BALUCHISTAN iii. Baluchi Language and Literature

Baluchi is the principal language of an area extending from the Marv (Mary) oasis in Soviet Turkmenistan southward to the Persian Gulf, from Persian Sīstān eastward along the Helmand valley in Afghanistan, throughout Pakistani Makrān eastward nearly to the Indus river, including in the south the city of Karachi.



iii. Baluchi Language and Literature

Baluchi (Balōčī), the language of the Baluch (Balōč), is a member of the Western Iranian group of languages, bearing affinities to both main representatives of Western Middle Iranian: Middle Persian and Parthian. Baluchi has, however, a marked individuality of its own, and differs from both of these languages in important respects (see below).

I. The Baluchi language.

The name. Concerning the name Balōč, despite the great deal that has been written, there is still no general agreement on either its linguistic connections or its meaning (see Dames, in EI1; Pikulin, 1959). If the word is Iranian, H. W. Bailey’s suggestion (apud Hansman, 1973) that it might represent Old Iranian *ṷadraṷatī “Gedrosia, the land of underground water channels” could explain why the people are unknown prior to their arrival in the southeast Iranian area more than a thousand years ago from the central Caspian region: in their original homeland they would have had another name, and their identification with any of the tribes living there in Sasanian times or earlier, mentioned by classical writers, is necessarily very difficult. The name is first recorded in Arabic as blwṣ and in Persian as blwj, in the Ḥodūd al-ʿālam (comp. 982), both spellings representing blwč. Their earliest reliable geographical location occurs in Masʿūdī (fl. 943; see Bailey, art. cit., p. 586), who couples the Balōč with the Kōfīč, locating the former in the deserts, and the latter in the mountains of eastern Persia. Moqaddasī (fl. 985; Bailey, ibid.) states that both western and eastern Makrān (present-day southeast Persian Baluchistan and Pakistani Baluchistan) were united and inhabited by the blwṣy, with a capital town at “bnnjbwr” (Bannajbūr), perhaps the Panjgur oasis in present day Pakistani Makrān.

Ṭabarī, enumerating the enemies of the Sasanian king Ḵosrow I Anōšīravān (531-79), does not mention the Baluch, and hence the reference to them in the same connection in the Šāh-nāma (comp. ca. 1020; “Kōč and Balōč”) cannot be historical, since Ferdowsī’s historical sources are known to be the same as those used by Ṭabarī. It seems likely that Ferdowsī has replaced another name, perhaps blnjr (balangar?) with what was by his time a stereotyped phrase denoting bandits or marauding freebooters.

Thus the Baluch tradition of a migration to their present habitat from the west in the 7th-8th centuries a.d. has an echo of history in it, strengthened by the linguistic connections of Baluchi, and one is led to the assignment of the original home of the Baluch to somewhere just east or southeast of the central Caspian region, the meeting point of Middle Persian and Parthian, and which then probably extended northward into present-day Soviet Turkmenistan.

It seems entirely likely that the first migrations eastward started much earlier, in late Sasanian times, initiated perhaps by the generally prevailing unsettled conditions in the Caspian area. These migrations most probably took place in several independent waves and over several centuries, some considerably antedating the Saljuq arrival in Kermān ca. 1060. Indeed, many areas of Kermān and Sīstān may have been at least partially occupied by Baluch migrants by the 8th century, for at the time of the Arab conquest of Kermān in 644, it is stated by later geographers that they came into contact with large numbers of Qwfṣ and Blwṣ, “Kōč and Balōč,” in the mountains of eastern Persia (see C. E. Bosworth, “The Kūfichīs or Qufṣ in Persian History,” Iran 14, 1976, p. 10, who quotes Tomaschek and Markwart; see also Le Strange, Lands, pp. 322f.).

Records of the Baluch are much more plentiful from the time of Maḥmūd of Ḡazna, as well as more circumstantial, and it is very likely that they were settled in their present-day habitat well before the 15th century (see Dames in EI1 I, pp. 625-40; Frye in EI2 I, pp. 1005-06).

Geographical distribution. Baluchi is the principal language of an area extending from the Marv (Mary) oasis in Soviet Turkmenistan southward to the Persian Gulf, from Persian Sīstān eastward along the Helmand valley in Afghanistan, throughout Pakistani Makrān eastward nearly to the Indus river, including in the south the city of Karachi, with a large and growing salient in the hills east and northeast of Quetta. There are also large populations of Baluchi speakers in the United Arab Emirates and in Kuwait.

Between the Marv region and about 100 km south of Bīrjand in Persia, colonies of Baluchi speakers are scattered and few. Baluchi becomes the principal local language at about 32° north latitude, extending westward to about 59° east longitude, and southward over the province of Sīstān o Balūčestān to the Persian Gulf.

In Afghanistan, Baluchi is the principal language of the Nīmrūz province. There are also colonies of Baluchi speakers scattered throughout the western part of the country, as far north as the Soviet frontier; but Baluchi is the principal local language only from Čaḵānsūr southward. It extends past Zaranj, the provincial capital, along the Helmand valley eastward to about 64° east longitude, and southward of the river to the Pakistan frontier in Chagai. (It is to be noted that in the middle Helmand region, Brahui enjoys equal status with Baluchi, most speakers being bilingual.) Baluchi is the main language of the whole of Pakistani Makrān as far east as a north-south line through Nushki (ca. 66° east longitude), where it meets Brahui. The latter extends northwest and south of Nushki in Pakistan over much of Sarawan and Jahlawan as far south as Las Bela, thus separating a large group of Baluchi speakers in the hills east and northeast of Quetta (the Marī-Būgṭī territory), concerning which see below (Dialects). This territory extends north as far as Dera Ismail Khan (ca. 36° north latitude).

Most Baluchi speakers are Baluch tribesmen, the only substantial non-Baluch group to speak it being Brahui tribesmen; the status of Baluchi is higher, if only marginally so. Until recently Baluchi has had no official status in the four countries in which it is spoken, and as a consequence many Baluchi speakers are bi- or tri-lingual. In 1978, however, it was given the status of “national language” in Afghanistan. As a written language it has a short history: three manuscripts in the British Museum (see Elfenbein, 1960 and 1983) were written in the first half of the 19th century and represent the oldest datable monuments in the language known at present. (There have been reports of 19th-century manuscripts from Kalat in Pakistan, perhaps written at the court.)

Written literary cultivation began in earnest only about 1950 in Pakistan (see below), and at the present time Baluchi is printed only there, although a small amount has been printed in some other Middle Eastern countries and in India. In 1979 a modest start in Baluchi printing was made in Iran and in Kabul (see below).

It is not easy to give reliable estimates for the number of speakers of Baluchi, due to the lack of appropriate census material. The following figures are probably all rather conservative: In the Marv Oasis in Soviet Turkmenistan (mainly emigrants from Afghanistan from the late 19th century; Pikulin, 1959, p. 35 [quoting Ya. R. Vinnikov, Beludzhi Turkmenskoĭ SSR, n.d.], gives 40,000; but Gafferberg, 1969, gives 10,000; Vinnikov is more likely to be closer to the facts): 40,000.

In Afghanistan (from Čaḵānsūr in the west, eastward along the Helmand river to Lanḍī Moḥammad Āmīn Ḵān, ca. 64° east longitude: L. Dupree, Afghanistan, Princeton, New Jersey, 1973, p. 63, gives 100,000 Baluch and ca. 200,000 Brahuis: the figures seem to have been reversed); 200,000.

