Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

mission longs for the day when work in the vast interior will be established and carried on as it now is on the coasts. Will not these glimpses of the land and the people and the hearts that are hungry for the message appeal to some to give their lives for neglected Arabia ?*

Speed on, ye heralds, bringing

Life to the desert-slain
Till in its mighty winging

God's Spirit comes to reign.
From death to new-begetting

He shall the power give-
Shall choose them for crown-setting

And Ishmael shall live.

THE MOHAMMEDANS OF BALUCHISTAN †

The govern

re

BY A. DUNCAN DIXEY, QUETTA, BALUCHISTAN

Missionary of the Church Missionary Society Baluchistan has a population of 1, areas under different control: British 050,000, not including Makran, west territory, administered territory, triern Sinjrani, or Kharan. The last bal areas, and Khelat territory. The two districts lie near the Seistan first two divisions are really one, boundary and are largely desert. since they are governed by British With the exception of a few Hindu agents and the laws are practically Bunyias, who live in the larger cen the same as in India. ters, all the inhabitants of Baluchistan ment is, of course, neutral on are Mohammedans. These Hindus ligious questions, but occasionally inare well thought of by their neigh- dividual agents seem to favor Islam bors, and in the old days of raids for the people by supporting schools the Moslems made it a rule not to in which the Koran is taught. The attack the women, children, or Hin government has occasionally given dus.

assistance to the medical work of The two chief sects of Moslems the missionaries, and agents have in Baluchistan are Sunis and Shiahs, sometimes shown much sympathy but the real natives of Baluchistan with the work. are all Sunis. I The Shiahs are repre

The Khan of Khelat is an indesented by Hazans (of Mongolian pendent Mohammedan chief, who race), who in recent years have come ranks high among the princes of Ininto British territory to escape the dia. In his own country he is nomoppression and cruelty to which they inally supreme, but is kept in control were subjected in Afghanistan. by a British political adviser. Baluchistan is not united in

gov

In general, law and order reign ernment, for there are four different and violent crimes are not numerous.

* The photographs that accompany this article were kindly sent by Herr H. Burckhardt, of Berlin, who went to Hassa a few months later than I did, and also visited the El Katar peninsula. For a fuller description of the history and condition of Hassa's capital, see Chapter XI "in Arabia, the Cradle of Islam."-S. M. Z

† Compiled from personal experience in three years' itineration among Pathans, Baluchis, and Brahuis, and from Census Report of Mr. Hughes-Buller. As given in a paper prepared for the Cairo Conference, Survey of Islam in Asia, April, 1906.

| Mr. Hughes-Buller thinks that there are indications that both Baluch and Brahuis were at one time Shiahs. Baluchistan, in olden days, having been a province of Persia, Shiah influence must have

been felt.

The government, according to native sion. In 714 A.D. Mohammed, son law and custom, is tempered to some of Kasim, set out from Shiraz to conextent by the influence of Islam. Al- quer Sind, and on his way passed tho orders have been given that Makram. In the tenth century a cerarmed escorts should accompany ev

tain writer mentions that the goverery foreigner when itinerating, there nor of Khozdar (near the present is not much danger from fanaticism. village of Khelat) was Vuirbin AhPreaching in the ordinary sense is mad and that the Khutba was read not, however, considered advisable. in the name of the Khalifa only.

The tribal areas are occupied by Early graves of Baluchistan are made wild tribes of Baluchis, who are prac- in another direction than that toward tically independent, but are kept from Mecca, showing that probably the fighting and crimes by occasional vis- early inhabitants were Zoroastrians. its of a political agent and by subsi- The number of Moslems seeins to be dies which are withheld in case of increasing, owing to the cessation of the least disturbance. The chief the tribal wars, looting, and raids detriment to crime seems to be, how during the last 15 to 20 years. There ever, the fear of the British Raj, of has been a gradual restoration of law whose power they have had unpleas- and order under the British governant experience when expeditions have ment. Immigration and peace have been sent against them. These tribes also allowed settlement in many disare all fanatical Moslems, and the life tricts at one period uninhabited. At of a convert to Christ would not be the same time many Baluchis have safe among them. Preaching is not gone to Sind and the Punjab, finding allowed, so that at present the only it impossible to live among the barren means of reaching these people is mountains and sandy deserts of Baluthrough medical work. The govern- chistan without recourse to looting. ment has arranged to furnish an es- Altho the Brahui people are the cort to those visiting these tribes, and most numerous, they do not all use the people themselves have requested the Brahui language. Many speak me never to leave camp without some Persian, Baluchi, and Sindhi. Numerguard.

ically Pushtu probably stands first,

then Brahui, Baluchi, Sindhi, and Census Report on the Spread of Islam

Persian.

