areas for their Afghan and Central Asia policy. The logistic importance26 of the area especially the coastal areas of Balochistan attracted them for pursuance of their forward policy westward. They wanted to capture a suitable port, i.e., Jiwani which was on few days cruise from their stronghold, Bombay. They had already acquired Karachi port facilities in 1820s. They were also aware of the vulnerability of the political and administrative set-up of the local rulers. Thus, they lured the Brahui Khan of Kalat to enter into various treaties with the British starting from 1839 to help reinforce their position in this area.
On March 28, 1839, the British had entered into a treaty with the Khan of Kalat to provide a passage and supplies to the Army of Indus on way to Qandahar through Shikarpur, Jacobabad (Khangarh), Dhadar, Bolan Pass, Quetta and Khojak Pass.27 The son of a deposed vizier, Akhund Mohammad Hasan, secretly opposed it. Even the Khan did not like such terms of the treaty, which included acknowledgment of the supremacy of Shah Shuja, his reinstallation in Kabul, to collect and protect supplies of British troops and to get in return an annuity of 150,000 rupees. The Army of Indus faced problems when passing through the Bolan Pass as they were attacked by the tribes of Kachhi and Bolan and it was alleged that all was done at the instigation of Akhund Mohammad Hasan. The British held Mir Mehrab, Khan of Kalat (18171839), responsible for this “violation”. General Willshire, on return from Qandahar, proceeded towards Kalat and deposed the Khan. Mir Mehrab Khan was killed fighting and the British occupied Kalat on November 13, 1839.28 Now it was established that Akhund Mohammad Hasan was, in fact, a protege of the British, and, in order to avenge the removal of his father by the Khan, he had informed the British of the machinations of the Khan.29
Had Mehrab Khan acted like Ranjit Singh and made an alliance with Amir Dost Mohammad Khan perhaps the future history of the area would have been different. However, with the passage of time, the British involvement increased and they gradually attained and strengthened their control in Balochistan through further treaties, military expeditions and intrigues. They installed a teenager, Shahnawaz Khan, a distant relative of Mehrab Khan as the new ruler with Lt. Loveday as Regent and started the dismemberment of Balochistan by giving Quetta and Mastung to Shah Shuja and Kacchi to the rulers of Sindh. But as soon as the British forces left Kalat the tribal sardars revolted and Nasir Khan II (1840-1857), son of Mehrab Khan was enthroned.30 By signing a treaty on October 6, 1841,31 the Khan of Kalat agreed that the British Government would station troops in Kalat, control its foreign relations and rule the State with the British Resident. Within the next few years, the British had annexed Sindh (1843) and the Punjab (1849) and now there was hardly any possibility for the Khan to look for a potential ally in the neighbourhood.32
After many abortive attempts to adopt an effective Afghan policy, the British realised that it was in their best interest to keep the pressure through the frontiers to make sure that the Russians did not succeed in their efforts to move towards Herat and then to Qandahar. Most of the diplomatic correspondence and the concern of the travellers manifested the danger of Russian advance in that region. Nonetheless, we also come across some evidence which suggested that some tacit agreement existed between Moscow and London about the extent to which the two would not pose a threat to each other.
But when the Iranians, encouraged by the Russians, occupied Herat in 1853, it was considered as a clever Russian move. The British immediately moved to establish friendly relations with Amir Dost Mohammad Khan of Kabul through the Treaty of Peshawar, which was signed on March 30, 1855.33 But before that, the British had concluded a treaty with the Khan of Kalat on May 14, 1854,34 which abrogated the treaty of 1841. The new treaty recognized the Khan as an independent ruler while he was expected to oppose the enemies of British and to be friendly with their supporters. Their foes and friends were not named; however, it was clear that the Khan would act as a close ally of the British. In return, the British promised to pay an annual subsidy of 50,000 rupees and to provide military help in case of foreign invasion. This treaty was signed at Mastung, by which Khan’s authority was recognized over the areas from south of Kalat to Arabian Sea and west of Sindh to Iran including Las Bela. According to a British source, “In 1854, when war was anticipated between England and Russia, to strengthen the position on the frontier, a fresh treaty was made.”35 This treaty was further strengthened in 1862 when the boundary between Balochistan and British India was defined and Kalat was declared as a neighbouring state of India. The subsidy was also doubled.36
Another treaty was signed in 1863 which also sought pledge from the Khan to safeguard the British installations. The British Government agreed to pay 20,500 rupees per annum to the Khan for the establishment of posts and development of traffic along the trade routes.37 In this year, the Khan received further boost from the death of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, the ruler of Kabul. In fact, the British Agent in Qandahar reported to the government that Khan of Kalat, Mir Khudadad Khan (1857-1893) had offered the province of Shal (Quetta) to the ruler of Qandahar if the latter would assist him in consolidating his position at Kalat.38
By now, the British had realized that, for the Khan to be an effective and successful ruler, it was essential that he should have the best of relations with the Sardars of different tribes in his area. If this relationship was good and friendly, the Khan would feel secure. If there was mistrust or enmity between the Khan and the Sardars, the former would either look for help from the British or from the neighbouring rulers. Therefore, it was stipulated that it would be better if the British presence was secured in that area to ensure that this relationship remained good and cordial as well as to keep an eye over the activities of the Khan. It was in view of this that the British occupied Quetta in December 1876, and a new treaty was signed. It was a renewal of 1854 treaty with a few supplementary provisions and was named as the Treaty of Kalat. Some of the provisions of this treaty were: 1. A British Agent would permanently reside at the court of Kalat. 2. The British Agent would use his good offices to settle any dispute between the Khan and the Sardars so that the peace of the country is not disturbed; and 3. The British Government would be at liberty, by arrangement with the Khan, to construct in Kalat territory such lines of telegraph or rail roads, which might be beneficial to the interest of the two governments.39
This treaty was literally imposed on the Khan by the special representative of the Governor-General, Sir Robert Sandeman. It is reflective of the way the British influence in affairs of Balochistan had increased. It is pertinent to point out that John Jacob had written on July 28, 1856, to the Viceroy, Lord Canning, “we should continue to exert such influence which is absolutely necessary and it would neither be advisable nor necessary to assume, in these respects, greater power, either in nature or extent than we now virtually possess or exercise.”40 But, now, the situation had changed and the British had assumed more power in this region than was envisaged before the Uprising of 1857.
This treaty was essentially concerned with the relationship between the Sardars and the Khan, but neither for this treaty nor for the treaty of 1854, were consultations with the Sardars deemed necessary. These treaties were between the British and the Kalat Khanate, yet the Sardars were mentioned with the Khan as parties. 41 This treaty, of course, led to the construction of telegraph and railway lines through the Kalat territory. Sandeman, who was Deputy Commissioner of Dera Ghazi Khan, was instrumental in stationing a British garrison at Quetta. The subsidy of the Khan was increased to rupees thirty thousand per annum with the appointment of Sandeman as Agent to the Governor General with his headquarters at Quetta. On February 21, 1877, the foundation of the Balochistan Agency was laid.42 The British extended their influence around Quetta and the Bolan Pass and the Khan’s control was reduced to nominal.43
In order to understand subsequent events in Balochistan, we have to take into account how the British perceived their interests in Afghanistan. As discussed earlier, the relevance of the vast territory of Balochistan to the British Empire became manifest during the First Afghan War (1839-1842), which, was apparently fought to protect Afghanistan from the Russian influence. Since Balochistan provided easy access to Qandahar and Herat, developments in Afghanistan and Central Asia shaped the British policy towards Balochistan. A loyal and friendly Balochistan definitely meant a safe and reliable launching pad for the necessary interventions in Afghanistan and even in Iran. We shall see how the ‘Great Game’ shaped the destiny of Balochistan after the Second Afghan War.
The First Afghan War was fought on the pretext of the presence of a Russian diplomat in Kabul. It needs to be noted that at that time the Russians were more than two thousand miles away from the Afghan border. The Russians kept advancing in Central Asia without eliciting any reaction from the British. By 1872, they had subdued Khiva, Bukhara, Samarqand, and Turkistan. Instead of strengthening Afghanistan, the British had annoyed the Afghan ruler by awarding the Sistan proper (about 950 square miles, with a population of 45,000) to Iran and leaving the Outer Sistan, and the district on the right bank of Helmand, to Afghanistan as a result of the deliberations of the Siestan Arbitrary Commission in 1872.44 It is true that Siestan was, initially, a part of the Iranian territory but had been attached at different periods to Herat and Qandahar.45 Amir Sher Ali (ruler of Afghanistan) did not approve these arrangements. The British Viceroy, Lord Northbrook (1872-75), anticipating more trouble, refused to accept Amir Sher Ali’s nominee, Abdullah Jan, as heir-prince.
The new Viceroy, Lord Lytton, added fuel to the fire when he demanded that the Amir of Kabul should accept a British Resident at his court. On the Amir’s refusal, he invaded Afghanistan in 1878, and thus the Second Afghan War started. How the fate of Balochistan was tied to the British adventures in Afghanistan is obvious from the role and activities of Sir Henry Rawlinson. In 1868, Rawlinson had advised his government to “occupy Quetta, gain control of the Afghan area by subsidizing the Amir in Kabul, and establish a permanent British Mission in Kabul to keep the Russians out.”46 After the occupation of Quetta, Rawlinson pressed for another war against Afghanistan.
The Second Afghan War, like the First Afghan War, was started on the pretext of keeping the Russians out and feeding the home government with the fear of Russia. Ironically, the declared policy of the British in Afghanistan since the outbreak of the Crimean War (18531856) was “to build up a strong, friendly and united Afghanistan which should serve as a buffer between the British and the Russian aggrandizement.”47 Apparently, not only was Russo-phobia unfounded but also some tacit understanding existed between the two powers. For example when Amir Sher Ali asked the Russians for help against the British during this war, he was advised to make peace with the British. Frustrated, the Amir had to escape to Turkistan. He died near Balkh on February 21, 1879.48
Amir Sher Ali was succeeded by his son, Amir Yaqub Ali Khan in 1879. In order to prevent further advances of the British, Amir Yaqub Ali acceded to their demands in the Gandamak Treaty that was concluded on May 26, 1879.49 This treaty added the districts of Kurram, Pishin and Sibi to the British Empire along with permanent control of Khyber and Michni passes. The British were also given Loralai and the Pashtoon territories lying to the north and east of Quetta. A British Resident was to reside at Kabul. The Amir was prohibited to engage with any foreign power without approval of the British. He was granted 600,000 rupees stipend in return. Not only the treaty extended the boundaries of Balochistan, it reduced Afghanistan to dependency.
This was a very important development because now the British had established themselves on the western frontiers of Balochistan which sandwiched the Khan and the Sardars between British India and British Balochistan. Now the British frontier stood across the Khojak Range to Chaman near Qandahar. Within the next decade, a broad gauge railway line was constructed up to Chaman by tunnels through the hilly areas. In the words of Edward Oliver, “Baluchistan thus became the first point of advance in the pursuit of Forward Policy.”50
The next decade saw the establishment of the contours of the British administration in Balochistan, which remained intact, more or less, for a long time. The near eastern part of Balochistan, inhabited mostly by the Pashtoons, came under the direct administration of the Balochistan Agency. The southern part of Balochistan remained predominantly Baloch in population, whereas the Brahuis were concentrated in the highlands. Further division of Balochistan took place in 1877 whereby some Baloch tribes of the Derajat were put under the Punjab administration. These tribes included Buzdar, Khetran, Khosa, Leghari, Mazari, Qaisrani, etc.51
In order to finalize the demarcation of the border between Balochistan and Afghanistan, a “Baluch-Afghan Boundary Commission”, was instituted in 1895. Colonel McMahon brought to a successful conclusion the demarcation of Durand Line from Gomal to Koh-i-Mulk Siah. The latter is tri-junction of British India, Afghanistan and Iran. Sir Thomas Holditch proposed a boundary between Balochistan and Iran in consultation with the Iranian Commissioner. The Administration Report of Baluchistan Agency 1886 gives the background to this situation.52 The report describes in detail the dissensions among the Makrani Chiefs that invariably led to the raids on Iranian territory. In order to put an end to these raids, the Iranians brought these areas under their control and imposed tribute on these tribes. With the passage of time, they extended their claims over Kej and its dependencies, which were under the suzerainty of the Khan of Kalat.
In order to remove the threat of the raiders and to demarcate the areas under the Khan, the British government and the Shah of Iran had already approved a proposal in Tehran in September 1871. According to the memorandum by the British Commissioner, Major General Goldsmid, Panjgur, Parum, and other dependencies with Kohuk. Boleidee, including Zamiran and other dependencies; Mand, including Tump, Nasirabad, Kej, and all districts, Dehs, and dependencies to the eastward; and Dasht with its dependencies as far as the sea, were declared to be beyond the Persian frontier.53
By the end of the nineteenth century, the British had consolidated their hold on Balochistan, reduced the Khan of Kalat to the status of a vassal, and secured their borders with Iran and Afghanistan through rail and road links, and cantonments.
