8. The British period, 1839-1947.
The next hundred years saw an explosion of publications on the Baluch and Baluchistan. The information was produced through the interest of the neighboring powers, who finally achieved a definitive division of the area into three separate provinces of the adjacent nation-states.
Early in the 19th century the British set about gathering and organizing information on the whole of India, which they eventually published in the form of district gazetteers. The district gazetteer series for Baluchistan (1906-08) comprises eight volumes. Each gazetteer deals with an administrative district or group of districts and is organized into four chapters: basic geographical description, including an historical review of the social situation; a statement on the economic condition (agriculture, rents, labor and prices, weights and measures, forests and other natural resources, trade and transportation); an account of the administration (revenue, justice, police, public works); and finally miniature gazetteers describing individual settlements. The Baluchistan series is an extraordinary compendium of information, and ranks among the best of all the Indian gazetteers (Scholberg, p. 49) as well as other literature of the same type. This section is based on information taken from the gazetteers, the Persian syntheses by Taqīzāda and Jahānbānī, and the author’s unpublished ethnohistorical research except where otherwise noted.
The extension of British interest westward through Makrān stimulated Persian interest in pursuing ancient claims to the area. As they sought to reestablish their authority the Persians also began to gather information. Early efforts resulted from the interest of governors-general of Kermān under Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (see Farmānfarmā, Wazīrī, Sepehr). Later and more detailed efforts followed on the pacification of the area under Reżā Shah (see Jahānbānī, Kayhān, Razmārā, Taqīzāda). The Russians began to explore Persian Baluchistan around the turn of the century (see Rittikh, Zarudnyĭ). Other Europeans, especially Germans, also took an interest (e.g., the Austrian Gasteiger), though they published little new information.
From 1839 to 1947 the greater part of Baluchistan was—formally or informally—under the British Empire, whose interest was essentially in securing and protecting its North-West Frontier Province from both Afghanistan and Iran. At a particular stage in this endeavor the British negotiated formal international borders through the territories of Baluch tribes with both Iran and Afghanistan, roughly according to the effective sphere of influence of the khan of Kalat, but with some attention to the interests of local leaders. They then sought to control the administration of the state of Kalat, at first through the khan, later in the name of the khan, and they gradually took on the direct administration of buffer areas between them and Afghanistan as well as some other especially troublesome areas such as the eastern districts of the Marī and Būgṭī tribes. The British intervened in the life of the Baluch mainly in order to bolster the authority of the khan and the subsidiary rulers in Makrān, as a means of maintaining peace and internal security, to establish the frontier, to lay the telegraph line, and (after some delay) finally to abolish the slave trade. The government of Afghanistan paid little attention to its Baluch population. But the Persian government sought to control as much as possible of Baluchistan by exploiting the ambitions and animosities of the local rulers; it did not establish a functioning administrative structure for the area until later.
The agreement between the British and Mīr Meḥrāb Khan in 1839 soon ran into trouble. Many of the sardars opposed it, and some of them sabotaged it by waylaying Burnes on his way back from Quetta, stealing the document and making out that they were acting on the instructions of the khan. The British were deceived, and resolved to punish the khan. In November of the same year they invaded Baluchistan and attacked Kalat. Mīr Meḥrāb Khan was killed in the action. Determined to control the route into Afghanistan, the British then installed in Kalat a great grandson of Mīr Moḥabbat Khan, the fourteen-year-old Mīr Šahnavāz Khan, with a Lieutenant Loveday as regent, and dismembered the khan’s dominions. Mastung and Quetta were given to Shah Šojāʿ, though the British continued to control them in his name. Kacchi was placed under the political agent for Western Sind. However, Meḥrāb’s son, whom he had named Mīr Naṣīr Khan II, was able to rally the tribes and retake Kalat in the following year (Rooman, pp. 41-43). Benefiting from a wave of popular support Naṣīr was able soon after to regain Quetta, Mastung, and Kacchi. Local skirmishes continued till 1842, when the British retired from Baluchistan because of more pressing problems in Afghanistan and elsewhere. As a condition of their withdrawal, Sibi remained under the British and Pishin was reoccupied by the Afghans, though Quetta remained with Kalat. The British undertook to help Naṣīr in case of outside attack, while Naṣīr accepted Shah Šojāʿ and the East India Company as suzerain powers who could station their forces anywhere in Kalat in emergency. The khan further agreed to act under British advice, refrain from any engagement without their previous sanction and to fix a pension for Mīr Šahnavāz and his family (Aitchison, XI, pp. 210-11). Essentially, the khan had secured British support for local Baluch autonomy under conditions similar to his historical relationship to the Afghans. The new ingredient was the role the British now played in Afghan interests. Shortly afterward the British also contrived to control the Marī through the khan, though the relationship did not last. The British annexed Sind in 1843, and Punjab in 1849. In 1854 the situation was formalized by a treaty in Khangarh (later Jacobabad) which included an annual subsidy to the khan of Rs 50,000 (Rooman, p. 44).
The state of Kalat was now incorporated into the British colonial system. Even the Baluch who were not controlled by Kalat were deeply influenced by the British connection. The khan was essentially a paid official, an intermediary between the British and the sardars (who continued until recently to hold real authority with the tribes). As a result the khan gradually lost his authority with the sardars (N. Swidler, p. 49), and the British were obliged to an increasing extent to work directly with, and to subsidize, each sardar. This practice was later extended into western Baluchistan (Iran) with the construction of the telegraph in the 1860s.
Naṣīr was succeeded in 1857, on his death, by his stepbrother Mīr Ḵodādād Khan, aged sixteen. Ḵodādād ruled until 1893—a period marked by serious conflicts with the sardars. Ḵodādād appears not to have understood the significance of the colonial power, which continually frustrated his efforts to rule, while not only he but many of the sardars were dependent on British subsidies. For a while the British were content simply to contain events through diplomacy and subsidies. But in 1875 in response to the Russian advance into Turkestan they decided to construct a railway and a telegraph link to Baluchistan. They sent Captain Robert Sandeman to Kalat to develop the basis for a more positive “forward” policy. Sandeman succeeded in composing outstanding disputes between the khan and the sardars, and designed a way of administering the tribes through their own chiefs in accordance with tribal custom but under British supervision, which later became well known as the Sandeman system of indirect rule (Thornton). In the following year Sandeman concluded the Mastung Settlement, according to which the Treaty of 1854 was renewed and enhanced: the khan was to have no independent foreign relations, a permanent British garrison was to be posted in Kalat, the khan was to send a representative to the government of India, the British were to be the sole arbiters in disputes between the khan and the sardars, and the projected railway and telegraph were to be protected in the interests of both parties. The khan’s annuity was raised to Rs 100,000, beside Rs 25,000 for the construction of more outposts and for ensuring the security of transport and communications. The trade rights of the khan with Afghanistan and India were also transferred to the British for another Rs 30,000 per year (Aitchison, XI, pp. 215-18).
The subsidies paid to the sardars were contingent upon their loyalty to the khan and the maintenance of internal peace. The sardars were still encouraged to settle disputes by traditional procedures, through sardar circles for intratribal cases, and jirgas when disputes were intertribal. However, all jirga decisions were subject to review by the British political agent. In general, the British system seemed to fit the tribal system well (N. Swidler, p. 53). The sardars and the British agents understood each other’s conception of authority and were able to work together. But in the long term the British system had the effect of dividing the Baluch into numerous personal fiefdoms based on individual sardars, and elevated the khan to an exclusively ceremonial status.
In 1877 Sandeman occupied Quetta, and with the khan’s consent established the administrative center of the Baluchistan Agency. Quetta was used as a base for the second Afghan War (q.v.) in 1878 (brought on by increasing British fear of Russian influence in Afghanistan). The war was concluded by the Treaty of Gandamak in 1879, which ceded Pishin to the British. One after another all the districts along the border with Afghanistan were leased to the British in return for an annual payment and incorporated into the province of British Baluchistan. Kalat was sealed off from all territories that were of strategic interest to the British. The Quetta cantonment soon surpassed Kalat and Mastung both as an administrative and as a commercial center. Although Baluchistan remained a relatively isolated area, peripheral to the Indian economy, the social effects of British investment should not be underestimated. Gash crops were introduced close to the major routes. A certain amount of sedentarization took place as new villages were built. Some sardars were knighted, and British Indian dress and pomp began to appear in Baluchistan (N. Swidler, p. 51).
Mīr Ḵodādād Khan did not accommodate to the changing situation. Gradually his position became untenable, and in 1893 he was forced to abdicate. He was succeeded by Mīr Maḥmūd Khan II, who ruled until 1931. Maḥmūd identified himself with British interests and received strong British support, but at the price of continued erosion of the power of the khanate. In 1899 a treaty was signed which leased out Nushki in perpetuity for Rs 9,000 per year (Aitchison, XI, pp. 224-25). Another treaty in 1903 added the perpetual lease of Nasirabad for Rs 115,000. In 1912, as one of a series of bureaucratic reforms, a state treasury was established with branches at Mastung, Khuzdar, and other provincial centers. A veterinary hospital was opened at Kalat. A road was built to Wad and to Panjgur, and some schools were opened. The khan also made a nominal contribution to the British war effort, but the sardars were beginning to react to his subservience and the British were forced to intervene more than once to put down a revolt.
After the death of Maḥmūd in 1931, Mīr Aʿẓam Jān, the third son of Ḵodādād, who ruled for two years, showed some sympathy for local anti-British sentiments. He was succeeded in 1933 by Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan, who ruled for the remainder of the British period. On the accession of Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan the state of Kalat was comprised of Sarawan and Jahlawan, Kacchi, with Kharan, Las Bela, and Makrān as client principalities. Chagai, Nushki, Nasirabad, Zhob and Loralai and the Mari-Bugti district constituted the British province of Baluchistan under British political agents; Dera Ghazi Khan was part of Punjab, and Jacobabad was in Sind.
Although not entirely unaffected by British influences from the east, the western Baluch had fared very differently. After the death of Nāder Shah in 1160/1747, what is now Persian Baluchistan had for a time been under the Dorrānī rulers of Afghanistan, but after 1795 it was divided among local rulers. Although for a short time the khans of Kalat, and especially Mīr Naṣīr Khan I, were able to extend their hegemony into parts of it, the rulers of the small agricultural settlements scattered throughout the area, and of the nomadic groups, continually rebelled against any imposition of taxes or other exaction, and even relationships based on marriage alliance were never reliable for long. There was always a tendency to play off one leader against another, and Qandahār competed with Kalat for the allegiance of local leaders.
Persian interest was re-aroused in 1838 when the Āqā Khan (q.v.), head of the Ismaʿili sect, fled to India after rebelling against Tehran. In 1843 he was given asylum by the British in Karachi, which they had recently occupied. At the end of the same year, his brother, Sardār Khan, took 200 horsemen with him by land to Čāhbahār, where the small Ismaʿili community provided a base from which he was able by intrigue to gain possession of Bampūr. He was soon defeated by the governor-general of Kermān on orders from Tehran. But from then on the Persians took a more serious interest in Makrān, and began to pursue a policy of encouraging the local rulers to compete for formal titles in return for the obligation to levy and remit annual taxes (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2157). A garrison was established at Bampūr (which has always been the major agricultural district in western Baluchistan) and military expeditions were mounted periodically toward the east and southeast. Bampūr was occupied on a permanent basis in 1850, and one by one the local rulers of Dezak, Sarbāz, Geh, and Qaṣr-e Qand acknowledged the obligation to pay taxes to the governor, Ebrāhīm Khan (Taqīzāda). In 1856 Moḥammadšāh Khan of Sīb rebelled, trusting in the impregnability of his fort, which (judging by the almost contemporary description given by Sepehr, and what could still be seen in 1965) was probably at least as high and strong, if not as large as the Bampūr fort. But the Sīb fort was taken by a force from Kermān.
