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Iranians /
Other spellings: Baluchi; Beluchi

Balochis by country
Figures in 1000.
Last column: % Balochis of the population

Iran 1,600 2.4%
Oman 400 12.0%
Other countries: 9 million



Black tent of the Balochis
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Black tent of the Balochis.

Balochi flag

One of several flags used in the struggle for Balochi independence.

Iranian people living in southern Pakistan, southeastern Iran, southern Afghanistan, Oman, northern India. The Balochi population counts between 7 and 30 million, according to different estimates. 11 million is probably the correct, this being the total number of Balochi speakers. About 1.6 million live in Iran.
The name "balochi" apparently means "wanderer". Their original homeland is the Iranian plateau. Being the people of the regions through which the caravans between Iran and India passed, the Balochis, made sure they had a part of the profits. Not having formed any state or established real cities, banditry became their ways. This brought them in constant conflict with rulers and generals. Even in modern times, the Balochi sense of freedom and independence
Balochis speak Balochi, an Iranian language.
Living in a mountainous region of a harsh climate, the Balochis have been able to preserve their culture.
They are organized into tribes consisting of clans. Until long into the 20th century nomadic lifestyles were central to their culture, when settled lifestyles gained ground. Their villages are of mud-brick or stone houses. Their economy involves raising of camels, cattle, sheep and goats, their agricultural products are oranges, pomegranates, mulberries, bananas, grain, tobacco, rice, cotton, sugarcane and indigo plants. They produce carpets and embroidery of high quality.
Balochi are mainly Sunni Muslims, with a minority of Shi'is.
There is the tradition of holding feasts for political negotiations. Balochi women enjoy relatively great freedom, there are fairly strict regulations on lifestyles for both men and women.
Balochi clothing is colourful with intricate patterns, but is still very practical. Men use baggy trousers and turbans.
Balochi tents are black, made from goat hair, effectively blocking out heat, rain or the cold of winter. For a Balochi, his tent is of more than practical and economic importance, it is a central dimension to his pride and personality.
Balochi food is centred to bread and dairy products as well as dates. Animals are rarely slaughtered, and never before they stop producing milk or being able to carry.
There is a vital Balochi community in Oman, counting about 40,000.

By Tore Kjeilen