Urdu

is understood by The exact period at which the nearly all chiefs and by many Hindu tribes of Baluchistan first came into Bunyias, and is rapidly spreading in contact with Mohammedanism must places where the people come in remain buried in obscurity. It is contact with the government. Perprobable, however, that they did so sian is the favorite language of the early in the Mohammedan era. Seis- upper classes, and almost every man tan, which touches the western bor- who makes any pretense to educader of the province, was conquered tion usually includes Persian as one as early as 31 A.H., and about 44 of his accomplishments. Very few A.H. In 665 A.H. Muhallah, son of of the Mullahs really understand Abu Safra, brought the countries Arabic. of Kabul and Zabul under submis- The government report says that

en

the bulk of the population has re perhaps was balanced against anceived and is receiving no education other. whatever. Even those few who learn Concubinage exists, more especially the Koran do not understand its among the Baluchi chiefs (where the meaning. A few sons of chiefs have treaty prohibits missionaries from received some instruction in Urdu teaching their women). I know of and Persian, and a few have been several chiefs who have thirty, forty, trained to be Mullahs by being sent fifty or sixty women, but whether to Kandahar to finish their education. they all occupy the position of conThe government has established cubines it is difficult to say. Many schools in several centers, and oc seem to be domestic slaves and are casionally these are attended by Path- often given by the chief to his folans, but the Hindus seem to pre lowers or to male slaves. From meddominate, the Bunyias evidently real ical experience and reports it seems izing the importance of education. . that in many cases there is no marOutside the imported population of riage bond, or it is often broken. Hindus and Sikhs living in the two Women stolen from India or or three government centers there are ticed away under false pretenses apamong Mohammedans only 117 liter pear to be living lives of common ates per 1,000, and among the women prostitution in the large villages of only 23 per 1,000. In many cases

Baluchi chiefs. even these do not understand what Many of these tribes in the past they are reading. In the last three were great border robbers, and it is years we have found only three or only during the last twenty years that four Mullahs who were willing or their raiding has been stopped. They able to answer arguments.

formerly imported slaves, and occa

sionally on looting expeditions they Social Conditions

took women away with their other Polygamy is not very common loot. The descendants of these slaves

common people. The to-day form a numerous body in some purchase of wives is in vogue, so that of the larger villages, and many apthe poverty of the people prevents pear to be in a very miserable condithe possession of more than one wife tion. The children often wear but a except by the wealthier classes. All few rags and many of them go enthe chiefs and many Mullahs with tirely naked. Different forms of whom I have come into contact pos venereal disease are also common, sess more than one wife, and several as both among adults and children. many as five or six. The price of The women, both free and slave, girls varies, being highest among are given all the degrading work and Pathans, where, according to reports, often bear the heavy burdens, while there is the greatest paucity of wom the men sit in idleness. Throughout en. The prices have risen of recent the country, both in British territory, years, as men find they can now claim Khelat State, and Mani and Bugti payment in court, whereas in old countries, are to be found hundreds days in many cases the money was of Hazara women, who during the never fully paid up, or one relative late Hazara revolt in Afghanistan,

among the

or

were taken by the Amir from their caught. But to-day a man, in order homes, and sold by Pathans all over to secure money, will often accuse Baluchistan. In every large village his wife of adultery when her only in some districts these women are to fault may be that she does not please be found and every chief possesses her husband. The death penalty, in numbers of them. Their owners British territory, has been abolished. speak of buying them as one might The reports say that among Afghans, refer to buying cattle.

