Balochistan has the largest area of Pakistan's four provinces, constituting approximately 44% of the country's total land mass, and the smallest population, being home to less than 5% of the country's population.
Balochistan province is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, the Arabian Sea to the south, Punjab and Sindh to the east, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the north-east. Quetta is the capital and largest city of Balochistan.
Balochistan is located on the south-eastern part of the Iranian plateau. It borders the geopolitical regions of the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. Balochistan lies at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz and provides the shortest route from seaports to Central Asia. Its geographical location has placed the otherwise desolate region in the scope of competing global interests for all of recorded history.
The capital city Quetta is located in a densely populated portion of the Sulaiman Mountains in the north-east of the province. It is situated in a river valley near the Bolan Pass, which has been used as the route of choice from the coast to Central Asia, entering through Afghanistan's Kandahar region. The British and other historic empires have crossed the region to invade Afghanistan by this route.
Origin of the name
The area is named after the numerous Baloch (or Baluch, Balouch, Balooch, Balush, Balosh, Baloosh, Baloush) tribes, an Iranian people, who moved into the area from the west around 1000 A.D. All natives are considered Balochi even if they do not speak Balochi; Pashto, Persian, and Brahui languages are also spoken in the region. The southern part of Balochistan is known as Makran.
The main ethnic groups in the province are Baloch, Pashtuns and Brahuis, and there are relatively smaller communities of Iranian Baloch, Hazaras, Sindhis and other settlers, including Punjabis, Uzbeks, and Turkmens. The name Balochistan means "the land of the Baloch" in many regional languages.
Balochistan occupies the southeastern-most portion of the Iranian Plateau, the site of the earliest known farming settlements in the pre-Indus Valley Civilization era, the earliest of which was Mehrgarh, dated at 7000 BC.
Before the arrival of Islam in the 7th Century, Balochistan was ruled by the Paratarajas a Parthian dynasty representing the House of Suren. At certain times, the Scythians and Kushans also held political sway on parts of Balochistan controlling it through local governors called Satraps.
Like other modern South Asian ethnic groups claiming Middle Eastern roots, the Baloch assert that they are descended from Amir Hamza, a paternal uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. They consistently place their first settlement in Aleppo, where they remained until they sided with the sons of Ali, took part in the Battle of Karbala, and were expelled by Yazid, the second Umayyad Caliph, in 680 A.D.
They went to Kerman, and eventually to Sistan, where they were hospitably received by Shams-ud-Din, ruler of that country. According to Mansel Longworth Dames there was a Shams-ud-Din, an independent Malik of Sistan, who died in 1164 A.D., almost 500 years after the Baloch migration from Aleppo. Shams-ud-Din claimed descent from the Saffarids of Persia. His successor, Badr-ud-Din (of whom there is no known historic record), demanded a bride from each of the 44 bolaks or clans of the Baloch. The Baloch, however, had never paid tribute in this form to any ruler; they instead sent Badr-ud-Din 44 boys dressed in girls' clothes and fled before the deception could be discovered. Badr-ud-Din sent the boys back but pursued the Baloch, who had fled south-eastwards into Kech-Makran, where they defeated him. During this period Mir Jalal Khan, son of Mir Jiand Khan, was the ruler of the Baloch. He left four sons, Rind, Lashar, Hooth, and Korai, and a daughter Jato, who married his nephew Murad. These five are the eponymous founders of the five great divisions of the tribe, the Rinds, Lasharis, Hooths, Korais, and Jatois.
Another theory of the origin of the Baloch people is that they are of Median descent, and are a Kurdish group that has absorbed Dravidian genes and cultural traits, primarily from Brahui people. With time, Baloch tribes linguistically absorbed all the local people in Makran, southern Sistan and the Brahui country, becoming rival in size to the other Iranian-speaking groups in the region.
In 654, Abdulrehman ibn Samrah, governor of Sistan and the newly emerged Rashidun caliphate at the expense of Sassanid Persia and the Byzantine Empire, sent an Islamic army to crush a revolt in Zaranj, which is now in southern Afghanistan. After conquering Zaranj, a column of the army pushed north, conquering Kabul and Ghazni, in the Hindu Kush mountain range, while another column moved through Quetta District in north-western Balochistan and conquered the area up to the ancient cities of Dawar and Qandabil (Bolan).
By 654, the whole of what is now Balochistan was controlled by the Rashidun Caliphate, except for the well-defended mountain town of QaiQan which is now Kalat. However, this town was later conquered during the reign of Caliph Ali. Abdulrehman ibn Samrah made Zaranj his provincial capital and remained governor of these conquered areas from 654 to 656, until Uthman was murdered.
