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A BRIEF ABOUT CULTURAL VALUES OF BRAHUI NOMADS IN BALOCHISTAN

Prof. Dr. A. Razzaq Sabir* A group of people speaking Brahui, a language belonging to the Dravidian family, mainly found in the Province of Balochistan in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Sistan-oBalochistan province of Iran and some parts of Turkmenistan. All of them are Muslim. Their origin and other aspects of culture are still shrouded in mystery. Culturally Brahuis are very similar to the Balochs. While generally following Islamic tenants, there are variations in the life cycle rites and customs, which differentiate the Brahuis from their neighbours. Most of Brahui families, nowadays, are also living a nomadic life. Due to the search of pastures for their flocks they have no permanent settlement. They live in black blanket tents gidaan made of goats hair and rainbow style round wooden pools gidaan. In summer season the gidaan is surrounded by other pieces called paZdar. Gidaan can easily be shifted from one palace to another. Now when Brahuis are turning from nomadic life to the permanent settlements in the villages, they are living in four wall clay houses called uraa Oven is made in the opposite side of the door of the room. Almost all the Brahui have sheeps, goats, cows and camels. For their animals they make separate palces called ger. Even Braui nomad family has camel, donkeys, a gog and some cock or hen in tis :gidaan:. The early month of a woman is called Drohar in Brahui people. In the period of her pregnancy the woman is not allowed the do heavy work. But there are many examples of children birth in nomads during cutting of crops, grazing of flock or going with the carawaan. When a woman is pregnant, the other families make guesses. At there months, it is believed that if the pregnant womans flesh is firm, strong and nipples red, she will bear a girl; if she become weak and her nipple purple or dark, it will be a boy.1 On the occasion of birth of a son, the father give s a reward to that person who breaks news for him called Mistaai of birth of a son to him. In rich people three shorts are fired. But the birth of girl is not celebrated and in Jhalawan the father of new born girl has been beaten seven times with a shoe mochari on his head.2 the first food made of gee and seet given to the baby is called sutti and to the mother is called ghurmaana. The newborn baby is named on the sixth day of his/her birth. In most families, the baby is named after dead ancestors. The occasion of the birth of a son in some families is celebrated very well. In case of the birth of a son after a long time in a family, the hair of the baby is left uncut. After one year the parents along with a sheep or goat use to go to the shrine of their saint slaughtering the goat distribute its meat among the people present on the occasion. Then in a special ceremony they cut the hair of the baby. In some cases, when the shrine is far away and cannot immediately be approached by the parents, they cut the hairs of the baby but leave a piece of hair called chund, whenever they get time to go to the shrine of their saint then they cut the chund on that occasion.
*

Professor & Director, Balochistan Study Centre, University of Balochistan, Quetta.(Pakistan)

When a son starts walking, another ceremony called Gaamburree is celebrated. The parents make tight round bread Dado from wheat flour, gee and sugar. When the baby starts taking steps the parents wheel the Dado behind the baby. This symbolizes the wish of the parents for the baby to be wealthy in future life. According to Islamic concept between sixth (sasa) upto ten years the son undergoes circumcision called sunat. The nomads and rural attend the function. When children shed their mile teeth at about 7 to 10 years they are encouraged to sing the following song:Xaaxo naa dantaank maun maun kanaa dantaank piun piun (oh; crow, the teeth are black look, mine are whith Xaaxo naa dantaank xaazgi xaazgi kanaa dantaank safaa safaa (oh: Crow: the teeth ugly: and mine are brith.3 The popular games among the Brahui nomad boys are Gharri Gwaazi in which one boy closes his eyes and rest of his fellows hide themselves. The boy will be Gharri who would be seen b the first boy who closed his eyes. Drag Dragaan is the popular game among the shepherds. The play this game with their grazing sticks. In this game, they throw and beat each other with sticks. Bedi in Sarawani and Mugol in Rakhsahni dialect is the game with bone found in ankle joint of sheep or goat (berhi or bedi). They put the bones in a line inside a square and with the help of another similar big bone, they stricke and push the bones outside the lines. The popular games among the Brahui Nomad girls are dutik swaring to play with dolls. dringuk tar tar is a kind of dance at the time of rain when they put hands together and move forward and backward in a circle/ the other popular games among the youth are race (mal or go), marble (gori), allahdad a kind of hide and seek. Wheat is the popular and staple food grain among the Brahui people particularly with the nomads in some parts of Jhalawan and in Sindh province, rice replaces wheat. Popular kinds of bread are khamiri (leavened), patiri (un leavened). Wheat cakes are baked on a round stone griddle (tafu)or Iron plate (tin). Travelers and shepherds, during travel make and eat Kurnu made by the wrapping dough round a heated stone and putting it into the embers. Another kind of bread is shiti which is baked by putting the dough under hot ashes and embers or heated sand by the Brahui nomads. The most popular items with wheat bread irag are milk products. Flock owners and others who own sheep and goats generally use buttermilk khasun, butter khassi, boiled butter kharish dried buttermilk khurud with their meals. The buttermilk commonly drunk is that of sheep, goat or cow some times of camels. Agriculturist or well to do people keeps cows. It is interesting to note that Brahui nomads neither drink nor put milk in tea. Dried meat of sheep Khadit is also very common and popular food.5 Hospitality is universally considered a duty but the duty of entertaining strangers ordinarily falls on chief, headmen of the camp and other well to do (Gidaan) near the chief or headmen house or tent for the guests. The Brahui custom of taking and giving the news (ahwaal) prevails in all parts of the country. The leading men present on the occasion or noble persons headmen or an elder with beard can ask and give news from their part.

