The Limits Of Baloch Quest By Mushtaq Gaadi
If our state elites continue with their policy of misrecognising the Baloch claims, they will have to confront the limit of their own ultra-patriotism. To paraphrase, the absence of genuine political reconciliation in Balochistan combined with geo-strategic interests of the world powers can unleash the tragic process of Balkanisation in the region.
The limits of Baloch quest
The demand for a separate Baloch nation-state and armed struggles brings closure to politics — it provides a policy pretext to the security apparatus to militarise and dehumanise the situation at the cost of democratic politics
The death of Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, the veteran of Baloch separatism and guerrilla war ideologue, demands some soul-searching about the quest of Baloch nationalism, some probing of the frontiers of possibility that the Baloch quest has set for itself.
To put it differently, it means approaching the Baloch quest and its conceptual limit.
It was philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who first articulated the question of the limit in human thought. According to him, we should be able to think the unthinkable — to draw the limit to thought. But why do we need to know the limit to thought?
Wittgenstein’s answer is that the limit of our thinking determines the limit of our world and actions. What we cannot think, we cannot do. Therefore, we have to find both sides of the limit thinkable in order to enlarge the spectrum of our freedom. In other words, we should be able to think that which cannot be thought.
So what are the limits of the Baloch quest? What might be thought that has not yet been thought and so expand the realm of freedom to which the Baloch aspire to. For example, it is worth asking whether the central pursuit of having a separate Baloch nation-state is a kind of misrecognition of the ideal of freedom and hence self-defeating. Not only is the ideal a mockery of what the majority of Baloch are opposed to but it is against their history and politics as well.
Baloch have never been a nation-state in the specific sense of this term. The idea we now know as ‘nation-state’ was originally born in the modern West in the nineteenth century. The main antecedents of this new entity then included imperial nationalism, colonialism, the free market and the rule of law, etc. It is not possible to conceive of the Khanate of Kalat, the only precedent of state-building in Baloch history, as a nation-state.