Kashmiri, Muslim traditions in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Kashmiri live in Kashmir State in northwestern India. Kashmir is a breathtaking region located in the western Himalayan Mountains. Unfortunately, this is a highly disputed area. It has been a battleground between India, Pakistan, and China since the partition of the India and Pakistan in 1947.

When India and Pakistan were divided, Kashmir was given the choice of siding with either of the two countries. Since the ruling class was Hindu, they sided with India. However, most of the people were Muslims and felt more alliance to Pakistan. Today, parts of Kashmir are controlled by India, parts by Pakistan, and parts by China; and fierce fighting continues among the three.

More than ninety percent of Kashmir is mountainous. It includes the Karakorum Range, which contains K2, the second highest peak in the world. Most of the region is under snow and glaciers all year due to its extreme elevation.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kashmiri primarily live in rural regions; only about one-fifth live in cities. They are descendants of Indo-Aryan immigrants and are generally tall, fair skinned, and have features like the people of Central Asia.

Most of the Kashmiri are peasant farmers. They raise rice, wheat, maize, barley, lentils, and fruits such as apples, peaches, and apricots. The lakes of Kashmir supply many fish and water chestnuts. Sheep, goats, and yaks are raised at higher elevations. These flocks produce cashmere, a rich wool that is also very popular in the West. The men primarily tend to the farms, and the women usually stay home and tend to the household chores.

Because most Kashmiri villages lie in such remote areas, festival celebrations and pilgrimages to shrines are times for uniting the communities. The villagers enjoy gathering around a fire and sharing folk tales or ballads. They also enjoy music and dancing. Cricket and soccer have become some of their favorite sports.

Extended families commonly live together. Their house styles vary with the elevation. In mountainous areas where there is much snow, the roofs are triangular and steep. Houses in the rural valley regions often have storage areas for grain, fodder, fuel, wood, leaves, charcoal, and dried dung. All of these materials are necessary when winter conditions become severe. The homes are usually built out of stone, brick, thatch, and timber.

The Kashmiri are very hospitable people and enjoy entertaining guests over tea. Their diet is similar to that of other Indians. Wood, dung, and kerosene are the main sources of fuel for cooking.

In addition to farming, many of the Kashmiri are skilled crafters of wood furniture, wool carpets, and sweaters. Industrial development is limited in Kashmir, but the large number of timber forests and rivers are used for producing hydro-electric power. Tourism is also an important industry, although it has declined in recent years because of the violence in the region.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most of the Kashmiri are devout Sunni Muslims, who follow a strict code of conduct. Their civilization has been heavily influenced by Muslim mystics and Persian culture. Only a small minority are Hindus.

The Kashmiri Muslims are convinced that the Bible is wrong because it contradicts the Koran. Those who convert to Christianity are viewed as immoral, degenerate people; Christians in this region are often persecuted. Many Kashmiri have heard of Jesus Christ, but view him merely as a prophet and teacher.

What Are Their Needs?

Today, there are less than 1,000 known Kashmiri believers. The Islamic stronghold over them will only be broken down through prayer. These precious people who live in a highly volatile area of the world need to meet the Prince of Peace.

Prayer Points

* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies focusing on the Kashmiri.
* Pray that the God will give the Kashmiri believers boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to deliver the Christians in Kashmir from persecution.
* Pray for the effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Kashmiri.
* Ask God to soften the Kashmiri hearts towards the Gospel of Christ.
* Pray that God will give these precious people a revelation of who Jesus truly is: their Lord and Christ.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Kashmiri Church for the glory of His name!

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-09-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-10-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-08-21
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-10-21
Global Prayer Digest: 2012-05-11
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-30
Video Links:
The Forgiver
People Name General Kashmiri, Muslim traditions
People Name in Country Kashmiri, Muslim traditions
Population in India 7,402,000
World Population 8,674,000
Countries 2
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Kashmiri-Punjabi, Keshur, Khoja, Mansoori, Mansoori Muslim, Shia Imami Ismaili
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  31  (up to 20 largest shown)
Jammu and Kashmir (7,279,000) Himachal Pradesh (84,000) Delhi (19,000) Punjab (4,300)
Uttar Pradesh (3,200) Maharashtra (2,900) Haryana (2,900) Uttarakhand (2,300)
Rajasthan (1,400) Chandigarh (1,000) Madhya Pradesh (900) Jharkhand (300)
Bihar (300) Tamil Nadu (300) West Bengal (200) Gujarat (200)
Chhattisgarh (200) Karnataka (200) Telangana (200) Assam (100)
Total States on file:  31  (up to 20 largest shown)
Jammu and Kashmir (7,279,000) Himachal Pradesh (84,000)
Delhi (19,000) Punjab (4,300)
Uttar Pradesh (3,200) Maharashtra (2,900)
Haryana (2,900) Uttarakhand (2,300)
Rajasthan (1,400) Chandigarh (1,000)
Madhya Pradesh (900) Jharkhand (300)
Bihar (300) Tamil Nadu (300)
West Bengal (200) Gujarat (200)
Chhattisgarh (200) Karnataka (200)
Telangana (200) Assam (100)
Languages & Dialects on file:  18  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kashmiri (5,426,000) Urdu (1,032,000) Gujari (419,000) Dogri (135,000)
Balti (44,000) Bhadrawahi (35,000) Purik (30,000) Pashto, Northern (29,000)
Shina (22,000) Khowar (14,000) Ladakhi (1,900) Panjabi, Eastern (1,100)
Hindko, Northern (800) Chambeali (700) Zangskari (700) Chilisso (100)
Kohistani, Indus (100) Nepali
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kashmiri 5,426,000 Urdu 1,032,000
Gujari 419,000 Dogri 135,000
Balti 44,000 Bhadrawahi 35,000
Purik 30,000 Pashto, Northern 29,000
Shina 22,000 Khowar 14,000
Ladakhi 1,900 Panjabi, Eastern 1,100
Hindko, Northern 800 Chambeali 700
Zangskari 700 Chilisso 100
Kohistani, Indus 100 Nepali
For Primary Language: Kashmiri

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1813-1954)
New Testament Yes   (1813-2000)
Complete Bible Yes   (1899-2005)
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
General Ministry Resources Audio Recordings
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Kashmiri Film / Video
Kashmiri Language Film Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
Oral Bible stories in Kashmiri Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Matt Brandon   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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