Legendary Figures

Barren highlands and beautiful mountains is a common thought as the word Balochistan is uttered. In fact, what is less known about the place is the fact that it is also the proud homeland for a multitude of astounded personalities with exemplary achievements. Over the course of history, many esteemed figures are remembered till this day while others might be less heard of. Many well-known personalities revolutionized the region through their academic or political roles, some through arts or excellent leadership, bagging trophies in sports, fighting for a cause or just with their unique ideas and remarkable actions. No amount of appreciation could ever suffice to their invaluable contributions for the progressive transition of the region.

Balochistan is also home to bold and inspiring women, in spite of their ventures of coming from a patriarchal society, these amazing women have set leadership examples for the world to see. All distinguished in their respective roles and contributions in paving the history of Balochistan. Here are the stories of THREE eminent figures from Balochistan:

Mir Chakar Rind – The King of Balochistan (1468-1565)

 Mir Chakar Khan Rind was a prominent figure from the era of the Mughals. Born in 1468 in the whereabouts of the area today known as Sibi, Balochistan. He belonged from a noble family of tribal chiefs. Back in the days, Rinds ruled over Lasharis and he became the chieftain of the Rind tribe at the juvenile age of 18, succeeding after the demise of his father, Mir Shehaq Khan Rind.

To the people of Balochistan, Chakar The Great, was a hero and true legend who brought prosperity and discovered a symbol of prestige for the Baloch identity as one of the earliest leaders in history. His bravery was unparalleled and he desired to empower the Baloch as a powerful nation. An archaic epic poetry was written after him, called “Hani and Sheh Mureed”.

Soon after acquiring the title of tribal head, he could not stay as the chief for too long. A brutal civil war broke out between the perpetual rivals; Lasharis and Rinds. Stories of this ferocious war made history, it lasted over 30 years. At the end, the war had drowned out and Rinds were proclaimed triumphant. Mir Chakar Rind left Balochistan and settled in Punjab in 1518.

Amongst several achievements, he is primarily remembered for is his fight in the conquest to reclaim sub-continent along with the famous Mughal Emperor, Humayun. One of the gifted warriors of Mir Chakar’s army was Mir Malagh Khan, whose sword weighed more than lead, no one could haul it, but himself.

He had two grandsons who were incredible fighters. The districts Dera Ismail Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan, named after them. He built around 100 houses for his tribesmen in a desert called Sanghar, today known as Sokar. It is the hometown to people from the Baloch tribe of Malghani.

He ruled over a vast territory and won all his wars. He was a gallant and successful Baloch ruler who died in 1556 by natural causes.

Yousaf Aziz Magsi –The Nationalist from Jhal Magsi (1908-1935)

Nawab Yousaf Aziz Magsi was born in Jhal Magsi, Balochistan, in 1908 during the years before the partition of subcontinent. He belonged directly from a ruling Baloch tribe, house of Magsi. His great leadership spirit derived from a family of Nawabs or tribal chiefs. He was the duke of his tribe and was the progeny of Kaiser Ali Khan Magsi.

He appeared to be a well-groomed and a qualified individual who learnt everything out of pure interest at home and mastered three languages in writing as well as speaking; Arabic, Persian and Urdu. He was keen on getting further education, hence went to Lahore where he learnt English for two years under the mentorship of a Hindu tutor Kannia Lala.

During British rule, several Baloch tribes like the rest of the Muslim majority populations suffered and their integrity was at jeopardy. It seemed impossible to raise voice against the dominating monarchs. Realization took the better of Yousaf Aziz Magsi, he decided to stand up for his people and become a beacon of hope and wrote a powerful article in 1929 that jolted with sentiments across the world and created a whirlpool of activism amongst the ruled natives of sub-continent both in Hindu and Muslim communities. “Faryaad-e-Balochistan” was published in the weekly magazine called Hamdard that was printed and published from Lahore.

Although, soon after it came out, he was arrested and sent off to jail in Mastung for writing a piece that only screamed the bitter truth. His father sent him books to read during his imprisonment time. Somewhere along the way, his message reached English rulers in Britain and stroke touched a soft corner for the oppressed people of subcontinent.

He organized the first ever ‘’All India Baloch Conference” in 1932 in Jacobabad, Balochistan. This was a key initiative that aimed at bringing the people under one flag to secure their rights together against the common enemy. It was attended my many notables all over sub-continent.