It is interesting to note the way the British saw the role of the Khan of Kalat and the Balochi Sardars. In a memorandum, Sir Robert Montgomery described the political structure of Balochistan and advised the British Government to strengthen and secure the position of the Khan of Kalat. According to him, “this would secure not only our borders of Sindh and the Punjab against the inroads of Baloch robbers, and the plunder of travellers and merchants to and from our territories to Central Asia but also to the protection of India itself against the possible dangers from the direct or stimulated advance of Persia.”54 He conceded that the revenues of Balochistan were not sufficient for the Khan and the Sardars to effectively manage the affairs of the confederacy. But since there was the British Resident in Kalat, he suggested, “Would it not be possible to make arrangements for the subsidizing of inferior chiefs guaranteed and secured by English power, through English payment? It is my opinion that great political advantages may be gained by the extra grant of the subsidy to the Khan.”55
This preoccupation with the subsidies seemed to be the cornerstone of the British policies. Though nominal, these subsidies, nonetheless, gave the British Resident an upper hand in the affairs of the state administration. Sir Henry Green, a Political Agent at Kalat, proudly mentioned the effect of these subsidies on his status: “The Chiefs and people seem to think that I and the Khan should divide the throne equally, but I have told the Khan that I want to place the power I have gained over his people in his hands.”56 This situation had shaped Lord Lytton’s “Forward Policy”. It appears that this policy also inspired Lord Lytton’s Afghanistan policy, “It had been the policy of Lord Lytton’s government to subdivide the Kingdom of Afghanistan, on the grounds that no Chief could be found sufficiently strong to rule the whole country and secondly, that it was necessary on the line of Quetta, Qandahar, and Herat.”57
While this policy proved successful for the British, it became a handicap for the Khan especially when the subsidy was withdrawn. Again, Henry Green’s reflections on the position of the Khan are revealing. Green had assumed his office when the Khan was only twelve years old. This provided him enough opportunities to win his confidence. He wrote:
The Khan is absolutely powerless to exert unaided by any physical force over his unruly Chiefs and their followers: he can but rule by setting Chief against Chief and the tribe against tribe, and he can only do this with the assistance of money and by its use maintaining on his side the most powerful of his Chiefs. By depriving him of his subsidy we have reduced him to equality with the weakest of his Sardars. We have deprived the country of any semblance of a head.58
It was under these circumstances that the Khans operated under British supremacy. The diplomatic skills of the British officers were not wanting when it came to giving the Khans a sense of false pride. For example, on January 1, 1877, the Khan of Kalat (Khudadad Khan 18571893) and various Sardars of Balochistan were invited to attend the Imperial Assemblage at Delhi. Robert Sandeman was the Agent to the Governor General (hereafter AGG), in Balochistan. In his account, he mentions how these local chiefs were overwhelmed with the railway and telegraph system and how for the first time they realized the strength of the British Government. The Khan, the Jam, and the Sardars from Balochistan were placed apart from the other Indian chiefs as distinguished strangers. When the Khan resented this discriminatory treatment and complained to Sandeman that he was not even considered worthy of receiving a banner which was presented to every other prince, “I (Sandeman) was desired to assure His Highness that no slight of any kind was intended; on the contrary the reason that he had not received a standard was that he occupied the position of a Sovereign Prince entirely independent of the British Government. The Khans and the Sardars were satisfied with this explanation.”59 Lord Lytton also paid return visit to the Khan whereas the native Indian Princes were not granted this high protocol.
The British did not follow a clear and consistent policy in their relations with the Khan and the Sardars. They acted according to the given situation and demand of the circumstances. Thus, at times, they humiliated them, as indicated above. At times, they were honoured and decorated. For example, Lord Lytton admitted Khan Khudadad Khan to the rank of a Knight Grand Commander of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. Some Sardars also received honours.60
However, such gestures were mostly extended in the time of war or any other grave crisis which demanded loyalty, and support of the local rulers. On special occasions, pleasantries were exchanged. Sandeman wrote to the Khan of Kalat before he went on leave in 1881: “I pray you to think of this sincere friend who is ever with you like a second kernel in one almond”. In response, the Khan acknowledged Sandeman’s contribution to the settlement of disputes of the frontier tribes, opening up the trade routes, administration of the country and the peace of its inhabitants.61 However, not all Khans acted with dignity and self-respect. Mostly it depended on their status and standing with the Baloch Sardars. Khudadad Khan, in particular, was so weak and servile that when Colonel Colley, the Military Secretary to the Viceroy, brought a letter to the Kalat Darbar on October 10, 1887, the Khan “received the viceregal letter under a salute of twenty guns and pressed the document to his forehead.”62
In this context, it would be worth exploring a little further how the British really perceived the position and status of the Khan. Did they consider Balochistan as a protectorate, a confederacy of different tribes under the Khan or a divided state between directly administered areas and the region under the Khan? Indian rulers normally found it to their advantage to maintain a high level of ambiguity towards turbulent border regions. This was often deliberate as it allowed the paramount power greater freedom of action. This freedom was necessary for the center to avoid getting drawn into conflicts too often. Surprisingly the British were not clear about the real status of Balochistan and its rulers. For example, Colonel Graham, the Commissioner of the Derajat and Colonel Phayre, the Political Superintendent of the Upper Sindh Frontier, were not even sure whether Balochistan was a confederacy or a state with a sovereign ruler. The Administration Report of 1886 reflected this confusion. Indeed, in its estimate the view to be taken of the conduct of the Sardars towards the Khan during the prolonged struggle between them, which involved so much loss of life and property, depended entirely on the answer to be given to this question:
If the Khan were a supreme ruler, the Sirdars were rebels without excuse for their rebellion; but if the Khan were the head of a confederacy, of which the Sirdars were members, the latter must be regarded as men engaged in an earnest endeavour to defend their liberties and privileges.63
In an earlier Conference held at Mithankot in February 1871 on question of the relations of the Khan of Kalat towards the Sardars of Balochistan, the British administrators expressed conflicting opinions. Sir W. Merewether and Captain Harrison, Political Agent at Kalat regarded the Khan as a supreme ruler and the Sardars as his subjects and feudatories. On the other hand, Colonel Phayre, Police Superintendent of Sindh, held that the Khan was no more than the head of a confederacy. He could not rule without the support and countenance of the British Government. Robert Sandeman and Colonel Graham were of the same opinion.64
During his feuds with the Sardars, the Khan used to ask for the British armed intervention to settle the problem. However, unless the British interest demanded such an intervention, the Viceroy would not oblige.65 On one occasion, the Khan told the Political Agent, Major Harrison, that if he failed to obtain assistance from the British Government, he would have to ask Afghanistan or Iran for aid. The Political Agent reminded the Khan of the article 3 of the Treaty of 1854, which restricted him from entering into negotiation with other States without the consent of the British Government. He also told the Khan that the Viceroy would not extend any help unless the Kalat government was established on a just basis, the rights of his subjects were properly cared for, and their grievances enquired into and redressed. As a matter of fact, he had simply conveyed to him what the Viceroy had observed: “If we were to intervene in force to support his authority, it would be necessary to enquire into and guarantee the rights of those whose alleged grievances have driven them into what may possibly be a justifiable rebellion.”66
This policy was certainly meant to ensure that the Khan would not emerge as a strong leader. The British wanted to keep for themselves the role of the final arbiter between the Khan and the Sardars without committing their soldiers to strengthen the office of the Khan. Hence, the memorandum on his powers and the responsibilities of the British government clearly stated that:
It was not the duty of the British Government to settle by armed intervention the administration of the Kalat, or to adjust the quarrels between the Khan and his nobles or to help the Khan to assert nominal suzerainty over recalcitrant tribes; and that His Excellency in Council would only give moral and material support.67
In fact, the memorandum clearly curtailed the powers of the Khan by suggesting that, “we shall take our own measures, without reference to him, to protect our territories and the lives and properties of our subjects; that any of his subjects who may commit offences in British territory and be apprehended there, will receive the utmost penalty of the Law.” 68
That does not mean that the British did not intervene in the feuds between the Khan and the Sardars. Often, they settled the disputes, but, each time, the Khan’s financial and administrative powers were further curtailed. The real author of this policy was Sandeman who ensured that the Khan had no right to a financial contribution from the Sardars. He was allowed income only from crown lands and custom duties, after paying the share to the local Sardars. The Sardars remained supreme in their own tribes whereas inter-tribal feuds were adjudicated by Jirga in which the Khan did not enjoy any special privileges. Thus, for all practical purposes, the Agent to the Governor-General was the real head of the Baloch Confederation. The glory of the Khan’s status was confined only to rituals of his court where “His Highness is still the nominal head, the Sarawan and Jhalawan Chiefs still sit on his right and left in the Durbars. And till he (Sardar) is invested by the Khan with the robe of succession, a Sardar, is not legitimized as a representative of his tribe”.69
With the passage of time, the AGG assumed the power of nominating the Sardars, summoning of Jirgas for the settlement of intertribal disputes, and the general observation of law and order in the country. The British believed that the AGG commanded more respect and obedience than the Khan in spite of the fact that in certain parts of the tribal areas like Sarawan and Jhalawan, the Khan was still respected.70 The presence of five thousand British soldiers at the Quetta Cantonment further strengthened the position of the AGG. The local chiefs were either ruled through the Khan or received money from the AGG, either as pension compensation for custom dues or for rendering services in the levies. Whenever either the Khan crossed his limits, in internal matters or in relation to the British interest, he was changed and replaced by a son or brother, whatever the requirement. On March 29, 1893 Mir Khudadad Khan was imprisoned and his son, Mir Mahmud Khan II (1893-1931), was placed on the throne of Kalat.71 Mir Khudadad died in captivity on May 21, 1907 at Pishin.72 The Khan functioned virtually like a dummy and the British AGG, in the name of the Khan, passed practically all court and administrative orders.
However, these measures were in no way endearing to either the Khan or some Sardars. Khan of Kalat, Mir Mahmud Khan II, for example, though weak, could not hide his feelings against the British. “He neither went to visit a British official nor went out of his way in welcoming them. On the contrary, he is reported to have encouraged many anti-British uprisings in Balochistan. Realizing his failure in regaining his lost prestige, he died in his palace on November 2, 1931”.73 His several abortive attempts to regain his powers through all possible means did not earn him a good name in the annals of Baloch history. One nationalist Baloch author however, declared all his reign of thirty-eight years as “shameful” and described him as the “Prince of Darkness.”74
The British had established themselves as rulers of Balochistan without much opposition. They received enthusiastic support from the loyal Sardars during the First World War. Official communications showed that the Khan and his associates offered recruits, camels, and, in certain cases, even cash to finance the British war efforts. Though there were reports of the presence of Turkish and German agents in Balochistan, Iran and Afghanistan, yet there was no major uprising in favour of Turkey in Balochistan during the war. The British, however, highlighted and exaggerated the German threat. In 1915, the infamous, future “butcher” of Jallianwala Bagh (1919), Amritsar, BrigadierGeneral Dyer was sent to Balochistan to deal with the threat. The British thought that Germans would invade India through Balochistan, and would ultimately break their Indian Empire. In 1916, the “German agents” allegedly killed two British officers, Lt. Horst and Lt. Hughes in Makran,75 which resulted in the unleashing of several punitive expeditions under General Dyer.76 The areas particularly hit were Jhalawan, in 1915-16 and Marri-Bugti areas in 1918.77
The whole Pashtoon belt adjacent to the Afghanistan border, including the Zhob, Qila Saifullah, Loralai, Sanjawi areas were up in revolt at the advent of the Third Afghan War in 1919. Although the war lasted hardly a week or so, the British had to face a staunch resistance from the Pushtoon freedom fighters in Balochistan. Among Pashtoons, there is a long list of such freedom fighters but the place of Shahjahan Jogazai was the most prominent of all.78
The first two decades of the twentieth century witnessed many developments that affected the people of Balochistan significantly. PanIslamic movement, the Khilafat movement, and the Third Afghan War directly affected the people, particularly the Pashtoons. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia replaced the Czarist threat to the British Empire with an ideology that was directed against the capitalist and the colonial West. The British forces were kept engaged quelling various disturbances during this period. During 1915-1919, the British faced revolts from both Baluch and Pashtoon tribes. They mounted about fifteen major expeditions and several minor expeditions to subdue the defiant forces in Balochistan.79
But there were some developments that helped ease British relations with Russia and Afghanistan, and thus allowed them more freedom to deal with the situation in Balochistan. The Durand Line80 was drawn under a treaty signed on November 12, 1893 between Sir Mortimer Durand on behalf of the British India and Amir Abdul Rahman of Afghanistan.81 In 1887, the Ridgeway Line, named after Sir West Ridgeway, fixed the northern boundaries of Afghanistan and Russia.82 Thus, Afghanistan emerged as the buffer state lying between the Imperial British India and the Czarist Empire (after 1917, the Soviet Union) in Central Asia.83

