Category: Baloch Culture

Iran’s Burnt City Yields Ancient Graves

A brick-walled quadrangular grave was found at the site, which is believed by archeologists to be unique among the discoveries of the past 30 years.

The skeletons have been eroded and no artifacts have been found inside the graves.

“Up to now ten different types of burials have been found in Burnt City, seven of which are extremely rare with only three or four examples of them in the area,” said head of the archeology team, Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajjadi.

“These rare burials may have belonged to emigrants, who were buried according to their own rituals,” he added.

Over 400 prehistoric sites have been excavated in Burnt City and archeologists expect the number to reach 1000.

The 5000-year-old Burnt City is located near the city of Zabol and spans an area of over 300,000 hectares.

Four civilizations have lived in the city which was burnt down three times and not rebuilt after the last fire.

The world’s oldest animated picture, dice and backgammon set, the earliest known caraway seed and artificial eyeball have been found in Burnt City.

Iran Publishes Burnt City Eye Bulletin

Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan Province has published a bulletin about the artificial eye, unearthed in the historical Burnt City site.

The Persian-English bulletin was published at the start of the 12th phase of Burnt City archeological excavations.

The 5,000 year-old eye was unearthed two years ago and is believed to be the olebrahimpour_zabol_2009_large.jpgdest prosthetic in the world.

Made of natural tar and animal fat, the eye was placed inside the left eye socket of a 28- to 32-year-old woman.

A leather pouch was also found beside the female skeleton appears to have been used to keep the eye when it was removed.

The 5000-year-old Burnt City is located near the northeastern city of Zabol and spans an area of over 300,000 hectares.

Four civilizations have lived in the city which was burnt down three times and not rebuilt after the last fire.

The world’s oldest animated picture, dice and backgammon set, and caraway seed has been found in Burnt City.

TE/HGH

Source: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=80238&sectionid=351020105

A Discussion On The Use Of Baloch And Balochi

Baloch: Baloch is generally known as a noun. The native people who live in Balochistan are called Baloch. Generally Baloch people speak Balochi, but even if native people can’t speak Balochi, they are still called Baloch. They can migrate and live in other parts of the world. They can still refer to themselves as Baloch. So, I believe that it is now accepted that “Baloch” is noun in this context.
What is the adjective of “Baloch” in English? Our land is called Balochistan, that point is clear. We live in Balochistan. We speak Balochi, we have several Balochi dialects, we weave Balochi carpets, we ride Balochi camels, we give Balochi names to our children. We read Balochi poetry which is published, say, by the Balochi Academy.
However, I have also noticed that often “Baloch” is used as the adjective:

Baloch cultural tradition
Baloch Students’ Organisation
Baloch authors
Baloch ethnicity
Baloch nationalism
Baloch National Movement
Baloch men
Baloch ethnic group
Baloch people

And what about the noun? Am I a Baloch or Balochi? Are my parents Baloch, Balochs, Balochis or Baloches?

Baloch: Baloch is generally known as a noun. The native people who live in Balochistan are called Baloch. Generally Baloch people speak Balochi, but even if native people can’t speak Balochi, they are still called Baloch. They can migrate and live in other parts of the world. They can still refer to themselves as Baloch. So, I believe that it is now accepted that “Baloch” is noun in this context.
Mistakenly, some non-Baloch scholars use the word “Balochi”, instead of “Baloch” when referring to people of Balochistan. For instance, they may say: “Baaraan is Balochi”. It is wrong. “Baaraan is a Baloch” is the right expression. One may say that “Baaraan is a Balochi name”, which is a correct phrase to say.

