Articles :By Dr Shahswar K
There were and there are many aspects of Baluch traditions, customs, moral and social codes and national characteristics that are humane and democratic. Such collective social, legal, moral, political and cultural constituents do not come into being abruptly. They are integral parts of a historical process. They are products of a long process of change and adaptation. That is why at any point in time no society can be exclusively one or the other at once. Every nation possesses these characteristics, more or less depending on their political system, in their own unique way. The progressive and dynamic nature of cultural, moral, legal and social aspects and characteristics of nations are not sterile. Thus, they are bound to be ineffective and suppressed under a closed and autocratic political entity. Despite of being resilient and durable, these fundamental elements are also too delicate that they require careful attention and much nurturing. Their full potential can only come to full fruition when a nation is free and operate under a democratic legal and political regime. In case of a subjugated nation, they are the main targets of the occupying states. Since, these national elements are thoroughly imbued with the core constituents of the identity of the conquered nation. What is more, they are the sources from which individuals derive their courage to stand up against oppression and fight for equality, justice and freedom.
The illegal occupation of Balochistan is a case in point. One cannot fail to see the shocking devastation caused by the occupation on all these aspects of Baloch society. Take for example the aesthetic character of the Baluch society. Baloch traditionally have shown great interest in the aesthetic quality of their society. That includes appreciation of their poetry, music, dance, celebrations, handicrafts, embroidery, pottery and many more. All these artistic and aesthetic aspects of Baluch society could have evolved and developed to an inestimable degree had Baluchistan not been under illegal occupation of foreign nations. Free expression of aesthetic appreciation is not just a dynamic force that transforms a society forward but it is also an essential basis for social cohesion, mutual communal happiness, harmony and stability. The occupying states and their proxies, predictably, find them as primary threats. By appealing to general rhetoric they distort these aspects of the nation under their subjugation to the point of caricature. To undermine these aspects, most effectively, the colonial states seize upon with astonishing alacrity and favour the local proxies. Most of these proxies are allured from religious groups. Religion appeals to universal commandments, which are wrapped in mystery and pregnant with ambiguity. Thus religion is misused in justifying illegal occupation.
The British, the Persian and Punjabi colonial rulers all have employed religion as a destructive force to manipulate Baluch culture and society. They have supported and financed a new class of emerging Islamists priests throughout of Baluchistan. These priests have spread human degradation and slavery. The vast majority of these salaried priests (Mollahs) have had their training in Pakistani Islam. This type of ideological Islam is fundamentally different from the type of Islam that Baluch were familiar or adhered to. This brand of Islam has stood wholly and viciously against Baluch as a nation and their undeniable democratic rights. These Mollahs have sacrificed the rights of Baluch nation as a separate entity and swopped that with petty pecuniary rewards and their theological despotism. Their arrival in Baluchistan, instead, was accompanied with systematic campaign in favour of invading states and their colonial policies and against Baluch freedom and dignity, music; art, culture, moral and social values, and economic well-being.
In the absence of an enlightened political system because of subjugation these proxies have implemented the long-term plan of impracticable colonial system of the occupying states. Duped in imperial glare and power these elements of the Baluch society have drastically undermined the economic well-being of the Baluch nation and Baluch democratic political and legal rights. Above all, they have discarded the right of the self-preservation of the Baluch nation. More specifically, hand in hand with both the Pakistani and Iranian establishment, they have worked against the interest and well-being of Baluch people. Some may oppose the sect of Islam that is officially sanctioned by the occupying state. But the differences in theological sophistry between various religious sects, those that are in power and those that are outside the political power, does not detract from their unity against the national rights of Baluch people. Their defective opposition to the ruling colonial authority does not necessarily put them in a progressive democratic camp that serves the Baluch interests. Giving legitimacy to the occupying states of Pakistan and Iran by any means, can only serve the interest of the subjugators. Sanctioning and legitimizing colonial rule under the pretext of Islam or any other religion is intrinsically immoral.
Massive investment in religious schools in both eastern and western occupied Baluchistan has been carried out with this long-term plan and intension. These schools are among a catalogue of repressive plans and policies to divert the attention of Baluch youths from their democratic rights. In both eastern and western occupied Baluchistan secular education is suffering from chronic underinvestment. In both areas Baluch have the lowest standard of education and literacy rate within boundary of each colonial geopolitical structure. The exceptionally poor and meagre education that is provided officially is also directly or indirectly controlled by the occupying states security forces. The two dominant features of education even in these institutions are geared to the justification of the illegal occupation of these states. The primary aim of education in both cases is directed towards the negation of Baluch rights as a national identity.
To be continued…
Dr Shahswar K is a Baloch political and Human Rights activist, and the co-ordinator of International Voice for Baloch Missing Persons in United Kingdom. He is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at London Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of "Money and its Origins".