top of page
  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

Mir Hammal-e-Jiand of Kalmat

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

In the annals of history, where tales of valour and conflict intertwine, there exists a grand saga that echoes through the corridors of history. This is the tale of Hammal-e-Jiand, a warrior whose spirit knew no bounds, hailing from the indomitable Hoth tribe. In an era when the clash of steel and the roar of cannons filled the air, he stood unyielding, a beacon of defiance against the tempestuous Portuguese onslaught during the 16th-century colonial invasions.

As the maritime conquerors set their sights upon the majestic Makran shores, their insatiable thirst for dominion led them to seize numerous coastal realms. With their colossal vessels braving the uncharted seas and their fearless soldiers poised for conquest, they cast their imposing shadow upon these lands and their people. Among them, the Commander in Chief, the indomitable Luis de Almeyda, embarked upon a fateful voyage, his fleet a formidable armada adorned with a mighty galleon, a swift galley, and six other vessels. Accompanied by a valiant company of four hundred brave souls, they sailed forth, driven by an insatiable hunger for power.

Like a tempest unleashed, the colonial marauders descended upon the radiant city port of Pasni, renowned for its opulence and allure, heedless of honour or peril. With cruel intent, the Portuguese soldiers stormed through the gates, their path marked by the ravages of plunder and devastation. The flames of their conquest engulfed not only Pasni but also other cities along the resplendent Makran coast, reducing them to smouldering ruins. Even the indomitable Abindos tribe of Ties, known for their unwavering resilience, succumbed to a similar fate, becoming a mere memory lost in the annals of Gedrosia, a once-proud nation now forever consigned to the abyss of forgotten history.

And thus, the stage is set, where the clash of cultures and the pursuit of freedom intertwine, heralding an epic tale of heroism, sacrifice, and the unyielding quest for liberation. From the ashes of conquered lands, a hero emerges, his name whispered in awe, his resolve undaunted. For Hammal-e-Jiand, the warrior of unquenchable spirit, the battle against the Portuguese would be a crucible in which his fate, and the fate of a nation, would be forged.

Hammal, a once-mighty ruler whose realm stretched across the vast expanse of Balochistan. Yet, the looming shadow of misfortune cast its dark veil upon him when the Europeans cast their covetous gaze upon his lands. But the sagacious poet does not solely attribute Hammal's downfall to the invading foreigners. No, it is the delicate interplay of bad omens and ancient superstitions that entwines itself into his narrative—a cautionary thread urging the Baloch people to honour their beliefs and shun their violation.

In the wisdom passed down through generations, is whispered that on sacred Saturdays, O sister of brothers, one must refrain from washing their head, for such an act brings forth inauspiciousness upon the brothers. And on the sixteenth day of the lunar month, fathers find themselves entwined with ill omens. It was on such a fateful Saturday, during the foreboding hours of the sixteenth, that Hammal, driven by unwavering determination, embarked on a treacherous journey. With a vessel prepared and resolve ablaze, he set sail towards the boundless depths of the cerulean sea.

For seven unyielding days and nights, the boat dared to venture forth, leaving behind the familiar shores of the land that birthed Hammal's legacy. With each passing mile, the distance between him and his homeland widened, and yet, keen eyes sharpened by resolve discerned the approach of four sails on the distant horizon. The poet, his words painted with vivid hues, describes the scene in unparalleled detail—a quartet of ships, their wings akin to those of majestic birds, gracefully closing in from all four cardinal points, a convergence of predatory intent encircling Hammal's lone vessel. Brazen audacity filled the air as their voices resonated, boldly proclaiming their insidious desire to capture the once-mighty ruler.

The arrival of these foreign ships marked an irrevocable turning point in Hammal's perilous odyssey, for the forces of conquest now encircled him with an unwavering resolve. The Europeans, their presence now an undeniable reality, inscribed a new chapter in the ever-unfolding saga of Hammal and his relentless struggles. From the depths of the past to the boundless expanse of the future, the tale continues, each chapter resonating with the vibrant hues of triumph, tragedy, and the unwavering spirit of a people intertwined with their ancestral lands.

In his moment of dire need, Hammal called out to the companions of his boat, hoping for their support and bravery. However, to his dismay, he discovered that his companions were cowardly Dashti's, lacking the courage to stand their ground. Their bodies seemed feeble and powerless, akin to the dying embers of a tamarisk fire. While some of the fishermen managed to escape, those who were dark-complexioned and black succumbed to the depths of the sea, swallowed by the relentless waves that rose up to their very beards and mouths.

In the face of treachery, Hammal stood alone, his companions turned betrayers. The weight of their deception bore down upon him, forcing him to rely solely on his own strength, his own unwavering spirit. With a firm grip, he brandished his sword, poised to strike at the enemy before him. But to his astonishment, the very weapon he trusted slipped from his grasp, cascading into the depths of the fathomless sea, lost forever.

Hammal calls out in anguish to his beloved sword, and turned to his trusty axe, hoping it would yield a different outcome. Alas, even his stalwart companion proved treacherous, its strike against the mast shattering the bond between handle and blade. A profound sorrow gripped Hammal's heart, as in this moment of desperate need, Hammal found himself bereft of his trusted weapons, stripped of his defence against the encroaching enemy. The challenges that lay before him seemed insurmountable, their weight threatening to crush his indomitable spirit. The outcome of his struggle hung in precarious balance, obscured by the veil of uncertainty.

