|Regions with significant populations|
|India||5,362,349 (in 2001)|
Hindi, Urdu, also spoken widely as second language
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Dardic peoples|
The Kashmiri people (Kashmiri: کٲشُر لُکھ / कॉशुर लुख) are a Dardic ethnolinguistic group living in or originating from the Kashmir Valley, located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are both Hindu and Muslim Kashmiris. Other ethnic groups living in the state include Gujjars, Bakarwals, Dogras, Punjabis and Gaddis.
According to language research conducted by the International Institute of UCLA, the Kashmiri language is "a Northwestern Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European language family." There is, however, no universally agreed genetic basis for the language. UCLA estimates the number of speakers as being around 4.4 million, with a preponderance in the Kashmir Valley, whereas the 2001 census of India recorded 5,362,349 throughout India, and thus excluding speakers in the non-Indian Kashmiri areas. The people living in Azad Kashmir speak Pothohari dialect that is also known as Pahari language. Pothohari is also spoken in neighboring regions as well. There are approximately 4.6 million people living within Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir, this does not include the population living in Gilgit-Baltistan which if included increases the number to 6.4 million people. Most of these people speak languages other than Kashmiri, and are not ethnic Kashmiris as they do not trace their origins to the Kashmir valley. There are around 105,000 Kashmiris in Pakistan, most of these 105,000 in Pakistan are émigrés from the Kashmir Valley after the partition of India and also people residing in the border villages of Neelum district.
Religion and migration
Islam arrived to Kashmir after the Ghorids expansion, starting with the conversion in 1323 of Rincana, the first king of a new dynasty from Ladakh, at the hands of the saint, Bulbul Sha. After conversion to Islam he called himself Malik Sadur-ud-Din and was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. He was subsequently killed by the Kashmiris. Since the arrival of invaders and the start of religious conflicts, before the partition of British India, many Kashmir Hindus and Buddhists migrated to other regions. In the meantime, some people from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have settled in Kashmir. Most Kashmiris today practice Islam but a sizable Hindu community also exists.
Drought of 19th century
During the year 1800, a severe drought swept across Kashmir, which caused many in the region to migrate out of the Kashmir Valley, and south of the Jhelum River into what the Punjab region. Those who migrated entered mainly into agriculture, and by the 1820s, after the drought passed, many of the Kashmiri immigrants returned to the Kashmir Valley. Many, however, remained in Punjab as they had settled comfortably. Some chose to continue migrating southwards.
The social structure is based on the extended family. However the wider kinship network of biraderi and how it impacts on relations and mobilization is equally important. The extended family is of fundamental importance as a unit of decision making and with respect to the relations of its members with wider society. The institution of biraderi*mdash;which loosely means brotherhood—provides a useful collective framework for promoting mutual well-being. This is achieved through help and co-operation in social, economic and political spheres and it reinforces a sense of belonging and collective self-assurance. Historically Kashmiri muslim women of high descent were strictly forbidden to pierce their noses,this practice had an archaic origin is an unusual tradition that is still followed by certain kashmiris upto this day particularly those settled in Punjab Pakistan.
- Hurriyat and Problems before Plebiscite
- Syed Ali Shah Geelani
- Kashmir conflict
- Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014
- List of Kashmiris
- Theory of Kashmiri descent from lost tribes of Israel
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The various ethnic groups of the Jammu and Kashmir State though intermingled have their areas of high concentration. For example, Kashmiris are mainly concentrated in the Valley bottom; Dards occupy the valley of Gurez; Hanjis are confined to water bodies of Kashmir; Gujjars and Bakarwals are living and oscillating in the Kandi areas; Dogras occupy the outskirts of the Punjab plain, while Chibhalis and Paharis live between Chenab and Jhelum rivers. Moreover, there are numerous small ethnic groups like Rhotas, Gaddis and Sikhs which have significant concentration in isolated pockets of the State.
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In fact, the Ludhiana hosiery industry owes its origin to Kashmiris. According to the Ludhiana District Gazetteer, during a devastating famine in the 19th century a number of Kashmiris migrated to Ludhiana. They are known world over for their handicraft skills. They started weaving woollen fabric here. Slowly the trade got popular and Ludhiana started to be identified with hosiery only.
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