In 1839, when the British army advanced through the Bolan Pass towards Afghanistan, the conduct of Mehrab Khan, the ruler of Baluchistan, was considered so treacherous and dangerous as to require "the exaction of retribution from that chieftain," and "the execution of such arrangements as would establish future security in that quarter." General Willshire was accordingly detached from the army of the Indus with 1050 men to assault Kalat. A gate was knocked in by the field-pieces, and the town and citadel were stormed in a few minutes. Above 400 Baluches were slain, among them Mehrab Khan himself; and 2000 prisoners were taken. Subsequent inquiries have, however, proved that the treachery towards the British was not on the part of Mehrab Khan, but on that of his vizier, Mahommed Hussein, and certain chiefs with whom he was in league, and at whose instigation the British convoys were plundered in their passage through Kach Gandava and in the Bolan Pass. The treacherous vizier, however, made our too credulous political officers believe that Mehrab Khan was to blame; his object being to bring his master to ruin and to obtain for himself all power in the state, knowing that Mehrab's successor was only a child. How far he succeeded in his object history has shown.

In the following year Kalat changed hands, the governor established by the British, together with a feeble garrison, being overpowered. At the close of the same year it was reoccupied by the British under General Nott. In 1841 Nasir Khan II., the youthful son of the slain Mehrab Khan, was recognized by the British, who soon after evacuated the country.

From the conquest of Sind by the British troops under the command of General Sir Charles Napier in 1843 up to 1854 no diplomatic intercourse occurred worthy of note between the British and Baluch states. In the latter year, however, under the governor-generalship of the marquess of Dalhousie, General John Jacob, C.B., at the time political superintendent and commandant on the Sind frontier, was deputed to arrange and conclude a treaty between the Kalat state, then under the chieftainship of Nasir Khan and the British government. This treaty was executed on the 14th of May 1854 and was to the following effect: -

"That the former offensive and defensive treaty, concluded in 1841 by Major Outram between the British government and Nasir Khan II., chief of Kalat, was to be annulled.

"That Nasir Khan II., his heirs and successors, bound themselves to oppose to the utmost all the enemies of the British government, and in all cases to act in subordinate co-operation with that government, and to enter into no negotiations with other states without its consent.

"That should it be deemed necessary to station British troops in any part of the territory of Kalat, they shall occupy such positions as may be thought advisable by the British authorities.

"That the Baluch chief was to prevent all plundering on the part of his subjects within or in the neighbourhood of British territory.

"That he was further to protect all merchants passing through his territory, and only to exact from them a transit duty, fixed by schedule attached to the treaty; and that, on condition of a faithful performance of these duties, he was to receive from the British government an annual subsidy of Rs.50,000 (£5000)."

The provisions of the above treaty were most loyally performed by Nasir Khan up to the time of his death in 1856. He was succeeded by his brother, Mir Khodadud Khan, when a youth of twelve years of age, who, however, did not obtain his position before he had put down by force a rebellion on the part of his turbulent chiefs, who had first elected him, but, not receiving what they considered an adequate reward from his treasury, sought to depose him in favour of his cousin Sher dil Khan. In the latter part of 1857, the Indian rebellion being at its height and the city of Delhi still in the hands of the rebels, a British officer (Major Henry Green) was deputed, on the part of the British government, to reside as political agent with the Khan at Kalat and to assist him by his advice in maintaining control over his turbulent tribes. This duty was successfully performed until 1863, when, during the temporary absence of Major Malcolm Green, the then political agent, Khodadad Khan was, at the instigation of some of his principal chiefs, attacked while out riding by his cousin, Sher dil Khan, and severely wounded.

Khodadad fled in safety to a residence close to the British border, and Sher dil Khan was elected and proclaimed Khan. His rule was, however, a short one, for early in 1864, when proceeding to Kalat, he was murdered in the Gandava Pass; and Khodadad was again elected chief by the very men who had only the previous year caused his overthrow, and who had lately been accomplices to the murder of his cousin. After the above events Khodadad maintained his precarious position with great difficulty; but owing to his inability to govern his unruly subjects without material assistance from the British government, which they were not disposed to give, his country gradually fell into the greatest anarchy; and, consequently, some of the provisions of the treaty of 1854 having been broken, diplomatic relations were discontinued with the Kalat state after the end of 1874.

