The cohesive bases of the Baloch Nationalism

The subject has been taken from book of Taj Mohammad Breseeg “Baloch Nationalism, its origin and development”.


Rise Of The Baloch Rule

When did the Baloch tribal unions arise? The early political history of the Baloch is obscure. It appears to have begin with the process of the decline of the central rule of the Caliphate in the region and the subsequent rise of the Baloch in Makkoran in the early years of the 11th century. The Umawid general Muhammad Bin Qasim captured Makkoran in 707 AD. Thereafter, Arab governors ruled the century at least until the late 10th century when the central rule of the Abbasid Caliphate began to decline.

The period of direct Arab rule over Makkoran lasted about three centuries. By gradually accepting Islam, the scattered Baloch tribes over vast area(from Indus in the east, to Kerman in the west), acquired a new common identity, the Islamic. Thus Islam gave them added cohesion. The Arab pressure from Persia in the north. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, they benefited materially from the growth of trade and commerce which flourished in the towns and ports under the Arabs, reviving the old sea and land-based trade routes that linked India to Persia and Arabia through western Makkoran. These development appear to have played a significant role in enabling the Baloch to from large-scale tribal federations that led to their gradual political and military supremacy in the territories now forming Balochistan during the period of 11th to 13th centuries.

With the decline of the central rule of the Islamic Caliphate in the 10th century, local rulers and trail chieftains begin, once again, to reassert their power and influence. It is precisely during this period that the Muslim chroniclers took note of the accounts of the Baloch in connections with their conflicts with the rising local Iranian and Turk dynasties in Kirman, Khurasan, and Sistan. The Baloch are reported to have been dealt a devastating blow in Kirman by the Dailami ruler Azdu-al Doula (949-892 AD) and his uncle Maizzu- Doula in second half of the 10th century. They were also defeated around Khabis by the troops of Ghaznaid Sultan Mahmud and his son Masud, at the beginning of the 11th century.

It is generally believed that the traditional era of the Baloch begins from Mir Jalal Han. The Baloch Bolaks (tries) headed by Mir Jalal Han were forced by the early Turkish rides or as the historian Dr. Inyatullah Baloch believes, “ by the Persians”, to migrate from Kerman and Sista into Makkoran. Relying on the corpus of traditional poetry, the Daptar, Mir Jalal Han founded a large tribal union was based on an egalitarian system. The Baloch under Mir Jalal Han recognized their military organization by dividing the forty four Bolaks into five military division. These divisions according to Dr Baloch later become the basis of the five major tribes, namely Rind, Lashari, Koria, Hout, and Jatoi. Gankovsky confirms this notion by asserting that it is evidently during this period that the Major tribal unions, which formed the nucleus of the Baloch feudal nationality in the sequel, arose. He adds that “several small feudal states” also flourished there including Turan with its capital Khuzdar in eastern Balochistan, Kanabil, present day Gandava, Kech in Makkoran and others.

The early Balochi epic poetry, which dates from the 12th century, refers to Mir Jalal Han as the ruler of all the Baloch. However, there is considerable confusion surrounding the whole region of Mir Jalal Han. Apart from the Baloch traditions and the writing of the Baloch nationalist writers, there is not sufficient historical record. The war ballads do not give much detail about his further rule and his administration. It is, however, opined that after his death, Mr Jalal Han’s kingdom was divided among his five divisional military chiefs. According to Longworth Dames, Hout were his sons, and the fifth one, jato Bibi was his daughter. The Baloch nationalist writers and poets have paid Mir Jalal Han great tribute. They consider him as the “founding father of the Baloch Nation” and the founder of the first “Baloch nation” and the founder of the first “Baloch confederacy” in Balochistan.

