Islam in Kashmir

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In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, Muslims constituted 74.16% of the total population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu where Gujjar Muslims constitute 20% population, Hindus, 23.72%, and Buddhists, 1.21%. The Hindus were found mainly in Jammu, where they constituted a little less than 70% of the population.[1] In the Kashmir Valley, Muslims constituted 95.6% of the population and Hindus 3.24%.[1] These percentages have remained fairly stable for the last 100 years.[2] Forty years later, in the 1941 Census of British India, Muslims accounted for 93.6% of the population of the Kashmir Valley and the Hindus for 4%.[2] In 2003, the percentage of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley was 95%[3] and those of Hindus 4%; the same year, in Jammu, the percentage of Hindus was 66% and those of Muslims 30%.[3] In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, the population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was 2,905,578. Of these 2,154,695 were Muslims (74.16%), 689,073 Hindus (23.72%), 25,828 Sikhs, and 35,047 Buddhists.

A Muslim shawl-making family shown in Cashmere shawl manufactory, 1867, chromolith., William Simpson.

Among the Muslims of the princely state, four divisions were recorded: "Shaikhs, Saiyids, Mughals, and Pathans. The Shaikhs, who are by far the most numerous, are the descendants of Hindus, but have retained none of the caste rules of their forefathers. They have clan names known as krams ..."[1] It was recorded that these kram names included "Tantre," "Shaikh,", "Bat", "Mantu," "Ganai," "Dar," "Damar," "Lon" etc. The Saiyids, it was recorded "could be divided into those who follow the profession of religion and those who have taken to agriculture and other pursuits. Their kram name is "Mir." While a Saiyid retains his saintly profession Mir is a prefix; if he has taken to agriculture, Mir is an affix to his name."[1] Finally, it was recorded that the Pathans "who are more numerous than the Mughals, ... are found chiefly in the south-west of the valley, where Pathan colonies have from time to time been founded. The most interesting of these colonies is that of Kuki-Khel Afridis at Dranghaihama, who retain all the old customs and speak Pashtu."[1] Among the main tribes of Muslims in the princely state are the Butts, Dar, Lone, Jat, Gujjar, Rajput, Sudhan and Khatri. A small number of Butts, Dar and Lone use the title Khawaja and the Khatri use the title Shaikh the Gujjar use the title of Chaudhary. All these tribes are indigenous of the princely state and many Hindus also belong to these tribes.

The Hindus were found mainly in Jammu, where they constituted a little less than 60% of the population.[1] In the Kashmir Valley, the Hindus represented "524 in every 10,000 of the population (i.e. 5.24%), and in the frontier wazarats of Ladhakh and Gilgit only 94 out of every 10,000 persons (0.94%)."[1] In the same Census of 1901, in the Kashmir Valley, the total population was recorded to be 1,157,394, of which the Muslim population was 1,083,766, or 93.6% and the Hindu population 60,641.[1] Among the Hindus of Jammu province, who numbered 626,177 (or 90.87% of the Hindu population of the princely state), the most important castes recorded in the census were "Brahmans (186,000), the Rajputs (167,000), the Khattris (48,000) and the Thakkars (93,000)."[1]

In the 1911 Census of the British Indian Empire, the total population of Kashmir and Jammu had increased to 3,158,126. Of these, 2,398,320 (75.94%) were Muslims, 696,830 (22.06%) Hindus, 31,658 (1%) Sikhs, and 36,512 (1.16%) Buddhists. In the last census of British India in 1941, the total population of Kashmir and Jammu (which as a result of the second world war, was estimated from the 1931 census) was 3,945,000. Of these, the total Muslim population was 2,997,000 (75.97%), the Hindu population was 808,000 (20.48%), and the Sikh 55,000 (1.39%).[4]

Shias live in the district of Badgam , with a majority population, and has been peaceful and has resisted separatism.[5] Shia population is 15 lakhs of Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir ,which is 14% of entire state population.[6]

The Kashmiri Pandits, the only Hindus of the Kashmir valley, who had stably constituted approximately 4 to 5% of the population of the valley during Dogra rule (1846–1947), and 20% of whom had left the Kashmir valley by 1950,[7] began to leave in much greater numbers in the 1990s. According to a number of authors, approximately 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left the valley during that decade.[8] Other authors have suggested a higher figure for the exodus, ranging from the entire population of over 150,000,[9] to 190,000 of a total Pandit population of 200,000,[10] to a number as high as 300,000.[11]

Administered by Area Population  % Muslim  % Hindu  % Buddhist  % Other
 India Kashmir Valley ~4 million 95% 4%*
Jammu ~3 million 30% 66% 4%
Ladakh ~0.25 million 46% 50% 3%
 Pakistan Azad Kashmir ~2.6 million 100%
Northern Areas ~1 million 99%
 China Aksai Chin
Kashmir Total ~11 million 77% 11% .01% .01%


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Imperial Gazetteer of India, volume 15. 1908. Oxford University Press, Oxford and London. pp. 99-102.
  2. ^ a b Rai, Mridu. 2004. Hindu Ruler, Muslim Subjects: Islam and the History of Kashmir. Princeton University Press. 320 pages. ISBN 0-691-11688-1. p. 37.
  3. ^ a b BBC. 2003. The Future of Kashmir? In Depth.
  4. ^ Brush, J. E. 1949. "The Distribution of Religious Communities in India" Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 39(2):81-98.
  5. ^ "Are Kashmiri Shias The Next Pandits?". 
  6. ^ "Signs of Support in Kashmir for Islamic State Alarm Intel Agencies". 
  7. ^ Zutshi 2003, p. 318 Quote: "Since a majority of the landlords were Hindu, the (land) reforms (of 1950) led to a mass exodus of Hindus from the state. ... The unsettled nature of Kashmir's accession to India, coupled with the threat of economic and social decline in the face of the land reforms, led to increasing insecurity among the Hindus in Jammu, and among Kashmiri Pandits, 20 per cent of whom had emigrated from the Valley by 1950."
  8. ^ Bose 1997, p. 71, Rai 2004, p. 286, Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, p. 274 Quote: "The Hindu Pandits, a small but influential elite community who had secured a favourable position, first under the maharajas, and then under the successive Congress regimes, and proponents of a distinctive Kashmiri culture that linked them to India, felt under siege as the uprising gathered force. Of a population of some 140,000, perhaps 100,000 Pandits fled the state after 1990; their cause was quickly taken up by the Hindu right."
  9. ^ Malik 2005, p. 318
  10. ^ Madan 2008, p. 25
  11. ^ CIA Factbook: India–Transnational Issues