Author Topic: Balochi Language & Literature  (Read 2334 times)

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Balochi Language & Literature
« on: June 24, 2005, 05:51:24 PM »
Balochi Language & Literature

 

Balochi is the language of Baloch nation. Balochi is a north-west Iranian language of the Aryan sub-family of the Indo-European
languages according to linguistic analysis. Balochi is also spoken and written outside Balochistan where Baloch people live such
as Sindh, Punjab, the Gulf regions, Turkmenistan …
 

In some regions of Balochistan, Baloch people are bilingual, so they speak in Balochi as their national infra-language; and in Brahui

around Kalat and Khozdar regions and in Judgali around Las-Beila and in Dashtyari, in Saraiki around Kach and Punjab as their

mother tongue. Similarly Dehwari language which is the language of Dehwar tribe of Kalat and Mastong is spoken. It originally was

a Persian language but now is a combined form of Farsi and Brahui languages.

 

 

 

Dialects in Balochi language

 

Balochi language has three main dialects:

 

1.      Kohe Soleiman dialect which is spoken in eastern part of Balochistan such as Kohe Soleiman region, Mari and Bugti regions, Deira Ismail Khan and Deira Ghazi Khan, and by some Baloch people in Sindh.

 

2.      Makorani dialect which is spoken from Pahra to Karachi including coastal areas of Balochistan. Also majority of Baloch people in Sindh and Gulf regions speak in Makorani dialect.

 

3.      Rakhshani dialect which is spoken in the north and north-east of Balochistan such as Kalat, Kharan, Sarawan, Chaghi, Sistan, Sarhad and Nimrooz. It is also spoken by Baloch people in Turkmenistan and in Khorasan of Iran.

 

 

Some linguistic readers categorize Balochi into two dialects of eastern and western Balochistan. According to them, eastern dialect is the dialect of Deira Ghazi Khan, Deira Ismail Khan, and of Mari and Bugti tribes, and of Baloch people of Sindh region. The other dialects such as Makorani and Rakhshani are considered as the western dialect.

 

But if the grammar of the Balochi language is examined in depth, then evidently the above classification may not be correct. For the reason that Kohe Soleiman and Makorani dialects are far closer to each other compared with Rakhshani and Makorani dialects.

The grammatical structure of the Kohe Soleiman and Makorani dialects are fundamentally the same, and there are hardly any major differences between them except in pronunciation of some words and letters. The Kohe Soleiman dialect is largely influenced by Sindhi and Saraiki languages so the variation in pronunciation appears in it. In addition it borrowed a large number of words from Sindhi.

 

There is a noticeable difference in infinitive verbs between Rakhshani and Makorani dialects. The infinitive symbol or affix in Makorani dialect is the letter ‘G’ whereas the letter ‘N’ is used in Rakhshani dialect instead, and if it (‘N’) is detached from a verb, then infinitive verb changes form to a simple past.

By demonstrating these similarities and differences, it could be stated that Makorani and Kohe Soleiman dialects are very close to each other. Hence if the Balochi language is to be classified into two dialects only, then Makorani dialect is to be considered in dialect of the Kohe Soleiman group rather than in the Rakhshani one.

 

Apart from the infinitive verbs, there are also differences in making sentences and in forming simple past and simple present verbs in Rakhshani dialect and in Makorani dialect, while such problem is absent between Kohe Soleiman and Makorani dialects. In addition to these three dialects there are also other smaller dialects in Balochi language and can be called as sub-dialects. Each sub-dialect is close to one of the main dialects.

 

 

 

 

 

Balochi literature

 

The need for writing in the world has been emerging and developing in accordance with the rate of progress and needs of each region. It is not yet clear whether there was written scripts in Balochi language in the old times or not. In this field there is a need for further research in Balochistan.

 

In the 13th century, the foundation for a Balochi government was laid down in Balochistan, but invasion by foreigners such as Ghorian, Gaznavian and Mongols were so extensive that development of a civic society in Balochistan slowed down. Later on the need for writing arose to accomplish governmental tasks, but it occurred at a time where Farsi was used as a medium not only in Iran but also in central Asia and India. Similarly in Balochistan, the Farsi language became the medium language in government and offices.  Because Farsi language used Arabic script, then Arabic script became common in Balochistan.

