The cohesive bases of the Baloch Nationalism

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

 Continued from previous..


The strength of Baloch identity is rooted in proud historical memories of determined resistance against the would-be balochistan-mapconquerors who perennially attempted, without success, to annex all or part of Balochistan to their adjacent empires, it seems that the migration of the Baloch into the territory of present-day Balochistan was an important milestone in their ethic history. It is in territory that the ethno-linguistic community formed as a result of various contacts with the local pre-Indo-European, Indo-Aryan and Iranian populations during the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. It is evidently during this period that the major treble unions, which formed the nucleus of the Baloch feudal nationality, arose. Thus, in seeking to mobilise a nationalist movement today, the Baloch leaders are manipulating the powerful historical symbolism of a torture struggle for survival stretching back more than two thousand years.

Much of the Baloch ancient history is clouded over with uncertainty, and controversy exists about many aspects of it, Basing their arguments mainly on legendary accounts, some Baloch scholars’ today claim the ancestors came from Babylonia, in modern Iraq, through northern Iran to Makkoran. According to Sardar Khan, this migration began in 538 BC., when Cyrus the Great conquered Babyloinia Western investigators relying essentially on the evidence of phonological and etymological comparisons of the Baloch languages, have tended to an alternate view that the Baloch are first identifiable in history inhabiting an area in northern Iran adjacent to’ the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea. Virtually all of them judge the Baloch a racial amalgam of many peoples and classes. The Balochi language, together with Persian, Pashtu and Kurdish, is the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family. Some Baloch writers, however, believe that the Baloch are the Baloch are the ancient inhabitant of Makkoran.

From the 12th century award the powerful Baloch chieftains, such as Mir Jalal Han, Mir Shaikh and Mir Chakar, forcefully extended their rule over most of Balochistan. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a number of regional state formations, in which the feudalizing aristocracy of the Baloch tribes was in the ascendant, arose in the territory of Balochistan. Of these Malik dynasty of Keck and Bumpur, Buledi dynasty, the Dodai confederacy of Derajat and the Khanate of Kalat are the most important.

In 1734, the Iranian conquerer, Nadir Shah Afshar, invaded the subcontinent. In order to save his realm, the Khan of Kalat paid tribute to Nadir Shah. On the death of Nadir in 1747, the Khan of Kalat acknowledge the superiority of Ahmed Shah Durrani for some years. In 1758, however, the Khan declared himself entirely independent, upon which the Afghan forces under the command of Ahmed Shah himself invaded Balochistan and besieged the Kalat fortress for forty days. This expedition terminated in a treaty of peace, by which the Khan agreed to furnish troop to assist the Kabul armies, and the Afghan King in return, agreed to pay cash allowance. From that time till 1839, when the British army occupied the country, Balochistan was completely independent owing no allegiance to any authority in India or elsewhere. The British government in India never claimed the doctrine of paramountcy was applicable to its relations with Kalat: nor has the Khan ever admitted that the powers of paramountcy could be exercised against him and his government.

Like the Rind-Lashari confederacy, Nasir Khan’s powerful state was also short-lived. His domain declined soon after his death. The Qajars of Persia annexed western Balochistan to Persia. The Talures of Sindh took over the port of Karachi. Maharaja Ranjit Sindh of Lahore occupied Harrand and Dajal { Drea Ghazi Khan area}. The insurrection also started in Sarawan and Jhalawan supported by the Mengal and Bizenjo tribes. There was anarchy in Makkoran. Under Khan Mahmmood Khan the process of disintegration and weakening of Khanate reached to its lowest ebb.

British, whose interest in India’s trans-Indus western frontiers dated from the early nineteen century, was the only foreign power to succeed in establishing relatively effective control over Balochistan prior to the founding modern Pakistan in 1947, the first Afghan War {1839-41} and annexation of Sindh and Punjab to British India soon thereafter mark the formal arrival of British military and political power to the region.

