Baloch have a history of thousands of years, that is what archaeology suggests.
Their societal continuity had been remarkably consistent. History tells us that social cohesion and political solidarity had been the hallmarks of their survival strategy. Like any other people they too had been to human and environmental challenges. Their presence in contemporary times attests their prevalence against all odds.
Their culture bespeaks of the accumulative wisdom and human experience of centuries, suited to their aspirations, their identity and their land. Their literature has linked them to their remotest past, without losing fragrance.They had the excellent skill of preserving events in memory and sharing those with succeeding generations through various mechanisms, including musical narrations. Their languages, both Balochi and Brahui, enjoy the richness of potent and progressive languages upholding their fundamental traits, much better than many, through out the course of history. Their music has soothing effect on hearts and minds and had been a strong catalyst to inculcating powerful sense of identity revered and carried over till date. Above all, their indomitable sense of ‘Balochness’ (Balochiyath) is their most valued singular asset that surpasses anything else, completing the circle of their accomplishments.
They matter as a people and deserve to be understood in the right perspective. On the other hand, the Baloch too need to perceive themselves and their place in the world, accurately. In this respect, the most effective and timely help can come from ‘social sciences’.
The aim of this seed-paper is to draw attention to the overdue need for a new social science that could exclusively focus on Baloch and their affairs scientifically and provide help and solutions to ensuing problems they encounter. At the moment no such science exists. However, things don’t move in vacuums and hence the subject is being looked after by, what I prefer to call, ‘caretaker-sciences’. Perhaps it is the norm in the domain of social sciences that they move in wherever they find a deserving deficient zone to help. In most cases such a step-in is automatic. Sometime it entices a kind of intellectual rivalry as those caretaker sciences overlap in exercise of jurisdiction.
The case of Baloch is no different. Usually one of the consequences of such an ‘arrangement’ could be that it makes it difficult to adjudge to what degree the matter of assumed or assigned ‘look-after’was satisfactory or otherwise. Unfortunately, it gives birth to, what we call in Sociology, a ‘ contented-cow ‘ mindset that celebrates the dependency by holding the ‘care-takers’ too close to hearts and will not hesitate to put up a bit of resistance to any new idea inviting different thinking. Such a conservativism suites the status quo as it prolongs the rule or misrule of care takers unnecessarily.
Even a thesis could be written on the misadventures of vacuum-fillers with regard to Baloch affairs. Take the example of colonial writers. Their version of Baloch history made nothing but a smoke screen to dodge history turning the Baloch a fugitive in their own land. Some of example of writings of colonial writers are worth quoting such as ” the DNA of Baloch and Tajik have similarity, therefore they are from Central Asia”. Next ” Brahuis are Dravidian but their faces resemble the Baloch “. The worst happened when they found their ‘favourite’ Balochi saying out of the rich wealth of Baloch oral tradition. Purposefully, they based their argument on the single proverb that suited them i.e ” they came from Halab as a consequence of opposing Yazid ” and then fabricated a migration-based version of history.
Let us apply our mind to the destructive power of ‘vacuum’ thesis. I mean the migratory thesis, in the light of another set of arguments. Ferdousi the celebrated poet-historian of Iran, writes ” the king was told that the earth has blackened with the presence of Baloch in great number “. Now look at the time span between so called Halab migration, the Kerbla tragedy and the reference period of Fidousi. In case they were less in number while Yazid was in power, how come they can blacken the earth with their numbers in such a brief ‘time span’ as Firdousi asserted. Moreover, if they were many, as subsequently maintained, then why should they migrate for paving way for Yazid’s atrocities. How come.
Firdousi continues further ” the King deputed the best army to eliminate them. They ruthlessly crushed the Baloch, even their children were not spared”. So they were erased from the face of earth. Let us check, If so, how come Baloch were thriving with full vigour in the eastern Balochistan, between Mekran up to Indus. The erased people hardly make anything like that. These are a few examples of the past knowledge vacuums. There are contemporary too. But as I said earlier it is like living with myths voluntarily amidst tangible realities and feel unfortunately contented.
