1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baluchistan (India)
BALUCHISTAN, a country within the borders of British India which, like Afghanistan, derives its name from its dominant race of inhabitants. It extends from the Gomal river to the Arabian Sea, and from the borders of Persia and Afghanistan to those of the Punjab and Sind. It is divided into two main divisions, British Baluchistan, which is a portion of British India under the chief commissioner, and the foreign territories under the administration or superintendence of the same officer as agent to the governor-general. The former portion, with an area of 9403 sq. m., consists principally of tracts ceded to the British government by Afghanistan under the treaty of Gandamak (1879), and formally declared to be part of British India in 1887. The second class comprises three subdivisions, namely areas directly administered, native states and tribal areas. The directly-administered districts include areas acquired in various ways. Some portions are held on lease from the khan of Kalat; while others are tribal areas in which it has been decided for various reasons that revenue shall be taken. They include the whole of the Zhob and Chagai political agencies, the eastern portion of the Quetta tahsil and other tracts, among which may be mentioned the Bolan Pass, comprising 36,401 sq. m. in all. The whole of the northern boundary, with the north-eastern corner and the railway which traverses Baluchistan through Quetta up to New Chaman on the Afghan-Baluch frontier, is therefore in one form or other under direct British control. The remainder of the territory (79,382 sq. m.) belongs to the native states of Kalat (including Makran and Kharan) and Las Bela. Tribal areas, in the possession of the Marri and Bugti tribes, cover 7129 sq. m.
Baluchistan as a whole is a sparsely populated tract covering a larger area than any Indian province save Burma, Madras and Bengal. Three hundred miles of its mountain walls facing the Indus are south of the railway from the Indus to Quetta, and about 250 north of it. The railway with the passes and plains about it, and the dominant hills which surround Quetta, divide Baluchistan into two distinct parts. North of the railway line, hedged in between Afghanistan and the plains of the Indus, stretch the long ridges of rough but picturesque highlands, which embrace the central ranges of the Suliman system (the prehistoric home of the Pathan highlander), where vegetation is often alpine, and the climate clear and bracing and subject to no great extremes of temperature. The average breadth of this northern Pathan district is 150 m., but it narrows to less than 100 m. on the line of the Gomal, and expands to more than 200 m. on the line of the railway. Here all the main drainage either runs northwards to the Gomal, passing through the uplands that lie west of the Suliman Range; or it gathers locally in narrow lateral valleys at the back of these mountains and then bursts directly eastwards through the limestone axis of the hills, making for the Indus by the shortest transverse route. South of the railway lies a square block of territory, measuring roughly 300 m. by 300, primarily the home of the Brahui and the Baluch; but within that block are included almost every conceivable phase of climate and representatives of half the great races of Asia. Here, throughout the elevated highlands of the Kalat plateau which are called Jalawan, the drainage gathers into channels which cut deep gorges in the hills, and passes eastwards into the plains of Sind. Beyond and south of the hydrographical area of the Jalawan highlands the rivers and streams of the hills either run in long straight lines to the Arabian Sea, north of Karachi, or, curving gradually westwards, they disappear in the inland swamps which form so prominent a feature in this part of south-west Asia. A narrow width of the coast districts collects its waters for discharge into the Arabian Sea direct. This section includes Makran. Baluchistan thus becomes naturally divided into two districts, north and south, by an intervening space which contains the Sind-Pishin railway. This intervening space comprises the wedge-shaped desert of Kach Gandava (Gandava), which is thrust westwards from the Indus as a deep indentation into the mountains, and, above it, the central uplands which figure on the map as "British Baluchistan"—where lies Quetta. All Baluchistan has now been surveyed. From the great Indus series of triangles bases have been selected at intervals which have supported minor chains of triangulation reaching into the heart of the country. These again have been connected by links of more or less regularity, so that, if the Baluchistan triangulation lacks the rigid accuracy of a "first class” system, it at least supports good topography on geographical scales.
From Domandi, at the junction of the Gomal and Kundar rivers, the boundary between Baluchistan and Afghanistan follows the Kundar stream for about 40 m. to the south-west. It then leaves the river and diverges northwards, so as to include a section of the plain country stretching away towards LakeNorthern. Ab-i-Istada, before returning to the skirts of the hills. After about 100 m. of this divergence it strikes the Kadanai river, turning the northern spurs of the Toba plateau (the base of the Kwaja Amran (Kojak) Range), and winds through the open plains west of the Kojak. Here, however, the boundary does not follow the river. It deserts it for the western edge of the Toba plateau (8000 ft. high at this point), till it nears the little railway station of New Chaman. It then descends to the plains, returns again to the hills 40 m. south of Chaman, and thenceforward is defined by hill ranges southwards to Nushki. The eastern boundary of this northern section of Baluchistan is the “red line” at the foot of the frontier hills, which defines the border of British India. This part of Baluchistan thus presents a buffer system of independent tribes between the British frontier and Afghanistan. But the independence of the Pathan people south of the Gomal is not as the independence of the Pathans (Waziris, Afridis, &c.) who live north of it. It is true that the Indian government interferes as little with the internal jurisdiction of the tribal chiefs amongst the Pathans of the Suliman Range as it does with that of the northern chiefs; but the occupation of a line of posts on the Zhob river, which flanks that range almost from end to end on the west, places the doors of communication with Afghanistan in British hands, and gives command of their hills. It thus tends to the maintenance of peace and order on the southern frontier to a degree that does not exist in the north.
