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Category: History

"White spots" of ethnic processes in Kashmir



a. I. Kogan

"WHITE SPOTS"

ETHNIC PROCESSES IN KASHMIR

The ethnic history of Kashmir still remains almost not studied. Kashmir and the regions of the Western Himalayas and East Hindu Kush adjoining to it are among the most difficult areas of Asia in the ethnic relation. It is very probable that in many respects for this reason the sharpest ethnic (and not separable from them political) region problems still did not find the permission. Moreover, on our deep belief, emergence of these problems was a consequence of ignorance of a real ethnocultural situation. Owing to this ignorance the politicians operating Kashmir, at first British, and then Indian, quite often pursued the incorrect and unreasoned policy which became at the same time the reason of problems and the main obstacle for their permission.

In popular belief, the Kashmir problem arose after the partition of the British India in 1947 and the decision of the Hindu governor of the principality Jammu and Kashmir on accession to India which followed it. However roots of the conflict lie much more deeply, than many think. They should be looked for in the policy pursued in the region Great Britain in the 19th century when Kashmir (area with almost completely Muslim population) was sold to the Hindu maharaja of the neighboring mountain Principality of Jammu therefore new political education - the principality Jammu and Kashmir appeared. Perhaps, the British quite sincerely believed that similar actions increase their popularity among Kashmireans, the last were considered as descendants of the Hindus who are once violently turned into Islam and, predictably, had to see in the colonial authorities of reducers of historical justice.

Results of such policy were opposite to expected. The principality Jammu and Kashmir already during the colonial period turned into an instability zone. Up to 1947 it pre-

History and present, No. 1, March, 2008 99-112

happened in a condition of the hidden ethnic and religious conflict. Sometimes the conflict took the obvious forms. So, in 19311932 Kashmir was covered by a popular uprising which could suppress the colonial authorities only by means of aircraft. History testifies to a failure of the British policy in Kashmir. But what policy could be successful? The answer to this question is still not found, and Kashmir continues to remain planet "hot spot". Meanwhile search of the decision is vital as the Kashmir conflict which long ago became international can develop into war with consequences, perhaps, fatal to all planet.

It is represented indisputable that no solution can be found without profound knowledge of an ethnic and cultural situation in Kashmir. In other words, it is necessary to answer a question: what is represented by Kashmireans ethnically and superetnichesk? The authorities, both British, and Indian, considered and continue to consider Kashmireans as the people belonging to the Indian civilization. But failures of the English and Indian policy force to doubt fidelity of this point of view. Until recently at our disposal there was no developed methodology for a research of similar problems, however now sotsioyestestvenny history (SEI) can offer such methodology.

In the history of Kashmir a number of the interesting facts attracts attention. The most known of them - the sharp and profound changes in culture taking place in the Middle Ages. Most brightly they were shown, perhaps, in the sphere of religion. Distribution of Islam was characteristic of all medieval Northern India, however this process did not come as far, as in Kashmir anywhere. In the 20th century about 95% of its inhabitants were made by Muslims, and Islamization process, apparently, generally came to the end already in the late Middle Ages. (Within the last two centuries of a little noticeable increase in a share of the Muslim population it is noted.) This fact seems even more surprising if to consider that distribution of Islam in Kashmir began rather late.

Exact dating of the beginning of distribution of Islam will be possible only after a careful research of history of Kashmir at the end of the 12th and 13th centuries. This period, is very fragmentary lit -

ny in chronicles, still remains almost unexplored. There is a mention of existence in Kashmir of Muslims in the book by Marco Polo: "Local people of animals do not kill and do not shed blood; and when will want to eat meat, it is so necessary that the saratsina living in the same place filled animals" (Marco Polo 269). Earlier era is in details described by the poet and the chronicler of the 12th century Kalkhana in the court chronicle Radzhatarangini. To assume mass Islamization for this time there are no bases.