During the Caliphate of Ali, revolt broke out in southern Balochistan's Makran region. Due to civil war in the Rashidun Caliphate, Ali was unable to deal with these areas until 660, when he sent a large force, under the command of Haris ibn Marah Abdi, towards Makran and Sindh. Haris ibn Marah Abdi arrived in Makran and conquered it by force, and then moved northward to north-eastern Balochistan and reconquered Qandabil (Bolan). Finally, he moved south and conquered Kalat after a fierce battle.
In 663, during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah I, Muslims lost control of north-eastern Balochistan and Kalat when Haris ibn Marah and large part of his army died in battle against a revolt in Kalat. Muslim forces later regained control of the area during the Umayyad reign. It also remained a part of the Abbasid Caliphate.
In the 15th century, Mir Chakar Khan Rind became the first king of Balochistan, after which the region was dominated by the Timurids, who controlled most of Central and Western Asia. The Mughal Empire also controlled some parts of the area. When Nadir Shah won the allegiance of the rulers of Balochistan, he ceded Kalhora, one of the Sindh territories of Sibi-Kachi to the Khan of Kalat. Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Afghan Empire, also won the allegiance of that area's rulers. Most of the area would eventually revert to local Baloch control, after Afghan rule.
List of cities in Balochistan
|04||Chaman||76,300||Qilla Abdullah District||30.92°N||66.44°E|
|09||Dera Murad Jamali||144,000||Nasirabad District|
|10||Dera Allah Yar||43,400||Jaffarabad District|
|11||Usta Mohammad||143,300||Jaffarabad District||28.18°N||68.05°E|
Jats in Baluchistan
According to Ram Swarup Joon, Gedown and Niel write that the forefathers, of Laumiri Baluchis were Jats. According to Todd, in ancient times the boundaries of Jat kingdom of Sindhu, included parts of Baluchistan, Makran, Balorari and the Salt Ranges. People of Gill gotra came to known as Gilzai Pathans; Gill Jats at one time ruled the area of Hindukush Mountains. The last ruler of Ghazni was Subhag Sen. At the time of Alexander's invasion king Chitra Verma ruled Baluchistan.
Sialkot and Quetta of Baluchistan were capitals of Madrak Kings. Makran province of Baluchistan belonged to the Jats. When King Sapur the second of Sasanian dynasty became friendly with Samudra Gupta, Sindhu and Makran provinces were given to the Jats.
According to Todd, in 1023, Umer Bin Moosaiw wrested Hirat and Kaikan from the Jats and made 3000 Jat soldiers prisoners. The Tawarikh Tibri by Sulaiman Nadvi also mentions this event. It states that a Jat Commander of Umer Bin Moosa refused to join the attack. But inspite of this, Umer was victorious despite heavy losses.
पाकिस्तान में गुजरात से अटक तक खोखर जाटों की काफी संख्या है जो कि इस्लाम धर्मी हैं। इसी तरह सिंध और बलोचिस्तान में खोखर जाट बड़ी संख्या में आबाद हैं। बलोचिस्तान में खोखरों की काकड़जई नामक बहुत बड़ी खाप है।
सिंध और बलोचिस्तान के जाट मुसलमान जिनमें खोखर जाट अधिक हैं, आज भी पाकिस्तान सरकार के विरुद्ध विद्रोह कर बैठते हैं। इन जाटों में स्वतन्त्र रहने की विशेषता आज भी विद्यमान है।
- Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Chapter XI - Page 1010.
Kali Devi in Baluchistan
During Mauryan period the capital of Baluchistan was at Kalat. Chitra verma was its ruler. Kalat is located roughly in the center of Balochistan, Pakistan, south and slightly west of the provincial capital Quetta. It houses the palace of the Khans of Kalat and a historic Hindu temple dedicated to Kali Devi.
Hinglaj, the Kuldevi of Kshatriyas
There is a temple of Hinglaj goddess in Baluchistan. This is sacred place of pilgrimage, for Hindus in general and for the devotees of Aadh Shakti Devi Mata sect in particular, is situated in a mountain cave "Hinglaj" on river bank of "Hingol"at the tail of " Kheerthar" maintains called " Kanraj" in Tehsil Lyari of Balochistan, the province of Pakistan. The people of Brij still sing song of Hinglaj goddess. It appears that some Jats of this area adopted Shakti sect. Before independence the Kshatriyas from Rajasthan and Gujarat used to visit this pilgrimage. There is a myth that Brahmkshatriyas, on their creature from Kshatriyas, were told by Rishi Dadhichi that Hinglaj Devi would be their Kuldevi and they should worship the Goddess Hinglaj for all times to come.
- Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Hindi), Maharaja Suraj Mal Smarak Shiksha Sansthan, Delhi, 1934, 2nd edition 1992.
- Dr Natthan Singh: Jat - Itihas (Hindi), Jat Samaj Kalyan Parishad Gwalior, 2004
- Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats, Rohtak, India (1938, 1967)
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