Koshur is the language of the Kashmir region. It is the official language of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. According to statistics, there are around 5 million Kashmiri or Koshur speaking population in and around the Kashmir belt. Koshur is the language used for all government and administrative purposes and also the regional language of the valley. It is also one of the 22 languages laid down in the constitution of India that grant it the official status in our country.
Since the valley is a disputed zone, it was not long till 2008 that the residents of Kashmir were made compulsory to learn the language as part of their education. Kashmir has been a state with endless disputes and controversies since long. Various people from across different zones have always tried to cast influences in the region.
UPSC Mains Kashmiri Syllabus Paper – I
Answers must be written in Kashmiri
Section – A
1. Genealogical relationship of the Kashmiri language: various theories.
2. Areas of occurrence and dialects (geographical/social)
3. Phonology and grammar:
i. Vowel and consonant system;
ii. Nouns and pronouns with various case inflections;
iii. Verbs: various types and tenses.
4. Syntactic structure:
i. Simple , active and declarative statements;
Section – B
- Kashmiri literature in the 14th century (Socio-cultural and intellectual background with special reference to Lal Dyad and Sheikhul Alam)
- Nineteenth century Kashmiri literature (development of various genres: vatsun; ghazal; and mathnavi).
- Kashmiri literature in the first half of the twentieth century (with special reference to Mahjoor and Azad; various literary influences).
- Modern Kashmiri literature (with special refernece to the development of the short story, drama, novel and nazm).
UPSC Mains Kashmiri Syllabus Paper – II
Answers must be written in Kashmiri.
Section – A
1. Intensive study of Kashmiri poetry upto the nineteenth century:
i) Lal Dyad
ii) Sheikhul Aalam
iii) Habba Khatoon
2. Kashmiri poetry: 19th Century
i) Mahmood Gami (Vatsans)
ii) Maqbool Shah (Gulrez)
iii) Rasool Mir (Ghazals)
iv) Abdul Ahad Nadim (N’at)
v) Krishanjoo Razdan (Shiv Lagun)
vi) Sufi Poets (Text in Sanglaab, published by the Deptt. of Kashmiri, University of Kashmir)
3. Twentieth Century Kashmiri poetry (text in Azich Kashir Shairi,published by the Deptt. of Kashmiri, University of Kashmir)
4. Literary criticism and research work: development and various trends.
Section – B
1. An analytical study of the short story in Kashmiri.
i) Afsana Majmu’a, published by the Deptt. of Kashmiri, University of Kashmir.
ii) Kashur Afsana Az, published by the Sahitya Akademi
iii) Hamasar Kashur Afsana, published by the Sahitya Akademi
The following short story writers only: Akhtar Mohi-ud-Din, Kamil, Hari Krishan Kaul, Hraday Kaul Bharti, Bansi Nirdosh, Gulshan Majid.
2. Novel in Kashmiri:
i) Mujrim by G.N. Gowhar
ii) Marun-Ivan Ilyichun, (Kashmiri version of Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Iiyich (Published by Kashmiri Deptt).
3. Drama in Kashmiri
i) Natuk Kariv Band, by Hari Krishan Kaul
ii) OK Angy Natuk, ed. Motilal Keemu. published by Sahitya Akademi.
iii) Razi Oedipus, tr. Naji Munawar, published by Sahitya Akademi.
4. Kashmiri Folk Literature:
i) Kashur Luki Theatre by Mohammad Subhan Bhagat, published by Deptt. of Kashmiri, University of Kashmir.
ii) Kashiry Luki Beeth (all volumes) published by the J & K Cultural Academy.
IAS aspirants who are targeting UPSC Exam may check the linked article.
Important facts about Kashmiri language
The language is not just spoken in the native state of Jammu and Kashmir, but many migrants who have fled India and living in Pakistan also speak the language for communication. The Kashmiri language is grouped under a different category, it comes under the Indo European Dadric community of languages.
It also has a significant history branching out from the Indo Iranian division. Though its cultural roots stick to the Sanskrit language norms, a part of it can be seen representing the Indo Iranian norms as well. In particular, they resemble the Shina languages in larger parts.
So Kashmiri can broadly be said to be under the influence of Sanskrit language, Shina language and Persian language too. One of the most popular dialects of the Kashmiri language is the Kishtawari language. A good linguistic researcher or scholar can explain and go in depth about how these three languages have cast their influences on the source kashmiri language.
The differences and variants in vowels, consonants and other grammatical aspects tell us that they have peculiar features that are quite different from other native Indian languages in many aspects. Not just in grammatical terms, the sounds made from typical vowels and consonants of Kashmiri are very different from Indian languages.
The earliest known literature history that was recorded in the Kashmiri language was in the 12th century. It is also interesting to note that Dadric languages don’t have a specific literature to themselves. Kashmiri is an exception in this regard. The most flowing, beautifully expressed and loveable form of literature found in Kashmiri is the poetic form.
Various poets in all period of time have experimented with various poetic forms. One of the earliest poets in Kashmiri literature was a woman. Such was the liberation of Kashmiri women at the time, which gradually declined over the ages. She has delivered some of the most dramatic poetries of her age and they live every Kashmiri woman’s dream till date.
One of the most fascinating portions of her poems is that they didn’t cater to a specific caste, creed, religion or community. They tended to Hindus as much as to Muslims and to educated scholars and agricultural farmers alike. She expressed sensitivity in her writing and made it touch every reader’s heart alike.
Around the 18th century, the Persians cast a greater influence on Kashmiri literature making it vulnerable to become a blended literature of sorts. Thus came along famous Ghazals and epic love tales and personalities that are referred to, even today. Songs catering to cinema became a trend in the 20th century and there has been tremendous contribution from Kashmiri language in this regard.
The written script of the Kashmiri language is claimed to be in Sharada script by some and others as Perso-Arabic script. Hindu scholars have strived hard to bring back the source script of the Kashmiri language, which they claim is in the Devanagari script. The grammar of the Kashmiri language resembles the English language too.