ETHNIC IDENTITY OF THE BALOCH PEOPLE

Pavla KOKAISLOVÁ, Petr KOKAISL


Pavla Kokaislova, D.Sc. (Ethnology), Research Fellow, Faculty of Philosophy, the Institute of Ethnology at the Charles University (Prague, the Czech Republic)

Petr Kokaisl, D.Sc. (Cultural and Social Anthropology), Assistant Professor, Faculty of Economics, Department of Psychology and Cultural Studies, the Czech University of Life Sciences (Prague, the Czech Republic)


Introduction

The national self-awareness of the Balochis, who live in several countries and have no statehood, is very specific in many ways. The problem of their identity can be better understood in the context of certain parallels between them and European peoples (ethnic groups), since their ethnogenesis displays certain common features. We should bear in mind, however, that the formation and development of the Balochis differed in many respects from those of the European peoples.

The Balochis of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan are not absolutely identical, in this respect they differ greatly from the Europeans.

We treat the Balochis as one people with local distinctions and specifics, including, among other things, their linguistic diversity. In Europe, they would have composed a single linguistic group consisting of several subgroups using several more or less different dialects (which at a later stage would have become ethnic groups).

Elements Typical of Ethnic Groups and National Minorities

A minority as a group of people is identified (or can be identified) on the strength of certain specific features that distinguish it from its ethnic environment. The key and most obvious features that make ethnic groups (and hence minorities) different are their language, culture, and historical consciousness; we can also add racial identity, slight physiognomic specifics, original settlement areas, etc.

Language

This is one of the most specific features of the majority of ethnic groups, even if it is not official (codified). Slight linguistic nuances may point to origins (including geographic origins) within the same ethnic group.

The Balochi Language

The Balochis speak the Balochi language, which belongs to the northwestern group of Iranian languages and is similar to the Kurdish language.

There are three large groups among Balochis who.


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