The British used heavy Baloch camels to transport coal and oil from Balochistan to Karachi and India, says Moscow-based Jumma Marri, son of former guerrilla leader Mir Hazar Khan Ramkhani. “British desert forces in suhad transportation difficulties….they found Baloch camels are very tolerant to harsh climate, that is why they exported these animals to their colonies,” says Ali Arjemandi, whose brother Ehsan Arjemandi was abducted by Pakistan’s Military Intelligence services on August 16, 2009 and his fate is unknown.
Camels are the locomotives of Balochistan’s nomadic culture and there are numerous sayings about the camels.
Baloch folklore expert Prof Sabir Badalkhan, who now lives in Italy, has a collection of Balochi sayings about camels. When asked Prof badalkhan responded, “I don’t have many Balochi proverbs at hand right now. I hardly remember some by heart and that’s it for the time being.” See here a list of proverbs and their explanations as provided by prof Badalkhan:
Har maboo srumbán machár, ushtir bubú dúr bichár (don’t be a donkey and fix your eyes on your hoofs, but be a camel and fix your eyes at a long distance”, meaning to not be shortsighted but farsighted and visionery); another one says,
Ushtir watí bárá wat bárt, wájahay jí u ján-é darkár int (a camel carries its burden on its own but it needs the company of its master), meaning that everybody carries his/her burdens on their own but moral support makes the burden feel lighter.
Ushtirárá justish kut gon bárá kanŕagay sar kapag washtir int, ér áhag, jawábé dát; : doenáná lánat int A camel was asked if it is easier to climb or descend a mountain pass with a burden and it answered that damn to both the situations. This is said in a situation when one is left with two choices, none is better than the other one.
Hirrárá tirré kanag: Make a calve out of a fart. Meaning to make a mountain out of a mole.
Baht ki kapít ushtiray sará kuchik wart: When good luck abandons you, a dog bay bite you while you are sitting on a camel’s back. The explanation is given that a dog cannot bite you on a camel but when lady luck abandons you, the camel sits down at the site of the barking dog and then the dog comes and bites you.
Ushtiray duzzí u kúnkinz na bít: Steal a camel and move crawling on buttocks (believing that nobody sees you). This is said that if you are making a huge blunder, you can’t hide yourself behind minor things.
Ushtir u géchin: The last straw on a camel’s back. A camel kept quiet while it was being loaded with tons of things but started crying when the last straw sieve was being tied upon the load). This is said when one tolerates the worst situations and begins cries/lamenting for a minor thing.
This scribe’s grandfathers went with a group of Baloch cameleers to Perth, Australia (1885-88). They were fond of camel’s milk and in the 1930s his grandfather would wake up early at dawn and ride 10 miles on his camel back from Garden to his country house in Manghopir. Take a bath, eat breakfast and then his chauffeur would drive him to his office in his limo in downtown Karachi.