Lat halling is also a common practice among the Brahui tribes. When two persons quarrel on a thing the beaten persons relatives get united and beat a relative of the said person or other person from the opponent clan. Sometimes, a petty dispute becomes the cause of many deaths and continues to generation. Asking in marriage ceremonies are called saang when some notable persons go the home to celebrate sang, they pray a fateha called du burzaa. The marriage relation between two families is called saangbandi. After sang the ladies of bride side take some sewed and some un-sewed clothes, shoes mochari and other relevant articles including daily use items of the bride. This function is called wajj. Before marriage, the grooms parents call their relatives and friends to help them in cash or article shape (bijaar). After purchasing and completing all related things, once again some persons go the brides house to fix the date of marriage. This is called: Rabaalaw. Three days before marriage date Aarti comprising of some sheep or goat, bags of wheat, sugar, tea, and other relevant article are sent on camels to brides house. On the same occasion a red cloth qila is handed over to the brides mother. The qila is fixed on a corner of a separate room or in a corner of Gidaan till the marriage night the bride sits in it. It looks like a tent in which bride sits during the ceremony. The bosom friend of the groom is called Shabalau. On the next right is the Henna called Duzi Hinaam and the next night is open henaa Pashi Hinam.6 The next day (marriage day) a dinner is celebrated by the grooms father to honour their relatives separately. On the marriage day, the grooms procession enters with the marriage song Halo Halo. The persons come to the brides home n a group called jun. At reaching of the jun to the brides house the friend and relatives of the groom soot guns. After nikah the groom is brought to the brides qila where the final ceremonies are done. First of all a glass of milk is given to the groom, he drinks half of the milk and gives the remaining to the bride to drink. Then a mirror is shown to both in which bride looks at the groom and groom to the bride. It is interesting to note that tafing, failure in performing privacy is very common among the Brahui tribes only. Basically it is a psychological problem and after tafing the tahwiz from mullahs in brought for groom. In some cases these conditions remain for more than ten years. The Brahui nomads have their own traditional treatment system. Every old man and female is domestic doctor of his/her family. In some case of pains in the knee, headache and belly etc. the traditional doctor tabib puts an iron rod in the fire and after becoming hot and red, the same is put on the affected point called Dagh. The Dagh is given mostly on forehead, flat part of head between forehead and either ear, back and belly of the sufferer. For small children and weak patients the tabib uses a light dagh called trukur. The use of a powder Ust Khalhi or pakki made of local herbs is also very common among them. The also putt he pieces of the herbs or grass in the water and early in the morning they drink that water. Just like Chinese acupuncture, the Brahuis also use to make Khial with a bundle or few needles on the pain point especially in the joint deceases, eye sight and headache the khial is applied. The most popular treatment is to wear goat or sheepskin. Mostly in chest decease or stomach pain various colours of goat and sheepskins are applied. it is interesting to note that in the world of medical science where vaccine system is used today, this was already applied among the Brahui people

centuries before. The Brahuis fist time applied the vaccine system especially for small pox and chest disease (Tuberculosis). The traditional treatment among the Brahui tribes particularly among the Brahui nomads is different from their neighbours. The vaccine system is very common and very old among them. They use different kind of vacancies for different diseases. For every disease they apply different vaccines. The use two kind of vaccine for human beings and three for animals particularly sheep and goats are very common. The most common vaccine is of small pox for human beings and animals. For human beings the Brahui nomads used the following two kinds of vaccines.

1. for small pox when the found the disease near their area the particular persons
specially Syeds or shais used vaccine for small pox. They used to get dandruff from the sick persons body and make powder, then, the traditional doctor (tabib) or Syed inject the same bacteria in the body of the healthy persons. For vaccine purpose first of all they make a half-inch cut on the skin of the arm of the healthy persons some six inches upper from palm. They pull up the skin and put the powder inside and tie with a cloth. After four or five days some small pox signs come out from that place and healthy person fell ill, it is believed that vaccine has bee succeeded.

