Much more than politics and security links Balochistan and India
Written by Navina Jafa
The geopolitics around the Indian Ocean has placed Gwadar and Chabahar at the centrestage of an engaging chess game of power. The two ports also have the potential to become part of Indian soft-power diplomacy. The cultural ecology of Gwadar and Chabahar, defined by the idea of “Baloch”, make them suitable for such a project. The Baloch, a semi-nomadic and pastoral community, carry the collective memory of West, Central and South Asia along with the recollections of their connections to the Greeks, as part of their cultural heritage. While they are Muslims, the strains of other beliefs such as Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Sufism influence various aspects of the Balochi cultural heritage. Their language, bardic traditions and traditional knowledge skills comprising linguistics, crafts, performing arts, rituals, and pastoral and agricultural traditions recall a cultural map of different parts of Asia. They encompass an ethos forged through ideas exchanged over centuries through land and sea routes.
Naseer Dashti’s “The Baloch Conflict with Iran and Pakistan: Aspects of a National Liberation Struggle” offers a radically distinct outlook from an ethnic Baloch.
BY DANEESH MAJID
On August 15, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nod to Pakistan’s festering insurgency revived nascent activism on Balochistan. This included rejuvenated camJIDpaigns on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, human rights violations/resource exploitation, the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, and a larger self-determination movement.
The prime minister’s response to Nawaz Sharif’s Burhan Wani reference at the United Nations has since jump-started activism even in Washington D.C. and Geneva.