Author: Nasser Boladai
This article discusses the social values of the Baluch community. The Baluch people have not yet had a stable central government to write and approve a constitution to weigh the actions and reactions of the people in the community. But the Baluch nation has had its own social values such as, mercy and compassion, asylum, team-work, and so on. Every member of the society strictly lived on the basis of these values and codes.
So far, there has been no stable central government in Baluchistan to formulate a constitution based on Baluch culture, customs; no opportunity thus far has been provided to the people of Baluchistan to officially endorse their culture through the electoral mechanism and to evaluate their behavior and actions with the scales of the that constitution.
The life of the Baluch people has always been associated with migration and relocation. To maintain herds of sheep and herds of camels and cows, they have always been looking for green pastures and populated places and have spent most of their time in the land of Baluchistan.
In such a situation, they have set an unwritten law for themselves and have adapted the actions and reactions in life to the same law. The Baluch nation has enjoyed its social values since ancient times. For example, mercy and compassion, shelter/asylum (Mayar Jali), financial assistance (Bijjar), generosity, team-work (Hasher), and retribution (Beir) are the fundamental codes of Baluch society. In Baluchi society, everyone is bound to accept and adhere to these values with exception to the rule of revenge in modern times.
Anyone who respected the values and put them into practice in his life was praised and adorned with the title of “good and worthy Baluch” and he was remembered as an honorable person. But if someone does not respect the social values of the Baluch community, in the eyes of the people, he is out of Baluchi identity, his behavior is despised and he is blamed.
If Persian and Arabic poets have written poems with mystical and philosophical meanings, Baluch poets have written poems that are related to the social values of Baluchi society. Due to the creation of poems and the recitation of the same poems by vocal singers in circles, these values have been introduced as common values among all members of the Baluch community, and thus the Baluch nation has acquired social philosophies instead of having a constitution.
Their reactions follow the constitution and other laws. In the Baluchi language, it is said that it is good for everything to be based on principles. In the same way, in Islamic countries, it is said that a certain person is a good Muslim, or in countries where its people are Christians, it is said that a person is a good Christian. But it would be meaningless to say that a person from Persia or Punjabi is good and worthy, because these are just the names of some nations and according to a social philosophy just as Baluchism, they can not be interpreted.
Some social practices and values of Baluch society are as follows:
1) Mercy and Compassion: they are the fundamental social values of the Baluch society and based on them, other values of the Baluch society have been formed. For example, killing a person weaker than oneself or seizing anyone’s property is condemned. Killing or beating a woman in particular is deplorable. If women intervene in war or conflict and call for negotiation and peace, their demands must be met.
2) Mayar Jali (granting shelter or asylum): This principle dictates taking care of the person who has taken refuge in a Baluch person and protect his life and property. “Never leave the person who has taken refuge in you thirsty, hungry and homeless.”
4) Bijjar: “If someone has business with you or he is in financial trouble or in the event death or he needs financial assistance to bear wedding expenditures, help him financially under the code of Bijjar.”
5) Hasher (team-work): If someone wants to build a house or wants to do a welfare work that benefits all the people residing in the area, he must be helped under the obligation of Hasher.
7) Fulfillment of the Covenant: A Baluch must honour the covenant he has made even if it cost his life; A Baluch is a man/woman of his/her words, he/she is trust-worthy as he/she leads his/her life based on strict principles of Baluch society.
8): Retribution: Although many people today have mixed vengeance with resentment and based on it, bad deeds have been done and innocent people have been killed, but in principle, the purpose of retribution is to hold people responsible for what they have done. Whoever commits murder must pay the price for his deed, so that no one else dares to kill someone. Vengeance minimized the killing of people in the history. In the social values of Baluch society, retribution is not a pleasant thing, and negotiation and dialogue take precedence over bloodshed.
During the time when Baluch society in Baluchistan was based on Baluch culture and values , children learned the values and customs of that society from their parents and grand parents, listened to their advice and acted on what their elders said and did. . When they reached a young age and were confronted with real life, they reflected on Baluch code of conduct before making any decision , so that he should not be humiliated and blamed in the society.
In this section, we address some of the social values:
Mercy and Compassion:
When we look at the history of the Baluch, we see that it was a nation of mercy. For example, if a Baluch man raises his hand against a woman, he is considered a coward. If we look at the wars of the past of the Baluch people, we see that they have shown less interest in bloodshed than their neighboring nations such as the Pashtuns, the Persians and the Turks.
Mohammad Hassan Khan Etemad Al-Saltanah in the book, “Meraat Al Baladan”, page 324 says that the Baluch are not accustomed to looting and plundering like their neighbors and are never at war with their neighbors (Etemad Al-Saltanah, 1985, 324). At a conference organized by the University of Uppsala in 1995, Mr. Alfen Bain said that the British had taken two divisions, one Baluch and the other Pashtun, to plunder African countries. The British wanted the two divisions to invade the area and kill the inhabitants so that they would be overcome by fear and accept that they were taken over by the British. The Pashtun army killed the African people without delay, but the Baluch said that we would not fight unjustly and without the preparation of the other side. We do not fight anyone who is not ready for war and we do not kill anyone without warning. In this way, the Baluch army did not accept to attack the inhabited areas of the Africans and kill anyone unjustly.
