Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Power is ephemeral. So are national boundaries. Nation is a relative ideology which transforms with time. Great empires, Roman, Greek, and Mongol have reached the pinnacle of glory and receded into oblivion. So did British Empire.
What makes a Nation? It is not land alone. A Nation is the sum total of Geography, Ethnicity of its people, History, Traditions, Culture and belief. Religion is an entity which changes with time and power. So is the case with Kashmir. In this series we will discuss each aspect about Kashmir in detail. At the end, i, leave the conclusion to the reader.
The modern state of Jammu and Kashmir covered an area of 86024 square miles (prior to 1947) extending from 32deg 78' to 36deg 58' N and from 73deg 27' to 80deg 72' E. The entire state included, beside the Jammu region, Ladakh, Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, Punial, and Yasin. The tiny state of Chitral, located towards the north-western side of Gilgit, used to pay tribute to Kashmir ruler.


Mythological Background
The mythological traditions supported fully by the research of geologists confirm that the valley originally was a huge lake called "Satisar", ( the land of goddess Sati, consort of Lord Shiva ) and its waters were blocked near Baramulla (ancient Varahmulla).
Pre-Historic Times
Dr. Sunil Chandra Ray writes: “Pre-historic explorations have discovered the occurence of quaternary Glacial cycles in the valley. The neolithic culture is indicated by the discovery of ground and polished stone axes, hoes, pestle, and bone implements at the well-known menhir-site of Burzahom , ten miles east of , Srinagar. In 1960, Archaeological Department of the Govt. of India began systematic excavation at this site. Near about the siltbed, pits have been discovered in sections, indicating a settlement of early Pit dwellers whose date has tentatively been fixed at 3000 B.C. This is Perhaps the only known find of such a settlement in India.

Hindu Period

Kalhan has started the history of Kashmir just before the great Mahabharat war, and the first King mentioned by him is Gonanda I, whose initial year of reign he places in 653 Kali-era.

Emperor Ashoka. The great Mauryan emperor Ashoka is recorded to have ruled Kashmir, and Kalhan rightly mentions that the king was a follower of Buddhism. Ashoka founded the old city of Srinagar called now as " Pandrethan " , ( Puranadhisthan ) and also build many vihars and temples and repaired the old shrine. At Vijeshwari (modern Bijbehra), he built a Shiva Temple, thus winning the heart of the local population, who were mostly worshippers of Lord Shiva. It was Majjhantika, a celebrated Buddhist missionary who was deputed to Kashmir and Urvasa to preach the faith of Buddha in those territories. Hien-Tsang mentions the arrival of 500 monks to Kashmir, and Ashoka making a gift of the valley to Sangha