The central range of the Suliman hills is the dominant feature in the geography of northern Baluchistan. The central line or axis of the range lies a little east of the meridian of 70° E., and it is geologically composed of one or more great folds of the Cretaceous series. Towards the northern extremity of the range occur a group of peaks, which together form an oblong block or “massif” amongst the neighbouring ridges known as “Kaisargarh” amongst the Sherani clansmen who occupy it; and as the “Takht-i-Suliman” (Solomon’s throne), generally, on the frontier, from the fact of a celebrated shrine of that name existing near its southern abutment. The massif of the Takht is a high tableland (about 8000 ft. above sea-level), bounded on its eastern and western edges by high, rugged and steep parallel ridges. The western ridge culminates on the north in the peak of Kaisargarh (11,300 ft.), and the eastern in a block, or detached headland, on the south, where rests the immortal “zirat” or shrine (11,070 ft.). This tableland is formed by a huge cap of coral limestone, estimated by Griesbach at from 4000 to 5000 ft. in thickness. At each end the tableland is rent by gorges which deepen, amidst stupendous precipices, to the channel of the Draband or “Gat” on the north, and of the Dhana on the south. These two channels carry the rush of mountain streams from the western slopes of the massif right across the axis of the mountains and through the intervening barrier of minor ridges to the plains of the Indus. The plateau is covered with a fairly thick growth of the chilghosa or “edible” pine, and a sprinkling of juniper, on the higher slopes. It was ascended and surveyed for the first time in 1883.
From the summit of the Kaisargarh peak a magnificent view is obtained which practically embraces the whole width of northern Baluchistan. Westwards, looking towards Afghanistan, line upon line of broken jagged ridges and ranges, folds in the Cretaceous series overlaid by coarse sandstones and shales, follow each other in order, preserving their approximate parallelism until they touch the borders of Baluchistan. Immediately on the west of the Kaisargarh there towers the Shingarh Mountain, a geological repetition of the Kaisargarh ridge, black with pines towards the summit and crowned with crags of coral limestone. Beyond it are the grey outlines of the close-packed ridges which enclose the lower reaches of the Zhob and the Kundar. As they pass away southwards this grid-iron formation strikes with a gentle curve westwards, the narrow enclosed valleys widening out towards the sources of the rivers, where ages of denudation have worn down the folds and filled up the hollows with fruitful soil, until at last they touch the central water-divide, the key of the whole system, on the Quetta plateau. Thus the upper parts of the Zhob valley are comparatively open and fertile, with flourishing villages, and a cultivation which has been greatly developed under British rule, and are bounded by long, sweeping, gentle spurs clothed with wild olive woods containing trees of immense size. The lower reaches of the Zhob and Kundar are hemmed in by rugged limestone walls, serrated and banded with deep clefts and gorges, a wilderness of stony desolation. Looking eastwards from the Kaisargarh, one can again count the backs of innumerable minor ridges, smaller wrinkles or folds formed during a process of upheaval of the Suliman Mountains, at the close of a great volcanic epoch which has hardly yet ceased to give evidence of its existence. On the outside edge, facing the Indus plains, is a more strictly regular, but higher and more rugged, ridge of hills which marks the Siwaliks. The Baluch Siwaliks afford us strange glimpses into a recent geological past, when the same gigantic mammals roamed along the foot of these wild hills as once inhabited the tangled forests below the Himalaya. Between the Takht Mountain and the Siwaliks, the intervening belt of ridge and furrow has been greatly denuded by transverse drainage—a system of drainage which we now know to have existed before the formation of the hills, and to have continued to cut through them as they gradually rose above the plain level. Where this intervening band is not covered by recent gravel deposits, it exhibits beds of limestone, clays and sandstone with fossils, which, in age, range from the Lower Eocene to the Miocene. Beyond the Siwaliks, still looking eastwards, are the sand waves of the Indus plain; a yellow sea broken here and there with the shadow of village orchards and the sheen of cultivation, extending to the long black sinuous line which denotes the fringe of trees bordering the Indus. Such is the scene which Solomon is said to have invited his Indian bride to gaze upon for the last time, as they rested on the crags of the southern buttress of the Takht—where his shrine exists to this day. To that shrine thousands of pilgrims, Mahommedans and Hindus alike, resort on their yearly pilgrimages, in spite of its dangerous approach. All this country, so far, is independent Baluchistan within the jurisdiction of the Baluchistan Agency, with the exception of certain clans of the Sheranis on the eastern slopes of the Takht-i-Suliman, north of the Vihowa, who are under the North-West Frontier Province administration. Wedged in between the railway and the Indus, but still north of the railway, is a curious mass of rough mountain country, which forms the southern abutment of the Suliman system. The strike of the main ridges forming that system is almost due north and south till it touches 30° N. lat. Here it assumes a westerly curve, till it points north-west, and finally merges into the broad band of mountains which hedge in the Quetta and Pishin uplands on the north and east.
At this point, as might be expected, are some of the grandest peaks and precipices in Baluchistan. Khalifat on the east of Quetta, flanking the Harnai loop of the Sind-Pishin railway; Takatu to the north; Chahiltan (Chiltan) on the south-west; and the great square-headed Murdar to the south—all overlook the pretty cantonment from heights which range from 10,500 to 11,500 ft. Lying in the midst of them, on an open plain formed by the high-level tributaries of the Lora (which have also raised the Pishin valley to the north), 5500 ft. above the sea, is Quetta. The mass of twisted flexures, the curved wrinkles that end the Suliman system, is occupied by true Baluchis, the Marri and Bugti sections of the great Rind confederation of tribes owning an Arabic origin. There are no Pathans here. To the north of them are the Bozdars, another Rind clan; and these Rind tribes form the exception to the general rule of Pathan occupation of northern Baluchistan. Amongst the Pathans, the Kakars and Dumars of Pishin, with the Mando Khel of Zhob, are the most prominent tribal divisions.