The first the Muslim dynasty of Kashmir, known from historical sources, came to the power in the 14th century. It means that Islamization was the latest in comparison with other areas of Northwest India here. The next Pandzhab is controlled Muslim dynasties from the beginning of the 11th century, and Sind is won by Arabs at the beginning of the 8th century. However neither in Pandzhab, nor in Sinda Islam did not extend as widely as in Kashmir, - at the beginning of the 40th of the 20th century (just before the partition of the British India) Muslims made about 57% of the population of Pandzhab, and in Sinda their share hardly exceeded 70%. (Counted on: Census... 1941.)

Change of belief was followed by changes in many other spheres of culture. Hardly somewhere in the Southern Asia these changes were more radical, than in Kashmir. Affected by them was not only a spiritual culture, for example folklore where the plots borrowed from Iran and Central Asia but also material culture, for example clothes extended. Historians already noted the fact of change of breed of clothes in Kashmir with arrival of Islam (see, for example: Bamzai 1973: 511). The mass character was characteristic of cultural changes in Kashmir: they affected all population groups. Results of these processes it is available and today. The rare foreigner visiting the Kashmir valley cannot get off a stay impression on the Middle East or in Central Asia and is struck with striking cultural differences of locals from other Indians.

The mechanism and the reasons of the cultural and historical processes proceeding in medieval Kashmir still remain obscure. Repeatedly attempts to explain these processes with action of a number of factors, the general for all medieval Northern India became. Among them usually called political instability during the late domusulmansky period, appeal of Islam with its egalitaristsky installations for Hindus of the lowest castes and not -

prikasayemy, vigorous missionary activity of Muslim preachers-sufiyev and also policy of the ruling circles which were in every possible way encouraging transition to new religion, and sometimes and spreading in its violent way (Bash2a1 1973).

All these explanations, however, do not seem convincing: they leave not clear the reasons of a deep originality of a religious and cultural situation in Kashmir. Really, it is necessary to ask a question: why action of the listed factors characteristic of the most part of the Southern Asia, had in Kashmir consequences absolutely others, than in other areas of the subcontinent?

"Firmness" of the Indian cultural tradition, its ability to successfully resist to Muslim influence were repeatedly noted by researchers-indianists. So, A.E. Snesarev wrote: "... in protection of itself and self-preservation throughout India the Hinduism was very strong: it overcame at the time the Buddhism and forced out it for the snow line of the Himalayas, brilliantly coped with Islam and without effort maintains a Christianity impact." (Snesarev 1981: 68). The same is noted also by other researchers: "For a number of reasons in India there was no continuous Islamization as it was in some countries of the Middle East earlier. the considerable role in that was played by big stability of the traditional religious and philosophical and ethical representations of Hinduism remaining even at the Hindus who accepted Moslem" (the History of India. 1968: 371).

Not accidentally Northern India is if not the only thing, then one of very few regions of the world where, despite centuries-old political domination of Muslims, Islam did not become the dominating religion. Absolutely other succession of events in Kashmir, certainly, demands an explanation, and an explanation special, other that were brought for other India. Besides, it should be noted that within the traditional point of view not explained are changes stated above out of the religious sphere.

Not study of an initial stage of distribution of Islam in Kashmir is realized by a number of modern scientists. They point also to its insufficient reflection in medieval historical documents and also on need of studying the social and economic and social and political reasons of Islamization

(see, for example: Pandit n. d.). In our opinion, the first step in a research of this problem the search in other areas of the Southern Asia at least of partial analogs the historical and cultural processes considered become higher owes. The only region where the religious situation in the Latest time is in many respects similar to the Kashmir, the extreme northwest of the former British India - Balochistan and Northwest Boundary province is. In these areas which are nowadays occupying the western part of Pakistan, the share of Muslims in the middle of the 20th century exceeded 90%:. However there religious changes were accompanied by ethnic and language. In the Northwest Boundary province (its flat part in the ancient time entered the North Indian Gandhara area) in the 14-15th centuries the intensive replacement and assimilation of the local Indo-Aryan community moving ahead from the South Pashtun plemenami2 took place.

