Terrae Nullius. Viaggi tanto per terra quanto per mare

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Abstract

Baluchistan, ‘the land of the Baluch’, lies in a central position, at the crossroad of two axes of three macro-regions: Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. Baluchistan is an extremely inhospitable land, arid and mountainous, with a predominantly nomadic population divided between Pakistan and Iran. Those Baluchis who settled in the northern regions of Baluchistan were characterised by a strong segmentary tribal structure, while those living in the oases with irrigated agriculture, developed a socially stratified ‘feudal’ model. Anyhow, among the Baluchis, the tribal structure is much looser than other tribes of northern Central Asia. Although the Baluchis represent the largest group, there is a Brahoi minority in the Kalat area, the Jats, and other Indian elements on the eastern coast, such as the Gichkis, and descendants from African slavery in the Makran coastal region (Makrani, blacks), where the religious sect of the Zikris is concentrated. Most of Baluchistan lies outside the monsoon system of weather; therefore, the climate is extremely dry. The annual rainfall is about 15 centimeters, and even less along the coastal region of Makran. In terms of physical geography, Baluchistan has more in common with western Asia than with the Indian subcontinent. Its wild and mysterious vistas of arid wastelands, great deserts, and formidable mountain ranges of amazing rock formations, contoured and twisted by earth’s violent geological movements, make it a dramatic area. Its climate combined with the natural geographical features make one of the most daunting environments for successful human habitation. Therefore, it has always been sparsely populated. As abovementioned, Baluchistan is a tribal society. The most important tribes located there are the Brohi, Baluch, and Pathan who speak Brohi, Baluchi and Pushto respectively. Most of the people in central Baluchistan lead a semi-nomadic life herding sheep, goats and camels, while others are subsistence farmers and laborers working in Punjab and Sind during winter months. The northeast of Baluchistan province receives rain and snowfall that supports juniper forests, cultivated land and orchards, producing apples, almonds, apricots, peaches and grapes. As there is hardly any rain, the few villages and settlements depend on spring water and wells. The coast has several small fishing villages while main towns like Gwadar, Ormara, Jiwani and Pasni have small harbors. One of the main characteristics of Baluchistan is the variation in flora and fauna resulting from the climatic differences. This multi-featured inhospitable land raised people of different ethnos. The ethnic diversity is such that we can find Baluchis and Brohi, Arabs, Jats and Kurds, and also the blacks whose ancestors had once been brought to this land as slaves from East Africa by the Omani Arabs. The land is so infertile that extra sources of income have always been necessary. During the time when the Baluchis were relatively independent and autonomous, they used to attack the farmers residing in nearby villages or rob the caravans (chupao) on their way to, or back from India. Since early days, plunder had always been considered as a means to escape economic difficulties. The Khanate of Kalat was born as tradition says in 1666 CE and marked the beginning of the reign of Mir Ahmad Khan (1666-1695), chief of the Ahmadzai, a tribal section of the Brahoi ethnic group. Exploiting the political vacuum, the Brahoi confederation expanded in Makran. At the end of their expansion, Nadir Shah of Persia (1722-1747) recognised them as real chiefs and presented them lands in Sind. During the 18th century the Khans of Kalat shifted their loyalty, including troops and taxes, from the Persian Shah to the Durrani chiefs of Afghanistan. But, in 1758 Nasir Khan I of Kalat, the Great (1749-1795) proclaimed his independence, and the Ahmadzai reinforced their role within the Baluchi
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Terrae Nullius. You travel as much by land as by sea
Lingua originaleItalian
EditoreEdizioni Accademiche Italiane
Numero di pagine100
ISBN (stampa)9783639724660
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2014

Keywords

  • Asia
  • Storia

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