The worst among them usually happens when the indigenous scholars take extraordinary time to take charge of their affairs. It enhances the chances of being misled for long and rather encourages to bargain the facts with fiction. But the worst of worst comes when the indigenous scholars naively toe a readily available line without entertaining the consequences and become the extensions of the so called servants of the Raj. Let me mention an instance from Anthropology as well. One of the very famous classical anthropologists, Margaret Mead, went to study Samoa and carried out wonderful fieldwork. The World of anthropology was stunned with her findings and she virtually ruled the skies in that discipline . She was the recipient of numerous titles and awards and her books sold like proverbial hot cakes. But then came a wave of indigenous researchers scientifically groomed in the subject and started stripping Margaret’s mythical supremacy. They not only exposed intellectual dishonesties committed against their people but also did a wonderful job of setting the record straight by creating new disciplines as well as institutions.
The Royal Anthropological Association, is one of the prestigious organisation that has virtually taken anthropology to paramount heights. But if you study its genesis, you will find that anthropologists who were engaged by Britain to study the people of their dominions with a view to help prolong Royal Rule, gathered in London and protested against the ‘misuse’ of anthropologists in British India and other similar colonies. They formed the Association to resist assignments of systematic mutilation of history and cultures of British subjects anywhere in the world.
Let me turn to my reasons for initiating a new social science, Balochology. But before that let me clarify that all social sciences had once been nascent and had been through tough reasoning and debates, sometime rather heated debates. After all subjecting an idea to reason does not mean it is opposed rather it is cross examined and refined in line with scientific tradition. As the saying goes ” the toughest rod comes from the hottest fire”. The science of Balochology deserves a fair chance of scrutiny, analysis and objective straining. It is a process that will continue with all evolutionary stages and will not stop, no matter a nascent science grows to what stages of maturity.
As the proponent of the thought, I share with you two basic reasons that I have on the top of my mind. In the absence of a reliable arrangement of its own, Baloch related matters are a concern for all disciplines to care. That is not specific to Baloch but it is a standard norm. To a certain extent it had been effective. But in recent times there had been a phenomenal growth in the mainstream ‘mother sciences’ so much so that they feel crushed under their own weight. Therefore, through the ‘reductive mechanism’ they have been without option but to focus more on themselves. It had resulted in curtailing their ‘care-taker’ role, leaving the marginal or dependent sectors in the lurch. Baloch is no better than any of them.
Secondly, the Baloch affairs have also registered an extraordinary growth and are no more a ‘hand-carry’ baggage, probably it had never been so. Therefore it cannot be left to its fate. In view of their preoccupation with their immediate concerns, the mother sciences take up Baloch subjects as a matter of choice or convenience. This pick and choose approach is indicative of a disadvantageous position whereby either the Baloch get serious to do something for themselves or be prepared for facing far reaching consequences. For instance, Sociologically speaking, the Baloch social thought might be a casual matter to a preoccupied ‘care-taker’ science but it is indeed the back bone of Baloch intellectual heritage, without which the Baloch as a people would be robbed off, of its identity and essence. Therefore, the wisdom of ‘managing your own house’ and keep it in order throughout, is the loudest message of today’s globalised era,
I am convinced that time is ripped for the creation of the discipline of ‘Balochology’. This brief write up is a precursor to the ‘youngest’ social science that I propose. The new science belongs to every Baloch. I invite all, particularly the Baloch intellectuals, scholars, academicians, social scientists, educationists, experts, researchers, writers, students etc. to initiate debates, write article, share views with each other on the nascent thought and put their weight on its side. After all it is we, who else would do it for us, I don’t think so.
I also invite institutions, Universities, research organisations, academies to come forward and play their vital role in this respect. I also see a very strong ray of hope among the Baloch research scholars doing their studies in various universities of the world to supplement the local efforts and ensure that those efforts are on right track and scientifically sound. They can share analogies and success stories from across the globe with the homeland scholars and also do a bit as trouble shooters. It might sound simple but everybody knows that it is not the case. On the contrary it is sheer hard work involving best talents and untiring dedicated souls.
It may not be out of place to mention here that since floating of the thought very recently, the singular response so far, has come from the Sangat Academy of Sciences, under the patronage of Dr. Shah Muhammad Marri. They have undertaken the initial work on various components of Balochology which is encouraging and appreciable. I am sure my humble idea will attract unimaginable responses from all Baloch, as it concerns them and indeed their future.