The British telegraph project changed the geopolitical balance of relations in the area (Saldanha). A report to Bombay in 1861 by a Rev. G. P. Badger (who had experience as British chaplain and interpreter in Persia and the Persian Gulf) explained clearly the British problem of having to deal with both the local chiefs, the sultan of Oman, and the Persian government. They dealt with the problem by respecting the authority of each wherever they found it in force, and resolving conflicts among them as and when they arose. They made agreements for the passage and protection of the line with Kalat, Las Bela, Pasni, and Kech. When construction began in 1863 Ebrāhīm Khan, the governor in Bampūr, threatened the Omani representatives in the ports, and incited Rind tribesmen to harass communities on the outskirts of Gwadar, though he did not molest the telegraph working parties. Tehran actually repudiated his efforts, though official communications continued to emphasize that both Gwadar and Čāhbahār were part of Persia. British plans to build the telegraph had reawakened in the Persians their ancient territorial consciousness and determined them initially to claim the whole of Makrān up to the British frontier in Sind. At the same time they desired the security of a formal agreement. They therefore bargained hard and actively from a position of relative weakness. The Persian envoy who visited Kalat in 1862 declared that Persia had no designs on Kech or Makrān, and requested negotiation of the boundary. Similarly, Ebrāhīm Khan, the governor of Bampūr, wrote to the political agent at Muscat in April, 1863, saying that Gwadar was not under his authority. The British meditated on the problem for two years and finally demurred; they had nothing to gain, and they stood to lose the good will of the local rulers without gaining the protection of the Persian government (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2163). The Persian government continued its policy of playing off the local rulers one against another with the aim of reducing their authority and establishing its own as far as possible, and gave out that they were planning an attack on Kech (ibid., p. 2157). During this period the principal rulers in western Makrān were Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh Bulēdī of Geh who controlled the coast from Jāsk to Čāhbahār, and Dīn-Moḥammad Sardārzay in Bāhū who beside Daštīārī controlled the coast from Čāhbahār to Gwadar. They were related by marriage, but they were potential rivals, since both accepted payment from the sultan of Oman to protect the ports. (Protection was essential both against local disorder and against the claims of Kalat: In 1847 Faqīr Moḥammad, the khan’s nāʾeb in Kech and the principal power in eastern Makrān, had attacked Gwadar with 1,000 men in order to extort from Saʿīd Ṯowaynī, the regent of Oman, a supposedly customary annual present which had been withheld for two years in succession, but was unsuccessful. The khan of Kalat continued to claim Gwadar, and periodically sent similar expeditions.) ʿAbd-Allāh and Dīn-Moḥammad had both acknowledged Persian suzerainty, but now that the telegraph was coming they let it be known that they would work with the British. Around 1866 Shaikh ʿAbd-Allāh who ruled Qaṣr-e Qand and Sarbāz had recently been murdered, and the Persians had recognized his son as ruler of Qaṣr-e Qand, but had given Sarbāz to the head of another family, who was devoted to the Persian interest.
The telegraph line was finally continued in 1869 to Jāsk and Hanjām Island, and in 1870 the British were obliged to set up a tripartite commission (with representatives of Persia, Kalat, and Britain) for the definition of the frontier (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2034). From 1863 a British assistant political agent was stationed at Gwadar, and from 1879 a native agent took his place. They reported to the director of Persian Gulf Telegraphs in Karachi. Beginning in the 1870s yearly subsidies for the protection of the Indo-European Telegraph line were paid by the British to the khan of Geh (Rs 1,000), to eleven elders of the Baluch communities of the oasis of Geh (Rs 1,600), to the leader of the Nārūʾī tribe (Rs 600), to the sardar of Daštīārī (Rs 600), to three elders of Baluch communities of the oasis of Daštīārī (Rs 400 each), to the sardar of Bāhū Kalāt (Rs 100), among others (Pikulin, p. 123). The subsidy to the ruler of Geh was reduced from Rs 3,000 to Rs 1,000 in 1899, the remainder being distributed among minor chiefs along the line; Daštīārī and Bāhū then received Rs 1,000 each. In 1864 the protection of Čāhbahār devolved upon two local chiefs, Dīn-Moḥammad Jaḍgāl of Daštīārī, and Mīr ʿAbd-Allāh of Geh, who received Rs 900 and 200 respectively per year from the revenue of 7,000. In 1868 or 1869 Dīn-Moḥammad quietly occupied it, and it was never recovered for Oman. But a period of struggle and negotiation ensued between Oman, Dīn-Moḥammad, and Persia, in the course of which the Persian governor-general of Kermān appeared in Qaṣr-e Qand. In 1869 Ebrāhīm Khan occupied Čāhbahār, but in 1871 the Persians waived all claim to Gwadar (ibid.). In 1872 Ebrāhīm Khan annexed Čāhbahār permanently to Persia, initially under the protection of Ḥosayn Khan of Geh. Its thriving commercial community soon dispersed apparently with the encouragement of Ebrāhīm Khan, much of it to Gwadar (Lorimer, loc. cit.; Goldsmid, p. lii). Despite Ebrāhīm Khan’s efforts the British Sandeman system of indirect rule with the aid of subsidies had extended into western Makrān, and when he died it was the major power in the area.
In the meantime, a division of influence between Kalat, Afghanistan, and Persia had been worked out and legitimized for the time being by the boundary commissions. But the Persians (working through Ebrāhīm Khan) both preempted and disputed some details of the commission’s findings. They took Pīšīn (east of Rāsk; not to be confused with Pishin north of Quetta) in 1870, and Esfandak and Kūhak in 1871—directly after the commission had awarded it to Kalat. In the north Ebrāhīm Khan also defeated Sayyed Khan Kord, known as sardar of the Sarḥadd, in Ḵāš (Sykes, 1902, p. 106). From then on Ebrāhīm controlled most of the settlements of the Sarḥadd and Makrān up to the present border by a combination of force, threats, and the posting of minor officials, but he was not able to control the tribes of the Sarḥadd (see Pikulin, p. 122; Zarudnyĭ, p. 164; Galindo, p. 251), and Baluch raiding remained a problem on both sides of the Iran-Afghanistan border (Ferrier). Ebrāhīm Khan was the son of a baker from Bam, and had achieved almost total subjugation of western Baluchistan. He died in 1884, after three decades in the position. His son died a few months later, and Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn, his son-in-law, became governor, but in 1887 he was replaced by Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan, a Turk. Abu’l-Fatḥ Khan was, however, dismissed, and Zayn-al-ʿĀbedīn Khan reappointed.
During the remainder of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah’s reign the pattern of Persian exactions continued unchanged, with consequent hostilities between competing chiefs. Around 1883 ʿAbdī Khan Sardārzay, son of Mīr Dīn-Moḥammad was put in charge of Gwatar. In 1886 the population of Gwatar moved across the frontier to avoid his exactions, but returned in 1887 on the death of Mīr Hōtī in Geh. In 1896 it was reported that 2,000 people had emigrated from the district, and the British Indian traders of Čāhbahār who had reestablished themselves complained that their trade was ruined. Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah agreed to a new Perso-Baluch boundary commission because of unrest on the border (Sykes, 1902, p. 225). Minor revisions were made to both the Persian and the Afghan borders in the mid-1890s.
During this period the Bampūr governors had been encouraged in their aggressive treatment of the local Baluch rulers by the governors-general in Kermān who made frequent winter visits to Bampūr. In 1891, after an absence of two years, the governor-general revisited the district, making solemn promises that he would imprison nobody, but the promises were broken, and several Baluch leaders were seized and detained for several years (Sykes, 1902, p. 106).
After the death of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah in 1313/1896, the Baluch thought there was no new shah, and the absence of a Persian force fostered this delusion. Because of fear of the Kermān governor-general (Farmānfarmā) there was no rebellion until he left Kermān. But in 1897 the Acting Superintendent in the Indo-European Telegraph Department at Jāsk was robbed and murdered while camping on an annual tour of inspection near the Rāpč river east of Jāsk. In the same year Sardār Ḥosayn Khan attacked Fahraj (Sykes, p. 132; Zarudnyĭ, p. 200) and led a general rebellion against the Persian government in the Sarḥadd, Sarāvān, and Bampūr, demanding reduction of taxes. This was refused and the revolt spread to Sarbāz, Dezak, Lāšār, and Bampošt. Ḥosayn Khan occupied Bampūr, Fahraj, and Bazmān and other places which had small Iranian garrisons, and controlled most of the northern part of the province, and several Baluch groups which had hitherto remained neutral in troubles between ruling families and the “Qajars” (as the Baluch now called Persians) joined him. A large Persian force sent from Kermān to restore order in 1897 was defeated. The uprising lasted about three years and finished only when Ḥosayn Khan was given the governorship—a major precedent. Now a Baluch leader, the head of a principal family, officially had the right and duty to collect the taxes of the whole of Baluchistan within Iran. In return for the added legitimacy of the title the Baluch leader had acknowledged all Persia’s claims. Up to this time the Baluch seem not to have acknowledged such claims, though they expected to have to deal continually with the claims of outside powers, including Persia, Oman, Qandahār, and Delhi. On the other hand, in this new arrangement the Persian government appeared to acknowledge the local autonomy of the Baluch. It might be expected that in this situation unless there was a strong governor in Kermān no taxes would leave Baluchistan, and in fact from this time until 1928 Persian control of Baluchistan was once again only nominal (Pikulin, pp. 123-26).
In January, 1898, in consequence of the murder of Graves and the generally unsettled state of the country, 150 rifles of the Bombay Marine Battalion under two British officers, of whom 100 were to be located at Čāhbahār and 50 at Jāsk, were dispatched from India. No objection was made by the Persian government. In April the Čāhbahār detachment was reduced to 50 rifles and Indian officers replaced the British. As the presence of these guards had an excellent effect in giving confidence at both places, they were maintained after the troubles subsided, and permanent barracks were built at Jāsk and Čāhbahār. However, away from the ports there were other difficulties. In 1903 two despised communities, one of Mēds (fishermen) on the coast and another of Lattis (mixed farmers) inland, were driven out of Bāhū. They moved across the border to Jiwanri and Paleri. Around the same time Moḥammad Khan Gīčkī of Kech had fled across the border in the other direction when his uncle, Shaikh ʿOmar, was expelled from the fort of Turbat by the khan of Kalat’s nāʾeb in Kech. Increasing disorder in Makrān, along with Russian and French activity in the Persian Gulf, caused anxiety among the British, who by now were concerned to protect Indian trade interests in the Persian Gulf, as well as the telegraph, beside their general interest in border security. The Persian government was unable or unwilling to meet the British halfway by matching British power on their side of the border. The British, therefore, tried to protect their interests unilaterally. In 1901 they asked permission to set up a vice-consulate at Bampūr for the protection of British subjects. Persia opposed it, but allowed them to set one up in Bam instead. Later Persia allowed the British to lead a punitive expedition against Magas and Ērafšān.
