Baluchis

This is the 3rd installation of my kbillas of Oman series.

Baluchis play a very significant role in Oman’s history and have the largest population in Oman of all non-Arabs. They are prominent all over the region, but especially the GCC. Baluchis have lived in the Oman for hundreds of years and are notable for their service in Omani armed forces. In the 1800s and early 1900s Oman had possession of a Baluchi port area in Pakistan which probably also contributed to immigration of Baluch to Oman. This region was returned to Pakistan in the 1950s.

Though the Baluchi originally established themselves in the borders of Iraq and Syria, they were expelled after the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE after siding with Ali’s son Hussein against Yazid, the second Umayyad Caliph. The Baluchis moved and ultimately ended up in a large region of eastern Persia and western Pakistan. After historically starting as Shi’a defending Ali, they are now predominantly Sunni. The Baluchi language is written in Arabic script and linguistically is most similar to Farsi and Kurdish.

The Baluchi’s survival mechanism as an ethnic group is that they have adapted quite well to the environments where they live, and this has truly helped them flourish. Traditional dress consists of a collared long shirt with loose pants and a turban, and for women a long tunic over puffy pants. Their clothing is best known for its intricate needlework. Though Oman is an Arab and majority Sunni (mostly Ibadi) country, ethnic minorities such as the Baluchi are a large part of the cultural diversity here. While each ethnic group might have its own language, dress, and customs, for the most part, people still identify first as Omanis and on most days wear Omani national clothing.

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