Kashmiri diaspora

ISBN (identifier) Kashmir Valley Punjab (region)

The Kashmiri diaspora refers to people who have migrated out of the Kashmir Valley into other areas and countries, and their descendants.



Himachal Pradesh

The state of Himachal Pradesh in India has the second-largest Kashmiri language speakers after Kashmir Valley and adjoining areas. A number of Kashmiri Pandits after the eruption of Armed rebellion and subsequent human rights violation in the valley migrated to this region over centuries and the numbers increased between 1947–48 and 1989–91.


Delhi has been abode to Kashmiris for centuries, and the number increased in 1947-48 and after start of armed conflict in 1989. A number of Kashmiri organisations have been existence for over half a century in Delhi, including Kashmiri Pandit Sabha, Panun Kashmir, Vyeth Television, and N. S. Kashmir Research Institute.



Heavy taxes under the Sikh rule, coupled with famine and starvation, caused many Kashmiri villagers to migrate to the plains of Punjab.[1][2] These claims, made in Kashmiri histories, were corroborated by European travelers.[1] When one such European traveler, Moorcroft, left the Valley in 1823, about 500 emigrants accompanied him across the Pir Panjal Pass.[3] The 1833 famine resulted in many people leaving the Kashmir Valley and migrating to the Punjab, with the majority of weavers leaving Kashmir. Weavers settled down for generations in the cities of Punjab such as Jammu and Nurpur.[4] The 1833 famine led to a large influx of Kashmiris into Amritsar.[5][6] Kashmir's Muslims in particular suffered and had to leave Kashmir in large numbers, while Hindus were not much affected.[7] Sikh rule in Kashmir ended in 1846 and was followed by the rule of Dogra Hindu maharajahs who ruled Kashmir as part of their princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.[8]

Many Muslim Kashmiris migrated from the Kashmir Valley[9] to the Punjab due to conditions in the princely state[9] such as famine, extreme poverty[10] and harsh treatment of Kashmiri Muslims by the Dogra Hindu regime.[11] The Punjab Census Report, in 1891, enumerated 111,775 Muslims born in Kashmir who settled in Punjab, which was also equivalent to the entire population of Srinagar, back then standing at 118,960.[12] According to the 1911 Census there were 177,549 Kashmiri Muslims in the Punjab. With the inclusion of Kashmiri settlements in NWFP this figure rose to 206,180.[13]

Scholar Ayesha Jalal states that Kashmiris faced discrimination in the Punjab as well.[14] Kashmiris settled for generations in the Punjab were unable to own land,[14] including the family of Muhammad Iqbal.[15] Scholar Chitralekha Zutshi states that Kashmiri Muslims settled in the Punjab retained emotional and familial links to Kashmir and felt obliged to struggle for the freedom of their brethren in the Valley.[16]

According to the 1921 Census the total Kashmiri population in Punjab was 169,761. However, the Census report stated that only 3% of Kashmiris settled in Punjab retained their Kashmiri language. The number of people speaking Kashmiri in 1901 was 8,523 but had decreased to 7,190 in 1911. By 1921 the number of people speaking Kashmiri in Punjab had fallen to 4,690. The 1921 Census report stated that this fact showed that the Kashmiris who had settled in Punjab had adopted the Punjabi language of their neighbours.[17] In contrast, the 1881 Census of Punjab had shown that there were 49,534 speakers of the Kashmiri language in the Punjab.[18] The 1881 Census had recorded the number of Kashmiris in the Punjab as 179,020[19] while the 1891 Census recorded the Kashmiri population as 225,307[20] but the number of Kashmiri speakers recorded in the 1891 Census was 28,415.[21]

Common krams (surnames) found amongst the Kashmiri Muslims who migrated from the Valley[9] to the Punjab include Butt (Bhat),[22][23][24] Dar (Dhar),[22] Lun (Lone), Wain (Wani), Mir and Shaikh.[25][26] The 1881 Census of the Punjab recorded these major Kashmiri sub-divisions in the Punjab along with their population. The Butt (Bhat) tribe numbered 24,463, the Dar (Dhar) tribe numbered 16,215, the Lun (Lone) tribe numbered 4,848, the Wain (Wani) tribe numbered 7,419, the Mir sub-division numbered 19,855 and the Sheikhs numbered 14,902.[26] Watorfield also noted the presence of the Butt (Bhatt) and Dar (Dhar) castes amongst the Kashmiris of the town of Gujrat in Punjab.[25]

Azad Jammu and Kashmir

In 1961, there were 10,000 refugees of Kashmiri origin in Pakistan, who had voting rights in elections of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. They were given an equal amount of representation in the election as the 109,000 Jammu refugees.[27][28] In 1990, there were 400,000 refugee voters, compared to 1.2 million Azad Kashmir residents. The refugees continued to receive higher representation in the legislatures compared to the residents, Kashmiris being favoured more. This was justified on the grounds of showing "solidary with the Kashmiris in the Indian-administered Kashmir". Scholar Christopher Snedden remarks that the higher representation given to refugees endows opportunities to the central government of Pakistan to influence the election results.[28]

