Kashmiris in Punjab

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Kashmiris in Punjab
Regions with significant populations
Lahore, Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Gujrat, Jhelum, Narowal, Gujranwala, Faisalabad[1][2][3]
Punjab, Pakistan:
Punjab, India:
Hinduism, Sikhism
Related ethnic groups
Kashmiri diaspora

The Kashmiris in Punjab are ethnic Kashmiris who have historically migrated from the Kashmir Valley and settled in the Punjab region. Many ethnic Muslim Kashmiris from the Kashmir Valley had migrated to the Punjab region during Sikh and Dogra rule.[4]



Heavy commodifications taxation under the Sikh rule caused many Kashmiri peasants to migrate to the plains of Punjab.[5][6] These claims, made in Kashmiri histories, were corroborated by European travelers.[5] When one such European traveller, Moorcroft, left the Valley in 1823, about 500 emigrants accompanied him across the Pir Panjal Pass.[7] The 1833 famine resulted in many people leaving the Kashmir Valley and migrating to the Punjab, with the majority of weavers leaving Kashmir. Weavers settled down for generations in the cities of Punjab such as Jammu and Nurpur.[8] The 1833 famine led to a large influx of Kashmiris into Amritsar which was also under Sikh rule.[citation needed] Kashmir's Muslims in particular suffered and had to leave Kashmir in large numbers, while Hindus were not much affected.[9] The emigration during the Sikh rule resulted in Kashmiris enriching the culture and cuisines of Amritsar, Lahore and Rawalpindi.[2] Sikh rule in Kashmir ended in 1846 and was followed by the rule of Dogra Hindu maharajahs who ruled Kashmir as part of their princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.[10]

A large number of Muslim Kashmiris migrated from the Kashmir Valley[11] to the Punjab due to conditions in the princely state[11] such as famine, extreme poverty[12] and harsh treatment of Kashmiri Muslims by the Dogra Hindu regime.[13] 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.[14]

Scholar Ayesha Jalal states that Kashmiris faced discrimination in the Punjab as well.[15] Kashmiris settled for generations in the Punjab were unable to own land,[15] including the family of Muhammad Iqbal.[16] 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.[17]

Common krams (surnames) found amongst the Kashmiri Muslims who migrated from the Valley[11] to the Punjab include Butt,[18][19][20] Dar,[18] Lone , Wain (Wani), Mir, Rathore.


Kashmiri Muslims constituted an important segment of several Punjabi cities such as Sialkot, Lahore, Amritsar and Ludhiana.[21] Following the partition of India in 1947 and the subsequent communal unrest across Punjab, Muslim Kashmiris living in East Punjab migrated en masse to West Punjab. Kashmiri migrants from Amritsar have had a big influence on Lahore's contemporary cuisine and culture.[22] The Kashmiris of Amritsar were more steeped in their Kashmiri culture than the Kashmiris of Lahore.[23] Ethnic Kashmiris from Amritsar also migrated in large numbers to Rawalpindi,[24] where Kashmiris had already introduced their culinary traditions during the British Raj.[25]

An exclusive research conducted by the "Jang Group and Geo Television Network" showed that the Kashmiri community had been involved in spearheading the power politics of Lahore district since 1947.[26] The Kashmiri diaspora in Punjab also influences politics in the Gujranwala, Gujrat and Sialkot districts.[1]


In Pakistan's Punjab[edit]

As per the 2017 Pakistani census, ethnic Kashmiris made up 30% of the Lahore District, which back then amounted to some 3,3 million individuals out of a total Lahore District population of around 11 million.[27] Ethnic Kashmiris also live in the other urban centers of Pakistan's Punjab.

Notable Kashmiris of Punjab[edit]