So, I am a Baloch, not Balochi (likewise, Hazhaar is a Kurd. Hazhaar is a Kurdish name. But saying “Hazhaar is a Kurdish” is a rather an inaccurate expression).
On many occasion, the article “the” is used before “Baloch”, when we refer to people of Balochistan (in national adjective usage). For instance, national adjectives ending in “ch” or “sh” e.g. the Dutch, the Spanish, the Welsh (see The Oxford Library of English Usage, Chapter I, 1990. Similarly we can say “the Baloch” etc. Other parallel examples:Javier is a Spaniard. He speaks Spanish. He eats Spanish food. He is a Spanish person. (But although one may say that “He is a Spanish”, the more accurate way is to say it is “Javier is a Spaniard”, instead of “Javier is a Spanish. The same applies for Scot (native Scottish person from Scotland) etc.Please remember that there is not a universal rule about this issue. e.g. ” Shah Latif was a Sindi (Sindhi). He spoke Sindi (Sindhi) and he was from Sind (Sindh). As you see in this case the word “Sindi” is used both as the noun for naming people from Sind and the language.As for Plural version of the word “Baloch”, there is no universal accepted form. Some people use “Balochs”, other use “Baloches”. Increasing number of people use “Baloch” as both singular and plural. In my view, using “Baloch” as both singular and plural is somehow a better way to use it. A parallel in English language is the=2 0word “Dutch” (people and language of Holland). When referring to people from Holland, they are called “Dutch”, whether one or many people. I have never seen expressions such as “Dutchs” or “Dutches”. I think it looks nicer in a sentence to use “Baloch” as both singular and plural form. One can understand from the sentence, whether we talk about one person or many. It is a personal preference, but words “Balochs” or “Baloches” do not appeal to me. I rather use “Baloch” only. (Some people may write it as “Baluch”, “Balouch” etc. Again “Baluchs/Baluches” or “Balouchs/Balouches” do not sound “attractive”.Balochi: Anything related to the Baloch (people from Balochistan) can be described as Balochi. It can have genitive form or simply used as an adjective.

Languge of the Baloch is called Balochi. Not only, we the Baloch, call it “Balochi”, but every other non-Baloch person also calls it “Balochi”. At least, there is unanimous acceptance about this issue. There are still variations in spelling “Balochi” such as “Baluchi” and “Balouchi”. But it is not a big issue.
“Balochi” is mainly used as an adjective e.g. “Balochi dress”, “Balochi book”, “Balochi dance”, etc. “Baloch” cannot be used in the same context. It is, however, to be noticed when one refers directly to people, i.e. the Baloch, it is rather use “Baloch” not “Balochi” in any compound nouns. e.g.
Baloch Students’ Federation (not Balochi Students’ Federation) as it refers to Baloch people (in this case, students). Also=2 0″Baloch women” but NOT Balochi women (again Baloch refers to people, women) etc.In the meantime, there is a need for a flexible approach towards this issue, as there is no standard/universal rule especially with regards to “Baloch”, “Balochi” etc. The same applies to Balochi orthography (both in Persian/Urdu and Latin/English alphabets). At this stage, there is no excuse for exclusion of any approach, style and preferences. As for various dialects of Balochi language, there is an even greater need for flexibility. All Balochi accents should be encouraged both orally and in written forms.

Karachi: Lyari And Malir See Revival Of Interest In Baloch Culture

Several educational organisations, musical clubs and video academies have cropped up in Lyari, Malir and Golimar areas in the informal sector, which are playing a crucial role in the promotion of the Balochi language

KARACHI, March 2: Years of neglect and backwardness has created a sense of national identity among the Baloch populace of Karachi. Many of them think that it can only be maintained by preserving their culture and language.

Of late, it is witnessed that a slow cultural revolution is taking place in Lyari, Malir, Golimar and other Baloch-dominated localities as the area residents link their destiny with the revival of their culture and language.

Moreover, the Balochistan military operation has changed their psyche and they have started talking about Baloch nationalism, Balochistan and its history.

Several educational organisations, musical clubs and video academies have cropped up in Lyari, Malir and Golimar areas in the informal sector, which are playing a crucial role in the promotion of the Balochi language.

Besides, some non-governmental organisations have established several coaching centres where Balochi as well as English language classes are being conducted. In Lyari, these institutions are being run in Singoolane and Nawalane by youths, who have been striving hard for the promotion of the Balochi language.

Several women activists have been actively participating in the language classes. They regularly contact Baloch women and motivate them to learn the Balochi language.

