Baloch people

Baloch people

Infobox Ethnic group
group= Baloch بلوچ unicode|"Baloosh"

caption=Baloch in their national dress, from a 1910 photograph.
poptime=over 15 million [ Eastern Baloch] , "" (retrieved 7 July 1998)]
region1 = flagcountry|Pakistan
pop1 = 8 million (1998)
ref1 = lower| [ Population by Mother Tongue] , "Population Census Organization, Government of Pakistan" (retrieved 7 June 2006)] [ Census of Afghans in Pakistan] , "UNHCR Statistical Summary Report" (retrieved 10 October 2006)]
region2 = flagcountry|Iran
pop2 = 4.1 million (1998)
ref2 = lower| [ Languages of Iran] , "" (retrieved 7 June 2006)]
region3 = flagcountry|Afghanistan
pop3 = 1.1 million (1998)
ref3 = lower| [ Western Baloch] , "" (retrieved 7 June 2006)]
region4 = flagcountry|Oman
pop4 = 407,000 (2000)
ref4 = lower|fact|date=January 2008
region5 = flagcountry|United Arab Emirates
pop5 = 215,000 (2000)
ref5 = lower|fact|date=January 2008
region6 = flagcountry|Turkmenistan
pop6 = 55,000 (1993)
ref6 = lower| [ Western Baloch in Turkmenistan] , ""(retrieved 7 June 2006)] fact|date=January 2008
region7 = flagcountry|Kuwait
pop7 = 20,000 (1993)
ref7 = lower| [ People in Kuwait] , "" (retrieved 7 June 2006)]
region8 = flagcountry|Qatar
pop8 = 13,000 (2007)
ref8 = lower|fact|date=January 2008
region9 = flagcountry|Saudi Arabia
pop9 = 12,000 (2007)
ref9 = lower|fact|date=January 2008
region10 = flagcountry|Somalia
pop10 = 8,200 (2007)
ref10 = lower|fact|date=January 2008

rels=Islam Sunni (predominantly) and Zikris around Turbat [ [ Pakistan - Library of Congress Country Studies] ] [ [ Library of Congress Country Studies] ] [ [ Baluch - U.S. Library of Congress] ]
The Baloch (بلوچ; alternative transliterations "Baluch, Balouch, Bloach, Balooch, Balush, Balosh, Baloosh, Baloush") are an Iranian people inhabiting the region of Balochistan in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Southwest Asia, including parts of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The Baloch speak Balochi, which is a northwestern Iranian language. They mainly inhabit mountainous terrains, which have allowed them to maintain a distinct cultural identity and resist domination by neighbouring rulers. The Baloch are predominantly Muslim, with most belonging to the Hanafi school of thought of Sunni Islam, but there are also a significant number belonging to Shia school of thought in Balochistan. Some 60 percent of the total Baloch population live in Pakistan. About 25 percent inhabit the contiguous region of southeastern Iran. Baloch population is estimated at about 8,800,000. "In Pakistan the Balochi people are divided into two groups, the Sulaimani and the Makrani, separated from each other by a compact block of Brahui tribes." [ [ Baloch - Britannica Online] ]


The Baloch-speaking population is estimated to be in the range of 20 to 30 million. However, the exact number of Baloch and those who are or claim to be of Baloch ancestry is difficult to determine.

It is possible that there are more Baloch than simply those who claim Balochi as their mother tongue. This, however, raises the question as to who is and is not a Baloch as many surrounding peoples claim to be of Baloch descent, but do not speak Balochi. The Brahui, having lived in proximity to the Baloch, have absorbed substantial linguistic and genetic admixture from the Baloch and in many cases are indistinguishable. Despite very few cultural differences from the Baloch, the Brahui are still regarded as a separate group on account of language difference. The higher population figure for the Baloch may only be possible if a large number of "Baloch" are included who speak a different languages, such as Saraikis, Sindhi, and Brahui, and who often claim descent from Baloch ancestors. Many Baloch outside of Balochistan are also bilingual or of mixed ancestry due to their proximity to other ethnic groups including the Sindhis, Brahui, Persians,Saraikis and Pashtuns. There are also a large number of Baloch who have been migrating or have been living in adjacent provinces to Balochistan for centuries. In addition, there are many Baloch located in other parts of the world with the bulk living in the GCC countries of the Persian Gulf. There is a significant population of Baloch in western countries such as Sweden and Australia. It is known that many Baloch settled in Australia in the 1800s and now fourth generation Baloch still live in Australia, mainly in Perth.

