Author: Qambar Bugti
My first interaction with Hammal Haidar was back in 2014 when I tried to reach out to him regarding some spam tweets being posted on his timeline by a twitter follower tracking app. I felt bad because he seemed to have no idea how to stop that. Also, because we have all been there and done that.
Despite all my reservations on Baloch National Movement, I tried to help him out because I thought that being the ‘international spokesman’ of a ‘mass party’ from Balochistan unintended tweets like “2 people followed, 5 unfollowed me today” were making a very bad impression on his followers. Not only about him and his party but also about Balochistan.
I started the conversation very politely and walked him through the process of revoking access to that unwanted app.
he seemed to have appreciated my helping hand and thanked me for that. This gave me some encouragement to continue extending my support wherever and whenever I felt something was wrong, not only to Hammal but also to a number of other activists. A lot of funny stories to tell but maybe some other time!
I always kept the privacy and the social aspect in mind so I would reach out to them in private, usually sending them direct messages. This was only because my intention was always to help and never to ridicule.
My wishful thinking shattered when the next time I reached out to Hammal after 3 years in 2017. This time on twitter and I pointed out to him regarding the excessive use of “I” as I found it a bit too self-centered and to some extent narcissistic.
This time around, it didn’t really go well and he overreacted to my messages and sent a childish reply saying that using “Bugti” as my last name was ‘tribalistic’ and I should be using “Baloch” instead. It was kind of funny because most of the people who use Baloch as their last name, including Hammal Haidar, do not actually have “Baloch” as their official last name in the identification papers. Meanwhile most of the Bugtis use Bugti as their real last name.
From then onwards it was basically a downhill ride for Hammal in terms of exposing himself as someone who would pass flawed and ill-thought-out comments on any topic. Starting from the issue of Kalat’s merger with Pakistan (which started a debate between different pro-freedom parties) and more recently comparing Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri to Adolf Hitler.
In case of the former he first tweeted that “British Balochistan” of the colonial era was “the Balochistan of British not the Baloch ” and a couple months later was mourning the nuclear tests in Chaghai, an area which was part of British Balochistan.
In the latter case, he first called it fake news and later showed no sign of remorse even after his own party issued an official statement announcing to “question” him on the matter.
No idea at what stage the ‘questioning’ is and whether or not there will be any outcome. Meanwhile, Hammal dropped another bombshell. This time trying his luck on the Balochi dialects.
On his Facebook, he shared a terrible story of a Baloch mother who was tortured by her son who tried to cut off her nose. Instead of condemning the incident and the person who committed this disgusting act, he resorted to target the Baloch people of the tribal belt and their dialect by saying “such an act should not be surprising in an area where people use ‘mindd’ for women”.
Looked like he had some hidden contempt brewing inside him against tribal people which he finally let out first by comparing Nawab Khair Baksh with Hitler and then by targeting speakers of eastern dialect of Balochi.
It is true that “mendd” is used for girl in Eastern Balochi, a word which means “bitch” in the southern Makorani dialect (which Hammal speaks). We use a rather similar sounding “hendd/henddi” for the female dog.
Now such a misunderstanding and “slip of touch” is okay when the person is corrected by the native speakers but Hammal being Hammal stuck to his comments even when criticized by his own party members.
Such stubbornness can either be called absolute stupidity or deliberate prejudice. I let Hammal choose for himself. I can only hope that the former, rather than the latter, is the case.
As someone who takes a lot of interest in languages and how they work, especially the dialects within a language, I have seen how meanings of words change from one area to another. Sometimes making hilarious stories.
Balochi dialects are ripe with such words. Take the word “kondd” for example, it means “knee” in most of the dialects spoken in Eastern Balochistan. But in some areas of Western Balochistan, the people use it for “hole” instead.
Imagine someone from Eastern Balochistan with a knee pain visiting a doctor in that part of Western Balochistan and explaining his problem by saying “Mani kondd dard kant”.
While the poor lad will be saying “I have pain in my knee”, the doctor will understand him as saying “I have pain in my hole”.
All I can do is to pray that one never visits that area and if he does, he never gets knee pain there!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Balochistan Post or any of its editors.