The curved recession of the Suliman Ranges to the north-west leaves a space of flat alluvial desert to the south, which forms a sort of inlet or bay striking into the Baluchistan mountain system. The point of this desert inlet receives the drainage of two local basins, the Bolan and the Nari. Both drain south-eastwards Central.from the central Quetta-Pishin plateau and both have served for railway alignment. Being fed by tributaries which for the most part drain narrow valleys where gradual denudation has washed bare the flat-backed slopes of limestone ridges, and which consequently send down torrents of rapidly accumulating rainfall, both these central lines of water-course are liable to terrific floods. The drainage of the Bolan and Nari finally disappears in the irrigated flats of the alluvial bay (Kach Gandava), which extends 130 m. from the Indus to Sibi at the foot of the hills, and which offers (in spite of periodic Indus floods) an opportunity for railway approach to Baluchistan such as occurs nowhere else on the frontier. Kach Gandava, whilst its agricultural development has in no way receded, is now rivalled by many of the valleys of the highlands. Its climate debars it from European occupation. It is a land of dust-storms and poisonous winds; a land where the thermometer never sinks below 100° F. in summer, and drops below freezing-point in winter; where there is a deadly monotony of dust-coloured scenery for the greater part of the year, with the minimum of rain and the maximum of heat. The Quetta and Pishin plateau to which it leads is the central dominant water-divide of Baluchistan and the base of the Kandahar highway.
An irregularly-shaped block of upland territory, which includes all the upper Lora tributaries, and the Toba plateau beyond them; resting on the Kwaja Amran (Kojak) Range (with an advanced loop to include the Chaman railway terminus) on the west; reaching south through Shorarud to Nushki; including the basins British.of the Bolan and Nari as far as Sibi to the south-east; stretching out an arm to embrace the Thal Chotiali valley on the east, and following the main water-divide between the Zhob and Lora on the north, is called British Baluchistan. It is leased from Kalat, and forms a distinctive province, being brought under the ordinary forms of civil administration in British India. Beyond it, north and south, lies independent Baluchistan, which is under British political control. Its administrative staff is usually composed of military officers. The degree of independence enjoyed by the various districts of Baluchistan may be said to vary in direct proportion to their distance from Quetta. No part of Baluchistan is beyond the reach of the political officer, but there are many parts where he is not often seen. The climate of British Baluchistan is dry and bracing—even exhilarating—but the extremes of temperature lead to the development of fever in very severe forms. On the whole it is favourable to European existence.
South-west of the dividing railway lies the great block of Southern Baluchistan. Within this area the drainage generally trends south and west, either to the Arabian Sea or to the central swamps of Lora and Mashkel. The Hab river, which forms the boundary west of Karachi; the Purali (the ancient Arabus), which Southern.drains the low-lying flats of Las Bela; the Hingol (the ancient Tomerus) and the Dasht, which drain Makran, are all considerable streams, draining into the Arabian Sea and forming important arteries in the network of internal communication. An exception to the general rule is found in the Mulla, which carries the floods of the Kalat highlands into the Gandava basin and forms one of the most important of the ancient highways from the Indus plains to Kandahar. The fortress of Kalat is situated about midway between the sources of the Bolan and the Mulla, near a small tributary of the Lora (the river of Pishin and Quetta), about 6800 ft. above sea-level, on the western edge of a cultivated plain in the very midst of hills. (See Kalat.) To the north are the long sweeping lines of the Sarawan ridges, enclosing narrow fertile valleys, and passing away to the south-west to the edge of the Kharan desert. East and south are the rugged bands of Jalawan, amongst which the Mulla rises, and through which it breaks in a series of magnificent defiles in order to reach the Gandava plain. Routes which converge on Kalat from the south pass for the most part through narrow wooded valleys, enclosed between steep ridges of denuded hills, and, following the general strike of these ridges, they run from valley to valley with easy grades. Kalat is the “hub” or centre, from which radiate the Bolan, the Mulla and the southern Lora affluents; but the Lora drains also the Pishin valley on the north; the two systems uniting in Shorawak, to lose themselves in the desert and swamps to the west of Nushki, on the road to Seistan. Sixty miles south of Kalat, and beyond the Mulla sources, commences another remarkable hydrographic system which includes all southern and south-western Baluchistan. To the west lies the Kharan desert, with intermittent river channels enclosed and often lost in sand-waves ere they reach the Mashkel swamps on the far borders of Persia. To the south-west are the long sweeping valleys of Rakshan and Panjgur, which, curving northwards, likewise discharge their drainage into the Mashkel. Directly south are the beginnings of the meridional arteries, the Hab, the Purali and the Hingol, which end in the Arabian Sea, leaving a space of mountainous seaboard (Makran) south of the Panjgur and west of the Hingol, which is watered (so far as it is watered at all) by the long lateral Kej river and several smaller mountain streams. Thus southern Baluchistan comprises four hydrographical sections. First is the long extension from Kalat, southwards, of that inconceivably wild highland country which faces the desert of Sind, the foot of which forms the Indian frontier. This is the land of the Brahui, and the flat wall of its frontier limestone barrier is one of the most remarkable features in the configuration of the whole line of Indian borderland. For the first 60 m. from the sea near Karachi the Hab river is the boundary of Sind, and here, across the enclosing desolation of outcropping ridges and intervening sand, a road may be found into Makran. But from the point where the boundary leaves the Hab to follow the Kirthar range not a break occurs (save one) in 150 m. of solid rock wall, rising many thousands of feet straight from the sandy plain. The one break, or gorge, which allows the Kej waters to pass, only forms a local gateway into a mass of impracticable hills. Secondly, to the west of this mountain wilderness, stretching upwards from the sea in a wedge form between the Brahui highlands and the group of towering peaks which enclose the Hingol river and abut on the sea at Malan, are the alluvial flats and delta of the Purali, forming the little province of Las Bela, the home of the Las Rajput. In this hot and thirsty corner of Baluchistan, ruled by the Jam or Cham, there is a fairly wide stretch of cultivation, nourished by the alluvial detritus of the Purali and well irrigated. In a little garden to the south of the modern town of Bela (the ancient Armabel) is the tomb of Sir Robert Sandeman, who spent the best part of an energetic and active life in the making of Baluchistan.
