Introduction / History
The Baloch (Baluch) are a most ancient semi-nomadic tribal group who eventually occupied an area of land stretching through Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, first settling there between the fifth and seventh centuries. Considered to be an Iranian people based on language, their racial origin is murky. Some historians believe they are Semites while others track their racial origin through Indo-Europeans. There is good evidence of long-standing relation to the Kurds, but scholars also agree that the Baloch became an admixture of many peoples through the centuries.
Most scholars agree—though there is some dissent—the first Baloch migration was from the Caspian Sea area to northern Iran where, according to Persian literary sources, they became a significant political and military entity. Later migrations south and southeast established them as a major people group by the beginning of the Christian era in the regions of modern-day Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, collectively named Balochistan, their traditional homeland. It was arbitrary boundaries imposed by the British in 1893 that partitioned the tribes among those three countries.
Ancient Baloch songs also celebrate the bravery of heroes past and a time of bounty and rain, a wet era that ended at least 15,000 years ago. Afghan Baloch have long lived in a semi-arid expanse of rugged mountains, parched river valleys and desert where rain is rare, but can bring raging floods when it does. Not so long ago, semi-nomadic Baloch people lived in tents made of palm matting or goat's hair, but as they settled down and began farming they built mud-brick homes, enclosed by a low wall with an open courtyard to the front.
Where are they located?
The vast majority of the Baloch people live in a province in western Pakistan called Balochistan, but many also live in Iran or Afghanistan. A smaller number have scattered to other parts of Central Asia like Tajikistan.
What are their lives like?
Men are grain farmers and herders of sheep, goats, and cattle. Some are known as excellent camel breeders. In their free time, Baloch people hold wrestling matches, bet on race horses, and play games such as cards, checkers and chess.
What are their beliefs?
An honor code (Baluchmayar), passed down in songs and poetry and observed by all the tribes, defines principles of living regarding integrity, hospitality, mercy, and honor. Although most of the Baloch are now Sunni Muslim (a faith adopted slowly to replace their old Zoroastrian religion), Sharia Law is not used to deal with social infractions. Instead the tribal chief encourages a blood feud between the families involved to settle violations.
What are their needs?
Given infighting, tribal partitioning and exposure to foreign influences it is remarkable the Baloch have retained a distinctive cultural identity. Common folklore, language, and moral code have served to conserve Baloch nationalism. Fearless warriors of the past, the Baloch will need to call on the vitality of their heritage to overcome limited opportunities for betterment and the regional upheavals presently challenging their culture.
* Ask the Lord to call those who are willing to go to Tajikistan and share Christ with the Baloch people there.
* Pray that God will give mission agencies favor and strategies for reaching these Sunni Muslims.
* Ask God to open doors for Christian businessmen, teachers, and other tentmakers to share the gospel with them.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Western Baluch towards believers so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches that will disciple Baloch people in the ways of Jesus
* Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.
ReferencesView Baloch Bugti in all countries.