Qambar Malik Baloch
The national struggle of an oppressed people has always been a complex phenomenon and one of the most intricate human activities. It runs into endless challenges in its course towards the set aspirations. In the process, a number of political figures emerge whose footsteps and teachings are regarded as a source of guidance to further and gather support for one’s cause. Systematic measures from the opposing groups are carried out to emasculate these figures. Balochs’ case is not an exemption.
One of the virulent features observed in the Baloch national struggle is the long-pursued systematic and organized manoeuvres to demean the towering political figures of Baloch nationalism. The ulterior motives behind these scheming policies are simply to serve the purpose of anti-Baloch powers aiming to mislead and distance the Baloch youth from the torchbearers of the Baloch struggle for national salvation. A Balochi proverb goes, “Tanke Raast paddar bibeet drog jagaha socheet” – “By the time truth is realized, lie sets the place on fire”. In a Baloch context, so widespread had been such efforts that many honest political activists fell prey to these subtle fabrications.
After the creation of Pakistan and incorporation of Balochistan into the newly created religious state, Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo, Sardar Ataullah Mengal and Nawab Khair Bux Mari, the leaders of National Awami Party (NAP) emerged as the pioneers of the Baloch national struggle. With their relentless and selfless endeavours not only in Balochistan they began to enjoy unequivocal respect and admiration among the masses but they also became the beacon of hope for oppressed national entities throughout Pakistan. Much alarmed, besides putting them into prisons for long terms, the state establishment tried to damage the Baloch leadership politically and personally in a variety of ways. They were termed Sardars and oppressive in the official media, their progressive stance was branded as anti-Islamic and thus anti-state. Baloch student organization (BSO) which was the most active institution supporting the National Awami Party (NAP) was divided and a pro-establishment faction was created in the name of BSO-anti Sardar which later became BSO Awami. The task given to the leaders of this organization was to spread disinformation against the Baloch leadership and their struggle against national oppression. It is noteworthy that except Wahid Kamber and Abdul Nabi Bangulzai, all leaders of this student organization later became active anti-Baloch politicians and some of them are still serving the cause of the establishment in Balochistan. A group of Baloch writers was hired by the establishment to confuse the masses about the real aim of the Baloch struggle. These so-called writers and their followers are still busy spreading lies and mutilating the history of the Baloch national struggle.
Without any surprises, following Mir Bizenjo’s recently commemorated death anniversary on 11 August 2018, a number of fabricated lies were being fanned on social media while in certain pockets of Baloch political circles, Mir Bizanjo was accused of being against the promotion of Balochi Language. These allegations appeared in relation to National Awami Party (NAP)’s decision to declare Urdu as the official language when it was elected to government in Balochistan during a nine-month period in 1972.
In order to ascertain the truth, the historical context and conditions surrounding that time should be taken into account rather be ignored. The nine months government of NAP was faced with multiple internal and external challenges hindering its operations. The leadership of NAP was confronted with the question of choosing an official language for the province. In the prevailing circumstances of the time, it was convenient to keep Urdu as a medium of communication keeping into mind the fact that a very small part of the population in Balochistan could read and write in Balochi and the language was not developed to the stage to serve as a medium for government matters. It was decided to use Urdu as the official language and hectic efforts were made to develop Balochi into a workable language.
The provincial government immediately convened a conference in order to find consensus among literary personalities for a feasible script for the Balochi language. This was too much for the establishment to digest, and concerted efforts were made by the lackeys of the federal government to disrupt the proceedings of the conference. It is interesting to note that in the above-mentioned conference, suggestions were put forth advocating the use of Roman alphabets to develop Balochi language. This was felt necessary to develop Balochi on the fast track as Roman Alphabets are easy to learn and it would have helped to write in various Balochi dialects with ease. The section of the participants of the conference with alleged blessings of the establishment insisted to retain the use of Arabic text referring to it as ancestral and termed any attempts to replace it as anti-Islamic. With their disruptive attitude, the proceedings of the conference could not be continued and the efforts to officially develop the Balochi language could not be materialized due to active manipulations of the establishment with the support of their lackeys among the Baloch literary circles.
The decision to use Urdu for the official purpose by the leadership of NAP in this respect was guided by the circumstances facing them. It was a collective decision of the leaders of NAP where Mir Ghous Bakhsh was the Governor, Sardar Ataullah Mengal was the Chief Minister, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri was the head of NAP Balochistan chapter and Mir Gul Khan Naseer was the education minister. The people engaged in such slanderous activities on social media or elsewhere should have the courage to judge the whole Baloch leadership, approve or condemn their actions. Subjective and selective criticism merely driven by longstanding and compelling animosity against the Baloch leadership of the past (from which the present generation of the Baloch are getting inspirations) would only serve the purpose of the Baloch enemies and increase the chaotic situation prevailing in the Baloch national struggle.
Criticism, in essence, is a reasonable assessment of the merits and faults of a move, strategy or artistic works by taking into account the urge of conditions and time during which they were devised. Strategies can prove fruitless or their execution can go wrong but they do not necessarily reflect the strategist’s intentions or can be the basis of judging one’s loyalty to the cause. It is high time the Baloch social and political activists learn and practice critical thinking in its true essence. A circumspect approach in analysing the details be adopted rather than accepting them at face value, just as how careful we are in making decisions in the matters concerning our national interests. Unclear perspective leads to a wrong analysis of subject matter that can result in unfavourable outcomes. As Joseph Mazzini observed: “You are not guilty because you are ignorant but you are guilty when you resign yourself to ignorance”.
The writer is a UK based Baloch socio-political activist who hails from Panjgur, Balochistan. He was the Ex chairperson of Baloch Students Action Committee, BUITEMS and Baloch Students and Youth Association UK. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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