(Last Updated on : 19-01-2018)
Tribes of Kashmir are the number of different tribal
groups found inhabiting the Kashmir valley
. According to Kashmir
researchers, many inhabitants of Kashmir are descendants of the lost tribes
who were exiled in 722 BCE. They wandered along the Silk Route into the countries of the East, Persia and Afghanistan until they reached the Kashmir valley and settled there. The wanderers settled in Kashmir, kept their traditions until they were forced to convert to Islam
when the spread of Islam
reached the valley. Tribes of Kashmir have descended from the Indo-Aryan group of people, which can be credited for the sublime beauty of this exceptional north Indian tribe
Different Tribes of Kashmir
There are numerous major tribes and sub-tribes in Kashmir. All the tribes of the state have its own distinct lifestyle. They have their own occupation
. The various tribes of Kashmir are Dogra, Khatri, Mahajan, Megh, Pahari, Gujjar, Chaupan, Bhand and many other miscellaneous tribes.
Dogra Tribe: The hilly tract extending to the plains of the Punjab
from the snowy mountains
bounding the Kashmir Valley on the south is the home of the Dogras
. They belong to the race of Aryans
and speak the Dogri language
. There are numerous sub-castes
among the Dogra population.
Megh Tribe: They form a more than fair proportion of the population and have undergone numerous disabilities, civic and religious. There are several interesting theories regarding the origin of the Meghs. They were originally Kshatriyas
but, in order to escape destruction at the hands of Paras Ram Brahmin
of the Ramayana
period, they adopted the profession of weaving
and called themselves Meghs.
Pahari Tribe: The hilly country between the outer districts
and the borders of the Kashmir Valley is occupied by an extremely energetic and active people called the Paharis. They lead a rough life, making a living by terrace cultivation on the slopes of barren hills. A mixture of the Pahari and the Kashmiri languages
is spoken by them.
: Another interesting hill people are the Gujjars
. They lead semi-nomadic lives, moving in summer
with their herds and flocks from the warm regions of Jammu
. They are said to be Rajputs
who migrated from Rajasthan
and adopted the Muslim faith. Their language
, Gujjari is now definitely recognised to be a form of Rajasthani.
: Chaupans, the hereditary shepherds, who tend the sheep and cattle of the villagers during the summer months by taking them to green pastures on the various margs of high altitude. The Chaupans have some knowledge of simple herbs
and bring them down for the poor villagers. In winter and early spring they live in the villages
, where sometimes they possess a little cultivable land. Just like the Mullah, the Chaupans get their remuneration at the time of harvesting of crops
in the shape of grains and cash.
: The Bhands or Bhagats correspond to the Mirasis in India and carry on the profession of singing and dancing and sometimes go in bands to perform short comic
plays in different villages. They are in great demand on marriage
and other festivals.
Other Notable Tribes of Kashmir
and Mahajans form the backbone of trade and commerce
in the Jammu province. The Thakkars follow agricultural
pursuits. They are backward in education
methods. The Bombas and Khakhas are the inhabitants of the Jhelum Valley below Baramulla
. They were a source of constant terror to the Kashmiris because they used to carry out looting expeditions into the Valley. There are tribes like Dums and Galwans which were once considered inferior to others. They have now acquired wealth and their social status has risen.