Baluch Struggle at Two Fronts
Date 2012-10-09 | Topic: Articles
|By Dr. Shahswar K|
Throughout the history of Balochistan there have been revolts either against oppressive local rulers or foreign invaders. These revolts were predominantly parochial. In a few cases they were also regional within Baluchistan’s frontier. The uprisings against the British conquers after 1839 or the Qajar invaders after 1850 were mainly confined to very specific areas in Baluchistan. These revolts were spontaneous and lacked an overall national dimension. It is also necessary to recognise that the rebellions were a result of the extreme cruelty and coercion that the people of Baluchistan had been subjected to. Historical evidence suggests that for many years other parts of Baluchistan were not even aware of such rebellions and their unforgiving consequences.
What we are witnessing now in Baluchistan, however, is a qualitatively different political scenario. We are on the eve of the first nationwide struggle for a free and sovereign nation. This is a point that needs to be taken earnestly. The scale and scope of national consciousness in this particular uprising is unprecedented. Awareness of the need for undeniable democratic rights now has taken root all over Baluchistan. Against this background the Baluch national democratic movement has entered into a new phase. The liberation movement is on a higher landmark than it has ever been. People from all walks of life, gender and age group have taken part in the present struggle. The very intensity of resistance has split people into two groups - those who have taking a strong partisan line in support of their inherent democratic rights and those who are comfortable with their moral delinquency of conformity, obedience and submission.
In the realm of subjugation, once a nation collectively becomes conscious of the truth, the primacy of the idea of liberty is the decisive influence. The vast majority of people will side with the grand and leading principle of liberty. It is at this stage of the liberation struggle that the vast majority of people see the ill-treatment of each Baluch as a collective national humiliation and a tiny minority take part in the act of degradation and crime.
One notable shift in political landscape of Baluchistan was soon after the Russian revolution and the end of First World War. Both events left their impact on the subsequent decolonisation and liberation movements. These events had also affected the Baluch struggle. This was on one hand due to Baluch engagement in the struggle against British and Persian colonisers and on the other hand due to the message of Russian revolutionaries who expressed strong support for liberation movements.
The declining power of the British Empire after the First World War had fostered a novel political narrative in Baluchistan. However this new outlook was also far from being a nationwide movement. Despite its modern outlook, the Baluch resistance movements against the British, the Persian after 1928 and Punjabi colonisers after 1948 lacked the profundity, vigour and the breadth of a comprehensive national resistance movement. The creation of Islamic Frankenstein state of Pakistan in 1947 and subsequently the invasion and illegal occupation of Eastern Baluchistan by Pakistan, however, added a new angle to the Baluch national movement. Baluch vehemently resisted Pakistani occupation of their homeland and proudly kept the flame of liberation alive to the present day.
From very day of occupation Baluch confronted the Pakistani state and army. Each decade has brought the two sides toward a more intense and direct confrontation. These confrontations have been put down by the occupying states in the most violent and ruthless manner. It is ironic that the outcome of the policy of the repression has not managed to produce the desired aim of fostering timidity and submission. In fact the vicious and oppressive strategies have cultivated a culture of resistance amongst the Baluch nation. State repression has acted as catalyst in spreading the message of liberation to all parts of Baluchistan.
When it comes to the question of freedom, liberty, democracy and national sovereignty bygones will never be bygones. On such issues nurturing the seed of subordination will work only temporarily. In such a political environment subversive activities will never be totally eradicated. As people are confronted by relentless state cruelty they will rebel collectively over and over again with greater strength. That is why the Baluch liberation movement is currently much more widespread. The difference between the present liberation movement and the previous forms is a difference of degree rather than a difference of kind. The current movement shows all the elements of a national movement whereas in earlier movements nationwide participation in the struggle was largely absent.