Mr. Saeed Janabollahi writes in a research article that in Baluch culture, women have high status when it comes to respect. Disrespecting women is not an easy task that one can overcome with repentance and remorse. Disrespecting a woman is considered shameful for a Baluch man and nothing can absolve him. (Janbollahi, 1990, 11). Elsewhere, he says, killing women was forbidden for Baluch insurgents attacking cities and neighborhoods.
Because Mr. Janabollahi was unaware of the social values of the Baluch community, he interpreted the Baluch differently and said that Baluch men did not attack women because the unseen hand might take revenge on them, but the reason for the Baluch behavior was fear of not the unseen hand, but the principle of mercy and compassion which they strictly adhered to, on the basis of which they protected women and children who were not involved in the war.
Sir Percy Sykes, a British officer who lived in Baluchistan in the 18th century, described the Baluch as a people of decent behaviour and said that the morals of the Baluch people were praiseworthy. They treat their wives on the basis of equal rights and justice (Sykes, 1890, 154-155).
Among the Baluch tribes, men and women shared in all aspects of life and enjoyed equal rights. Mr. Ali Akbari Jafari in his article “Baluch and Baluchi” points out that in the Baluch tribal society we see that women have equal rights with men. Whether in agriculture, or in cultivation and blood, or in society, or in sitting and standing, women are with men (Jafari, 1342).
There are many such examples in Baluchi poems. Mir Kanbar is one of the best examples: Just as a pilgrim longs for Hajj, Mir Kanbar also longed to go to the altar and face him. The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Mir Kanbar and Mehrab, which is mentioned in one of the poems:
Let’s talk to
Divide the workers in two parts
In your honour we will free the half
And take with us the other half
The chivalrous graciously said:
I know that you are Mehrab, the brave
True that they are your workers
But they are my sisters and mothers
The conduct of Mir Kanbar’s mother-in-law in this regard is an extraordinary example. She oppresses her son to free those who have been enslaved. These examples show how the social values of the Baluchi community have been protected. Mir Kanbar’s mother couldn’t forgive her child over social values.
Mayar Jali (Shelter):
In ancient Baluchi poems, there is another social value that has become a part of Baluch identity, and that is the shelter. If someone is in trouble, needs support and asks for shelter, it must be provided to him/her.
Mercy, shelter and compassion are inextricably linked. “If someone has a problem, be with him and help him, if he takes refuge in you, take refuge in him.” When someone in danger and seeks refuge. The person who accepts him/her as refugee must defend and support him/her in any way possible so that the refugee can live in his/her refuge without any harm.
The first case of Mayar Jali in Baluchi poems is the story of Gohar. Gohar gets angry with Goharam and goes to Mir Chakar to take refuge in him. The poet has described the conversation between Gohar and Chakar in his poem as follows:
The beautiful Gohar siad
To the princely Chakar
I have come to you as a refugee
To take refugee in your lordship
Prince Chakar siad to the beautiful Gohar
Have look at my territory
Find a place suitable place for your need
Find a pasture for grazing your cattles
Mir Chakar knew for sure that by providing asylum to Gohar, him the sword-wielding general would displease Goharam, who was his companion, and this would lead to a war, but he took Gohar in his shelter under the code of Baluchi compassion.
The second case is the story of Beebagr. Beebagr was Mir Chakar’s ambassador to Kandahar. Beebagr and the daughter of the king of Kandahar named Granaz enter into a romantic relationship. The King of Kandahar, who was a member of a Turkish tribe, was dissatisfied with that relationship, but Beebagr and Granaz were deeply in their love. They flee from Kandahar to Baluchistan and the Shah (the king) waged a war against the Baluchistan with a great army.
Beebagr knew that if he went to Chakar, Goharam would not come to their aid and Mir Chakar’s army would be defeated by Kandahar’s great army. But he thought that if he went to Goharam, Chakar would join Goharam because of him being his nephew, and the proud Kandahar army would be defeated by the Baluch army, which would include Chakar and Goharam.
You told me you have a large army
Who among them are your friends and who are your enemy?
I answered, my beloved
Chakar is my friend and Goharam is my enemy
He has 40 thousands Rind with their sharp horses
Mir Aali has 30 thousands brave men
There are 10 thousands Nohani fighters
Two thousands Cameleer (who fight on Camels back)
Fifty thousands sword fighter with Goharam
They are not less than your father
My wise beloved told me
Competing with a king is difficult
Turk will not let you live in peace
Let’s go to Goharam who has Lion’s Claws
Chakar cannot stay back and wait at home
Goharam acts under the code of Mayar and provides asylum to Beebagr. Chakar was the uncle of Beebagr and in addition to their kinship, Beebagr was also one of the Chaker’s commanders. That’s why he rushes to Beebagr’s aid. In this way, the Baluch army could stand in front of the great Kandahar army.
