History of Afghanistan Balochistan 1947-1958

British Baluchistan 1839-1947

The E.I.C. got involved in Baluchistan in the context of the First Anglo-Afghan War of 1839-1842. In 1843 the E.I.C. annexed most of Sindh and thus became neighbour of Baluchistan. In 1858, the E.I.C. possessions in India were taken over by the British government; India became a crown colony.
In 1871, an Anglo-Persian agreement partitioned Baluchistan into a Persian and a British sphere of interest, divided by the Goldsmid Line. In 1876, the British assumed direct administration of Quetta and environs. In 1893 the Durand Line established the border between Afghanistan and Baluchistan.
Within British Baluchistan, the lands on the border to Afghanistan and the environs of Quetta were under direct British administration; most of the country was nominally independent - the Khanates of Kalat (1638-1955) and Las Bela (1742-1955) - and placed under indirect rule. In 1940, in a measure directed against the Khan of Kalat, the administration of British India decided to recognize the 'independence' (that is, from the Khan of Kalat) of the State of Kharan (a vassall of Kalat from 1697 to 1940).
For the administration of British India, Baluchistan was of purely strategic importance, securing the border to Afghanistan. In Baluchistan, pastoral nomadism dominated; there was limited agriculture. The absence of major rivers and the rugged mountainous landscape prevented large-scale irrigation, as in adjacent Sindh and Punjab. The urban centers were small and, from the perspective of the administration of British India, remote, the most prominent being Quetta. The economic policies of the administration of British India had hardly any impact on Baluchistan, the social policies (education), by comparison to other regions of British India, limited impact; in Baluchistan, Islam and the traditional tribal-feudal structures were more influential than the British & missionary-indiced modernization.
The concept of a future Muslim state in India (Pakistan), propagated by the Muslim League since c.1930, found a limited echo in Baluchistan, for a number of reasons. In Baluchistan, the Islamic nature of the state was not an issue as Islam already was the uncontested dominant religion. The vast majority of the Baluchis was illiterate and, in regard to politics, accustomed to follow their tribal-feudal leaders. The most prominent of these leaders was the Khan of Kalat, who favoured an independent Kalat (Baluchistan) over a solution which provided for Baluchistan becoming part of Pakistan.

Carina Jahani, State Control and its Impact on Balochistan
Articles Kalat, Las Bela, Kharan, History of Quetta, Durand Line, from Wikipedia
Kalat, from Indian Princely States
DOCUMENTS Pakistani Princely States, from World Statesmen; scroll down for Baluchistan States. posted by Ben Cahoon
Photo : Khan of Kalat, 1900, from Fred Bremner's Indian Years, 1883-1923
Articles Kalat, Baluchistan, Quetta, Las Bela, Makran, Gwadar, from EB 1911
Article Baluchistan, Quetta-Pishin, Gwadar, Makran, Kalat, Kharan, Las Bela, Marri-Bugti Country, Sibi District, from Imperial Gazetteer of India (1909-1931)
Article Belutschistan, from Meyers Konversationslexikon, 1889 , in German
REFERENCE Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.), A History of Pakistan and its Origins, translated from the French, London : Anthem Press (2002) 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 954.91 J23h
Article : Baluchistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1913 p.613 [G]
Article : Baluchistan, in : Statesman's Year Book 1895 pp.154-156, 1898 pp.154-156, 1901 pp.167-169, 1905 pp.174-178, 1910 pp.152-155, 1918 pp.154-157, 1925 pp.160-164, 1928 pp.147-149, 1937 pp.156-158 [G]
Article : India and Dependencies : Baluchistan States, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1928 p.164; 1937 pp.175-176 [G]
Article : Baluchistan, in : Americana Annual 1927 p.85, 1928 p.76, 1930 p.90, 1931 p.92, 1932 pp.90-91, 1933 p.81, 1934 pp.77-78, 1935 p.82, 1936 p.76, 1937 p.63, 1938 p.67, 1939 pp.72-73, 1940 pp.58-59, 1943 p.88, 1944 pp.80-81, 1945 p.83 [G]
Article : Baluchistan, in : The International Year Book 1899 p.96, 1900 p.103 [G]

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First posted on May 1st 2007, last revised on September 14th 2008

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