By: Dr.Naseer Dashti
As there have been confusing and contradictory opinions on the historical origin of the Baloch; one of the solutions to the problem of finding the origin of the Baloch is to find ethnic groups that are linguistically and culturally closely affiliated with them as their history is intertwined with the history of these ethnic groups in ancient times. For a logical opinion on the Baloch origin, it is imperative to discuss in detail relevant events in the history of the Iranian Plateau. In the discussion on the Baloch origin, it is also pertinent to analyze the phenomenon of the migration of Aryan tribes in detail.
Race and kinship in context
The term “race” connotes some shared distinctive and inheritable qualities in a people. It must not be confused with the term nation which has only certain characteristics in common, while race has some collective heritable physical and cultural traits. Distinctly manifested psychic and spiritual characteristics are also considered the main attributes of a race; the formation of which mostly depends on the inbreeding and outbreeding of a human group.
A great many factors are to be considered in establishing racial affiliation as the human races always drift genetically. They are in a continual state of transformation. Through centuries, numerous migrations and cultural mingling of various people have served as a dynamic process of change in human biological history. Migrations and the social-cultural and geographic environment would have a considerable impact on racial characteristics. In an analysis of the racial origin, three important factors are to be kept in view: Firstly, similarities of customs and traditions of the ancient peoples living under tribal set-up should be viewed scientifically and should not be the basis of theories linking the racial origin of a particular people, because cultural homogeneity always exists among all such cultures in a tribal and feudal setting. Secondly, foreign influences on a certain culture throughout a given period form an important factor and must be given serious thought; and thirdly, the geopolitical history of a people should be traced from the earliest times without any prejudice or reservation.
Races are constituted hypothetically to justify the distribution of genetic characteristics. Race formation apart from depending upon inbreeding or outbreeding is mostly determined by geographical isolation and change. The human organism has shown itself to be capable of adapting physical changes to varied climatic conditions, diets, and requirements of cultural adjustment. These factors have made it difficult to assert the ethnic purity of any people beyond certain exceptions. Nevertheless, the human population has been arbitrarily divided into many groups: Mongoloid, Caucasoid, Negroid, with numerous divisions or sub-races. Such divisions are mostly based on skin color, i.e., black man, white man, yellow man, and the red man. Sometimes, races have also been inferred from archaeological discoveries.
The term ‘Semite’ was conceived more appropriately as an extension of Biblical thinking. The adjective, ‘Semite’, is an eighteenth-century term coined by a German historian, Schlozer in 1781 to denote a group of closely related languages. The Semite referred subsequently to peoples who might have spoken those languages. They are classified as the Semites, not because they possessed any unique physiological features in common but chiefly because they all appear to have migrated from Central Arabian Peninsula. The Semites have supposed to have descended from the biblical character of Shem, the eldest son of Nuh. They are represented mainly by the Jews and the Arabs, and by ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, Amorites, Armenians, Canaanites, and the Phoenicians. Among the Semitic languages, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Hebrew are still spoken. Most of the languages of the group, such as Akkadian and Canaanite, are dead, while Aramaic survived in a much-altered form. Similarly, Aryan is a linguistic concept denoting the closely related Indo-Aryan languages spoken by a multitude of nomadic, semi-nomadic agropastoralist people of Central Asia in ancient times. In waves of migration, these people left their original homeland, spread into Europe, India, and the Iranian Plateau before the Christian era. Carrying their language and way of life with them, they brought drastic changes in the language, culture, and sociology in the regions of their final settlement. According to their linguistic divisions and their migratory patterns, they were also called Indo-Europeans and Indo-Iranian people by scholars and researchers. Their languages which evolved from a common proto-language spoken millennia ago were further subdivided into Indo-European and Indo-Iranian. These linguistic groups later became the present nations and nationalities in Europe, Iran, and India (Morris, 1888).