Most textbooks in Balochi language have also been translated into English. Besides, some monthly and daily publications are also being distributed in the Baloch-dominated areas of the city. One such monthly is “Labzank”, which is being published and distributed in Lyari on a regular basis. “Tawar”, a daily published both in the Urdu and English languages, is also available in the local markets.

An activist who did not want to disclose his identity said, “We have of course lit a candle in a huge, dark ditch. I wish this candle may continue to provide light forever.

“We believe we can make a difference if we keep on working and do not get despaired. I want every Baloch to learn, read, write, listen to and speak the Balochi language worldwide. And I hope the success is in the offing.”

Most teachers in the informal educational centres are spending their time and efforts to help children in their studies and to keep them away from drugs.

According to Majeed Baloch, a private school teacher who also works for a street school “ARM” in Baghdadi area, coaching classes have become essential for children because they learn so little in the public schools where teachers seldom take classes and expect students to work on their own.

“They ask children to buy guidebooks and study their notes,” confided a volunteer, saying that how government school teachers expected the poor children or their families would manage to pay for the costly guides.

Seeing the progress made by street schools in Lyari, youths in Malir and Golimar have now taken up the task and started sponsoring street schools in their respective localities. “They really need help. I hope other social organisations will come forward and lend a helping hand,” a senior social worker observed.

Meanwhile, a social worker told Dawn that a street school in Baghdadi which was abandoned some time ago due to gang warfare would be reopened very soon. The wall of the Bombassa Street has been repainted. In the same locality, a new NGO has emerged with the support of a Balochistan-based nationalist party.

Cute Balochi Pashk ‘female Dress’ Goes To Bollywood!

Dress is one of the most important representations of the uniqueness of a nation. Cute Pashk is one of the connecting aspects of the people of Baluchistan, along with land, language and history

Cute Balochi Pashk ‘Female Dress’ Goes to Bollywood!


Dress is one of the most important representations of the uniqueness of a nation. Cute Pashk is one of the connecting aspects of the people of Baluchistan, along with land, language and history. I remember, lately I was in Tokyo, Japan; I saw how Japanese girls were proud of their traditional dress KIMONO.

I still remember when I checked in Imperial Palace Hotel in Tokyo, right across the Emperor Palace around GINZA, first thing I noticed, girls wearing cultural KIMONO, at the reception, even university convocation was also being held at the hotel, every one was in traditional KIMONO. My host informed me that traditional dress means a lot to people, it connects everyone, binds the nation; it is the power of dress that plays a role of common unifying factor of nationhood.


Lately, Slumdog Millionaire movie premier attracted millions, even I during my recent US visit, almost in top 5 States, 90% of cinema halls were playing Slumdog Millionaire. When I saw famous Shabana Azmi in Balochi dress at the movie premiere , it was like a fresh air to me, soothing to eyes and satisfying moment to see cute Pashk ‘Balochi Dress’ going Bollywood. At this juncture of historic struggle of Baloch nation, this picture means a lot to all of us. I remember many of my close friends forwarded and shared the picture with sheer joy and pride.

Shabana was wearing the dress, is called Kalati Doch, and it is a Tarho/Tadho (Tarho means the Chageen/embroidery is made on canvas then fitted on the shirt) This Kalati Tarho, of Shabana Azmi, is an old and traditional in design. Its front pocket is called Goptaan or Pandol.

There are several types of doch (balochi embroidery done on pashk). There’s Kapnaal doch, Rind doch, Banor-e-Ans (Bride’s Tear), Gul -e- Kantuk, Badshah-e-Taj (King’s Crown), Taidok, Pazep, Neza, Chandan-e-Haar, Gul-e-Nimash, et al

The patterns on Balochi dress seems artistic and unique in nature, I wish the art survives and cute Pashk attracts many more all around.

All simply gives me joy and pride.

Top Article: A Home Grown Conflict Malik Siraj

When the first Baloch insurgency broke out in 1948 to resist the illegal and forceful annexation of the Baloch-populated autonomous Kalat state with Pakistan, Manmohan Singh – today Indian prime minister – was barely a teenager while his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani had not even been born to witness the rebellion’s magnitude. Yet, last month, both leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh discussed for the first time the indefatigable Baloch insurgency.

