Taj Baloch

Hassam Baloch: A misfit political activist

“When darkness engulfed the streets, I lit myself like a candle”, reads the cover photo of Hassam’s Facebook account.

He is a total misfit for politics. He doesn’t have the bombastic and harsh political tone which has become a characteristic feature of Baloch nationalist activists.

Before he was picked up by the Sindh Rangers from Karachi on November 15, I could not imagine in my wildest dreams that this young man had any political affiliation. It was after he went missing that I realized he is a Central Committee member of the Baloch Students’ Organization.

His Facebook feed does not seem to belong to a political person. His posts are mostly about pains of existence, poetry, music and art.

Born in 1995 in Mand, a town in Balochistan bordering Iran, Hassam was fascinated with art and literature from an early age.

After completing his schooling from Mand, he attended college in the Turbat city, the center of Balochi literature, where his love for literature grew wild.

He chose to study arts and literature at the college, while most of the students choose science. Everyone in Balochistan wants to become a doctor or an engineer. But not Hassam.

After he passed the intermediate exams from the Atta Shad Degree College Turbat in 2015, he went to Turbat university. However, he left it after the first semester, probably because of the worsening human rights situation in Balochistan, and moved to Karachi.

“It was hard for him to stay among people. He wanted to be alone. With his books and papers,” says one of his friends.

“He is a die-hard feminist, a rare creature in Balochistan”, says a Facebook friend.

After moving to Karachi, his poetic expression grew more mature and artistic. “He was always discussing art, literature and philosophy,” says his Facebook friend.

One of his poems in Balochi goes like this:

Come back, December wants to burn itself

December passed in silence

You didn’t come

You didn’t come so that loneliness won’t complain about memories

Your footsteps have eyes

I am like the shepherd of this age

Who is wandering around the wilderness of imagination along with his flock

But the famine of expectations blocks me

If I return back home

I will not be able to forgive myself

Your pain, like a fast-burning timbre

Burns down all the seasons

Come back, December wants to burn itself

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Taj Baloch is a poet and linguist. He published the first anthology of his poetry in 2016 in both Roman and Arabic scripts. Baloch is the Coordinator of Human Rights Council of Balochistan.

He can be reached at @TajBloch

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