A Look at Baloch Arts and Culture and an Urgent Appeal to Prevent the Execution of a Child

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 28, 2010 01:48pm | Post a Comment

Balochistan (????????) is a UNPO member nation that lies along the division between the Middle East and South Asia. It is currently divided between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.


The area was first settled c. 7000-6000 BCE by the Dravidian ancestors of the modern day Brahui. The ruins of the Neolithic Mehghar reveal it to be one of the earliest sites with evidence of farming and herding in South Asia.

From the first to third centuries, AD, the area was ruled by Indo-Scythian or Indo-Parthian kings, the P?ratar?jas. During the Arab Conquest in the 700s, Islam and Arabic culture arrived. In the 1000s, fleeing the Seljuk Turks, and in the 1200s, fleeing the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, numerous Aryan tribes arrived. All found the harsh, arid and mountainous ideally isolated and today, Baloch people's DNA reveals a rich genetic mix with varying degrees of Arab, Aryan, Dravidian, Greek, Kurdish and Turk ancestry.


Until the arrival of the British and later the discovery of vast reserves of natural gas, the Balochi were left relatively alone to develop their own rich, distinct culture. For almost all important occasions (with funerals a notable exception) music and dancing play a major part. Well known Balochi performers include:

Abdullah Sana

Arif Baloch

Khair Jan Baqri

Khalil Sohrabi

Saleem Amin



Shahjan Dawoodi

When England carved up their former empire, they deliberately dived the strategically important Balochistan between three regions. Today, Iran and Pakistan, in particular, exploit the region for its natural resources but the Balochi see little benefit.

Pakistan denies Balochi the right to learn and speak their native language, instead imposing Urdu and Arabic on them. Balochi women have also alleged cases of rape perpetrated by Pakistani soldiers. In 1998, when Pakistan wanted to test their nuclear weapons, Balochistan was the natural choice. And now, Pakistani officials have expressed their desire to use drone attacks on Balochi, on the grounds that many of them not surprisingly seek the right to govern themselves. On July 14, 2010, Habib Jalib Baloch, a Baloch secretary general in UNPO was killed by two gunmen near his home in Quetta.

Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi

In Iran, Balochi is also forbidden from being spoken in schools, as well as in all public places. Extrajudicial detention, torture and execution of Baloch people is commonplace. Several Baloch leaders have been assassinated. The Balochistan Peoples Party is an active, peaceful campaign whose goal is to establish an independent, secular, democratic republic. Seems reasonable, but with Bush's declaration of the nebulous, malleable "War on Terror," any repressive government can crack down on dissidents under its banner. Recently, Iranian authorities have announced their intention to execute sixteen year old Baloch, Mohammad Saber Malek Raisi. He was captured, along with his older brothers, when he was fifteen. It seems another brother is accused of being a member of the outlawed Jundallah organization, and though the teenager hasn't been tried for any offense, he is going to be executed unless his other brother is turned in. In addition to the obvious immorality of Iran's intentions, Iran ratified the UNCRC (Convention on the Rights of the Child) in 1994 and is thereby obligated by international law to ban the execution of minors. Nonetheless, it remains the state with the highest number of child executions in the world. Please take a second to enjoy the Baloch music clips and to sign this petition to stop the execution of children.

Eric Brightwell is an adventurer, essayist, rambler, explorer, cartographer, and guerrilla gardener who is always seeking paid writing, speaking, traveling, and art opportunities. He is not interested in generating advertorials, cranking out clickbait, or laboring away in a listicle mill “for exposure.”
Brightwell has written for Angels Walk LAAmoeblogBoom: A Journal of CaliforniadiaCRITICSHidden Los Angeles, and KCET Departures. His art has been featured by the American Institute of Architects, the Architecture & Design Museum, the Craft ContemporaryForm Follows FunctionLos Angeles County Store, the book SidewalkingSkid Row Housing Trust, and 1650 Gallery. Brightwell has been featured as subject in The Los Angeles TimesHuffington PostLos Angeles MagazineLAistCurbedLAEastsider LABoing BoingLos Angeles, I’m Yours, and on Notebook on Cities and Culture. He has been a guest speaker on KCRWWhich Way, LA?, at Emerson College, and the University of Southern California.
Brightwell is currently writing a book about Los Angeles and you can follow him on AmebaDuolingoFacebookGoodreadsInstagramMubiand Twitter.

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Afghanistan. Brahui (1), Pakistan (5), Iran (7), Unpo (11), South Asia (4), Middle East (3), Baloch (1), Balochistan (1), Aryan (1), Baloch Music (1)