Baluchi - History and Cultural Relations



Legend has it that the Baluchi people are directly descended from Amir Hamza, one of Mohammed's uncles, and migrated into the transnational region of Baluchistan from somewhere in the vicinity of Aleppo, in Syria. The migrations that brought them to their current territory began as long ago as the fifth century and were more or less complete by the end of the seventh. Prior to the twelfth century, theirs was a society of independent, more or less autonomous seminomadic groups, organized along principles of clan affiliation rather than territorial association. As the population of the region increased, access to land assumed greater and greater importance, giving rise to a system of tribes, each with a territorial base. The first successful attempt to unite several Baluchi Tribal units was accomplished by Mir Jalal Han, who set up the First Baluchi Confederacy in the twelfth century, but this unity did not long survive his rule. Warfare between various Baluchi tribes and tribal confederacies was frequent during the fifteenth century, largely owing to economic causes. By the sixteenth century the Baluchis were roughly divided up into three separate political entities: the Makran State, the Dodai Confederacy, and the khanate of Baluchistan (the Kalat Confederacy). In the eighteenth century, Mir Abdullah Khan of the Kalat Confederacy succeeded in reuniting all of Baluchistan, providing a centralized government based on Rawaj, the customary law of the Baluchi people. The arrival of the British in the region had profound effects on the future trajectory of Baluchi development. Uninterested in the Region economically, the British were solely concerned with establishing a buffer zone that could forestall the encroachment of the Russians upon the rich prize of India. To further this end, the British relied on the manipulation of Baluchi tribal leaders, cash handouts, and the establishment of garrisons, but they paid no attention to the economic development of the region itself.


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