Opposing to cross his territory, Mehrab Khan, the Khan of Kalat was killed by British troops on 13 November 1839, Furthermore, internal strife and weakness in the Khanate opened the way to British manipulation of the Baloch confederation. However, in its early phases, British influence over Balochistan was exerted largely through agreements negotiated with tribal leaders, and through subsides, manipulation of tribal feuds, and the conduct of periodic punitive expeditions against rebellious tribesmen.

Balochistan came under British influence by the treaties of 1854 and 1876, in 1854, the British entered into an agreement with Nasir Khan ll, the ruler of Kalat, which was subsequently renewed and affirmed in anther treaty in 1876, in which the British government once again committed itself to respect the independence of Kalat, and to aid the Khan in case of need in the maintenance of a just authority and protection of territories from external attack. During British hegemony, the Baloch country was arbitrary divided into several parts. One portion was given to Iran, a small portion was with Afghanistan and the northeastern region remained with the colonial administration under lease. The rest of country was left in possession of the Kalat State. The Kalat state was further carved into the agencies territories and the federation of Balochi States [Kalat, Kharan and Lasbela] with the Khan of Kalat as the head of the federation. In 1879, British Balochistan including the Pashtun districts and the leased Baloch areas with it capital at Quetta was created.

The British hegemony in Balochistan In 19th century aroused the question of Baloch national sovereignty. Big power rivalry in central Asia, which resulted in the British invasion of Afghanistan, also brought its forces into the Baloch region. In 1809-10, the East India Company army had sent a Captain Christie and a Lieutenant Pottinger to explore Balochistan. British frontier policy in the early 19th century was motivated by an urge to consolidate the colony and reduce perceived threats to its security. This demanded acquisition of information, creation of allies, dependencies or buffers, delimiting and then demarcating frontiers and finally, the deployment of resource to maintain the impermeable of the frontiers. Threats from an equally expansionist Czarist Russia led to an era of intrigue and conspiracy along the border.

Up to the mid-19 century, the Baloch state of Kalat, then generally known as Balochistan, embraced the present day Balochistan provinces of Iran and Pakistan including some areas now forming parts of Punjab and Sindh provinces in Pakistan, and was an independent state. When the British arrived in the subcontinent, they entered into treaty relations with State of Kalat. Kalat and Nepal were the two states which never formed part of the Indian Empire.

With the beginning of the twentieth century, Baloch discontent found new forms of expression. Political unrest took various forms and there was an increase of sporadic uprisings both in eastern and western Balochistan. External events, such as the Iranian Revolution [1907], the First World War the 1917, Russian revolution, Turkish and German actives, pan-Islamism, and the Indian freedom movement also had effects on the Baloch. The Baloch tribes of Sarhadd resisted against the British occupation in Western Balochistan. However, they were defeated and Sarhadd occupied 1915, simultaneously, the Mengal and the Marri revolted against attempts by the British government to raise mercenaries in Balochistan. Rebel chiefs fled to the Soviet Union and formed the delegation to the famous “Baku Congress of the people East”. Communist influences in Balochistan, though not be overestimated, dates from that time, and Lenin’s appeal for the “right of self-determination for all opposed nations had already had some influences on rapidly developing nationalist tendencies.

Western Balochistan became part of Iran in 1871, under the Perso-Baloch agreement. The British representative, General Goldsmid, supervised the demarcation of the Perso-Baloch frontier. In the late nineteen century, Pan-Islmism as propagated by syed Jamal al-Din Afghani and Caliph Sultan Abdul Hamid influences the politics of Persian Balochistan. Their influences led to Baloch revolts against Persian rule and against British control of eastern Balochistan. During the Frist World War [1914-18] a number of Baloch tribes, irrespective of their beliefs or sectarian affiliation, took part in uprisings, which were guided by the Turko-German alliance, in 1907, the Baloch tribes of Makkoran [Iranian Balochistan] under the leadership of Mir Bahram Khan Baranzai established a semi-independent state in Persian Balochistan, which lasted until 1928.

To be continued…….


Posted on October 23, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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