Kushan Period. The scholars also, accept the theory that the valley for over two hundred years was ruled by Indo-Greek Kings before the start of " Turushka " ( Kushan ) rule in the state. Cunningham records a large find of silver coins of Azes ( and Azilies ) (coins of Indo-Scythians) on the banks of Vitasta (river Jhelum) in the hills between Varahmulla and Jhelum. Kalhan's account of Turushka Kings,indicates without any doubt the Kushan occupation of the Valley. According to many scholars, Kanishka held the third great council of the Buddhist church at " Kundalvan ", (Harwan, near Shalimar garden) Hien Tsang has given the proceedings of this council. Nearly 500 Buddhist and Hindu scholars attended this conference, and a learned Kashmir Brahmin Vasumitra presided over its session. Some of the great Buddhist scholars, who took active part in this council were Ashvagosha, Nagarjuna, Vasubandu Sugamitra and Jinamitra.
Dr. P. C. Bagchi, a noted Indologist and scholar of repute, writes in his excellent book ' India and China': “Kashmir takes the leading part in the transmission of Buddhist thought and traditions directly to Tibet, and China. The number of Buddhist scholars who went to China from Kashmir is larger than that of those who went from other parts of India.
Karkota dynasty. (It is the Karkota dynasty that has given Kashmir the greatest ruler Lalitaditya Muktapid ( 724- 761 A. D.). , He invaded and conquered many countries in Asia and India. The Punjab, Kanuj, Tibet, Ladhak, Badakshan, Iran, Bihar, Gauda (Bengal) Kalinga (Orissa), South India, Gujarat, Malwa, Marwar and Sindh were all conquered by him. It was he, who finally broke the power of Arabs in Sindh. All these unbroken victories created a feeling of pride among the people here and his victories came to be celebrated in a big way. Alberuni, who accompanied Mahmud Gaznavi in his Indian Campaigns, specifically mentions in his book ( Tahqiq-i-Hind ) that Kashmiris observed second of Chaitra, as the day of victory. Lalitaditya was equally a great builder and he built his capital near the sacred shrine of Khir-Bhawani, and gave it the name of Parihaspur (city of pleasure). Throughout the valley, he built very fine and massive temples, out of which the world famous sun temple (Martand) built on Mattan Karewa, reminds us about the granduer and splendour of the times when their builder ruled the state. After his death, it is mostly the weak rulers except his grand son Jayatida, who ruled the valley. The history of Karkota dynasty after Jayatida is a sad story of decline. All the conquered territories regained their independence, and the sovereignty of the ruler of Kashmir came to be confined to Vitasta basin.
Utpal Dynasty. It was round about in 855-56 A. D. that Karkota rule ended, and a new Utpal Dynasty assumed power in Kashmir. The most important ruler of this dynasty was Maharaja Avanti-verman. It was he, who recovered Kashmir from utter political and economic disorder. His reign witnessed a period of peace and consolidation and prosperity. The most important foundation of the King was his capital city of Avantipur, which he embellished with two temples: one dedicated to Shiva, and other to Vishnu. Both of them are in ruins now, but even then, they stand as the most imposing monuments of ancient Kashmir.
Avantivarman was succeeded by his son Shankarvarman,
Lohara Dynasty . After the eclipse of Utpala dynasty, Lohara dynasty ruled Kashmir till the end of the Hindu rule in Kashmir (1339). In 980 A.D. Didda ascended the throne after the death of her husband. She died in 1003 A. D. and left the throne of Kashmir to her family in undisputed succession. As her children had died young, she transmitted the crown to Sangramraj, son of her brother Udairaj, the ruler of Lohara (Poonch).
It was during her time that Mahmud Gaznavi twice tried to capture the valley but the fort at Lohara, remarkable for its height and strength proved impregnable. The Sultan was obliged to abandon the conquest.
From 1155 - 1339, the Kashmir rulers remained busy only in intrigues, debauchery, and mutual quarrels. These incessant feuds, civil wars, risings and upheavals greatly weakened Hindu domination of Kashmir. The valley soon fell a prey to Mongol and Turkish raiders, free booters and foreign adventurers. Quite naturally, the boundaries of the Kingdom got shrunk, and were reduced to the peoper valley only. The Kabul valley Proutonsa (Poonch), Pajapuri (Rajauri) Kangra, Jammu, Kisthwar and Ladhak, one after the other threw-off their allegiance to the rulers of Kashmir.
End Of Hindu Rule. In the beginning of 14th century a ferocious Mongol, Dulucha invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. His savage attack practically ended the Hindu rule in Kashmir. A weak and worthless man Raja Sahadev was the ruler then. It was during his reign that three adventurers, Shah Mir from Swat on the borders of Afganistan, Rinchin from Ladhak, and Lankar Chak from Dard territory near Gilgit came to Kashmir, and played a notable role in subsequentive political history of the valley.
The last Hindu ruler of Kashmir was Udyan Dev. It was his chief Queen Kota Rani, who practically governed the state. The valley was again invaded by a Mongal and Turk invader Achalla, but the Queen defeated him, and drove away all the foreign troops. In the confusion Rinchin , the Ladhaki prince, whom the Hindu religious leaders of the time refused to admit into their fold, organised an internal rising and seized the throne. Before his death, he embraced Islam. Finally another rising was led by Shah Mir, who defeated the queen at Jayapur (modern Sumbal). The defeat upset her and seeing the indifference of the Hindu grandees and general public, she stabbed herself to death, because Shah Mir wanted to marry her. Her death in 1339 paved the way tor the establishment of Muslim rule in Kashmir.


Shah-Miri dynasty

Shah Mir ascended the throne under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-din, and his dynasty ruled the state for 222 years. This period is one of the most important in the annals of Kashmir, in as much as Islam was firmly established here.

