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Kashmiri Lady and Son (14570772131).jpg
A Kashmiri woman with a child in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, c. 2014
Regions with significant populations
 India (Jammu and Kashmir)6,797,587 (2011)*[1]
 Pakistan (outside Azad Jammu and Kashmir)353,064 (2017)*[2]
 Pakistan (Azad Jammu and Kashmir)132,450 (as per 1998 census)[3]
Star and Crescent.svg Islam
(Sunni majority, Shia minority)
Related ethnic groups
Other Dards, Indo-Aryans

*The population figures are only for the number of speakers of the Kashmiri language. May not include ethnic Kashmiris who no longer speak the Kashmiri language.

Kashmiris are a Dardic ethno-linguistic group and first-language speakers of the Kashmiri, living mostly, but not exclusively, in the Kashmir Valley in the portion of the disputed Kashmir region administered by India.[4][5]



(left)An example of early Sharada script, in the Bakhshali manuscript; (right) Stone Slab in Verinag in Perso-Arabic script

Kashmiri is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley and Chenab regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the language originates from Sanskrit it received a great deal of Persian influence during the Afghan and Persian rule evident in the language spoken today.[6] According to many linguists, the Kashmiri language is a northwest Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan family, descending from Middle Indo-Aryan languages. The label "Dardic" indicates a geographical label for the languages spoken in the northwest mountain regions, not a linguistic label.[7] UCLA estimates the number of speakers as being around 4.4 million, with a preponderance in the Kashmir Valley,[8] whereas the 2001 census of India records over 5.5 million speakers.[9] According to the 1998 Census there were 132,450 Kashmiri speakers in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.[10] According to Professor Khawaja Abdul Rehman the Kashmiri language is on the verge of dying out in the Neelum Valley.[11]

Kashmiri is believed to be the only one among the Dardic languages that has a written literature.[7] Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, comparable to that of most modern languages.[12] Some modern Kashmiri poets and writers are Mehjoor and Abdul Ahad Azad.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Abstract Of Speakers' Strength of Languages And Mother Tongues - 2011" (PDF). Census India (.gov). 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 August 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  2. ^ Kiani, Khaleeq (28 May 2018). "CCI defers approval of census results until elections". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  3. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ (a) Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannia, "Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent", Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved 15 August 2019CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link) (subscription required) Quote: "Kashmir, region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent ... has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The northern and western portions are administered by Pakistan and comprise three areas: Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, and Baltistan, the last two being part of a territory called the Northern Areas. Administered by India are the southern and southeastern portions, which constitute the state of Jammu and Kashmir but are slated to be split into two union territories. China became active in the eastern area of Kashmir in the 1950s and has controlled the northeastern part of Ladakh (the easternmost portion of the region) since 1962.";
    (b) "Kashmir", Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006, p. 328, ISBN 978-0-7172-0139-6 C. E Bosworth, University of Manchester Quote: "KASHMIR, kash'mer, the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent, administered partly by India, partly by Pakistan, and partly by China. The region has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan since they became independent in 1947";
  5. ^ Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan (2003), Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: G to M, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1191–, ISBN 978-0-415-93922-5 Quote: "Jammu and Kashmir: Territory in northwestern India, subject to a dispute between India and Pakistan. It has borders with Pakistan and China."
  6. ^ Kaw, Kashmiri Pandits 2001, p. 34.
  7. ^ a b Munshi, S. (2010), "Kashmiri", Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, Elsevier, pp. 582–, ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4
  8. ^ "UCLA Languages Project: Kashmiri". UCLA International Institute. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  9. ^ Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues – 2000, Census of India, 2001
  10. ^ Shakil, Mohsin (2012). "Languages of Erstwhile State of Jammu Kashmir (A Preliminary Study)". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "Up north: Call for exploration of archaeological sites". 5 June 2015.
  12. ^ Ghulam Rasool Malik, Kashmiri Literature Archived 1 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Muse India, June 2006.
  13. ^ Poetry and renaissance: Kumaran Asan birth centenary volume, Sameeksha, 1974, retrieved 12 August 2015



Scholarly books[edit]


Journal articles[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Kashmiri people at Wikimedia Commons