Conclusion
In summation, several conclusions can be drawn from the above lines. First, it can be said that by the time political activities began in India on a large scale, Balochistan was still struggling to cope with the advent of the new British administrative set-up. After the death of Mir Mahmood Khan on November 2, 1931,84 his brother, Amir Azam Khan was taken out of captivity, and installed as the Khan of Kalat. Lord Willingdon, the Viceroy of India, visited Balochistan to install the new Khan himself. A Grand Durbar was held at Quetta on April 26, 1932 for the purpose.85 Khan Amir Azam Khan died in December 1932 and his son, Mir Ahmad Yar Khan, succeeded him in 1933, who eventually helped the transformation of Balochistan from a British dependency to a part of Pakistan.
Secondly, the British had employed the policy of ‘divide and rule’ by keeping the Khan under their supervision, curtailing his powers, and acting as intermediaries between the Sardars and the Khan. Instead of establishing a clearly demarcated role for the Khan and the tribal chiefs, they ensured that confusion and complications existed between their relationships. They had established their rule in Balochistan but continuously faced opposition from different tribes.
Thirdly, the British never lost sight of their initial objective in occupying Balochistan which was to guard the frontiers of India against possible intrusions from the mountain passes, which separated the subcontinent from Iran and Afghanistan.
Fourthly, since the major victims of British colonialism in India were Muslims, the British wanted to ward off any linkages between the Muslim world and Muslim India. They achieved this through a clever use of strategic points in Balochistan, demarcation of boundaries, and actively intervening in the affairs of the two neighbouring Muslim states of Afghanistan and Iran.
Fifthly, though in the traditional sense, the Russian and the French threats were over, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the emergence of Germany as a major power, and, Turkey being its ally, never let the British sit comfortably in the saddle of power. All this indeed determined the nature of administrative patterns of the British rule in Balochistan.
Finally, one has to agree with Embree in context with the continuing policy of Pakistan towards Balochistan, “In any case the new state of Pakistan, for better or worse, lives with realities that link it with the great transformation of politics that took place in the sub-continent in the mid-nineteenth century”.86