Sultan Shihabud-din. He ascended the throne in 1354, and continued to rule till 1373. He was able to establish his sway over the neighbouring countries. At the begining of his reign, he led an army to Sindh and defeated its ruler. While returning he defeated Afgans near Peshawar and then he conquered Kabul, Gazni, Qandhar, Pakhali, Swat and Multan. He invaded Badakshan, and then marched towards Dardistan and Gilgit, which he easily conquered. Then he marched towards Bulochistan and Ladhak. The ruler of Kashgar (central Asia) came with a huge army and Shah-u-din whose army was numerically inferior, inflicted a crushing defeat and the Kashgar army was almost wiped out. This led to the annexation of Laddhak and Bultistan, which were claimed by the Kashgar ruler. It is also said that the ruler or Kashmir marched towards Delhi, and on the way conquered Kangra, and then the army of Ferozashah Tughlaq opposed him on the banks of Sutluj. Since the battle between the rulers of the Delhi and Kashmir was indecisive, peace was concluded and it was agreed that all the territory from Sirhind to Kashmir was to belong to the Kashmir ruler. Shah-ud-din was not only a great conqueror but also an able administrator, and he governed his kingdom with firmness and justice. He was tolerant ruler and treated his Hindu subjects generously.
It is reported that owing to prolonged campaigns he needed money, and his ministers asked him to loot the temples, but he stoutly opposed the proposal, and to quote Jonaraj, he is reported to have said in anger: "Past generation have set-up images to obtain fame, and earn merit, and you propose to demolish them. Some have obtained renown by setting up images of gods, others by worshipping them, some by maintaining them, and you propose demolishing them. How great is the enormity of such a deed ". The king founded a new town which he called Shihab-ud-din-pora, known now as Shadipur. He is also said to have erected many mosques and monasteries. Shihab-ud-din can rightly be called the Lalitaditya of medieval Kashmir. Thus this great ruler raised Kashmir to great eminence, and power.
Sultan Qutab-ud-din. During his time Ali Hamdani arrived in Kashmir., He was accompanied by 700 Syeds from Hamdan, who were being out to torture by Timur, ruler of Persia. These syeds established their centres of missonery activities in different parts of the valley. In 1389, Qutab-ud-din died, and he was succeeded by his eldest son Sultan-Sikandar.
Sultan Sikander Butshikan. , He was a man of puritan temperament. He imposed Jizia upon Hindus and stopped them to use tilak on their fore-heads. Writes M. Hassan: "In their misplaced zeal for their faith, Sikandar and his minister Saif-ud-din (who was originally a Hindu) were also responsible for the destruction of images and temples ." Almost all the muslim chroniclers speak of the wholesale destruction of Hindu shrines including the 'Martand' Temple, and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam. Thousands of Hindus fled to India to save their religion and holy books, and also to escape the wrath of the Sultan.
Shahi-Khan or Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin,
He ascended the throne in 1420 A. D. and ruled upto 1470 A. D. nearly for half a century. In the words of Pandit Anand Kaul: "possessed of a broad and tolerant outlook, with a desire to benefit mankind, he ruled with such equity, and justice and did so much to improve the material prosperity of the people, that one can not fail to admire him, his benevolent rule demands special homage in as much as he lived in a period when he had no worthy and enlightened contemporary to emulate. In the world around him, he could have little to help him. He was a potentate encouraged to be tyrannical and selfish by tradition, and especially by the examples of his father, Sultan Sikander. Zain-ul-Abidin was deservedly surnamed Budshah or the great King. In spite of 5 centuries having rolled by since he ruled, his name is still remembered with genuine reverence and gratitude. Take the name of Budshah before a Kashmiri, and at once with a happy countenance he will rhyme it with Pad-Shah ".
One of the most outstanding features of his administration was the just and liberal treatment of the Hindus, who were not only allowed complete freedom of worship, but the Sultan recalled all those who had fled to India in the time of his father. He allowed those Hindus who had forcibly been converted, to return to their former religion. The Sultan banned cow slaughter and permitted the repair and rebuilding of the temples at government expenses. He granted lands to learned Brahmins, endowed temples and for Hindu pilgrims visiting holy places in the valley he opened a royal kitchen at Rainawari known even now as Jogi Lanker. Jiziya was almost abolished and the Sultan participated in Hindu festivals and entertained Brahmins and Sadhus on auspicious days.
It is for encouragement of arts and crafts that Kashmir will be permanently indebted to the Sultan. The Sultan invited competent teachers from countries to Kashmir, so that they could train people here. Among many industries introduced by him, we can mention carpet, paper machine, paper making, silk rearing, shawls, manufacture of gun powder etc.
Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin's death sounded the death knell of Shah-Miri dynasty.
The only important event that took place before the establishment of Chak dynasty was the invasion of Mirza Haider Dughlat who attacked Kashmir from Zogila pass in 1533. Soon he was able to establish his ascendancy in the valley. The Moghul, like Dulchu earlier, killed, looted and plundered the people, and made women and children their slaves. The Sultan of Kashmir, Nazuk Shah, became almost a puppet in his hands. Moghuls were appointed on high posts everywhere, and the Jagirs of Kashmir Noblemen were confiscated. For more than a decade Mirza was the virtual ruler of the valley and he gave peace and orderly Government to the country. He encouraged Kashmir Art and Crafts, and trade and commerce once again thrived in the valley. The last Shahmiri ruler, Sultan Habib Shah, a weakling was deposed by his commander, and nobles raised on throne Gazi Chak, a prominent military General of the time. He was the direct descendant of Lankar Chak who had come to Kashmir towards the close of Hindu rule. The Chak rule began in Kashmir in 1561 and lasted till 1587, when Akbar, the great Moghul Emperor conquered Kashmir.
Moghul Period
The Moghuls remained in power here, from 1587 to 1752, and in this period undoubtedly the people enjoyed peace and orderly Govt.

