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- Preface
- Contributors
- Kashmiri and the Linguistic Predicament
- Roots, Evolution and Affinity
- The Sharada Script
- The Dogri Language
- Gujari Language
- Sanskritic Impact
- The Balti Language
- Balti, Bodhi, Spiti & Lahuli Speeches
- Urdu in Jammu and Kashmir
- Hindi in Kashmir
- Language and Politics
- Appendix A
- Appendix B
- Appendix C
- Appendix D
- Select Bibliography
Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh - Linguistic Predicament

Edited by: P. N. Pushp and K. Warikoo
Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation
Har-Anand Publications

Kashmiri Language:
Roots, Evolution and Affinity
- S. S. Toshkhani

Dr. S. S. Toshkhani Kashmiri is a unique language in the Indian linguistic context. It is analytic like the modern Indian languages of Sanskritic stock and synthetic like the Old Indo-Aryan itself, possessing characteristics of both and at the same time having peculiarities of its own many of which are yet to be fully explored. Linguistically, its importance can hardly be overlooked because, as Siddheshwar Verma has observed, it reveals linguistic strata of various ages-"Vedic, Buddhist Sanskrit, Pali, Kharoshthi Prakrit"1. George Buhler's view that it is of the greatest importance in the study of a comparative grammar of Indo-Aryan languages2 only stresses the obvious for preserving old word-forms and also revealing how new forms took shape from old bases, Kashmiri does seem to hold the key to understanding the processes through which these languages have passed in their development before assuming their present forms.

 Grierson too appears to endorse the same point when he says that a study of the Kashmiri language is "an essential preliminary to any inquiry" regarding the "mutual relations of the modern Aryan vernaculars of India"3.

Vedic Origin

There exists a very strong evidence to support the claim that Kashmiri has descended from the Vedic speech or, as pointed out by Buhler, from "one of the dialects of which the classifical Sanskrit was formed"4. References are replete in Rig Vedic hymns to rivers and mountains which have been identified by scholars like Zimmer with definite places in Kashmir, indicating that the region was a part of the Vedic Aryan world - at least in the geographical sense. Linguistically too this fact is strongly corroborated by the presence of a large number of lexical and phonetic elements in Kashmiri that can be directly traced to Vedic sources. These include several words most commonly used in everyday speech in Kashmiri. For example, we have the Kashmiri word yodvay meaning if, what if, yet, still, nonetheless. This appears in almost the same form in the Vedic word yaduvay 5, the corresponding word for it in Sanskrit and Hindi being yadi. Similarly, the word basti, which in Kashmiri means skin, hide, bellows, is hardly different from the Vedic basti meaning goat or bastajin meaning goatskin. The Vedic word sin occurs as syun in Kashmiri meaning "a cooked vegetable", while the Vedic san appears in Kashmiri as son meaning deep. Again, the word vay which means grains in Vedic is used in Kashmiri in the same sense. From the Vedic root taksh comes the Kashmiri word tachch (to scratch, to peel, to plane, to scrape) and its derivative chchan (carpenter, Skt Ksh invariably changing to chch in Kashmiri). Several Kashmiri words have evolved from Vedic through intermediary Pali or Prakrit forms. For instance, Ksh. atsun (to enter), Pali accheti, Vedic atyeti. Similarly Vedic prastar, from which the Hindi word patthar (stone) is derived, changes through the intermediary Prakrit form pattharo to pathar or pathur in Kashmiri retaining the original sense of "on the ground" or "floor". These are but a few of the numerous examples that show how Kashmiri has preserved phonetic, semantic and even morphological elements of the Vedic speech.

 It is perhaps on the basis of such overwhelming evidence that eminent inguists like Jules Bloch, Turner, Morgenstierne, Emeneau, Siddheshwar Verma and several other scholars have pointed to the Vedic origin of Kashmiri, arriving at their conclusions after intensive research on the actual traits of the language.

 Phonetic aspects of how Kashmiri retains some of the most archaic word forms that can be traced only to the Old Indo-Aryan speech have been analysed at some length by Siddheshwar Verma. Citing word after word, Verma provides evidence on how Kashmiri shows contact with older layers of Indo-Aryan vocabulary 6. The Kashmiri word Kral (potter) derived from the Vedic Sanskrit Kulal is one of such words which he has examined in detail, taking help of Turner's Nepali dictionary. While all other modern Indo- Aryan languages, except Nepali and Sinhalese, have for it words derived from the Sanskrit kumbhakar, Kashmiri alone preserves remnants of the relatively older kulal, he points out, which appears for the first time in the Vajasneyi Samhita of the Vedas. Kumbhakar makes its appearance after the Vedic age (c.f.Monier Williams: Sanskrit-English Dictionary) and it is from this that words like Hindi Kumhar, Gujrati-Marathi kunwar and Western Pahari kumar have originated. Tomul (uncooked rice) is another word cited by him in this context, which, he says, has retained the initial ta of Sanskrit tandulam, while other modern Indo-Aryan languages generally have cha. For example, we have chawal in Hindi and Gujrati, chaul in Bengali and Oriya, chaur in Sindhi, chamal in Nepali. Retention of the original r in Kashmiri pritsh (Skt. prichcha = to ask) and prang (Skt. paryank = bed) are other notable examples, according to him, of the tendency (in Kashmiri) to preserve original phonetical elements. Kochchwu, the Kashmiri word for tortoise, he goes on to point out, indicates that the original word must have been kashyapa and not kachchapa as in Kashmiri. Skt. ksha almost invariably changes to chcha, e.g. aechchi < Skt. akshi, maechchi < Skt.

