The People in the Valley of Kashmir
Kashmir is a beautiful valley (also called “The Vale of Kashmir”) which lies in the Northern tip of India, nestled between the scintillating western Himalayan Mountains. The term ‘Kashmiri’ refers to those immigrants mainly from Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Afghanistan, who settled in the valley of Kashmir. The populationis primarily of the conservative Islamic faith, so the Muslim “Call to Prayer” rings aloud from mosque-tops five times a day across the valley. They are socially friendly folk who gather in the evenings as families to drink local salt tea “namkeen chai” while discussing their daily lives and their Islamic faith.
The majority of Kashmiri people live in rural areas. About 90% are Sunni Muslims and 10% Shia. Most of the non-Muslim Kashmiri Pandits migrated to other parts of India during the 1990’s militancy. Their common language is “Kashmiri.” Other non-Kashmiri groups living in the Valley include Gujjars, Balti, Pathan, Lhasan Muslims, Kargili Shia Muslims, and Ladakhi Buddhists.
The people are deeply rooted in their traditions and Islamic beliefs. Historically it’s not easy to uplift them using the philosophies and lifestyle that has helped the modern world.