Moghul emperor Akbar visited Kashmir in 1579. Akbar built a new town near Hariparbat and called it Nagar-Magar and built the massive wall around the hill. The great emperor visited the valley three times,

Jahangir visited the State thirteen times. Jahangir came virtually, under the spell of the scenic beauty of the place. He laid gardens at Shalimar , Nishat, Achable and Verinag.
Shah Jahan also visited the happy valley a number of times. Shah Jahan laid the garden of Chashmashai and also built a portion of Shalimar. The Moghul Governor Ali Marden Khan also laid out a number of gardens.
During Aurangzebs period a reign of disorder started in Kashmir. The Moghul Governors began to loot and plunder the people, and at the same time ruthlessly started a policy of religious bigotry and fanaticism. There was absolute chaos in northern India after the invasion of Nadir Shah of Persia. The people of Kashmir could no longer tolerate the misrule of Moghul satraps, and accordingly when Ahmad Shah Abdali of Kabul was at Lahore in 1752, two Kashmir nobleman Mir Muquim Kant and Khwaj'a Zahir Didmari, waited upon him at Lahore, and disgracefully requested him to bring Kashmir under his control.

Afgan Rule : 1752 - 1819
Ahmad Shah, despatched a strong and a powerful Afgan army under the command of Abdullah Khan lshik Aqasi, to occupy the valley. The rule of Moghuls in Kasmir came to an end. Kashmir remained a dependency of Kabul rulers till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years.
The rulers of Kabul were great despots, and they ruled all the parts of their kingdom ruthlessly and with an iron hand. The corner stone of their policy was terror. As many as twenty eight Durrani Subedars governed Kashmir during these sixty seven years. The Kashmir nobleman had expected that Abdali would give them a good and a stable government, but the very first Afgan governor Abdullah Khan Aquasi, immediately after assuming powers started a reign of terror. People began to be looted and killed indiscriminately, and even the petty Afgan soliders began to amass wealth by the foulest possible means. Most of the well to do people of the valley were summoned by the Governor to his palace, and ordered to surrender all their wealth on pain of death. Their houses were completey sacked, and many people were put to sword. There was complete gloom and despair on every side. All the prosperity of the valley was gone, and the people could not even move on the streets, for fear of being robbed of even their scanty clothing.
All sections of people suffered here during their time, but the chief vicitims of these fiends were the Hindus, Shias and Bombas of Jhelum valley.
SIKH RULE: 1819-46
A deputation of Kashmiris led by Pandit Birbal Dhar, and his son Pandit Rajakak Dhar, left for Lahore and fervently requested Maharaja Ranjit Singh to conquer Kashmir. Three prominent Muslims helped Pandit Birbal Dhar in his escape from the valley. They were Abdul Qadoos Gojwari, Mallick Zulfiqar and Malik Kamgar. In 1819, 30,000 soliders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir, defeated the Pathans, and the state became a part of Ranjit Singh's empire.