References

1  Louis Dupree, Afghanistan (Karachi, 1977), p.362.
2  Percy Sykes, The History of Persia (London, 1969), Vol.II, p.298.
3  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.363.
4  Ibid.
5  Fraser Tytler, Afghanistan (London, 1967), p.80.
6  Muhammad Anwar Khan, England, Russia and Central Asia (Peshawar, 1963), p.4.
7  Tytler, Afghanistan, p.81.
8  Sykes, The History of Persia, Vol.II, p.319.
9  Ibid.
10  Dupree, Afghanistan, pp.365-368.
11  Ibid., p.369.
12  Tytler, Afghanistan, pp.84-85.
13  M.E. Yapp, Strategies of British India; Britain, Iran and Afghanistan 1799-1850 (New York: 1980), p.253.
14  John William Kaye, A History of the War in Afghanistan (London: 1874, 2nd ed, New Delhi, 1999), Vol.I, p.18.
15  J.I. Norris, The First Afghan War, 1838-1842 (Cambridge: 1967), p.134. It is amazing to see that both the hostile envoys paid visit to each other and were combined together at Christmas Dinner at Burnes’ residence in 1837.
16  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.371.
17  Kaye, A History of War, p.269.
18  Ibid., pp.319-23.
19  A.T. Embree, ed. Pakistan’s Western Borderlands (Karachi, 1979), pp.30-31. He was further of the view, “to extend the British influence into Afghanistan so that Russian dominance not be extended throughout the area.”
20  Ibid., pp.404-406.
21  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.377.
22  Mir Naseer Khan Baluch Ahmadzai, Tarikh-i-Baloch wa Balochistan (Quetta, 2000), Vol.VI, pp.49-50.
23  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.378.
24  L/P&S/5. Enclosures to Secret Letters Received from India, Vol.82. January 9, 1842, No.9. India Office Records (British Library), London.
25  Baluchistan and The First Afghan War, pp.375-76.
26  For best account of the logistic and strategic importance of the area consult, M.E.Yapp, Strategies of British India.
27  Ahmadzai, Tarikh-i-Baloch, Vol.VI, pp.57-58. It must be pointed out that Alexander Burnes negotiated this treaty. For text of the treaty see, C.U. Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Engagements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries, Baluchistan (Delhi, 1933), Vol.XI, pp.350-51.
28  Ibid., pp.67-68.
29  Ibid., pp.79.
30  A.B. Awan, Baluchistan: Historical and Political Processes (London: 1985), p.62.
31  Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Vol.XI, pp.351-52.
32  The Press List of Old Records in the Punjab Government Secretariat, Lahore, Serial No.2346,
33  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.401.
34  Hughes, The Country of Baluchistan, pp.216-17. See also Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Vol. XI, pp.352-353.
35  First Administration Report of the Baluchistan Agency (Calcutta, 1886), p.4.
36  Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Vol.XI, pp.357-58.
37  Ibid., pp.358-60.
38  The Press List of Old Records, Serial No.2346. Dated September 16, 1863.
39  First Administration Report, pp.54-55. Also see, Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Vol. XI, pp.362-64.
40  H.T. Lambrick, John Jacob of Jacobabad (Karachi, 1975), p.412.
41  Ibid. p.413. T.H. Thoronton, Acting Foreign Secretary to the Govt. of India in the year 1877, states that, “while the treaty of 1854 is between the British Government and the Khan of Kalat alone, in the Treaty of 1876 the Sardars are mentioned with the Khan as parties”. Col. T.H. Thoronton, Sir Robert Sandeman (London, 1895), p.93.
42  Ibid.
43  Mir Ahmad Yar Khan ‘Mukhtasar Tareekh Qaum-i-Baloch Wa Khawanee-i-Baloch (Quetta, 1970), p.61. Also Edward Oliver, Across the Border: Pathan and Biloch (London, 1890), pp.22-23.
44  Sykes, The History of Persia, Vol.II, pp.363-64.
45  Ibid.
46  D. Ghose, England and Afghanistan: A Phase in their Relations (Calcutta: 1960), p.10.
47  First Administrative Report, p.88.
48  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.409.
49  First Administrative Report, pp.77-78.
50  Oliver, Across the Border, p.123.
51  Mir Khuda Baksh Bijrani Marri Baluch, Searchlight on Baluchis and Baluchistan (Karachi: 1974), pp.18-20.
52  First Administrative Report, p.9.
53  Ibid.
54  Political & Secret Department, L/P&S 18 A, pp.6-20 Memorandum by Sir Robert Montgomery on the Punjab and Scinde Frontier, Khelat, etc., February 7, 1870.
55  Ibid., p.7.
56  Lambrick, John Jacob of Jacobabad, p.412. The ruling Khan was Mir Khudadad Khan. The letter was written to John Jacob.
57  First Administrative Report, p.88.
58  Political and Secret Department, L/P&S 18 A.7. Major General Sir Green to Colonel Bruce, London, February, 18, 1875, pp.5-7.
59  First Administrative Report, p.56.
60  Ibid. Following it, the Government of India published its Resolution on February 21, 1877, ordering the re-establishment and extension of the Baluchistan Agency. Robert Sandeman was appointed the Agent to the Governor General.
61  A.L.P. Tucker, Sir Robert Sandeman; Peaceful Conqueror of Baluchistan (Lahore, 1979), p.58.
62 Col. T.H. Thoronton, Sir Robert Sandeman (London: 1895), p.58.
63  First Administrative Report, pp.15-17.
64  Ibid.
65  Ibid., p.31.
66  Ibid. Robert Sandeman further noted in this respect: “His Excellency in Council has long ceased to expect from the Khan any efficient action towards the establishment of even responsible Government. During the last 17 years, the British Government has done everything in its power to strengthen his hands and enable him to fulfil his treaty obligations. Extra subsidies have been given; he has received from us presents of money. The Viceroy with distinctions has received him. In short everything has been done by the British Government that could have been done to raise him in the estimation of his subjects, and enable him to discharge all the duties which devolve upon him as the ruler of the Kalat State but all has been of no avail.”
67  Ibid., p.20.
68  Ibid., p.36.
69 Ibid., p.9 “But in the essential questions of the nomination of the Sardars, the summoning of the Jirgas for the settlement of inter-tribal disputes and the general preservation of peace in the country, the Agent to the Governor General was recognized all over Baluchistan as having taken the place of the Khan, and his mandate naturally commanded a great deal more respect and obedience than did ever of His Highness (the Khan). Moreover, the Sardars looked to the AGG for protection against the Khan. The fact of the matter was that the Khan had no right to money contribution from the Sardars, though they were bound to fellow him to battle against a foreign foe. He derived his income from Crown Lands, from custom dues, to a share of which the local tribes were in place entitled, and to a very small extent from land revenue shared with local Chiefs. He had no power over the lives and property of the tribesmen outside what may be called the crown domains. The Chiefs settled disputes in their own tribes, and Jirgas of all the Chiefs adjudicated disputes between men of different tribes by Jirga. On very important occasions, the Khan presided the Jirgas. Such a state of affairs naturally led to infighting and feuds between the Khan and Sardars. Indeed since Sir Sandeman’s Missions in 1876-77, the AGG has practically taken the place of the Khan as head of the Baluchistan or Brahui Confederation.”
70  Ibid., p.9.
71  Ahmadzai,  Tarikh-i-Baloch, Vol.VI, pp.562-63. He is also blamed,” An ogre and had executed his 3500 subjects. Minor theft charges were stoned to death. Vizier’s 90 years old father was hacked to death.” Charles C. Trench, Viceroy’s Agent (London: 1987), p.87.
72  Ibid., p.569.
73  Ibid., p.216.
74  Sardar Mohammad Khan Baluch, The Baluch Race and Baluchistan (Quetta: 1958), p.45.
75  Sykes, The History of Persia, Vol.II, pp.441-53.
76  Dyer, R.E. The Raiders of the Sarhad (London: 1921), Personal account of his 18 month expedition in Balochistan.
77  Ibid., pp.454-55.
78 Abdul Rahman Ghour, Hamari Jido Jihad (Quetta: 1995), pp.11-13. The Pashtoons had been residing in Zhob, Loralai, Harnai, Quetta and Pishin districts of Baluchistan for thousands of years. They had resisted the invaders throughout the ages. In 1338, the Kakars of the area had fought against Peer Mohammad, the grandson of Amir Taimur. Ahmad Shah Abdali had assigned the Sardari of Zhob to a pious Jogazai, Baqaneka and entitled him as “Badshah-i-Zhob”. The Jogazais fought against the British also. The most active person against them was Shahjahan Jogazai. He inflicted heavy losses on them. He fought two major battles with the British. In 1879, a British force of about one thousand troops under General Biddulph challenged Shahjahan Jogazai’s 500 men at Baghao near Sanjawai. The British wanted to occupy Loralai. But the Jogazai force equipped with primitive swords repulsed the well-armed troops.  Consequently, till the next year, the British could not dare another expedition. On August 16, 1880, Colonel T.W. Pierce was sent at the head of 300 soldiers of Bombay Infantry. Shahjahan Jogazai and Sardars Faiz Mohammad Khan Panezai led Panezais, Sarangzais and Kakars of Zhob. The ill-equipped indigenous tribals repulsed the British army in three hours tough fight. The last two battles of 1883 and 1884 are very remarkable which were fought at Thal Chotali against the British. Shahjahan Jogazai stood victorious in these fights and the British had to bear heavy losses. Shahjahan fought the British till his death. The British had acknowledged his bravery.
79  Embree, Pakistan’s Western Borderlands, p.33. Also see “Frontier and Overseas expeditions From India,” Vol.III (Calcutta: 1910), pp.325-41.
80  Percy Sykes, Sir Mortimer Durand (London, 1926). The Durand Line running between Afghanistan and Baluchistan marks a common border of about 720 miles. It is considered one of the best-demarcated and easily recognizable boundary lines in the world. The British historian Fraser Tytler regards it “Illogical from the point of view of ethnography, strategy and geography.” Tytler, Afghanistan, P.188. Lawrence Ziring is of the view, “Durand Line met some of the defensive needs of the British Indian Empire”. Lawrence Ziring, Pakistan the Enigma of Political Development (Colorado: 1980), p.149.
81  Dupree, Afghanistan, p.424.
82  Ibid.
83  Ahmadzai, Tarikh-i- Baloch (Quetta: 2000), Vol.VII, p.216.
84  Ibid., p.256.
85  Ibid., p.267.
86  Embree, Pakistan’s Western Borderlands, p.40.
________________________________________

Courtesy: Pakistan Journal of History and Culture, Vol.XXVIII, No.2 (2007) 

 
Comments Off on The British Advent in Balochistan

Posted by on December 11, 2015 in Balochistan

 

The British Raj: Fighting The Marris And The Khetrans

The Duki Column of the Marri Field Force, Baluchistan.
February to April 1918

Baluchistan in 1918

The Baluchistan Province of British India was a large but thinly inhabited territory that bordered southern Aghanistan, south-east Persia and the approaches to the Straits of Hormuz leading into the Persian Gulf. The Province was administered directly by the Indian Political Service, as was the North-West Frontier Province immediately to the north. During the Great War both of these Provinces were targeted by German agents positioned in neutral Persia who used gold and intrigue to spread disaffection against British rule.

The Marri tribe of eastern Baluchistan had a history of resistance to the British. The tribesmen were long-bearded and long-haired and lived in a remote, barren area that was relatively untouched by economic progress or the war. In 1917 Marri chiefs had travelled to Quetta for a visit by the British Viceroy and there probably they had been led to believe by other more devious chiefs that there were no British soldiers left in India as all had gone to the war. Then the British Political Agent asked for Marri recruits for a tribal levy, this caused anger and the Marris swore to refuse this British request. In February 1918 this anger was translated into action and an attack was mounted on Gumbaz Fort.