After this the chiefs of Las and Wad, the Marris and Bugtis, Kej and Makran all threw off their allegiance, and anarchy became so widespread that the British government again interfered. The treaty of 1854 was renewed in 1876 by Lord Lytton (under Sandeman's advice), and the khan received substantial aid from the government in the form of an annual subsidy of a lakh of rupees, instead of the Rs.50,000 previously assigned to him. The treaty of 1854 was a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive. The treaty of 1876 renewed these terms, but utterly changed the policy of non-intervention which was maintained by the former, by the recognition of the sirdars as well as the khan, and by the appointment of the British government as referee in cases of dispute between them. British troops were to be located in the khan's country; Quetta was founded; telegraphs and railways were projected; roads were made; and the reign of law and order established. The nebulous claims of Afghanistan to Sibi and Pishin were disposed of by the treaty of Gandamak in the spring of 1879, and the final consolidation of the existing form of Kalat administration was effected by Sandeman's expedition to Kharan in 1883, and the reconciliation of Azad Khan, the great Naushirwani chief, with the khan of Kalat. British Baluchistan was incorporated with British India by the resolution of 1st November 1887, and divided into two districts - Quetta-Pishin and Thai Chotiali - to be administered by a deputy-commissioner and a regular staff.

In 1890 and 1891 were carried out that series of politico-military expeditions which resulted in the occupation of the Zhob valley, the foundation of the central cantonment of Fort Sandeman, and the extension of a line of outposts which, commencing at Quetta, may be said to rest on Wana north of the Gomal. The effect of these expeditions, and of this extension of military occupation, has been to reduce the independent Pathan tribes of the Suliman mountains to effective order, and to put a stop to border raiding on the Indus plains south of the Gomal. In 1893 serious differences arose between the khan of Kalat and Sir James Browne, who succeeded Sir Robert Sandeman as agent to the governor-general in Baluchistan, arising out of Mir Khodadad Khan's outrageous conduct in the management of his own court, and the treatment of his officials. Finally, the khan was deposed, and his son Mir Mahmud Khan succeeded in November 1893. Since then the most important change in Baluch administration has been the perpetual lease and transfer of management to British agency of the Nushki district and Niabat, with all rights, jurisdiction and administrative power, in lieu of a perpetual rent of Rs.9000 per annum.

This was effected in July 1899. This secures the direct control of the great highway to Seistan which has been opened to khafila and railway traffic.

The revenues of the khan of Kalat consist partly of subsidies and partly of agricultural revenue, the total value being about Rs.500,000 per annum. Since 1882 he has received Rs.25,000 as government rent for the Quetta district, besides Rs.30,000 in lieu of transit duties in the Boian; this has been increased lately by Rs.9000 as already stated. In 1899 the total imports of Kalat were valued at Rs.700,000, and the exports at Rs.505,000.


The Seistan Boundary Report of 1873 by Sir F. Goldsmid; Floyer, Unexplored Baluchistan (London, 1882); T. Thornton, Life of Sandeman (London, 1896); G. P. Tate, Kalat, a Memoir (Calcutta, 1896); Sir T. Holdich, "Ethnographic and Historical Notes on Makran," Calcutta, 1892 (Survey Report); "Antiquities, Ethnography, etc., of Las Bela and Makran," Calcutta, 1894 (Survey Report); "Ancient and Medieval Makran," vol. vii. R.G.S. Journal (1896); "Perso-Baluch Boundary," vol. ix. R.G.S. Journal (1897); McMahon, "The Southern Borderland of Afghanistan," vol. x. Journal R.G.S. (1897). Notes on Sir R. Sandeman's tours in Baluchistan will be found in vols. v., xii., xiii. and xiv. of the R.G.S. Proceedings; Popular Poetry of the Baloches, by M. Longworth-Dames (2 vols., Roy. As. Soc. 1907).

(T. H. H.*)

[1] See W. T. Blanford, "Geological Notes on the Hills in the neighbourhood of the Sind and Punjab Frontier between Quetta and Dera Ghazi Khan," Mem. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xx. pt. 2 (1883); E. Vredenburg, "A Geological Sketch of the Baluchistan Desert, and part of Eastern Persia," Mem. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xxxi. pt. 2 (1901); E. Vredenburg, "On the Occurrence of a Species of Halorites in the Trias of Baluchistan," Rec. Geol. Surv. India, vol. xxxi. (1904), pp. 162-166, pls. 17, 18.

[2] See V. A. Smith, Early Hist. of India (ed. 1908), p. 103 seq.