The Balochistan region is divided between three: Pakistani Balochistan, Iranian Balochistan and the southern parts of Afghanistan Balochistan (Afghanistan). Research also has been done by several authors, that the Baloch ancestry goes back to the Median Empire era, when the Baloch tribes or Kurd Tribes were sent to protect the borders of the Median empire in regions of Makran and Toran.

Baloch in Oman

The Southern Baloch of Oman began migrating from the coastal Balochistan to the Arab lands some 200 years ago before oil was discovered there. Baloch in Oman have maintained their ethnic and linguistic distinctions. The Southern Baloch compose approximately 35% of the country's population. The traditional Baloch economy is based on a combination of farming and semi-nomadic shepherding.

History of the Baloch people

"The history of the Baloch is, however, still in dark. Research scholars have different opinions. Some say they belong to the northern regions of Elburz, now inhabited by Ashkanis. Some historians maintain that they came from Halab (see also Tell Halaf "(Arabic: تل حلف) an archaeological site in the Al Hasakah governorate of northeastern Syria, near the Turkish border, just opposite Ceylanpınar"), Allepe, and are Semites. It is also believed that they from the old stock of Sumerians of Mesopotamia, while others regard the Baloch as the remnants of indigenous population of the area. The historians, however, mostly concern themselves in tracing the Baloch racial origin either from among the Indo-Europeans or the Semites. Neither should one object on these methods for historical research, nor doubt the fact that there had been an admixture of various people with Baloch like the Scythians, Pathians, Ashkanis, Sakas, Kushans, Huns, Turks and many others; nor contest the proposition that Baloch, culturally, were greatly influenced by Tigris-Euphrates civilization at different stages of history. " {Janmahmad}

"The origin of the word 'Baloch' is still unknown. E. Herzefeld believes that it is derived from brza-vaciya, which came from brza-vak, a Median word meaning a loud cry, in contrast to namravak, quiet, polite way of talking. Some writers maintain that the Baloch owe their name to Babylonian King 'Belus', also the name of their God. It is also believed that the word is a nickname meaning a `cock's comb`. As the Baloch forces who fought against Astyages (585-550 B.C.) wore distinctive helmets decorated with a cock's comb, the name `Baloch' is said to have been derived from the token of cock. Some writers believe that etymologically it is made of two Sanskrit words, `Bal` and `Och`. `Bal` means strength or power, and `Och`, high or magnificent. The word `Baloch' therefore, means very powerful and magnificent. Yet another erroneous version is that Baloch mean `nomad` or `wanderer`. This has been presumed perhaps due to the innocent use of the word for nomadic people, and may be because the term may be used by indigenous settlers for the Baloch nomads.

The first Baloch migration from the Caspian Sea region, most probably around 1200 B.C., must have been motivated by this general historical phenomenon. They first settled in northern Persia. We have the authority of Persian poet, Firdousi (935-1020 CE) and also strong historical evidences that the Baloch were a political and military force during the times of Cyrus and Cambyses.

However, the Baloch movement from Kerman and Seisran to Makkuran and then Eastern Balochistan was not the only result of the lack of sufficient productive forces to meet their demands, or insufficient grazing fields for their flocks, because the area they migrated to was no better in natural resources than the area in which they had been settled for centuries. The main reason was their conflict with rulers and their own internal enmity which resulted in a weakening of their political position. yet another factor most probably was the Mongolian invasion of Central Asia and the subsequent political anarchy in the whole region.

From the evidences available, it is established that by the beginning of the Christian era, the Baloch were one of the major people inhabiting Iranian Balochistan, Sistan and Kerman. Their migration further east into Makkuran must also be the result of Anushervan's (531-578 CE) attack on them. But according to some legends, it was at a later stage and was the result of a quarrel between the Kerman ruler and the Baloch Chief who was the successor to the most powerful leader, Ismael Romi. The former demanded forty-four girls, one from each Baloch tribe, for his harem. The Baloch dressed up boys in girls' disguise and, fearing the wrath of the ruler, migrated from Kerman and took refuge in Makkuran.

The Kurds

The Baloch have always been referred by the ancient chroniclers with Koch who appear to be the original inhabitants of Balochistan before the Baloch arrival and also with Kurds. Many ethnologists believe that the Kurds belong to the Median branch of Aryan tribes who were mixed up with many people of indigenous origin and later invaders including Semites, Armenians and Turkomans.

