Baloch folk tales you must hear before a trip to Balochistan

culture   Oct 18, 2019

People belonging to regions all over the world have one folk tale or another that has been going around in the area for centuries. These folk stories not only form the base of their culture, but often gives rise to superstitions passed on from one generation to another. Since the Baloch culture is so exquisite, we decided to dig into some interesting Baloch folklore that sheds light on the tales the young ones grow up listening to.

1. The story of Shahdad Chota

Shahdad Chota, a native of coastal Balochistan, managed to trap the Portuguese inside their own Fort in Mombasa, Africa. The siege lasted two years and ended with the Portuguese giving up the East African coast. Despite the achievement of defeating one of the largest global empires in history, Shahdad Chota is not mentioned in textual histories of East Africa and lives only in the memory of the Baloch community

2. Chakar Rind: The ‘Great Baloch’

Chakar Rind is said to have conquered Delhi during the second battle of Panipat in 1556. In textual sources, the second battle of Panipat was fought between the Afghan conqueror Sher Shah Suri and Mughal claimant Humayun.

However, in Baloch narrative, Chakar Rind too made his way to Panipat after conquering cities, like Sibbi (Balochistan) and Multan (Punjab). Baloch sources state Rind won the battle but handed the throne of Delhi to the Mughal king, Humayun. 

3. The legend of Karbala

According to tradition in the Baloch tribe, the Baloch originated from a place called Alab/Alap and are offspring of the Quraish Arabs – descending directly from Amir Hamza. The tradition also claims they fought along Imam Hussain in the battle of Karbala and migrated to western Makran fearing persecution.

4. Arabian nights

Another folklore regarding Baloch origin, traces the history back to Arabia. It is said the Chief of the Domkis and other Baloch tribes lived in Arabia until Hajjaj bin Yusuf (660-714 AD) became the Sultan and started persecuting the descendants of Sayyd. The 44 Domkis and Baloch tribes migrated to Iran which was ruled by the kind Shahshuddin.

Unfortunately, Shahshuddin was preceded by Badruddin who was hostile to the Baloch. Based on Iranian tradition, the king asked to take a wife from all the 44 powerful Baloch tribes to wed. Since the Baloch didn’t give their daughters to non-Baloch, they dressed 44 boys in female clothes and sent them to the king. In the meantime, they escaped Iran and came to Jagin. From there the Baloch proceeded to Kech.

5. The eternal love story

Sheh Murid from the Kahiri tribe was a man known for his skills and braveness. Ranked the highest in the army of Mir Chakar Khan Rind, Murid was known as the “Lord of the Iron Bow”.

The protagonist in this story is Mir Chakar, who falls for Murid’s childhood love and fiancé Hani. One day, Murid makes a promise to Mir Chakar saying he would give him anything of his that Chakar wanted. Unfortunately, Chakar asked him for Hani and with a heavy heart, Murid gave up the love of his life.

The devastated Murid then abandoned his old life and dedicated himself to worshipping god and composing poems on his love for Hani. After wandering got for  years, he returned to his homeland and found out that Hani  never consummated her marriage to Mir Chakar. According to folklore, Chakar would be paralysed whenever he approached her.

Realising she would never be his, Chakar decided to unite Hani with her lover. Murid however, had reached so close to god, that he could not bestow his love upon anyone else, hence, he mounted his horse and disappeared from mortal eyes. Today he is recognised as an immortal saint of the Baloch.

6. The mountain of the dead

The Chiltan mountain range in Balochistan is considered to be haunted with the souls of 40 infants who often lead tourists to death. According to the myth, a poor couple who couldn’t bear children did everything in their power to conceive. After praying to god for years, the couple had 40 children.

Unable to feed then, they left the infants on a mountain and kept only one child. After a few years, the mother felt remorseful and headed to the mountain to grieve her children. Surprisingly, she found her 39 children alive and well.

In an attempt to unite all her children, she brought the child she raised and left him in the forest. However, when she returned the next day, all the 40 children had disappeared. Legend dictates, the 39 children were dead and the mother saw their ghosts. The child she left for the night was taken away by them in vengeance. To this day, the mountain is said to be haunted by their souls.