Similar processes, apparently, proceeded also in the Province of Balochistan. Tribes of beludzhy migrated on its territory in the Middle Ages from Iran, having assimilated a considerable part of locals. The Dobeludzhsky population in the ethnic and language relation was very motley. In the west of Balochistan (in the historic Area of Makran) it was, most likely, to iranoyazychny, though not identical beludzha. In the north (in Sulaiman Range) as it was already told, Pushtuns lived. The central Balochistan was inhabited (and partly inhabits still) by dravidiysky nationality of a bragua. In east areas spoke, most likely, Indo-Aryan language of Sindhi, the certificate of what is extremely strong influence of the last on vostochnobeludzhsky dialects. Thus, for East Balochistan in the Middle Ages there are bases to assume the ethnic processes similar to that in the Northwest Boundary province.

1 Later data are not provided to us indicative. It is known that after the partition of the British India the rapid and radical changes in the religious structure of the population caused by mass migration of Muslims to Pakistan and almost universal resettlement of Hindus and Sikhs to India took place. The religious situation which developed so far, thus, reflects recent demographic processes, and not cultural and historical changes proceeding in the region for centuries.
2 To X ІІІ-H_a of centuries the Pushtuns lived in the basic near Sulaiman Range - mountain area in the north of present Pakistani Balochistan. In H_U-Hou ІІІ centuries active resettlement of Pashtun tribes on the extensive territory within modern Afghanistan and Pakistan happened.

The obvious similarity of a modern cultural and religious situation in Balochistan and the Northwest Boundary province, on the one hand, and in Kashmir - with another, allows to raise a question of possible proximity of factors under the influence of which these situations developed. The ethnic history of Kashmir, both Muslim, and domusulmansky, is studied extremely poorly. Partly it is explained by specifics of historical documents (first of all, it is court chronicles). However even not numerous indirect evidence which is contained in them allows to assume that already in the early Middle Ages the ethnic structure of the population of the Kashmir valley differed in complexity, in particular, also ethnic migrations were the cause for what. The hypothesis of existence in Kashmir of the 10-12th centuries of the tibeto-Burmese ethnic element which emergence is caused by immigration from the East was made, for example, (Selivanova 1985). As it will be shown below, a number of the facts indirectly indicates existence in many respects of similar processes and in later time. In other words, we see a sufficient reason to assume that the radical cultural changes in Kashmir described above were a consequence not only of actually cultural and historical processes, how many processes ethnic and demographic, namely: full (or, more precisely, almost full) changes of ethnic structure of the population of the Kashmir valley in the Middle Ages. Check of a hypothesis is represented to us a subject of future researches, however the separate facts supporting it are available at our disposal already now. These facts are under authority of different sciences that still interfered with their consideration in total and by that, unfortunately, studying ethnic history of Kashmir complicated. In the work rest we will try to show that a number of the phenomena between which up to the latest time the researchers did not find any communication in fact can have one general reason, namely the ethnic processes assumed by us.

The Middle Ages were for Kashmir era of big changes not only in culture, but also in relationship of the person and the nature. The last centuries of domusulmansky history of Kashmir which are in details reflected in the sanskritoyazychny chronicle Radzhatarangini were characterized by almost ongoing series of bloody internal wars. It is represented quite obvious that nearly

the acute shortage of land resources, characteristic of the country, which was already noted by researchers is the main deep reason of these wars (Selivanova 1983; 1985). Civil strifes were peculiar demographic regulators. They reduced the demographic pressure upon the earth during those periods when the population exceeded a certain threshold. In the Kashmir valley representing the hollow clamped between the Small and Big Himalayas, land hunger was a serious problem at all times, and civil strifes were though cruel, but its effective solution. The situation, however, considerably changes during the Muslim period. Internal wars during this era become more rare, they stop being the most characteristic feature of history of the country though the separate periods of political instability nevertheless are noted. Apparently, Kashmireans found some other way of overcoming demographic crises.

