The distribution of Language
Kashmiri Language in the Composite Cultured Jammu Division
CULTURE BY RAYAZ AHMED MALIK
Kashmiri, very much known as “Kashur” to its native speakers, an indo-Aryan language and pioneered by great saints and personalities like Sheikh-ul-Alam and Lala Ded by their original thought and wisdom is spoken primarily in Kashmir Valley of Jammu & Kashmir. According to 2001 census, there are about 55,54,496 Kashmiri speakers in India. Apart from this, there are about 10,50,000 Kashmiri speakers in Pakistan and many towns and villages, one being the border district of Neelum in Pakistan Administered Kashmir where majority people are Kashmiri speaking. Most of these people are immigrants from the Kashmir valley. Kashmiri language has achieved the distinction of inclusion in 22nd schedule of Indian constitution and also in 6th schedule of constitution of Jammu & Kashmir. It, being an adapted form of Arabic, Persian and Urdu scripts is written from right to left. UGC, UPSC, JKPSC and many other State and Central organizations have included “Kashmiri” as one of the subjects for career making purposes.
On the pattern of decreasing levels in the size, build and structure of Computers in the history of Information Technology, I would like to classify the areas belonging to Kashmiri-speaking people of Jammu & Kashmir into four levels viz; Main Kashmir, Mini-Kashmir, Micro-Kashmir and Nano-Kashmir. The areas so-classified have the distinction and recognition of safeguarding the Kashmiri culture, language, heritage, and other literary activities in precedence.
The Valley of Kashmir has its own rich culture and history. The principal language spoken by the natives of Kashmir is Kashmiri. It comprises district Anantnag(Islamabad), Kulgam, Pulwama & Shopian in South; Baramulla, Kupwara & Bandipora in North, and Srinagar, Budgam & Ganderbal being the central districts. These northern, southern and central parts of Kashmir have less or more variations in speaking, dialects, toning, accents and pronunciation of the language. The dialects spoken by Kashmiri Muslims have an influence of Persio-Arabic while that spoken by Pandits is seen to be dominated by Sanskrit taste. In broad sense, the dialects of language spoken in Central Kashmir, particularly in Srinagar and its adjoining areas are considered as basic for its literature and official inclusion in the syllabus for Schools, Colleges and Universities in the state. So the Valley, itself can be called as Main-Kashmir.
The areas falling under Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts of Jammu region are geographically closer to valley. These areas lie in other side of Peer Panjaal and are opposite to Anantnag(Islamabad) district of South Kashmir. The people living here are closely associated and connected to valley through Jawahar Tunnel via Banihal and Daksum & Viallu Passes via Marwah and Wadwan areas, and experience the dominance of Kashmiri language, Culture and literary activities. Majority of the people of this area speak Kashmiri in their own adapted tones and accents and have Chambyali influence (language of bordering Chamba, Himachal Pardesh) on it. The people in look, shape, size and structure resemble those of valley. They wear dresses like phirans, scarfs and burqaas (veils) by women and use “kangris” as the people do in Kashmir. Many areas of this belt have produced a good number of Kashmiri poets, writers, singers and other literary personalities who have contributed towards Kashmiri literature. So, the group of these areas, being next to valley can be called as Mini-Kashmir.
Then there are areas including few towns and villages in Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi districts where the people speak Kashmiri. Geographically these areas are far-off from valley and lie opposite to Shopian, Kulgam, Budgam and Baramulla districts of Kashmir in the lap of Peer Panjaal. These areas are not directly associated to Valley and have less impact of Kashmiri dominance. The Kashmiri people of these areas are believed to have left the valley few hundred years ago because of famines, wars, earthquakes, floods and many other reasons and got settled in different parts of Rajouri, Poonch and Reasi districts. Although the people of these areas are living under the influence of composite culture of Pahari, Gojri, Dogri, Punjabi and other local languages they strive to speak their own mother tongue, i.e; Kashmiri which they brought as heritage with them from Kashmir some hundred years ago. The different villages and towns in these districts are in Tehsils of Budhal & Thannamandi and a little of Darhal in Rajouri district; Mandi, Loran, Sawjian, Gagrian, and Surankote in Poonch district and Sungri, Chasana and many other villages of Tehsil Mahore in Reasi district. These people speak Kashmiri having Pahari influence on it with modified and intermixed dialects and different pronunciation and tone. Broadly speaking, the cluster of these areas can be called as Micro-Kashmir as being next to Chenab Valley.
Apart from these areas, there are Kashmiri-speaking people in Lowaang, Lohai and Malhar in Tehsils of Bani, Basohli and Billawar and other small villages in hilly terrain of Kathua district sharing border with Bhaderwah or Chhota Kashmir in Doda district. Both the Hindu and Muslim communities speak Kashmiri in these remote areas. Jammu district also got distinction of comprising Kashmiri population. There are many villages, colonies and camps in Jammu district and its vicinity where Kashmiri Pandit and few Muslim families are dwelling. They have migrated from Kashmir Valley in the recent past because of turmoil which took place in beginning of 90s. The Kashmiri fraternity of Kathua district and the Pandit families in Jammu district are living in Dogra-dominance and so their mother tongue and culture cannot prosper in such circumstances. Thus the grouping of these areas of Kathua and colonies being dwelt by Pandits in Jammu, where the Kashmiri culture, literature, language and heritage are on verge and prone to extinct can be made as Nano-Kashmir.
In all the above referred areas of Jammu region, the different Kashmiri Muslim clans are Mir, Magray, Wani, Rather, Dar, Khaar, Naik, Najaar, Banday, Malik, Wagay, Bhat, Lone, Zargar, etc. Likewise the Pandits are Bhat, Dhar, Kachroo, Mattoo, Koul, Raina, Pandita, etc. as in Kashmir Valley.
Except Kashmir and Chenab Valley, the entire Kashmiri speaking fraternity of the state have to borrow the dialects of Pahari, Gojri, Dogri, Punjabi and other local and associated languages of the areas where they reside, to speak their own mother-tongue in their families and communities. For instance, when a so-called Kashmiri child gets admitted in school, he learns Urdu in the class as it is a common medium of teaching in these areas. The child has direct link and association with his friends speaking different local languages and thus he tries to speak and learn these languages to communicate with them. In this culture he cannot escape to communicate in the dialects and languages spoken by his friends, neighbours and other people. Thus, in addition to ‘Kashmiri’, he gets familiarization of speaking many languages i.e; Urdu, English, Pahari, Gojri, Pahari, Dogri, Punjabi, etc. As most of the time he has to communicate with other people, he has fluency in different languages which adds to his/her personality development and expression of his views and ideas in many languages but it is shocking to know that he lacks command and flow in his own mother-tongue i.e; Kashmiri, which is limited within his family and community only.
Author is Computer Engineer, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University, Rajouri (J&K). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 10 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 11 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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