Sikh rule lasted for only 27 years and during this period 10 Governors administersd the country one after another, out of whom the last two were Muslims. In the beginning Sikh rule also proved to be oppressive. " It must have been an intense relief ", writes Lawrence, " to all classes in Kashmir to see the downfall of the evil rule of Pathan, and to none was the relief greater than to the peasants who had been cruely fleeced by the rapacious sardars of Kabul. I do not mean to suggest that the Sikh rule was benign or good, but it was at any rate better that that of the Pathans. " The Sikh rule over Kashmir lasted only for a brief span of time, during which the rulers at Lahore were far too pre-occupied at home to pay any attention to the affairs of this outlying province of theirs. The misery of the people increased due to natural calamities as well, such as premature snow falls, which would destroy a ripe rice crop leading to famines. These famines were followed by diseases like cholera and plague, resulting in a heavy loss of life. Thousands of people migrated to India during these hard days, and no wonder the population of the valley came down to two lakhs from 8 lakhs.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1830. His death was a signal for the mutiny of Sikh Army which become uncontrollable, and plunge entire Punjab into confusion and chaos.
DOGRA PERIOD : 1846 1957
The two Anglo-Sikh wars led to the final extinction of Sikh soverignty in the Punjab and by virtue of the treaties of Lahore and Amritsar the British who had by now become undisputed masters of India, transferred and made over in perpetuity, the independent position to the Maharaja Gulab Singh and heirs male of his body, all the hilly and mountaneous country situated to the east of Indus, and west of Ravi river. In consideration of this transfer Maharaja Gulab Singh paid to the British government the sum of 75 lakhs of rupees. Maharaja Gulab Singh entered Srinagar on 9th November 1848 at 8 in the morning.

Maharaja Gulab Singh. He was a man of great vigour, foresight and determination. He was universaly feared and respected. He crushed gangs of organized plunderers, and murderers in the valley known as Galwans, and also broke the power of Bombas and Khokhas the inhabitants of Jhelum valley region below Varamulla, who brought havoc to every home in the valley by following a policy of arson and plunder. Large number of forts were built in their territory which were garrisoned with troops. It was because of his energetic measures that the conditions of the people improved and after many years some confidence was inspired in the permanece of administration. He laid of the modern Jammu and Kashmir State. It was Gulab Singh who conquered one by one different places and regions of the state, Jammu,. Poonch, Ram Nagar, Basoli, Bhahderwah, Kishtwar, Bhimbar, Rajauri, Sikardu, Kharmang, Kiris, Khaplu, Sheghar, Astor Gilgit, Chitral, Yasin, Hunza, Nagar, and Punial. In the words of K. M. Panikar an area of more than eighty thousand sq. miles including part of Tibet, as well as part of Pamier, besides the genuinely kingdoms of Jammu and Kashmir came into Maharaja Gulab Singh's possession. This area had never been effectively united under one ruler and much of it with of course; the exception of the valley of Kashmir had never known any settled govt. The Maharaja died in 1857 after a rule of 11 years.
Maharaja Ranbir Singh Maharaja Ranbir Singh ruled from 1857 to 1885. It was in his time that the rule of law commenced in the state. Almost all the laws, civil and criminal, which the British had introduced in India were with some modifications made applicable to the state. The various state departments were organised on the pattern of departments as these existed in British India. A slight attempt was also made to assess the amount of land revenue at a fixed amount.
Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh. Maharaja Sir Pratap Singh ascended the throne In 1885 and he ruled for a period of 40 years. It is in the time of this Maharaja that the real modernisation of the state took place and several progressive reforms were carried through. Sir Walter Lawrence carried the first assessment of land revenue system in the state on scientific lines. The two mountain roads-Jhelum valley road and Banihal Cart road were built linking the state with the rest of India. Construction of water reservior at Harwan and establishment of electric generating plant at Mohra was also undertaken during this period. Two colleges in the state besides large number of education institutions were also established by the order of the Maharaja. The administrative machinery was completely overhauled. There was development in the means of communication and telegraphs, telephones and post offices were opened in many places. The isolation of Kashmir from the rest of the country was now a thing of the past, and large number of people, mostly europeans began to visit the valley.

