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Baloch away from the homeland (Baluchi: Jala watan)

Baloch away from the homeland (Baluchi: Jala watan) is applied to those Baloch people who are forced to migrate from their original land and homeland,

Baloch ethnicity and nationalism
Baloch ethnicity and nationalism

Baloch away from the homeland (Baluchi: Jala watan) is applied to those Baloch people who are forced to migrate from their original land and homeland, i.e. Balochistan, which includes the state of Balochistan in West Pakistan, South and South East Iran and South West Afghanistan due to various reasons. Other points are out of bounds.
The land that is remembered by the Baloch people under the title of motherland includes Baluchistan state of Pakistan, which includes the vast area of ​​Kishwar Pakistan and covering about 44% of the land of Pakistan, it is remembered as the largest state of Kishwar. Sistan and Baluchistan province in the south and southeast of Iran, which is the second largest province in Iran in terms of size, and parts of the eastern and southeastern regions of Kerman province and the regions in the east of Hormozgan province and the north of this region as well as the southwestern regions of Afghanistan; Specifically, the province of Nimroz and Bakhshhai covers South Khorasan and South.

There is no accurate statistics of the total population of this group of Baloch that can be relied on, but it can be estimated that their population is equal or even more than the Baloch population of Balochistan region. Among the areas outside of Balochistan where a significant number of Baloch have migrated and settled there are the two states of Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan, India and Oman as a whole and the Persian Gulf countries in general such as the Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia mentioned.

Among the other areas where a significant number of Balochs live, we can mention the Balochs of Khorasan, as well as Balochs living in Golestan province in northern Iran and Balochs living in Fars province. A notable group of Balochs also live in the vicinity of Maru in Turkmenistan in Central Asia, and in Kishwar Somalia and Tanzania in East Africa.

The Balochs of Punjab

Balochs of the state of Punjab, Kishor Pakistan constitute a significant percentage of the population of this state and also the total population of the Baloch of the world. The population of Baloch people living in this state is estimated to be around 10 to 12 million people.[17]

The Baloch people of southern Punjab, which are adjacent to the state of Balochistan, sometimes also speak the Saraiki language. Kochch have been forcibly migrated from Balochistan to the eastern and northeastern lands of this region such as Punjab and Sindh. The Little Ice Age refers to a period of time when the fate of the earth witnessed extensive climatic changes and lasted from the 16th to the 19th century or around the 14th to the 19th century.

Famous people
Qura Al-Ain Baloch (singer)
Muniba Mazari (social activist)
Balkh Shir Mazari (politician)
Osman Ahmad Khan Bezdar (politician)
Fateh Mohammad Khan Bezdar (politician)

The Balochs of Sindh

The Baloch of Sindh are also known as Sindhi-Baloch (Sindhi: سندی بروک, Balochi: سندهی بلۏک, Urdu: سندی بلوک) as applied to the Baloch people living in Sindh province of Pakistan.[28]

The population of this group of Balochs is about 30% of the total population of the state.[29] According to the research of Professor Akhtar Baloch, one of the professors of University of Karachi, a large population of Balochs during the Ice Age was small due to the low temperature and faced difficulties. During this period, those who came from Baluchistan were forced to migrate to the eastern and northeastern lands of this region such as Punjab and Sindh.[20][21][22][23][24][25][26]

It is worth mentioning that for a long time in Sindh, the monarchy was maintained under the title of Sultanate of Talpur, and people from the Talpur family, who are one of the most famous Baloch families and nations living in Sindh, ruled as kings.

Famous people
Sanam Baloch (Announcer and Presenter)
Asif Ali Zardari (Politician)
Faryal Talpur
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (Politician)
Naz Baloch (Politician)
Shazia Dry (Singer)
Yusuf Khokh (Writer)
Nabi Bakhsh Khan Baloch (Politician)
Khalid Ahmad Khan Lond (Politician)
Burhan Chandev (Politician)
Kulsoom Akhtar Chandio (Politician)
Maula Bakhsh Chandev (Politician)
Nawab Ghebi Sardar Khan Chandio (Politician)
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (Politician)
Aftab Shaban Meerani (Politician)
Rafiq Ahmad Jamali (Politician)
Nabil Gabol (politician)
Liaquat Ali Jatoi (Politician)
Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi (Politician)
Nadir Ali Khan Magsi (Politician)

The Balochs of Oman

Original description: Balochs of Oman

Balochs constitute one-third of Oman’s Bumiyan population and are considered the second group of national elders after the Omani Arabs. During the recent centuries, the Baloch have always formed the largest part of the army and military forces of Oman.

