|Regions with significant populations|
|Islam (predominantly Sunni), Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Folk religion minority of indeterminate size|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Hazarewal, Punjabi people, Kashmiri Muslims, Potohari People, Kashmiri Pandits other neighbouring Indo-Aryan peoples|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2014)|
Hindkowans (Hindko: هِندکوان) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group native to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pothohar Plateau and Azad Kashmir regions. However, an indeterminate number have left the region and now live in other parts of South Asia, such as Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir. Hindkowans mainly inhabit Peshawar, Hazara region. In Afghanistan, they are known as Hindkis.
Hindkowans have mixed origins and almost all speak Hindko as the first language. Some of them are not Pakhtuns, for example, Awan who are putatively Arabs; or the Karlal and Dhund Abbasi, who are of indigenous hill origins, or Tanolis, who are of mixed Turkic/Central Asian descent.
Hindkowans speak Hindko, a Lahnda language of Indo-Aryan group, and is native to the northern regions of Pakistan primarily concentrated in the Hazara division, and urban centres of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan such as Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshera and Swabi. It is for this reason that alternatively, the term "Kharian/Kharay" or city-dweller is sometimes be used for the Hindkowan.
The NWFP Imperial Gazetteer of India (1905) regularly refers to their language as Hindko, which refers to the "Hindu Kush mountain range." According to the publication Hindko and Gujari:
In Afghanistan, a group of Hindus still continue to speak Hindko and are referred to as Hindki which according to Grierson is a variant of the term Hindko. However, in Pakistan the term is considered slightly pejorative and hence Hindkowan or Hindkun is preferred on par with the term Pashtun (the dominant and more numerous ethnic group in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province).
Long before the independence, Grierson, in the Linguistic Survey of India, employed the term Hindko to mean "the language of Hindus" (viii, 1:34). However, this is hotly disputed in Pakistan. Farigh Bukhari and South Asian language expert and historian Christopher Shackle believe that Hindko was a generic term applied to the Indo-Aryan dialect continuum in the Pakistani northwest frontier territories and the adjacent district of Attock in the Punjab, Pakistan province to differentiate it in function and form from Pashto. Linguists classify the language into the Indic group.
Hindkohwans became predominantly Muslim due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape. There are a number of Hindu Hindkowans. Some of these Hindu Hindkowans are traders and over time, have settled in areas as far as Kalat, Balochistan. Other Hindu Hindkowans migrated to India after the independence in 1947.
There are no recent reliable figures on the speakers of Hindko language.
- Tribes and clans of the Pothohar Plateau
- Pothohari dialects especially of Attock and Chakwal
- Kashmiri Muslims
- Abbasis of Potohar and Hindko Regions
- Punjabi Rajputs
- Ethnologue: Languages of Pakistan
- "Hindko, Southern". SIL International. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- "Peshawarites still remember the Kapoor family". Daily Times. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- Qadeer, Mohammad A. (2006). Pakistan: Social and Cultural Transformations in a Muslim Nation. Taylor & Francis. p. 40. ISBN 978-0415375665.
- "LAHNDA". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- "Hindko in Kohat and Peshawar". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
- Hindko and Gujari: Volume 3 of Sociolinguistic survey of northern Pakistan. National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University. Retrieved 2007-09-09. "More than one interpretation has been offered for the term Hindko. Some associate it with India, others with the Indus."
- "Hindki". Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- "Ethnologue Report for Hindko". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- Journal of Asian history, Volumes 35–36. O. Harrassowitz. Retrieved 2008-08-17. "The real opposition to Pashto came, however, from the speakers of Hindko. A large number of Sikhs and Hindus, all speaking Hindko, lived in the cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had a voice in the legislative assembly, this was often perceived as the non-Muslim opposition to Pashto."
- Language, ideology and power: language learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-08-17. "The real opposition to Pashto came, however, from the speakers of Hindko. A large number of Sikhs and Hindus, all speaking Hindko, lived in the cities of N.W.F.P. and had a voice in the legislative assembly, this was often perceived as the non-Muslim opposition to Pashto."
- The social organization of the Marri Baluch. Indus Publications. Retrieved 2008-08-17. "...is in the hands of a small caste of Hindu merchants. These Hindus are Hindko-speaking and regard Kalat as their homeland, where they generally keep their families and go for some months every year to visit and to obtain supplies. While in the Marri area, they must be under the protection of a local Marri chief or the sardar himself."
- Viking fund publications in anthropology, Issue 43. Viking Fund. Retrieved 2008-08-17. "...is in the hands of a small caste of Hindu merchants. These Hindus are Hindko-speaking and regard Kalat as their homeland, where they generally keep their families and go for some months every year to visit and to obtain supplies. While in the Marri area, they must be under the protection of a local Marri chief or the sardar himself."