Pakistan has been blaming India for causing trouble in its resource-rich province. Gilani broached the issue with India at a time disgruntled Baloch youth have removed the Pakistani flag from schools and colleges and stopped playing the national anthem. Punjabi officers refuse to serve in Balochistan, fearing they would be target-killed. Islamabad attributes the unrest to ‘foreign involvement’. India is not the first to be blamed. Similar allegations were levelled in the past against the now defunct Soviet Union, Afghanistan and Iraq to discredit the indigenous movement for retaining a distinct Baloch identity. Indian assistance sounds ridiculous given that the Baloch do not share a border, common language, religion or history with India. Hardly has 1 per cent of Balochs have visited India.

The idea of Pakistan never attracted the secular Baloch. Ghose Baksh Bizanjo, a Baloch leader, said in 1947: “It is not necessary that by virtue of our being Muslims we should lose our freedom… If the mere fact that we are Muslims requires us to join Pakistan, then Afghanistan and Iran… should also amalgamate with Pakistan.”

Over the years, Islamabad has applied a multi-pronged approach to deal with Balochista Apart from military operations launched in 1948, 1958, 1962, 1973 and 2002 to quash the rebellion, Islamabad adopted other tactics. First, it kept the province economically backward by denying it good infrastructure, mainly in education and health. Natural gas was discovered in Balochistan in 1951 and supplied to Punjab’s industrial units. The Balochs hardly benefit from their own gas.

Second, Balochs, whom the state views as traitors, were denied representation in the army, foreign services, federal departments, profitable corporations, Pakistan International Airlines, customs, railways and other key institutions. Third, Balochistan has historically been remote-controlled from Islamabad. A Pakistan army corps commander, often a Punjabi or a Pathan, and the inspector general of the Frontier Corps, a federal paramilitary force with less than 2 per cent Baloch representation, exert more power than the province’s elected chief minister. The intelligence agencies devise election plans and decide who has to come to the provincial parliament and who should be ousted.

Fourth, Islamabad has created a state of terror inside Balochistan. Hundreds of check posts have been established to harass people and restrict their movement. Forces and tanks are stationed even on campuses of universities. Fifth, national and international media are denied access to conflict zones in Balochistan. Several foreign journalists were beaten up supposedly by intelligence agencies personnel or deported when they endeavoured to report the actual situation. Sixth, international human rights organisations are denied access to trace the whereabouts of some 5,000 ‘missing persons’. Pakistan is also in a state of denial about the existence of around 2,00,000 internally displaced persons in Balochistan.

Seventh, Islamabad has been engaged in systematic target killing of key Baloch democratic leaders. Ex-governor and chief minister of Balochistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti, 79, became a victim once he demanded Baloch rights. Balach Marri, a Balochistan Assembly member, was killed to undermine the movement. In April this year, three other prominent leaders were whisked away by security forces and subsequently killed.

Eighth, Pakistan has pitted radical Taliban against secular and democratic Baloch forces. The state is brazenly funding thousands of religious schools across the province with the help of Arab countries to promote religious radicalisation. Elements supportive of Taliban were covertly helped by state institutions to contest and win general elections. They now enjoy sizeable representation in the Balochistan Assembly to legislate against the nationalists and secular forces.

Ninth, Islamabad has been using sophisticated American weapons, provided to crush Taliban, against the Baloch people. This has provided breathing space to Taliban hidden in Quetta and weeded out progressive elements. Finally, Afghan refugees are being patronised to create a demographic imbalance in the Baloch-dominated province.

Baloch leaders are critical of many democratic countries for not doing ‘enough’ to safeguard a democratic, secular Baloch people. I asked Bramdagh Bugti, a Baloch commander, about the India link. He laughed and said, “Would our people live amid such miserable conditions if we enjoyed support from India? We are an oppressed people… seeking help from India, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union to come for our rescue.”

The Baloch movement is rapidly trickling down from tribal chiefs to educated middle-class youth aggressively propagating their cause on Facebook and YouTube. This generation would understandably welcome foreign assistance but will not give up even if denied help from countries like India. The Baloch insist their struggle was not interrupted even at times when India and Pakistan enjoyed cordial relations.

