Kamanchar Baloch: The atemporal beauty of Balochistan’s arts
Kamanchar Baloch: The atemporal beauty of Balochistan’s arts
Munaj Gul Muhammad

In the famous words of William Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

This comparison likens the world to a stage, where everyone takes on multifarious roles during their finite lifetimes.

In life, certain individuals excel in their roles, leaving a profound impact despite their brief presence, imprinting a lasting legacy that resonates long after they depart.

Such an individual was Ghulam Sarwar Baloch, commonly known as Kamanchar Baloch, a devoted photographer who captured the beauty of Balochistan through his art of photography. On April 16, 2024, he left us, Baloch and Balochistan, in sorrow after battling diabetes and tuberculosis.

Baloch was born in 1998 in the home of Anwar Jeehand in Meeran Goth of Malir, Karachi. His ancestors hailed from the remote town of Mand in the Kech District of Balochistan.

After receiving his primary education in Mand, Kamanchar Baloch enrolled in the Department of English Literature at Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari, Karachi, in 2020. However, driven solely by his passion for capturing the beauty of Balochistan through his camera lenses, he left his studies incomplete.

Kamanchar Baloch was a dedicated photographer with boundless affection for his motherland. His unwavering focus was on capturing the beauty of Balochistan’s landscapes and skillfully framing them in his exquisite works of photography.

“Kamanchar Baloch not only revealed every feature of Balochistan but also portrayed its captivating landscapes through his photography,” expressed Dr. Abdul Saboor Baloch in a post. “He demonstrated his photographic art within his immediate environment, and history will forever testify to his artistic legacy.”

It is often said that Kamanchar’s camera wielded a power like a gun, and as a marginalized Baloch himself, he consistently captured the struggles of the Baloch people within society.

“Kamanchar not only captured the beauty of Balochistan but also showcased its wretched people, their pains, hunger, and poverty,” says Dr. Shalee Baloch in a post shared on her Facebook. “He lived for the Baloch and Balochistan. Losing such a beautiful flower is a huge loss for both the Baloch people and Balochistan.”

From the day he embarked on his journey until his final breath, he tirelessly divulged the hidden beauty of Balochistan, captivating the hearts of its residents.

Kamanchar’s passion for exploration led him to uncover the many facets of Balochistan: from Mand to Turbat, Turbat to Quetta, Quetta to Bolan, Bolan to Ziarat, Ziarat to Koh-E-Suleman, and beyond. Wherever his travels took him, he captured the scenery through the lens of his camera, embarking on journeys to mountains, bridges, hills, valleys, coastal shores, and encapsulating the beauty of this rugged land.

His photographs found admiration and love among the families of missing persons, intellectuals, businessmen, singers, poets, writers, artists, children, and youth. He was a top-notch photographer and a devoted lover of Balochistan.

His photo exhibitions were held in various locations, including Karachi, Quetta, Gwadar, and Turbat. Kamanchar not only explored every corner of Balochistan but also worked tirelessly to encourage and support young photographers and artists in appreciating the richness of Baloch heritage, land, and its beauty.

Kamanchar Baloch, during his sick period, stated in a post that he had no intention of auctioning his photographs, but he felt compelled to do so in order to afford his medications.

The late Kamanchar Baloch was not just an artist but a compassionate advocate for the people of Balochistan. Through his lens, he captured the breathtaking landscapes and the harsh realities of the region that delved into the heart of the human experience, revealing stories of hardship and resilience.

Kamanchar’s legacy lives on in the images he immortalized and the voices he amplified. His departure has undoubtedly left a void in Balochistan, orphaning a community that looked to him as a beacon of hope and understanding. As the nation mourns the loss of this exceptional artist, his work stands as a testament to the power of art to provoke empathy and incite change.

The impact of Kamanchar Baloch’s life and artistry will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to advocate for the marginalized.

Although Kamanchar passed away early, his legacy lives on through his photographs. He was still young and had much more to contribute to Baloch and Balochistan.

“It was Kamanchar who showed us that photographs will never come to us, but we need to look for them and chase them,” says Baloch filmmaker Kamalan Bebagr. May Kamanchar rest in art forever.

The writer is a lawyer based in Turbat, Balochistan. He tweets @MunajGul