Editor's note: 'ae' is used for Greek symbol for delta (lower case). A text editor does not provide a delta.

makshika, lachch < Skt. laksha, vachch < Skt. vaksha and so on. The intermediary form derived from kashyapa, which actually occurs in the Vajsaneyi Samhita, must have been kakashapa, Verma suggests.

 Arguing along similar lines, eminent Kashmiri linguist S.K. Toshkhani goes a bit further and suggests that Kashmiri may have preserved even some pre-Vedic phonetic elements 7. Citing examples, he refers to the Kashmiri words rost and sost which correspond to Sanskrit rahit and sahit respectively. Rost and sost, he says, appear to be older than rahit and sahit, and could be pre-Vedic as the change of sa to ha is regarded a relatively later development.

Grierson's views

George A. Grierson, however, holds entirely different views on the question of affinity of Kashmiri. Disregarding the overwhelming evidence that reveals its basic Indo-Aryan character, he seeks to banish the language from the Sanskritic family, preferring instead to classify it under the Pishacha or Dardic group, which, he holds, occupies a position "intermediate between the Sanskritic language of India proper and the Eranian languages farther to their West"8. Considering Dardic languages, including the Shina- Khowar group, to have developed from the Indo-Iranian branch of Aryan, he uses the cover term Pishacha to describe them and observes that Kashmiri too shares their characteristics and so must be grouped with them. He tries to shrug off the predominance of Indo-Aryan vocabulary in Kashmiri by attributing it to a powerful influence of Indian culture and literature for over two thousand years and arguing that vocabulary alone cannot be the determining factor of the classification of a language. "Kashmiri", he concludes, "is a mixed language, having as its basis a language of the Dard group of the Pishacha family allied to Shina", explaining that by basis he means "its phonetic system, its accidence, its syntax, its prosody"9.

 Suniti Kumar Chatterji almost echoes Grierson when he observes that "the Kashmiri language is a result of very large overlaying of a Dardic base with Indo-Aryan elements''10. But neither Grierson nor Chatterji have heen able to show what this Dardic base precisely is or produce any evidence of the "over-laying". However, their conclusions have found almost uncritical acceptance by many, creating a confusion that shows no sign of abating and letting a totally erroneous view to prevail. It must be strongly asserted that Grierson's arguments and pronouncements are based on extremely flimsy evidence which has little to do with the facts of the language, and need, therefore, to be re-examined, particularly at a time when the very basis of his theory of Aryan immigration in waves is being seriously questioned. His classification of Kashmiri is overdue for rejection as seriously flawed and arbitrary.

Kashmiri and Pishachi

Grierson starts from a false premise when he equates Kashmiri with Pishachi and therefore with Dardic and Iranian, a theory that makes little linguistic sense and has even lesser basis in historical facts. His infatuation with this equation notwithstanding, there are questions which refuse to be exorcised. Were the supposed raw-flesh eating Pishacas actual speakers of Pishachi Prakrit? Were they and the inhabitants of Dardistan one and the same people historically? Both find mention in the Mahabharata and in the Rajatarangini, but in different contexts and as separate and distinct ethnic groups. Nowhere have their ethnic traits or identities overlapped or been confused with one another - something that only Grierson has attempted on the basis of far-fetched and hardly tenable evidence.

 Scholars are absolutely not sure and certainly not in agreement about the linguistic features and exact geographical area of Pishachi. Yet Grierson in his obsession to separate Kashmiri from Indo-Aryan languages extends as though with a sweep of his hand the Pishachi and hence Dardic speaking region from the Hindukush to Goa11, assuming too much and interchanging the terms Pishacha and Dard only to create a mess from which linguistic research has yet to recover. And granted for a moment they are interchangeable terms in ethnic as well as linguistic sense, is there sufficient material for one to adduce inferences about the features of Pishachi and sufficient grounds to apply these on one to one basis to Dardic larguages and equally to Kashmiri? Was Chulika Pishachi an Indo-Iranian form of speech? For answering these queries all that we have to fall back upon is what the Prakrit grammarians have to say in this regard and the stray examples they have cited in their works, for of Pishachi virtually no record exists, the great Brihatkatha of Gunadya having been completely lost.

