Kashmiri people

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For other uses, see Kashmiri (disambiguation).
Kashmiri people
Jawaharlal Nehru.jpg
Sheikh Abdullah.jpg
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Farah Pandith speaks to press 2011-01-28.jpg
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Suresh Raina grace the 'Salaam Sachin' conclave.jpg
Regions with significant populations
India, Pakistan 5,362,349 (in 2001)[2]
United Kingdom 115,000-150,000[3]
Hindi,[4] Urdu,[4] or Punjabi[4] also spoken widely as second languages
Sunni Islam, Shi'a Islam,[5] Hinduism
Related ethnic groups
Other Dardic peoples
Political Map: the Kashmir region districts, showing the Pir Panjal range and the Valley of Kashmir.

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 administered part of the disputed 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.[6]


Main article: Kashmiri language

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,[7] whereas the 2001 census of India recorded 5,362,349 throughout India, and thus excluding speakers in the non-Indian Kashmiri areas.[2] 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.[8] There are approximately 4.6 million Kashmiris 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.[9]

Introduction of Islam[edit]

Further information: Kashmiri Pandit and Kashmiri Muslim

By the 19th century, Islam had supplanted Hinduism as the dominant religion in Kashmir, 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.[10] 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 foreign invaders in 7th century AD and the start of religious conflicts, before the partition of British India, a majority of the Hindus and Buddhists of Kashmir migrated and settled in different regions.[11][12][13] Migrants from different states of India and Pakistan, as well as some from what is now Afghanistan have also since settled in Kashmir.[14] Many of these people retain their identity. The Muslims and Hindus of Kashmir lived in relative harmony as under the Sufi (Islam) and Reshi (Hindu) tradition of Kashmir. Today most of the current Kashmiris are Muslim but a sizable Kashmiri Hindu community exists.[15][16]


Main article: Kashmiri diaspora

Drought of 1800[edit]

During 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.[17] 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.[18][19][20]


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.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal Nehru. "Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru". GENI. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Abstract of speakers’ strength of languages and mother tongues – 2001". New Delhi: Office of The Registrar General & Census Commissioner. 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2012. 
  3. ^ http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/1170952.pdf
  4. ^ a b c "Kashmiri: A language of India". Ethnologue. Retrieved 14 May 2008. 
  5. ^ The Problems Of The Northern Areas
  6. ^ Majid Husain, Majid. "Major Ethnic Groups". Geography of Jammu & Kashmir State (in English). Kashmiri Overseas Association. Retrieved 14 July 2014. "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." 
  7. ^ "UCLA Languages Project: Kashmiri". UCLA International Institute. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  8. ^ Corbridge & Hariss & Jeffrey. (2012). India today: Economy, politics and society (politics today. Polity
  9. ^ http://www.ajk.gov.pk/
  10. ^ Troll, C. (1982). Islam in india: Studies and commentaries. Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division.
  11. ^ Gottschalk, P. (2012). Religion, science, and empire: Classifying hinduism and islam in british india. (pp. 400, 234-354). USA: Oxford University Press.
  12. ^ Hees, P. (2002). Indian religions: A historical reader of spiritual expression and experience. NYU Press
  13. ^ Bayly, S. (2001). Caste, society and politics in india from the eighteenth century to the modern age (the new cambridge history of india). (1st & 4th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  14. ^ "Afghan Rule in Kashmir". Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  15. ^ James & Pandey & Bansod & Subaiya. (2010). Population, gender and health in india: Methods, processes and policies. Academic Foundation
  16. ^ Jones, J. (2011). Shi'a islam in colonial india: Religion, community and sectarianism. Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society.
  17. ^ Kashmiris’ contribution to Ludhianvi culture. The Tribune. Retrieved 25 March 2007. "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." 
  18. ^ http://www.sam.gov.tr/perceptions/Volume9/June-August2004/hilali.pdf
  19. ^ Sarila, N. (2009). The shadow of the great game : The untold story of indias partition. HarperCollins.
  20. ^ Phillips & Wainright (1970). The partition of india. The MIT Press.
  21. ^ Diasporic Communities and Identity Formation:

Further reading[edit]

  • Kashmir freedom movement and Indian occpuition By Yodhishter Kahul, Yudhistar ed Kahol
  • The Crisis in and struggle for freedom in Kashmir: Portents of War, Hopes of Peace By Šumit Ganguly