In Iran (mainly in the province Sīstān o Balūčestān, westward to a line ca. 59° east longitude, and from approximately Zābol in the north to the Gulf of Oman in the south, with colonies elsewhere as far north as the Soviet frontier; estimates vary from 500,000 [Spooner, 1971] to 750,000 [W. E. Griffith, “Iran’s Foreign Policy in the Pahlavi Era,” in G. Lenczowski, Iran under the Pahlavis, Palo Alto, 1978, p. 383, quoted in R. G. Wirsing, The Baluchis and Pathans, Minority Rights Groups Report no. 48, London, 1981, p. 17, n. 14]; both of these figures are probably underestimated): 750,000.

In the Arabian Peninsula (mainly in Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait; mainly emigrants from India [Pakistan] since Mughal times, as laborers and in the local armed forces; various estimates from local sources since 1979): 500,000.

In Pakistan (mainly in the provinces Baluchistan and Sind, excluding the Brahui strip between ca. 65°-67° east longitude; from the Pakistan censuses of 1961 and 1981): 750,000 in Sind, mainly in Karachi; and 1,500,000 in Baluchistan: total, 2,500,000; grand total ca. 3,600,000. It is very likely in fact somewhat more. (These figures are probably more reliable than those given by Elfenbein, 1983, p. 491.)

Three non-Baluchi languages are spoken within the mainly Baluchi-speaking area, namely Brahui and two Indo-Aryan languages: Jaḍgālī, spoken by the Jaṭṭ, immigrants from Sind, who inhabit Daštīārī, the extreme southeast corner of Persian Makrān, and Khetrani, spoken by Baluch in the extreme east of the Baluchi-speaking area, east of Dera Ghazi Khan.

Linguistic position. Baluchi is in all essentials a “northwestern” Iranian language, closely related to the Middle Iranian Parthian language and modern Kurdish, Tati, Ṭāleši, and other dialects (see MacKenzie on the dialectology of “southwestern” and “northwestern” Iranian). The following survey provides a picture of the ancestry of Baluchi.

1. Phonology. Baluchi ranges itself with Parthian against Middle Persian in the following cases: it has s and z from IE. *k and *g(h), e.g., asin “iron,” kasān “small,” zāmāt “bridegroom,” zān- “know,” zir “sea,” corresponding to Parth. ʾʾswn, ks, zʾmʾd, zān-, zyrh, Mid. Pers. ʾʾhwn, kyh, dʾmʾd, dʾn-, dryʾb; it has preserved OIr. intervocalic d and g, e.g., ōdā “there,” pād “foot,” nigōš- “listen,” Parth. ʾwwd, pʾd, ngwš-, Mid. Pers. ʾwy, pʾy, nywš-; OIr. initial j, e.g., jan- “strike,” Parth. jn-, Mid. Pers. zn-; OIr. rd, e.g., zird “heart,” Parth. zyrd, Mid. Pers. dyl. Note also p(i)tī “other,” from *bīdī, Parth. bdyg, Mid. Pers. dwdyg, NPers. dī(gar).

Baluchi agrees with (Middle) Persian against Parthian in the following cases: It has j from OIr. initial y, e.g., jitā, Pers., jodā, Parth. ywd; s from OIr. θr, e.g., se “three,” pusag “son,” Mid. Pers. sh (Pers. se), pws, Parth. hry, pwhr; note also ās “fire” (in all dialects except Raḵšāni, which has āč from NPers. ātaš).

Baluchi differs from most other modern West Iranian languages in the following cases: It has preserved OIr. intervocalic stops p, t, k, and č and j, e.g., āp “water,” būta “was,” hūk “swine,” brāt “brother,” rōč “day,” drāj “long” and has changed OIr. fricatives f, θ, x, into stops, p, t, k, e.g., kopag “shoulder,” cf. Av. kaofa-, OPers. kaufa; gūt “excrement,” Av. gūθa-; kar “ass,” Av. xara-; kānī “well, spring,” Parth., Pers. xān; note also (with metathesis) patka “cooked” < *paxta-, ātka “came” < *āxta < *āgata-. Baluchi has gwa- (or g-) from OIr. w-; w- or h- from OIr. xw-; mm and nn from OIr. šm and šn; and ša- < OIr. fra; e.g., gwāt “wind,” Av. vāta-, gīst “twenty,” Av. vīsati; war- “eat,” Parth. wxr-, Mid. Pers. xwr-; wasp- “to sleep,” Pahl. xwafs-; wašš “pleasant,” Parth. wxš, Mid. Pers. xwš; but hēd “sweat,” Av. xᵛaēδa-; čamm “eye,” Av. čašman-; tunnag “thirsty,” Mid. Pers. tyšng; šawašk- “sell,” Mid. Pers. prwxš-, Pers. forūš-. Some of these sound changes are found in other dialects as well. Thus w > g(w) in the Central dialect of Ḵūr (in the Dašt-e Kavīr) and in the “Southeast Iranian” languages Parāčī and Ōrmuṛī (see afghanistan v. languages and vii. parāčī); a relative chronology for this sound change is provided by the loanwords gwahr “cold” from Khetrāni vahor, and gwač “calf” from Sindhi vachi which show that Baluchi still had w- on its first contact with these Indian languages. The change of xw > w is also found in Gōrāni (war- “eat”) and šm > hm in Ōrmuṛī (čim “eye”) and Baškardi (čehm “eye”). Baluchi šiš “louse” agrees with Baškardi šöš against forms from *spiša- in most other Iranian languages (Pers. šepeš).

2. Morphology. Baluchi, like most West Iranian languages (not Kurdish, Zāzā, Tāti, Sangesari) has lost the Old Iranian gender distinctions.

The commonest Baluchi ending for the oblique plural of nouns is -ān, characteristic of Western Iranian languages. Similarly, the originally collective suffix -gal, now used as a plural suffix (most frequently in Eastern Hill Baluchi), is found in Kurdish, Fārs dialects, and some Central dialects.

In the first person pronouns the old stem distinction between direct and oblique cases (Av. azəm, gen. mana, etc.) has been lost in Baluchi as in Persian and most other Western Iranian languages, except, e.g., Kurdish and Zāzā.

The present endings of the Baluchi verb, like those , e.g., of Parthian go back to Old Iranian forms in -aya-, cf. 1 sing. -īn (some dialects -ān, from the old subjunctive), 3 sing. -īt, e.g., gušīn, gušīt “I say,” “he says.” Some n-stems have short forms, e.g., kant “he does,” zānt “he knows,” but wānīt “he reads” (on the short forms see Gershevitch, in M. Boyce and I. Gershevitch, eds., W. B. Henning Memorial Volume, London, 1970, pp. 161-74). Persian, on the contrary, has a mixture of forms from Old Iranian -a- and -aya- (see W. B. Henning, “Das Verbum des Mittelpersischen der Turfanfragmente,” ZII 9, 1933, p. 232 [ = Acta Iranica 14, p. 139], Ghilain, Essai sur la langue parthe, Louvain, 1939, p. 112). The infinitive ends in -ag < MIr. -ak as in some East Iranian languages, including Parāčī and Ōrmuṛī. The Raḵšānī dialect, however, has -tin, possibly borrowed from Persian. The present tense durative prefix is a- in all dialects (also in Baškardi and Lārestāni), but this prefix is often without value. The prefix de- is heard sporadically in Raḵšāni (dede).

3. Syntax. The eżāfa construction characteristic of Persian and other (south)western Iranian languages, including Kurdish, is not used in Baluchi, except occasionally (as in most modern Iranian languages) in some types of formal poetry and in stereotyped phrases borrowed from Persian. Characteristic of most Baluchi dialects except Raḵšāni is the common Iranian passive (also called ergative) construction of past transitive verbs. Raḵšāni is the only dialect to have adopted the active construction, probably from Persian. North Raḵšāni is the only dialect to use exclusively the active construction; Central and Southern Raḵšāni (and all other dialects) use “ergative” constructions, either partly or entirely.

