11th August 1947 and Balochistan


BNM organised an intellectual talk on the occasion of the 11th August, the day when Balochistan got freedom from The Great Britain. Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur veteran Baloch activist and intellectual shed light on the historical details of 11 August 1947. Below is the text of his draft.

Dear and Respected Friends,

The date 11th August 1947 has immense significance for the Baloch Nation and Balochistan and has been the landmark for Baloch history particularly their present-day history. The acceptance of Kalat State’s (Balochistan) Independence by the British colonizers and the leaders of yet to come into being Pakistan on August 4th under the “Standstill Agreement” led to the 11th August declaration of Independence. The British not known for honouring treaties had accepted its 1876 Treaty obligations with Kalat State to render it a special place among the then Princely States and thus agreed to accord Kalat State independence along with India and Pakistan.

It was under the treaties of past and the Standstill agreement that the Khan of Kalat Mir Ahmad Yar Khan declared Kalat State Independent on the 11th of August 1947. This was in keeping with the will and aspirations of the Baloch people who wanted to be the masters of their own destiny and fate. There was jubilation all around because the era of colonization was eventually ending and there would be a life in keeping with Baloch history and the freedom to live without being dictated by those for whom their personal interests were supreme.

The Jubilations and euphoria soon disappeared because soon after 14th August; the newly formed Pakistani state began to put pressure on the Khan of Kalat to accede to it despite the fact that they had signed the agreement to honour sovereignty of Kalat State and were morally bound to honour it. But then those motivated by greed and predatoriness have no place for morality or honour and they pursue their goals with singlemindedness of a hunter after its prey. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that their signing of the August 4th agreement was a subterfuge and they with their actions soon exposed their real intention of never accepting the sovereignty of the Baloch nation or letting them enjoy the independent country status.

The Kalat State had its own Parliament of two houses the ‘Divan e Aam’ and the ‘Divan e Khas’.  The Parliament held sessions in September and December 1947 and most members favoured an alliance but not accession with Pakistan under any circumstances. The member of both the houses absolutely rejected accession to Pakistan and made it abundantly clear in their speeches.  On December 14th 1947 Darul Awaam passed a Resolution reaffirming its intention to remain independent and to not to accede under any circumstances. The speech that Mir Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo delivered in the ‘Divan e Aaam’ represented the feelings, sentiments and stance of all the Baloch. In this landmark speech he underlined the argument for the Baloch desire to remain independent and to remain free from the historical baggage of two nations theory that the newly created Pakistan carried with it. This separation of communities based on hate was bound to burden and undermine both the States because hate first devours those who initiate it and try to cash in on it and want to thrive and remain in power by appealing to the basest of the human quality. The results of that hate-based separation are for all to see now and it was these disastrous consequences that the Baloch leaders feared and wanted to avoid by remaining independent aloof of the environment of hate and confrontation.

Ghaus Bakhsh Bizenjo summed it all up in his speech wherein he said, “We have a distinct civilization and a separate culture like that of Iran and Afghanistan. We are Muslims but it is not necessary that by virtue of being Muslims we should lose our freedom and merge with others. If the mere fact that we are Muslims requires us to join Pakistan then Afghanistan and Iran, both Muslim countries, should also amalgamate with Pakistan. 

We were never a part of India before the British rule. Pakistan’s unpleasant and loathsome desire that our national homeland, Balochistan should merge with it is impossible to consider. We are ready to have friendship with that country on the basis of sovereign equality but by no means ready to merge with Pakistan. We can survive without Pakistan. But the question is what Pakistan would be without us? 

I do not propose to create hurdles for the newly created Pakistan in the matters of defense and external communication. But we want an honorable relationship not a humiliating one. If Pakistan wants to treat us as a sovereign people, we are ready to extend the hand of friendship and cooperation. If Pakistan does not agree to do so, flying in the face of democratic principles, such an attitude will be totally unacceptable to us, and if we are forced to accept this fate then every Baloch son will sacrifice his life in defense of his national freedom.” He in this speech covered every aspect that expressed the Baloch desire for a life of dignity and freedom; therefore, this speech should be highlighted to make the present generation aware of how the elders responded and thought even in the direst circumstances of the 1947 and 1948 period.

But Pakistan had different plans and  it with its delusional sense of historical importance was unwilling to allow an independent Baloch State continued to put pressure on the Khan of Kalat, Ahmed Yar Khan, to merge with Pakistan; as Khan was not willing to accede Pakistan made use of traitors to Baloch Motherland and to effectively undermine his authority, it on March 18th 1948 it signed separate Accession instruments with Lasbela, Kharan, and Makran States leaving a truncated and land-locked Balochistan for Baloch.

Despite that Khan was unwilling and when Pakistan was convinced that he would not accede, Pakistani Army moved into Pasni, Jiwani, and Turbat on March 27th, the Khan capitulated and merged with Pakistan on April 1st 1948. Under Kalat’s constitution, he couldn’t accede. Khan’s younger brother Shahzada Abdul Karim and followers resisted but after a promised amnesty were arrested near Harboi. The sovereign Baloch State lasted only 227 days.

We should respect and honour our elders and our history and not the history that we are forcibly fed to enfeeble the minds that may see redemption in independence and to break our will and desire to be masters of our destiny and moreover with its version of history also tries to make us a part of that historical baggage of hate that they carry. If we accept their version of history we will be the losers for we will not only lose sight of our cherished goals but also be alienated from our millenniums old culture and history. We have to keep remembering the words of our elders and of those who have sacrificed their lives for the cherished goal of freedom. We should remember the trials and tribulations they had to undergo and yet wavered not in those testing times by suffering imprisonments and exiles and yet not giving up their desire to be free from all yokes. More importantly, we should etch upon our souls the names of all those who gave their lives in their love for their motherland; those brave sons of soil should become our windows to the vision they saw and for which they sacrificed their lives.

All this said, it should be understood that though the 11th August and the 227 days after it till March 27th 1948 do have a great historical importance for us and that these need to be highlighted to help our generations understand the perfidy and brute force with which our elders were forced to accede to Pakistan and were brought under a new yoke again. For us it is even more important to understand that, that this was all then and however much we may cry and shout what happened then will never change. We cannot continue to live in a dream that we were once sovereign and be content with it. If we continue to simply practice self-delusion of living in the past and under the shadow of the past glories than the work in hand will become less important for us and we will remain enamored to the past and forget about our responsibility of today and that of our future. We cannot be like that good for nothing son of a king who lost the kingdom to others but kept repeating the mantra of “Pidaram Shah Bood” i.e. my father was a king. We should cherish the past but never forget that our present responsibilities and our responsibility to our coming generations future demands that we acquire knowledge, learn new skills, test out new ideas to continue to struggle for a life of dignity under freedom and above all in all our pursuits we should be guided by our eternal and unfailing love of our Motherland.

Thank you.

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