The Sardars of Balluchistan : Are they Balluch?
By: Naveed Tajammal
In 1910a Scottish-American Andrew Carnegie made his fortune in the ‘Steel Industry.’ He left a $10 million Endowment for international peace-which is the fore-runner of other Carnegie related ventures, However, whatever his intentions had been, and whatever the Endowment ended up creating are two different aspects, The Carnegie Journalist program was launched in 1974,though with an outward image to anticipate ‘Near-Horizon’ problems, but, in reality it was to induct journalists from world over to create a hype and to keep a check on the Soviets (USSR) global moves. However, the area of influence expanded to include areas where the Americans wanted a hype created.
Hence started the ‘Awareness of the Baluchistan issue’. To quote one example only, Selig Harrison was appointed to Head the Journalistic programme & the first book” In Afghanistan’s Shadow, Baluch Nationalism & Soviet Temptations” published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace by Selig Harrison in 1981.
The British legacy had left their created Sardars, who while retaining their feudalistic powers wanted to gain the political legitimacy as well. They followed the policy of what is mine is mine and what is yours( of the people of their tribes) is also mine! The royalties taken as concessions technically for the welfare of the people, within the tribal setups, but spent by the Sardars as their own bounty, while the poor people had no recourse but move in a exodus, from the regions, as is seen in the last over 100 years, to seek a living elsewhere.
The tribes of the Sindh Valley Basin have been in a constant state of movement for the last 1600 years or so. Natural calamities, plagues and wars took their toll. The transformation from one major tribal setup to another had been a question of survival.
The geographic boundaries which Pakistan was thrust with were legacy of our past rulers, though with reference to region under study its bulk area came affiliated with either old Alor or Multan Administrative boundaries, Even in the Jam Nizam ud din Nandah period,(1461-1508). In the west, till Bolan inclusive of the Kaachi Plains was the part of the throne of Sindh. As were the Tal-Chotiali, Chacha,and Barkhan regions, wherein come the present Mari and Bugti areas. It was in Akbar’s time that Qandhar province limits were extended till Duki. Rest being part of Multan Subah ,as was Bolan and Kaachi areas .
The areas were well populated and fertile, with Sareiki speaking people, when Naseer Khan Barrohi was given these areas in 1740, for the services rendered. He pushed out the old people and transplanted them with people of his own Confederacy, the Eastern passes of the Roh- e -Suleiman Range that had been gateways of Trade, since Ancient Times, In the Mughal era with opening of Khyber pass, the majority of Trade routes suffered, the cause, being the Movements of Bayazids , Ansari, heretics and expansion of Safavid’s in the East.
This brings us to the most pertinent question : is the present head of Bugti tribe and its clans actually Baluchi ???
For that a study of the Notes on the Balluchi , Barrohi and the Sindhi tribes should suffice.
Immediately after the creation of Baluchistan entity by the British, the Government ordered that the data be made of the Ethnic composition of various tribes of the region and inter-related ones, all the Mukhtiars and Mahalkars, in the revenue departments of the districts concerned were ordered.
(Members of Bugti tribe chant slogans in favor of their demands during a protest demonstration at Karachi press club-PPi). Picture published:
The reports compiled was from the communications histories, manuscripts, and the popular oral accounts which also covered profession of various tribes, matrimonial and other related customs, were submitted to Dr. U. M. Daudpota, Member Sindh Public Service Commission, and published in 1901.
The excerpts of the report state (p-26/27),covering the Bugti tribe in January 1890,on the recommendation of Robert Sandeman; Shahbaz Khan was conferred with the title of a Nawab. He was also later given a large tract of land on the Jamrau Canal for rendering assistance during the outbreak of the HUR in 1896/1897.Here without going in the details of the 24 Sept or clans of Bugti Confederacy, the report states, that the Chief of the tribe is Nawab Shahbaz Khan Rahejo Bugti, son of Ghulam Murtaza Khan Rahejo Bugti, A popular account says that Rahejo or more commonly called Rahuja, are from the Major Sindhi tribal set up of the ‘Samma’,to which the great ancestor of the present Bugti Chief belonged and that by Association with the Baluchi’s and settlement in the old Bugti hills and streams his descendants became Bugti Baluch. If we study the Samma,tribal Sept’s/clans which number in all 766,we find Raheja, very much so part of their entity (pages-44 to 53,and for more details in minor off shoots, pages 89 to 97).
The writer has 28 years of experience in investigative historical research.