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For other uses, see Kashmiri (disambiguation).
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Regions with significant populations
 India 5,362,349 (in 2001)[2]
 Pakistan 105,000[3]
Hindi,[3] Urdu,[3] also spoken widely as second language
Related ethnic groups
Other Dardic peoples
Political Map: the Kashmir region districts, showing the Pir Panjal range and the Valley of Kashmir.

The Kashmiris (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.[4]


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,[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[3][8]

Religion and migration[edit]

Further information: Kashmiri Pandit and Kashmiri Muslim

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.[9] 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.[10][11][12] 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.

Further information: Kashmiri diaspora

Drought of 19th century[edit]

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.[13] 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.[14][15][16]


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.[17]

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. ^ a b c d "Kashmiri: A language of India". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  4. ^ Majid Husain, Majid. "Major Ethnic Groups". Geography of Jammu & Kashmir State. 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. 
  5. ^ "UCLA Languages Project: Kashmiri". UCLA International Institute. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Corbridge & Hariss & Jeffrey. (2012). India today: Economy, politics and society (politics today. Polity
  7. ^ http://www.ajk.gov.pk/
  8. ^ "The Kashmir Dispute – a cause or a symptom?". Stockholm University. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  9. ^ Troll, C. (1982). Islam in india: Studies and commentaries. Stosius Inc/Advent Books Division.
  10. ^ Gottschalk, P. (2012). Religion, science, and empire: Classifying hinduism and islam in british india. (pp. 400, 234-354). USA: Oxford University Press.
  11. ^ Hees, P. (2002). Indian religions: A historical reader of spiritual expression and experience. NYU Press
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ http://www.sam.gov.tr/perceptions/Volume9/June-August2004/hilali.pdf
  15. ^ Sarila, N. (2009). The shadow of the great game : The untold story of indias partition. HarperCollins.
  16. ^ Phillips & Wainright (1970). The partition of india. The MIT Press.
  17. ^ Diasporic Communities and Identity Formation:

External links[edit]

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