On the death of Ḥosayn Khan, Saʿīd Khan, his son, succeeded to the forts of Geh, Bent, and the ports. He also inherited Qaṣr-e Qand from his mother. He decided to expand, and took Sarbāz. Next, he joined up with Bahrām Khan Bārānzay (from a tribal group also known as Bārakzay, apparently from the Afghan Bārakzay [see bārakzī], who had entered the area from Afghanistan early in the 19th century, though by this time they were fully assimilated as a Baluch and Baluchi-speaking) who ruled Dezak, and they took over Bampūr and Fahraj in 1907 when there was no governor in residence. An army was sent against them from Kermān in 1910. Saʿīd submitted. But Bahrām resisted. Saʿīd was made governor of Baluchistan, but the real power in the province remained with Bahrām Khan (Jahānbānī, pp. 35-38).
Early in 1916 German agents extended their activities to the Sarḥadd and endeavored to raise the tribes there against the British. Seeing their supply lines in danger, the British sent a Colonel R. E. H. Dyer to organize the Chagai levies. At this time the Gamšādzay under Halīl (Ḵalīl) Khan held the area around Jālq and Safēdkoh. West of them were the Yār-Moḥammadzay under Jīānd Khan (an elderly man who had been informal overlord of the Sarḥadd for many years). West of Ḵāš were the Esmāʿīlzay under Jomʿa Khan. Each tribe had around a thousand families, or one to two thousand fighting men each. Dyer succeeded in his task with the help of a small local tribe, the Rīgī, and the conventional British strategy of subsidizing the local leaders for their efforts to enforce order.
Mīr Bahrām Khan died in Bampūr in 1921. Having no son, he was succeeded by his nephew, Dūst-Moḥammad Khan. The Bārakzay family had become the most powerful government in Persian Baluchistan, by virtue of personal control over both Fahraj-Bampūr and Saravan and marriage alliances with the rulers of the major settlements of Makrān. Dūst-Moḥammad made considerable progress in consolidating the power of his predecessor, mainly through more strategic marriage alliances.
In March, 1924, the control of the tribes of the Sarḥadd district of Persian Baluchistan (who had enjoyed conventional British subsidies since the occupation of the country in 1915-16 under Dyer) was formally surrendered by the British to the Persian government, which undertook to continue the payments. Not surprisingly, the Persians failed to keep this undertaking, and disturbances broke out in the Sarḥadd during the summer of 1925 and again in 1926, owing partly to the high-handed methods of certain of the military officials and partly to discontent due to loss of the subsidies. The disturbances were quelled, without serious fighting, after further assurances had been given by the Persian government (Aitchison, XIII, p. 37; cf. Pikulin, p. 200).
In 1928, however, the new Pahlavī government of Iran was sufficiently well established to turn its attention to Baluchistan. Dūst-Moḥammad Khan refused to submit, trusting in the network of alliances he had built up over the whole of the province south of the Sarḥadd. However, as soon as Reżā Shah’s army under General Amīr Amān-Allāh Jahānbānī arrived in the area, the alliances dissolved. Dūst-Moḥammad Khan was left with a relatively small force and few allies of any consequence. The Persian army had little difficulty in defeating him. Once again Baluch political unity proved highly brittle. Dūst-Moḥammad eventually surrendered and was pardoned on condition he live in Tehran. After a year, he escaped while on a hunting trip. In due course he was recaptured, and having killed his guard in the escape was hanged for murder. In the meantime the rest of the Bārakzay family sought refuge in British territory, and the leading members of the family were given allowances there so long as they remained. The Persians continued to govern through local rulers. They recognized Jān-Moḥammad Bulēdī as sardar of Qaṣr-e Qand; Meḥrāb Khan Bozorgzāda as sardar of Jālq, returning to him the property which he had lost to Dūst-Moḥammad Khan; Moḥammadšāh Mīr-Morādzay as sardar of Sīb; and Šahbāz Khan Bozorgzāda as sardar of Dezak (Baluchistan, pp. 30-33).
Intermittent outbreaks of disorder continued in Baluchistan throughout the remainder of Reżā Shah’s reign. They were due to a number of factors, including the zealousness or corruption of Persian officials, and Baluch inability to understand why the Persian officials should be interfering in their affairs. Major examples were the rebellion of Jomʿa Khan Esmāʿīlzay in the Sarḥadd in 1931, who was subdued and exiled to Shiraz; and a rebellion of a number of tribes in Kūhak in 1938, demanding reduction of customs duty on livestock, in which 74 were shot under orders from General Alborz (Jahānbānī; Pikulin, p. 140).
No account of this period would be complete without some mention of slavery (see bardadārī), which was allowed to continue in Baluchistan (as in other parts of the Persian Gulf) long after it had been prohibited internationally. In the mid-13th/19th century along the Makrān coast there appears to have been both an export trade and an import trade in slaves. Unsuspecting Baluch tribesmen (probably from the despised groups such as the Mēd) were picked up in raids along the coast and sold to merchants, who shipped them from isolated western coastal settlements, such as Galag and Sadēč. It is not clear how late African slaves were still arriving in Makrān. Gwadar and Čāhbahār were excluded from the British agreement with Oman for limiting the slave trade in 1839, when Pasni was set as the western limit of prohibition. Baluch tribesmen were still indignant in the 1960s about the prohibition on slavery. On several occasions between the 1880s and 1930s groups of Rind tribesmen at Mand caused trouble over British attempts to restrict their use of slaves (Lorimer, I/2, p. 2475). Slavery was abolished officially in Persian Baluchistan in 1929 (Pikulin, p. 144), but the status of black slaves in western Makrān barely changed until well into the second half of this century.
9. The modern period.
Since the end of World War II great changes have occurred for all Baluch throughout Baluchistan—gradually at first, accelerating since 1970 because of the changed political economy of the Persian Gulf. At the same time Baluch history has diverged. Since the state of Kalat became an integral part of the new independent state of Pakistan, three separate national governments, none of which included Baluch representation, have sought to integrate and assimilate them into national life at minimum cost. In Afghanistan the major factors affecting the Baluch have been the Helmand river development schemes, the government’s Pashtunistan policy, and (most recently and drastically) the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In Iran the successive Pahlavi governments attempted to neutralize the sardars and at the same time suppress any activity among the Baluch that could lead to ethnic consciousness or solidarity. Their tactics were similar to those of the Qajars, and the tactics of the Islamic Republic since 1979 have not differed significantly. However, the significance of these tactics and the relative power of the government of Iran to control the area have changed in important ways. In Pakistan, where ethnic awareness has been most developed, the political discourse has revolved around the general objective of reestablishing the autonomous Baluch polity, the khanate, in something resembling its mid-13th/19th-century form, independent of Afghan (local Pathans or Pashtuns), Persian, or Punjabi (in the guise of Pakistani bureaucracy) interference, though probably connected in some form of federation with Pakistan. Failure to achieve this objective led to fighting with the Pakistan army in 1973-74 and isolated guerrilla activity before and since. Overall, as a result of increased literacy and access to the outside world, this period has seen the growth of ethnic and cultural awareness among all Baluch, which should be evaluated in the context of similar phenomena in other parts of the world during the same period.
The Baluch in Afghanistan have received the least attention from their national government. The main effect on their lives of the Helmand project that began in 1948 and continued in various forms until the end of the Dāwūd regime in 1978, was that it brought a steady stream of outsiders into an otherwise isolated part of the country. The declaration of the Afghan government for a “Pashtunistan,” which (though left purposely vague) was inspired by the idea of restoring to Afghan rule the areas lost to Kalat and the British which were ruled from Qandahār in some cases as late as the mid-13th/19th century, similarly barely affected them. Until 1978 many Baluch in Afghanistan related more closely to their kin in Iran and Pakistan than to the rest of Afghanistan.
Soon after the coup in April, 1978, however, officials of the new government entered the area and attempted to reconstruct community life in accordance with Marxist principles. The Baluch reacted strongly, especially to measures that interfered with their ideas of gender relations, property, and authority. Since the Soviet occupation in 1980, most of the estimated ninety thousand Afghan Baluch have moved into Iran or Pakistan. A relatively small number are engaged in resistance activity inside Afghanistan, with medical and other support from relatives mainly in Iran. Generally, the great majority of the Baluch of all three countries have avoided commitment either for or against the Kabul regime, because of their rivalry with the Pashtuns and the Punjabis in Pakistan and with the national government in Iran.
One policy of the Ḵalq regime in Afghanistan (1978-79) deserves special notice. Immediately after the coup, Baluchi (along with Uzbek, Turkman, Nūrestānī) was added to Pashto and Darī in the list of official languages of Afghanistan. Baluchi, therefore, became a language of publication and education in Afghanistan. However, there is currently no evidence that the policy continues, or that books or periodicals in Baluchi continue to be published.
In Iran the Baluch were barely the majority of the population in the province of Balūčestān o Sīstān. There were no institutions that could serve as a focus for the development of a Baluch ethnic or cultural awareness. Publication in Baluchi was illegal. Education was in Persian only. Baluch dress was not allowed to be worn in school or in any official activity.
The Bārakzay, who returned to Iran after the departure of the British, campaigned successfully for the return of the ḵāleṣa lands which had been their main support up to 1928. Government policy was to provide a livelihood for the old ruling families throughout the province in order to make them dependent and coopt them into the national system. They also used them for local positions such as town mayors. The policy worked in the long term, and with few exceptions in the short term as well. On the other hand, the province was barely touched by the economic and social reforms that were carried out at the national level. For example, no Baluch owned enough land to be affected by the land reform law. The province was still not entirely quiet, but serious incidents were rare. Minor revisions were made to the border with Pakistan in 1958.
Several members of the old ruling families, especially the Bārakzay and the Sardārzay in Sarāvān, Sarbāz, Qaṣr-e Qand, and Daštīārī, showed an interest in a Free Baluchistan movement beginning in the 1960s. They had a small but loyal following among the nomads in the Makrān mountains and connections with Baluch of a similar mind in the émigré communities across the Persian Gulf. Through these connections they developed contacts with the government of Iraq, which was always ready to stir up Baluch in Iran in retaliation for the shah’s interference among the Kurds in Iraq. Mīr ʿAbdī Khan Sardārzay was the major figure in this movement, but he eventually submitted and was pardoned by the shah on condition he live the rest of his life in Tehran, which he did. Another figure in the movement was Amān-Allāh Bārakzay, who took up the cause again after the revolution of 1357 Š./1978-79.
The most significant events in Baluch history since the departure of the British have occurred, as might be expected, in the area they vacated. They left behind a significant degree of confusion about the status of the princely states, such as Kalat, in relation to the successor governments of India and Pakistan. Kalat, in addition, had made it clear that its position was different from that of other princely states, because it was not “Indian.” On August 15, 1947, the day after the creation of Pakistan, the khan accordingly declared the independence of Kalat. But he offered to negotiate a special relationship with Pakistan in matters of defense, foreign affairs, and communications. His offer was rejected. The strategy pursued by the government of Pakistan in the following decades was conditioned partly by Afghanistan’s Pashtunistan policy and partly by the imperative need to build a viable state. We still do not know to what extent international interests in the stability of the region, especially on the part of the British and the Americans, may have played a role. In March, 1948, the khan was persuaded by Mohammad Ali Jinnah (the founder of Pakistan; 1876-1948) to bring Baluchistan into Pakistan, despite the fact that the sardars had not agreed to the move. Less than a month later the Pakistani army annexed Baluchistan (Baluch, Inside Baluchistan, pp. 150-66).
