Dr Naseer Dashti
Early decades of the 20th century was the period when the Baloch horizons were engulfed in the dark shadows of despair, frustration and a growing sense of total defeat and helplessness. It was the period when the Baloch resistance against the British and its ally the Persians, had been ruthlessly crushed. It was the period when under different boundary commissions, the body of the Baloch land had been dissected and it had been divided into various parts controlled by the Persians, the British and the Afghans.
In Eastern Balochistan, the glorious resistance of the Baloch led by Marri, Bugti, Mengal, Zehri and Nosherwanis had ended in total defeat. Leader of the Bugti tribe Mir Ghulam Hussain Bugti had been killed by the British and his head had been put on public display. Legendary guerilla fighter Noora Mengal had been imprisoned. Sardar Noordin Mengal and Mir Azad Khan Nosherwani had been neutralized. A crushing defeat had been delivered to the Marri by the British forces. The champions of the Baloch resistance against the British Mir Baloch Khan Nosherwani and Nawab Khan Mohammad Zarakzai had been killed.
In Sistan, the Baloch resistance led by Nahrui and Sanjarani tribes had been crushed jointly by the British, Afghans and the Persians. General Dyre with his spy Ido Reiki was successful in bringing a reign of terror in Sarhad. Sardar Jiand khan and Sardar Khalil had been eliminated from the scene. In Western Makuran, the emerging Baloch chiefdom led by Mir Bahram and Mir Dost Mohammad Barakzai failed to gain firm roots and was crumbling under an increasing pressure from the Persians and its fall was imminent to every conscious Baloch.
The Khanate of Kalat under the firm grip of the British was being ruled by degenerated Khans who were unable to express remote respect for the Baloch honour, values and traditions. Majority of the Baloch Sardars had now become protégés of the occupying forces. As the pawns of the British administration, they were being used to undermine any remaining authority of the Baloch State.
It was the time when there was a general milieu of fear, defeatism, doubts, and distrust prevailing in the Baloch society. Engulfed in this terrible darkness, the Baloch were trying to peer deep into and were unable to find any light at the end of the tunnel. It was the time when the Baloch as a nation was stuck in a crack in the ground underneath a giant boulder. They were unable to move this giant boulder and there was no chance of rescue coming from anywhere.
It was the time of infusing some kind of hope among the Baloch masses.
The infusion of hope among the Baloch came from an unexpected quarter. In those hours of despair there appeared on the Baloch horizon a group of educated Baloch youth. These Baloch youths were serving in the bureaucratic services of the Khanate. Getting a place in the government service was the highest dream of a person at that time. However, this group of Baloch took the risk of scarifying their privileged positions. This group of Baloch youth pledged themselves for the task of mobilizing the Baloch masses towards their cherished objective of national salvation in an organized and scientific way. They realized that this was not an easy task at that time. The British imperialism was an almighty force. Confronting and defeating such a mighty force was considered to be only a dream.
The Baloch society was not prepared for a democratic political struggle. It was a society where everything revolved around the Sardar and Sardars were allied with the occupying forces. They were not ready to tolerate any action which might endanger their total control on the Baloch society whether it was political or social. The talk of national liberation was perceived by them as an act of suicide in the face of the
Mir Gul Khan and his companions were disillusioned by the treachery of the Baloch tribal chiefs and the Khans. They were disillusioned by the disgusting poverty of the Baloch masses. They were disillusioned by the illiteracy in the Baloch society. They were disillusioned by the loss of the Baloch sovereignty and the division of their Father Land.
There came the greatness of those who initiated the beginning of a new era in the Baloch polity. It was the greatness of the pioneers of the Baloch national resistance that they ventured on a task which was more than Herculean, one taking into consideration the situation of the Baloch society and Balochistan at that time.
In every phenomenon, the beginning remains always the most notable moment. The credit to be the pioneers of the Baloch national resistance in the present shape goes to Mir Gul Khan and his comrades. Here lies the nobility and greatness of the people like, Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd, Mir Yusuf Magsi, Malik Faiz Muhammad Yusufzai, Muhammad Hussain Unqa, Naseem Talvi, Abdul Karim Shorish, Mir Muhammad Azam Shehwani, and Mir Gul Khan Naseer. The formation of Anjuman e Ittehad e Balochan
They were great because they sow the seeds of a phenomenon without any consideration of reaping the harvest by themselves. In the prevailing situation of the period, they were sure that they might not be able to reap the harvest in their lifetime. They were great because they believed that the seed which they have sown would someday deliver the most precious of the harvests for the Baloch. They were great because they sacrificed their privileged positions to set an example of political struggle for the Baloch generations to come.
It is easy to be brave from a safe distance. It is easy to be brave in front of an inferior enemy. It is easy to be brave when you have superior might. But the real bravery is to confront a mighty enemy face to face. The real bravery is to turn the disappointing and adverse situations into helping tools. The real bravery is to withstand the obstacles and difficulties of various magnitudes with courage and perseverance.
Mir Gul Khan and his associates were great because they faced adverse circumstances bravely. They were great because they challenged a far superior enemy. They were great because they used the unfavourable circumstances in their favour. Instead of being frustrated by the general milieu of suffocation prevailing on the horizon, Mir Gul Khan and his associates got stimulation. In the darkness of subjugation, division and occupation, they had their dream of a brighter future for the Baloch. in the realization of their dream of a Balochistan free from occupation and exploitation, they mustered the courage to bear all kinds of suffering including long-term imprisonments, tortures, and exiles.
Mir Gul Khan and his companions were uncompromising, honest, courageous and respectable. They were truly committed to the cause they were struggling for. They were great because they acted rather than depending merely on words. They confronted the mighty power of the British imperialism and protégés of the British establishment, the Khan of Kalat and Sardars. They were great because they confronted the enemy when it was unthinkable at that time. They were great because they started the political movement in Balochistan when there was none. Their dream of a liberated Balochistan was challenging, but challenges were what Mir Gul Khan and his comrades lived for.
Today it appears that things are getting worse for the Baloch. The Baloch road for national salvation appears to be all uphill. Circumstances are as unfavorable as they were at the time of Mir Gul Khan. For the Baloch as a nation there is nothing to smile but only to sigh. The Baloch land is still divided and occupied. The might of the Persian and Pakistani states have unleashed unprecedented atrocities on the Baloch. The Baloch resistance forces are divided. There is again a feeling of helplessness and defeat. Terrified from the mightiness and ruthlessness of the enemy, many among us are preaching that the Baloch should abandon the path of resistance. They are preaching that to resist the might of occupying forces is suicidal.
The situation might not be ideal for the Baloch national resistance. There are indeed problems of severe nature; however, the situation is far better than when Mir Gul Khan Naseer and his comrades embarked upon their mission. In the face of difficult circumstances, it is most imperative for the Baloch to rise to the challenge. Today the challenge facing the Baloch is far bigger than the Baloch were facing when Mir Gul Khan and his comrades raised the flag of rebellion. This challenge is to our survival as a national entity. This challenge is to our language, culture, and way of life. This challenge is to our dream of national salvation from all kind of exploitation and subjugation.
For the Baloch, the best way of paying tribute to Mir Gul Naseer and his comrades in present times is to develop the courage, tenacity, honesty, and commitment with the Baloch national resistance. The Baloch must try to change the circumstances to their favour. The Baloch must never quit or give in under the pressure of unfavorable circumstances.
(Speech delivered at the University of London on the occasion of the memorial day in honour of Mir Gul Khan Naseer on 11th December 2011)