During the 1990s around 50,000 Kashmiris fled from Indian administered Kashmir to Pakistan, which as of 2010 had not granted citizenship to up to 40 per cent of the refugees.[29] Ms Lucas suggests that the Pakistani government has been slow in providing citizenship to the refugees because doing so might nullify their right to self-determination.[citation needed]


The city of Karachi is home to a significant diaspora of Kashmiris.[30]

United Kingdom

There are about 500 families of Kashmiris in the UK. They have been essentially upstaged by the far larger numbers of the British Mirpuris, who have waged a campaign since the 1990s laying claim to the 'Kashmiri' identity. The Valley Kashmiris in the UK maintain that they are "Kashmiris" and the Mirpuris are "nouveaux Kashmiris".[31]


In the 2016 Canadian census, approximately 3,000 people reported being of Kashmiri descent.[32]

Overseas organisations

These organisation are trying to preserve Kashmiri language and heritage by teaching youngsters their language, culture and history. Kashmiri Pandit Sabha is the biggest organisation of Kashmiri outside Kashmir, and they have a number of sister chapters across India.

See also


  1. ^ a b Zutshi, Chitralekha (2004). Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 9781850656944. Kashmiri histories emphasize the wretchedness of life for the common Kashmiri during Sikh rule. According to these, the peasantry became mired in poverty and migrations of Kashmiri peasants to the plains of the Punjab reached high proportions. Several European travelers' accounts from the period testify to and provide evidence for such assertions.
  2. ^ Schofield, Victoria (2010). Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the Unending War. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857730787. The picture painted by the Europeans who began to visit the valley more frequently was one of deprivation and starvation...Everywhere the people were in the most abject condition, exorbitantly taxed by the Sikh Government and subjected to every kind of extortion and oppression by its officers...Moorcroft estimated that no more than one-sixteenth of the cultivable land surface was under cultivation; as a result, the starving people had fled in great numbers to India.
  3. ^ Parashar, Parmanand (2004). Kashmir The Paradise Of Asia. Sarup & Sons. p. 4. ISBN 9788176255189. What with the political disturbances and the numerous tyrannies suffered by the peasants, the latter found it very hard to live in Kashmir and many people migrated to the Punjab and India. When Moorcroft left the Valley in 1823, about 500 emigrants accompanied him across the Pir Panjal Pass.
  4. ^ Kashmir Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. 1984. p. 20. ISBN 9788171560943. In the beginning, it was only the excess of population that was increasing rapidly, that started migrating into Punjab, where in the hilly cities of Nurpur and Jammu, that remained under the rule of Hindu prince the weavers had settled down for generations...As such, even at that time, a great majority of the weavers have migrated out from Kashmir. The great famine conditions and starvation three years earlier, have forced a considerable number of people to move out of the valley and the greater security of their possessions and property in Punjab has also facilitated this outward migration...The distress and misery experienced by the population during the years 1833 and 1834, must not be forgotten by the current generation living there.
  5. ^ Punjab revisited: an anthology of 70 research documents on the history and culture of undivided Punjab. Gautam Publishers. 1995. p. 576. Owing to a large influx of Kashmiris into Amritsar during the great famine which occurred in Kashmir in the year 1833 A.D., the number of shops increased in Amritsar to 2,000 and the yearly out-turn of pashmina work to four lacs of rupees.
  6. ^ Watt, George (2014). A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India, Part 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 648. ISBN 9781108068796. In the year 1833 A.D. owing to a great famine in Kashmir, there was a large influx of Kashmiris into Amritsar.
  7. ^ Parashar, Parmanand (2004). Kashmir The Paradise Of Asia. Sarup & Sons. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9788176255189. Moreover, in 1832 a severe famine caused the death of thousands of people...Thus emigration, coupled with the famine, had reduced the population to one-fourth by 1836...But still the proportion of Muslims and Hindus was different from what it is as the present time inasmuch as while the Hindus were not much affected among the Muslims; and the latter alone left the country in large numbers during the Sikh period.
  8. ^ Snedden, Christopher (2015). Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849046220.
  9. ^ a b c Bose, Sumantra (2013). Transforming India. Harvard University Press. p. 211. ISBN 9780674728202. From the late nineteenth century, conditions in the princely state led to a significant migration of people from the Kashmir Valley to the neighboring Punjab province of British-as distinct from princely-India.
  10. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. p. 352. ISBN 9781134599387. Extreme poverty, exacerbated by a series of famines in the second half of the nineteenth century, had seen many Kashmiris fleeing to neighbouring Punjab.