4. Lexicon. The Iranian lexicon of Baluchi contains a number of East Iranian “substrate” words, of which the following is a selection:

Baluchi nagan “bread,” Sogd. ṇγn, Pashto naγan, Par. naγȫn (but Mid. Pers. nʾn, Pers. nān); saγan “dung,” Par. saγȫn, Wakhi səgīn, Orm. skan (Khot. satana-) (but Pahl. sargēn, Pers. sargīn); gwanḍ “short,” Khot. vanda- “small,” Par. γanȫkȫ; gud “cloth, clothes,” cf. Par. āγun “to dress,” Pashto āγund- (but Man. Mid. Pers. pymwč-, Man. Parth. pdmwč-, Pers. pōš-); gar “cliff,” Wakhi, Pashto γar, Orm. grī “mountain”; zāhg “son,” Par. zāγa, Sogd. zʾʾk; but Parth., Mid. Pers. zhg (cf. Mid. Pers. pws, pwsr, Pers. pesar); šarr “good,” Sogd. šyr, Pashto ṧə, Orm. širr, Khot. śśära- (but Mid. Pers., Pers. xūb).

In other respects the vocabulary of Baluchi is typically “southwestern,” e.g., mūd “hair,” bard “spade,” sōčaq “burn,” rōč “day,” šōdag “wash.”

On the whole, however, the linguistic position of Baluchi is obscured by its numerous borrowings, principally lexical (though there are some syntactic ones as well; see below on Syntax); there are also certainly substrate influences from languages spoken in areas in which Baluch have dwelt for long periods during their migrations, or with whom they have had close contact. All Baluchi dialects possess numerous loanwords from several different Indo-Aryan languages, which may be the result of independent Baluch migrations at different times.

Dialects. Six major dialects can be distinguished, differing from each other in phonology, morphology, syntax, and lexicon. Of these, Raḵšāni is by far the most widely spoken, and can itself be subdivided into three regional varieties. The other five dialects are fairly uniform. The first comprehensive survey of all Baluchi dialects was Elfenbein’s The Baluchi Language (1966), and the dialect description given there is now in need of correction in the light of fuller knowledge; the dialect name Lāšāri is to be preferred to Loṭūni.

It is important to realize that Baluchi is a very conservative language, and its dialects, in spite of the vastness of the area in which they are spoken, are quite remarkably similar; with the exception of Eastern Hill Baluchi (see below), speakers from all areas readily understand one another. Proceeding roughly from north to south the dialects are:

(1) Raḵšāni, extending from Marv in Soviet Turkmenistan southward in Persia and Afghanistan through Sīstān to ca. 28° north latitude, southward of Ḵāš (Bal. Hwāš), and as far to the west of these areas as Baluchi is spoken. There are three subdialects: (a) Kalati, in Pakistan from Las Bela northward throughout Jahlawan and Sarawan (where the main language is Brahui), up to just south of Quetta where it meets Pashto; (b) Panjguri, in Pakistani Makrān, including most of Ḵārān from Kolwa in the east to Kech in the west; its southern boundary is just north of the Kech valley, whence it spreads approximately to the Raḵšān river in the north; (c) Sarḥaddi, over by far the largest area, including Pakistani Chagai from Nushki in the east, westward along the Persian frontier as far as Baluchi is spoken, about 59° east longitude; southward approximately to 28° north latitude where, in Pakistan, it meets Panjguri in Ḵārān, and in Persia, Sarāvāni north of Īrānšahr; northward it includes all the parts of Afghanistan where Baluchi is spoken, along the Helmand river from ca. 64° east longitude westward to Čaḵānsūr and across the Persian frontier with all parts of Sīstān where Baluchi is spoken, and thence northward in both Afghanistan and Persia to Marv in Soviet Turkmenistan. Its north-south extension is thus nearly 10° of latitude, and its east-west extension nearly 6° of longitude. Sarḥaddi is the principal dialect used for radio broadcasts in both Quetta and Kabul.

(2) Sarāvāni, a dialect enjoying considerable prestige in Persia, is centered on the village of Sarāvān (ca. 62° east longitude, 27° north latitude) roughly 150 km southeast of Ḵāš. The main dialect of Baluchi radio broadcasts from Zāhedān, it extends from Gašt (Bal. Gōšt) some 60 km north of Ḵāš to Kūhak (Bal. Kūwag) on the Persia-Pakistan frontier. It crosses the frontier into Pakistan, but its principal territory lies in Persia. Southward it extends nearly as far as Rāsk, and thence northward it includes most villages up to ca. 30 km north of Īrānšahr. Both the towns Bampūr and Īrānšahr are in the Sarāvāni area, although Sarḥaddi is as often heard in Īrānšahr as is Sarāvāni, as is to be expected, since Īrānšahr is the largest town in the province south of Zāhedān.

(3) Lāšāri, centered on the village of Lāšār, ca. 120 km south of Īrānšahr by road. It is a very conservative dialect, whose boundaries are Espaka in the north, southward through Pīp nearly to Nīkšahr and Qaṣr-e Qand in the east, and Fanūč (Bal. Pannūč) in the west, where Baluchi meets Persian and Baškardi.

(4) Kechi, spoken principally in the Kech valley of Pakistani Makrān, south of the central Makrān range; it extends from Hirōk westward to Tump, excluding the village of Mand, but including the villages to the north of the Giš river.

(5) Coastal dialects, spoken from Bīābān in Persia eastward along the coast to Čāhbahār, and extending northward to include Nīkšahr, Qaṣr-e Qand, and Hūdar; in Pakistan Mand, Dašt, and the coastal strip from the Persian frontier eastward to include Gwādar, Pasnī, and Ormāṛa; in Karachi there live more than 700,000 Baluchi speakers, with no one dialect predominant.

(6) Eastern Hill Baluchi, spoken almost entirely in the hilly tribal area east of Quetta mainly by members of the Marī and Bugṭi tribes, extending from somewhat north of Jacobabad in the Upper Sind Frontier northward to Dera Ghazi Khan, and from Sibi in the west nearly to the Indus river in the east. The area is almost entirely Baluchi-speaking, although other languages coexist with it. Fingers of Baluchi are probing northward, mainly at the expense of Pashto, and at present the area between Dera Ghazi Khan and Dera Ismail Khan is dominated by Baluchi. This dialect has played a dominant role in early published descriptions of the language, due to its location in former British India (Pakistani Makrān was in Kalat State), a role disproportionate to its real importance.

Writing. The oldest written Baluchi is represented by a manuscript in the British Museum (see Elfenbein, 1961, 1983), dating from early in the 19th century. There was little literary cultivation in the language during the rest of the century; it was not until the 1930s that a few individuals, led by Moḥammad Ḥosayn “ʿAnqā,” began to write for a public in Baluchi, producing a short-lived weekly paper Bōlān. The impetus to write for publication in the language continued, however, and after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Baluchi academies were established in Karachi in 1956 and Quetta in 1959 for the purpose of encouraging publication of Baluchi literature. The academy in Karachi ceased to exist in the late 1950s, but the Baluchi Academy in Quetta is still (1987) flourishing. The efforts of these enthusiasts have, however, met with little response outside Pakistan, and only in 1978 were the first stirrings of effort to publish in Baluchi elsewhere to be felt: These took the form of a magazine Sōb (Victory) from Kabul and a short-lived newspaper from Persia. The Baluch cultural center remains at Quetta. (For details see Literature below.)

