“These Mirs, Masters and Sardars (Tribal Chieftans)

These Pirs, Clerics and Zardaars (the Wealthy)

These are the real roots of evil”

–Gul Khan Naseer, “Man O Mullah”

Born in 1914 in Noshki, Gul Khan Naseer was a prominent Balochi politician, poet, historian and journalist. After studying from Lahore, he came back to Baluchistan and joined Kalat State National Party to curb the role of Sardars in the area. As a result, he was expelled from Kalat in 1946. After the formation of Pakistan, Naseer joined National Awami Party which organized protests against the dictatorship of General Ayub and also opposed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s rule. In the meanwhile, Gul Khan also wrote poetry in English, Urdu and Balochi languages. Inspired by the progressive movement, his poetry was marked by a strong criticism of the class structure of the society. He was awarded Lenin Prize along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz in 1962, but the Government of Ayub Khan did not allow him to attend the ceremony. Besides Poetry, he also wrote about the history and culture of Baluchistan. He died in 1983 and was awarded Sitara e Imtiaz posthumously in 2001.

The marginalized groups of Balochis and Pashtoons have been expressing their discontent ion with the religious, tribal, economic and political power elites of this country for a very long time now. Instead of villainizing their reservations, there is a need to understand, accommodate them. In this regard, the lives and works of figures like Gul Khan Naseer can be helpful.