The unfortunate hour arrived when Hammal succumbed to the clutches of the Portuguese. Captured, but never broken, Hammal, once a mighty ruler, would now weave through the tangled threads of captivity and the untamed spirit that refused to be extinguished.

His hands were bound tightly with greyish-brown ropes, their colour reminiscent of the earth. The ropes that entwined him were eight-folded, resembling the strong bonds used to restrain lustful male camels. These ropes, biting into his flesh like venomous serpents, caused his blessed fingers to bleed. The epic discusses at length Hammal's arrogance and ignorance of Allah in deciding the outcome of the battle which led to his capture by the Europeans. As the women of Kalmat mourned, they shattered their bangles and veiled faces expressing their profound sorrow.

Despite relentless persuasion from the Portuguese to compel Mir Hammal into a marriage alliance with a European woman, his unwavering spirit refused to yield. In response to his defiance, the authorities resorted to the harsh measure of solitary confinement, cutting him off from familiar faces and any solace they might bring.

As the narration shifts to first person, Hammal, in his candid reflections, finds the Europeans uncultured, their blouses too short, shamelessly revealing their navels and betraying a lack of modesty. He expresses his dislike for Europeans, as non-believers, faithless and infidels.

Baloch and Muslim traditions stand in stark contrast, with the Europeans eschewing the practices of washing their faces and invoking the name of God. They disregard the remembrance of God (zikr) and neglect the performance of obligatory prayers (namaz). In Hammal's eyes, even their infants resemble piglets, and their carelessness extends to consuming dates in the company of flies.

Hammal harbours contempt for their promiscuity, noting how their women engage in intimate relationships with shepherds while their men are away on hunting expeditions. He also mentions their lovers as individuals of cowardly disposition and lacking in moral character.

In striking contrast, the poem celebrates Hammal's profound love and admiration for the women of his homeland. His heart swells with affection for those enchanting-eyed women who grace his own country. They adorn themselves in flowing garments, long and wide gowns, trousers, and headdresses. Sleeves of such length that only the joints of their fingers peek through, while their blouses extend down, seemingly connected to the earth itself as they walk, exuding an air of grace and elegance.

The poet mourns the absence of anyone from his kin to offer solace, prompting him to rely on the gentle caress of the morning breeze to carry his messages homeward. In his heartfelt missives, he implores the passing breeze to deliver his words to Allan, Shaho, and Nawabo, to his revered mother and beloved younger one. He beseeches them not to slaughter rams in his honour, nor to grind fragrant wheat for his evening meal. He asks that they forgo weaving beddings and seven-coloured sheets for him to rest on and that they refrain from crafting delicate fringes for his chestnut steed's forehead.

In his heartfelt message, Hammal directs his words to his beloved wife, imparting wisdom from his prison cell. He advises her to seek a husband worthy of his name, a warrior adorned with valour and strength. By marrying such a man, Hammal believes his legacy will live on, and both his wife and his noble steed will find worthy companions who embody the spirit of courage.

As the epic saga draws to its final chapters, the poet turns our gaze to a contrasting sentiment that emerged upon Hammal's untimely demise. Amidst the nationwide mourning for the fallen hero, the narrative reveals a subtle joy that danced within the hearts of three or four entities, their existence celebrated in the wilderness.

The stags of Jaho and the deer in the fields of Rumbado, the proud lions of the forests, and the untamed wild asses of the fertile plains—these creatures, liberated from the relentless pursuit of Hammal's hunting prowess, revel in their newfound freedom. With gleeful mockery, they address the wild goats, beckoning them to abandon their lofty mountain abodes and graze fearlessly in the open fields. The formidable figure who once chased and vanquished them, Hammal, now lays silent in death.

Once a hunter who savoured the exhilarating moments of the chase, Hammal claimed victory over the wild asses on open plains and even triumphed over the mighty lions within the depths of dense forests. His skill and fearlessness posed a constant threat to these creatures of the wild. However, with his passing, they now roam undisturbed, released from the perpetual shadow of his hunting prowess.

The inclusion of these verses by the poet serves as a poignant reminder of the duality of life and death. While Hammal's demise was mourned by many, his adversaries in the animal kingdom found solace in the cessation of his relentless pursuit. It is a testament to the intricate balance between existence and absence, where sorrow and celebration dance hand in hand.

Beyond the tales of valour and battles, folklore weaves a tapestry that speaks of the forces of nature intervening upon the Makran coast. The unpredictable wrath of bad weather unleashed its fury upon the seas, claiming one or more Portuguese ships, and consigning them to a watery grave along the shores of Makran. Within the echoes of these shipwreck tales, a unique heritage emerges, carried proudly by families who are believed to have Portuguese lineage. Among the dark-skinned fishermen of Makran, one may chance upon children bearing the surprising combination of golden locks. These families, known locally as Parang have ancestry intertwined with the very fabric of the land's history.

47 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page