Author Topic: The status of Balochi in Pakistan & Iran  (Read 3213 times)

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The status of Balochi in Pakistan & Iran
« on: January 07, 2009, 10:41:44 PM »
The status of Balochi in Pakistan

The Constitution of Pakistan (1973), states that "any section of citizens having a disticnt language, script or culture shall have the rifht to preserve and promote the same and, subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose", and "a Provincial Assembly may by law prescribe measures for the teaching, promotion and use of a provincial language in addition to the national language".

In 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave permission for the use of local languages (Balochi, Pushto, Brahui) in primary education in Balochistan, however there have been several problems associated with this program of mother-tongue education, namely: other language groups also seeking to have their language taught; the lack of teachers who are capable of implementing the program; and the fact that many parents want their children to learn Urdu and English, not a language that will be of little use outside of the immediate community. There is a Balochi Studies section at the Balochistan University in Quetta which teaches and researches the Balochi language and literature. In addition there is a Balochi Academy, also located in Quetta, which both publishes literary works in Balochi and supports the work of literary organisations. The Academy receives limited government funding. There are several Balochi language publications in Pakistan, the two most prominent being Balochi (published in the provincial capital, Quetta) and Labzank (published in Karachi).

The problems of language policy in Pakistan are described by a Baloch student:

    "Go and visit all the schoosl in Lyari [an area of Karachi inhabited by many Baloch] and give a language test to the children. You will find that they cannot speak good Urdu or good English. It is due to their mother tongue. If you get education in your mother tongue, you can understand everyhthing. If you don't, you cannot understand anything." (Titus, 1996)

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The status of Balochi in Iran

According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1980), "the official language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian... The use of regional and national languages in the press and mass media, however, as well as for teaching in schools the literatures written in them, is permitted in addition to Persian". The reality, however, is quite different.

At present there are no publications in the Balochi language. A number of magazines emerged after the Islamic revolution in 1979, but were closed down soon after, due to pressure from the authorities. There is no provision to teach Balochi literature in the schools of Iranian Balochistan. Radio Zahedan broadcasts a daily Balochi language program from the capital of Sistan-va-Balochistan province, Zahedan.

Many Baloch in Iran are concerned about the strong Persian influence on Balochi, as all education takes place in Persian/Farsi.

he status of Balochi in Iran

According to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1980), "the official language and script of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian... The use of regional and national languages in the press and mass media, however, as well as for teaching in schools the literatures written in them, is permitted in addition to Persian". The reality, however, is quite different.

At present there are no publications in the Balochi language. A number of magazines emerged after the Islamic revolution in 1979, but were closed down soon after, due to pressure from the authorities. There is no provision to teach Balochi literature in the schools of Iranian Balochistan. Radio Zahedan broadcasts a daily Balochi language program from the capital of Sistan-va-Balochistan province, Zahedan.

Many Baloch in Iran are concerned about the strong Persian influence on Balochi, as all education takes place in Persian/Farsi.

http://users.tpg.com.au/users/goshti/language.htm
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Re: The status of Balochi in Pakistan & Iran
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2009, 10:45:02 PM »
Discussion on the use of Baloch and Balochi as nouns and/or adjectives

What is the adjective of "Baloch" in English? Our country is called Balochistan, that point is clear. We live in Balochistan. We speak Balochi, we have several Balochi dialects, we weave Balochi carpets, we ride Balochi camels, we (hopefully!) give Balochi names to our children. We read Balochi poetry which is published at the Balochi Academy.

However, I have also noticed that often "Baloch" is used as the adjective:

    * Baloch cultural tradition
    * Baloch Students’ Organisation
    * Baloch authors
    * Baloch ethnicity
    * Baloch nationalism
    * Baloch National Movement
    * Baloch men
    * Baloch ethnic group
    * Baloch people

And what about the noun? Am I a Baloch or Balochi? Are my parents Baloch, Balochs, Balochis or Baloches?

Baloch: Baloch is generally known as a noun. The native people who live in Balochistan are called Baloch. Generally Baloch people speak Balochi, but even if native people can't speak Balochi, they are still called Baloch. They can migrate and live in other parts of the world. They can still refer to themselves as Baloch. So, I believe that it is now accepted that "Baloch" is noun in this context.

Mistakenly, some non-Baloch scholars use the word "Balochi", instead of "Baloch" when referring to people of Balochistan. For instance, they may say: "Baaraan is Balochi". It is wrong. "Baaraan is a Baloch" is the right expression. One my say that "Baaraan is a Balochi name", which is a correct phrase to say.

So, I am a Baloch, not Balochi (likewise, Hazhaar is a Kurd. Hazhaar is a Kurdish name. But saying "Hazhaar is a Kurdish" is a rather an inaccurate expression).

On many occasion, it is rather use a "the" before Baloch, when we refer to people of Balochistan (in national adjective usage). For instance, national adjectives ending in "ch" or "sh" e.g. the Dutch, the Spanish, the Welsh (see The Oxford Library of English Usage, Chapter I, 1990. Similarly we can say "the Baloch" etc.

Other parallel examples:

Javier is a Spaniard. He speaks Spanish. He eats Spanish food. He is a Spanish person. (But although one may say that "He is a Spanish", the more accurate way is to say it is "Javier is a Spaniard", instead of "Javier is a Spanish. The same applies for Scot (native Scottish person from Scotland) etc.

Please remember that there is not a universal rule about this issue. e.g. " Shah Latif was a Sindi (Sindhi). He spoke Sindi (Sindhi) and he was from Sind (Sindh). As you see in this case the word "Sindi" is used both as the noun for naming people from Sind and the language.

As for Plural version of the word "Baloch", there is no universal accepted form. Some people use "Balochs", other use "Baloches". Increasing number of people use "Baloch" as both singular and plural. In my view, using "Baloch" as both singular and plural is somehow a better way to use it. A parallel in English language is the word "Dutch" (people and language of Holland). When referring to people from Holland, they are called "Dutch", whether one or many people. I have never seen expressions such as "Dutchs" or "Dutches". I think it looks nicer in a sentence to use "Baloch" as both singular and plural form. One can understand from the sentence, whether we talk about one person or many. It is a personal preference, but words "Balochs" or "Baloches" do not appeal to me. I rather use "Baloch" only. (Some people may write it as "Baluch", "Balouch" etc. Again "Baluchs/Baluches" or "Balouchs/Balouches" do not sound "attractive".

Balochi: Anything related to the Baloch (people from Balochistan) can be described as Balochi. It can have genitive form or simply used as an adjective.

Languge of the Baloch is called Balochi. Not only, we the Baloch, call it "Balochi", but every other non-Baloch person also called it "Balochi". At least, there is unanimous acceptance about this issue. There are still variations in spelling "Balochi" such as "Baluchi" and "Balouchi". But it is not a big deal.

"Balochi" is mainly used as an adjective e.g. "Balochi dress", "Balochi book", "Balochi dance", etc. "Baloch" cannot be used in the same context. It is, however, to be noticed when one refers directly to people, i.e. the Baloch, it is rather use "Baloch" not "Balochi" in any compound nouns. e.g.

Baloch Students' Federation (not Balochi Students' Federation) as it refers to Baloch people (in this case, students). Also "Baloch women" but NOT Balochi women (again Baloch refers to people, women) etc.

In the meantime, there is a need for a flexible approach towards this issue, as there is no standard/universal rule especially with regards to "Baloch", "Balochi" etc. The same applies to Balochi orthography (both in Persian/Urdu and Latin/English alphabets). At this stage, there is no excuse for exclusion of any approach, style and preferences. As for various dialects of Balochi language, there is an even greater need for flexibility.
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