A major factor in the opposition of the Baluch sardars to straightforward accession to Pakistan was the fact that Pakistan had insisted on perpetuating the separate status of the three “leased” Baluch territories (Las Bela, Kharan, and Makrān) that had been detached by the British (Harrison, p. 24). But the use of coercion was mitigated by its action a few years later in constituting the Baluchistan States Union within West Pakistan (1952-55), which provided for substantial autonomy and postponed final integration (Wirsing, p. 10). The final blow to Baluch aims came in 1955 when Baluchistan along with all the other provinces of West Pakistan were incorporated into One Unit. (Gwadar remained with Oman until it was purchased by Pakistan for 3 million sterling [$8,400,000] in 1958.)
To begin with, the biggest problem of the Baluch was lack of strong leadership. As resistance built up during the One Unit period (1955-70), three men gradually began to stand out as potential modern leaders. These were Khair Bux Marri (Ḵayrbaḵš Marī), Ghaus Bux Bizenjo (Qawsbaḵš Bīzenjō), and Ataullah (ʿAṭāʾ-Allāh) Mengal (Harrison, pp. 40-69). When the One Unit was dissolved in 1970 the Baluch reacted cautiously. In the following general election, Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won no seats in Baluchistan, only 2 percent of the vote, and no seats in the provincial assembly. The National Awami Party (NAP) emerged with three seats in the National Assembly and eight seats in the Baluchistan provincial assembly. The NAP was headed by Khan Abdul Wali (ʿAbd-al-Walī) Khan, a Pashtun who was the son of the veteran Pashtun nationalist Khan Abdul Ghaffar (ʿAbd-al-Ḡaffār) Khan, and was basically a regionalist alliance of Baluch and Pathans. It had been founded in 1957 and was to some extent a descendant of a pre-independence anti-partition movement. Within days of the election Bhutto attempted to set aside the results by appointing one of his own supporters among the Baluch, Ghaus Bux Raisani (Qawsbaḵš Raʾīsānī), as governor of Baluchistan. Under pressure, however, he agreed to let the NAP, in coalition with the conservative Jamiat-ul-Islam (Jamʿīyat-al-Eslām) party (JUI), form a government. Mir Ghaus Bux Bizenjo was appointed governor of Baluchistan in April, 1972. The NAP-JUI parliamentary coalition in the Baluchistan Provincial Assembly elected Sardar Ataullah Khan Mengal as its leader, who thus became chief minister of the province. In February, 1973, Bhutto replaced both governors, and dismissed the government of Baluchistan on the pretext that the NAP-JUI government had allowed and even encouraged the spread of lawlessness and violence throughout the province, and that it aimed at independence. A cache of Soviet arms was discovered in the Iraqi embassy, supposedly destined for Baluchistan. Bhutto then appointed Akbar Khan Bugti, the leader of the Būgṭī tribe and hostile to NAP, as governor. But Bugti was forced to resign in less than a year, and the disorder and violence spread. Ghaus Bux Bizenjo and Ataullah Khan Mengal, as well as Khair Bux Marri, who was the president of NAP in Baluchistan, were arrested. Between 1973 and 1977 eastern Baluchistan became the scene of a major tribal rebellion against the government of Pakistan. At its height in 1974 an estimated 55,000 Baluch were engaged, mainly from the Mengal and Marī tribes. The number of Pakistani troops has been estimated at 70,000. Iran, which continued to fear Baluch separatism, sent a number of helicopters. Many Baluch fled to Afghanistan. As many as 10,000 Marī remained there in 1986. The major part of the fighting was over in 1974, when the government of Pakistan published its view of what had happened in a white paper, but hostilities continued intermittently until the end of Bhutto’s regime in 1977. In April, 1976, Bhutto announced the abolition of the “sardari system” in a speech in Quetta, making illegal the traditional tribal system of social control and revenue. (Ayyub Khan had already attempted to abolish it, without success.) In 1977 the martial law administration released the NAP leaders and hostilities ceased (Wirsing, p. 11).
Meanwhile, in Pakistan Baluchi had been given the status of an official language for both publication and education. Two academies were established for the promotion of Baluchi and Brahui languages and cultures. (It was in the government’s interest to see Brahui develop as a distinct identity, which would weaken Baluchistan solidarity.) Quetta radio became the major producer of programs in Baluchi. (Radio Zāhedān and Radio Kabul had less than ten hours a week each.) Baluch writers published magazines and books in Baluchi, English, and Urdu. Beginning in the 1960s an increasing number of Baluch writers have published on the history and culture of the Baluch.
In Pakistan Baluch nationalism continues to be a political factor at the national level. It has been suggested that the idea of Baluch nationalism began with Dūst-Moḥammad Khan’s resistance to Reżā Shah in Iran in 1928 (Harrison, p. 3). But it is doubtful whether the combination of general ethnic awareness, interest in political unity, and potential for strong leadership, which are necessary for a successful nationalist movement, existed in a significant proportion of the Baluch anywhere before the 1960s at the earliest. Since then it has motivated an increasing number of young Baluch in Pakistan, Iran, and the Persian Gulf. In February, 1981, Khair Bux Marri and Ataullah Mengal were persuaded to help create a London-based coalition of Baluch émigré groups called the World Baluch Organization, the purpose of which is to raise money for the Baluch cause.
10. The diaspora.
Beside the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, the Iranian province of Balūčestān o Sīstān, and the neighboring corner of Afghanistan, Baluch communities extend into neighboring areas in each country—Sind and Punjab in Pakistan, Farāh, Herat, Bādḡīs, Fāryāb, Jūzjān (Jawzjān) in Afghanistan, and Kermān, Khorasan, Semnān, and Gorgān in Iran. They also extend into neighboring countries—Soviet Turkmenistan, India, the countries of the Persian Gulf, Oman, Kenya, and Tanzania (especially Zanzibar).
Very little has been published about these diaspora communities, and it is difficult to obtain reliable information about them. They tend not to be encouraged to develop their ethnic identity. In Iran, those in Gorgān moved in from Sīstān as migrant labor in the 1960s. Others, in Khorasan and Semnān, have been there longer, in some cases much longer. Many of them have lost their language, some within living memory. Those to the north of Baluchistan are all pastoralists, or have been until recently. As for the carpets that are known as Baluch in international trade see baluchistan v, baluch carpets, below. The best Baluch rugs were made before the middle of this century in Baluch communities living among Turkmen on either side of the current border between Afghanistan and Soviet Turkmenistan. Their handicraft is derivative of the Turkmen product, though distinctive in both design and texture. The Baluch in Soviet Turkmenistan include Shiʿites. They all came from Sīstān, some from the Afghan and some from the Iranian side of the border. There were three main waves of migration. The first arrived in the late 19th century; the second between 1917 and 1920; and the last and largest between 1923 and 1928. In 1959 they numbered 7,842, but had increased to 18,997 in 1979 by natural fertility. They live in the Mary oblast’ on kolkhoz and sovkhoz. There are also small groups of Baluch in Tajikistan but these have already assimilated linguistically to the Tajik. Small groups of Brahui in Turkmenistan still speak Brahui but are rapidly assimilating to Baluchi. The Soviets seem to favor the ethnic survival of the Baluch (Bennigsen, pp. 120-21), probably for reasons similar to the Pakistani encouragement of the Brahui. The Baluch of Ḏahīra in Oman have been there so long that they are now classed as an Omani tribe. They retain no direct connection with the Baluch on the Bāṭena coast or elsewhere in Oman. Another group is located some ninety miles to the south of Boraymī in the interior. In Zanzibar the Baluch had established themselves in the service of the Muscadine empire. After the coup in 1963 they lost their privileged status and, in order to avoid being ruled by an African government which did not respect their separate identity, some of them wrote letters to distant relatives in Makrān, attempting to make arrangements to return. In 1965 a Baluch from Kenya enrolled as a foreign student at Tehran University.
There are records of migration out of Makrān since about 1800, and most of the diaspora seems to have occurred in the 12th/18th and 13th/19th centuries. But some moved out as early as the 9th/15th century, while others may have followed different itineraries from earlier points of dispersal in Iran, and may hold clues relevant to some of the problems treated in the first section of this article. They moved mainly for economic reasons, and worked in the pearl industry before the oil industry. They have wandered as soldiers of fortune possibly since Sasanian times. Many of the émigré communities have assimilated in language and other respects to the surrounding society, but still retain their identity. Many more may have assimilated and lost their identity. It is characteristic of areas of low biological productivity such as Makrān that they are net producers of people.
The gazetteers provided a data base for the study of the habitat and society of British Baluchistan, and the states of Kalat, Las Bela, Kharan, and Makrān, which is unique for the Iranian area. Since the middle of this century a handful of contemporary scholars have sought to build on this base by applying modern theoretical approaches in new field studies, often asking new questions.
Modern ethnographic work began with Pehrson, who worked among the Marī for six months before he died in 1955. Barth visited the same group briefly in 1960 while editing Pehrson’s work for publication.
Pehrson’s work deals mainly with the social relationships of everyday life in herding communities, including gender relations. From 1963 to 1965 N. and W. Swidler worked among Brahui-speakers in Sarawan and Kacchi. W. Swidler established the connection between ecological conditions, the technological requirements of herding and pastoral production, and the social dynamics of camp and herding groups. N. Swidler reconstructed the political development of the khanate on the basis of a combination of ethnographic observation and a reading of the historical sources. In 1963-67 Spooner conducted a series of studies in Sarāvān and Makrān (Iran). He also worked briefly in the Baluch areas of Afghanistan in 1965, and later in 1982-83 he was able to make several brief tours of Pakistani Baluchistan. He focused on the ecology of pastoralism and the dynamics of leadership in what was effectively a mixed, pluralist society, especially the function of the ḥākom (Ar. ḥākem). His main concern was to work out to what extent ecological explanations might illuminate the history of the Baluch. Salzman worked among the Yār-Moḥammadzay (renamed Šahnavāzī under Reżā Shah) of the Sarḥadd (Iran) in 1967-68, 1972-73, and 1976. He showed how nomads may rely not only on pastoralism but on a variety of unrelated resources and use their mobility to exploit each geographically separate resource at the appropriate season. He has also explored the relationship between ecological adaptation and political organization and the conditions under which nomads might modify their ecological adaptation and become settled farmers, and he applied an evolutionary approach to the analysis of variation in political organization, and investigated under what circumstances a state structure might develop out of tribes and settled life out of nomadism. In addition to pursuing similar interests C. and S. Pastner also investigated gender relations in Panjgur in 1969 and in a Baluch coastal village outside Karachi in 1976. In 1976 also Bestor described a community of Kord during a brief stay at the foot of Kūh-e Taftān in the Sarḥadd (Iran), and Orywal worked for a season among the Baluch in Afghanistan in 1976-77. This final section gives basic information on traditional Baluch society, culture, economy, and habitat, based on the works of the above scholars and the unpublished field notes of the author.
Baluch society is stratified. There are four social classes, which are essentially hereditary and occupational: ḥākomzāt, Balōč, šahrī, and ḡolām; convenient glosses for these terms are aristocracy, nomads, cultivators, and slaves. Ḥākom is the Baluchi pronunciation of ḥākem, the Qajar term for ruler; ḥākomzāt are the extended families of sardars who were able to establish a direct relationship with the governor in Bampūr or otherwise usurp that status. (Nawab and sardar carry similar connotations in Pakistani Baluchistan.) Balōč are those nomads, or descendants from nomadic tribes, who are considered to have been the original Balōč who brought the name and the language into Baluchistan. Šahrī (from Baluchi šahr “cultivated area”) signifies settled cultivator. Ḡolām entered Baluch society as slaves (other terms are also found, such as darzāda, naqīb). Although there were slaves of various origins, physiognomies, and skin color, since abolition only those of African origin are unable to manage any change in their social status. They are now free according to the law of each country, but at least through the 1960s their status and options within Baluch society had changed little. Apart from African ḡolām, mobility across class boundaries is possible but it is relatively uncommon.
Secondary distinctions are also made within these classes on the basis of tribe (zāt), and the relative status of a Balōč and a šahrī varies in practice according to tribal affiliation and the experience of particular communities, since a šahrī community may accumulate wealth and cultivate honor over generations, and a Balōč community may lose its honor. There is a wide range of status within the šahrī category. Some are equivalent to helots. Many are probably descendents of pre-Balōč communities, and have retained relatively large holdings. Although all are now spoken of in tribal terms, it is very likely that this idiom derives from the cultural dominance of the tribally organized Balōč, and that before the Baluchization of the area the population was not tribal. Tribalism seems to have become the pervasive idiom of social organization with the arrival of the Balōč, whose leading families were able to take over some of the settlements and acquire a new basis of power (though they lost some of them to later immigrants). If this interpretation is valid, recent assessments of Makrān as a detribalized part of Baluchistan may be misinterpretations: it is possible that tribalism was always weak or nonexistent in communities that were originally not tribal but only adapted their discourse to the tribalism of their masters. But the tribal ideology, which is implicitly associated with the Balōč, pervades all communication.
Baluch tribal organization is not uniform. Some tribes follow a strict patrilineal reckoning of descent, give no inheritance to daughters, and in assessing social status ascribe little importance to the origin of the mother, while others reckon descent bilineally, give equal inheritance shares (of land) to sons and daughters, and ascribe equal importance to the origin of the mother in questions of social status. (Unlike Persian, Baluchi makes no terminological distinction between matrilateral and patrilateral kin.) The model of patrilineal genealogy is used to model links between groups and to represent political affiliation and legitimacy, and as a means of relating historical events to the present. Where the father is an important leader and it is likely that the eldest son will take his place, it is usual for the father to set aside an extra portion for him before the general division of the inheritance. This must be done with the consent of the other sons and daughters, and is known as mīrwandī.
The tribal ideology extends throughout Baluchistan and beyond, but each family belongs to one or another small community, whose size and stability is related to the local conditions of pastoralism or agriculture. These primary groupings are strung together in chains of hierarchical relations, which integrate the various types of larger grouping. Each community is encapsulated in an asymmetrical model of the larger society, which is rationalized in tribal terms. It may have little or no interest in lineage or genealogy to provide a framework for everyday social relations.
Each individual is identified by membership in a tribal group, and each tribal group belongs to one or other of the four classes. Many tribes, though now accepted as Baluch, are of known recent alien origin—from Iran (e.g., the Nowšērvānī), Afghanistan (e.g., the Bārakzay), Muscat (possibly the Bulēdī), or the Indus valley (the Gīčkī). Most tribes are small, a few hundred or at most a thousand or so families. (The Marī with a population of 60,000 are by far the largest.) Each is generally known as belonging to one of the four classes, and each family has a place in a chain of allegiance or fealty relationships which cut across class categories. Marriage between classes occurs (especially in the few cases where a tribe which is Balōč or šahrī has a branch which has become ḥākomzāt), but a woman should not marry down. In the case of mixed parentage the lowest status prevails. The settled and nomadic communities are closely interrelated economically, and interdependent. Names of the major tribes in each district of Baluchistan are given in the geographical section above. A fuller list may be found at the end of Baloch (1974) and Jahānbānī (1957).
The tribes of the khanate were ranked in two distinct groupings, one of Sarawan and one Jahlawan. The rank was symbolized in a number of ways: Seats in the khan’s council (majles, dīvān) were assigned. Those nearest the khan had the greatest prestige. The Sarawan sardar ranked first and sat on his right; the Jahlawan sardar sat on his left. Then the sardars from Sarawan and Jahlawan alternated according to rank. The presents given by the khan upon the succession of a new sardar also varied according to the position the tribe held in the rank order. The khan would formally recognize a new Zarakzay sardar by conferring on him a Kashmir shawl, a length of brocade, a horse with a silver harness, and a dagger with a golden hilt. A new Mengal sardar would receive the same with the exception of the dagger. A Bīzenjō sardar would receive only the shawl and brocade, plus a broadcloth coat. Similarly, the sum of money given by the khan at the death of a sardar or a member of a sardar’s family also varied according to rank. When a high-ranking sardar died, the khan would personally visit the bereaved family. The death of a middle-rank sardar called for a visit by the khan’s son or brother. For minor sardars the khan would send one of his officials (Gazetteer VI/B, p. 112).
Beside the classes there are other categories of tribe, such as Kord, Brahui, Dehwār, Jat (Jaṭṭ), Jaḍgāl, Lāsī, Lorī, Mēd. In some sense these categories were and are both Baluch and not Baluch, depending on the context, and some were high status while others were low. All these categories, however, as distinct from others that will be discussed briefly below, were essentially within Baluch society because they were incorporated into the political structure of the Baluch polity. While there is presently a tendency to emphasize the ethnicity of these terms, historically their meaning has probably fluctuated and there is some evidence that they have been somewhat elastic categories. It has been assumed generally that the Kord have migrated from Kurdistan, and the Kord themselves currently make the same assumption (for which there seems to be no evidence). The Kūfeč or Kūč of the early Islamic period were considered to be a kind of Kurds (Ebn Ḥawqal, p. 221.1). They are found today in two areas: around Kūh-e Taftān in the Iranian Sarḥadd, and in Sarawan (Pakistan). In status they are equivalent to Balōč. The Brahui are distinguished only by their language, which shares a large amount of vocabulary with Baluchi (which most Brahui also speak). The core of Brahui-speaking areas are Sarawan-Jahlawan, but scattered Brahui-speakers are also to be found in most of the northern districts, including Sīstān and Soviet Turkmenistan. The Dehwār speak a form of Persian, close to Darī and Tajik. They appear to have been the agricultural community of the plateau, in Mastung and Iranian Sarāvān, and could be the descendants of the pre-Islamic agricultural community, when these areas were controlled by the provincial ruler of Sīstān. They have been important in recent history as the ūlūs (Baluchi olos) of the khan, forming both his peasantry on the plateau and his bureaucracy. (Ūlūs, which has been used as the name of a Baluchi magazine, also includes Baluch who for one or another reason have lost their tribal connections.) The relationship between the khan and his ūlūs differs from that between a sardar and his tribesmen. In the latter case both are members of the same kawm (Arabic qawm), related by ties of kinship and the obligation to share in the common weal and woe (šādī-ḡam). No idiom of kinship or shared honor obtains between the khan and his ūlūs (N. Swidler, p. 151), and they were not subject to military service. Under the khan, therefore, the Dehwār had a separate non-Baluch status. Their status under the Bārakzay in Iranian Sarāvān may have been similar, but currently among the Iranian Baluch they enjoy a status similar to šahrī. Jat, Jaḍgāl, and Lāsī (assumed to be related to the Jats of India) all speak related forms of Sindhi. The Lāsī are the peasants (ūlūs) of the jām (hereditary ruler) of Las Bela. The Jaḍgāl are the population of Daštīārī. The Jat are the peasants (again, the khan’s ūlūs) of Kacchi. The Lāsī and Jat have a relatively low status within the ūlūs of the khan and the jām, but the Jaḍgāl of Daštīārī enjoy a higher status because of their local autonomy under their own ḥākom. Finally, the Lorī and the Mēd are despised and barely differentiated from the ḡolām. The Lorī are gypsies who wander throughout Baluchistan, entertaining and performing other services. The Mēd are the small fishing communities that live on the beaches of Makrān. There is some evidence that these sub-ethnic identities are not absolute even where they involve the use of different languages. Morgenstierne (p. 9) first noticed the evidence suggesting that some communities had switched back and forth between Baluchi and Brahui (a Dravidian language) at least once. In seems likely on linguistic grounds that the original Brahui probably migrated from south India around a thousand years ago (J. Bloch apud Morgenstierne, pp. 5-6, and Elfenbein, personal communication). Baluch and Brahui were not mutually exclusive identities (as has been claimed by some both among the Brahui and among writers such as Rooman). Similarly, we should not assume that the Jaḍgāl are necessarily descended from the Jat or Lāsī because of their language. The Mēd probably represent a pre-Islamic population that may be descended from the Ichthyophagi encountered by Alexander’s fleet. The Jat and Jaḍgāl (literally “Jaṭṭ-speakers”), and the Zott (referred to in early Islamic sources), could be descendents of the Yutiya or Outii of the Achaemenian empire, and represent an earlier settled population of Indian origin (cf. Brunner, p. 772). The remaining ḡolām were brought in through the Muscadine trade mainly in the 13th/19th and early-14th/20th centuries.
The relationship between the Baluch and the Pashtuns also deserves some attention. Pashtuns constitute a very large minority in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. Most of them live in the northern districts, which were never occupied by Baluch, but there are also Pashtun entrepreneurs and traders elsewhere in the province. In the northeast there is some evidence that the Baluch-Pashtun relationship also is less absolute than at first appears. Barth (1964 explains the relationship by contrasting the structures of the two societies, Baluch and Pashtun. He shows that the cultural border between Baluch and Pashtuns in northeast Baluchistan (Pakistan) has moved slowly and intermittently northward at the expense of the Pashtuns, without any associated movement of population. Groups known to have been formerly Pashtuns and Pashto-speaking were, when he was there in 1960, Baluchi-speaking and fully accepted by themselves and others as Baluch. Others have suggested that the Marī may be of Pashtun origin because of similarities in their tribal organization. Although several factors suggest that the border would move in the opposite direction (e.g., relative population growth rates, comparative affluence and aggressiveness), this Baluch assimilation of Pashtuns could have been predicted on the basis of a comparison of the ways their social and political relations are organized. The structure of Baluchi-speaking society is better adapted to the problems of incorporating refugees. Owing to the disorder that had been chronic in the area for over a century before its incorporation into India, many whole communities disintegrated into bands of refugees. The model for the whole Pashtun system might be characterized as a group of brothers, each of which expects to be equal with the others. But Baluch society, though ostensibly derived from the same concepts of kinship and descent, is not based on an egalitarian council. Defense of honor is important among the Baluch, but the essential model for their society is the relationship between a father and his sons. In Baluch society, everyone knows implicitly where he stands in relation to everyone else—in terms of authority and loyalty, status and honor. Equality of authority and honor do not have to be upheld in every interaction. Refugees in Baluch society find a secure position by operating in Baluchi. By speaking and doing Baluchi they come to be assimilated into the Baluch polity. (Other explanations of the apparent assimilation of Pashtuns by Baluch are of course possible. For example, Pashtuns could have become Baluch simply as a result of being isolated from their main polity. The phenomenon of change of identity and its relation to change of language and change of social status requires more careful investigation.)
There are also other groups that live in Baluchistan and are not considered to be part of Baluch society or capable of assimilation. The most significant of these are Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Ismaʿilis, and Bahais, who have traditionally formed small trading communities around the forts of sardars and in the ports. In what is now Pakistan these were encouraged and protected by the British as well as the sardars. Partition saw a significant decline in these communities on the Pakistan side. In Iran the Bahais have been generally free from persecution in Baluchistan. There are also communities of Hazāras, especially in Quetta, who migrated from Afghanistan in the late 13th/19th and early 14th/20th centuries. Finally there are Persians (mainly Yazdis) and Pakistanis (mainly Punjabis) who moved to Baluchistan as civil servants and bought land and stayed.
The most important event in the life of a Baluch is marriage. Even in the relatively small number of cases where a man marries more than once, the first marriage is the most important socially. It gives him a new set of relatives, or (if the marriage is to a close cousin) rearranges his existing kin ties and establishes his social position for the rest of his (and her) life. The main prestation associated with the event is the Islamic mahr, which is high. It was rials 10,000 (about $130,00) for poor Baluch nomads in eastern Iranian Makrān in 1964. For ḥākomzāt it was reckoned as 75 percent of the expected patrimony of the groom, as a way of ensuring that at least three quarters of his property would be inherited by the bride’s children. However, in most Baluch communities divorce is rare.
Weddings are the classic celebration, among the Baluch (see Gabriel, 1935, pp. 233-61 for an example). Details vary from place to place but the following are standard practice for relatively affluent Baluch. The rite and the celebration take place in the bride’s community and are accompanied by music and dancing; by tās-gardēn, passing round the bowl to collect toward the expenses; by ceremonial washing of bride and groom, separately, the groom preceded by dancing musicians to a convenient stream; by ḥannā-gardēn, circulating the henna (with which the nails of the bride are tinted) for a collection for the bride’s nurse; by čam-dīdukānī, literally “eye-seeing,” a toll taken by the bride’s old nurse from the groom for the right to see his bride’s face as he enters the ḥejla (bridal chamber). (For examples of songs sung at each stage, see Morgenstierne, 1948, p. 278.)
Much of Baluch culture is not unfamiliar to students of other tribal populations in the Iranian world, but there are a number of distinguishing features. One of the more obvious distinguishing features of Baluch society is the high respect accorded to status and authority and especially to the authority of the sardar or ḥākom. Marī talk about the pāg-wāja (Pehrson, p. 26), the “turban-chief,” and to confirm a man in the position of sardar is to tie the turban on him. A sardar (and even more so a ḥākom or na(w)wāb, or the khan himself, who had managed to establish a supra-tribal status for themselves) was based in a fort in the main agricultural center under his control. His income depended more on what he could control than on what he owned. It consisted of the produce of land personally owned by him (worked by ḡolām who received their keep, or local šahrī who took a share of the harvest or some other compensation such as use of the ḥākom’s water for their own land); a tithe (dah-yak) on all agricultural produce of the šahrī whom he controlled (this included all in his center plus a hinterland which varied according to his strength and prestige); service (Baluchi srēnbandī) from all Balōč who acknowledged his position; tax (mālīyāt) from both šahrī and Balōč (originally tax due to Qajar, khan, or British representatives). These are Baluch revenue concepts—practice varied from place to place. Basically the ḥākom relied on the labor of his subject peasant population for income and on the allegiance of nomadic pastoralists for physical strength. The sardar is obliged to make himself available to his tribesmen, to hear disputes and petitions when they are brought to him. Informants talk about this in terms of mardomdārī. Each person has the right of direct appeal, and a good portion of each day the sardar is in residence is spent holding court (Swidler, 1977, p. 113). One of the more common words in Baluch usage is kamāš, which denotes senior. In any social situation someone is implicitly recognized as kamāš (whether inter pares or not), and there is never any doubt about who it is (except in cases of open conflict). The rulers of agricultural settlements vie with each other for the allegiance of the nomads. In their forts in the agricultural settlements they are able to store grain, which they can then use to finance a militia. Such militias were used to impose a tithe and other contributions on the agricultural or pastoral populations they could control. The nomads are egalitarian, but they are encapsulated in a hierarchical system.
The overwhelming majority of Baluch are Hanafite Muslims. Although there is wide variation in the degree of religiosity, being Muslim is for these an essential component of being Baluch. There are, however, two important non-Hanafite communities. The first of these is the Bāmerī community centered on Dalgān west of Bampūr, who are Shiʿite—probably as a result of their location, which put them in close contact with the Qajar authorities. (However, it is not known when they became Shiʿite, and it should be remembered that some of the early Islamic sources suggest that some of the Baluch were Shiʿite.) The second was in the 12th-13th/18th-19th centuries a relatively large community in Makrān, Māškay, and the coast of Las Bela, who called themselves Ḏekrī (Zikri, Bal. Zigrī). Zikrism appears to have begun as a branch of the Mahdawī sect which was established late in the 9th/15th century by Sayyed Moḥammad Kāẓemī Jawnpūrī (847-910/1443-1505, q.v.), who proclaimed himself mahdī. The leaders of the sect in Makrān are said to have books, including Ṣafā-nāma-ye Mahdī and Tardīd-e mahdawīyat. Moḥammad Jawnpūrī was expelled from Jawnpūr; went to Deccan where he converted the ruler, but on the outbreak of a religious rebellion he was driven out. Eventually with a small group of followers he arrived in Sind. Again he was expelled. He went to Qandahār, where Shah Bēg Arḡūn, son of Ḏu’l-Nūn Bēg is said to have become his disciple. But the people and mullas demonstrated against him there as well. Next he went to Farāh, where according to the Tardīd he died. However, the Makrān Ḏekrīs allege that he disappeared from Farāh and after visiting Mecca, Medina, Aleppo, and other parts of Syria traveled through Persia by way of Lār to Kech, where he settled on the Kūh-e Morād outside Torbat. He preached there for ten years, converted all Makrān and died. The sect appears to be the remnant of the Mahdawī movement which assumed a definite shape in India at the end of the 9th/15th century through the teaching of Sayyed Moḥammad but died out early in the 11th/17th century. It was most probably introduced into Makrān by his disciples. As noted above, there seems to have been some connection between the success of Zikrism and rise of Bulēdī power. At the beginning of the eighteenth century when Mollā Morād Gīčkī (who has a special place in Ḏekrī history) ousted the Bulēdī, Zikrism was advanced again. (There is no evidence of any connection between this and the supposed Sikh origin of the Gīčkī tribe in Makrān.) Mollā Morād may have introduced the idea of Kūh-e Morād as substitute for the Kaʿba, and he may have dug the well known as čāh-e zamzam in front of the Torbat fort. Naṣīr Khan I sought to wipe out the heresy, and attacked and defeated Makrān partly for that purpose during the rule of Malek Dīnār, the son of Mollā Morād.
The principal doctrines of Zikrism are: that the dispensation of the Prophet has come to an end and is superseded by the Mahdī; that the Prophet’s mission was to preach and spread the doctrines of the Koran in their literal sense, but that it remained for the Mahdī to put new constructions on their meaning (the Mahdī is ṣāḥeb-e taʾwīl; ḏekr replaces namāz (ritual prayer); the fast of Ramażān is not necessary; the šahāda (confession of faith) is changed to “lā elāh ella’llāh wa Moḥammad Mahdī rasūl Allāh;” zakāt (alms tax) is replaced by ʿošr (tithe); and, finally, this world and the goods of this world should be avoided. Religious observance takes the form of ḏekr and keštī. Ḏekr is performed at stipulated times throughout the day, similarly to namāz which it replaces, and keštī is performed on specific dates. Ḏekr is repeated in two ways: ḏekr-e jalī, the formula spoken aloud and the ḏekr-e ḵafī formula is said silently. The ḏekrs are numerous, and each consists of ten or twelve lines. They are said six times a day: before dawn, early dawn, midday, before sunset, early night, and midnight. Keštī is held any Friday night which falls on the 14th of the month, and during the first ten nights of the month Ḏu’l-ḥejja, and the day following the ʿīd al-żoḥā. Principal keštī is held on the 9th night of Ḏu’l-ḥejja. It is also performed at births, circumcisions, and marriages, and in pursuance of vows. Performers form a circle, as for a typical Baluch dance. One or more women with good voices stand in the center, while the men circle round. The women sing songs praising the Mahdī and the men repeat the chorus. The ceremonies continue into the night. Ḏekr is held in places set apart as ḏekrāna. In settled communities the men and women are segregated, but not among nomads. There is no burial service. The Ḏekrī are said to hold their mullas in greater respect than Muslims (Gazetteer, VII, pp. 116-20). Since Naṣīr Khan’s crusades in the 12th/18th century, and more especially since the increased association of Islam with the ideas both of Baluch autonomy and of Pakistan, the number of adherents appears to have declined. The practice of taqīya makes it difficult to assess the number of adherents. In Iran it may have died out completely, but it appears still to be significant in Pakistani Makrān.
A number of factors seem to have led to an increase in Islamic consciousness among the Baluch in recent decades. The power of the sardars has suffered at the hands of the state in all three countries. The mawlawī (religious authorities educated in India) have taken the place of secular sardar authority in many communities—especially in Iran, where they also represent Baluch Sunni Islam, as distinct from the Persian Shiʿism. With the increase in Islamic awareness there has been an increase in the practice of secluding women among the higher classes in settled communities. However, the type of religious interest that made many Baluch susceptible to Zikrism is still in evidence in the widespread use of shrines (which may be developed out of graves or simply from natural features such as trees or hills), and the attention given to wandering dervishes (religious mendicants). It may be significant that dervishes wear their hair long, and it appears that it was customary earlier for all Baluch to wear long hair (see two photographs of Mīr Ḵodādād Khan, the tenth khan of the Baluch who ruled 1857-93 in Baluch, 1975, after p. 108).
The primary values of Baluch society are those of the pastoral Balōč, and Islamic precepts tend to be suppressed where they conflict. The Baluch are proud of their code of honor, which embodies the following principles: to avenge blood with blood; to defend to the death anyone who takes refuge in one’s dwelling; similarly to defend any article of property that is entrusted to one’s safekeeping; to extend unquestioning hospitality to any that seek it and to defend one’s guest with one’s life so long as he chooses to stay, escorting him to one’s borders (if necessary) when he chooses to leave (however, a guest who chooses to stay more than three days becomes a client and is required to explain his situation); never to kill a woman, a minor, or a non-Muslim; in a case of homicide or injury, to accept the intercession of a woman of the offender’s family; never to kill within the ḥaram of a shrine; to stop fighting if a mulla, a sayyed, or a woman carrying the Koran on the head intervenes; to kill an adulterer. None of these principles differs essentially from the similar code held by the Pashtuns and by other tribal societies in southwest Asia. They are obviously not the principles of a society with a centralized system of social control.
Other values which are prominent in Baluch discourse about the ideal Baluch society include the principle that Baluch do not engage in trade and especially that though they may sell grain and meat that they produce, they would not sell fruit or vegetables. It is the right of any traveler to sate his hunger on growing crops as he passes by. The underlying principle of the relationship of the Baluch to his land is that this territory (that all outsiders despise as waterless mountain and desert) is the ideal country, and it is up to the Baluch to adapt themselves to it, to know its resources and enjoy them. The Baluch is first and foremost a warrior and a pastoralist, and serves his community by being unquestioningly loyal to his sardar; though he may take up many other activities, he does not forget what makes him Baluch. Many writers have remarked on Baluch inattention to matters of hygiene and prophylaxis—an attitude that may derive from these principles.
The idea that Baluch society is a society of travelers is highlighted by the importance given to the institution known as ḥāl. This is a ritual of greeting and exchange of information that is enacted in various degrees of formality whenever two or more Baluch meet, whether as host and guest or away from village and camp. In the classic case, two groups of riders whose paths cross in the desert, first dismount, shake hands, and sit facing each other. Then they determine who is kamāš, who ranks senior among them. Usually this is obvious to all, or can be accomplished by a nod. The kamāš then “takes the news”—presides over a session in which each asks after the health of the others and their families and recounts what is newsworthy in their recent experience. The ritual may or may not include real or important news. It is carried out even if both sides have met recently. It is often done in Baluchi, even by travelers who have another native language. Most of the phrases are stereotyped and given in a peculiar intonation. The right to take the news is the test of social rank in Makrān.
The code along with these other related values constitutes the ideal against which Baluch-ness is measured. In practice there is much deviation. In the case of vengeance killing it is interesting to see how some of those interested in establishing some degree of centralized authority in Baluch society (not only the khan) modified the code. The Marī tribal council recognized a graded scale of blood compensation for men: sardar or other member of ruling lineage, Rs 8,000; wadēra (leader of a section of the tribe), mukaddam (Ar. moqaddam, leader of a community), and other prominent men (muʿtabarē mard), Rs 4-7,000; kawmī mard (commoners), seyyāl (other Baluch, Pathans), Rs 2,000; women and non-Baluch, Rs 1,000. In western Baluchistan there was a traditional blood price alternative to vengeance killing, which varied from tribe to tribe, generally between twelve and eighteen thousand rupees earlier in this century. For instance, for the Rind it was Rs 12,000: if a Rind were killed by a man from another tribe Rs 12,000 would have to be paid to the dead man’s family to settle the feud. However, it was not usually paid in cash, and the interpretation in kind varied according to circumstances. Furthermore, before settlement could be made the two parties had to be brought together, which would be difficult unless both parties acknowledged the same sardar. If they did, the sardar would exact a fine from the offender (say 500 rupees) and attempt to bring them to agreement. For instance, in an area where donkeys were valued, a good donkey might be accepted as the first Rs 1,000. If the settlement was earnestly desired by the injured party, Rs 100 might be accepted for another thousand, and so on. If agreement could not be reached, the close relatives of the dead man (father, brother, son, uncle, or cousin, according to age and means) would seek to kill the killer, or, in some cases a comparable man from the same tribe. Such a second killing again would require settlement in the same way and negotiations would reopen. Once the settlement was made the offending party might give a woman (of suitable social status) in marriage to a close relative of the dead man to seal it. Alternatively, the killer would go to the home of the killed according to the refugee principle in the code of honor. But he would be likely to do this only if the killing had been accidental, or if he very much regretted it. He would normally take with him a shaikh (religious man) or other kamāš. The Bārakzay, who aspired to create a centralized Baluch state, claim that they had no hūn (Persian ḵūn “blood”); they would either kill or forgive.
The material culture and technology of the Baluch also differ little from those of their neighbors. The dress of men is wide baggy trousers drawn in at the ankle and tied at the waist, a long shirt, and turban. But women’s dress is distinctive—a full shift with a deep front center pocket. The women’s dress still (and the men’s dress previously) is distinguished by embroidery. It is not clear to what extent the ornateness of men’s dress until recently was a function of the pomp that developed around the khan of Kalat under the British, and may have been derived from India. But although they are generally geometrical (like, for example, those of the Turkmen) it is difficult to trace the designs of women’s embroidery to non-Baluch origins. Carpets (see v, below) do not appear to have been woven in Baluchistan until very recently. The only textiles of any significance produced traditionally in Baluchistan, other than clothing, were a coarse thick one-sided flatweave, and the dhurrie that was woven in Las Bela. Other handicrafts that deserve mention are the products of the ubiquitous pīš. Nomads weave the dried leaves into matting and elaborate basketry and even spoons and water pipes; they twist them into rope from which they make sandals (Baluchi sawās) and harnesses. There is also local pottery made by specialists in a few village communities. The subject of dwelling construction requires a special note. Beside goat-hair (black) and pīš-matting tents and mud-brick and adobe houses, there are a number of dwelling types in Makrān that are less mobile than tents and less permanent than mud. One of these is a frame constructed of date-palm leaf stems tied with pīš rope and covered with pīš matting in the shape of an egg cut lengthwise. Another type is domed; the dome is covered with pīš stems, the walls built of reeds or date palm stems, covered with mats and sometimes roughcast with mud, resembling a yurt. There are also flat-roofed shelters without walls (Baluchi kāpar, Persian kapar), and the water-cooled ḵār-ḵāna, in which an opening on the windward side is packed densely with camel thorn (Alhagi camelorum) and kept wet. Most of these types are also found elsewhere in southern Iran (see Gershevitch, 1959, passim, with illustrations).
The material culture and technology of Baluch pastoralism emphasize accommodation to the variation in natural conditions. Apart from their seasonal movement between pastures, and their movement from camp to camp in the continual reshuffling of camp-communities, nomadic Baluch are always on the move. They need to travel widely in order to cultivate small plots of land, to find stray animals, to keep up visiting obligations, to purchase grain and other nonpastoral commodities, to make pilgrimages, and to cultivate political connections. They live in a mētag or halk (ḵalq “camp”); typically they cooperate with kin and affines in the management of one or more flocks; they cultivate small plots which provide fruit and vegetables and sometimes a little grain or a fodder crop, and they have a reciprocal relationship with a farming community which allows them to participate in the date harvest in return for sharing their milk and dairy products in the spring. In the summer of 1964 a typical area for Makrān mountain nomads (Salāhkoh) contained 72 tents in an area of some 400 square miles. They were distributed in twelve encampments of two to nine tents each. The camps move irregularly according to rainfall. Rains produce various effects: a slow steady rain resuscitates the range, but does not produce runoff to irrigate a crop; a flash flood often alters the configuration and depth of a torrent bed and the subsequent availability of surface water, and affects rights to agricultural land. Beside different combinations of agriculture and pastoralism, the Balōč run varying numbers of camels, sheep, goats, cattle, and even water buffalo, with the addition of donkeys for transport, and in some parts mules or horses for prestige riding. Their nomadism allows them the flexibility not only to exploit the best pasture within reach, but to integrate other resources into their annual cycle. They think of their society in terms of a community of camps rather than a collection of separate camp communities. Although there has been a tendency toward sedentarization since the 1960s, it has been stronger in the Sarḥadd, Sarawan-Jahlawan, and the northeast than Makrān, where it continues to be possible for nomads to offset drought years with earnings in the Persian Gulf states.
The main fixed point around which the annual cycle revolves is āmēn (Persian hāmīn), the date harvest, when all (except a minimum number of shepherds who remain behind with the flocks) move off to the vicinity of a large date-growing area. For while the greater part of the date crop is probably grown by šahrī settlements, dates are of no less importance to the Balōč than to the šahrī. Āmēn is looked forward to as the axis of the annual cycle. Prophesies are made of the exact day when the dates will turn color (which happens a month before ripening). Everyone talks about how much fruit the palms will bear this year, and later how the season is progressing, and takes samples from community to community for comparison. There are no other essential agricultural or pastoral tasks. Āmēn is the season for visiting and all forms of celebration that do not have to be held at another time of the year.
Many nomads spend a disproportionate amount of their time on band cultivation. A band maximizes the use of irregular and ephemeral stream flow or runoff and at the same time accumulates and evens out soil deposits in mountainous or undulating terrain, where either soil or soil moisture would otherwise be insufficient for cultivation. It is a dry stone or earthen structure built across the course of drainage in order to hold the water while it drops its silt and sinks slowly through the accumulated deposit. As a low investment technology in isolated mountainous areas with sparse population such as Baluchistan, and especially Makrān, it provides them with the capability of raising small quantities of fruit and vegetables and supplementary crops of grain. It may have been more important in pre-Balōč times (Raikes, 1965).
Throughout most of Baluchistan direct rainfall is of negligible value for agriculture, but one of the most important sources of water for irrigation is the runoff and wadi flooding which are the immediate results of rainfall. With little assistance the runoff from a whole catchment is gathered by the nature of the terrain itself and directed onto prepared fields, along with its invaluable sediment. However, although a considerable volume of water is thus made available, the supply is extremely irregular, and will not generally support permanent settlement. In some parts wells are operated by hand by means of counterpoised water-lifts (see ābyārī). The most important example is probably in the Dalgān, west of Bampūr. In places where there is a shallow water table with a large catchment these can be reasonably reliable, but nevertheless do not provide enough water to justify permanent agricultural settlement. In the mountain ranges which cross the southern part of the area many of the larger river beds retain flowing water in parts throughout the year. Staple crops include wheat, barley, millet, sorghum, rice, beans, onions, and dates, but pomegranates, bananas, papaw, mango, and many other fruits and vegetables are also grown.
The conditions of irrigated agriculture in settled communities in Baluchistan are very different from the cultivation of nomads. Communities vary between a few hundred and a few thousand, but conform mostly to a recognizable pattern: The cultivation is done largely by serfs or helotized smallholders; in the center is a fort—often high and imposing; the fort was traditionally occupied by a ruler, who by means of various forms of taxation or ownership effectively commanded the greater part of the agricultural production, and used his position to build and rebuild networks of alliances with similar agricultural centers and with the nomads who controlled the expanses of mountain and desert between the settlements. Although most holdings in Baluchistan were small compared to the more fertile part of the plateau, some sardars accumulated considerable estates. The most significant were those of Mīr Aḥmad-Yār Khan Aḥmadzay, Ataullah Khan Mengal (the sardar of one of the largest tribes), Qaws Bux Bizenjo, Qaws Bux Raisani, Dōdā Khan Zārakzay, Nabī-baḵš Zehrī. Similarly, in Kharan the Nowšērvānī, especially Ḡolām Moṣṭafā Nowšērvānī; in Makrān the Gīčkī; in Sibi the Būgṭī, especially Nawab Moḥammad Akbar Khan Būgṭī, and the Marī, especially Nawab Khair Bux Mari, and in Chagai and Afghanistan the Sanjarānī, Jamāldīnī, and Bādīnī. In Iran the Bārakzay had by far the largest holdings, but the Bozorgzāda, Bulēdī, Sardārzay, and Šīrānī were also wealthy.
