(Last Updated on : 12/11/2014)
Amongst various languages of Indo - Aryan languages, Kashmiri languages are a famous language belonging to the northwestern group. Mostly the residents of Jammu and Kashmir valley speak Kashmiri. There are 4,611,000 Kashmiri speakers. Kashmiri is part of the Indo-Aryan group of the Indo-European language family. More often it is sometimes placed in a geographical sub group, known as Dardic. Among twenty-three 'scheduled languages' of India, Kashmiri is a significant one.
Kashmiri is a special language that has got 'V2 word order'. Till very recently, the no written documents of Kashmiri language have been found except a few manuscripts that were written in the earlier period using the 'Sharada script', and afterwards, in 'Perso-Arabic script'. At present, the people write Kashmiri in both the 'Perso-Arabic script' and the 'Devanagari script', of course, with some modifications.
Kashmiri has a rich heritage. In the year 1919, George Abraham Grierson commented "Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature". In fact Kashmiri literature too has originated at a time, which is more than seven fifty years ago, it reveals the antiquity of Kashmiri language, which falls in the genre of Modern literature. The most primitive literary masterpiece in Kashmiri that has survived is the poetry of Lalleshvari, a fourteenth century spiritual poetess.
Multitudes of Sufi and 'desi' poets, wrote masterpieces in the beautiful language of Kashmiri. Melodious songs in the Kashmiri are also composed over the years.
Amongst great Kashmiri writers was Mahmud Gami, a creative writer who used with equal ability approximately in all forms of poetry in Kashmiri. Quite a number of literary magazines have proliferated including one online newspaper in Kashmiri.
However, due to various political upsurges and less formal educational policies, literacy rate of Kashmiri language is not always very high. According to the survey conducted by Koul and Schmidt, its development as first language comprises of eighty eight percent male and also twelve percent female who are over thirty-five years of age. As a second language, both men and women attribute its literary development. Male populace constitutes of thirty six percent, while women constituting thirty six percent. As per census report of 1981, rural and urban population comprise of 21.6% and 45.5%.
Over the years the speakers of Kashmiri is also degrading to a great extent. More so, Kashmiri has not yet gained the status of official language even in the domain of Jammu and Kashmir. However, efforts are taken now and then to retrieve the status of Kashmiri language. As an achievement of past few years, Kashmiri was brought in as a subject both in the colleges and also in the state university of Kashmir. Also the plans are going on to introduce Kashmiri in the study curriculum of all the schools in the region.
Some people also identify Kashmiri language in different names. These are namely Kacmiri ,Keshur, Kaschemiri, Cashmiri, Cashmeeree.
There is also no dearth of Kashmiri dialects prevalent in India. Standard Kashmiri dialects include Kishtwari , Kashtawari, Kistwali, Kashtwari, Kathiawari . There are also other dialects that have been originated from Kashmiri, all influenced by 'Dogri'.
These are namely Miraski, Poguli, Rambani, Riasi, Shah-Mansuri, Siraji of Doda, Siraji-Kashmiri, Zayoli, Zirak-Boli, Bunjwali, and Bakawali.