The boundary between Baluchistan and Afghanistan, starting from Nushki, cuts across the Lora hamun, leaving the frontier post of Chagai to Baluchistan, and from this point to the Malik Siah Koh it is based partly on the central mountainous water-divide already referred to, and partly runs in straight Western boundary.lines through the desert south of the salt swamps of the Gaud-i-Zirreh. It thus passes 50 m. to the south of the Helmund, entirely shutting off that valley and the approach to Seistan between the Helmund and the Gaud-i-Zirreh (the only approach from the east in seasons of flood) from Baluchistan. But it leaves a connected line of desert route between Nushki and Seistan, which is open in all ordinary seasons, to the south, and this route has been largely developed, posts or serais having been established at intervals and wells having been dug. There is already a promising khafila traffic along it and the railway has been extended from Quetta to Nushki.
Geology.—The mountain ranges of Baluchistan consist chiefly of Cretaceous and Tertiary beds, which are thrown into a series of folds running approximately parallel to the mountain ridges. The folds are part of an extensive system arranged as if in a festoon hanging southwards between Peshawar and Mount Ararat, but with the outer folds looped up at Sibi so as to form the subsidiary festoon of the Suliman and Bugti Hills. Outside the folds lie the horizontal deposits of the Makran coast, and within them lies the stony desert of north-western Baluchistan. In the broader depressions between the mountain ridges the beds are said to be but little disturbed. Besides the Cretaceous and Tertiary beds, Jurassic rocks are known to take a considerable part in the formation of the hills of British Baluchistan. Triassic beds lie along the south side of the upper Zhob, and Fusulina limestone has also been found there. With the exception of the later Tertiary beds the deposits are mostly marine. But in the upper Cretaceous and lower Tertiary, especially in north-western Baluchistan, there is an extensive development of volcanic tuffs and conglomerates, which are probably contemporaneous with the Deccan Traps of India. Great masses of syenite and diorite were intruded during the Tertiary period, and within the curve of the folded belt a line of recent volcanic cones stretches from western Baluchistan into eastern Persia. In Baluchistan these volcanoes appear to be extinct; though the Koh-i-Tafdan, beyond the Persian frontier, still emits vapours at frequent intervals. The lavas and ashes which form these cones are mostly andesitic. Mud “volcanoes” occur upon the Makran coast, but it is doubtful whether these are in any way connected with true volcanic agencies.
So far as is known, the mineral wealth of Baluchistan is inconsiderable. Coal has been worked in the Tertiary beds along the Harnai route to Quetta, but the seams are thin and the quality poor. A somewhat thick and viscid form of mineral oil is met with at Khattan in the Marri country; and petroleum of excellent quality has been found in the Sherani hills and probably occurs in other portions of the Suliman Range. Sulphur has long been worked on a small scale in the Koh-i-Sultan, the largest of the volcanoes of western Baluchistan.
Races.—Within the Baluchistan half of the desert are to be found scattered tribes of nomads, called Rekis (or desert people), the Mohamadani being the most numerous. They are probably of Arab origin. This central desert is the Kir, Kej, Katz or Kash Kaian of Arabic medieval geography and a part of the ancient Kaiani kingdom; the prefix Kej or Kach always denoting low-level flats or valleys, in contradistinction to mountains or hills. The Mohamadani nomads occupy the central mountain region, to the south of which lie the Mashkel and Kharan deserts, inhabited by a people of quite different origin, who possess something approaching to historical records. These are the Naushirwanis, a purely Persian race, who passed into Baluchistan within historic times, although the exact date is uncertain. The Naushirwanis appear to be identical with the Tahuki or Tahukani who are found in Perso-Baluchistan. (A place Taoce is mentioned by Nearchus, by Strabo and by Ptolemy.) They are a fine manly race of people, in many respects superior to their modern compatriots of Iran. Between the Naushirwanis of the Kharan desert and Mashkel, and the fish-eating population of the coast, enclosed in the narrow valleys of the Rakshan and Kej tributaries, or about the sources of the Hingol, are tribes innumerable, remnants of races which may be recognized in the works of Herodotus, or may be traced in the records of recent immigration. Equally scattered through the whole country, and almost everywhere recognizable, is the underlying Persian population (Tajik), which is sometimes represented by a locally dominant tribe, but more frequently by the agricultural slave and bondsman of the general community. Such are the Dehwars or Dehkans, and the Durzadas (Derusiaei of Herod. i. 125), who extend all through Makran, and, as slaves, are called Nakibs. The Arabs have naturally left their mark most strongly impressed on the ethnography of Baluchistan. All Rind tribes claim to be of Arab origin and of Koraish extraction. As the Arabs occupied all southern Baluchistan and Seistan from a very early date, and finally spread through the Sind valley, where they remained till the 12th century, their genealogical records have become much obscured and it is probable that there is not now a pure Arab in the country. It is as builders or engineers that they have established their most permanent records, Makran being full of the relics of their irrigation works constructed in times when the climatic conditions of Baluchistan must have been very different from what they are now. Lower Sind also contains a great wealth of architectural remains, which may be found to the west of the Indus as well as in the delta. One particular tribe (the Kalmats), who left their name on the Makran coast and subsequently dominated Bela and Sind, west of the Indus, for a considerable period, exhibit great power of artistic design in their sepulchral monuments. The Dravidian races (Brahuis), who are chiefly represented by the