Theory of Kashmiri descent from lost tribes of Israel
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|Tribes of Israel|
François Bernier, a 17th-century French physician and traveler, and Sir Walter Lawrence and Sir Francis Younghusband, who explored this region in the 1800s, commented on the similar physiognomy between Kashmiris and Jews, including “fair skin, prominent noses,” and similar head shapes.
In 1899 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, advanced the theory that Jesus had survived the crucifixion and traveled to Kashmir to find and preach to the lost tribes of Israel. Ahmad claimed that Jesus lived in Kashmir, had children, died at the age of 120, and was buried in Srinagar.
Kaw argues that despite the etymological similarities between Kashmiri and Jewish surnames, the Kashmiri people are of Indo-Aryan descent while the Jews are of Semitic descent. Moreover, the Indian civilization pre-dates the Israelite civilization.
Basis in tribal names and toponymy
The theory is essentially based on the purported similarities between Kashmir place names and Hebrew words and phrases. The name Kashmir locally known as kasher itself is said to be based on the Hebrew word Kashir (Hebrew: כשיר), "like Syria". The Kashmir valley, said to be the dwelling place of the Ten Lost Tribes, is called Bagh-I-Suleman (Garden of Solomon) in local parlance. The connection between Kashmir and ancient Israel is strengthened further by such Kashmiri place names as "Tomb of Moses" and "Throne of Solomon". There is also a Kashmiri tradition that the 40 years of wandering in the desert actually covered the ground from Asia to Kashmir, and that Kashmir is in fact the Promised Land.
- Bandpoor (similar to Beth Peor)
- Naboo Hill (similar to Mount Nebo)
- Pishgah (similar to Mount Pisgah)
- Mamre (similar to Mamre)
Pathan tribal names that are said to resemble the names of the lost tribes include: Rabbani (Reuben), Shinwari (Shimon), Daftani (Naphtali), Jajani (Gad), Ashuri (Asher), Alfridi (Ephraim), and Yusufzai (sons of Joseph – i.e., Manasseh and Ephraim).
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- "The Ten Tribes of Israel Who Came to Kashmir" (moshiach.com)