Within the Baluchistan half of the desert are to be found scattered tribes of nomads, called Rekis (or desert people), the Mohamadani being the most numerous. They are probably of Arab origin. This central desert is the Kir, Kej, Katz or Kash Kaian of Arabic medieval geography and a part of the ancient Kaiani kingdom; the prefix Kej or Kach always denoting low-level flats or valleys, in contradistinction to mountains or hills. The Mohamadani nomads occupy the central mountain region, to the south of which lie the Mashkel and Kharan deserts, inhabited by a people of quite different origin, who possess something approaching to historical records. These are the Naushirwanis, a purely Persian race, who passed into Baluchistan within historic times, although the exact date is uncertain. The Naushirwanis appear to be identical with the Tahuki or Tahukani who are found in Perso-Baluchistan. (A place Taoce is mentioned by Nearchus, by Strabo and by Ptolemy.) They are a fine manly race of people, in many respects superior to their modern compatriots of Iran. Between the Naushirwanis of the Kharan desert and Mashkel, and the fish-eating population of the coast, enclosed in the narrow valleys of the Rakshan and Kej tributaries, or about the sources of the Hingol, are tribes innumerable, remnants of races which may be recognized in the works of Herodotus, or may be traced in the records of recent immigration.
Equally scattered through the whole country, and almost everywhere recognizable, is the underlying Persian population (Tajik), which is sometimes represented by a locally dominant tribe, but more frequently by the agricultural slave and bondsman of the general community. Such are the Dehwars or Dehkans, and the Durzadas (Derusiaei of Herod. i. 125), who extend all through Makran, and, as slaves, are called Nakibs. The Arabs have naturally left their mark most strongly impressed on the ethnography of Baluchistan. All Rind tribes claim to be of Arab origin and of Koraish extraction. As the Arabs occupied all southern Baluchistan and Seistan from a very early date, and finally spread through the Sind valley, where they remained till the 12th century, their genealogical records have become much obscured and it is probable that there is not now a pure Arab in the country. It is as builders or engineers that they have established their most permanent records, Makran being full of the relics of their irrigation works constructed in times when the climatic conditions of Baluchistan must have been very different from what they are now. Lower Sind also contains a great wealth of architectural remains, which may be found to the west of the Indus as well as in the delta.
One particular tribe (the Kalmats), who left their name on the Makran coast and subsequently dominated Bela and Sind, west of the Indus, for a considerable period, exhibit great power of artistic design in their sepulchral monuments. The Dravidian races (Brahuis), who are chiefly represented by the Kambaranis and Mingals or Mongals (the latter are doubtless of Tatar origin), spread through southern Baluchistan as well as the eastern hills, and are scattered irregularly through the mountain tracts south of Kharan. The ancient Oreitae mentioned by Arrian are probably represented by the tribe of Hot, who, as original masters of the soil, are exempt from taxation. The name Brahui is (according to Bellew) but a corruption of Ba-rohi (or "hillmen") in a language derived from Sanskrit which would represent the same term by Parva-ka. So that the παρικáνιοι (Herod, iii. 92) may be recognized as surviving in the Brahui, and in the name (Parkan) of a mountain-bred stream which is a tributary of the Hingol. Amongst other aboriginal tribes to whom reference is made by very early writers are the Bolédi, who give their name to the Bolida valley, a tributary of the Kej. The Bolédi were once the ruling race of southern Baluchistan, which was originally called Boledistan, and it seems possible that this may be the real origin of the much-disputed name of the country generally.
Bola was an Assyrian term for Bael or Bel, the god of the Phoenicians and Druids. The Bolédi ruling family were in 1906 represented by but one living member, a lady, who was a government pensioner. The fast-diminishing Sajidis (Sajittae) and Saka (Sacae) are others of the more ancient races of Baluchistan easily recognizable in classical geography. Most recent of all are the Gitchkis. The Gitchkis derive from a Rajput adventurer who flourished in the early part of the 17th century. They are now the dominant race in Panjgur and Kej, from whence they ousted the Boledis. For three generations they remained Hindus; since then there has arisen amongst them a strange new sect called Zikari, with exceedingly loose notions of morality. The sect, however, appears to be fast merging into orthodox Mahommedanism. A Baluch (or rather Makran) race which deserves attention is that of the Gadaras, who once gave the name Gadrosia to Southern Baluchistan. According to Tate the Gadaras are now represented by Sidi half-castes - those Makrani "boys" who are so well known in the mercantile marine as stokers and firemen.
It seems unlikely that this modern admixture of Asiatic and African blood represents the "Asiatic Ethiopian" of Herodotus, which was more probably a direct connexion of the Himyaritic Arab builders of "bunds" and revetments who spread eastwards from Arabia. Bellew finds in the Gadara the Garuda (eagles) of Sanskrit, who were ever in opposition to the Naga (snakes) of Scythic origin. Southern Baluchistan affords a most interesting field for the ethnographer. It has never yet been thoroughly explored in the interests of ethnographical science.
The Baluch character is influenced by its environment as much as by its origin, so that it is impossible to select any one section of the general community as affording a satisfactory sample of popular Baluch idiosyncrasies. They are not a homogeneous race. Peoples of Arab extraction intermixed with people of Dravidian and Persian stock are all lumped together under the name of Baluch. The Marri and Bugti tribes, who occupy the most southern buttresses of the Suliman Mountains, are Rind Baluchis, almost certainly of Arab extraction. They came to Sind either with the Arab conquerors or after them, and remained there mixed up with the original Hindu inhabitants. The Arab type of Baluch extends through the whole country at intervals, and includes all the finest and best of Baluch humanity. Taking the Rind Baluch as the type opposed to the Afridi Pathan, the Baluch is easier to deal with and to control than the Pathan, owing to his tribal organization and his freedom from bigoted fanaticism or blind allegiance to his priest. The Baluch is less turbulent, less treacherous, less bloodthirsty and less fanatical than the Pathan. His frame is shorter and more spare and wiry than that of his neighbour to the north, though generations have given to him too a bold and manly bearing.