Last month I met Dr Ute Franke of Germany at Goethe Institute Karachi, she was there to share her archeological research findings with Karachites.
She forwarded me a detailed copy of her archeological findings; it is so recent that many of my friends are unaware that Balochistan witnessed Human Development from 7th millennium BC, whereas Moan Jo Daro “Indus Valley Civilization” existed around 2,600 BC. Egypt entered its 7th millennium in the year 2000, whereas Balochistan entered into 9th millennium , the fact very few people know about it !!
Dr Franke shared the research study, titled “Balochistan and the Borderlands”, she writes “Balochistan is a huge landmass that extends from western Pakistan into southeastern Iran and southern Afghanistan and separates the open alluvial plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Iranian Plateau.
It is the largest part of the Indo-Iranian borderlands which also include parts of the North- West Frontier Province, Kandahar, and Hilmand Provinces in Afghanistan, and Sistan/Balochistan in Iran. These regions formed, at times, a cultural landscape linked through traits such as architecture and artifact styles, interpreted as evidence for exchange, shared technologies, values, and ideas. In Balochistan, human development from the seventh millennium BC onwards, from mobile food hunters and gatherers to sedentary communities based on farming and animal husbandry, has been uncovered.
Increasing levels of complexity in economy and technology, social and political organization, accompanied by a population growth and settlement expansion, fostered the development of villages, towns, and cities and provided the basis for urbanization and state formation. Throughout, this tradition maintained a distinctive character, notwithstanding regional differences and changing patterns of interaction. The purpose of this paper is to outline this development, with a focus on Balochistan. In order to understand the preconditions and to assess its role, we will first discuss the natural conditions that govern human life and then look at the cultural communities that formed the conceptual landscape.
She concludes her paper saying “It has become evident that human development is manifested in Balochistan from the seventh millennium onward. While this development was, in genera l, continuous, regional differences and changes in the material culture through time were present. The emerging picture does not reflect a ‘monocultural’ region, but a patterned landscape, marked by the appearance and disappearance of particular cultural styles. Looking at the cycles of growth, expansion, and abandonment, it becomes clear that in cultural terms, prehistoric Balochistan was neither a border nor a frontier, but a dynamic interact ion zone. Nevertheless, the communities that made the processes described above happen did not be come integrated into a large scale, coherent entity, not withstanding the fact that smaller regions, such as southeastern Balochistan and Sindh Kohistan, were closely interrelated during the early third millennium BC.
One likely reason why a large-scale merger did not happen probably is the rugged topography. The importance of terrain as determining factor becomes clear when we look at the region’s more recent history. As in Afghanistan, expanding conquerors and empires, be it Dareios or Alexander the Great, nomadic tribes from the north, or the British army, had their hold on Balochistan because it was important as a trespass. But they never ruled it for long – and they left very few archaeological traces. Whenever possible, preference was given to the maritime route and water ways, or the open plains. Only then, it was considered a barrier and it never regained the economic and cultural prosperity of its prehistoric past when it was a center in its own right which participated in and contributed to regional development processes.”