This fact can hardly be explained only with change of religion. Murder of the brother in faith, really, is considered a grave sin for the Muslim, however, despite this, civil wars were not rare in the Muslim world at all. Whether there can be a change in methods of the solution of environmental problems connected with change not only beliefs, but also the ethnic structure of the population? Researches in the field of sotsioyestestvenny history showed that relationship of ethnic group and the containing landscape is in indissoluble communication with ethnic collective unconscious (mentality) (see: Kulpin 1996; 1999). Therefore the assumption of rapid and cardinal change of mentality of Kashmireans in the Middle Ages can seem logical. However, according to SEI, the mentality of ethnic group (and superethnic group) differs in extreme conservatism and its full change is almost improbable. Much more plausible other hypothesis is represented to us: the migrant ethnic group which settled in Kashmir could bring with itself not only new religion (Islam), but also own original experience of interaction with the environment.

The indirect data testifying in favor of change of ethnic structure of the population in medieval Kashmir are provided to us and by linguistics (see: Gryunberg, Edelman 1999; Edelman 1983; Grierson 1919; Morgenstieme 1926; Kogan 2005). Kashmiri belongs to a dardsky branch of Aryan (Indo-Iranian) group of Indo-European language family. Its the next

relatives are the languages widespread in mountainous areas to the North and the northwest from Kashmir. At the same time, however, in its dictionary the set of loans from the certain language of Indo-Aryan group close to Northern Pandzhab's languages and the Western Himalayas adjoining Kashmir from the South and the southeast is found. This fact for a long time noted by researchers is represented, nevertheless, difficult to explain. Any Indo-Aryan language is not widespread in the Kashmir valley now. The small Himalaya ridge limiting this valley from the South most often was not only a physiographic, but also political boundary. Cross-border contacts of Kashmir with the southern neighbors though existed for centuries, but nevertheless were rather limited. In any case, their existence, undoubtedly, cannot serve as a satisfactory explanation of existence in language of Kashmiri of huge layer of Indo-Aryan loans some of which are found even in basic vocabulary: Indo-Aryan languages of Northern Pandzhab and the Western Himalayas of a bespismenna and always were only languages of oral household communication. It does not allow to explain inflow of considerable number of the Indian elements to Kashmiri with big prestigiousness of languages - sources of loans.

the Only consistent explanation for us the assumption that in Kashmir once spoke one of Indo-Aryan languages which is forced out subsequently by the dardsky language brought by immigrants is submitted to

Speaking about Indo-Aryan loans in Kashmiri, it is necessary to pay attention to one rather interesting fact. A considerable part of economic terminology, in particular some main rice-growing terms by origin is Indo-Aryan. So, designations of not collected, growing in the field rice

(yoash) and boiled rice (A1; O) find numerous etymological parallels in the Indian languages at almost total absence of any communications in dardsky. It is known that rice growing always was key industry of agriculture of Kashmir.

In the Kashmir valley cultivate 412 grades of rice, 277 of which - domestic. Researchers point to antiquity of culture of rice in the valley. The second of the words cited here (A1; O) ime-

et compliances in several languages of dardsky group. However it is known that all these languages, like Kashmiri, were exposed to quite strong Indo-Aryan influence. Rice growing does not practice in areas of their distribution that allows to assume with very high probability loan of names of rice from the Indian source (Pulyarkin 1956; 1967). All this does extremely improbable loan of designations of rice by the native population which often consider modern Kashmireans.

Language data correspond in very interesting way to historical. According to historians, the first Muslim dynasty of Kashmir governing in XIV - the beginning of the 16th centuries, was based by the native of the Matchmaker area. This area which is located in a northern mountain part of the present Northwest Boundary province of Pakistan is inhabited today generally by Pushtuns. However up to the 16th century its population spoke languages of dardsky group (most likely, on several of them). One of these languages was, most likely, native for the first Kashmir sultan. Residents of the most remote regions of the Matchmaker (on headwaters of the river of the same name) dardoyazychna and now. Their languages find special proximity with Kashmiri language. Degree of this proximity still should be established. It will become possible only when on languages of the Mountain Matchmaker and adjacent areas material, sufficient on volume, is available. For this purpose, in turn, carrying out in the region of long and intensive field researches is necessary.