1

The interior of Fort Gumbaz

The attack on Gumbaz Fort

Thirty men from the 3rd Skinner’s Horse were garrisoning Gumbaz Fort when news of trouble brewing in the Marri region was received at regimental headquarters in Lorelai.  On 17th February 1918 Major J.R. Gaussen CMG, DSO was despatched with 50 more men to reinforce Gumbaz, and this group arrived at the fort the following day.  The fort and surrounding area appeared quiet and the resident Political Officer, Lieutenant Colonel F. McConaghey, was living in his bungalow some distance away.  However towards evening Gaussen sensed impending violence and he persuaded the Political Officer to move into the fort.

Gaussen’s appreciation for the defence of the fort with just 80 men had decided him not to attempt a perimeter defence but to concentrate his men in the two flanking towers; he commanded one tower and Lieutenant H.B. Watson (Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached to 3rd Skinner’s Horse) commanded the other.  At 2300 hours on 19th December several hundreds of mainly sword-wielding Marris suddenly attacked, scaled the fort walls, and then hurled themselves against the towers.  Mullahs had promised the tribesmen immunity from infidel bullets and the Marris were fearless.  The intensity of the fighting can be gauged from the citations for the two Indian Orders of Merit (2nd Class) that were later awarded:

No 786 Dafadar Lal Singh, 3rd Skinner’s Horse

This non-commissioned officer showed the greatest gallantry and power of command in action on the night of 19th-20th February 1918.  He exposed himself continually to fire, directing fire and rallying his men, till severely wounded.  When the non-commissioned officer who had charge of the key of the magazine had been cut down, and the key lost, he at once volunteered to go down and force open the magazine, ammunition being needed.  When wounded, he was placed under the little cover available but a second bullet inside the post struck him in the brain and killed him.

No 1334 Lance Dafadar Khem Singh, 3rd Skinner’s Horse

When his post was attacked from the rear, he at once rushed out to the head of the ladder and resolutely defended it from a mob of Marris, shooting down several and holding the ladder unaided until the attack was beaten off.

2

Marri Country

The first assault was halted but minutes later fresh waves of Marris vigorously attacked again until they too were driven out of the fort by rifle fire.  A third and final attack was mounted at 0200 hours 20th February but this also eventually withered under the intensive rifle fire of the defenders.  As they departed the Marris showered curses on their infidel foes and carried away some of their own casualties, but even so 200 dead or wounded tribesmen were found lying in and around the fort as dawn broke.  The regimental history does not record the casualties sustained by 3rd Skinner’s Horse.

This had been a very savage action and it was later included in the Official List of Battles and Actions of the Great War.  For gallantry displayed in commanding the towers James Robert Gaussen received a Companionship of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE), as did Frank McConaghey who had been fighting alongside him, and Harold Boyes Watson was awarded a Military Cross.

The Marri Field Force

The Marris continued attacking government buildings and induced the Khetran tribe to join them; the Khetranis joined in wholeheartedly and burned down buildings at Barkhan on 7th March.  But on 28th February the government had sanctioned punitive measures.  Lieutenant General R. Wapshare CB, CSI ordered a Field Force to concentrate at two locations: Duki for operations against the Marris and Dera Gazi Khan for operations against the Khetrans.  Brigadier General T.H. Hardy commanded at Duki and Brigadier General P.J. Miles commanded at Dera Gazi Khan.  Details of the major units that were most active in the two columns can be extracted from the list of recipients of the Battle Honour shown at the end of the article.

3

Marri Nawab with retainers

The Deri Ghazi Khan (or Rakhni) Column

 The 1st Battalion of the 55th Coke’s Rifles (Frontier Force), commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H.E. Herdon, de-trained at Deri Ghazi Khan on 4th March 1918.  The four rifle companies were class-composed of: Dogras, Sikhs, Punjabi Mussulmans and Pathans; the Pathan company was half Yusufzais and half Khattacks.  Colonel Herdon was ordered to move to Fort Munro, 90 kilometres away and on top of a 1,800 metre-high escarpment; the battalion departed on 5th March.  The following day news was received of an impending attack on Fort Bhar Khan, 100 kilometres distant.  Colonel Herdon marched towards Fort Bhar Khan with half of his battalion but after travelling 16 kilometres further news was received that the Fort Bhar Khan garrison had escaped to Kher.  Colonel Herdon now set his compass towards Kher, and by marching through a pitch-black night accompanied by heavy rain and mist his half-battalion reached Kher at 0130 hours on 7th March.  The men had no greatcoats or blankets and no food was available, whilst the only huts there were fire-damaged.  On the next day the other half of Coke’s Rifles reached Kher, and a rudimentary supply line was established.  Over the next few days the battalion picqueted the roads to Girdo and Rakhni.

On 15th March around 3,000 Marris and Khetranis, mostly swordsmen, attacked Fort Munro.  Coke’s Rifles marched hard to get there in time, accompanied by Centre Section (2 guns) of 23rd (Peshawar) Mountain Battery.  The tribesmen got into some bungalows near the fort and occupied an adjacent hill.  Centre Section was commanded by Captain T.F. Hennessy and he provided fire support, firing 32 rounds at 1550 metres range whilst two companies of Coke’s Rifles attacked and dispersed the enemy.  Coke’s Rifles had four men wounded, one mortally, by sword cuts.

The next day more troops arrived and the Force moved to Rakhni from where punitive columns destroyed villages, cut crops, seized cattle and took many prisoners.  The 12th Pioneers, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel J.S. Hooker, supported the infantry by road and camel-track construction, and often by accompanying columns to use pioneer expertise in demolishing villages.  The region was dry and very hot by day, but the temperature dropped to freezing conditions by night.

Sapper engineering support

As well as the pioneer support both the Bengal and the Bombay Sappers & Miners provided sub-units for heavier military engineering tasks.  Captain H.E. Roome, Royal Engineers, commanded the 52nd Company, Bengal Sappers & Miners, whilst Captain M.G.G. Campbell, Royal Engineers, commanded the 72nd Company, Bombay Sappers & Miners.  The sappers improved water supplies and communications generally, bridging ravines, destroying enemy fortified towers and erecting camp defences.

The Duki Column

Units in the column de-trained at Harnai and concentrated at Duki by 18th March, when the order of battle was:

·        Column Headquarters
·        One Squadron 3rd Skinner’s Horse
·        One section of 23rd (Peshawar) Mountain Battery
·        One section of Sappers & Miners
·        1st Battalion The South Lancashire Regiment
·        107th Pioneers
·        2nd Battalion 2nd King Edward’s Own Gurkhas, with one platoon from 3rd Battalion 5th Gurkha Rifles attached
·        Detachments from the 71st Punjabis, the only Christian battalion in the Indian Army.
·        A Machine Gun Company, motor cycle mounted.
·        Two sections of a Field Ambulance.
·        A detachment of Mule Corps.
·        A detachment of Bikaner Camel Corps, an Imperial Service unit provided by the Princely State of Bikaner.

Rain fell heavily on Duki and there was little shelter.  The South Lancashires, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. De Vere Willoughby-Osborne, was an all-British unit on the peace-time ration scale. The battalion suffered because it was impossible to make local purchases as there were no local suppliers in sight.  The British soldiers were each issued with half a kilogram of atta flour (milled from semi-hard wheats) with which to make chapatis, but they needed friendly help from the Indian units before anything resembling a chapati appeared.  At Duki it was decided to forget about the motor cycles as there were no roads ahead of the column, so the machine gun sections were converted to pack-animal transport and the ammunition belts were carried in packing cases by mules and camels.  The former motor cyclist riders had worn the soles off their boots cornering on their bikes, and being in no condition to march a long distance they persevered as far as Kohlu where they stayed as a garrison. The 107th Pioneers, commanded by Major W.P.M.D. McLaughlin initially picqueted the road by day between Harnai and Ashgara, garrisoning posts along them.  One night a company camp at Torkhan was surrounded by hostile Marris, but the pioneers’ rifle fire drove off the tribesmen at a loss of one Pioneer wounded.  The 107th then marched with the Duki column.

The column advanced on 18th March to Gumbaz, the scene of the February attack, where mules were allocated to carry greatcoats.  Meat was driven ‘on the hoof’ and the herdsmen had to be constantly chivvied to keep up with the column.  Next morning Nurhan, the entrance to the Marri country, was reached and a reconnaissance party observed many stone-built sangars (protective firing positions) on the crests of hills controlling the valley that had to be used as a route; however the sangars were not manned.  That night heavy rain soaked the greatcoats and blankets which resulted in unstable mule-loads that constantly slipped during the following day; the wet blankets froze stiff during the following night.

4

The two British guns lost to the Marris in 1840 

Air support

Air co-operation planes had appeared overhead. These were BE2c aircraft from Nos 31 and 114 Squadrons, Royal Air Force; two planes were based at Sibi, two more at Duki and a further five at Deri Ghazi Khan. The first sortie, on 1st March, was a plane armed with a Lewis gun and four small bombs that went looking for a reported 3,000-strong lashkar (fighting group) of Marris approaching from Chandia. The plane made no contact, and this was fortunate as the reported lashkar was in fact the audience dispersing after a sports meeting at Chandia. However operationally the planes could look for enemy groups and drop messages on the columns with details of enemy locations or directions of travel, and they could bomb villages and camps. On 24th March Kahan, capital of the Marri district, was bombed and 14 armed tribesmen were killed. The threat offered by the aeroplanes was a significant deterrent and helped in eventually subduing the inadequately armed belligerents.

Securing Watwangi Pass

On 22nd March the column secured and marched through the very steep-sided Watwangi Pass, leaving half the Gurkhas there to secure the route and operate punitive columns. Lieutenant Colonel A.B. Tillard, the Gurkhas’ commanding officer, stayed with his headquarters at Zrind at the top of the pass. The two companies of Gurkhas that marched onwards with the column were commanded by Captain E.J. Corse Scott. Kohlu was reached where the revenue and levy posts had been burned out. Here the column halted for a few days, the motor cyclists in their by-now imitations of boots were left as a Line of Communication garrison whilst infantry columns destroyed local villages and crops and collected any weapons seen.