The writer is Balochistan bureau chief of Daily Times .

Dar Brings Baluchi Music To Kuwait

Long years of migration left them open to various influences. He spoke of the presence of Baluchis, who can trace their origins to Africa. “When I spent sometime there, they called me a ‘White Baluch’,” said the Professor whose beautiful performance was resonant with his love not only for his subject, but for the people and culture that he is trying to showcase.

During.jpg
On Monday, Feb 8, Dar Al-Athar Al-Islamiyyah introduced their friends and patrons to the fascinating world of ‘Baluchi Music and Trance Healing’ at the Al-Maidan Cultural Centre through a lecture, images, beautiful sound bites and a rare and unpublished video footage shot in Karachi, Pakistan. The speaker/ performer for the evening was the celebrated ethnomusicologist Prof Jean During, known for his multifaceted approach which invests his publications and lecture concerts with an originality that combines aesthetics, religious anthropology and mysticism. His presentation at the Dar Al Athar was no exception.
He played beautiful strains of music common to areas of Pakistan, India Afghanistan and Iran, he also offered the audience a look at ritualistic mystical practices adhered to by sections and areas of the Indo -Pak subcontinent. Like the Baluchis, rituals practiced by the ‘sidi sufis’ in Gujarat and similar traditions in Hinduism show the cross-cultural influences and homogeneity shared by the Subcontinent.

Traditions
As Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Prof During spent 11 years in Iran and five years in Uzbekistan. He has written twelve books on the musical traditions and cultures of Inner Asia, more than a hundred articles and has released around 30 CDs. Three of his books have been translated into Persian. His fieldwork covers many traditions of Inner Asia.
He studies not only musical forms, but also Sufi and Shamanic rituals and the cultural traditions related to musical practices.In the 1970’s he learned Persian classical music (on the lute târ and setâr) with the best masters of the time. Later, in Karachi, he mastered the playing of the Sufi and trance Baluchi repertoire on the fiddle sorud. He has given many concerts of these traditions in Europe and USA. He is one of the rare Westerners who has devoted himself to composing in the traditional maqâm forms, for which he was awarded from Cultures France in 2007.
“The Baluchi people occupy a vast territory covering the western half of Pakistan and southeastern Iran. They also move throughout the Gulf coastal regions and are found in Turkmen and Afghan Khôrasân,” notes Prof During, who spent time in Karachi studying and researching Baluchi music and rituals. ” In both Iran and Pakistan Baluchis are viewed as marginal and rebellious.”
Long years of migration left them open to various influences. He spoke of the presence of Baluchis, who can trace their origins to Africa. “When I spent sometime there, they called me a ‘White Baluch’,” said the Professor whose beautiful performance was resonant with his love not only for his subject, but for the people and culture that he is trying to showcase. “They have preserved a culture of great originality in which archaic Iranian elements are rooted in a more ancient Dravidian substratum. They have also intermingled with the desert peoples of Western India among which the proto-Gypsies (Luli, Langaw, Ostâ) who for centuries were outstanding musicians adapting their know-how to local sedentary traditions.”

Practice
The Professor recounts the instance of the Persian King Brahma who requested his Indian counterpart for 12,000 Indian musicians who would practice their art in Persia. These Gypsies are believed to be the ancestors of the Persian Gypsies. They propagated Indian music and dancing and may have travelled further into Europe in the next four to five hundred years, where they are regarded as ancestors of the Romany people. Speaking of cross cultural blending, the Professor refers to the musical similarities between India, Pakistan, Iran and Spain, noting the Eastern influence prevalent in the popular flamenco.
The sorud is the principal instrument of the Baluch, some of whom claim a musical lineage that goes back seven generations. It is a highly sophisticated fiddle with four melodic strings and six sympathetic strings that resembles the ‘sarinda’ which is popular in India and Nepal. The scholar went on to intersperse his discourse with recorded music that illustrated various genres of baluchi music.

