Balochs Have Not Developed Into A Full Nation: Hakeem Baloch
Hakeem Baloch is a renowned Baloch intellectual, storyteller and a former high-level bureaucrat. He has richly contributed to Balochi language through short stories and translation of foreign literature in Balochi. Born in Panjgur district, Mr. Baloch also served as Balochistan’s former Chief Secretary, the highest civil service position in the province. He has authored more than 10 books in Balochi, Urdu and English languages. Mr. Baloch’s political columns regularly appear in different newspapers while his commentary on Balochistan’s politics and society is regularly aired on a number of radio and television stations. The Baloch Hal spoke to Mr. Baloch on a number of cultural issues.
How do you define culture?
It is very difficult to define culture because experts say that there is no single definition to culture. And, to define something amounts to confining and limiting its broader meaning.
In French society, culture means ‘education’ and it seems to be a good definition but education does not solely mean bookish education. It means the values; the faculties that you inculcate the things mentally come into the culture. Moreover, art, sculpture and many other tools represent a culture.
It is the basic determining factor of the way of one’s life; but for that the basic thing is your native and national language. Any creative thing in your literature, for example, all the great literary critics maintain that what you can create or produce in your native language that you are not capable of producing or creating in other tongue or languages. So, language is the best vehicle of the representation of culture, art and many beautiful aspects and even ugly aspects must not ignore them of the society. So, it is the total expression of the society as a whole in its creativeness, even in its critical approach to the social ups and downs, social evils and also to the social goods which keep on changing. But basic goods and evils that are somewhat eternal and universal are found in many cultures in all over the world. So, these things: your makes, your beliefs, your way of worship, your mosques, your temples, which are the product of human mind. Whatever is the product of human mind, to my mind, is included in the culture.
Anyhow, basic culture lies in your social relations: for example, how do you irrigate your land, how do you distribute the crops, etc. Besides it, how do you treat the gender differences between man and woman, how do you have the way of marriage that determines the whole thing.
To my mind, one of the things is this that in our culture as it is called a settled society where we are civilized. By civilization I mean people are nomadic and migratory. They grow up with their crops. They have a different approach towards life because of the necessities of the life that how do you attain the necessities of the life that determines the whole of your culture.
In our settled areas, our relations are different from the other parts because it is a conglomeration of the many cultures through ages when you are crossing due to the traditions and nomadic life. As a result, we have received many things in the cross section. That is why in our parts, especially the IndusValley where we do have the influence of inter-civilization in our culture. Also, the status of woman in our society is quite different from the world because here is a big cultural variation.
So much so they say father’s land, not the mother’s land. Motherland is totally different that means the land of the mother. She is the creator. But by father land means the land which your father has captured and you are the master of it. So this master-slavery relation in regards to husband –wife relation does not exist in those parts whether it is our neighbor country or Pakistan. But in western Balochistan, this difference is quite poignant and clear.
What do you say about the Balochi literature?
Literature is the product of genius of a nation. As far as Balochi literature is concerned, one must admit that the Baloch so far has not attained nationhood in itself. Baloch is not nationally developed like Persia, Arabia and European countries.
Baloch at least speaks three or four languages. But basic language is what the language of majority. In eastern, western and central Balochistan, Brahui and Siraiki are also being spoken by Baloch tribes, but the national language of Baloch is Balochi.
In the Indus valley too, Balochi’s syntics and grammar is quite different.
How do you see the development of Balochi literature?
Unfortunately, we have failed to become a nation. We have also not developed into a full nation. Literature can develop at that time when it language becomes a national language and it is taught and studied.
In my many books, it is clearly mentioned that our language is in “unlettered” form. It has got very meager chances to develop.
Moreover, language must be a medium of interaction. It must be a way of educating the children.
Verbal literature can be taught in poetries but presently our poetry is degenerated. And our today’s poetry does not have resemblance with the great classic poetries. There has come a distortion in our today’s poetry due to its misrepresentation, etc. It is represented with a distorted version.
Literature can thrive or promote in the presence of patronage, but we do not have it. Unfortunately, we have programmes on TV and Radio in a very bad Balochi. These are making distortion of our language. I wish it had not been used in such a bad Balochi which is in a distorted form. And I am also afraid that due to the above mentioned reasons our Balochi and Bravi languages may lose their essence.
What is your contribution towards Balochi literature?
When I was in the Radio Pakistan Karachi, I translated English news into Balochi. So, I learnt how to translate them from one language into the other one.
I have also translated French novels into Balochi. I have adopted some dramas for Radio Pakistan Karachi. I have produced 11 short stories in Balochi. I also translated them into the other languages. But my literary product is totally in Balochi. I have written books about Balochi literature. This is what I could contribute to the Balochi literature.
Unfortunately, these have no influence in Balochistan because these are not being taught in our schools and colleges. Here, constructed language is taught in our schools and colleges. But language should be generated, not constructed.
Why is the young Baloch generation not interested in Balochi literature?
I should tell you one thing that it is not their fault. When you produce a literature so it is self expression, and you should express it the way that it should have the values and recognition in our society. But these values and recognition come when you are teaching them in schools, colleges and universities.
In Balochistan, we have totally deprived the students of it. It is not being taught over here. In our literature, stagnation has occurred. And it is just being emulated and copied. It should be like the flowing water of a stream. It should not have any contaminations. It also should not be like the stagnant water of a pool in which harmful things also grow.
About it, I have written in one of my books: “Save the Balochi language from extinction”.
What do you want to advise the young Baloch generation about the Balochi literature?
Well, our young Baloch generation had better purify the old literature of the classics. They also had better go through it in an advanced form, not in a distorted form. Also, the purity of language must be maintained at any cost.
Lastly, it is my wish that our young Baloch generation must maintain the chastity of our literature and culture.
Published in The Baloch Hal on May 25, 2013