 

Prior to the 19th century, the Balochi literature was in oral form which Baloch people kept alive by heart, and did not allow it to be lost. The writing of Balochi literature began in the second half of the 19th century.

 

 

 

1.     poetry

 

 

The oldest available Balochi poetry is of 16th century which belongs to poetry of Mir Chakar’s era. Of course it is to be said that Balochi poetry and poems existed long before that era in Baloch societies, for the reason that composing of poems surfaced and furthered with evolution of the language. It is also clear from the shape, style of the language of poets in novels that those poetries are not of initial and basic poetry. That is why one can say prior to that era our literature was not passed successfully to us.

 

Respect to truth, sanctuary, avenges and bravery is the essence of poetry of that period. Poems of that era are more of war ballads and historical nature, and they also include many of the wise-men of the time. In the 18th century vast regions of Balochistan became under a centralised system of governance so urbanisation with its values were evolving which had its effects on Balochi poetry. The romantic style of poetry became far common than war ballad poetry. So sensitivity, love and friendship and above all a message for peace and security emerged. Jam Dorrak was the greatest poets of that time. After Jam Dorrak in the 19th century, a number of famous poets such as Mola Fazol, Mola Qasim, Ezat Panjgori, Mastt Tavakoli, Mola Ibrahim Bahoei, Mola Bohir, Mola Bahram … did rein in Balochi poetry.

 

In the early 20th century in the subcontinent of India, national movements rose-up, and many political groups and parties were founded and began making efforts against the British colonization of their lands. In Balochistan efforts also were made against British oppression. Rahm Ali was the poet of the time, and his poems are full of freedom seeking and of nationalistic aspiration and character. The rise of freedom seeking movement of Mir Yousof Ali Khan Magasi and his poetry influenced a large number of educated Baloch youths. Not so long time gone by, some Baloch youths such as Gul Khan Naseer and Mohammad Hossain Onga stepped into new era of Baloch poetry.

 

When Reza Shah invaded western Balochistan with his army and subjected it under his oppressive rule, and his son intensified oppression on Baloch people during his rein, then progress on Balochi literature was an impossible phenomenon. Despite the oppressions, Baloch people constantly made efforts to their ability under those circumstances to prevail their customs and culture. Baloch poets have been furthering in composing of poems in their mother tongue. Baloch people also made the Balochi poems tasteful and splendid by rehearsing them in their weddings and ceremonies.

 

The new era of Balochi poetry began after the II World War. When India gained its independence, the desire for freedom and national rights was increasing among other nations of the region. In Balochistan such desires were at an optimum level when Pakistan’s army made incursion into Kalat, the capital of eastern Balochistan in 1948, and annexation of Balochistan to Pakistan was declared. In such turbulent circumstances, Baloch nationalists made their efforts more sharp and focused on political and cultural fronts. In Balochi poetry, political thoughts and new styles emerged. Gul Khan Naseer was the leading poet of this caravan. Patriotism, aspiration for independence of mother land, nationalism and progressive movement are the essence and theme of Gul Khan’s poetry.

 

When Gul Khan and his poetry combined with his struggles gained grounds and popularity in Balochistan, other young Baloch poets with nationalistic tendencies stepped into Balochi poetry. Among these poets, Azat Jamaldini and Mohammad Hossain Onga are well worth mentioning.

 

If a preview on contemporary Balochi poetry is given, it is abundantly evident that many of poets followed the classical style, and many of them are still following it, though other new styles are evolving and in progress. In today’s Balochi poetry, ‘Gazal’, free verse poetry, English sonnets and Japanese ‘Haaykoo’ are present. The current Balochi poetry is aware of Baloch people’s demands and aspirations, so it is full of patriotic sentiments and reflective of their desire for development and prosperity of Balochistan. Balochi poetry is also longing for respect on humanity, unity, and peace and equality for the whole world.

 

 

 

2.     Balochi Prose

 

Until the 19th century, the Balochi literature’s treasures were not written on paper, but Baloch people kept them by heart. Prior to this period some Baloch literates attempted to write with Arabic script in Balochi. The oldest written script available to date is the hand written book of Osman Kalmati which is being kept in the British Library in London. The book is believed to be written in 1763 and contains Balochi poems, stories and proverbs. There is another hand written book in the British Library by Kamalan Gechki dating back to 1872 – 1873. These two books are written in a fiction fashion of Farsi and Pushton style in Arabic script. In the beginning of the 19th and 20th centuries some European scholars wrote few Balochi books in Latin script and published them.