The script commonly used (except in Kabul, where Pashto script is employed) to write Baluchi is a modified Urdu script, with the retroflex consonants , , , marked by a superscript ṭā and nasalized final vowels indicated by nūn without the diacritic point following the vowel, when the writer wishes to do so. There is less agreement in writing the morphemes of the language, where more divergence from Urdu writing customs is necessary: Endings are sometimes written in a “phonetic” style, using hamza to separate them from the nominal or verbal stem; sometimes the endings are joined to the stems without hamza; often both systems are used together. Some conventions from Arabic used to be employed, such as tanwīn, which was used in very early writing to indicate the ending -ēn. Tašdīd is used very occasionally, but vowels and diphthongs are very haphazardly indicated: short a, i, u usually not at all, but long ā, ī, ū usually in Perso-Urdu style, with no distinction made between internal ē and ī, or between ō and ū, all four of which are separate phonemes in Baluchi. Final -ē and -ī are distinguished as in Urdu. Sokūn is seldom used, and the diphthongs ay and aw are indicated, or not, according to the whim of the writer, so that a printed text is very difficult to read accurately.

All Pakistani dialects are represented in writing (a northern Raḵšāni in Kabul), no standard written language having as yet evolved, and most writers mix dialects freely, using theoretical forms from other dialects, so that very often a wholly artificial written language results. Sarḥaddi speakers especially tend to use Coastal forms, real and imagined, at whim. The Coastal dialect retains a particular prestige as that in which much of the extensive traditional literature is preserved, and its forms easily penetrate other dialects.

Linguistic description. 1. Phonology. Baluchi has a particularly simple phonemic structure: Vowels, a, i, u, ā, ī, ū, ē, ō; diphthongs ay, aw. Consonants: stops p, t, k, b, d, g, , ; affricates č, j; sibilants s, z, š, `; continuants w, y, l, m, n, r, , ; the spirants f, x, γ are common in loanwords in all dialects, but tend rapidly to p, k, g respectively as the words become naturalized. Eastern Hill Baluchi, uniquely, keeps them, and in addition has also developed θ and from postvocalic t and d; and intervocalic b tends to become v.

2. Morphology. The following grammatical outline is based on the Coastal dialect, with Raḵšāni forms given in parentheses.

Noun declension. There is no nominal gender, all nouns being declined alike in a three-case system, singular and plural (Chart 7). A suffixed, unstressed -ē functions as indefinite article, cf. Persian -ī.

Pronouns are treated differently depending on whether or not the dialect construes the past transitive verbs passively. Pronominal declension is perhaps the most economically described by means of a four-case system (Chart 8), except in Raḵšāni, which, lacking the passive (ergative) construction, has a three-case system.

The Raḵšāni form mnīyā is only used in northern Raḵšāni, after prepositions. Note the difference between the nominative and oblique forms of the Raḵšāni 3rd person pronoun in the singular.

By far the most commonly used suffixed pronouns are the 3rd sing. -ī/e@, 3rd plur. - (often interchanged, the plural being used for the singular, and vice versa); suffixed to nouns they mean “his, their; for him, for them”; suffixed to the endings of verbs, “him, them; for him, for them”; as agent for the past transitives, often suffixed to the preceding word, “he/by him, they/by them.” The pronominal suffixes for the other persons and numbers are less used in most dialects (except in poetry) but are still common is spoken Kechi, Sarāvāni, and Lāšāri.

The demonstrative pronouns (Chart 9) are also used adjectivally. The forms of “that” are often mixed with those of the 3rd person pronoun by many speakers.

The interrogative pronouns are kay “who?”, gen. kay, kayī, obl. kayā; and čē “what?”, gen. čē, obl. čēā (čēwā). Conjugation. The suffixed substantive verb (copula) and the present/future endings are shown in Chart 10.

Past tense transitives have no ending in the singular and -ant in the plural, where the agreement (only in number) is with the “grammatical subject” (“ergative” construction). Some Raḵšāni dialects, however, have adopted the New Persian construction. Past intransitives take the full set of endings in all dialects. There is, however, much “mixed construction,” especially in Sarāvāni, and in most Raḵšāni.

There is a durative-continuative prefix a- (cf. Pers. -) which has, however, lost its semantic function in many dialects, and k- is prefixed to the present/future stems of some verbs with an initial vowel (often to the past as well). This prefix also has a durative meaning (see below on semantics). All verbs are inflected alike, but this simple system is complicated by an involved set of periphrastic constructions, and the large number of irregular verbs, whose past stems are not formed with -ita suffixed to the present stem.

A verbal noun (infinitive) is formed by the suffix -ag joined to the present verbal stem (except in Raḵšāni, which usually prefers -tin joined to the past stem). Examples of periphrastic constructions are shown in Chart 11.

The suffix -ōk is freely productive, joined to present verbal stems it means “one who does …,” joined to nouns “one who is …”: nindōk “a sitter,” kanōk “a doer,” barōk “a carryer,” ārōk “a bringer,” kušōk “a killer”; it can also be attached to nouns, e.g., sarōk “president,” watanōk “patriot.”

Semantics. There is a continuative verbal form man gušagā-hān (man gušagā-un) “I am speaking,” formed on Urdu models, and common in all dialects spoken in Pakistan, and not unknown elsewhere. The simple verbal form with prefixed a-, e.g., man a-gušān (man a-gušīn) has the same meaning, cf. Raḵš. man a-gušīn trā “I’m telling you”, vs. man gušīn ki “I say that …,” kēčī man a gušt “I was saying,” vs. man gušt “I said” (note the passive construction). Also man edā kōštīn “I’m standing here,” man edā kōštun “I was standing here,” vs. man eda ōštātun “I stood here.” The a- prefix is present in nearly all dialects regularly, but seems to have lost its significance except in Raḵšāni, where its use is semantically significant. It is hardly ever indicated in native writing now; older writers suffixed alef to a preceding word.

The irrealis construction is formed by prefixing bi- to the past stem of the verb, to which is then suffixed -ēn and the copula in Raḵš.: aga man drōg bibastēnun, tō ā manī sarā patt na kurt “If I had lied, then he would not have trusted me”; age ā manī haddā biyātkēn, tō man ayrā hamē gappā guštun “If he had come to my place, then I would have told him this matter.” In dialects with the “ergative” construction we get: aga man drōg bibastēn, tō āyā manī sarā patt nakut; aga āy manī haddā biyātkēn, tō man āyrā hame gapp gwašt. Examples containing 1st and 2nd plural pronouns: āyā mā (šumā) jatant, āy mārā (šumārā) jatant, or mā jatant-ī (the last in only one dialect) “he struck us (you)”; one also hears āyā mā jat or mā jat-ī.

There is also an important causative formation, for the most part by means of the suifix -ēn added to the present stems of verbs, which are then conjugated like verbs in -ēnag: man trā rasēnīn-ī “I’ll send it to you”; but there are many irregular formations.

Syntax. The main difference from Persian syntax are the following:

(a) The eżāfa construction is absent; Pers. sar-e man “my head” is expressed by manī sar; Pers. asb-e dūst-e šomā “your friend’s horse” by šumē dōstē asp.

(b) The past tenses of transitive verbs are construed passively in all dialects except in some Raḵšāni dialects, where the Persian active construction is more common. Examples: Coastal man gūnī zurtant o šutān “I took the sacks and went”; zī manī brātān gwašt-iš ki, ēdā bnind, mā kayēn “yesterday my brothers said, wait here, we shall come”; active construction: Raḵš. tay piss manī sundukān pāč kurt “thy father opened my boxes”; ta watī lingān prōštay “thou hast broken thy legs”; but also, in the same dialect, ta watī lingān prōšt; ḍrēwar lārīā āwurt “the driver brought the lorry”, cf. ḍrēwarā lārī āwurt “the lorry brought the driver”: both these sentences are ambiguous, and each could mean the other. To be certain, one has to say ḍrēwarārā lārī āwurt “the lorry brought the driver,” or ā ḍrēwar-int, ki lārī āyā (āwā) āwurt “that is the driver whom the lorry brought.”

