View Full Version : How the Kashmiri language assimilated in Punjab

16th August 2018, 02:22
A large number of Muslim Kashmiris migrated from the Kashmir Valley[10] to the Punjab due to conditions in the princely state[10] such as famine, extreme poverty[11] and harsh treatment of Kashmiri Muslims by the Dogra Hindu regime.[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]


This is an interesting phenonmenon, I always wondered why we weren't able to retain the Kashur language in Punjab. Even in IoK, Urdu is the official language and is being increasingly preferred over Kashmiri.