Goharam gave shelter to Beebagr and Beebagr was sure Chaker would came to their aid. The Turkish army also arrived from there. Beebagr felt guilty that many people on both sides of the conflict would be killed because of his actions, so that in order to stop the bloodshed on both sides, he secretly went to the king’s tent, shook hands with the king, and said: “Now I am your son-in-law and your daughter is my dear wife. It is good to work with you, but I would ask to end the war first.”
When the king saw that he was such a fearless man, he swallowed his anger, forgave him and accepted the union of the two. By doing so, Beebagr was able to keep his beloved by his side and prevent a major war.
According to the third story of Mayar Jali, Gohar went to Omer and sought refuge in him. In the erosive battles between Chakar and Goharam, Goharam suffered more damage and became weaker and weaker over time. Goharam saw that it was very difficult for him to continue the war, so he went to Omer and sought refuge in him. Omer was Chakar’s nephew and Meeran’s cousin.
Although Omer was one of the Chakar’s commanders, for him, respecting Baluch social values took precedence over supporting the Rind tribe. He gave asylum to Gohar. The poet tells the story of Gohar’s asylum acceptance by Omer as follows:
Goharam went to Nouhani tribe
He went to the young Omer
He told the brave Nouhani
I know that you are Chakar’s nephew
And in unity with Rind
I have come to you as refugee
The Nouhani sword player said
You have come as a refugee under the Baluch code
They were great fighters
When Chakar came to Goharam’s battle, Omer fulfilled his promise, joined Goharam’s army and prepared for war with his Rand brothers. Goharam knew that this time the victory belonged to him and put three signs on Chakar’s way. Chakar became stubborn and refused to back down. So he encountered an army of infants and corpses, and hundreds of people became greedy for war.
The fourth story is the story of Sammi, who took refuge in Duda Gorgij. Sammi’s husband died and her relatives decided to divide some of his property among themselves. Sammi refused to do so and migrated to Duda and asked his help to secure his property.
Beeberg arrived with a large army and took the herd of Sammi’s cows back. Duda was newlywed and was sleeping in his house. Hi mother woke him up and said that Sammi cows have been taken and you were sleeping calmly? She forced Duda to go to the Beebarg’s army and bring back the herd of Sammi’s cows. The poet has given poetic description to Duda’s mother’s words as follows:
Those men of honour who take refugees
They don’t sleep carelessly in the noon
Duda instructed his forces to prepare for the war and walk on. He also joined them on his horse, ‘Sohrang’ so that he and his forces could reach the great army to rescue the herd of Sammi’s cows. In a wide plain, Duda encountered a large army of Beeberg, he and his forces were eventually killed, but managed to bring back the Sammi’s cows. The Sammi ‘s cows returned to their pastures and grazed there again, but this honour was recorded in history as Duda, who stood in front of a powerful general and lost his life for returning a herd of a woman’s cows who needed his support. In the ancient Baluchi poems, the poets have depicted and shown Mayar Jali in various situations and situations. For example, Chakar, who is a great general, takes refuge in Gohar and takes care of him in order to bring mercy and compassion to Baluchi. Although Beeberg belonged to the Rind tribe led by his uncle Mir Chakar, they were enemies with Goharam, but he knew that Goharam was obliged under the code of Mayardari which precedent the tribal enmity. He knew that Goharam was a proud Baluch who lived under his culture constraints that he would ignore the enmity of the two tribes and he would take him under his refuge. In the verse, it is stated that:
Chakar was a gifted Lord and King
But compassion and kindness were Goharam’s traits
Goharam granted shelter to Beeberg. Although he knows that Omer was the nephew of Mir Chakar and Sardar Nohan, who belonged to the branch of the Rand tribe, but for Omer, the Baluchi social value, ie Mayar Jali, preceded tribal affiliation and kinship. Likewise, Duda who belonged to the different clan, knew that he and his allies could not stand against the great army of Beeberg, but he granted the shelter to the woman who escaped from the oppression of his tribal leader and took refuge in him, and in an unequal war he lost his life. In the above poems, it is shown that for a worthy Baluch, observing Baluchi social values takes precedence over kinship and tribal relations, even if it is a Rand tribe or clan and the immediate relative of the famous leader of Mir Chakar. In the above poems, it has been established that the Baluch society has a special social law and contract. The Baluch, in every situation, in every problem and issue, have stood firm in upholding their social values, which they have accepted as their unwritten constitution. A Baloch person considers and values social values, customs and procedures as a scale for measuring and evaluating her actions and reactions.
Janabollahi, Mohammad Saeed, Notes on the hidden role of women in the five centuries of Baluch nomadic history; From Chakar Khan to Reza Khan, Nomadic Quarterly of Revolutionary Reserves, No. 11, 1990.
Jafari, Ali Akbar, Baluch and Baluchi, Sokhan, 1963.