Confiscated herds of livestock were attached to the column and moved on with it to Bor, where torrential rain all night prevented cooking and allowed the livestock to escape. To recover the stock 40 South Lancashire volunteers who claimed equestrian status were mounted on transport mules, with pack-saddles and rope stirrups, and sent back towards Kohlu. However as soon as the mules decided to move up a gear from walking to trotting the countryside was littered with dismounted soldiers and riderless mules; it took two hours to reform the detachment. The mules were then walked to Kohlu where the herds had faithfully returned, and a sheep or two or three were requisitioned to provide grilled lamb chops with the chapatis that evening.

It took all of the next day to return to Bor as the herds were very hungry and stampeded towards grazing whenever they saw it; by now few of the equestrian volunteers wanted to ever ride again. Bor was totally fly-infested and when eating, speed and dexterity with spoon and fork were essential to prevent the swallowing of swarms of flies. Also the water was brackish and purgative, keeping all ranks on the run. Everyone kept on good terms with the re-supply convoy commander who always brought a barrel of sweet water up with him.

The action at Hadb 

As 4th April dawned news came in of a strong lashkar (fighting group) of around 1,500 Marris positioned at Hadb to bar the route to Mamand.  The lashkar was occupying sangars on the crest of a long upward-running spur.  A reconnaissance was made resulting in a decision to attack directly with two companies of Gurkhas and one company of South Lancashires, supported by the mountain gunners.

5

Marri Nawab signs terms with General Hardy

A Gurkha company and a South Lancashire platoon climbed the spur and the steep ground at its head whilst two other South Lancashire companies manoeuvred to be able to fire into the Marris’ flank as they retired.

As the British assault troops crested the ridge and engaged the sangars the Marris broke and retreated, leaving up to 100 dead on the ground; many wounded were carried away.  Shells from the mountain guns and the kukhris and bayonets of the assaulting troops had all done deadly work in and around the sangars.  This was the only stand made by the primitively-armed Marris against the Duki Column.  Five British soldiers had been wounded.  Subadar Gamer Sing Gurung and 2403 Lance Naik Dhanraj Gurung, both of 2/2nd King Edward’s Own Gurkhas, were later Mentioned in Despatches

Submission

The Duki Column moved on to the Marri capital of Kahan without further opposition, arriving on 18th April.  During the following day the Political staff got to work and on 2nd May accepted the formal submission of the Marri Nawab and tribal headmen.  A similar acceptance from the Khetrans was accepted at Barkhan on 7th May.  By now hot weather had arrived, with temperatures reading 110 degrees in the shade.

Whilst at Kahan the gunners came across two British 12-pounder howitzers that had been spiked and abandoned after a disastrous encounter with the Marris in 1840.  The guns were hauled back to Quetta where one of them adorned the Royal Artillery mess there for several years.

As hostilities had ended the Duki Column marched back towards Duki.  The 55th Coke’s Rifles was met at Chappi Kach, complete with tents, a proper scale of rations, and beer; the 55th was generous towards its companions-in-arms.  At Harnai station a Munro Canteen had been set up, manned by ladies from Quetta; after appreciating the canteen contents and the kindness of the staff the column entrained for Quetta.  Uniforms were torn and patched, and boots were disintegrating, but after three months of marching across the unforgiving Baluchistan terrain all ranks were fit, slim, and content.

Lieutenant Colonel Arthur De Vere Willoughby-Osborne, The South Lancashire Regiment, was later Mentioned in Despatches and also received a Companionship of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire (CIE).

6

The Jirgah deciding Marri & Khetrani guilt for the uprising.

Battle Honour

These twelve regiments and units were awarded the Battle Honour Baluchistan 1918, but those underlined did not elect to carry the honour; the units and sub-units from these twelve that were employed in the 1918 Marri Field Force are shown bracketed:

§ The South Lancashire Regiment (1st Bn);
§ The Kent Cyclist Battalion (1st/1st Bn);
§ Skinner’s Horse (3rd Skinner’s Horse);
§ The Peshawar Mountain Battery (23rd (Peshawar) Battery);
§ The Bengal Sappers & Miners; (52nd Company);
§ The Bombay Sappers & Miners; (72nd Company);
§ Madras Pioneers (81st Pioneers);
§ Bombay Pioneers (12th Pioneers and 107th Pioneers);
§ The Frontier Force Rifles (1st/55th Coke’s Rifles);
§ The 2nd Gurkha Rifles (2nd Bn);
§ The 4th Gurkha Rifles (1st Bn).

SOURCES:

Frontier and Overseas Expeditions from India, Volume III, Baluchistan and the First Afghan War (http://archive.org/details/frontieroverseas03indi )

The History of Skinner’s Horse by Major A.M. Daniels.

History of the 2nd King Edward’s Own Goorkhas (The Sirmoor Rifle Regiment), Volume II, 1911-1921. By Colonel L.W. Shakespear.

History of the Bombay Pioneers by Lieutenant Colonel W.B.P. Tugwell.

The Frontier Force Rifles, 1849-1946 by Brigadier W.H. Condon OBE.

Official History. The War in the Air, Volume Six by H.A. Jones.

(The above six titles are available as re-prints from The Naval & Military Press Ltd.)

Unattributed Article in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment Museum Archives, The Marri Field Force 1918.

Ich Dien: The Prince of Wales’s Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) 1914-1934 by Captain H. Whalley-Kelly. Gale & Polden, Aldershot 1935.

Regimental Journal Article: The Defence of Fort Gumbaz February 1918 by Lieutenant Colonel K.C. Cradock-Watson, Skinner’s Horse.

Reward of Valour. The Indian Order of Merit, 1914-1918 by Peter Duckers. Jade Publishing Limited, 1999.
The Indian Political Service . A Study in Indirect Rule by Terence Creagh Coen KBE, CIE. Chatto & Windus, London, 1971.

The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery by Brigadier General C.A.L. Graham DSO, OBE, DL, psc. Gale & Polden Ltd, Aldershot, 1957. (http://archive.org/details/IndianMountainArtillery)

The Indian Sappers & Miners by Lieutenant Colonel E.W.C. Sandes DSO, MC.

The Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies 1662-1982 by H.C.B. Cook. Leo Cooper, London, 1987.

Indian Army List, January 1919.

London Gazettes Nos 31235 (pages 3586-87) of 17 March 1919, and 31903 (pages 5581-83) of 18 May 1920.

(An edited version of this article appeared in a recent issue of Durbar, the journal of the Indian Military Historical Society http://imhs.org.uk/ . Gratitude is expressed to the Royal Geographical Society for the use of their photographs, and to Matthew Broadbridge for drawing attention to the Cradock-Watson article.)

 
Comments Off on The British Raj: Fighting The Marris And The Khetrans

Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Balochistan

 

The British Raj: Operations in Mekran 1898 – 1902

Introduction

At the turn of the 19th Century, the Mekran area of northwest India (now Pakistan) and adjacent southeast Persia was a remote dry strip of land running along the northern coastline of the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. This was, and remains today, one of the most hostile and inaccessible regions in the world. Mountains rising to over 10,000 feet formed a backdrop to the coastal desert. Habitation inland followed watercourses that ran through gorges in the hills where date gardens could be irrigated. Coastal communities existed on fishing and smuggling, with Muscat, in Oman across the Straits of Hormuz, being a major source of illegally-imported weapons. The camel provided a transport resource, as well as milk and meat. The standard of living was very low, bordering on wretched, for many inhabitants. The people were hardy and lawless Muslim Baluch tribesmen who resisted outside interference and who constantly intrigued and fought amongst themselves.

In the British-administered portion of Mekran government of a sort was achieved by tribal treaty supervised by British Political Agents. The British presence was most evident on the coast where a telegraph line ran from Persia to Karachi. However, by 1898, British survey parties were working inland.

Deployment for operations in 1898

In January 1898, conflict broke out in Kej, where the Hindu Nazim Diwan Udho Das (a district administrator who reported to the ruler of the region, the Khan of Kalat) was disliked and disrespected by the Baluch sardars (leaders) Baluch Khan and Mehrab Khan Gichki. The latter, with the complicity of Baluch Khan, attacked Diwan Udho Das on 6th January, imprisoned him in Kalatuk Fort and looted his treasury. Meantime, the unsuspecting British had deployed four surveyors, with Punjabi civilian support staff, into the Kolwa and Kej valleys, depending on the Baluch sardars’ levies for security.

On 9th January, the camp of one of the surveyors, Captain J.M. Burn, Royal Engineers, was attacked by local tribesmen. The fifteen-man levy escort team, commanded by Rhustam Khan, brother of Mehrab Khan Gichki, stood aside as sixteen support staff were slaughtered. The attackers and the escort party then seized thirty-five rifles and 15,000 Rupees. Captain Burn had been sleeping on a hill three miles away, and he was alerted by one of his men who had escaped from the camp. Burn started off on foot to Balor, thirty-five miles away. At Balor he sent messengers to alert the other surveyors, and he obtained a camel to ride to Urmara, whence on 11th January he telegraphed a report to Brigadier-General T.A. Cooke, the Officer Commanding Sind District, at Karachi.

