Did you know the Baloch had roots in Iran?
A famous Baloch lore has it that their ancestors are from Syria’s Aleppo, but fled to Iran’s Sistan region. In the 17th century, a tribal leader called Mir Hasan established himself as the first 'Khan of the Baloch' and was succeeded by Mir Ahmad Khan Qambarani. He established the Balochi Khanate. But the Khanate lost its autonomy in 1839 after signing a treaty with the British colonial government and came under British rule.
The Baloch are a seminomadic people (they travel with their herds on a seasonal basis but also have a home area where they grow some food crops). They live in the southern mountains and coastal regions of South Asia's western borderlands. Their traditional homeland is divided among Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan.
They speak Balochi, a Northwestern Iranian language. Balochi was not a written language before the 19th century, and the Persian script was used to write Balochi wherever necessary. British colonial officers first wrote Balochi with the Latin script. Following the creation of Pakistan, Baloch scholars adopted the Persian alphabet. The first collection of poetry in Balochi, Gulbang by Mir Gul Khan Nasir was published in 1951 and incorporated the Arabic Script. It was much later that Sayad Zahoor Shah Hashemi wrote a comprehensive guidance on the usage of Arabic script and standardized it as the Balochi Orthography in Pakistan and Iran. This earned him the title of the 'Father of Balochi'.
The Baloch have a rich tradition of storytelling. Poets and storytellers are traditionally held in high respect.
Pictured: a Baloch woman enjoying a moment with her camels. Baloch women wear a long top and loose pants covered with colourful needlework. The needlework artistry is also a symbol of class. They cover their hair with a scarf, called a sarig in the local dialect. The Iran Balochi dress is more conservative and requires Baloch women to also cover their faces with thick red coloured Burqa and wear a head scarf. Men wear loose pants with long shirts which is accompanied with a turban or hat on their heads.