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

Apparently the Afghan-Baloch alliance developed as a response to the common threat posed to their respective states by a relatively powerful, and Shiit-dpminated Persian Empire, Interviewing with the author, a promenaded Baloch scholar, Maulana Abdul Haq Baloch said, “It was mostly the common fear from Shiite of Iran which shaped the Baloch-Afghan alliance”. Subsequently, Nasir Khan Joined the Afghan king in his military campaigns in Mashhad against the growing power of the Sikhs in Punjab in 1761-1762.

Nasir Khan I, according to Inayatullah Baloch, was the first Baloch ruler to pay attention to foreign policy. He exchanged ambassadors with Iran, Iran Afghanistan, and the Sulanate-Imamate of Oman as well as with Ottoman Turky. The Ottoman Sultan as the Caliph of Islam awarded him the titles of the Ghazi-e Din (religious fighter) and the Naser-e Mellat-e Mohammadiyah (supporter of the Mohammadan nation). As viewed by the Inyatullah Baloch, even the title of Beigi (the Beig of Beigs or the “Cheif of chefs”) was also awarded to him by the ottoman Sultan.

However, about his relation with Mughal India, nothing is known. Moreover, he received wakils (representative) from the Derajat Confederacy and Sindh the vassal provinces.  As asserted by Janmahmad, “the foreign policy of the Khanate was one of the peaceful coexistence with all the neighboring states. Although nominally under Afghan hegemony, the various Khans remained neutral and the Khanate was a sort of buffer zone between Persia and Afghanistan”.

With the death of Nasir Khan I in 1795, the deterioration of the central authority in Khanate started, even though it maintained its independence until the arrival of the British on the since in the mid-19th century. Given to ease and luxury, his son and successor, Mahmud Khan soon proved to be incapable of holding the vast territory and the state built up with so much hard work and bloodshed by his father, Nasir Khan. “Nasir had been hardly a year in his grave before the whole achievements of his life were in destruction of oblivion”. During his rule Afghanistan occupied Derajat, the vassal province, the district of Kech in Makkoran refused to pay taxes, the port of Karachi slipped away from his dominions and was recovered and possessed by the Talpur, while in western Balochistan several Chiefs became independent and refused to pay taxes. By 1810, the British team of spies (Pottinger, Christie and Grant) found the Khanate in Chaos and anarchy.

While the Khanate and its military all, Afghanistan, were in anarchy at the beginning of the 19th, century, Punjab came under a powerful ruler, Ranjit Singh, and Iran became strong. Thus, the main source of income of the tribes and their chiefs, which was the share in the war-booty from their invasion if Mughal India, Iran and Sindh, disappeared with the New circumstances. The tribal chiefs instead occupied the crown lands and tried to consolidate their own power that according to Dr Inayatullah Baloch led to disintegration of the Khanate of Balochistan. Perhaps, it was against this background that the Baloch Hakomates (principality) of the distant western provinces were the first to succumb to their tribal/feudal loyalties, and become independent in the early nineteenth century.

In 1809, Caption, wrote that Shaikh Samander chief of Kaserkand and Mir Soban chief of Dashtiari-Bahu collected taxes for themselves. Similarly, Mir Mohammad Khan Hakom of Geh (Nikshahr) the second largest principality of Makkoran, after Kech was Independent. As observed by Granat, none of them paid taxes to the Khanate of Kalat. At the time of his visit the following years, Sir Henry Pottinger, a British officer, also found that most of the Hakomates (principalities) in Western Balochistan were independent. Shah Mehrab Khan Hakom (ruler) of Bampur according to Pottinger was acknowledged from Dezzak in the Southeast to Bazman bordering Kerman in the north.

It is believed that the main reason for the disintegration of Khanate was the personal life of the Khan, and the economic crisis. Mahmud Khan was weak and fond of luxury. The Russian scholar, Gankovsky, however, attributes the decline of the Kalat State to the desire of the rulers of separate regions to raise their share in the gross feudal tillage by the reducing the share due to the Kalat Khan as head of the state. He gives the example that Mahmud Khan had an Income of only 350,000 rupees as compared to the more than three million rupees collected by his father. By contrast, Nina Swidler, an anthropologist, writers that the Khante of Kalat failed to impose a unified tax system in caravan trade and the tribes and instead relied more on revenues from irrigated crown lands. After the death of Mahmud Khan in 1821, his son and successor Mehrab Khan II, tribe to correct many of the errors of his father but by then, the British had appeared on the scene and the affairs of Khanate had taken anther turn. However, the disintegration of the Khanate, its political division into different provinces and states of Pakistan, had great impact on Baloch nationalism, which will be discussed in the following chapters.

— to be continued —

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Posted on January 31, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Well, Really a very informative book ‘Essays on Baloch national struggle……’ by Janmahmad ßaloch.

    Actually, the pieces of Janmahmad’s literature on ‘The cohesive bases of nationalism latle aftering stUdying the masterpiece inculcated in me the concept of doing some work on “The genesis of nationalism” that will inshallah be öne of my articles..

    And amazingly some of pieces of his writings that ßolan voice has included in the above article: are worth digesting I personally believe.

    And the last thing’ The experienced baloch readers will surely find Mr Janmahmad speaking the article in his mindboggling soft-accented voice”…

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