Within two hours of the report’s arrival, a military response was initiated. Lieutenant-Colonel R.G.C. Mayne, commanding 30th Bombay Infantry (3rd Baluch Battalion), was ordered to proceed with 250 men to Urmara, seventy-five miles east of Pasni. Transportation was provided by the tug Richmond Crawford, with a local boat in tow carrying followers, baggage, 400 rounds per rifle, and rations for one month. Three British officers and one medical officer accompanied Mayne. Parties from the 21st Bombay Infantry were despatched to Chabbar and Jask in Persian Mekran to protect British telegraph facilities in those locations. Meanwhile those sardars wishing to avoid direct conflict with the British escorted the three remaining surveyors and their men into Urmara. At Urmara, Colonel Mayne landed his men, horses and supplies by using local bunder boats (ship-to-shore coastal boats). More troops were being organised to join Colonel Mayne, and Pasni was chosen as the operational base. From Pasni, a direct route led north to Mehrab Khan’s fort at Turbat and the nearby fort at Kalatuk where Nazim Diwan Udho Das was jailed. Colonel Mayne marched on 19th January with his men along the 100 miles of telegraph line to Pasni, repairing the line as he went.

27th Baluch LI. On front row Lt Grant DSO is 4th from left and Subadar Hamid Khan IOM is 7th

27th Baluch LI. On front row Lt Grant DSO is 4th from left and Subadar Hamid Khan IOM is 7th

The hostile sardars had sent instructions that the British were not to be offered camels to assist with transportation, but the British Political Agent for South-East Baluchistan, Major M.A. Tighe, quickly found camels for Colonel Mayne. None of the beasts were strong due to recent droughts in the region and many died under the pressure of work. By 27th January 1898, Colonel Mayne had under his command at Pasni the 30th Bombay Infantry (400 rifles), a section of No 4 Hazara Mountain Battery (two 7-pndr guns), and eighty-eight transport mules. Two days later the following troops left Karachi to join Colonel Mayne: 6th Bombay Cavalry (half-squadron); 30th Bombay Infantry (eighty rifles, tasked with guarding telegraph facilities at Urmara, Pasni and Gwadur); Bombay Sappers and Miners (one British and one Indian officer with twelve other ranks); No 42 Field Hospital (‘C’ and ‘D’ Sections); an additional twelve transport mules.

The advance on Turbat

Colonel Mayne left Pasni with his men and the two mountain guns on 27th January, knowing that Baluch Khan intended to block his advance to Turbat.  Four dry and dusty days later at 08.00 hours, the column came across the hostile Sardars and 1,500 of their men on hills 300 feet (ninety-one metres) above the mouth of a narrow six-mile long defile.  When the advance guard under Lieutenant N.R. Anderson got within 850 yards of the enemy, it came under breech-loading rifle fire. Captain A. LeG. Jacob, with fifty rifles, was deployed onto a hill on the enemy’s left flank where he met stiff opposition.

An artist's sketch of the British Army in Baluchistan

An artist’s sketch of the British Army in Baluchistan

Lieutenant J.H. Paine and his gunners now delivered destructive blows by blasting the sardars’ forces with shells.  Colonel Mayne sent Captain R. Southey with fifty rifles to drive the enemy off low hills to the left (west) of the defile.  At that moment Lieutenant H.T. Naylor appeared with thirty-two sabres from the 6th Bombay Cavalry.  He had double-marched up from Pasni towards the sound of the guns.  He and his men were deployed dismounted to support Southey.  Colonel Mayne now moved his main body forward to seize the mouth of the defile whilst Captains Southey and Jacob got behind the enemy on their respective flanks.  The guns moved forward to support the assault and fired case shot (exploding cannisters containing metal fragments) into all the enemy positions.  This was a demoralising blow as the sardars’ men had not previously faced effective artillery fire, and after taking hundreds of casualties the enemy ranks quickly thinned out as men fled.  However some of the sardars were made of sterner stuff, as suddenly Baluch Khan and a group of his ghazis (warriors who fought for Islam) jumped out of cover, discarded their rifles, drew their swords, and shouted ‘Allah! Allah!’ as they charged at Captain Jacob’s group.  Some got to within twenty paces of Captain Jacob before they were all shot down.  Captain Jacob himself killed Baluch Khan with a revolver shot. The action was over by 11.45 hours and Colonel Mayne’s men moved tactically through the defile.  The enemy had lost up to 250 tribesmen killed and about the same number wounded.  Baluch Khan and four other Khans were dead.  The cavalry had lost one man wounded, the gunners had lost one man killed and one man wounded, and the 30th Bombay Infantry had lost two men killed and ten wounded, one of whom later died.  Lieutenant Naylor and his cavalry re-mounted and pushed on to the River Kej where they skirmished, killing four and wounding five of the enemy.  Colonel Mayne and his main body approached Turbat Fort at about 16.30 hours, fired a few shells into the fort, and camped for the night.  During the hours of darkness the fort’s defenders, led by Mehrab Khan Gitchi, withdrew into the hills. Mayne’s column occupied the fort the next day, the 1st February.

Demolitions

The detachment of Bombay Sappers and Miners, under Lieutenant W. Bovet, arrived twenty-four hours later, having marched forty miles that day.  There was no rest for them as they immediately marched with Colonel Mayne another thirty miles to Charbak, and blew up the towers of the fort there.  On 7th February Lieutenant Bovet’s men used their gun-cotton to demolish forts at Gushtang, Kaor-i-Kalat and Kala-i-Nao, the adjacent villages having already been burnt by the infantry on 2nd February.  Visits were made to the other valleys of the hostile sardars and a flying column under Major G.E. Even was sent north to the higher Bolida valley where the forts at Chib and Koshk were demolished, whilst the Bet fort was occupied.  Major Even then seized Kalatak fort and released Diwan Udho Das.

Colonel Mayne marched to Tump, where the fort was surrendered by the defenders, and then on towards Mand near the Persian border.  Here Lieutenant S.G. Knox, Political Assistant at Kalat, interviewed the headmen and chiefs of the area, obtaining their signatures on an agreement acknowledging their loyalty to the Khan and their willingness to remit revenue to him.  On the return journey, Phulabad fort was demolished. At Turbat Lieutenant Knox held a durbar which was attended by the headmen of Kej and Mekran.  Fines totalling 50,000 rupees were inflicted, which had to be paid within three years.  As part of the punishment, none of the local crops that the sepoys and sowars had consumed during their marches around the region were to be paid for.

The withdrawal from Mekran

Baluch Infantry in the 1890s

Baluch Infantry in the 1890s

Having acted in a decisive and energetic manner, demonstrating how lethal artillery fire can be and how damaging gun-cotton can be (a total of thirteen forts were demolished), Colonel Mayne split his force into three groups.A small detachment of the 30th Bombay Infantry remained in Mekran to support the Kalat State troops who garrisoned the forts at Turbat, Kalatak, Tumo and Bet.  A column under Captain Jacob composed of the cavalry, mountain gunners, sappers, and ninety rifles marched back to Quetta via Kalat, demolishing forts at Sharak, Nag, Ser and Hor Kalat on the way.  Colonel Mayne and the remainder of his command marched to Urmara and then sailed to Karachi aboard I.M.S. Canning.

Awards for the 1898 operations

Order of the Bath (Companion, Military Division)
Lieutenant-Colonel R.C.G. Mayne, 30th Bombay Infantry
Distinguished Service Order
Captain A.LeG.Jacob, 30th Bombay Infantry
Lieutenant J.H. Paine, Royal Artillery
Indian Order of Merit (3rd Class)
Subedar Ahmed Khan, 30th Baluch Infantry: For conspicuous gallantry in action at Gok Parosh, in Mekran [sic], on the 31st January 1898. The Subedar was with the left flank attack, with Captain A.LeG. Jacob, and showed conspicuous gallantry and courage in leading a small party of his men, in the face of heavy odds, against superior numbers of the enemy, and dislodging them from strong positions.
Brevet rank of Major
Captain Robert Southey, 30th Bombay Infantry
Mentioned in despatches
Lieutenant H.T. Naylor, 6th Bombay Cavalry
Lieutenant J.H. Paine, R.A. No 4 (Hazara) Mountain Battery
Jemadar Shaikh Khuda Baksh, No 4 (Hazara) Mountain Battery
Lieutenant H.H. Turner, Royal Engineers (Transport Officer)
Major G.E. Even, 30th Bombay Infantry
Captain R. Southey, 30th Bombay Infantry
Captain A. Le G. Jacob, 30th Bombay Infantry
Subadar Ahmad Khan, 30th Bombay Infantry
Jemadar Fazl Shah, 30th Bombay Infantry.
Lieutenant S.G. Knox, Political Agent.

The 1901-1902 operations – the situation in Mekran

In an attempt to control banditry along their common border during the cold weather of 1901-1902, the Persian government agreed to co-operate with British forces.  Local Lieutenant-Colonel H.L. Showers, Political Agent at Kalat, and his escort party moved to meet the Persians on the border.   The escort commander was Major M.J. Tighe, D.S.O., 27th Baluchis. The troops in the escort were: 27th Baluch Light Infantry (300 rifles); 5th Bombay Cavalry (Scinde Horse) (fifty sabres); a section of the 9th (Murree) Mountain Battery (two 7-pounder guns); a detachment of Bombay Sappers and Miners (twenty-one all ranks from No. 4 Company).

Illustrated London News sketches of the Nodiz action, Nodiz Fort

On 16th December 1901, Captain Showers’ party arrived in Turbat and met Colonel C.E. Yate, the Agent to the Governor-General Baluchistan.  Colonel Yate stated that cross-border outlaws had seized Nodiz Fort which was located about eight miles west of Kalatak.
The Nazim of Kej and his forces had been besieging the fort for over fifty days, but without artillery they could not assault it.  Major Tighe was requested to assist the Nazim’s forces.

The following day Major Tighe went to reconnoitre Nodiz Fort, accompanied by Lieutenant J.B. Corry, Royal Engineers, commanding the Bombay Sappers and Miners detachment.  The Nazim showed them the fort which was a substantial one, and Major Tighe decided that he needed the guns to be brought up before an assault commenced.   On 19th December, reconnaissances were made by all the infantry officers, and the next day at 09.00 hours the guns arrived under the command of Lieutenant E.G. Hart, Royal Artillery.  The gunners were given an hour to rest before the assault began.

