Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anthropological facts about camel in Suleiman mountainous region of Balochistan Pakistan

Anthropological facts about camel in Suleiman mountainous region of Balochistan Pakistan


Dr Abdul Raziq

Camel came a bit late in the register of animal domestication. It is strongly believed that dromedary camel domesticated in the region, now known with the country Yemen (some 3200 years back) Bactrian camel was believed to domesticate in the historic town of Bakhdi in the Zoroaster\'s time, some 2200 years back. It is believed that before the introduction of dromedary camel in historic country of Bakhtaria, only Bactrian or Bakhdi camel was found , many tribes of the old Aryan tribes were nomads at that time & the Pakhit 'today\'s Pashtoon' were used to travel with their animals from Pamir region to Suleiman mountainous region which was their winter settlement the excavation of the ruins of Persepolis (Iran) Gandhar civilization (Sawat & Adjacent) only the statues & paintings of Bactrian camels were found. SMR being the 10 inter settlement of Pashtoon believed to have Bakhdi camel. The introduction of dromedary camel is linked with the Arab Muslims preachers. The Bactrian camel was crossed by dromedary to produce vigorous camel for heavy duty & the produced camel is still known as Maya in Pashto & is always one hump.

Location and History of research area

The region had very rich history. Avesta the holy book of Zoroaster written in 2570 and 2530 BP (Before Present) determines the Suleiman mountainous region and the Paktia in Afghanistan as Orawah. The region was called as Arya Warsha (mean the place for grazing). The word is still in use as Pashto (Warsh) word for the grazing land. Suleiman region is the historical home tract of the Pashtoon ethnic group. The famous Kase Mountain is situated here in Zhob district, which is believed to be the birth place of Kais the father of Pashtoon. Kharspoon, the grandson of Kais was believed to rule here with his family on the present northern Balochistan and Southern Afghanistan (Habibi, 1999). The famous Kharspoon Mountain is here in Musakhel district. The Baloch pastoral people live in the Southern part of the Suleiman region and famously called as Marri and Bugti hills.

Dromedary or Bactrian

The first definite reference to the dromedary in the Indian subcontinent appears to be in connection with the Muslim conquest {Muhammed bin Quasim, 717 A.D, Sindh} (Köhler-Rollefson, 1996). But this statement is true for the Indus delta, not for the mountainous region of Suleiman. Because the Suleiman Mountains are a major geological feature bordering ranges between the Iranian pleatue and the Indian sub-continent (Encyclopedia Wikipedia, 2007).

In Mohenjo-Daro, and Harappa archeological sites, the statues of indicus cattle were found but not that of camel (Habibi, 1999). But Epstein 1971, reported the remains of camel dating back to the third millennium BC, were excavated in Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. In Loralai the statues of horses were excavated from the ruins dating back to the third millennium B.C. In Killi Gul Muhammad, Quetta the statues of Dear and Indicus cattle has been found. In Vida (old book of Aryan), the name of sheep, goat and cattle is common but the name of camel is not discussed (Habibi, 1999).

The time of the introduction of the dromedary in the region is particularly difficult to determine on account of the pre-existence of the Bactrian camel. In the Avestha the holy book references to the camel are common but it is not clear to which specie reference is being made. It is assumed that dromedary entered in the region concurrent with the Muslim preachers. The assumption is borne out by craving on the walls at Persepolis, constructed sometimes during the fifth or sixth century BC (Wilson, 1984). Habibi, 1999, assumed that the craving Bactrian camel on the walls at Persepolis, leading by man is believed to be the picture of the local people and camel of that time. The author personally visited the Buddha museum in Sawat (Falling in the north end of Suleiman mountainous series), where the statue of Bactrian camel was found. Bordering the Sulaiman Range to the north are the arid highlands of the Hindu Kush, with more than 50 percent of the lands there lying above 2,000 m (6,500 feet) Encyclopedia Wikipedia, 2007. Second proof of the Bactrian origin of the Kohi camel is its well adaptation to the extreme low temperature. The Kohi camel found on the peaks of Suleiman Mountains with a height more than 3000 meter ASL.


Encyclopedia Wikipedia, 2010,

Epstein 1971, H. 1971. The origin of the domestic animals of Africa. Africana Publishing Corporation, New York, USA.

GOB, 1999, Balochistan District Database. Planning and Dev. Department, Government of Balochistan, Pakistan.

Habibi, 1999, A.H. 1999. The short history of Afghanistan. Danish Publisher, Qisa Khuani Bazar, Peshawar, Pakistan.

Köhler-Rollefson. Ilse, (1996) the one-humped camel in Asia: origin, utilization and mechanisms of dispersal. Pp. 282-294 in D. Harris, Ed. The Origins and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia. London, UCL Press.

Nolte, 2003, M. 2003. The genetic characterization of Camelus dromedarius in southern Africa. Dissertation in Master of Science in Zoology in the Faculty of Sciences at the Rand Afrikaans University, Auckland Park Johannesburg, South Africa.

Wilson, 1984, R.T. 1984. Camels

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About the Author
Author is the president of the Society of Animal, Vet. and Environmental Scientists (SAVES). Author had been working on the issues of the dry lands and indigenous livestock breeds.

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