(c) Prepositions are uncommon and usually occur in conjunction with postpositions, as in Pashto. Postpositions require the genitive of the governed noun: kitāb mēzē sarā-int “the book is on the table,” dračk gisay dēmā-int “the tree is in front of the house,” biyā gōn man pajā “come along with me,” man šutun pa Ahmadē randā “I went after Ahmad,” ča ēšī guḍā, man hiččī na dīt (dīst, dīstun) “after this, I saw nothing.”

(d) The use of nominal case endings in conjunction with the absence of the eżāfa construction make syntactical constructions and word order much freer in Baluchi than they are in Persian, as the following examples of prose narrative illustrate.

An account, in ordinary Raḵšāni colloquial style: Aga kassē aš watī badīgānī dastā bitačīt, ō yakk Balōčēay bāhōṭ bibīt, tō balōčī riwājā āyī nigādārī parz-int. Balōč watī bāhōṭā hičč bar badīgānī dastā na dayant, ō ayī nang-ō-mālā a-sambant. Bāz barān Balōč pa bāhōṭā jang ham kanant, ō āyī nangā pān-ant. Walē gēštir hamē ki bāhōṭā watī haddā dārant, tānki ā wat diga jāgāē marot. [From Barker and Mangal I, pp. 425-26.] “If anyone flees from the hands of his enemies and becomes the refugee of a Baluch, then by Baluchi tribal law his protector-duty is (i.e., it is the duty of a Baluch to act as his protector). The Baluch never deliver their refugees into the hands of their enemies, and protect their honor and property. Many times the Baluch will also fight for a refugee, and are guardians of his honor. But most often (those who keep a refugee) will keep a refugee in their place (only), until he himself goes to another place.”

Literary and formal style:

Ča drustēn jawān ō dēmātirēn adabē zāntkārānī ṭōlīyē xayālē padā, adabārā bāyd-int ki zindagīyē ādēnk bibīt, zindagīyē drustēn rang-ō-dāng, kad-ō-bālād hamē ādēnkē tahā yakk-pa-yakkā sāf-zāhir bibant; aga zindagī bēḍawl ō badrang-int, adabārā bāyd-int ki āyārā hamā rangā pēš bidārīt, āyī habarē pardāhā ma-kant, ki čārōkānā zindagī badrang gindagā kāyt, har paym ki zindagīyē rang-ō-drōšum-int, ča āyā mūdē kisāsā ham pad-kinzag ma-bīt. Aga zindagī hōn-ō-rēm-ō-gandagīyē mazanēn kumbē, ō adīb wašš-zēmulēn šiʾrānī pirr-bandag, ō širkinēn labzānī tarrēnag-ō-tāb dayagā, yakk ṭūhēn durōgē bandīt o gušīt ki “na! ā yakk sarsabz ō prāh-dāmānēn malguzārē,” guḍā ē yakk haṇčēn radē, ki zindagī wat āyā hičč bar na bakšīt. Hamē rangēn adīb zūt yā dēr juhlēn kōr-čātēyā kapīt, o haṇčō gār-ō-gumsār bīt ki diga barē kasse āyī sōjā ham na-dant.” [From the Preface to Mistāg, by ʿAbd-Allāhjān Jamāldīnī, Karachi, 1959, one of the earliest literary publications. Arabic words are written in their Arabic spelling in the original publication, the usual practice. The above extract indicates actual pronunciation.] “According to the thought of all sections of the better and forward-looking scholars of literature, literature has to be a mirror of life; all of life’s sorts and sizes must each individually, clean and clear, be seen in the mirror; if life is confused and wicked, literature must show it so; it must not draw a veil over the fact that to some observers of it, life comes wicked to the sight; whatever the features of life may appear to be, there is to be no flinching from it, not even by a hair’s breadth. If life is really a great pool of blood, pus, and filth, and the writer is a composer of pleasing melodic verses, a giver of sweet twists and turns to words, he tells a huge lie, and says, "No! It is a greensward and a broad mountain pasture"—then he is so mistaken that life itself will never forgive him. This sort of writer will sooner or later fall into a deep blind well, and will be so lost and forgotten that nobody will ever give news of him again.”

Loanwords. The main source of loanwords is Persian, through which most of the Arabic loanwords also come.

This Persian source has been until quite recently the eastern, Afghani, variety, and many words such as zūt “quickly” which seem Baluchi because of the final voiceless stop, can just as well be loanwords from Afghani Persian, which devoices final stops. Many Baluchi words are old Persian loanwords now lost to the original language, e.g., ēr “under, down” (Mid. Pers. ēr, cf. NPers. z-īr “under”), gudar “crossing” (Pers. goḏar).

Another rich source for borrowings has been Indian languages and to a lesser extent the language of the Brahui, with whom the Baluch have been for centuries in close contact. The Indian languages concerned are in the main Sindhi and Lahndā, and now latterly Urdu.

II. Baluchi literature.

The literature of Baluchi—until quite recently entirely oral and still largely so—consists of a large amount of history and occasional balladry (epic poetry), stories and legends, romantic ballads, and religious and didactic poetry, of which there is an extensive corpus; in addition there is a large variety of domestic verse: work songs, lullabies, and riddles. Possibly the first modest attempt to collect some of this extensive literature is represented by the manuscript BM Cod. Add. 24048 (Elfenbein, 1982). In any case it is quite certain that no systematic attempts were made to collect and reduce to written form any sizeable part of this literature prior to the European (mainly British) interest in it in the 19th century. Of these collections, the earliest of note was made by A. Lewis in 1855; the next important one was by T. J. L. Mayer in 1900. By far the most important and systematic, however, are those by M. Longworth Dames, in 1891, 1907, and 1909. Unfortunately all of these works deal with material which came only from one small area, and in Eastern Hill Baluchi only, thus giving a misleadingly restricted picture of the real extent and variety of this literature, and an inflated estimate of the importance of the dialect in which it was collected. The language of classical Baluchi poetry is traditionally in three dialects (in order of their status and importance): Coastal, Eastern Hill Baluchi, and Kechi.

Historical ballads. The oldest historical ballads (called daptar šāʾirī “ballads of origins”) deal with the first emigrations of the Baluch from Aleppo, their traditional (and legendary) home. There are many of these ballads, only a few of which have been collected (a poor example of one in Linguistic Survey of India; see Grierson, 1927). Some of these ballads may go back to the 16th century. They all agree that the Baluch are the sons of Mīr Ḥamza, and rose up in Aleppo, where they sided with Ḥosayn in his struggle with Caliph Yazīd, fighting at Karbalā. (The “history” up to this point is of course quite imaginary.) There are two main tribes, the Rind and the Lāšārī, with one chief of chiefs, Šayhakk, as well as many subtribes and several inferior slave tribes. They depart after the battle, and the next centuries are passed over in silence. We next hear that they have reached Sīstān, settling in the region of Rūdbār, “where they live for a time in relative peace, until a change in ruler from “Šams-al-Dīn” (perhaps Šams-al-Dīn Moḥammad Kort, ruler of Herat 1246-77, see āl-e kart), who is friendly to them, to “Badr-al-Dīn,” who is not, causes them to separate. Some go southeastward to Makrān, while most go southwestward toward Lār, Pahrā (now Īrānšahr), and Bampūr, where they wander for three years looking for a place to settle. Thereafter, under the leadership of Mīr Jalāl Khan, the main body enters Makrān, passing Mand, Kech, as far as Kolwa, wandering one further year. At Āšal in Kolwa, Mīr Čākur, son of Šayhakk, is born, perhaps in the middle of the 15th century.

Most accounts describe this part of Makrān as very uncongenial to the Baluch, barren and waterless as it is, and it is not until they reach the more eastern portions near Kalat that they begin to settle, perhaps meeting there earlier settlers from a previous wave.

