Balochistan: Winds of Change

For once, it is a treasure to read the wave of euphoria sweeping through the tweets of the Baloch people. After six decades of cries for help going into some inexplicable void, it is a moment of recognition. US Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who first chaired a US Congressional hearing on Balochistan, has now introduced a resolution calling for self-determination for Balochistan.

A touching moment indeed!

Balochistan reminds me of the high altitude desert in Spiti and Ladakh. Once, I had stopped for tea at a shepherd’s camp (goat milk tea, that would be). He was all alone in the camp. He had been thrilled to meet me, and I was thoroughly pampered. A couple of times he remarked that having guests always felt good, because he imagined if something were to happen to him, at least we knew he had been there, that he had existed, and that he hadn’t vanished into thin air without anyone caring. What difference simple recognition makes!

I see that difference among the Baloch today. If Twitter were real life, I can almost visualize them walking around with boxes of laddoos giving one each time they share a link to a news story in a new source. Sharing it with well wishers – touching – humbled to witness this. The excitement, the euphoria – there is no other word for it – is almost festive and I feel glad that they have this moment to smile in and celebrate. I can imagine big grins as they type, and god knows they need some of those.

Whether this actually evolves into anything or is as usual some power play of drawing lines for Pakistan to toe… or a testing of wind conditions… is difficult to say, but one thing that has changed forever is that their suffering is a matter of official record in another country, including their right to self-determination. There are people who know what they went through. There are people who think they were treated badly and for a long time. This is an important milestone. They are no longer some invisible and silent people with no recognition of their humanity anywhere.

I am glad for my Baloch friends. May this step lead to a journey into happier times.