Gilgit BaltistanSkardu Baltistan

Origin Of The Balti Peoples In Baltistan

About the origin of the Balti peoples in Baltistan, It is generally said that Tibetans from Ladakh side came to Khaplu via Nobra and Mongolians from Yarkand came to Khaplu through Kondus valley. Cunningham puts the Bhotiya of Ladakh as an off-shoot of the Great Mongolians race.

According to their language and highlights, which share a lot of practice speaking with those of the Chinese, the Botis must be articulated to be an off-shoot of the Great Mongolian race;

And all distinctions both physical and moral might be handily represented by the serious cold and extraordinary dryness of the Tibetan atmosphere, and by the previous cozy association of the individuals with the Caucasian Hindus of India for a long time during the thriving time of Buddhism.

Of the physical attributes of the Botis, little has been made known past the realities that they have “a solid checked Tartarian or Mongolian face, and that they are prevalent both in the force of body and in stature to the next Mongolian race of Kalmaks and Tungusic.”

Their peculiarly Tartarian physiognomy must be considered as hypothetical confirmation of their Mongolian origin”. It is, for the most part, said that Mongolians came into Shigar from Yarkand via Mustagh pass and possessed Braldo Valley while Aryans from Hunza and Nagar came to Basha and settled there.

Ali Sher Khan Anchan and Shah Murad brought ‘Dards’ (Aryans) detainees of war from vanquishing endeavors and settled them in Baltistan. Durand has made an intensive investigation of the ‘Dard’ and has demonstrated decisively that they were Aryans. He is of the view that the Baltis are of the Tibetan race. He composes:

Origin Of The Balti Peoples 

The Baltis of today are very innocuous race, however in past times, they were administered by brave rulers, who conveyed their vanquishing arms similarly as Gilgit and Astore.

They look like the Tibetans in appearance, and are for the most part flat-faced and short of stature, though the mixture of Dogra and Kashmiri blood is often recognizable. This is attributable to the lax morality of the women, a casual alliance with outside strangers being evidently viewed as respect”.

According to Drew; Dogras, Paharis, Chabhalis, Kashmiris and Dards are Aryans. While Baltis, Laddakhis and Champas are Tibetans.

The Dards were driven from their homes either by need, or persecution and they occupied a thin piece of the Indus valley, which lies somewhere between Skardu and Leh. The accompanying spots and towns were possessed by the Buddhist Dards: Grugurd, Sancha, Uruds, Darchik, Garkon, Dah, Phindur, Baldes, Hanu, Lower and Upper.

The Dards came to Rondu Valley and Basho. At Rondu Valley they are almost equivalent to Baltis while at Basho they about half and half. Any place the Dards interacted with Baltis or with Bhots, they were called Brokpa or Blokpa by them.

The word Brok or Blok implies in Tibetan a high field ground and Brokpa or Blokpa must mean a ‘Highlander’. The starting point of this word is by all accounts that the Dards initially interacted with the Baltis by coming over the passes and settling in the higher pieces of the valleys which maybe had been left vacant.

The Baltis are of the Tibetan race, they without a doubt came initially from the south-east and east, where presently experience the extraordinary mass of the Tibetans, and in their movements, the most westerly point they came to was Rondu.

The Baltis have some portion of the Turanian Physiognomy stamped. The high cheek-bones are commonly recognizable, and the eyes are drawn out at the corners. Their eyebrows are often brought near each other with a wrinkling of the brow, yet the noses, not all that frequently have the discouraged structure as it has with Bhots, nor are the Baltis very as insufficiently hairy as these seem to be.

The Baltis have disused the pigtail, and they partly follow the Mohammedan custom of shaving the head, only they leave long side-locks growing from behind the temples, which are sometimes lank, sometimes thick and curly, and sometimes plaited”. 

Origin Of The Balti Peoples In Baltistan, Drew has referenced that it is intriguing to follow whether any of those Baltis went for work to Shimla and somewhere else in the previous British nation for example unified India, will remain there for all time or come back to their homes.

It may be recorded that Baltis settled in the hill-stations of India especially in Shimla were they numbered more than ten thousand. Liberated from the oppression and overbearing of the Dogra authorities, a significant number of them succeeded and achieved high economic wellbeing.

In this connection, the instances of Khan Bahadur Mirza Badaruddin and Khan Bahadur Syed Mehdi Ali Shah can be quoted. Their fathers migrated from Shigar and settled in Shimla where they acquired immense wealth and prosperity.

Both Mirza Badruddin and Syed Mehdi Ali Shah were granted the title of Khan Bahadur by the then British Government. Khan Bahadur Syed Mehdi Ali Shah was chosen Vice President of the Shimla Municipality too.

Khan Bahadur Mirza Badruddin and, his brother Mirza Hussain Abbas took part in the Pakistan movement, the latter being the Secretary of the Shimla Branch Muslim league till the partition day.

Mr. Naseeb Ali and Mr. Shukur Ali of Shigar and Mr. Abdus Salam of Khaplu were big contractors. When Pakistan came into being, Baltis migrated to Pakistan and settled in Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi. etc. 

“Origin of the Balti peoples, the Imperial Gazetteer of India has the following words to say”

“The Baltis are of the same stock as the Ladakhis. They have Mongolian features, high cheekbones, and eyed drawn out at the corners, but the nose is not as depressed as is the case with Bhotis of Ladakh”.

Knight is also of the view that the Baltis are of Mongolian stock somewhat resembling the Ladakhis, but having an admixture of Aryan blood, due to considerable intermarriage between them and the Astoris, Gilgitis, and others of the so-called Dard race.

Skull-caps are worn by Balti men, the top of the head is shaven, but the long black hairs hang down over either cheek in wild, curling elf-locks. The women are of fairer complexion and could be described as pretty.

As per Fosco Maraini “from the point of view of physical appearance, the 150,000 inhabitants of this region clearly belong to the ‘European group’. He says that “Ujfalvy, in 1881, was the first to publish a series of anthropological measurements which were later followed up and confirmed by Giotto Dainelli (1913) and Gino Allergi (1929).

As indicated by him, the Balti individuals have a dolichocephalism head, smooth dark hair, chestnut-hued eyes without the Mongol inclination to them, and an average stature – characteristics that securely license of their characterization under the Indo-Afghan type (Allegri-Biasuttin).

One high altitude porter from Khaplu who had blue eyes and a fair complexion had all the earmarks of being of the unadulterated Nordic breed to Fosco Maraini and another Balti of dark composition seemed Negro to him. Another one appeared to be of Mongol Negro type to him. 

Read also: Climate change in Gilgit Baltistan

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