Heroic ballads. It is at this point that the principal cycles of classical Baluchi heroic balladry begin. The first and most important of them can be conveniently called the Čākur cycle, which comprises the numerous ballads concerning Mīr Čākur, the leading hero of Baluchi legend altogether. Most of these ballads are concerned with a long and destructive thirty years’ war between the Rind and the Lāšārī, and comprise some very fine epic poetry. While it is true that the events described in these ballads are not to be found in other sources for the history of the region, poor as they are, still it is possible from internal evidence to estimate the dates to lie between the years 1475-1525 with some degree of likelihood.

Relations between the Rind and the Lāšārī were never easy, and after the descent through the Bolān pass into the Indus valley and the settlement of the Sibi and Kacchi region, the overall chief Šayhakk died, and the two tribes could no longer contain their differences. Mīr Čākur, son of Šayhakk, became the leader of the Rind, while his rival Mīr Gwaharām, the son of Nōdbandag (another venerated chief) became the leader of the Lāšārī. Dealings between the two tribes were plagued by jealousy and distrust, and to add to their difficulties both leaders conceived a passion for the same lady, the Lāšārī Gōhar, who for her part preferred the Rind chief Mīr Čākur. Several small events, each the subject of ballads, set the stage for an explosion which, when it came, resulted in a long and pitilessly destructive struggle, which tradition states to have lasted thirty years. The various events are celebrated in many poems, some said to be written by Bībarg, a lieutenant of Mīr Čākur. Although defeated in the first battles, the Rind were finally victorious. An alliance with “the Turk” (perhaps Ḏu’l-Nūn Beg Arḡūn of Qandahār, ca. 1480) by the Rind so strengthened their final attack on the Lāšārī that the latter were virtually wiped out and ceased to play much part in subsequent Baluchi history. Gwaharām is said to have escaped south into Sind with a few followers. The Rind settled at first mainly around Sibi and then spread northward and southward. Some traveled as far south as the coast, thence spreading out westward toward Persia, eventually settling the whole Makrān coast as far as Bīābān. These coastal Baluch, together with those settled in the Upper Sind Frontier in the “Tribal Areas” constitute the oldest settlements today, and speak the most archaic dialects, often called “Rindī.”

There are ballads describing their participation in various adventures as freebooters in battles with the “Turks,” i.e., the Mughals, in India in particular in the campaign of Emperor Homāyūn in 1555 against Delhi. Mīr Čākur is said to have had a palace at Sibi, and to have engaged in campaigns in Multan and Punjab; he is buried at Saṭgarh in the Multan district, in what was an impressive tomb.

The Dōdā-Bālāč cycle. Perhaps the most important cycle after the Čākur cycle is what can be called the Dōdā-Bālāč cycle. The lady Sammī and her husband, both Bulēdī, take refuge with Dōdā the chief of the Gorgēj Rind. Upon the death of Sammī’s husband there is a dispute about the inheritance, in which Sammī withholds from the heirs of her dead husband a small part of the herd of cattle which is her own private property (allowed by tribal law). In some versions, Bībarg, the Bulēdī chief, organizes a raid in which the disputed cattle are carried off by force, while Dōdā is asleep in the sun. The raid thus takes place, exceptionally, in full daylight, and is thus all the greater insult to the Gorgēj and to Dōdā who has given Sammī refuge. Dōdā is rudely awakened by two women, variously described as his mother-in-law, sister-in-law, neighbors, or other relations, who tell him what has happened. Dōdā is at first reluctant to pursue and punish the raiders, but after taunts and jibes by the women, who accuse him of cowardice and lawbreaking, he gathers together a few companions and sallies forth to meet the Bulēdī at the Garmāp pass (near Sangsilā in Bugṭī country) and is killed.

For his attempt Dōdā is highly regarded in Baluchi legend, and by some is considered a hero comparable even to Čākur or Nōdbandag. The parallel to the war of the Rind and Lāšārī is explicit in many versions of the subsequent events. The Bulēdī, emboldened by their initial successes, continue to raid, and the Gorgēj to defend themselves even though numerically and otherwise weaker, until they are nearly exterminated; in some versions only Bālāč, the son (in some versions the brother) of Dōdā, and his half brother Nakīb are left alive among the Gorgēj.

Nakīb, whose mother was a slave girl, is the more mettlesome of the two. Though described as “black” and a slave (slaves in Baluchi legend are always “black,” often in fact Negroid), he is very courageous, while Bālāč is dilatory like his father. For three years Nakīb exhorts the “lazy, cowardly, unworthy” Bālāč to act, but it is not until the latter has a dream in which he attacks the Bulēdī alone and wins revenge for his father that he at last decides to take action. He and Nakīb proceed alone to harass the Bulēdī over the whole of their territory, slaying threescore-and-one Bulēdī in one famous encounter. Bībarg is also slain, and the Bulēdī retreat to settle in the southern plains of Sind.

Bībarg’s taunts of cowardice and indecision, Bālāč’s agony of shame, fury, and doubt, Nakīb’s urgings to action are the subject of a large ballad literature, some of it of as fine an epic quality as is to be found, in which the conditions of life in all their stark bleakness are described for a Baluch who dedicates himself to do his duty. Some of it has been collected and published.

The Mazārī cycle. The wars of the Mazārī also form a cycle. In the early years of the 19th century, when Bahrām Khan was chief, a band of Mazārī raided the cattle of Gol Moḥammad Brāhōī, of the Jamālī Brāhōī, and subsequently, after negotiations, refused to return more than twenty-four female camels. The original causes of the raid lay, as so often, in disputed ownership of grazing grounds, and Gol Moḥammad decided to attack the Mazārī in force. He was at first driven off, but in a second engagement he succeeded in capturing a whole camel herd. Threescore Mazārīs pursued; all dismounted at Jarōpošt and fought hand to hand. Gol Moḥammad and fourscore of his men were killed.

Other literature. Mīr Hammal Jīhand “Sultan of Kalmat” is the subject of several ballads. A ruler of Makrān in the 16th century, he was often engaged with the Portuguese, who frequently raided the coast during this time, burning Gwādar and Pasnī in 1581. Mīr Hammal boasted that he could easily drive them away, but in a naval battle he was decisively beaten, captured alive by the Portuguese, and taken to south India (in some versions to Portugal), where he was imprisoned. Efforts to ransom him failed, whereupon the Portuguese tried to persuade him to settle and take as wife one of them. Mīr Hammal refused to marry a “kafīr” woman, and eventually died in prison. He is reputed to have written a history of his years in captivity and to have sent it to Kalmat, but no trace of it has been found. The ballads about him also describe the local custom women since adopted of mourning for him by binding their hair on Saturdays.

There is beside this particular literature of Baluch concerns, an extensive literature regarding many of the famous Islamic stories common to all Muslim peoples: stories of parīs, of ʿĪsā and Bārī, Laylā and Majnūn, Farhād and Šīrēn. More especially Baluch is the ballad of Dōstēn and Šīrēn, and those about Šēh (Shaikh) Morīd. Modern poets, foremost among them Gol Khan Naṣīr, have written new versions of these legends.

The time has not yet arrived for a comprehensive survey of Baluchi literature, for which the material at hand is as yet far too incomplete.

Many of the actors in events are themselves held to be bards (Bībarg, Bālāč, Qabīl Jaṭ, Gwaharām), many individual ballads being attributed to them. Some of these “attributed” classical poems were collected by Dames in 1909 and by Šēr Moḥammad Marī in 1970, but neither their age nor authenticity can be verified.

The earliest important poet for whom definite information is available is Jām Durrak, court poet at the court of Naṣīr Khan I of Kalat (1749-95), whose love poetry is still remembered and recited. Some of it has been collected and published (see the bibliography).