He formed an organization with like-minded companions knwon as “Anyuma-e-Ittehad Balochan”. It served as a body to protect the civil rights of Baloch community. He struggled inexhaustibly to lay a strong footing for his people and succeeded in doing so. He is still remembered with pride and love for his dedication and work as a pioneer of political influence for the Baloch population and uniting all houses under the same ideology and inspired millions to fight for their identity and place as a nation.

His political role towards a separate nation for Muslims was monumental. Unfortunately, he passed away in the terrible calamity of Quetta Earthquake-1935 where hundreds of thousands fell victims to the worst natural disaster in the history of the region so far.

Atta Shad (Poet)

Atta Shad was a famous poet who was born on November 1939 in Singani Sar, Kech District, near Turbat in Balochistan. He departed from the world on 13 February 1997 in Quetta Balochistan Pakistan. Atta Shad belonged to a Baloch tribe. He was a Poet, Critic, Researcher, Academic and Intellectual. His popular poems were in Urdu initially but later he wrote in Balochi aswell marking himself as the Architect of Modern symbolic Balochi poetry.
He started Urdu poetry under the guidance of Faiz Ahmad Faiz but very soon he extended his poems in his own style. In the literature field, he acquired a prominent place due to his unique style.
During his lifetime, Atta Shad had published two collections of Urdu poetry most of which highlighted the true Balochi culture and landscape of Balochistan. He versified many local Balochi folk lore, romantic sagas and maxims in his poetic flavor. Some of his poems in Balochi like ‘Mahnaz’, ‘Shah Mureed aur Haani’, Wafa and ‘lori’ display the unique aspect of Balochi culture and trace the spirit of the typical Baloch society. His short poem ‘Wafa’ (Oath of Allegiance) read as:

“On My Motherland A bowel of water Worth eternal allegiance Let us quench our thirst And Submit ourselves to the eternal bond”.

Atta shad was immensely influenced by Western Romantic Poets as ‘Coleridge’, ‘Shelley’ and ‘T.S Eliot’ which is why he developed his own style in Balochi Romantic Poetry. His first poem named “Shepaank” (a person who look after sheep in Balochi), was also published in “Ols Magazine”. Another famous poem by Atta Shad called “Sah Kandan” also attracted enormous amount of attention and is still widely popular.
His vision in poetry was different from the two prominent poetry groups during his time – Progressives and Purists hence, he joined none of those groups instead he convinced a poetic diction inclusive of words from all the dialects of Balochi language. This new diction allowed for him a wider spectrum for his exemplary poetic expression. In a broader sense, Atta shad’s poetry has and will continue to serve as a bond between Urdu poetry and Balochi poetry.

Mir Gul Khan Nasir (Poet)

Mir Gul Khan Nasir was a poet hailing from Balochistan. He was born on 14 May 1914 in Noshki Balochistan, Pakistan and died on 6 December 1983 in Karachi, Pakistan. Mir Gul Khan Nasir was titled as “Malek-o-Sho’ara Balochistan”. Mir belonged to Paindzai family of the Zagar Mengal, which is a sub-branch of the Mengal tribe. His father’s name was Mir Habib Khan.

Mir Gul Khan Nasir’s poems were not limited to one language, he efficiently wrote in English, Urdu, Balochi, Brahui and Persian language. However, most of his poems are in Balochi language.
Mir was an intellectual and hence, his poetry was filled with revolutionary themes that reflected his progressive nature, socialist ideas. His poetry also indicated towards his dislike for the chauvinistic behavior of the rich towards the poor in his times. His major contribution to literature was the detailed ‘History of Balochistan’ books that is composed of 2 volumes of well researched information about Balochistan. Moreover, his first collection of Balochi Poetry ‘Gul Baang’ (1951) is a very famous piece of Balochi literature.

Mir Gul Khan Nasir had his basic education in Noshki but later he went to Quetta for better opportunities. He got his admission in Government Sandeman High School. After passing matriculation, he moved to Lahore for higher education in Islamia College, Lahore. Lahore was considered the center of knowledge, politics and social activities, which left quite an impression on Mir Gul Khan Nasir. When Mir saw the rulers of Balochistan are not doing enough for the progress the region and its people, he moved forward into politics and joined other leaders struggling to give freedom for the people of Balochistan from the power of imperialism in undivided India. He joined mainstream politics soon and marked as the first education minister of Balochistan in 1972.