Mir Khuda Bakhsh Bijarani on the status of the Sardars under the British

Mir Khuda Bakhsh Bijarani, Marri Baloch, a judge of the High Court of Sind and Baluchistan in his book Searchlights on Baloches and Balochistan (1974) describes the status of the Sardars under the British:

“The tribal Chiefs and headmen were allowed to maintain their positions on condition of loyalty to the British Government. Any doubt on that count used to result in immediate removal and replacement of the unwanted tribal Chief by a relative or another tribesman. Sometimes even new Chieftainships would be introduced and scrupulously maintained…  In return for certain privileges and monetary payments through pensions, the tribal Heads proved useful in keeping peace among their respective tribes. No restrictions were put on such Chiefs in the matter of burdening the tribesmen on various excuses by imposing taxes on threat of sending them to British jails in case of non-compliance. Here we see the unfortunate people of Baluchistan deprived of educational, political, social and economic development, with constant threats of facing long terms of imprisonment at the sweet will of the (British) Political Agent, o r through him, of the tribal Chiefs. The ugly part of this double-edged policy was that while it served the purpose of the British Government, it also helped them wholesale to keep intact the helpful’ illiteracy and ignorance of the people, which plan kept the tribesmen in a calculated state of perpetual disunity and inter-tribal warfare”.

Sardari System Abolished by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto


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