Kambaranis and Mingals or Mongals (the latter are doubtless of Tatar origin), spread through southern Baluchistan as well as the eastern hills, and are scattered irregularly through the mountain tracts south of Kharan. The ancient Oreitae mentioned by Arrian are probably represented by the tribe of Hot, who, as original masters of the soil, are exempt from taxation. The name Brahui is (according to Bellew) but a corruption of Ba-rohi (or “hillmen”) in a language derived from Sanskrit which would represent the same term by Parva-ka. So that the Παρικáνιοι (Herod, iii. 92) may be recognized as surviving in the Brahui, and in the name (Parkan) of a mountain-bred stream which is a tributary of the Hingol. Amongst other aboriginal tribes to whom reference is made by very early writers are the Bolédi, who give their name to the Bolida valley, a tributary of the Kej. The Bolédi were once the ruling race of southern Baluchistan, which was originally called Boledistan, and it seems possible that this may be the real origin of the much-disputed name of the country generally. Bola was an Assyrian term for Bael or Bel, the god of the Phoenicians and Druids. The Bolédi ruling family were in 1906 represented by but one living member, a lady, who was a government pensioner. The fast-diminishing Sajidis (Sajittae) and Saka (Sacae) are others of the more ancient races of Baluchistan easily recognizable in classical geography. Most recent of all are the Gitchkis. The Gitchkis derive from a Rajput adventurer who flourished in the early part of the 17th century. They are now the dominant race in Panjgur and Kej, from whence they ousted the Boledis. For three generations they remained Hindus; since then there has arisen amongst them a strange new sect called Zikari, with exceedingly loose notions of morality. The sect, however, appears to be fast merging into orthodox Mahommedanism. A Baluch (or rather Makran) race which deserves attention is that of the Gadaras, who once gave the name Gadrosia to Southern Baluchistan. According to Tate the Gadaras are now represented by Sidi half-castes—those Makrani “boys” who are so well known in the mercantile marine as stokers and firemen. It seems unlikely that this modern admixture of Asiatic and African blood represents the "Asiatic Ethiopian" of Herodotus, which was more probably a direct connexion of the Himyaritic Arab builders of “bunds” and revetments who spread eastwards from Arabia. Bellew finds in the Gadara the Garuda (eagles) of Sanskrit, who were ever in opposition to the Naga (snakes) of Scythic origin. Southern Baluchistan affords a most interesting field for the ethnographer. It has never yet been thoroughly explored in the interests of ethnographical science.
The Baluch character is influenced by its environment as much as by its origin, so that it is impossible to select any one section of the general community as affording a satisfactory sample of popular Baluch idiosyncrasies. They are not a homogeneous race. Peoples of Arab extraction intermixed with people of Dravidian and Persian stock are all lumped together under the name of Baluch. The Marri and Bugti tribes, who occupy the most southern buttresses of the Suliman Mountains, are Rind Baluchis, almost certainly of Arab extraction. They came to Sind either with the Arab conquerors or after them, and remained there mixed up with the original Hindu inhabitants. The Arab type of Baluch extends through the whole country at intervals, and includes all the finest and best of Baluch humanity. Taking the Rind Baluch as the type opposed to the Afridi Pathan, the Baluch is easier to deal with and to control than the Pathan, owing to his tribal organization and his freedom from bigoted fanaticism or blind allegiance to his priest. The Baluch is less turbulent, less treacherous, less bloodthirsty and less fanatical than the Pathan. His frame is shorter and more spare and wiry than that of his neighbour to the north, though generations have given to him too a bold and manly bearing. It would be difficult to match the stately dignity and imposing presence of a Baluch chief of the Marri or Bugti clans. His Semitic features are those of the Bedouin and he carries himself as straight and as loftily as any Arab gentleman. Frank and open in his manners, fairly truthful, faithful to his word, temperate and enduring, and looking upon courage as the highest virtue, the true Baluch of the Derajat is a pleasant man to have dealings with. As a revenue payer he is not so satisfactory, his want of industry and the pride which looks upon manual labour as degrading making him but a poor husbandman. He is an expert rider; horse-racing is his national amusement, and the Baluch breed of horses is celebrated throughout northern India. Like the Pathan he is a bandit by tradition and descent and makes a first-rate fighting man, but he rarely enlists in the Indian army. He is nominally a Mahommedan, but is neglectful of the practices of his religion. The relations of the modern Baluch with the government of India were entirely transformed by the life work of Sir Robert Sandeman. (q.v.).
The strategical position of Great Britain in Baluchistan is a very important factor in the problem of maintaining order and good administration in the country. The ever-restless Pathan tribes of the Suliman hills are held in check by the occupation of the Zhob Strategic interest. valley; whilst the central dominant position at Quetta safeguards the peace and security of Kalat, and of the wildest of the Baluch hills occupied by the Marris and Bugtis, no less than it bars the way to an advance upon India by way of Kandahar. Nominally all the provinces and districts of Baluchistan, with the exception of the ceded territory which we call British Baluchistan, are under the khan of Kalat, and all chiefs acknowledge him as their suzerain. But it may be doubted if this suzerainty was ever complete, or could be maintained at all but for the assistance of the British government. The Baluch is still essentially a robber and a raider (a trait which is common to all tribes), and the history of Baluchistan is nothing but a story of successful robberies, of lawless rapine and bloodshed, for which plunder and devastation were accounted a worthy and honourable return.