 

The new era of Balochi prose began in 1949 with broadcast of the Balochi programme by the radio Karachi. In Karachi the foundation for Balochi literary association and gatherings were laid down; and Baloch people started to write in Balochi and to further Balochi literature and culture. For the first time in the history of Balochi literature, ‘OMAAN’ a Balochi monthly magazine was published in Karachi in 1951. The publication was a substantial step in Balochi literature and in particular in advancement of Balochi prose. Afterwards the interest and desire for reading and writing in Balochi increased so print and publication in Balochi began.

 

In Balochi language, the second monthly paper is ‘BALOCHI’ by Azat Jamaldini published in Karachi in 1956.  But it stopped publication after two years due to some restraints and difficulties.  In 1961 ‘OLOS’ a monthly magazine from Quetta, and ‘ZAMANA BALOCHI’ another monthly magazine but from Karachi in 1968 were published. Molana Khair Mohammad Nadavi also published monthly ‘SOGHAT’ from Karachi and continued to serve Balochi language till last moment of his life.

Once again Azat Jamaldini resumed publication of the ‘BALOCHI’ in 1978, but from Quetta. He continued publication of the ‘BALOCHI’ until his death in September 1981.

 

Since 1951 many books in Balochi have been printed in eastern Balochistan. There are also many literary associations in several cities working for Balochi literature and culture.  Several other Balochi monthly papers and other periodicals were published, but later on ceased to exist, of them ‘ROZHN’, ‘TAPTAN’ are worth mentioning. Now ‘BALOCHI’ and ‘BALOCHI ZEND’ two monthly magazines from Quetta, and ‘BALOCHI LABZANK’ from Karachi are being published regularly.  

 

In western Balochistan as one can observe, the Pahlavi regime did not allow any literary work and activities. With the fall of Shah and his regim in Iran, the young and active Baloch people felt the backwardness and poor state of their home-land and culture. So along with political activities, they began their efforts in the field of literature.  Balochi papers such as ‘MAKORAN’, ‘KOKAR’ and ‘ROZHNAEE’ were published in Balochi in western Balochistan. However, the new regime of Iran could not tolerate the rapid rise of such literary and cultural activities in Balochistan, so they put an end to the activities and stopped them. The Islamic Republic of Iran similar to its predecessors committed and engaged itself to weaken, fight and encounter the Balochi language and culture with utmost ruthless measures. Unfortunately the regime has not been slightly deterred from undertaking such anti-Baloch measures since then. A portion of Baloch population lives in Afghanistan. Prior to 1979, apart from the Balochi radio programme, no kind of literary and cultural activity in Balochi existed in Afghanistan. After the 1979 upheavals in Afghanistan, ‘SOUB’ a weekly paper was published in Balochi language. The ‘BROTHER NATIONS’ periodical which was published every two months, had one of its sections in Balochi. The ‘PEACE & SOCIALISM’ magazine were also translated and published in Balochi in Afghanistan. During that period many books in Balochi language were published. All such literary works in Balochi stopped with the fall of Najibullah’s government in Afghanistan.

 

The Balochi prose during its fifty years of works, though faced with difficulties and some problems, prospered substantially despite its shortcomings and deficiencies. In this short period many writers in Balochi in the field of Balochi culture raced and competed. Now-a-days all kind of written piece of works in Balochi and books can be seen. Baloch writers also translated many writings and books from other languages. It is true that Balochi language and culture to some extent have made tangible progress, which is the results of efforts put by Baloch people’s sons, but having said that the Balochi language and culture are faced-up with enormous problems because it is not taught and practised in educational institutions neither in Iran nor in Pakistan and it is deprived of any state assistance. It is abundantly clear that unless and until the Balochi language is taught in educational institutions its path for development is closed. As a result, the use of Balochi language outside homes of Baloch people will decrease and intrusion of foreign languages into Balochi language will increase in time. Hence the Balochi language gradually will weaken and will be practised less and less. Precisely for these reasons, it is the dire responsibility of all Baloch people and in specific of Baloch literates to put some tangible efforts in appropriate ways to keep their own Balochi language and culture alive and in steady progress. [/color]

http://www.zrombesh.org/Balochilanguage.htm
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