Healing
“Professional baluchi music is a soloist art, but they do come together and play at festival and other entertainment.” There are various genres depending on the subject matter and occasion such as entertainment, love, epic and sufi. The trance songs of the Baluch draws from both the profane and the sacred types of Baluchi music. Drawing comparison with the Arabic maqam and thereby establishing the high artistic value of this form of music, the Professor notes ” In musical hierarchy, the zahirig as a maqam or raga system occupies the most eminent position.
It works as the basis, the substance of music as well as its abstract essence, the knowledge of which defines mastery.”
He went on to show through a video recording special healing and devotional rituals using a specific repertoire of pieces called guâti-damali, or qalandari, in which the principal actors are the shaman, the patient and the fiddle player accompanied by a rhythmic lute (tanburag). A sick person unsuccessfully treated by a doctor and a mullah who uses appropriate koranic prayers and chants, as a last recourse consults a shaman who specializes in dealing with a kind of spirit called ‘guat’.
The shaman organizes a trance session in order to neutralize the evil spirit and cure the patient. “These spirits are of a particular species, much more stubborn than ordinary ones, and cannot be dealt with except by organizing a musical session (leb, la’ab) with the obligatory participation of the fiddle sorud. All night long music (mainly instrumental) is performed to the patient in an endeavor to please the guâtand force him into manifesting himself through the patient’s trance. This process has to be repeated several nights in succession after which the khalife bargain with the spirit,”notes Prof During.
These sessions require the obligatory performance of the fiddle and tanboura. In this ritual, instrumental and vocal music and a form of dance trance state is the fundamental principle of operation along with a pike, fire, perfume, incense and sacrifice. The trance like state of the khallife is at times punctuated by high drama and theatrics. At the end of his presentation, Professor During was asked if he believed in what seemed a mere superstitious ritual. He refers to this ceremony as a rich, profound and complex phenomenon which cannot be reduced to the ordinary category of possession cults like voodoo, zar or candomble. It has much more in common with shamanism and even Sufi ritual as the officiator (khalife) enters himself into a state of trance and is helped in his diagnosis by a familiar guât.

Great Baluchi Vocalist Kamal Khan Dies

Musician Mohammadreza Darvishi had also described Kamal Khan as a grand singer in the true sense of the term in the Baluchistan region. This is true Darvishi said, “Because not only is he a great singer, but also an eminent poet who helped preserve the intangible history and ancient culture of the region.”

TEHRAN — The outstanding vocalist and poet of Baluchistan Kamal Khan Hout died of a weak constitution in his hometown early Sunday. He was 68.

Kamal Khan was taken to a hospital in Chabahar on Saturday night and was admitted to the CCU to receive medical treatment but died at 2am Sunday, the Persian service of MNA reported.

His style of singing was epical and heroic, part of the oldest styles of Baluch music, and was popular among the Baluchis.

“It is a great pleasure for me to attend the honoring ceremony of a prominent musician from Baluchistan, and I must admit that the music of the region has not been recognized and respected well,” vocalist Mohammadreza Shajarian had declared in a ceremony the Iranian Academy of Arts arranged to honor Kamal Khan in 2007.

Kamal Khan never went to school but was able to read and write and always carried a notebook with him. He used to write his own poetry and poems by others in his notebook. He had a very good memory that surprised many people.

Musician Mohammadreza Darvishi had also described Kamal Khan as a grand singer in the true sense of the term in the Baluchistan region. This is true Darvishi said, “Because not only is he a great singer, but also an eminent poet who helped preserve the intangible history and ancient culture of the region.”

“There are many musicians and singers in Baluchistan who are number one in technique, but I dare say the singing techniques of Kamal Khan are unique compared to other styles in several other regions. Kamal Khan has a close relationship with the literature of Baluchistan. He is actually important, since he is a narrator of culture and civilization through the music of Baluchistan,” Darvishi once mentioned.

Photo: Kamal Khan Hout performs during a ceremony held by the Iranian Academy of Arts in Tehran on October 17, 2007 to honor the veteran Iranian Baluchi vocalist with a lifetime achievement award. (Mehr/Mohsen Sajjadi)