Extensive changes have taken place in the climatic condition of the country—changes which are some of them so recent as to be noted by surveyors who have found the remains of forests in districts now entirely
desiccated. Possibly the ordinary processes of denudation and erosion, acting on those recent deposits which overlie the harder beds of the older series, may have much to say to these climatic changes, and the wanton destruction of forests may have assisted the efforts of nature; but it is difficult to understand the widespread desiccation of large areas of the Baluch highlands, where evidences of Arab irrigation works and of cultivation still attest to a once flourishing agricultural condition, without appealing to more rapidly destructive principles for the change. There is ample proof throughout the country of alterations of level within recent geologic periods; and there have even been compressions, resulting in a relative rise of the ground, over the crests of anticlinal folds, within historic record. “Proof that this compression is still going on was given on 20th December 1892, when a severe earthquake resulted from the sudden yielding of the earth’s crust along what appears to be an old line of fault, west of the Kawaja Amran range, whereby an adjustment took place indicated by a shortening of some 21 ft. on the railway line which crossed the fault.” Nor should the evidences of active volcanic agency afforded by the mud volcanoes of the coast be overlooked. It is probably to climatic changes (whatever their origin may have been), rather than to the effects of tribal disturbances, that the Arab’s disappearance from the field of trade and agriculture must be attributed.
The total area of Baluchistan is 132,315 sq. m. and its population in 1901 was 914,551. The population is largely nomadic. The fact that so many as 15,000 camels have been counted
in the Bolan Pass during one month of the annual Brahui migration indicates the dimensions which the movement assumes. The religion of the country is so overwhelmingly Mahommedan that out of every 100,000 inhabitants 94,403 are Mussulman, and only 4706 Hindus, while the balance is made up by Christians, Sikhs and other denominations. Out of the total number 280 in the thousand are literates. The chief languages spoken are vernaculars of Baluchistan, Pushtu, Panjabi, Urdu and Sindhi. The
Baluchi language belongs to the Iranian branch of the Aryan subfamily of the Indo-European family. It is divided into two main dialects which are so different that speakers of the one are almost unintelligible to speakers of the other. These two dialects are separated by the belt of Brahui and Sindhi speakers who occupy the Sarawan and Jalawan hills, and Las Bela. Owing probably to the fact that Makran was for many generations under the rule of the Persian kings, the Baluchi spoken on the west of the province, which is also called Makrani, is more largely impregnated with Persian words and expressions than the Eastern dialect. In the latter the words in use for common objects and acts are nearly all pure Baluchi, the remainder of the language being borrowed from Persian, Sindhi and Panjabi. There is no indigenous literature, but many specimens of poetry exist in which heroes and brave deeds are commemorated, and a good many of these have been collected from time to time. The philological classification of the Brahui dialect has been much disputed, but the latest enquiries, conducted by Dr G. A. Grierson, have resulted in his placing it among the Dravidian languages. It is remarkable to find in Baluchistan a Dravidian tongue, surrounded on all sides by Aryan languages, and with the next nearest branch of the same family located so far away as the Gond hills of central India. Brahui has no literature of its own, and such knowledge as we possess of it is due to European scholars, such as Bellew, Trumpp and Caldwell. Numerically the Brahuis are the strongest race in Baluchistan. They number nearly 300,000 souls. Next to them and numbering nearly 200,000 are Pathans. After this there is a drop to 80,000 mixed Baluchis and less than 40,000 Lasis (Lumris) of Las Bela. There are thirteen indigenous tribes of Pathan origin, of which the Kakars (q.v.) are by far the most important, numbering more than 100,000 souls. They are to be found in the largest numbers in Zhob, Quetta, Pishin and Thal-Chotiali, but there are a few of them in Kalat and Chagai also. The most important Baluch tribes are the Marris, the Bughtis, the Boledis, the Domkis, the Magassis and the Rinds. Owing partly to the tribal system, and partly to the levelling effect of Islam, nothing similar to the Brahmanical system of social precedent is to be found in Baluchistan.
History.—Of the early history of this portion of the Asiatic continent little or nothing is known. The poverty and natural strength of the country, combined with the ferocious habits of the natives, seem to have equally repelled the friendly visits of inquisitive strangers and the hostile incursions of invading armies. The first distinct account which we have is from Arrian, who, with his usual brevity and severe veracity, narrates the march of Alexander through this region, which he calls the country of the Oreitae and Gadrosii. He gives a very accurate account of this forlorn tract, its general aridity and the necessity of obtaining water by digging in the beds of torrents; describes the food of the inhabitants as dates and fish; and adverts to the occasional occurrence of fertile spots, the abundance of aromatic and thorny shrubs and fragrant plants, and the violence of the monsoon in the western part of Makran. He notices also the impossibility of supporting a large army, and the consequent destruction of the greater part of the men and beasts which accompanied the expedition of Alexander. In the 8th century this country was traversed by an army of the Caliphate.
The precise period at which the Brahuis gained the mastery cannot be accurately ascertained; but it was probably about two and a half centuries ago. The last raja of the Hindu dynasty found himself compelled to call for the assistance of the mountain shepherds, with their leader, Kambar, in order to check the encroachments of a horde of depredators, headed by an Afghan chief, who infested the country and even threatened to attack the seat of government. Kambar successfully performed the service for which he had been engaged; but having in a few years quelled the robbers against whom he had been called in, and finding himself at the head of the only military tribe in the country, he formally deposed the raja and assumed the government.
The history of the country after the accession of Kambar is as obscure as during the Hindu dynasty. It would appear, however, that the sceptre was quietly transmitted to Abdulla Khan, the fourth in descent from Kambar, who, being an intrepid and ambitious soldier, turned his thoughts towards the conquest of Kach Gandava, then held by different petty chiefs under the authority of the nawabs of Sind.
