Pakistan always try to capitalize the religious sentiments in India and consider them as an Achilles heel of India, and that is very much true.
But do you know what is the Achilles heel of Pakistan?
Yes, its Balochistan, which is the largest province in Pakistan, which covers nearly 44 percent of the total area. The population is 1.3 crore, which is just 7% of the total population of the country. Most of the inhabitants are Baloch; other communities include Pashtuns and Brahuis.
Baluchistan is rich in natural resources like gas, oil, gold, and copper; though the local economy is dominated by its natural gas fields. It is known for its extremely important geostrategic location, as it shares borders with Punjab, Sindh, FATA, as well as Afghanistan and Iran. Gwadar Port in Balochistan is of immense importance to Pakistan.
PM Modi also raised the popular ‘B’ word in his republic day address, which created a massive stir in Pakistan. PM Modi raised the issue of oppressions of Baloch people, who are facing hell lot of problems since the division of India.
What If we say that Baloch is actually the descendants of Marathas?
Yes, this is true. The Baloch tribe is nothing but the descendants of the Maratha Warriors of the Battle of Panipat (1761). Many of them are still living in Haryana and a large section has been migrated to Baluchistan few hundred years back.
The third battle of Panipat took place in January 1760 between the Marathas and Abdali. Around 22,000 men and women were taken to Afghanistan as slaves after Abdali won the war.
As per an estimate of few historians, more than 100,000 Marathas had been killed in the “Third battle of Panipat “as the light cavalry of Afghans were pitted against the trained artillery of the Marathas. The basic reason for this defeat was jealousy amongst the Maratha commanders and the decision of the cavalry to charge prematurely. It is also believed that many Rajput Kings of the time also refused to help the Marathas in their fight against the Afghan army.
It is a known fact that once the Marathas were defeated, in the Battle of Panipat, their women were captured, enslaved, and repeatedly raped and were forcefully taken to Afghanistan and what is today western Pakistan or Baluchistan.
Maratha-descended people live among the famous Bugti and Marri tribes in Balochistan, and they are usually considered as an example of a caste forming even under Islamic rule. It is said that their clan is indeed connected to the enslaved Maratha warrior prisoners of war, who were brought back by members of the Bugti tribe who served the armies of Ahmad Shah Durrani after the Battle of Panipat.
The Marathas remained slaves for the next 150 years, before slowly working their way to prosperity. Their wedding ceremonies are still quite similar to the Maratha nuptials and they continue to use Maratha titles before their names.
With time, these Marathas were undergoing a forceful “Bugti-ization” and were converted to Islam, though they remained under bonded labor and were not allowed to own or buy any land in that area. For their subsistence they took jobs as unskilled laborers, performing functions that their tribal overlords disdained.
However, now the situation has been changed quite a bit. These Marathas are now able to occupy higher positions in society. Today the amount of farming Baluchistan sees is all due to the hard work and knowledge of Marathas, who actually started the agricultural activities there. Though the larger part of them are still marginalized and exploited people. This caste-like phenomenon of Maratha descendants in Baluchistan has endured for more than two centuries, even in a region now largely devoid of Hindus.
Maratha names still famous in Baluchistan
Marathas are still using the following names which show their association with their ancestors.
- Peshwani Maratha (relatives of Peshwas who were captured. It was assumed that one of the brothers of then Peshwa was also captured and taken to Balochistan)
- Bugti Maratha
- Shau Maratha
- Mosani Maratha
- Nothani Maratha
- Kalpar Maratha
- Shambani Maratha
We still have more than 20 such castes which end with Maratha names. They are linked to the caste system of then Maharashtra. People of these castes even today call their mother as आई and not Ammijan. They still worship Bhagwan Shiv, Mata Hinglaj and have immense respect for Shivaji Maharaj and Peshwas, which shows their linkage with India.
They also offer their support for Maratha’s cause, anywhere in the World. We as an Indian must offer our support to the Baloch people, who are our own and still fighting for their own and Hinduism’s existence.