Maharaja Sir Hari Singh. After the death of Maharaja Pratap Singh his nephew Maharaja Sir Hari Singh ascended the throne in 1925. He continued to govern the state till 1950. Maharaja Hari Singh modernised the state and carried out a large number of reforms. It was in his time that the popular elements began to be associated with the Goverment. The most important thing that had far reaching consequences in the future history of the state was the birth of political parties and the growth of political consciousness in the state during this period. But even more important was the liberation of the country from the British Yoke in 1947.It was on 26th Jan. 1957 that the Kashmir Constiuent Assembly ended the hereditary rule of the Hindu monarchy in the state exacly after one hundred and ten years of its establishment.

The mosaic of ethnic group in Jammu and Kashmir State is complex and the race structure cannot be explained without understanding the pre-historic movements of people. In the process of peopling of the region, the Dards in the north-west, the Ladakhis in the east, the Gujjars and Rajputs in the south and Paharis in the south-east have closely influenced the existing ethnicity of the people. The racial composition of the State was also influenced by the immigrants from the territories of Turkmenia, Tadzkistan, Uzbaikistan, Kazakistan, Georgia, Azerbaijan (U.S.S.R.) Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.


'Kashmiri' is a wide term which has loosely been applied for several streams of immigrated mainly from Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan, and settled in the valley. There is a close bearing of the Indo-Aryans on the racial composition of the Kashmiris. In fact, the Indo-Aryan religions and languages have substantially affected the mode of life of the Kashmiris. The influence of Sanskrit on Kashmiri language is strong and cogent to this day. Moreover, Kashmir has also received racial impulses from Indo-Greeks which have influenced the race structure of the people considerably. The influence of Dards, Ladakhis and Punjabis has also moulded the ethos of Kashmiri culture.

Kashmiri Pundits live a simple and frugal life. Individualistic and largely intellectual, they avoid manual labor and cling to professional and administrative jobs. Due to the terrorist activities lately, many of them have been uprooted from their homeland but the government has been trying to relocate them here. The Kashmiri Pandits do not have castes like Hindus in the rest of India.

Kashmiri Muslims are generally more active, energetic and dynamic in nature and are considered unrivalled craftsmen, known for their time-honored intricate and beautiful designs that they produce on papier-mâché, wood, silver and gold. Shrewd businessmen, they also indulge themselves in agriculture, sheep rearing, cattle rearing and other cottage industries. Ninety percent of the population in the valley professes Islam of both Sunni and Shia sects.


Ptolemy in his book 'Almagast' has used the word Daradrai for Dards of the western Himalayas. Before embracing Islam, they were the followers of Budhism and Hinduism. At present their major concentration lies in Dardistan (Derdesa), the area to the north of Kashmir Valley, especially in the catchment of Kishanganga north of Sardi, Gurez and Tilel. In the opinion of Leitner, Dards belong to Aryan stock. Dardic Aryans then colonised the Pamir region from where they spread to Chitral and Gilgit.These Include the Shia Muslim denizens of Drass and Buddhist inhabitants of Four villages in Sindhu Valley.


Ladakhis are a mixture of Mongoloid and Aryan races. The Aryans who settled originally in the sub-continent's northern parts were the early Budhist people from Kashmir and the Dards from Gilgit. The Mongolian stock is traced to Tibet, from where the shephereds and nomads came to the valleys of Ladakh to graze their flocks. The present day population of Ladakh is the result of blending together of Dards and the Mongolians.

Chang Pa

Another occupation of the people is sheep-rearing. The herdsmen are called Chang-pas. They rear long-haired goats and sheep from whose under-fleece the famous Kashmiri Pashmina shawls are made. Chang-pas live in tents and are nomadic, going from place to place in search of pastures. The people are keenly interested in trade. Wool, in raw form is their chief commercial product. The men travel long distances, seeking favourable prices for their wares, which consist of salt, dry fruits and cultured pearls and semi-precious stones. In return they get tea, tobacco, grain, sugar and other essential goods.