After various success, the Kambaranis at length possessed themselves of the sovereignty of a considerable portion of that fruitful plain, including the chief town, Gandava. It was during this contest that the famous Nadir Shah advanced from Persia to the invasion of Hindustan; and while at Kandahar he despatched several detachments into Baluchistan and established his authority in that province. Abdulla Khan, however, was continued in the government of the country by Nadir's orders; but he was soon after killed in a battle with the forces of the nawabs of Sind. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Haji Mahommed Khan, who abandoned himself to the most tyrannical and licentious way of life and alienated his subjects by oppressive taxation. In these circumstances Nasir Khan, the second son of Abdulla Khan, who had accompanied the victorious Nadir to Delhi, and acquired the favour and confidence of that monarch, returned to Kalat and was hailed by the whole population as their deliverer. Finding that expostulation had no effect upon his brother, he one day entered his apartment and stabbed him to the heart. As soon as the tyrant was dead, Nasir Khan mounted the musnud amidst the universal joy of his subjects; and immediately transmitted a report of the events which had taken place to Nadir Shah, who was then encamped near Kandahar. The shah received the intelligence with satisfaction, and despatched a firman, by return of the messenger, appointing Nasir Khan beglar begi (prince of princes) of all Baluchistan. This event took place in the year 1739.
Nasir Khan proved an active, politic and warlike prince. He took great pains to re-establish the internal government of all the provinces in his dominions, and improved and fortified the city of Kalat. On the death of Nadir Shah in 1747, he acknowledged the title of the king of Kabul, Ahmad Shah (Durani). In 1758 he declared himself entirely independent; upon which Ahmad Shah despatched a force against him under one of his ministers. The khan, however, raised an army and totally routed the Afghan army. On receiving intelligence of this discomfiture, the king himself marched with strong reinforcements, and a pitched battle was fought in which Nasir Khan was worsted. He retired in good order to Kalat, whither he was followed by the victor, who invested the place with his whole army. The khan made a vigorous defence; and, after the royal troops had been foiled in their attempts to take the city by storm or surprise, a negotiation was proposed by the king which terminated in a treaty of peace. By this treaty it was stipulated that the king was to receive the cousin of Nasir Khan in marriage; and that the khan was to pay no tribute, but only, when called upon, to furnish troops to assist the armies, for which he was to receive an allowance in cash equal to half their pay. The khan frequently distinguished himself in the subsequent wars of Kabul; and, as a reward for his services, the king bestowed upon him several districts in perpetual and entire sovereignty. Having succeeded in quelling a dangerous rebellion headed by his cousin Behram Khan, this able prince at length died in extreme old age in the month of June 1795, leaving three sons and five daughters. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Mahmud Khan, then a boy of about fourteen years. During the reign of this prince, who has been described as a very humane and indolent man, the country was distracted by sanguinary broils; the governors of several provinces and districts withdrew their allegiance; and the dominions of the khans of Kalat gradually so diminished that they now comprehend only a small portion of the provinces formerly subject to Nasir Khan.
In 1839, when the British army advanced through the Bolan Pass towards Afghanistan, the conduct of Mehrab Khan, the ruler of Baluchistan, was considered so treacherous and dangerous as to require "the exaction of retribution from that chieftain," and "the execution of such arrangements as would establish future security in that quarter." General Willshire was accordingly detached from the army of the Indus with 1050 men to assault Kalat. A gate was knocked in by the field-pieces, and the town and citadel were stormed in a few minutes. Above 400 Baluches were slain, among them Mehrab Khan himself; and 2000 prisoners were taken. Subsequent inquiries have, however, proved that the treachery towards the British was not on the part of Mehrab Khan, but on that of his vizier, Mahommed Hussein, and certain chiefs with whom he was in league, and at whose instigation the British convoys were plundered in their passage through Kach Gandava and in the Bolan Pass. The treacherous vizier, however, made our too credulous political officers believe that Mehrab Khan was to blame; his object being to bring his master to ruin and to obtain for himself all power in the state, knowing that Mehrab's successor was only a child. How far he succeeded in his object history has shown. In the following year Kalat changed hands, the governor established by the British, together with a feeble garrison, being overpowered. At the close of the same year it was reoccupied by the British under General Nott. In 1841 Nasir Khan II., the youthful son of the slain Mehrab Khan, was recognized by the British, who soon after evacuated the country.
From the conquest of Sind by the British troops under the command of General Sir Charles Napier in 1843 up to 1854 no diplomatic intercourse occurred worthy of note between the British and Baluch states. In the latter year, however, under the governor-generalship of the marquess of Dalhousie, General John Jacob, C.B., at the time political superintendent and commandant on the Sind frontier, was deputed to arrange and conclude a treaty between the Kalat state, then under the chieftainship of Nasir Khan and the British government. This treaty was executed on the 14th of May 1854 and was to the following effect:—
- "That the former offensive and defensive treaty, concluded in 1841 by Major Outram between the British government and Nasir Khan II., chief of Kalat, was to be annulled.
- "That Nasir Khan II., his heirs and successors, bound themselves to oppose to the utmost all the enemies of the British government, and in all cases to act in subordinate co-operation with that government, and to enter into no negotiations with other states without its consent.
- "That should it be deemed necessary to station British troops in any part of the territory of Kalat, they shall occupy such positions as may be thought advisable by the British authorities.
- "That the Baluch chief was to prevent all plundering on the part of his subjects within or in the neighbourhood of British territory.
- "That he was further to protect all merchants passing through his territory, and only to exact from them a transit duty, fixed by schedule attached to the treaty; and that, on condition of a faithful performance of these duties, he was to receive from the British government an annual subsidy of Rs.50,000 (£5000)."