The Kurds have been living in Kurdish region and Zagros area since the Semitic conquest of Assyria. They are said to have posed a permanent nuisance for the weak rulers of Assyria by organizing raids on Tigris mainland. In a Sumerian inscription dated 2000 B.C. a country known as Kardala is mentioned; and afterwards the Assyrian King, Tiglath Pileser, (circa 745-724 B.C.) appears to have fought a tribe referred as Kur-ti-e. Xenophon (circa 434-355 B.C.) also speaks of Kardukai, a mountain-folk who harassed his march towards the sea. Some archaeological evidences tend to show a Kurdish kingdom which flourished in the second millennium B.C. on the borders of the Semitic empire in Babylonia. In a later period, the Kurds cavalry served as the vanguard of Cyrus army in capturing Babylonia in 539 B.C.

The Kurds are from the same origin as that of Baloch. The period of their migration from the Caspian region may be a few centuries earlier than the Baloch who followed at a later period; but instead of going to their people in Zagros mountainous region, outskirts of Mesopotamia, they headed towards east. Linguistically and culturally they must have been from the same stock." [ Janmahmad; The Baloch Cultural Heritage, 1982,]


The national language of the Baloch is Balochi. In Balochistan, their second-most commonly spoken language is Brahui which belongs to the Dravidian language family, and Farsi.

The Baloch do not only live in Balochistan but also are in Sindh, South Punjab, Southern Afghanistan, Eastern Iran, Gulf States and Mari region of Turkmenistan. There are also Baloch who migrated and still live on the East African coast in towns such as Mombasa and Dar es-Salaam. The Baloch Talpur Leghari ruled Sindh before the British annexation of Sindh to the British Raj. The Baloch in Sindh, South Punjab speak Sindhi and Saraiki.

Baloch society is divided in tens of tribes and Sub-tribes some tribes speak Brahui and some speak Balochi, and there are many tribes who speaks both and as well as Sindhi and Siraiki. The MarriBijarani tribe and the Bugti tribe speak Balochi. Mengal tribe speak Brahui and they live in Chagai, Khuzdar, Kharan and in souther parts of Afghanistan, The Lango tribe, who live in central Balochistan in the Mangochar area, speak Balochi as their first language and Brahui as their second. The Bizenjo tribe that live in the Khuzdar, Nal and parts of Makkura, along with the Muhammadsanis, ("one of the largest Baloch tribes") speak both languages. The Bangulzai tribe is a Brahui-speaking tribe but a sub-tribe of the Bangulzai, the Garanis, speak Balochi and are known as Balochi-speaking Bangulzais.

The Mazari in Rajanpur speak Balochi, while the Leghari the largest Baloch tribe living in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rahim Yar Khan speak Saraiki. In Dera Ghazi Khan, their tribal elder is ex-President of Pakistan Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari. The Leghari in Sindh speak Sindhi & Saraiki both. Ahmedani tribe is the largest in terms of number both in Sindh and Punjab. In Punjab, the tribe is mainly settled in Dera Ghazi Khan division. A village has also been named as Mana Ahmedani in honour their tribal elder 'Mana Khan'(late). Also exists other Baloch tribe Nizamani living in dera gazi khan(panjab)and also in sanghar (sindh)and other parts of sindh and the majority of nizamani baloch speak seraeki. The Bijarani settled in Sindh speak Balochi. Kolachi Baloch living in the Punjab and Sindh province of Pakistan speak Saraiki, while those living in Sibi district of Balochistan speak Balochi. The Talpur, Mastoi, Jatoi, Gabol, Lashari, Chandio, Bozdar,Samma, Jiskani and other Baloch tribes settled in Sindh speaks , Sindhi and Balochi and Siraiki.
Qaisrani Baloch living near Taunsa Sharif speak Saraiki, while their clansmen living the Dera Ghazi Khan tribal areas speak Balochi. Rind Baloch settled in Sindh speak Sindhi and Siraiki.

ee also

* Baloch tribes
* Balochistan
* Brahui people
* Demographics of Iran
* Demographics of Pakistan
* Demographics of Afghanistan
* Demographics of Oman
* Demographics of United Arab Emirates
* Demographics of Kuwait
* Baloch civil wars


* "Note: population statistics for Baloch (including those without a notation) in foreign countries were derived from various census counts, the UN, the CIA World Factbook and Ethnologue."

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