Due to the long history of the Balochs in the Sultanate of Oman, the Balochs living in Oman are among the prominent and recognized indigenous groups. According to the research, there are 3 categories of elderly people of Oman, including Arab, Baloch and African origin, who speak Arabic, Balochi and Swahili languages.

History of relations between Balochistan and Oman
During the height of power, the royal families of Al Saeed and Al Yarab in Oman ruled many lands in West Asia and East Africa under the control of the Oman government. To the extent that in Asia, the borders of Oman encompassed parts of southern Balochistan and especially a part of the northern Makran coast. Baloch’s relations with Oman are not limited to the last few centuries and many historical evidences have been found based on the existence of deep connections between Balochistan and Oman. For example, ceramic vessels found in Ras al-Janz and Ras al-Had regions of Oman in 1981, on which there were inscriptions with the Harapa writing system, indicate the ancient relationship between the Baloch communities and the people of Oman.

The Harappan writing system is related to the Mandama civilization of the Indus Valley. According to the evidence and artifacts found in many parts of Balochistan in Iran and Pakistan, it can be discovered that the civilization of the Sind Valley covers a large part of Balochistan.

A group of historians believe that the Baloch migrated to Oman before the advent of Islam around 1400 years ago. Also, the European explorers who visited Oman during the 16th and 17th centuries mentioned the presence of some Baloch nations and communities who believed that they had been living in Oman for centuries.

In spite of the profound communal ties between the communities of Balochistan and Oman, until a few centuries ago and before the rise to power of the families of Al Yarab and Al Buseed, there was no political relationship between the two communities. Al Yarab ruled Oman from 1624 to 1744 and Al Buseed from 1744 to now.

With the arrival of the Arabs, Oman built a powerful navy that could defeat and expel the Portuguese from Oman, the Indian subcontinent and East Africa. During the reign of the All Yarab dynasty, the Sultanate of Oman was transformed into a government whose borders in the east extended to the banks of the Ganges River in India, and southern Balochistan was also transformed into the commercial and political center of this government. As a result of the political ties that connected the Baloch to Oman, a large number of Baloch joined the military forces of the Sultanate of Oman. Baloch soldiers were used to protect the ports and cities of Oman. The Baloch also had a prominent role in the establishment of the Omani government in East Africa during the reign of Saif bin Sultan.

The opening of the city of Mombasa was agreed by the commander of the Omani army “Al-Jamadar Shahdad Baloch” and as he was born from his name and from the ranks of the officers of the Omani army, he was of Baloch origin. Saif al-Din bin Sultan was also sent to the commanding city of Mombasa by Al-Jamadar Dadshah.

During the rule of the Al Saeed family, Ahmad bin Saeed al-Busaidi faced many internal rebellions, including the conflict with “Muhammad bin Sulaiman Al Yarab”; Syed Ahmed was also able to repel internal disturbances by requesting reinforcements from the rulers of Balochistan and Sindh. In 1772, the ruler of Balochistan Mir Nasir I, the city of the coast of Makran, Gwadar, was gifted to Sultan bin Ahmed bin Saeed, the Sultan of Oman; Therefore, after this, Gwadar became a part of the Sultanate of Oman and in the same year, Gwadar with the title “Saif bin Ali” was appointed. “Saif bin Ali” also built Qila-e-e-Shoor in this city, and as a result of these events, Oman’s influence in Balochistan increased more than ever.

The European travelers who visited Oman during the reign of “Syed Saeed bin Sultan” have pointed out that during this period Balochs formed the majority of Oman’s military forces. The number of Baloch community in Muscat is about 2000 people.

Saeed bin Sultan bin Ahmed relied more than any other king in the history of Oman on the Baloch soldiers to strengthen his power and also to repel internal rebellions; Therefore, the city of Muscat was named as “Dura bin Juma Al-Balushi” and “Ismail Al-Balushi” was named as the commander of Qala Samail. After the death of Saeed bin Sultan in 1856, the Sultanate of Oman began to disintegrate. The revolutions and rebellions had a great impact on the relations between Balochistan and Oman and as a result the influence of Oman in Balochistan decreased.