The 19th century saw a large literary flowering, and nearly every event of public or private importance (battles, celebrations, political events) saw the composition of a ballad to commemorate it, often by poets whose names and localities are known. In the western Kech valley, the town of Mand was of special importance, the home of Mollā Fażl and Mollā Qasīm, both in the first part of the century. Also important are ʿEzzat Lalla from Panjgur, Bālāč from Sibi, Nūr Moḥammad Bampoštī from Bampošt in Persian Baluchistan, Mollā Balnāma Ḥassān from Bāhō Kalāt in the same area.

In the latter half of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century there have also been major poets: Faqīr Šēr Jān of Nushki, Mollā Esmāʿīl of Tump (Kech), Ostā Ḥassān Zargar also of Kech, Mollā Ḡolām Nabī Ḵārānī of Kolwa, among others, all writers of narrative ballads as well as romantic ones on important themes of the day.

The British Afghan wars were productive of, among other things, some important historical narrative ballads: one describes the expedition of General Willshire against Kalat in 1839, and there are many descriptions of the prevailing state of tribal unrest in Kalat State and in British Baluchistan, a state which continued until Sir Robert Sandeman in 1867 established a measure of control over the anarchic tribes by negotiating treaties, the first such ever concluded with them; as a result Baluch tribes kept the peace during the Second Afghan War in 1878, itself the subject of balladry. Sandeman himself became a legend, and there are many poems about Sanman Sāhb.

Modern literature. After the turn of the century, and particularly at the end of the first World War (for which Marī Baluch had refused to recruit soldiers for the Indian Army), a new national consciousness among Baluch generally produced a generation of writers who by the 1930s created an entirely new Baluchi cultural scene—one in which the printed word began to play a role for the first time. While it was nominally mainly literary in character, politics played an important role from the start, and one of the purposes of many writers was the awakening of a national consciousness, in which the mother tongue of course played a major part.

The first of this new generation of writers to become widely known was Moḥammad Ḥosayn “Anqā” (b. 1909, d. 1977) whose weekly newspaper in Baluchi, Bōlān, was the first of its kind; it survived, remarkably, for several years at Mach near Quetta until the end of the 1930s. Groups of enthusiasts were not lacking, however, to continue such efforts, and a bewildering variety of newspapers and “little magazines” have been born and died in the past 50 years, the first after Bōlān of the 1930s being Ōmān, ed. by Maulvī (Mawlawī) Ḵayr Moḥammad Nadvī in Karachi in the early 1950s. These literary activities have usually had a marked political content, so that relationships with central governments have never been easy. Other early writers include ʿAbd-al-ʿAzīz Kūrd (d. ca. 1970), Sayyed Hašīmī (d. 1980), Raḥm-ʿAlī Marī (d. ca. 1940). Probably the most important single events were the foundation of Baluchi academies for the publication of all types of written material: in Karachi ca. 1956 by Sayyed Hašīmī, and in Quetta in 1959, the latter being preceded there by the Balūčī Zubānē Diwān in 1950 (ʿAbd-Allāhān Jamāldīnī, b. 1922, Gol Khan Naṣīr, 1914-84, and Ḡolām Moḥammad Šāhwānī, d. ca. 1957). While the academy in Karachi lasted only a few years, it did important work; the academy in Quetta, on the other hand, is still flourishing, with some 60 titles td its credit, many of which are still in print. Gol Khan Našīr’s Gulbāng (Balūčī Zubānē Diwān, Quetta, 1952), a collection of poems, was one of the first publications. Gol Khan was the leading poet of the years after 1950, with many works published by the Baluchi Academy in Quetta, including four large volumes of poetry, written for the most part in traditional Baluchi styles. By contrast, ʿAṭā Šād (b. ca. 1940) is a leading poet in new, nontraditional styles, including free verse. Other leading poets in the classical and modern style are Mīr ʿĪsā Qomī (b. ca. 1915) of Torbat, and ʿAbd-al-Waḥīd Āzāt Jamāldīnī (1915-81 ) of Nūški. Āzāt founded the monthly Balōčī (Karachi, 1956-69; Quetta, 1969-) and was its editor until his death.

See also BRAHUI.



Older (pre-1889) works. The only works still worth consulting are C. E. Gladstone, Biluchi Handbook, Lahore, 1874; E. W. Marston, Grammar and Vocabulary of the Mekranee Belonchee Dialect, Bombay, 1877; Major E. Mockler, A Grammer of the Baloochee Language, as it is Spoken in Makrān, in the Persi-Arabic Character, London, 1877; E. Pierce, “A Description of the Mekranee-Beloochee Dialect,” JRAS Bombay 11, pp. 1-98 (fairly accurate descriptions, mainly of the Coastal dialect but phonologically very hard to follow and differing dialect forms are mixed without discrimination); A. Lewis, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, Allahabad, 1884; idem, Balochi Stories, as Spoken by the Nomad Tribes of the Sulaiman Hills, Allahabad, 1855 (accurate and quite reliable; Eastern Hill Baluchi).

Early work (1889-1920). The first scientific and comparative studies of the phonology, history, and etymology of Baluchi by an authority on the subject are the following works by W. Geiger: “Dialektspaltung in Balūčī,” Sb. Bayr. Akad. d. Wiss. 1, Munich, 1889, pp. 65-92; “Balūčische Texte mit Übersetzung I, II,” ZDMG 43, 1889, pp. 579-89, 47, 1893, pp. 440-49; “Etymologie des Balūčī,” Abh. Bayr. Akad. d. Wiss. 19, 1890, pp. 107-53; “Lautlehre des Balūčī,” ibid., pp. 399-443 (most of this is still useful but it must be remembered that Geiger had little other Middle Iranian material than the older Pahlavi studies at his disposal), culminating in his classical account of the language from the standpoint of Iranian philology: “Die Sprache der Balutschen,” in Grundriss I, pp. 231-48 and 417-23.

By M. L. Dames we have the following important works: A Textbook of the Balochi Language, Lahore, 1891; Balochi Tales, London, I-II, 1892, III-IV, 1893, V, 1897; The Baloch Race, London, 1904; Popular Poetry of the Baloches, London, 1907 (the most ambitious and comprehensive collection of Baluchi ballads ever published, containing Baluchi texts with English translation; unfortunately marred by many inaccuracies in the Baluchi text and far too free English translations); “Balōčistan, Language and Literature,” in EI1, 1913, pp. 633-34 (useful particularly for the historical and ethnographic survey).

Usable but inaccurate, with many misprints, are the two works by J. L. Mayer (Eastern Hill Baluchi): Biluch Classics, Fort Munro-Agra, 1901; English-Biluchi Dictionary, Lahore, 1909 (the earliest and in many ways most interesting of such dictionaries).

Modern works (1920-). H. W. Bailey, “Maka,” JRAS, 1982, pp. 10-13.

M. Barker and A. Kh. Mengal, A Course in Baluchi, 2 vols., Montreal, 1969 (modern language course in Raḵšāni Baluchi, laden with “drills” and exercises; the most thorough description to date of any Baluchi dialect; texts and glossaries; painstaking and accurate).

A. Bausani, “La letteratura Beluci,” in O. Botto, Storia delle letterature orientali, Milan, 1969, II, pp. 643-48 (poorish summaries of a few tales taken from Dames, Popular Poetry; Jām Dorrak is also mentioned).

G. Buddruss, “Buttern in Baluchistan,” in Wort und Wirklichkeit. Studien zur Afrikanistik und Orientalistik Eugen Ludwig Rapp zum 70. Geburtstag, ed. B. Benzing, O. Böcher, and G. Mayer, II, Meisenheim am Glan, 1978, pp. 1-16 (an interesting specimen of Afghani Baluchi, with notes and tr.).

