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Kashmiri: from the paradise on earth

Brief Description

Kashmiri has an interesting linguistic history. Like the other North Indian languages, it branched off the Indo-Aryan Sanskrit, but had another ancestor before that the Shina languages of the Indo-Iranian family.

But when mighty Sanskrit came, Shina was thickly overlaid. From about the 14th century, medieval Persian too started creeping into Kashmiri. With such foreign influences, the language boasts of peculiarities like certain vowel and consonant sounds which no other Indian language has. Kishtawari is the most popular dialect of Kashmiri.

Regions where spoken

It is a northern Indo-Aryan language spoken primarily in the valley of Kashmir, a region situated mostly in the Indian Jammu and Kashmir state. It has about 4,611,000 speakers. While Kashmiri belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family of languages, it is sometimes placed in a geographical sub-grouping called Dardic. It is one of the 23 officially recognised languages of India


Kashmiri has remained a spoken language up to the present times, though some manuscripts were written in the past in the Sharada script, and then in Perso-Arabic script. Currently, Kashmiri is written in either the Perso-Arabic script (with some modifications) or the Devanagari script. The earliest literary composition in Kashmiri that has survived is the poetry of Lalleshvari, a 14th century mystic poetess.

Important Writers or Works

The literary history of Kashmiri, beginning from 12th century AD, is equally interesting. Poetry is the key word, with writers experimenting with different forms of it in all ages.
Anyway, contrary to what happened in other literatures (or rather what has been recorded of them), the first great Kashmiri writer was a woman.

She was everybodys favourite Lal Dad or Granny Lal. Her sensitivity and mysticism in the verses Vaakh appealed to each alike, Hindu and Muslim, scholar and peasant. Other works of this formative phase (till about 1555 AD), though not as brilliant as Lal Dads, are Shrukhs of Sheikh Noor-ud-din, Mahanay Prakash of Shiti Kantha, Banasura Katha of Bhatavatar and Sukhadukhacharitam of Ganaka Prashasta.

Other details

The primary official language of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is not Kashmiri, but Urdu.

Source: www.wikipedia.com , www.bhashaindia.com , www.kashmir-information.com

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