The hypothesis of change of ethnic structure of the population of Kashmir sheds light on some facts of physical anthropology which did not find still satisfactory explanation. It is known that the racial type of modern Kashmireans considerably differs from that at residents of ancient Kashmir. Already attempts to explain this fact with mass inflow to the Kashmir valley of immigrants to the Middle Ages became (Pulyarkin 1956). Immigration from Central Asia, Iran and present Afghanistan (Guseva 1988) is sometimes supposed what is represented to us improbable. Certainly, in the conditions of extremely intensive trade and cultural contacts of these regions with Muslim Kashmir certain resettlements were possible, however they could hardly accept mass character: the considerable geographical remoteness of the valley and its inaccessibility were a serious hindrance for mass mi-

gration. Immigration from the mountain areas, next to Kashmir, is much more probable in the north.

It is remarkable that the racial type inherent in most of Kashmireans (high growth, a strong constitution, light skin, sometimes gray eyes), so unusual to the Southern Asia, meets practically on all Pamiro-Gindukushsky region, including also the valley of the Matchmaker. Anthropological distinctions among Kashmireans also find an acceptable explanation within the hypothesis offered by us. The residents of Kashmir professing Hinduism form small community, a component no more than 5% of the population of the valley, and are called "the Kashmir pundits". They differ from Muslim Kashmireans in lower growth and more swarty skin color and can be lineal descendants of the domusulman-sky population of the Kashmir valley which kept religion of ancestors during an era of Muslim domination and owing to this fact avoided assimilation with newcomers-dardami, though apprehended language of the last. Not accidentally "the Kashmir pundits" find a certain racial similarity to the Indo-Aryan population of the Western Himalayas living to the southeast from Kashmir. It should be noted, however, that all provisions of a predvaritelna stated here and need careful check as the anthropological type characteristic of "the Kashmir pundits" is found also in Muslims though is not prevailing.

Mass immigration from the North, apparently, was promoted by a situation in Kashmir on the eve of arrival of Islam. Long continuous civil wars had to lead not only to military weakening of the country, but also to reduction of population. It must be kept in mind that demographic consequences of civil strifes could not be identical to the different Areas of Kashmir. It is known that the unevenness of settling is characteristic of the Kashmir valley. The floodplain of the Dzhelam River is most densely inhabited. It is the traditional area of jellied rice growing. Economically it is most developed, however on the area is small. On the extensive plateaus surrounding the floodplain (in geographical literature for them the name of a karev is accepted) and also on slopes of the Small and Big Himalayas the population density considerably decreases. Rice growing on a karev does not practice. The main crop is corn now. (Is more detailed about

economic distinctions and features of accommodation of the population of the Kashmir valley see: Pulyarkin 1956; 1967.)

As and in domusulmansky Kashmir and, apparently, the most inhabited rice-growing areas were the most developed, it is necessary to recognize that reduction of number of inhabitants was the most notable, most likely, in mountains and on a karev. Almost full desolation had to become result of internal wars for these sparsely populated areas, and some of their parts could become deserted simply.