Known persons
Muhammad Al Balushi (Footballer)
Maimunah Al Balushi (Bazigar)
Haitham Muhammad Rafi Al Balushi (Singer)
Hazza Al-Balushi (Quran reciter)
Zara Baloch (Bazigar)
Khalil Al Balushi (football reporter)
Risha Al Balushi (Producer and Presenter)
Mohammad Noor (Bazigar)

The Balochs of the United Arab Emirates

The Baloch people living in the countries of the Persian Gulf and especially the Baloch living in the United Arab Emirates and Oman are among the largest Baloch communities outside of Balochistan.[30]

The Baloch people living in the UAE are one of the oldest national immigrant groups in the country. In 2014, their population is about 5.08% of the total population of the Emirates [32] and is estimated at 468,000 people. The Emirates will return. [33] Therefore, a large number of Baloch who were present in this region before 1925 are now considered to be formal citizens of this country according to the laws granting citizenship rights of the Emirates passed in 1972. [34]

Baloch have had an active and significant presence in various political, systemic and youth affairs in the society of the Emirates and sometimes these youth have been employed in sensitive administrative, systemic and political positions. For example, Jamiat Shayan Zikri is formed by the Baloch from the military forces of the United Arab Emirates.[35]

Also, on February 11, 2016, Sara Yusuf Al Amiri was elected as one of the 9 female ministers in the UAE Cabinet and as the UAE Minister of Advanced Sciences by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the UAE. Sara Amiri was originally from Baloch and belongs to the region of Lashar, which is currently located in Balochistan, Iran.

Sara Amiri, in addition to the position of Minister of Advanced Sciences, is also in charge of the state team of the Mars Exploration Project of the Emirates and the head of the Council of Scholars. The Emirates Council of Scholars was established in 2016.[36][37]

Among the active Balochi language literary groups in the United Arab Emirates, it is possible to refer to the “Baluchi Labzanki Sarchemg” literary group.[30]

The Baloch are probably known in the United Arab Emirates as well as in other Arab countries by the generic name Al-Balushi.

Known persons
Hameed Al Balushi (Advertiser)
Sara Amiri (Scientist and Politician)
Abdul Hameed Al Balushi (Advertiser)
Amina Al Balushi (Politician)
Muhammad Juma Al Balushi (Footballer)
Ali Salmin Al Balushi (Footballer)
Adnan Hussain Al Balushi (footballer)
Hassan Ali Ibrahim Al Balushi (footballer)
Abdullah Musa Al Balushi (Footballer)
Ahmad Murad Al Balushi (Footballer)

The Balochs of Kuwait

Known persons
Muni Al Balushi (Bazigar)
Mubarak Gumshad Baloch (footballer)
Maram Al Balushi (singer and actress)
Hind Balushi (Bazigar)
Shaima Sulaiman (singer and actor)
Amani Al Balushi (Executive)
May Al Balushi (Bazigar)
Abdullah Al Balushi (footballer)
Muhammad Al Balushi (Singer)
Abdullah Al Balushi (Advertiser)
Ahmed Al Balushi (Footballer)
Yusuf Al Balushi (Advertiser)
Hameed Al Balushi (Advertiser)
Nasir al-Balushi
Badr Al Balushi (Advertiser)

The Balochs of Tanzania

Famous people
Rostam Aziz (politician and entrepreneur)

The Baloch of the United States

Malek Siraj Akbar (journalist)

Baluchs of Turkmenistan
Main article: Baluchs of Turkmenistan

The Baluchs of the Republic of Turkmenistan refer to the residents of the Baloch descent of the Republic of Turkmenistan (former Soviet Union). The first groups of Balochi immigrants to Russia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries migrated from Greater Khorasan in small groups to Central Asia and settled in Mari, Turkmenistan.

The Balochs of Europe

A significant population of Baloch live in Norway, Sweden and other European countries.

famous people

Rostam Mirlashari

The Balochs of Australia

Camels being unloaded from a ship (photo courtesy of Al-Kami).
Camels being unloaded from a ship (photo courtesy of Al-Kami).