on the other hand, immorality on the In Khelat State the great blot is part of a wife is winked at by her the Court of the Khan, where vile husband, and that even when the orgies are enacted, which it is impos matter has become a public scandal, sible to describe. It is said that some the injured husband is generally willof the boys have died from the treat ing to overlook it on payment of a ment received. The first chapter of few rupees and one two girls. Romans is a true picture of the con Among Baluchis the feeling in re(litions existing among Brahuis, Path- gard to adultery is said to be very ans, and Baluchis to-day. Scarcely a severe. From personal experience, (lay passes but medical experience however, living among these tribes, testifies to the truth of the worst re in their villages, in their houses, and ports and observations. Taking the encampments, there seems to be nofirst 450 cases treated recently on a where more open prostitution than tour among the Marri and Bugti Ba in the capitals of the Baluchi chiefs. luchis, 14 per cent. were due to the The seclusion of women is not sensuality of the people. Almost practised except among the most imevery chief and many of the Mullahs portant Sirdars and chiefs. Here are suffering from the effects of im and there, where the people have purity. So many Mullahs are treated come more into contact with Indian for syphilis at our hospital and on customs, one finds the purdah system itineration that it is often spoken of being established, but it is exceptionas “the Mullah's disease.” These al.

al. The following extract on the poconditions in some of the villages are sition of women in Baluchistan is no doubt partly due to slavery, many from the government census report: of the slaves being really common prostitutes. The bazaars, which are

Throughout the province, more especialthe outcome of our occupation of the

ly among Afghans and Brahuis (from ex

perience among all three people, I can frontier, have also very much to an testify that the Baluchis are in by far the swer for regarding the spread of ve worst condition), the position of woman is nereal disease.

one of extreme degradation. She is not The government reports state that

only a mere household drudge, but she is

the slave of man in all his needs, and her immorality among women is common

life is one of continual and abject toil. and that in spite of the requirements No sooner is a girl fit for work than her of the Koran with regard to wit parents send her to tend the cattle and she nesses, death is, according to the is compelled to take her part in all the ortribal custom of Baluchis and Brahuis, dinary household duties. Owing to the

system of buying wives, in vogue among the only punishment for an unfaith

Afghans, a girl as soon as she reaches marfuf

and her lover when riageable age is, for all practical purposes,

woman

put up for auction and sold to the highest

Material Progress bidder. Her father discourses in the market on her beauty or ability as a house

"Until 1875," says Sir Herbert Edkeeper, and invites offers from those who wards, in the government report, "in desire a wife. Even the more wealthy and more respectable Afghans are

the ebb and flow of might, right,

not above this system of thus lauding the fe- possession, and spoliation, there was male wares which they have for sale. Even the betrothal of unborn girls is frequent.

no security of life or property, and It is also usual that compensation for blood practically no communications existbe ordered to be paid in the shape of girls, some of whom are living, while others are

ed. The only way in which whole yet unborn.

tribes were saved from extermination Woman in Baluchistan is regarded was by the universal custom of never as little more than a chattel or ma- killing women or the boys who had chine. Is it surprising, then, to find not yet put on trousers.” that woman is considered only as a In a recent tour through the Marri means for increasing man's comforts and Bugti country, I saw many more or as an object for the gratification thousands of graves than I saw men. of his animal passions? A wife must It was a standing witness to the connot only carry water, prepare food, stant state of war which, until quite and attend to alf ordinary household recently,

recently, was waged both among duties, but she must take flocks out to themselves and among surrounding

tribes. graze, groom her husband's horse,

If to-morrow the British and assist in cultivation of the land. government should withdraw from

Among the tribes in Zhot a mar- this province, the tribes would doubtried woman must even provide means less return to the old condition of by her own labor, for clothing her

continual civil war.

To-day, after self, her children, and her husband, twenty-five years of the gradual infrom whom she receives no assist- crease of law and order, there is here ance, monetary or otherwise. Among and there evident improvement in the Afghans and their neighbors polyg- condition of the people. The governamy is only limited by the purcha- ment has built a few dispensaries and sing power of man, and a wife is schools, and there are some 545 miles looked on as a better investment than of metalled roads. But the people cattle, for in a country where drought have not yet realized the need of any and scarcity are continually present,

effort on their part, and instead of the risk of loss in animals is great, utilizing land and water for systemwhile the female offspring of a wom

atic cultivation, they seem content an will fetch a high price.

to remain on the verge of starvation Woman's tutelage does not end as long as they can grow a little wheat with widowhood. In the household

or millet with a small amount of laof a deceased Afghan she is looked

bor. Even wells for irrigation are on as an asset in the division of his neglected where water exists. property. It is no uncommon thing

Brahuis and Baluchis are largely to find a son willing to sell his own

nomadic in their habits, and many mother.*

Pathans annually move from moun

tain to plain, or vice versa, accord* This is from Census Report and is from informa

ing to the season of the year, for tion obtained by the government. I cau testify to its truth from experience.-A. D. D.

purposes of trade.

« ForrigeFortsett »