The provisions of the above treaty were most loyally performed by Nasir Khan up to the time of his death in 1856. He was succeeded by his brother, Mir Khodadud Khan, when a youth of twelve years of age, who, however, did not obtain his position before he had put down by force a rebellion on the part of his turbulent chiefs, who had first elected him, but, not receiving what they considered an adequate reward from his treasury, sought to depose him in favour of his cousin Sher dil Khan. In the latter part of 1857, the Indian rebellion being at its height and the city of Delhi still in the hands of the rebels, a British officer (Major Henry Green) was deputed, on the part of the British government, to reside as political agent with the Khan at Kalat and to assist him by his advice in maintaining control over his turbulent tribes. This duty was successfully performed until 1863, when, during the temporary absence of Major Malcolm Green, the then political agent, Khodadad Khan was, at the instigation of some of his principal chiefs, attacked while out riding by his cousin, Sher dil Khan, and severely wounded. Khodadad fled in safety to a residence close to the British border, and Sher dil Khan was elected and proclaimed Khan. His rule was, however, a short one, for early in 1864, when proceeding to Kalat, he was murdered in the Gandava Pass; and Khodadad was again elected chief by the very men who had only the previous year caused his overthrow, and who had lately been accomplices to the murder of his cousin. After the above events Khodadad maintained his precarious position with great difficulty; but owing to his inability to govern his unruly subjects without material assistance from the British government, which they were not disposed to give, his country gradually fell into the greatest anarchy; and, consequently, some of the provisions of the treaty of 1854 having been broken, diplomatic relations were discontinued with the Kalat state after the end of 1874.
After this the chiefs of Las and Wad, the Marris and Bugtis, Kej and Makran all threw off their allegiance, and anarchy became so widespread that the British government again interfered. The treaty of 1854 was renewed in 1876 by Lord Lytton (under Sandeman's advice), and the khan received substantial aid from the government in the form of an annual subsidy of a lakh of rupees, instead of the Rs.50,000 previously assigned to him. The treaty of 1854 was a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive. The treaty of 1876 renewed these terms, but utterly changed the policy of non-intervention which was maintained by the former, by the recognition of the sirdars as well as the khan, and by the appointment of the British government as referee in cases of dispute between them. British troops were to be located in the khan's country; Quetta was founded; telegraphs and railways were projected; roads were made; and the reign of law and order established. The nebulous claims of Afghanistan to Sibi and Pishin were disposed of by the treaty of Gandamak in the spring of 1879, and the final consolidation of the existing form of Kalat administration was effected by Sandeman's expedition to Kharan in 1883, and the reconciliation of Azad Khan, the great Naushirwani chief, with the khan of Kalat. British Baluchistan was incorporated with British India by the resolution of 1st November 1887, and divided into two districts—Quetta-Pishin and Thai Chotiali—to be administered by a deputy-commissioner and a regular staff.
In 1890 and 1891 were carried out that series of politico-military expeditions which resulted in the occupation of the Zhob valley, the foundation of the central cantonment of Fort Sandeman, and the extension of a line of outposts which, commencing at Quetta, may be said to rest on Wana north of the Gomal. The effect of these expeditions, and of this extension of military occupation, has been to reduce the independent Pathan tribes of the Suliman mountains to effective order, and to put a stop to border raiding on the Indus plains south of the Gomal. In 1893 serious differences arose between the khan of Kalat and Sir James Browne, who succeeded Sir Robert Sandeman as agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan, arising out of Mir Khodadad Khan's outrageous conduct in the management of his own court, and the treatment of his officials. Finally, the khan was deposed, and his son Mir Mahmud Khan succeeded in November 1893. Since then the most important change in Baluch administration has been the perpetual lease and transfer of management to British agency of the Nushki district and Niabat, with all rights, jurisdiction and administrative power, in lieu of a perpetual rent of Rs.9000 per annum. This was effected in July 1899. This secures the direct control of the great highway to Seistan which has been opened to khafila and railway traffic.
The revenues of the khan of Kalat consist partly of subsidies and partly of agricultural revenue, the total value being about Rs.500,000 per annum. Since 1882 he has received Rs.25,000 as government rent for the Quetta district, besides Rs.30,000 in lieu of transit duties in the Boian; this has been increased lately by Rs.9000 as already stated. In 1899 the total imports of Kalat were valued at Rs.700,000, and the exports at Rs.505,000.
Authorities.—The Seistan Boundary Report of 1873 by Sir F. Goldsmid; Floyer, Unexplored Baluchistan (London, 1882); T. Thornton, Life of Sandeman (London, 1896); G. P. Tate, Kalat, a Memoir (Calcutta, 1896); Sir T. Holdich, "Ethnographic and Historical Notes on Makran," Calcutta, 1892 (Survey Report); "Antiquities, Ethnography, &c., of Las Bela and Makran," Calcutta, 1894 (Survey Report); "Ancient and Medieval Makran," vol. vii. R.G.S. Journal (1896); "Perso-Baluch Boundary," vol. ix. R.G.S. Journal (1897); McMahon, "The Southern Borderland of Afghanistan," vol. x. Journal R.G.S. (1897); Notes on Sir R. Sandeman's tours in Baluchistan will be found in vols. v., xii., xiii. and xiv. of the R.G.S. Proceedings; Popular Poetry of the Baloches, by M. Longworth-Dames (2 vols., Roy. As. Soc. 1907).
- See W. T. Blanford, “Geological Notes on the Hills in the neighbourhood of the Sind and Punjab Frontier between Quetta and Dera Ghazi Khan,” Mem. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xx. pt. 2 (1883); E. Vredenburg, “A Geological Sketch of the Baluchistan Desert, and part of Eastern Persia,” Mem. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xxxi. pt. 2 (1901); E. Vredenburg, “On the Occurrence of a Species of Halorites in the Trias of Baluchistan,” Rec. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xxxi. (1904), pp. 162-166, pls. 17, 18.
- See V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India (ed. 1908), p. 103 seq.