N. A. Collett, A Grammar, Phrase Book and Vocabulary of Baluchi (As Spoken in the Sultanate of Oman), 1983, 2nd ed., 1986, Abingdon, Kent (Kēči dialect used by Balōč recruits from Pakistan in the Omani forces; the vocabulary includes occasional Raḵšāni and Coastal forms, and some words unrecorded in Baluchi so far).

W. Eilers, “Das Volk der Maka vor und nach den Achaemeniden,” in H. Koch and D. N. MacKenzie, eds., Kunst, Kultur, und Geschichte der Achaemenidenzeit und ihr Fortleben, AMI, Ergänzungsband 10, Berlin, 1983, pp. 101-19.

J. Elfenbein, “Baluchistan, Language,” in EI2, 1960, pp. 1006-07 (in the historical part read “northwestern” for “eastern” and “southwestern” for “western”; the dialect geography is completely revised in the text above).

Idem, “Baluchi Mss. in the British Museum,” in Trudy XXV Mezhdunarodnogo Kongressa Vostokovedov II, Moscow, 1960, pp. 364-66 (preliminary discussion of the three mss.).

Idem, “A Balūčī Text, with Translation and Notes,” BSOAS 24, 1961, pp. 86-103 (ed., tr. of one story with notes from the most interesting of the three mss).

Idem, A Vocabulary of Marw Baluchi, Naples, 1963 (etymological vocabulary of all Marv Baluchi texts).

Idem, The Baluchi Language, a Dialectology with Texts, London, 1966 (a first attempt at a comprehensive first-hand account of all Baluchi dialects, with some texts and a small, poor word list; mainly descriptive, with a few historical notes on the development of dialects; for the most part still valid).

Idem, “Report on a Linguistic Mission to Helmand and Nīmrūz,” Journal of Afghan Studies 2, 1979, pp. 39-44 (dialectology of Afghani Baluchi).

Idem, A Baluchi Miscellanea of Erotica and Poetry: Codex Oriental Additional 24048 of the British Library, AION 43/2, Supp. 35, Naples, 1983 (the oldest of the three mss. in the British Library, perhaps written ca. 1820 at the request of H. H. Wilson, 1786-1860, professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University, whose wife donated the ms. to the British Library in 1861; the dialect is an unusual variety of Coastal Baluchi, probably from Kalmat in present-day Pakistani Makrān). Idem, “Notes on the Balochī-Brāhūī Linguistic Commensality,” TPS, 1982, pp. 77-98 (description of some important phonological and morphological borrowings by Brahui from Baluchi).

Idem, “Balochi from Khotan,” Studia Iranica 14, 1985, pp. 223-38 (176 Baluchi words noted in H. W. Bailey, Dictionary of Khotan Saka, with corrections and comments).

Idem, “Mythologie der Balutschen,” in Klett and Cotta, Wörterbuch der Mythologie, 2nd ed., H. W. Haussig, Stuttgart, 1983-, pp. 491-507.

V. A. Frolova, Beludzhskiĭ yazyk, Moscow, 1960 (no history or dialectology).

R. N. Frye, “Remarks an Baluchi History,” Central Asiatic Journal 6, 1961, pp. 44-50 (Baluchi history in Islamic sources).

E. G. Gafferberg, Beludzhi Turkmenskoĭ SSR, Moscow, 1969.

G. W. Gilbertson, English-Balochi Colloquial Dictionary I-II, Hertford, 1925.

Sir G. A. Grierson, “Balōchī,” in Linguistic Survey of India X: Eranian Family, Calcutta, 1921, pp. 327-421 (useful summary of phonology and grammar, with many texts and list of words).

J. Hansman, “A Periplus of Magan and Meluhha,” BSOAS 36, 1973, pp. 554-84, with an annex by H. W. Bailey, pp. 584-87.

V. A. Livshits, “Beludzhskiĭ yazyk,” in Narody Sredneĭ Azii i Kazakhstana, Moscow, 1962, pp. 157-58.

D. N. MacKenzie, “Origins of Kurdish,” TPS, 1961, pp. 68-86 (on the dialectology of western Iranian languages).

G. Morgenstierne, Report on a Linguistic Mission to North-Western India, Oslo, 1932, pp. 4-25.

Idem, “Notes on Balochi Etymology,” NTS 5, 1932, pp. 37-53 (with important new material).

Idem, “Balochi Miscellanea,” Acta Orientalia 20, 1948, pp. 253-92 (remarks on phonology; historical and etymological notes).

Idem, “Neu-Iranische Sprachen,” in HO I, IV/1, Leiden and Cologne, 1958, pp. 169-70.

I. M. Oranskiĭ, “Beludzhskiĭ yazyk,” in Iranskie yazyki, Moscow, 1963, pp. 141-45, 170-71, tr. J. Blau, Paris, 1977, pp. 146-50, 196 (fairly complete survey of published material).

M. G. Pikulin, Beludzhi, Moscow, 1959 (summary of material published abroad).

V. S. Rastorgueva, “Beludzhskiĭ yazyk,” in Yazyki narodov SSSR I, Moscow, 1966, pp. 323-41.

G. Redard, “Balōčī,” in Current Trends in Linguistics VI, The Hague, 1970, pp. 107-08 (state of the art and bibliography).

S. N. Sokolov, Grammaticheskiĭ ocherk yazyka beludzheĭ Sovetskogo Soyuza, Trudy Instituta Yazykoznaniya 6, Moscow, 1956, pp. 57-91 (detailed grammatical description of the Zarubin texts).

V. S. Sokolova, Beludzhskiĭ yazyk, Novye svedeniya o fonetiki iranskikh yazykov II/6, Moscow and Leningrad, 1950 (first Russian sketch).

Idem, Beludzhskiĭ yazyk, Ocherki po fonetike iranskikh yazykov I, Moscow and Leningrad, 1953 (detailed phonological analysis; some word lists and texts).

Idem, “Beludzhskiĭ yazyk,” in Sovremennyĭ Iran, Moscow, 1957, pp. 83-93 (brief sketch). B. Spooner, “Notes on Baluchī spoken in Persian Baluchistan,” Iran 5, 1967, pp. 51-71 (short description and word list; Sarḥaddi and “Makrāni” Baluchi by an anthropologist; inaccurate phonology; unselective bibliography).

I. I. Zarubin, “K izucheniyu beludzhskogo yazyka i fol’klora,” Zapiski Kollegii Vostokovedov 5, Leningrad, 1932, pp. 653-79 (the first Baluchi text with good Russian translation; useful).

Idem, Beludzhskie skazki, Leningrad, I, 1932, II, 1949 (a huge collection of prose stories in the Marv dialect with Russian translation; accurate and reliable).

Modern literary Baluchi texts: Bašīr Aḥmad Balōč, ed., Durṛčīn, Quetta, 1963 (some of the work of Jām Dorrak).

A. J. Jamāldīnī, ed., Mistāg, Karachi, 1959 (an early and fairly representative collection of new Baluchi poetry).

Miṭha Khan Marī, Raḥm-ʿAlī Marī, Quetta, 1978 (poetry of an important poet).

Šēr-Moḥammad Marī, ed., Balōčī kōhnēn šāḥirī, Quetta, 1970 (the first collection of classical Baluchi ballads since Dames, 1907; Eastern Hill Baluchi in Sindhi script; introd. and notes in Baluchi; many printing errors).

Gol Khan Naṣīr, Gulbāng, Quetta, 1952 (one of the first indigenous publications).

Idem, Šap girōk, Quetta, 1973: Grand, Quetta, 1975; Dōstēn o Šīrēn, Quetta, 1977 (collections of poetry; the last a lengthy recast of a classical Baluchi story of two lovers).

(J. Elfenbein)

Originally Published: December 15, 1988

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 6, pp. 633-644