It is suggested that Baloch may consider to nationally and collectively mourn 14th of August as their day of Al-Nakhbah (یوم النکبه), and register it specifically as such, in addition to all other events that Baloch celebrate either their resistance to Pakistan or grieve for their national martyrs. Indeed calendar-wise, 14th of August marks the most calamitous and cataclysmic day in the long history of Balochistan.
Nations are divided according to their most celebrated or dreaded day in the calendar. Those who joyfully celebrate their nation’s birth or independence, and those who mournfully grieve the day of catastrophe or cataclysm which has befallen upon them. 14th of August is such a day, both for tens of millions of Muslim refugees from India that were ferociously hurled into what became Pakistan, and for those nations such as Baloch and Sindhis that were swamped by the refugees who by the account of their sheer numbers and gruesome violence took over the native lands of their hosts.
Although many Baloch commemorate 11th of August as the Independence Day of Balochistan, and 27th of March as the Day of Occupation by Pakistani Army, nonetheless the political significance and symbolism of such events have hardly been brought to the attention of the world. Sadly the history is usually written by the victors, especially if they have powerful friends such as China, the USA and Europe who directly or indirectly aid and abet them. Therefore undeniably symbolism and descriptive catchphrases can convey the history of events and injustices that have been forced upon nations that have deep roots in history. Peoples that are well recognised and written copiously about in the annals of history of mankind for countless centuries before the birth of many modern but artificial nation-sates, be it small such as Tuvalu with less than ten thousand citizens or as large as Pakistan with a population of nearly two hundred millions.
Even well before Henry VII won the War of the Roses in England and begun the Tudor dynasty and building the English nation-state in 1485, or the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella took their lands from the north African Muslims in 1492, Balochistan and its brave people were well known through the poems of Ferdowsi, a Persian poet and the author of the immortal epic of Shahnameh (Book of Kings) exactly a thousand years ago. According to the free Encyclopaedia (Wikipedia) the history of Balochistan began in 650 BCE with allusions to the region in Greek historical records, and thereafter in 326 BC narrating the invasion of Alexander the Great in the Makoran region of Balochistan which was then referred to as Gedrosia.
Those who follow the violent but natural history of Mother Earth understand how it gives birth to new islands through inevitable volcanic eruptions which are indeed a powerful reminder of our dynamic planet’s ability to give rise to new lands. In a pertinent paragon one may draw similar conclusions to the drawing of new political maps on the surface of the planet too. Tuvalu is a converging natural prototype of such an example where planet earth gave rise to some tiny islands with little or no history; and less than 16 years ago the United Nations bestowed internationally recognised legal legitimacy upon Tuvalu as a nation state with equal voting right to that of over 1.3 billion people of India. One may also state that despite strong opposition and vicious subjugation the political events and the unyielding will of people can give rise to new nation states such as East Timor, Montenegro, and South Sudan. By the same token that mankind cannot prevent mother earth from giving birth to new islands, tyrannical states such as Pakistan cannot prevent the liberation of oppressed people, no matter how ruthless and pitiless these oppressive states behave. One cannot change the laws of Nature. Indeed in modern era far more nation states have been born than islands created by violent earthquakes and eruptions through the belly of mother Earth.
Pakistan’s account of annexation of Balochistan are widely disputed through historical inaccuracies. However, what is not disputed is the failure of Pakistan to equitably and fairly treat its largest and resource-rich province and the native people of Balochistan. There have been many long-drawn-out wars between the well-equipped Pakistani Army and the forsaken and mostly secular Baloch people. Almost everybody, from China to the USA, from Arab states to Europe have helped Pakistan in one way or another, while Baloch have fought an unequal battle against great odds. Instead of treating Balochistan as a respectable and equal partner state in a federal system, Pakistani army had laid an unforgiving siege to Balochistan for decades to mercilessly crush any dissent and opposition. In the eyes of most Baloch, Pakistan is an illegitimate occupying force that has brought nothing to the province but exploitation, destitution, discrimination and reeked endless murder and mayhem upon the defenceless Baloch population. Thousands tortured and executed bodies of the Baloch intellectuals and the disappearance of the crème de la crème of Baloch society is the most obvious testimony to the unspeakable crime committed by Pakistani intelligent and security forces in Balochistan, not to mention the illegal exploitation of resources and wide spread deprivation that the Baloch people have been subjected to.
Therefore it is proper and legitimate that the Baloch should regard the creation of Pakistan and its official day of independence from India as the Balochi Al-Nakhbah Day or Day of Catastrophe. Sadly the world does not recognise 11th of August or 27th of March that are seen through the prism of Baloch people. But the world does recognise 14th of August as the so-called day of independence of Pakistan. Therefore it may be easier for the Baloch to utilize the significance of that day for the Baloch’s narrative of events that is not an occasion for celebration but of immense suffering and pain for the indigenous people of what became known as Pakistan. In their painful journey for visibility and recognition, Baloch should strive to paraphrase their narrative through recognised and effective symbolism and slogans that tell their story in a catchphrase or in a sentence. Creation of Pakistan has been a true disaster for Baloch nation. As such 14th of August is a truly catastrophic or “Al- Nakhbah” (یوم النکبه) Day for Baloch. This narrative must be forcefully pitched against the one-sided tale of Pakistan.
Centre for Balochistan Studies