2. The second and very common vaccine for jaundice is to cut the skin of sick person
on the head and put powder of noshdir and zarchoba inside the cut and tie the same.

3. The third vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) of sheep and goats is very common among
Brahui nomads. When they find TB in their flocks they kill a TB infected goat and fresh lung of the said animal is cut into small pieces and they pieces of the lung are then used as vaccine injected to the healthy sheep and goat. They make half-inch cut on the skin of the ear of the healthy goat and put the piece of the defected lung into the skin and push with small wood.

4. For animals when the nomads hear that disease of small pox is found near their
camp, they send a person to that camp and ask for some bodys dandruff of sheep or goat. They make powder and after that they bring healthy sheep or goat and make half inch cut on the ear of the healthy goat and sheep and the dandruff into the cut. After few days the wound become good and in this way the vaccine goat and sheep are protected from small pox.

5. The second vaccine is applied for chest decease of the goat and sheep particularly
for goat. Protecting their flocks from chest deases (TB) the Brahui nomads used another vaccine from the bacterias of the same disease. First of all they obtain the lung of a doused goat and make it into very small pieces. Then they apply the same practice as they use for the small pox vaccine. They make a cut on the hear of the healthy goat and sheep and pull up the skin and put a small piece into the cut and push the same with a shaped wood. This kind of vaccine is found only among the Brahui nomads.

6. For another disease of skin the Brahui nomads use another vaccine made from
snake posion. When they found signs of disease named ghar in their flocks. Making vaccine for the said disease first of all they catch alive snakes from mountains. After that they bring a big vessel (lohi) and put gee of tails of the sheep. When the gee becomes boiled then they put alive snake into the gee and at the same time they bring healthy goats and catch them from ear and make a small cut on the front of the ear and then they put the of the ear into boiled gee and from three to give minuets they put the ear into boiled gee and they let the goat. After few days the boiled part of the ear becomes dry and fell down. In this way they protect their flocks from the skin deceases.7

7. to protect the people from small pox the Brahui traditional Tabibs used to take
fresh pullers of a sick persons and enter the same, making a small wound on the hand of the healthy persons and put some pullers in the wound and tie with cloth. After few days, when the healthy person feels fever and the sound place turns pus it is believed that vaccine has succeeded. The wound signs of the succeeded vaccine for small pox can e seen on the hands of many aged persons n Brahui area.

8. Among Brahui tribes it is believed that when the nose of a sick man droops to one
side and tears come from one of his eyes, then death is near. A mullah is called to recite from the holy Quran. When a man dies the Women folk leave the house; when a female, the men are turned out. If the deceased had been fortunate during life, a silver coin is rubbed on the forehead so that the luck may reman the family7. after death the dead body is covered in a white cloth kafan and put for last look of family members and other friend and relatives. Elegiac expression Moda expressed by the relative women in a special sorrowful tune. In moda the bravery and good qualities of the dead are expressed. The method of burial is usual among Mohammadan is employed, the dead body being laid on its back with the head to the north and face to the west. On the first day no food is cooked in that house, their wall-to-wall neighbours, near relatives or friends, feed the family of the dead. Persons come for condolence and give some contribution as puRs. The money of puRs is used to put silently under the mat or pillows found on occasion. After three days the bereaved family gives a dinner khairat to the near relatives or village men.8 REFERENCES.

1. Dr.A.Rehman

Brahui Dravidian Encyclopedia Vol II edited by V.I. Subramonjoun International School of Dravidian linguistics Thrivananthapurum (Kerala) S. India 1993 pp-127-132.

2. C.F. Minchin The Gazetteer of Balochistan (Jhalawan) 1906 reprint Quetta 1986.
pp3. ---------do-----------

4. C.F. Minchin The Gazetteer of Balochistan (Jhalawan) 1906 reprint Quetta 1986.
pp 5. ----do---

6. .Dr.Abdul Razzak Sabir Culture in Brahui speaking areas of Balochistan Wako


University Tokyo Japan.

7. 7.Dr.A.Razzak Sabir A brief about Brahui Culture Bi-annual Research Journal


BALOCHISTAN REVIEW Vol-Vlll-lX2001 published by Balochistan Study Centre, University of Balochistan, Quetta. P-15 8. -----------do----------pp 15-16 9. Socio cultural and linguistic ties between Balochistan(Pak) and Centeral Asian countries published in the Research Journal MIDDLE EAST Vol-lV,1996 published by the Area Study Centre, University of Balochistan, Quetta.

10.

.All About Brahui S.M.Kamil ul Qadiri, International Journal of Dravidian Linguistics, Departmentr of Linguistics, University of Kerala Therivandrum, India Vol No.1 Jan 1972 pp-160-174.