Hanjis - the dwellers of water, constitute a significant ethnic group in the valley of Kashmir. They are mainly confined to the Dal, Wular, Anchar lakes and the Jhelum river, especially between Khanabal (Ananatnag District) and Chattabal (Srinagar District).
There is not unanimity of opinion amongst the scholars about their arrival in the valley of Kashmir. They, however agree in saying that 'Hanjis' belong to one of the ancient racial groups who were essentially Nishads (boatmen). Some of the Hanjis claim themselves as the descendents of Prophet Noah. There are historical evidences showing that Raja Pratap Sen introduced boatmen from Sangaldip (Sri Lanka). It is believed that before their conversion to Islam, they were Kashtriyas.

Gujjars and Bakarwals

Gujjars and Bakarwals constitute a significant proportion of the population of the State. In general, they have nomadic character and largely depend on flocks and cattle keeping for thier livelihood.
There are several theories about their origin. According to one school of thought, before their arrival in the sub-continent they were the inhabitants of Georgia (Gurjia) a territory situated between the Black sea and the Caspian Sea in the Soviet Union.. Cunningham (1970) is however, of the opinion that the Gujjars are the descendent of Kusham and Yachi Tribes which are considered to be the tribes of Eastern Tartars (U.S.S.R.).
The major concentration of Gujjars lies in Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Poonch, Uri, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Daksum, Narang and the Kandi areas of the Jammu and Kashmir Divisions. Although some of them have started developing land connections, they are essentially cattle rearers and a section of them - Bakarwals regularly oscillates between the southern slopes of the Siwaliks and the Margs (Alpine-pastures) of the Central Himalayas.
The Gujjars and Bakarwals in the State are the followers of Islam, excepting a few who are settled io Bimber, Mirpur and Rajouri. The Gujjars, because of their strict re]igious adherence, have emerged as the most outstanding tribe who are trusted for their honesty.


In the opinion of some social anthropologists 'Dogra' is a corruption of the Rajasthani word 'Dungra' means 'hill' and when the people of Rajasthan migrated in the hilly tracks under drought conditions the Rajputs gave this name to the people of hilly country, Stein opines that the name 'Durgara' is probably a tribal designation like 'Gurjara' - original of the modern Gujjar, and similarly the word 'Durgara' has been derived from Durgara' through Prakrit Dogra.
Whatsoever the controversy about the origin of the word Dogra may be they belong to the Aryan race and speak the Dogri language. Most of them have Brahmini path and have the sects of Varnashram. A substantial section of the Dogras embraced Islam during the 16th and 17th centuries. At the time of partition of the Sub-continent most of the Muslim Dogras migrated to Pakistan.


The state of Jammu and Kashmir, (as on 14 Aug 1947) consists of the regions encompassed in Northern Areas of Pakistan to include Gilgit, Wazara, Baltistan and Hunza; the territories of Ladakh including trans Karakoram Shakshang Valley ( ceded to China by Pakistan) and China Occupied Aksai Chin; the Vallies of Zhanskar to include Suru and Drass valleys: Kargil; Kashmir Valley; Kishan Ganga Valley ( Including that in POK), Jammu; Rajori; Poonch .

Seven mighty Mountain ranges namely Karakoram, Laddakh-Kailash, Zhanskar, Himalaya, Shamshabari, Pir Panjal and Shivalik run parallel in a general NW to SE alignment. Being formidable barriers these ranges have resulted in creating distinct social ecologies in their valleys.

The Indus Valley towards South in Areas of Baltistan is Shia Muslim. The Central valley of Indus between Batalik and Khalasi is inhabited by Buddhist Drad Hunu Tribals. Upstream Indus is inhabited by Buddhist Ladakhis. The Zhaskar Valley of Padam is predominantly Buddhist. The Zhaskar Valley Of Suru in continuation of Kargil is Shia Muslim. Drass is inhabited by Drad Shia Muslims. South of Himalaya, the Kashmir Vally is Sunni Muslim. Further to South of Pir Panjal are the Dogra areas. The Mountains, their passes and meadows are inhabited by migratory Gujjar Bakrwals.

Contribution - Mr Skand Nayal Khan (Chief Research Wing, NCCT)