One of the most highly educated and prominent Kashmiris in Punjab was Muhammad Iqbal, whose poetry displayed a keen sense of belonging to Kashmir Valley.[28] Another member of the Kashmiri diaspora in Punjab was the famous storywriter Saadat Hasan Manto who was proud of his Kashmiri ancestry.[29][30] Notable members of the Kashmiri diaspora in Pakistan also include the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (paternal ancestry from Anantnag), Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, and politician Khawaja Asif.[31] The following is a list of notable Kashmiris of Punjab:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Maneesha Tikekar (2004). Across the Wagah: An Indian's Sojourn in Pakistan. Bibliophile South Asia. pp. 253–. ISBN 978-81-85002-34-7.
  2. ^ a b Tariq Ali (24 October 2011). Kashmir: The Case for Freedom. Verso Books. pp. 15–. ISBN 978-1-84467-735-1.
  3. ^ "Kashmiri refugees speak out on Martyr's Day". 14 July 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  4. ^ P. Akhtar (9 October 2013). British Muslim Politics: Examining Pakistani Biraderi Networks. Palgrave Macmillan UK. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-1-137-27516-5.
  5. ^ a b Zutshi, Chitralekha (2004). Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 40. ISBN 9781850656944. Kashmiri histories emphasize the wretchedness of life for the common Kashmiri during Sikh rule. According to these, the peasantry became mired in poverty and migrations of Kashmiri peasants to the plains of the Punjab reached high proportions. Several European travelers' accounts from the period testify to and provide evidence for such assertions.
  6. ^ Schofield, Victoria (2010). Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan and the Unending War. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 9780857730787. The picture painted by the Europeans who began to visit the valley more frequently was one of deprivation and starvation...Everywhere the people were in the most abject condition, exorbitantly taxed by the Sikh Government and subjected to every kind of extortion and oppression by its officers...Moorcroft estimated that no more than one-sixteenth of the cultivable land surface was under cultivation; as a result, the starving people had fled in great numbers to India.
  7. ^ Parashar, Parmanand (2004). Kashmir The Paradise Of Asia. Sarup & Sons. p. 4. ISBN 9788176255189. What with the political disturbances and the numerous tyrannies suffered by the peasants, the latter found it very hard to live in Kashmir and a large number of people migrated to the Punjab and India. When Moorcroft left the Valley in 1823, about 500 emigrants accompanied him across the Pir Panjal Pass.
  8. ^ Kashmir Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. 1984. p. 20. ISBN 9788171560943. In the beginning, it was only the excess of population that was increasing rapidly, that started migrating into Punjab, where in the hilly cities of Nurpur and Jammu, that remained under the rule of Hindu prince the weavers had settled down for generations...As such, even at that time, a great majority of the weavers have migrated out from Kashmir. The great famine conditions and starvation three years earlier, have forced a considerable number of people to move out of the valley and the greater security of their possessions and property in Punjab has also facilitated this outward migration...The distress and misery experienced by the population during the years 1833 and 1834, must not be forgotten by the current generation living there.
  9. ^ Parashar, Parmanand (2004). Kashmir The Paradise Of Asia. Sarup & Sons. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9788176255189. Moreover, in 1832 a severe famine caused the death of thousands of people...Thus emigration, coupled with the famine, had reduced the population to one-fourth by 1836...But still the proportion of Muslims and Hindus was different from what it is as the present time in as much as while the Hindus were not much affected among the Muslims; and the latter alone left the country in large numbers during the Sikh period.
  10. ^ Snedden, Christopher (2015). Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849046220.
  11. ^ a b c Bose, Sumantra (2013). Transforming India. Harvard University Press. p. 211. ISBN 9780674728202. From the late nineteenth century, conditions in the princely state led to a significant migration of people from the Kashmir Valley to the neighboring Punjab province of British-as distinct from princely-India.
  12. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. p. 352. ISBN 9781134599387. Extreme poverty, exacerbated by a series of famines in the second half of the nineteenth century, had seen many Kashmiris fleeing to neighbouring Punjab.
  13. ^ Chowdhary, Rekha (2015). Jammu and Kashmir: Politics of Identity and Separatism. Routledge. p. 8. ISBN 9781317414056. Prem Nath Bazaz, for instance, noted that 'the Dogra rule has been Hindu. Muslims have not been treated fairly, by which I mean as fairly as Hindus'. In his opinion, the Muslims faced harsh treatment 'only because they were Muslims' (Bazaz, 1941: 250).
  14. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. ISBN 9781134599387. According to the 1911 census there were 177, 549 Kashmiri Muslims in the Punjab; the figure went up to 206, 180 with the inclusion of settlements in the NWFP.
  15. ^ a b Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. p. 352. ISBN 9781134599370. ...Kashmiris engaged in agriculture were disqualified from taking advantage of the Punjab Land Alienation Act...Yet Kashmiris settled in the Punjab for centuries faced discrimination.
