The cohesive bases of the Baloch Nationalism

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

            THE EXPANSION OF BALOCH ETHNO-LINGUISTIC COMMUNITY

The most important innovation of Nasir Khan I was a tribal army, traditionally known as the Lashka. Having spent some time in courts of the Afghan and Persian, he had watched techniques of warfare, and realized the necessity of maintaining a well-organized army in his Khanate. Accordingly, he chose and stationed a permanent army unit, called Dasta-e-Khas (special Division) in his capital numbering 1,200 men. In emergencies Dasta-e-Khas increased to 10860 men.  Furthermore, he had created two additional Divisions, which used to be called the “Sarawan Lashkar” (Sarawan Division) and the “Jahlawan Lashkar” (Jahlawan Division). Nasir Khan was the Supreme Commander of this whole body of the State army. Describing Nasir Khan’s army, selig Harrison stated.

The main revenue was from land produce and collections from the port of Karachi and goods passing through the Bolan Pass. Taxation was unequal and depended on many factors including the distance of the area from the capital. Taxation on sea-born trade from Makkoran coast was also nominal. Generally, the Sarawan and Jahlawan tribes who provided the bulk of the Khan’s troops and other important factors in the area were exempted from land revenue. In Makkoran one-tenth of the land produce was the state share while the Jatt of Kacch-Gandhave paid one half and the indigenous and Dehwar cultivators of Kalat, Mastung and Shal (Quetta) paid one-third to the Khan.

Nasir Khan I was the greatest and most powerful Khan among all the rulers of Khanate. As a result of his successful reformist policies, he is sometime compared to “Peter the Grater” of Russia, in the Baloch nationalist circles. Nasir Khan I sought to build a kingdom in which all tribes, including those in Kachhi, would be boluntarily united. In doing so, he was largely successful. The constituency of tribal chiefs, who willingly subordinated themselves, moderated his rule. The Khan stood at the head of a large tribal confederacy and went methodically about building the Khanate. So, the Khanate was a loose confederacy. Nasir Khan I augmented the union by an enlightened policy. He succeeded in evolving the most effective and strong union of tribes in the history of the region. In a grand gesture tribal issues. The Rind and Magasis of Kacch-Gandhava and a few others in Sistan had complete independence, without paying any land revenue. Their political allegiance was considered sufficient.

The reunification of the vast Baloch territory into a single political entity encouraged trade. Possession of the ports of Makkoran made the Khanate an important trading center between the Iranian plateau, central Asia, India, the Indian Ocean and the region that gave on to it, also attracting numerous communities of Hindu and Ismailli merchants, with beneficial results for the Khanate’s fiscal revenue. Moreover Nasir Khan encouraged trade by reducing taxes and induced Hindu trades’ bookkeepers and moneylender to return by paying for the upkeep of Hindu temple at Kalat. These measures strengthened the Khanate and the Khan. “Furthermore”, M.H. Hosseinbor argues, “NasirKhan strengthened theeconomic infrastructure of the state by constructing an extensive network of roads, caravanserais, and forts, expanding the irrigation systems, and improving state treasury by reorganizing the collection system for taxes and other revenues”. According, the 44 years’ rule of Nasir Khan I, Known to the Baloch as the “great”, and the hero of Baloch history, was the years of strenuous administration and organization interspersed with military expeditions.

While having a loose feudal relationship with the Afghan king, Ahmad Shah, Nasir Khan I never regarded himself a tributary to the Durranis but rather a Junior participator in the division of the Persian Empire after the death of Nadir Shah Afshar in 1747. However, the Afghan attitude towards the Khan provoked Mir Nasir Khan to declare the complete independence of Kalat in 1758. As a result, the Afghan forces under the command of Ahmed Shah himself invaded Balochistan and besieged the Kalat fortress for forty days. Ultimately they came to an amicable agreement and the Afghan troops were withdrawn. The Agreement known as the “Treaty of Kalat” (1758), recognized the sovereign statues of Balochistan. The Afghan monarch promised not to interfere in the internal and external affairs of the Baloch confederacy. The Khan in turn promised to help Afghanistan expeditions. Both the countries agreed not to give asylum to rebels within their states. The agreement provided the basis for the Khanate’s subsequent relations with Afghanistan.

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Posted on December 29, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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