Camp Orders regarding Attack on Nodiz Fort
Major M.J. Tighe, Nodiz, the 20th December, 1901

The attack on Nodiz fort will take place this morning, immediately after the arrival of the mountain guns from Turbat. The orders for the attack are as under.
i. A guard of forty rifles will be detailed to guard the camp. Particular attention should be paid to the karezes (underground water channels) west of the camp.
ii. The Nazim’s levies will be directed to occupy their present sangars round the fort, and on no account to leave them.
iii. The guns, with an escort of ten rifles, will take up a position to the south-east of the fort, and will have as their objectives:
(a) The loop-holed tops of the west flank towers;
(b) The top of the main tower; when the tops of the west flank towers have been demolished, the Officer Commanding the guns will sound his battery call.  This will be the signal to the infantry that the gun fire has been turned from the west flank tower to the main tower.
(c) Captain Hulseberg, 27th Baluch Light Infantry, will guide the guns to the position selected, and will rejoin the infantry.
iv. The infantry will be disposed as follows:
(a) Forty rifles, covering party—Lieutenant Grant (27th Baluch Light Infantry)
Sappers and Miners—Lieutenant Corry
Fifty rifles, supports
The whole under Captain Hulseberg
Eighty rifles reserve, at disposal of Officer Commanding. This will form the main infantry attack, which will be directed on the south-west bastion of the fort, through the date groves.
(b) Fifty rifles under Lieutenant Orton will push their way to the east side of the fort and occupy the mosque which is outside the fort, or take up such a position as will prevent the enemy escaping.
(c) The cavalry will take up a position in rear of the guns, ready for pursuit.
(d) Hospital and reserve ammunition with the reserves.
(e) The position of the Officer Commanding will be with the supports.
v. The battery call will be the signal for the gun-cotton party to advance.
vi. No bugles will be sounded except by order of the Officer Commanding.
vii. Sketch of position will be given to all British Officers.

Illustrated London News sketches of the Nodiz action

Illustrated London News sketches of the Nodiz action


Lieutenants Grant and Corry raced to be the first through the narrow breach, which only allowed one man at a time to pass through.  Naik Baryam Singh and Sapper Noor Din, both Grant’s men, followed them through and this quartet killed eight of the enemy before the defenders organised a response. By this time, Subedar Hamid Khan, 27th Baluchis, with about thirty of his men, had also entered the fort.  An enemy sniper in the tower above put down effective fire onto the attackers, and enemy groups wielding swords counter-attacked both flanks.  This resulted in Grant and Corry and three sepoys being shot and wounded.  Unable to hold their position, the storming party dragged their wounded and the loose rifles back through the breach.  The first assault had been repulsed.

Major Tighe then ordered his infantry up to the fort walls, and the sepoys used their bayonets to rive loop-holes through which they could shoot.  The guns were ordered forward into a date grove only 100 yards from the fort.  Here they had line-of-sight to the forts’ roofs – the weak points.  The roofs were shelled until they were set on fire, causing them to collapse onto the defenders. Major Tighe’s bugler sounded ‘Cease Fire’ and then ‘Attack,’ and Captain Hulseberg and his Baluch infanteers swarmed into the fort again, quickly overcoming opposition.  The surviving sixty-three defenders surrendered inside the fort or to Lieutenant Orton on the east side.  Fourteen enemy dead and seventeen wounded lay on the floor of the fort.  Thirty-three of the captured enemy were Persian.

During the assault, Major Tighe’s force expended 154 artillery shells, 1,830 rifle rounds and thirty-six pistol rounds.  The action was over at 13.25 hours.  The force had lost three sepoys killed, two British officers and six sepoys severely wounded, with a few more men slightly wounded.  The fort was now knocked down with gun-cotton.

Awards for the attack on Nodiz Fort

Distinguished Service Order
Lieutenant J.B. Corry, Royal Engineers
Lieutenant G.P. Grant, 27th Baluch Light Infantry
Brevet rank of Lieutenant Colonel
Major M.J. Tighe, D.S.O., 27th Baluch Light Infantry
Indian Order of Merit 3rd Class
Subedar Hamid Khan, 27th Baluch Light Infantry
1991 Naik Baryam Singh, No. 4 Coy, Bombay Sappers and Miners
1967 Sapper Noor Din, No. 4 Coy, Bombay Sappers and Miners

The medals of Major John Beaumont Corry DSO (held in a private collection)

For conspicuous gallantry in action on the occasion of the capture of Nodiz Fort in Mekran, on the 20th December 1901, when they accompanied Lieutenant J.B. Corry, R.E., and Lieutenant W.O. [sic] Grant, 27th Baluch Light Infantry, in the fore of the storming party, and engaged the enemy’s swordsmen.

 A heavy fire was opened on them from the towers, and both the British officers and several men fell wounded. The subedar and the two sappers [sic] named above stood their ground, and by their gallant conduct saved the lives of both officers and men.
Mentioned in despatches
Lieutenant E.F. Orton, 7th Bombay Lancers
Lieutenant J.B. Corry, Royal Engineers
Lieutenant E.G. Hart, Royal Artillery (Murree Mountain Battery)
Captain H. Hulseberg, 27th Baluch Light Infantry
Lieutenant G.P Grant, 27th Baluch Light Infantry

Major John Beaumont Corry DSO

Major John Beaumont Corry DSO

The next stage in operations was for Colonel Showers to make contact with a Persian delegation at Bampur on the Indo-Persian border in order to agree upon joint measures to limit lawlessness in Mekran. In effect, the Political Agent’s Escort became a flying column of all arms, with a total strength of close to 600 officers, other ranks and followers. Hampered by a train of more than four thousand camels required to carry the requisite ammunition and provisions for man and beast, it stretched back over ten miles. As it progressed through the harsh Baluchistan landscape, it carried out a number of diversions to survey the territory. It was fortunate that the country was generally quiet, the fall of Nodiz having made a deep impression on the local tribesmen. They were plentifully armed with magazine rifles acquired via Muscat, mostly manufactured by B.S.A. in Birmingham, and it would have been difficult to protect the column’s lengthy tail from well prepared ambush.

Lieutenant George Patrick Grant wearing his DSO

Lieutenant George Patrick Grant wearing his DSO

Forts linked with known bandits were destroyed en route, and there was only one place that threatened to put up any resistance.  Near to the meeting point with the Persians was the fort of Magas, still in outlaw hands. The Persians had been unable to negotiate the surrender of the fort, but when the British troops approached the defenders melted away into the surrounding hills. From their supposedly safe retreats, the bandits continued to menace the loyal sirdars, and Colonel Showers took the time to send the sirdars help. One of the more dangerous episodes in this process took place near Magas on the 9th February 1902.

Havildar Subhay Khan, 27th Buluch Light Infantry, with a party of thirteen men, had been sent by Colonel Showers from Magas to assist the sirdars. Taking with him three days’ food, he boldly proceeded into the hills and coming across a party of the enemy who fired at him, promptly attacked and dispersed them, killing five and wounding four. Continuing his advance, he captured over 300 head of animals, all of which he brought in safely to Magas. It was a swift and bold raid against an enemy, who imagined himself secure in his mountain fastness, and it had a most salutary effect.  For his gallantry and leadership, the havildar was advanced to the 2nd Class Indian Order of Merit. By the time the Escort returned to its depots, the infantry had marched distances varying from 1,200 to 2,000 miles. In their turn, the cavalry was proud to report that they had covered eighteen hundred miles in six months and had not lost a single horse or mule.

Conclusion

Although Mekran remained relatively quiet after the final departure of the British troops, the events at Nodiz had persuaded the British government that the Khan’s troops were unfit to keep order in the country, and the Mekran Levy Corps was formed.  The strength of the Levy Corps was 137 cavalry and 203 infantry.  The Headquarters was at Panjgur (180 men) with detachments at Diz, Parom, Mand, Suntzar and Jiwani.  The commander of the Corps was the Assistant Political Agent.  The expenses of the Corps were met from Imperial funds.

When the Great War started German agents in Persia encouraged insurgency over the border in India and across the Straits of Hormuz in Oman.  This resulted in disaffection in the Mekran Levy Corps and resulted in attacks on British positions in Mekran and Oman. Later in the war, in the Spring of 1918, the British had to send a Field Force to subdue rebellious Marri tribesmen in Baluchistan.

Dedication

The author dedicates this article to his Baluch comrades, particularly those killed or wounded in action, who served with him in the war in Dhofar Province, Sultanate of Oman, between 1973 and 1975  Baluch men flocked in their thousands to the Sultanate’s recruiting office in Gwadur, Mekran, seeking enlistment in the Sultan’s Armed Forces.  They provided an effective temporary pool of military manpower during critical times.  Nowadays their contribution is sadly fading from military memory.  As A.E. Housman wrote:

These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling,
And took their wages, and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay.

Sources
Frontier & Overseas Expeditions from India, Volume III, Pt. 1, Baluchistan (Intelligence Branch, Army HQ India, 1908);
The Indian Sappers and Miners, Lieutenant-Colonel E.W.C. Sandes DSO, MC, R.E. (Chatham 1948);
The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery, Brigadier C.A.L. Graham, DSO, OBE (Aldershot 1957);
History of the Baloch Regiment 1820 – 1939, Major-General Rafiuddin Ahmed (Abbotabad 1998);
Capital Campaigners : The History of the 3rd Battalion, The Baluch Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel E.W. Maxwell, CIE (Aldershot 1948);
Prince of Wales’s Own, The Scinde Horse, 1839-1922, Colonel E.B. Maunsell (published privately by the Regimental Committee, 1926);
Report and Diary on the Mekran Expedition, Bt-Lieut.-Colonel M.J. Tighe, DSO (B.E.S. Press, Bombay 1902);
London Gazette: despatches; Indian Army List – various editions.

An edited version of this article appeared in a recent issue of Durbar, the Journal of the Indian Military Historical Society ( http://www.imhs.org.uk/index.html )

 
Comments Off on The British Raj: Operations in Mekran 1898 – 1902

Posted by on December 10, 2015 in Balochistan

 
 
%d bloggers like this: