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|Regions with significant populations|
|Pakistan||6.8 million (2017)|
|Iran||1.5 million–2 million (2013)|
|United Arab Emirates||468,000 (2014)|
| Balochi, |
Pashto in Afghanistan, Persian in Iran, Urdu in Pakistan
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Iranian peoples|
The Baloch or Baluch (Balochi : بلۏچ, romanized: Balòc) are an Iranian people who live mainly in the Balochistan region, located at the southeasternmost edge of the Iranian plateau, encompassing the countries of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. There are also Baloch diaspora communities in neighbouring regions, including in India, Turkmenistan and the Arabian Peninsula.
The Baloch people mainly speak Balochi, a Northwestern Iranian language, despite their contrasting location on the southeastern side of the Persosphere. The majority of Baloch reside within Pakistan. About 50% of the total ethnic Baloch population live in the Pakistani province of Balochistan,while 40% are settled in Sindh and a significant albeit smaller number reside in Pakistani Punjab. They make up nearly 3.6% of Pakistan's total population, and around 2% of the populations of both Iran and Afghanistan.
The exact origin of the word 'Baloch' is unclear.
Some writers suggest a derivation from Sanskrit words bal, meaning strength, and och meaning high or magnificent.An earliest Sanskrit reference to the Baloch might be the Gwalior inscription of the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Mihira Bhoja (r. 836–885), which says that the dynasty's founder Nagabhata I repelled a powerful army of Valacha Mlecchas, translated as "Baluch foreigners" by D. R. Bhandarkar. The army in question is that of the Umayyad Caliphate after the conquest of Sindh.
According to Baloch lore, their ancestors hail from Aleppo in what is now Syria. [ citation needed ]They claim to be descendants of Ameer Hamza, uncle of the prophet Muhammad, who settled in Halab (present-day Aleppo). After the fight against second Umayyad Caliph Yazid I at Karbala (in which Ameer Hamza's descendants supported and fought alongside Husayn ibn Ali) in 680, descendants of Ameer Hamza migrated to east or southeast of the central Caspian region, specially toward Sistan, Iran, remaining there for nearly 500 years until they fled to the Makran region following a deception against the Sistan leader Badr-ud-Din.
Dayaram Gidumal writes that a Balochi legend is backed up by the medieval Qarmatians.The fact that the Karmatians were ethnic Baluchis is also confirmed by the Persian historian in the 16th century Muhammad Qasim Ferishta. According to another historian Ali Sher Kanei, the author of Tuhfatul Kiram, in his history written in 1774 a.d, he believes that only the Rind tribe from Jalal Khan, a descendant of Muhammad ibn Harun, nicknamed Makurani, is a direct descendant of Hamza. Based on an analysis of the linguistic connections of the Balochi language, which is one of the Western Iranian languages, the original homeland of the Balochi tribes was likely to the east or southeast of the central Caspian region. The Baloch began migrating towards the east in the late Sasanian period. The cause of the migration is unknown but may have been as a result of the generally unstable conditions in the Caspian area. The migrations occurred over several centuries.
By the 9th century, Arab writers refer to the Baloch as living in the area between Kerman, Khorasan, Sistan, and Makran in what is now eastern Iran.Although they kept flocks of sheep, the Baloches also engaged in plundering travellers on the desert routes. This brought them into conflict with the Buyids, and later the Ghaznavids and the Seljuqs. Adud al-Dawla of the Buyid dynasty launched a punitive campaign against them and defeated them in 971–972. After this, the Baloch continued their eastward migration towards what is now the Balochistan province of Pakistan, although some remained behind and there are still Baloch in the eastern parts of the Iranian Sistan-Baluchestan and Kerman provinces. By the 13th–14th centuries, waves of Baloch were moving into Sindh, and by the 15th century into the Punjab. According to Dr. Akhtar Baloch, professor at University of Karachi, the Balochis migrated from Balochistan during the Little Ice Age and settled in Sindh and Punjab. The Little Ice Age is conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, or alternatively, from about 1300 to about 1850. although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. According to Professor Baloch, the climate of Balochistan was very cold and the region was not inhabitable during the winter so the Baloch people migrated in waves and settled in Sindh and Punjab. The area where the Baloch tribes settled was disputed between the Persian Safavids and the Mughal emperors. Although the Mughals managed to establish some control over the eastern parts of the area, by the 17th century, a tribal leader named Mir Hasan established himself as the first "Khan of the Baloch". In 1666, he was succeeded by Mir Aḥmad Khan Qambarani who established the Balochi Khanate of Kalat under the Ahmadzai dynasty. Originally in alliance with the Mughals, the Khanate lost its autonomy in 1839 with the signing of a treaty with the British colonial government and the region effectively became part of the British Raj.
Gold ornaments such as necklaces and bracelets are an important aspect of Baloch women's traditions and among their most favoured items of jewellery are dorr, heavy earrings that are fastened to the head with gold chains so that the heavy weight will not cause harm to the ears. They usually wear a gold brooch (tasni) that is made by local jewellers in different shapes and sizes and is used to fasten the two parts of the dress together over the chest. In ancient times, especially during the pre-Islamic era, it was common for Baloch women to perform dances and sing folk songs at different events. The tradition of a Baloch mother singing lullabies to her children has played an important role in the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation since ancient times. Apart from the dressing style of the Baloch, indigenous and local traditions and customs are also of great importance to the Baloch.
Baloch Culture Day is celebrated by the Balochi people annually on 2 March with festivities to celebrate their rich culture and history.
Traditionally, Jalal Khan was the ruler and founder of the first Balochi confederacy in 12th century. (He may be the same as Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu the last ruler of the Khwarezmian Empire.) Jalal Khan left four sons – Rind Khan, Lashar Khan, Hoth Khan, Kora Khan and a daughter, Bibi Jato, who married his nephew Murad.
As of 2008 it was estimated that there were between eight and nine million Baloch people living in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. They were subdivided between over 130 tribes.Some estimates put the figure at over 150 tribes, though estimates vary depending on how subtribes are counted. The tribes, known as taman, are led by a tribal chief, the tumandar. Subtribes, known as paras, are led by a muquaddam.
Five Baloch tribes derive their eponymous names from Khan's children. Many, if not all, Baloch tribes can be categorized as either Rind or Lashari based on their actual descent or historical tribal allegiances that developed into cross-generational relationships.[ citation needed ] This basic division was accentuated by a war lasting 30 years between the Rind and Lashari tribes in the 15th century.
There are 180,000 Bugti based in Dera Bugti District. They are divided between the Rahija Bugti, Masori Bugti, Kalpar Bugti,Marehta Bugti and other sub-tribes. [ full citation needed ]
Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti led the Bugti as Tumandar until his death in 2006. Talal Akbar Bugti was the tribal leader and President of the Jamhoori Watan Party from 2006 until his death in 2015.
There are 98,000 Marri based in Kohlo district,who further divide themselves into Gazni Marri, Bejarani Marri, and Zarkon Marri. Hyrbyair Marri has led the Balochistan Liberation Army since his brother's death in 2007.
Violent intertribal competition has prevented any credible attempt at creating a nation-state. A myriad of militant secessionist movements, each loyal to their own tribal leader, threatens regional security and political stability. Nationalist groups like the Baloch Students Organization, composed of armed rebels, and the Baloch Council of North America, made up of educated expatriates living in the United States, have simultaneously denounced Balochistan's traditional rulers and Pakistan's national government.In 2020, a separatist movement attacked but failed to gain entry to the Pakistan Stock Exchange, which was 40% owned by China.
Baloch tribes are markedly less egalitarian, as are the Pashtun tribes.
The majority of the Baloch people in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims, with 64.78% belonging to the Deobandi movement, 33.38% to the Barelvi movement, and 1.25% to the Ahl-i Hadith movement. Shia Muslims comprise 0.59% of Balochs. Although Baloch leaders, backed by traditional scholarship, have held that the Baloch people are secular, Christine Fair and Ali Hamza found during their recent (2017) empirical study that, when it comes to Islamism, "contrary to the conventional wisdom, Baloch are generally indistinguishable from other Pakistanis in Balochistan or the rest of Pakistan". There are virtually no statistically significant or substantive differences between Balochi Muslims and other Muslims in Pakistan in terms of religiosity, support for a sharia-compliant Pakistan state, liberating Muslims from oppression, etc.
A small number of Balochs are non-Muslims, particularly in the Bugti clan which has Hindu and Sikh members.There are a few Hindus in the Bugti, Bezenjo, Marri, Rind and other Baloch tribes. The Bhagnaris are a Hindu Baloch community living in India who trace their origin to southern Balochistan but migrated to India during the Partition.
Balochistan is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. It is the largest province in terms of land area, forming the southwestern region of the country, but is the least populated. Its provincial capital and largest city is Quetta.
Bugti is a Baloch tribe found in eastern Balochistan, Pakistan. As of 2008, it was estimated to comprise over 180,000 people, mostly living in the Dera Bugti region of Pakistan. They are in turn divided into the Rahija Bugti, Masori Bugti, and Kalpar Bugti sub-tribes. Their neighbours to the north are the Marri, who were the Bugti's traditional enemies.
The history of Balochistan began in 650 BCE with vague allusions to the region in Greek historical records. Balochistan is divided between the Pakistani province of Balochistan, the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan and the Afghan region of Balochistan. Prehistoric Balochistan dates to the Paleolithic.
The Gabol is a Baloch tribe having a distinct identity through the centuries, and not a branch of any other Baloch tribe. During the reign of Mir Jalal Khan, the Gabol joined the Rind Federation. Eventually, they joined Mir Chakar Khan Rind as an ally against the Lasharis. Despite their Near Eastern origin, at present, the tribe is largely settled in Karachi, and interior Sindh with significant numbers in Balochistan as well as South Punjab and KPK.
The Marri are a Balochi-speaking tribe of the Baloch people, who inhabit a large arid region in northeastern Balochistan, Pakistan. The Marri area is bounded to the west by the plains of Sibi, to the north are the Kakar and Loni tribes of the Pashtuns, to the east lie the lands of the Khetrans - speakers of an Indo-Aryan language Khetrani, while to the south are found the Bugti Baloch.
The Khanate of Kalat was a Baloch Khanate that existed from 1512 to 1955 in the centre of the modern-day province of Balochistan. Prior to that they were subjects of Mughal emperor Akbar. Ahmedzai Khan ruled the state independently until 1839, when it became a self-governing state in a subsidiary alliance with British India. After the signature of the Treaty of Mastung by the Khan of Kalat and the Baloch Sardars in 1876, Kalat became part of the Baluchistan Agency. It was briefly independent from 12 August 1947 until 27 March 1948. The khanate, a political centralization of the Baloch people, failed to survive through the colonial era and did not lead to standardization of the Baloch language.
Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, Balochi: نواب خیر بخش مری) was a Pakistani politician from the province of Balochistan in Pakistan.
Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo was a prominent Baloch politician of Balochistan, Pakistan.
The Insurgency in Balochistan is a low-intensity insurgency uprising or revolt by Baloch nationalists against the governments of Pakistan and Iran in the Balochistan region, which covers the Balochistan Province in southwestern Pakistan, Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeastern Iran, and the Balochistan region of southern Afghanistan. Rich in natural resources like natural gas, oil, coal, copper, sulphur, fluoride and gold, this is the largest and least developed province in Pakistan. Armed groups demand greater control of the province's natural resources and political autonomy. Baloch separatists have attacked civilians from other ethnicities throughout the province. In the 2010s, attacks against the Shi'a community by sectarian groups—though not always directly related to the political struggle—have risen, contributing to tensions in Balochistan.
Khan of Kalat or Khan-e-Qalat is the title of the Brahui speaking Baloch former rulers of the Khanate of Kalat. Kalat state is now a part of Balochistan Province. The rulers in Kalat first were subjected to Mughal emperor Akbar in Delhi and after 1839 to the British.
Balochistan is an arid desert and mountainous region in South and Western Asia. It comprises the Pakistani province of Balochistan, the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, and the southern areas of Afghanistan, including Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Balochistan borders the Pashtunistan region to the north, Sindh and Punjab to the east, and Persian regions to the west. South of its southern coastline, including the Makran Coast, are the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.
The Lanjwani are a clan of Rind tribe, Baloch which is settled in the Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab provinces of Pakistan.
Lund is a Baloch tribe of Pakistan. It is Balochi word meaning "warrior", " the Belooches belong to the caste of warriors". They are a sub tribe of the greater Rind Baloch Tribe. They originally came from Balochistan and are now settled in Sindh and Punjab. According to Baloch lore, their ancestors hail from Aleppo in what is now Syria. They claim to be descendants of Ameer Hamza, uncle of the prophet Muhammad, who settled in Halab. After the fight against second Umayyad Caliph Yazid I at Karbala in 680, descendants of Ameer Hamza migrated to east or southeast of the central Caspian region, specially toward Sistan.
Dr. Jumma Khan Marri is a senior Baloch political activist from Balochistan. He was formerly a member of Baloch separatist groups.
The Anglo-Marri Wars is the name given to three major military conflicts between the Marri Baluch tribesmen and the British Empire in the independent eastern Baloch tribal belt. The conflicts took place in the 19th and 20th centuries, specifically in 1840, 1880 and 1917.
The Baloch of Sindh, also known as the Sindhi Balochs, is a community of Sindhi-speaking Baloch tribes living in the Northern part of Sindh province.
The Baloch diaspora refers to Baloch people, and their descendants, who have emigrated to places outside the Balochistan region of South-West Asia – a region stretching from southwestern Pakistan to southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan. The Baloch diaspora is found throughout the Middle East, South Asia, Turkmenistan, East Africa, Europe, North America and in other parts of the world.
Mir Gul Khan Naseer, also widely regarded as Malek o-Sho'arā Balochistan was a prominent politician, poet, historian, and journalist from Balochistan, Pakistan. Born on 14 May 1914 in Noshki, Gul Khan Naseer was at the forefront of the Baloch nationalist movement and was most active between 1935 and 1980. His father's name was Mir Habib Khan and he belonged to the Paindzai family of the Zagar Mengal sub branch of the Mengal tribe. Mir Gul Khan's mother "Bibi Hooran" belonged to the Rakhshani branch of the Bolazai Badini. Mir Habib Khan had five sons and three daughters. Mir Gul Khan Nasir was number seven among his eight siblings and he was the fourth amongst his brothers (i.e.) Mir Samand Khan, Mir Lawang Khan, Mir Lal Bux, Mir Gul Khan and Col. Sultan Mohammad Khan.
Tourism in Balochistan is a developing industry, and is overseen by the Tourism Directorate under the Government of Balochistan. Balochistan is known for its long coastal belt which extends from Karachi through Sonmiani, Ormara, Kalmat, Pasni, Gwadar, Jiwani and all the way up to Iran. It is also popular for its hill tops and rugged mountainous terrain.
Baluchis number between 4 million in Iran. They are part of a wider regional population of about 10 million spread across Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
It [Balochi] is spoken by three to five million people in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Oman and the Persian Gulf states, Turkmenistan, East Africa, and diaspora communities in other parts of the world.
However, the total number of Baloch people has increased from 4 million in 1998 to 6.86m in 2017. The count does not include the population of two districts — Quetta and Sibi — where people of various ethnicities, including Baloch and Pashtun also reside.
In the absence of comprehensive census data, an estimate by Professor Abdul Sattar Purdely puts the population of Afghan Baloch at about two million.
An estimated 500,000–600,000 Baloch live in southern Afghanistan, concentrated in southern Nimroz Province, and to a lesser degree in Helmand and Kandahar provinces.
The Baloch tribes rise up from their original home in Aleppo, all sons of Mir Hamza (generally taken to be the uncle of the prophet Muhammad) to fight against the second Ummayad Caliph Yazid I at Karbala in 680. After Hoseyn is slain, the angered Balochi tribes wander way eastwards
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