  16. ^ Sevea, Iqbal Singh (2012). The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781139536394. Like most Kashmiri families in Punjab, Iqbal's family did not own land.
  17. ^ Zutshi, Chitralekha (2004). Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 191–192. ISBN 9781850656944. Kashmiri Muslim expatriates in the Punjab had retained emotional and familial ties to their soil and felt compelled to raise the banner of freedom for Kashmir and their brethren in the Valley, thus launching bitter critiques of the Dogra administration.
  18. ^ a b Explore Kashmiri Pandits. Dharma Publications. ISBN 9780963479860. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  19. ^ The Journal of the Anthropological Survey of India, Volume 52. The Survey. 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  20. ^ P.K. Kaul (2006). Pahāṛi and other tribal dialects of Jammu, Volume 1. Eastern Book Linkers. ISBN 9788178541013. Retrieved 2 December 2010. The But/Butt/ of Punjab were originally Brahmin migrants from Kashmir during 1878 famine.
  21. ^ Sevea, Iqbal Singh (2012). The Political Philosophy of Muhammad Iqbal: Islam and Nationalism in Late Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781139536394. In the early twentieth century, famine and the policies of the Dogra rulers drove many Kashmiri Muslims to flee their native land and further augment the number of their brethren already resident in the Punjab. Kashmiri Muslims constituted an important segment of the populace in a number of Punjabi cities, especially Sialkot, Lahore, Amritsar and Ludhiana.
  22. ^ "Lahore, Amritsar: Once sisters, now strangers". Rediff News. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2016. The biggest influence on Lahore's contemporary culture and cuisine are the Kashmiris who migrated from Amritsar in 1947.
  23. ^ Hamid, A. (11 February 2007). "Lahore Lahore Aye: Lahore's wedding bands". Academy of the Punjab in North America. Retrieved 12 January 2017. The Kashmiris of Lahore were not as steeped in their Kashmiri culture and heritage as the Kashmiris of Amritsar, which was why the Kashmiri Band did not last long.
  24. ^ Yasin, Aamir (23 February 2015). "A sip of Kashmir!". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  25. ^ Yasin, Aamir (10 November 2014). "The taste of Kashmir". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  26. ^ a b c d Shah, Sabir (12 October 2015). "Ayaz Sadiq: Yet another Arain legislator wins from Lahore". The News International. Retrieved 29 December 2016. An exclusive research conducted by the "Jang Group and Geo Television Network" shows that the Arain and Kashmiri communities have spearheaded the power politics in Lahore district since independence.
  27. ^ "District Profile". District Lahore - Government of Punjab. Archived from the original on 27 November 2023.
  28. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Routledge. ISBN 9781134599370. As one of the most highly educated Kashmiris in the Punjab, Muhammad Iqbal supported the Kashmiri cause through the Anjuman-i-Himayat-i-Islam and the lesser known Anjuman-i-Kashmiri Musalman. His poetry demonstrates a keen sense of belonging to Kashmir, the magnificent valley which the cruel hands of fate had allowed men of bestial disposition to reduce to abject slavery and benightedness.
  29. ^ Reeck, Matt; Ahmad, Aftab (2012). Bombay Stories. Random House India. ISBN 9788184003611. He claimed allegiance not only to his native Punjab but also to his ancestors' home in Kashmir. While raised speaking Punjabi, he was also proud of the remnants of Kashmiri culture that his family maintained-food customs, as well as intermarriage with families of Kashmiri origin-and throughout his life he assigned special importance to others who had Kashmiri roots. In a tongue-in-cheek letter addressed to Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, he went so far as to suggest that being beautiful was the second meaning of being Kashmiri
  30. ^ Pandita, Rahul (2013). Our Moon Has Blood Clots: The Exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits. Random House India. ISBN 9788184003901. By virtue of his disposition, temperament, features and his spirit, Manto remains a Kashmiri Pandit.
  31. ^ Jaleel, Muzamil (2013). "As Nawaz Sharif becomes PM, Kashmir gets voice in Pakistan power circuit". The Indian Express. Retrieved 29 December 2016. Kashmir may have been missing from the agenda of the elections in Pakistan, but the country's new government will have Kashmiris in vital positions — beginning with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself. Sharif, 63, who was sworn in for a historic third term on Wednesday, belongs to a family that migrated to Amritsar from South Kashmir's Anantnag district in the beginning of the last century. Sharif's close confidant Ishaq Dar, and influential PML (N) leader Khawaja Asif — both of whom are likely to get important positions in the new government — too have roots in Kashmir. 'My father would always tell me that we are from Anantnag. We had migrated to Amritsar from there for business', Sharif told this correspondent in his office in Lahore's Model Town last month where he sat with his key associates tracking the results of the election. 'And my mother's family came from Pulwama'.
  32. ^ https://www.thenews.com.pk/assets/front/pdf/MRK20181.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  33. ^ "Ayaz Sadiq: Yet another Arain legislator wins from Lahore". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 17 February 2018.