  11. ^ Chowdhary, Rekha (2015). Jammu and Kashmir: Politics of Identity and Separatism. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 9781317414056. Prem Nath Bazaz, for instance, noted that 'the Dogra rule has been Hindu. Muslims have not been treated fairly, by which I mean as fairly as Hindus'. In his opinion, the Muslims faced harsh treatment 'only because they were Muslims' (Bazaz, 1941: 250).
  12. ^ Khalid Bashir Ahmad, Kashmir: Exposing the Myth Behind the Narrative, pp. 79-80
  13. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. ISBN 9781134599387. According to the 1911 census there were 177, 549 Kashmiri Muslims in the Punjab; the figure went up to 206, 180 with the inclusion of settlements in the NWFP.
  14. ^ a b Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. p. 352. ISBN 9781134599370. ...Kashmiris engaged in agriculture were disqualified from taking advantage of the Punjab Land Alienation Act...Yet Kashmiris settled in the Punjab for centuries faced discrimination.
  15. ^ Sevea, Iqbal Singh (2012). The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781139536394. Like most Kashmiri families in Punjab, Iqbal's family did not own land.
  16. ^ Zutshi, Chitralekha (2004). Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 191–192. ISBN 9781850656944. Kashmiri Muslim expatriates in the Punjab had retained emotional and familial ties to their soil and felt compelled to raise the banner of freedom for Kashmir and their brethren in the Valley, thus launching bitter critiques of the Dogra administration.
  17. ^ "Chapter IX-Language". Census of India, 1921. Volume XV. p. 309. Retrieved 30 December 2016. The only language belonging to the non-sanskritic sub-branch of the Indian branch of the Aryan sub-family spoken in the provinces is Kashmiri. The number of persons speaking this language was 8,523 in 1901 and 7,190 in 1911; but has now fallen to 4,690, a fact which shows that Kashmiris who have settled in these provinces have adopted the Punjabi language of their neighbours. This is amply proved if we compare the strength of Kashmiris returned in the caste Table XIII with that shown by the language table. Kashmiri now appears in the return as the language of 4,690 persons though Kashmiris themselves have a strength of 169, 761; in other words only about 3 out of every 100 Kashmiris still retain their own language.
  18. ^ Punjab Census Report 17 Feb 1881. 1883. p. 163. Retrieved 30 December 2016. Kashmiri is the language of the valley of Srinagar in Kashmir which nowhere touches our border. But famine and other causes, already fully discussed in the chapter on the Fluctuations of Famination, have driven a considerable number of immigrants at one time or another from Kashmir into the Panjab; and the language is now spoken by no fewer than 49,534 inhabitants of the Province.
  19. ^ Rose, H A (1902). Census of India, 1901. Vol. XVII: Punjab, its Feudatories, and the North West Frontier Province. Part I: The Report on the Census. p. 347. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  20. ^ Census Of India - The Punjab And Its Feudatories, Volume xx, Part 2. 1891. p. 324. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  21. ^ Census Of India - The Punjab And Its Feudatories, Volume xx, Part 2. 1891. p. 120. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  22. ^ a b Explore Kashmiri Pandits. Dharma Publications. ISBN 9780963479860. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  23. ^ The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, Volume 52. The Survey. 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  24. ^ P.K. Kaul (2006). Pahāṛi and other tribal dialects of Jammu, Volume 1. Eastern Book Linkers. ISBN 9788178541013. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  25. ^ a b A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. Nirmal Publishers and Distributors. 1997. ISBN 9788185297699. Retrieved 25 March 2007.
  26. ^ a b Punjab Census Report 17 Feb 1881. 1883. p. 303. Retrieved 30 December 2016. The Kashmiris have returned numerous sub-divisions of which the few largest are shown in the margin.
  27. ^ Snedden, Christopher (2017), "Azad Kashmir: Integral to India, Integral to Paksitan, Lacking Integrity as an Autonomous Entity", in Chitralekha Zutshi (ed.), Kashmir: History, Politics, Representation, Cambridge University Press, p. 124, ISBN 978-1-108-22612-7
  28. ^ a b Snedden, Christopher (2013) [first published as The Untold Story of the People of Azad Kashmir, 2012], Kashmir: The Unwritten History, HarperCollins India, pp. 134–136, ISBN 978-9350298985
  29. ^ Ahmed, Issam (13 October 2010). "Thousands fled India-controlled Kashmir. Are they better off in Pakistan?". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 29 December 2016. Some 35,000 Kashmiris fled from Indian-controlled Kashmir during the 1990s to settle in Pakistan, a country that has not yet granted citizenship to up to 40 per cent of the migrants....migrants speak the Kashmiri language whereas many of the locals speak a dialect of Punjabi.
  30. ^ Rehman, Zia Ur (21 July 2016). "Kashmiris in Sindh to vote for two AJK seats today". The News. Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  31. ^ Evans, Alexander (2005). "Kashmir: a tale of two valleys". Asian Affairs. 36 (1): 35–47. doi:10.1080/03068370500038989. S2CID 162215852.
  32. ^ "Data Tables, 2016 Census". www12.statcan.gc.ca/. Statistics Canada. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.