Despite these large holdings, Baluchistan is extremely arid, and for the most part suited to only the most extensive forms of resource use, such as goat or camel husbandry. Perennial irrigation on any significant scale has until recently been available only at Bampūr. Other historically important agricultural areas are Kolwa, Dasht, Las Bela, Daštīārī, and Kacchi (the last three of which have been developed recently to varying extents); but these depended traditionally on seasonal flood diversion and were less reliable. Otherwise, reliable cultivation is supported only in a certain number of well-defined locations, where cultivable soil and an accessible supply of water suitable for irrigation coincide, mostly in river valleys, especially the valleys of the Māškīd and its tributaries, the Kech and the Sarbāz. Investment in qanāts (Baluchi kahn; the standard term in Pakistan otherwise is kārēz) irrigation, which has always been important in the Māškīd and Kech basins, possibly from the earliest times, began to be expanded in the last century. Since the middle of this century irrigation has expanded again as a result of the availability of cheap energy for pumping ground water—diesel in Iran and the national electricity grid which has been extended into Sarawan in Pakistan. Kārēz building is being expanded again in Makrān, financed by remittances from the Persian Gulf.
Final remarks. Compared to most of the other tribal or ethnic minorities of the Iranian world the Baluch (in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan) are probably more linguistically diverse and stratified and pluralistic. The nature of the topography has made communication difficult and the paucity and sparseness of natural resources have limited the size of settlements. Potential leaders have been unable to build up large confederacies or otherwise extend their authority beyond their immediate constituencies. Pashtuns, Punjabis, Sindhis, Bashkardis, Sistanis all experience natural conditions similar to those of their nearest Baluch neighbors. Apart from the use of Baluchi as a lingua franca and a particular hierarchical type of political structure, most Baluch cultural features are also shared by their neighbors. Similarly, the history of most parts of the world is to some extent a function of interference from outside. The geography and ecology are directly related to the settlement pattern, which places special constraints on political development and others particular opportunities to outside influence. The structural factors are a function of both the settlement pattern and the cultural history of the populations that came to the area. The final result could not have come about if the history of Iran and India had not led to particular types of interference and withdrawal at particular times. What distinguishes the Baluch (as distinct from the Balōč) from their neighbors is presumably, therefore, the peculiar combination of their geography, culture, and dependency which has led them to subscribe to a common language and set of political ideas.
Given its historical marginality, the size of the literature on Baluchistan is remarkable. But this is due to the interest of the neighboring and other powers that competed to control it as their hinterland—the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Afghans, British and other colonial powers, Pakistanis, and finally in recent decades the Baluch themselves. The sources therefore fall into the following general categories: (I) pre-Islamic sources; (2) works by Muslim (Arab, Persian, and Mughal) historians and travelers before the arrival of the British in India; (3) works by British administrators, scholars, and travelers; (4) official publications of the government of India; (5) official publications of the government of Pakistan; (6) works by Pakistani scholars; (7) works by Western and Soviet scholars since 1947; (8) reports generated by U.N. and other international and bilateral development projects since 1950; (9) works by Baluch scholars since 1950. What follows is an alphabetical listing of the more significant and accessible sources, including those which have served as the basis of the present article.
Ḥājī ʿAbd-al-Nabī (Hajee Abdun Nabee), ed. Major Robert Leech (see below).
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C. U. Aitchison, A Collection of Treaties, Agreements and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries XI, XIII, Calcutta, 1933.
Abu’l-Fażl ʿAllāmī, Āʾīn-e akbarī, ed. Blochmann. Arrian, Anabasis and Indica, ed. and tr. P. A. Brunt, London, 1983.
Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Moḥammad Bābor, Bābor-nāma, tr. A. S. Beveridge, London, 1922 (repr. New Delhi, 1970).
Mir Khudabux Bijarani Marri Baloch, The Balochis through Centuries. History versus Legend, Quetta, 1965.
Idem, Searchlights on Baloches and Balochistan, Karachi, 1974.
Mir Ahmad Yar Khan Baluch, Inside Baluchistan: A Political Autobiography of His Highness Baigi: Khan-e-Azam-XIII, Karachi, 1975.
Muhammad Sardar Khan Baluch, History of the Baluch Race and Baluchistan, Quetta, 1962 (repr. 1977).
Baluchistan: List of Leading Personages in Baluchistan, Government of India Central Publication Branch, Calcutta, 1932.
F. Barth, “Ethnic Processes on the Pathan-Baluch Boundary,” in Indo-Iranica. Mélanges présentés à G. Morgenstierne, Wiesbaden, 1964, pp. 13-20.
Idem, “Competition and Symbiosis in North-East Baluchistan,” Folk 6, 1964, pp. 15-22.
A. Bennigsen and S. Enders Wimbush, Muslims of the Soviet Empire, London, 1985.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Abolishes Sardari System, from his speech at Quetta, 8 April 1976.
N. M. Billimoria, Bibliography of Publications Relating to Sind and Baluchistan, Lahore, 1930 (revised 1977).
W. T. Blanford, Note on the Geological Formations Seen Along the Coasts of Baluchistan, etc., Records of the Geological Survey of India, Calcutta, 1872.
E. Blatter and P. F. Halberg, “Flora of Persian Baluchistan and Makran,” Journal of the Bombay Natural Historical Society 24, 1910.
H. Bobek, “Beiträge zur klimaökologischen Gliederung Irans,” Erdkunde 6, 1952, pp. 65-84.
C. E. Bosworth, Sistan under the Arabs, from the Islamic Conquest to the Rise of the Saffarids (30-250/651-864), Rome, 1968.
Idem, “The Kūfichīs or Qufṣ in Persian history,” Iran 14, 1976, pp. 9-17.
C. E. Bosworth, R. M. Burrel, K. McLachlan, and R. M. Savory, eds., The Persian Gulf States. A General Survey, Baltimore, 1980.
D. Bray, Life-History of a Brahui, London, 1913.
Idem, “The Jat of Baluchistan,” Indian Antiquary 54, 1925, pp. 30-33.
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G. B. Castiglioni, “Appunti geografici sul Balucistan iraniano,” Rivista geographica italiana 67, 1960, pp. 109-52, 268-301.
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G. F. Dales, The Role of Natural Forces in the Ancient Indus Valley and Baluchistan, Anthropological Papers 62, University of Utah, 1962.
Idem, “Harappan Outposts on the Makran Coast,” Antiquity 36/142, 1962, pp. 86-93.
M. L. Dames, Popular Poetry of the Baloches, 2 vols., London 1904a.
Idem, The Baloch Race, Asiatic Society Monographs 4, London, 1904b (quoting Elliot, History of India).
J. Dresch, “Bassins arides iraniens,” Bulletin de l’Association des géographes français 430, 1975, pp. 337-51.
Idem, “Cuvettes iranaises comparées: Djaz Murian et Lut,” Geography (Tehran) 1, 1976, pp. 8-19.
R. E. H. Dyer, Raiders of the Sarhad, Being an Account of a Campaign of Arms and Bluff against the Brigands of the Persian-Baluchi Border, London, 1921.
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A. T. Embree, ed., Pakistan’s Western Borderlands, Durham, 1977.
W. A. Fairservis, Preliminary Report on the Pre-Historic Archaeology of the Afghan Baluchi Areas, American Museum Novitates, American Museum of Natural History, New York, 1952.
Fīrūz Mīrzā Farmānfarmā, Safar-nāma-ye Kermān o Balūčestān, ed. M. Neẓām Māfī, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.
K. Ferdinand, “The Baluchistan Barrel-Vaulted Tent,” Folk 2, 1960, pp. 33-50.
Ferešta, tr. Briggs. J. P. Ferrier, Caravan Journeys and Wanderings in Persia, Afghanistan, Turkestan and Beloochistan, London, 1857.
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R. N. Frye, “Notes on a Trip to Biyabanak, Sistan and Baluchistan in the Winter 1951-2,” Indo-Iranica 6, 1952, pp. 1-6.
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Idem, “The Southern Lut and Iranian Balutschistan,” Geographical Journal 92, 1938, pp. 193-211.
Idem, Aus den Einsamkeiten Irans, Stuttgart, 1939.
E. G. Gafferberg, Beludzhi Turkmenskoĭ SSR, Institut Etnografii Miklukho Maklai, Leningrad, 1969.
R. E. Galindo, A Record of Two Year Wanderings in Eastern Persia and Baluchistan, Simla, 1890.
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Gazetteer, Baluchistan District Series, ed. R. Hughes-Buller and C. F. Minchin, Bombay, 1906-08.
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S. S. Harrison, In Afghanistan’s Shadow: Baluch Nationalism and Soviet Temptations, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York, 1981.
R. B. Hetu Ram, Tārīḵ-eBalūčestān, Quetta, 1907.
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Lambton, Landlord and Peasant. R. Leech, “Brief History of Kalat Brought down to the Disposition and Death of Nawab Khan Braho-ee,” JASB 12, 1843, pp. 473-512.
Idem, “Notes Taken on a Tour through Parts of Baloochisthan, in 1838 and 1839, by Hajee Abdun Nubee, of Kabul, Arranged and Translated by Major Robert Leech,” ibid., 13, 1844, pp. 667-706, 786-826.
L. Lockhart, Nadir Shah. A Critical Study Based Mainly upon Contemporary Sources, London, 1938.
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C. Masson, Narrative of Various Journeys in Balochistan, Afghanistan and the Panjab, London, 1842.
S. B. Miles, The Countries and Tribes of the Persian Gulf, London, 1919 (repr. 1966).
V. Minorsky, “Mongol Placenames in Mukri Kurdistan (Mongolica 4),” BSOAS 19, 1957, p. 81.
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Erwin Orywal, Die Baluc in Afghanisch-Sistan, Kölner Ethnologische Studien 4, Berlin, 1982.
C. McC. Pastner, “A Social, Structural and Historical Analysis of Honor, Shame and Purdah,” Anthropological Quarterly 45/4, 1972, pp. 248-61.
Idem, “Cousin Marriage among the Zikri Baluch of Coastal Pakistan,” Ethnology 18, 1979, pp. 31-47.
C. McC. Pastner and S. Pastner, “Agriculture, Kinship and Politics in Southern Baluchistan,” Man 7/1, 1972, pp. 128-36.
R. N. Pehrson, The Social Organization of the Marri Baluch, ed. F. Barth, Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology 43, New York, 1966.
Persia, Geographical Handbook Series, Naval Intelligence Division, London, 1945.
M. Pikulin, Beludzhi, Moscow, 1959.
Marco Polo, The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venitian, Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, tr. H. Yule, rev. and enl. H. Cordier, London, 1926.
H. Pottinger, Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde; Accompanied by a Geographical and Historical Account of Those Countries with a Map, London, 1816 (repr. Westmead, 1972).
R. B. Diwan Jamiat Rai, The Domiciled Hindus, ed. Denys Bray, Delhi, 1913.
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H. G. Raverty, Notes on Afghanistan and Baluchistan, Lahore, 1878.
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J. P. Rumsey, “Some Notes on Leadership in Marri Baloch Society,” Anthropology Tomorrow (University of Chicago) 5, 1957, pp. 122-26.
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Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: July 15, 2010
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