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CountryIndia, Pakistan, Bangladesh

Munshi is a Persian word, originally used for a contractor, writer, or secretary, and later used in Mughal India for native language teachers, teachers of various subjects, especially administrative principles, religious texts, science, and philosophy and were also secretaries and translators employed by Europeans.[1]


Munshi (Persian: منشی) is a Persian word derived form Arabic, that is used as a respected title for persons who achieved mastery over languages, especially in the Indian subcontinent. It became a surname to those people whose ancestors had received this title and some of whom also served as ministers and administrators in the kingdoms of various Royals and are regarded as nobility. In modern Persian, this word is also used to address administrators, head of departments.

Use by British[edit]

Administrators, head of departments, accountants, and secretaries hired by the government in British India were known as Munshies. The family name Munshi was adopted by families whose ancestors were honoured with this title and were responsible for administering various offices etc.[2] and these families (selective) were and are regarded as nobility. Abdul Karim, known as "The Munshi", was a highly valued and respected Indian attendant of Queen Victoria.[3]

Kashmiri surname[edit]

Munshi is used as a last name by Kashmiri Pandits native to the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It was a title gifted to the Kashmiri Pandits for their mastery over the Persian language.[4][5][6][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Munshi" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ "How well do you know about the origins of some Indian Occupational Surnames?". TheBizdom. 22 February 2020. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  3. ^ Visram, Rozina (2004). "Karim, Abdul (1862/3–1909)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/42022. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) (subscription required) for full access
  4. ^ Lawrence, Sir Walter Roper (2005). The Valley of Kashmir. Asian Educational Services. p. 304. ISBN 978-81-206-1630-1. Among the leading Krams may be mentioned the following names:— Tikku, Razdan, Kak, Munshi, Mathu, Kachru, Pandit, Sapru, Bhan, Zitshu, Raina, Dar, Fotadar, Madan, Thusu, Wangnu, Muju, Hokhu, and Dulu.
  5. ^ Agrawal, Premendra (August 20, 2014). Accursed & Jihadi Neighbour. Commercial Services. p. 86. ISBN 9788193051207. Retrieved April 5, 2023. Meaning of surnames found on the Kashmiri Pandit tree: Bakaya, Sapru, Bakshi, Munshi, Wazir, Chalkbast, Bhan, Langar or Langroo, Wattal, Bazaz, Taimini, Mattu, Chak, Zalpuri, Khar, Hazari, Zutshi, Razdan, Tikhu, Kathju, sopori, Thussoo, Haksar, Raina, Waloo or Wali, Wantu/Wanchu, Gamkhwar, Kakh, Mushran, Sharga, Handoo, Gurtu, Kitchlu, and Ganjoo.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Pandit, Bansi. Explore Kashmiri Pandits. Dharma Publications. ISBN 9780963479860. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  7. ^ Kaul, Upendra (September 4, 2020). "My name is Khan, and I'm Kaul". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved April 5, 2023. Similarly, Mirza, Dhar or Dar, Bhat, Akhoon, Chakoo, Durrani, Kachroo, Draboo, Kaloo, Kanna, Kaw, Khar, Khuda, Kitchloo, Munshi, Machama, Mirza, Padar, Parimoo and Raina are a few typical surnames that are used by both Hindus, and Muslims of Kashmir.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Ahmad, Khalid Bashir (June 23, 2017). Kashmir: Exposing the Myth Behind the Narrative. SAGE Publishing. ISBN 9789386062819. Retrieved April 5, 2023. One would come across among Muslims of Kashmir any number of surnames that are equally common among the Pandits. Among these are Bhat, Raina, Nath, Langoo, Malla, Bazaz, Saraf, Munshi, Watal, Wali, Khar, Shangloo, Nehru, Gagar, Kharoo, Aga, Jalali, Peer, Pandit, Parimoo and Mattoo.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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