|Regions with significant populations|
|India||7,326,024 estimated (in 2011)|
Hindi, Urdu, also spoken widely as second language
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Dard people|
The Kashmiris (Kashmiri: کٲشُر لُکھ / कॉशुर लुख) are a Dardic ethnic group living in or originating from the Kashmir Valley, located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The bulk of Kashmiri people predominantly live in the Kashmir Valley and also form a majority of the population in the Chenab region's Doda, Ramban and Kishtwar districts. Smaller populations of Kashmiris also live in the remaining districts of the Jammu and Kashmir state. Most Kashmiris today are Muslim but a sizable Hindu community also exists. Other ethnic groups living in the Jammu and Kashmir state include Gujjars,  Dogras, Paharis and ladakhis. Few small and scattered communities of Kashmiris also live in Azad Kashmir, making up a small percentage of it's total population.
Origins and Language
The archaeological and scientific evidence of life in Kashmir goes back to the Neolithic and the Pre-Historic times. The most important piece of evidence for this is the Burzahom archaeological site located on a 'karewa' between the banks of the Dal Lake and the Zabarvan hills, about five kilometers from the famous Mughal garden of Shalimar. After the discovery and excavation of Burzahom, other Neolithic sites were discovered in Kashmir at places such as Begagund, Brah, Gofkral, Hariparigom, etc. all located on karewas mainly in the south-east parts of the Kashmir valley. Burzahom translates as 'place [hom] of birch [burza]' in Kashmiri. Burnt birch found in the excavations showed that birch trees must have been common in the area in the Stone Age. Plentiful food from the forests on the Himalayan foothills, an abundant water supply from the lake, and a raised location protected from seasonal inundation ensured that the Burzahom plateau remained continuously settled from the New Stone Age to the Early Historical period.
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 2011 census of India records over 7.3 million speakers. 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.
Religion and migration
Islam arrived to Kashmir after the Ghorids expansion, starting with the conversion in 1323 of Rinchan Shah, 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.
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 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.
Kashmiri culture is defined in terms of religious values, Kashmiri language, literature, cuisine and traditional values of mutual respect. The overwhelming majority of Kashmiris are muslims and Islamic identity plays a very important role in the daily lives of people. Kashmiris across the religious divide have for centuries shared cordial and friendly ties. Kashmiri poets and writers like Mehjoor, Abdul Ahad Azad, etc enriched the literature with their poetry. Kashmiri cuisine holds a unique place among different world cuisines. Salted tea or Noon Chai is the traditional drink and is cooked in a Samavar.
- 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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