Among the cameleers, the Baloch ethnic group had a significant representation. In 1884, Balochs hand-built a mosque in Hergot Springs (Maree, South Australia), which is one of the earliest mosques on Australian soil. There are other mosques, places, railway lines and hills named after Baloch cameleers.

Tracing The Identities Of Baloch Cameleers In Australia

Tracing human identities is a unique feature of history writing. Humans dwell in layers of identities and every identity reflects their distinct historical experiences with ideas, places, cultures and religions. In this article, I attempt to trace the identities of 19th-century Baloch cameleers in Australia. I do so by utilising the Foucauldian conceptual framework of genealogy. Foucault conceived genealogy as a tool for writing critical history by using historical material to bring about a “revaluing of values” of the past into the present. This analysis explores how the identities of the descendants of Baloch cameleers emerged out of the struggles, alliances, and exercises of power of their forefathers in 19th-century Australia and how today these identities remain untraced and taken over by misnomers.

In the mid-19th century, the British imperialists in Australia, finding it difficult to explore the outback newly acquired, decided on employing ‘ships of the desert’ for the under-explored colony. Motorised transport being a distant dream and horses and bullocks unsuitable for expeditions in such extreme weather conditions, the colonialists imported camels from their dominion territories such as present-day Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

Camels had the capacity to journey long distances with heavy loads and less water consumption. When initial attempts to employ camels without trained handlers failed, the Victorian Exploration Expedition Committee (VEEC) brought camel drivers on temporary contracts from these lands to undertake the famous ‘Burke and Wills Expedition.’ These camel handlers predominantly – but not exclusively – were from Baloch clans such as Rinds, Jakhranis, Lasharis and others.

family of dost mahmad He was married to Turkish-born Australian Annie Griego and had six children.
child of dost mahmad He was married to Turkish-born Australian Annie Griego and had six children.

The importation of these camel handlers – drawn from diverse ethnicities and adherents of a distinct religion like Islam for this expedition – marked a turning point in the history of hitherto predominantly Christian Australia. This small Muslim community later went on to be known by the misnomers like “Moslem Australian Cameleers,” “Afghan Cameleers” or “The Ghans.” These turban-wearing cameleers with their exotic looks played a pivotal role in the infrastructural development, mining of natural resources, exploring the unexplored territories and introducing the Aboriginal Australians to the outside world.

Well into the 1860s, there were around 2,000 cameleers and 4,000 camels embarking on regular journeys across the length and breadth of Australia, carrying tons of supplies from cities to regional towns and inland mines, bringing back mined resources to the port cities. The cameleers were brought on contracts varying from 1 to 3 years and their total number fluctuated from time to time. At their height, there were 4,000 cameleers.

These cameleers were Muslims, and as they travelled along the track, make-shift places of worship began erupting, which were then known as ‘bush’ mosques. Among the cameleers, the Baloch ethnic group had a significant representation.

In 1884, Balochs hand-built a mosque in Hergot Springs (Maree, South Australia), which is one of the earliest mosques on Australian soil.
Among Baloch cameleers, one of the most interesting stories is of Ghulam Badoola Rind, who after arriving in the South Australian town of Port Augusta as a young teenager in the 1860s, worked as a cameleer on the Ghan Project,

In 1884, Balochs hand-built a mosque in Hergot Springs (Maree, South Australia), which is one of the earliest mosques on Australian soil. There are other mosques, places, railway lines and hills named after Baloch cameleers. For example, Bejah Hills in Western Australia named after Bheja (Bijar) Jhakrani – a prominent cameleer – for his untiring expedition and services to the community. In early 20th century, as the steam engine took over the cameleers’ bread and butter, most Baloch cameleers returned to their countries. But some of them turned to other businesses, like working on Overland Telegraph and Trans-Australian Railway. At the termination of their contracts, some cameleers returned to their homes with new wives and children, and newfound wealth.

Bijar Darwish (Photo: Wikipedia)
Bijar Darwish (Photo: Wikipedia)

Among Baloch cameleers, one of the most interesting stories is of Ghulam Badoola Rind, who after arriving in the South Australian town of Port Augusta as a young teenager in the 1860s, worked as a cameleer on the Ghan Project, a 3,000-km railway connecting Darwin with Adelaide. In the early 1900s, when floods hit the Geraldton area in western Australia, Badoola Rind using his camel saved many Australian lives. As a reward, he was granted citizenship, a rare thing at a time when many cameleers were being deported. In an interview with SBS Dari, Saba Rind, who is a granddaughter of Badoola Rind, narrated the story of the life and struggle of her grandfather. She has shared a picture of the tombstone of her grandmother, which reads, “Mariam Badoola /Marin Martin wife of Goolam Badola Rind 1900-31.”