Since the earlier revolts were restricted to certain locations or regions, it was easier for the occupying states to crush the movements and maintain their despotic rule. This resistance movement, however, is unique in the history of Baluchistan. It is for the first time that Baluch have risen from all corners of Baluchistan and have channelled their voices in one secular national democratic movement. The root of this movement is the accumulation of a slow process of injustices and failed resistance. The disastrous experience of living under occupation for many decades has inspired a new movement of liberation. The new century and millennium has also opened a new door for the Baluch nation. With the invention and widespread application of World Wide Web truths cannot be manipulated and buried anymore by repressive states and countries.
The Baluch national liberation movement is spreading rapidly and the occupying states and their cronies will certainly be employing more untried cruelties and deception. But such policies and actions make little difference to the final outcome. In their march to freedom the Baluch liberation movement is going to attract greater and greater numbers of people from all social groups, political persuasions, religious beliefs, gender and age groups. Their demand is clear and loud. The restoration of basic democratic rights is the central demand of the emerging movement. They want to break free from colonial captivity and live in dignity and security. They want to determine their own future and affairs in a free and democratic Baluchistan. There is nothing extraordinary or outside the range of human reason in this simple demand and mode of thought.
The liberation movement teaches the Baluch masses and their leaders the lesson of self-respect and equal rights. Armed with this belief they will know the plain truth that Baluchistan under colonial rulers will never be a free Baluchistan. Moreover, the intensity of their struggle will reveal another simple fact more bluntly. The people’s very survival is in real threat under the present colonial geopolitical structure. It is during the course of this political struggle that they would discover that the key prerequisite to a free, democratic and prosperous Baluchistan, first and foremost, is its liberation from the present colonial bondage. The Baluch masses also will know that it is only their collective informed decision that has legal and moral legitimacy. The decisions of a few colonial army personnel, missionaries and bureaucrats cannot speak for the Baluch nation. The movement is educating the Baluch masses that their interest is served in a free and democratic Baluchistan rather than in a subjugated Baluchistan. They will acquire and be furnished with the knowledge of the prospect of living in a free, harmonious and prosperous Baluchistan.
The Baluch struggle consists of two fronts: a) the realisation of the fact that Baluch nation is an occupied nation. The colonial powers tend to use all their oppressive political machineries, schools, universities, media, religions, judiciary systems, armies, languages, cultures and economic leverage to eradicate and undermine this realisation. In this way they aim to twist Baluch into an instrument of self-hate, denunciation and destruction. Baluch then instead of defending their own democratic rights would willingly delimit the sphere of their demands and overlook their rights and would guard the colonial system. In either case, the denial of one’s democratic rights from within or from outside, is a profound injury to one’s national rights.
To elucidate the matter further consider a case of a prisoner of conscience. Simply, by denying the existence of the prison the prisoner would discard his or her right to freedom voluntarily. Denying one’s right to be free of one’s own accord, knowingly or unknowingly, will be followed by the same result i.e. captivity. Denying either explicitly or implicitly the illegal occupation of Baluchistan only means submission to illegitimate colonial rulers in Baluchistan. It means foregoing one of our most basic democratic rights. That is the right of being free from illegal occupation. In the absent of this right any discussion of democracy, human rights, freedom of thought and expression and rule of law would be empty of any worth or content.
b) The second front is evident and clear. That is the battle that is going on with the occupying states, armies and establishment. Every Baluch observes and experiences this savage oppression on daily basis. The battle against the colonial rulers will not succeed unless we realise and understand the first incurable defect. As long as Baluchistan is under the repressive grip of colonial rulers Baluch will never be free. It is about breaking the myth that has taken root that occupied Baluchistan is not invaded to fit colonial interests and political ambition. By acknowledging and breaching this imposed falsehood, Baluch then can confront the occupying states and can break free from their imposed prison. It is manifestly the right of the Baluch nation to establish an open, free and democratic Baluchistan. In the end, liberation and freedom can only be achieved successfully if we overcome these two repressive forces simultaneously.
Dr Shahswar K is a Baloch political and Human Rights activist. He is Senior Lecturer in Economics at London Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of "Money and its Origins"