After beginning o the 13th century, Balochistan was attacked over and over again by the Mughals. They destroyed the Baloch polity. The economic system was damaged and oases were reduced to deserts. However, the Baloch ethnic stock, that successfully withstood the onslaughts of the Mughals, founded the Sultanate of Makkran, with kech as its capital city possibly in the late thirteenth century. Marco polo, who sailed along the Makkoran coast in his way home in 1290, describe, “Kesmacoran [Makkoran ain its capital Kech] is a kingdom having a king of its own and a peculiar language”. He further records that the people”live by merchandize and industry, for they are professed trades, and carry on much traffic by sea and land in all directions”.

Consequently, resistance against alien inroads over long period of time instilled among the Baloch tribes feeling of cohesion. Headed by Mir Chakar Rind, a tribal confederacy, referred by historians as the “Rind-Lashari union”, emerged in 1485, The Rind-Lashari confederacy was one of the largest Baloch tribal confederacies stretching from Kirman in the west to the Indus River Valley in the east, thus for the first time uniting all Baloch areas in the late 15th century. The confederacy as indicated, was mainly centred around around the two the most powerful tribes of Rind and Lashairs, each in trun, and constituted a loosely organized federation of several lesser tribes. In 1487, Mir Chakar Rind transferred the confederacy’s capital from Kech, Makkoran to Sive (Sibi), eastern Balochistan. Having consolidated his power in eastern Balochistan, Mir Chakar also advanced into Punjab, taking Multan and southern parts of Punjab, taking Multan and southern parts of Punjab in the early 16th century.

In spite of being short-lived, this confederacy in many ways marks the beginning of modern history for Balochistan. It was now that the Baloch language and culture were diffused over a vast area. This period also is known as the classical era of Balochi epic or heroic ballads and romantic poetry. Apparently most of the Balochi ballads and rooted in this period, describing the events, exploits, personalities, and the names of tribes and localities, which collaborated with the Baloch history of the 15th and 16th centuries. Parallel to the expansion of the confederacy hegemony in the country, Balochi language and oral literature also blossomed, thus strengthening and spreading a relativity homogenous Balochi culture and value system throughout the country. The Rind Lashari hegemony as observed by Janmahmad was the first Baloch principality with a pseudo-state machinery reminiscent of similar tribal monarchies in central Asia. However, like the other tribal confederacies of that time in the region, the court language of Mir Chakar was Farsi (Persian).

Being depicted as the greatest hero of the Baloch history, Mir Chakar Rind receives highest tributes. Its is believed that he was born in Kolwa, headquarter of Makkoran in the middle of the 15th century. He is regarded as the direct descendant of the founding father of Baloch nation, Mir Jala Han. Describing his genealogy, Sardar khan writes.

In 1487, Mir Chakar annexed Kharan, Kalat and lasBela to his domain. His military victory over the tribes of Kalat resulted in a unified Baloch state with is capital at Sivi (Sibi) in about 1487 AD. By the early 16th century the Baloch confederacy under Mir Chakar had established itself firmly in Makkoran, Kalat highlands and the fertile districts of Kachi and Sibi in Eastern Balochistan.

It appears that the threat of Shiite Iran in the early years of 16th century would be one of the decisive factors for further tribal cohesion and enlargement of the Baloch union. Probably, shah Ismail’s success in 1501 in establishing a Shiite dynasty in Iran, and his desire to spread Shiism, forced the Sunni Baloch tribes to leave their rivalry aside and strengthen the union and enlarge the Baloch confederacy’s realm. In a conversation with Maulana Abdul Haq Baloch on this subject, he strongly argued that the threat of the Shiite Safavids was one of the decisive factors for the Baloch unity in the Chakarian Period. According to Maulana, the Safavids’ repeated raids were not aimed only to occupy Balochistan, but to compel the Baloch to accept Shiism by force, sent an expedition under the then governor of Kerman Ganj Ali Khan to attack Balochistan, subsequently, the Baloch ruler of Makkoran,, Malik Shams-ud-Din was defeated in Bampur, western Balochistan.


Posted on August 27, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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