Cameleers were not allowed to bring their families. Many of them married Aboriginal Australian women, as they were not allowed to marry Europeans

Another important figure in Baloch cameleer history is Bejah Baloch Jakrani. His role in the development of Australia is widely recognised. Dost Muhammad Jakhrani, another Baloch cameleer leader, utilised his animals to supply water and food, and transport gold from Australian mines. He was a wealthy man and owned many camels which operated on Port Hedland. His services to the community are highly regarded. However, he was killed in a family feud, and his murder remained a mystery.

A few Baloch cameleers married Anglo-Saxons or immigrants who had come from central Europe, something strictly restricted by Australian law. A couple of them also married Aboriginal Australian women. Today, their descendants take great pride in tracing their lineage to their grandfathers.

Nanacy Joy Baluch, a progeny of Baloch cameleers, was married to Stephan Baloch; she served as the mayor of Augusta Port from 1981 to 1993 and from 1995 until her death. In 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal. She was conferred with multiple other such honours. A local newspaper described her due to her magnanimity as “The Iron Lady.”

However, recent scholarship on cameleers inadvertently reveals that the names by which they are collectively known to the world such as “Australian Afghan Cameleers” are bare misnomers. Studies as Philip Jones and Anna Kenny’s book Australia’s Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland, 1860s-1930s, Maria Visconti’s paper “Afghans and their camels in Australia” and the findings of the study of M. Mizanur Rashid and Kathrine Bartsch on the architecture of Adelaide Mosque have cleared many of the misconceptions related to the cameleers’ identities, ways of life, contributions and interactions with Europeans and Aboriginal Australians. Although there was a significant number of Afghans in the camp, the overseas cameleer community was, in fact, comprised of a far more diverse set of origins: Balochs, Afghans, Turks and other dwellers of the Indian Subcontinent and far beyond. Identifying a group as diverse as Australian Muslim cameleers solely as “Afghan Cameleers” either stems from a lack of historical research or, more importantly, from historical inaccuracy.

Baloch cameleers’ identity, notwithstanding misnomers, keeps erupting in historical relics and in the form of their third and fourth-generation descendants identifying themselves as Balochs – more precisely as Rind, Jakhrani and other clans of Balochistan.

However, life for the cameleers in Australia was not an easy one. Most of the time, they were not accepted in Australian society. Cameleers were not allowed to bring their families. Many of them married Aboriginal Australian women, as they were not allowed to marry Europeans. Even their marriages to Aboriginal women were not legalised most of the time, leaving them with the perils of being stigmatised for immorality. They were made to live separately in Ghan towns or camps on the opposite side of the railway track. Well water was not shared with them. Not only they were scary and alien to the natives, but their exotic animals also equally frightened the horses of the Australians. On sighting the approaching camels, horses went astray, turning carts topsy-turvy. The unusual looks and frightening animals of the camel drivers produced a great measure of hostility for them in the native circles, often translating into discrimination. People on seeing approaching caravans would often close doors and hide their children.

Of late, there has been increasing academic interest in the history of these cameleers. Compared with the scope of the subject, miniscule attention has been paid to it. A few things about their lives, interactions, identities and contributions have been dug up, but much remains to be explored. The identities of ethnic groups like Balochs, who played a significant role, have been missed. Partly it has been due to unavailability of a substantive historical record. A major reason for such gaps has also been the inattention of researchers on ethnic identities and the weakness of methodological tools that they have employed in their studies.


Tracing The Identities Of Baloch Cameleers In Australia

More importantly, almost no studies have been conducted on the lives of those Baloch cameleers, who returned to their homes after the termination of their contracts.

With the emerging trends of applying theoretical frameworks such as Michel Foucault’s genealogy, today’s historians are sufficiently equipped to undertake studies on the origins and identities of ethnicities that the cameleers came from. Such strong tools enable us to rigorously study the aftermath of this late 19th-century adventure and its impacts and implications on the lives of Baloch cameleers once they returned to their homes.


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