The devastated country could not but become "tidbit" for northern neighbors. In the narrow mountain valleys of East Hindu Kush and Karakorum located to the North and the northeast of Kashmir, overpopulation and land hunger became the burning issue periodically. In the 19th century frequent conflicts because of the earth between the next communities, and here and there and such phenomena as robbery and a slave trade were a consequence of it (Pulyarkin 1956). Also the situation in the valley of Swat River was similar. Here the deficiency of lands quite often forced farmers to plow up even patrimonial cemeteries that on representations of Muslims was blasphemy (Romo dynes 1959). Today remains not clear whether there was a demographic and land crisis it is characteristic of prigindukushsky areas during the era (13-14th centuries) interesting us. To find out it, from our point of view, future researches in the field of sotsioyestestvenny history have to help. However consequences of a hypothetical crisis situation can try to be depicted already now. For inhabitants of the close, overpopulated gorges of Hindu Kush the extensive and sparsely populated Kashmir valley had to become not less attractive, than, for example, for the Russian peasants of the 16th century of the earth of the new attached Kazan khanate (see: Kulpin 1998). Emigration from Prigindukushya to Kashmir in a similar situation could take the form of mass flight, very significant and at the same time rapid changes in the ethnic structure of the population of the Kashmir valley could not but become result of what.

It should be noted that in early Muslim Kashmir a number of the political events which created favorable conditions for the demographic processes assumed by us took place. It is known that, since the second half of the 14th century (since zavoye-

vaniye of the Kashmir sultan Shikhab - ud - Dyne), a considerable part of East Hindu Kush was a part of Kashmir (Baag_8_ap-_-8aY of the item ^). We have no exact data on earlier period, however the communications of Kashmir with the Matchmaker mentioned above attract attention. It is interesting also that, according to the Kashmir chronicler of the beginning of the 17th century, the author "Bakharistan-i-shakhi", in the Muslim Matchmaker (in the chronicle this area is called Svadgir) the last Hindu governor of Kashmir of Ud-yanadev disappeared from the Mongols who intruded in the country (_ іі).

In conclusion it should be noted once again that a main objective of this article is statement, but not permission of questions. A conclusion paradoxical at first sight follows from everything told by us above. Though the problem of change of culture interesting us in medieval Kashmir is considered by many as kulturnoistorichesky, cultural history, the same as, however, and history social, in itself cannot (or, in any case, still could not) propose for it the satisfactory solution. Search of such decision is possible only at close cooperation of the experts representing different sciences. Besides political history (as much as possible exact reconstruction of political events in Kashmir X ІІІ-Х^ is represented centuries to us extremely desirable) very important place among these sciences as it was shown, is occupied by physical anthropology and sravnitelnoistorichesky linguistics. A lot of things will be able to clear, undoubtedly, and attraction of data of archeology. However sotsioyestestvenny history has to tell a decisive word, in our opinion. Today we see three major directions of sotsioyestest-venny researches of Kashmir (and also a number of adjacent areas) which results can appear the problem put by us defining at permission:

1) studying demographic processes in Kashmir of the late pre-Islamic period and extent of impact on these processes political (internal wars) and natural factors;
2) a research of climate changes in the Pamiro-Gindukushsky region in X ІІ-Х^ centuries and the impacts of these changes on economy and demography;
3) study in comparative aspect of interaction of the person and the nature in domusulmansky and Muslim Kashmir.

However even if the hypothesis stated by us will find confirmation, it will not mean the solution of all main problems of sotsioyestestvenny history of Kashmir at all. At the beginning of work we specified that the most difficult and at the same time a question most relevant now is the question of super-ethnic origin of Kashmireans. The established fact of change of ethnic structure of the population of the Kashmir valley in itself will not answer this question. More likely, he will make possible more exact statement of a problem. Among the main objectives in this case there will be a studying SEI of the Pamiro-Gindukushsky ethnocultural region with which as we assume, ancestors of modern Kashmireans are connected. Researches in this area are, in our opinion, a necessary condition for identification of a system of basic values of the modern Kashmir people, that is for permission of the main question raised in the real work.

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Materials of the Internet:

Baharistan-i-Shahi n. d. A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir translated by K. N. Pandit. http://www.kashmir-information.com/Baharistan/

Pandit, K. N. n. d. Introduction//Baharistan-i-Shahi. A Chronicle of Mediaeval Kashmir translated by K. N. Pandit. http://www.kashmir-information.com/ Baharistan/introduction.html

Francis Sanders
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