 What we gather from Vararuchi, Hemachandra and other Prakrit grammarians boils down to but a few phonetic and morphological features with which Kashmiri has hardly anything to do. One of these is hardening of soft consonants in Pishachi as compared to Sanskrit, or the third and fourth voiced aspirated stops becoming voiceless and unaspirated. This process is nowhere in evidence in Kashmiri except in some rare cases limited to borrowings from Persian. Thus ga seldom changes to ka in Kashmiri-there being absolutely no possibility of nagar changing to nakar or gagan to gakan (examples chosen by the Prakrit grammarians to illustrate their point), nor of guru changing to kuru or gachcha to katsh. Sanskrit agni changes to agin and lagna becomes lagun (of Hindi lagna) the ga remaining strong and unchanged in initial, medial or terminal positions. Again gha is pronounced as ga but in no case does it become kha as is said to happen in Pishachi-megha > mekho is unthinkable in Kashmiri in which ghotaka > gur, ghama > gum and ghata > gati. Further, d at the end of a word does not change to t. Thus, Damodar changing to Tamotar, as shown to happen in Pishachi is absolutely impossible in Kashmiri. In fact, there are several examples of the final ta changing to da, as, for instance, in Skt. anta > Ksh and, Skt. danta > Ksh. > dand. The consonant is, however, mostly retained in Kashmiri in initial and medial positions while changing to th in the final position (rakta > rath, gati > gath, mati > math, prati > prath, shata > shath and so on.

 Also, Sanskrit ja is pronounced as za in Kashmiri and does not become cha as the rules of Pishachi phonetics would have required. Thus, jal becomes zal, jana becomes zon, jangha becomes zang, jarjar becomes zazur and ujjwal changes to wozul. In borrowings from Persian, however, ja usually remains unaltered, as in jald, janawar, jurmani, jae:hil, jang etc. Of Sanskrit ra changing to la, a frequent phenomenon occuring even before the Prakrits were evolved, there are but very few examples, the tendency to retain it as such being quite strong. For example, rajju > raz, raksha > rachh, taranam > tarun, maranam > marun, patra > vaethr, mitra > myethir, sutra > sithir, mutra > mithir and so on. Final dha is pronounced as da, loosing its aspiration, but not as tha to which it changes as in Pishachi.

 Morphologically too Kashmiri does not share any of the characteristics attributed to Pishachi. The ablative of stems ending in a is not marked by ato or atu, nor does the past- participle tva changes to tun, or thun or dun as Prakrit grammarians have laid down. Sanskrit tva invariably becomes it or ith in Kashmiri as illustrated by Kritva > karitva > karith, nutva > namayitva > naemith, mritva > marith, dhritva > darith and so on.

 As against this none of the actual linguistic traits of Kashmiri, phonetical or morphological, can be traced in Pishachi, of which examples provided by the Prakrit grammarians are the only record available. One, therefore, sees little logic in forcibly imposing on Kashmiri features of a virtually non-existent language. All that Grierson has done is to gather far-fetched examples, mostly from Dardic and Kafir languages, and attribute these to Kashmiri, claiming that rare exceptions form the rule and pronunciation of a few words (Persian borrowings) represents phonetical tendencies of the whole language. A much laboured exercise, surely, but also gross misrepresentation of facts.

Is Kashmiri a Dardic Language?

Coming to Dard languages proper, Grierson's pet theory that these together with Kashmiri and the Kafir group constitute a special branch of Indo-Iranian can hardly withstand linguistic scrutiny. Georg Morgentierne rejects it outright by maintaining that the so-called Dardic languages are in reality Indo-Aryan and not Iranian. Their word-stock is mainly Indo-Aryan and so are their basic characteristics, he contends. Morgiensterne finds Grierson to have muddled the whole issue by clubbing together the Dardic and the Kafir languages into one single group, and so he is not inclined on the basis of his own research to accept Grierson's views. "I am unable to share these views", he observes. "The Dardic languages, in contradistinction to the Kafir group, are of pure IA (Indo-Aryan) origin and go back to a form of speech closely resembling Vedic''12.

 Endorsing Morgenstierne's observations, Emeneau adds that these (Dardic) languages are Indo-Aryan but they did not pass through the MIA (Middle Indo-Aryan) development represented by the records, while on the other hand the Kafir languages (Kati, Waigali, Ashkun, Prasun and to some extent Dameli) may occupy some sort of special position"13. With Jules Bloch and Burrow too taking the line that the Dardic (Shina-Khowar group) languages have Indo-Aryan characteristics while the Kafir group may have Iranian affiliations, there is no justification for applying a different yardstick to Kashmiri. Kashmiri too is just as much Indo- Aryan as, say, Shina to which Grierson finds it allied. By confusing Pishachi with Dardic and Dardic with Kafir speeches and all these in turn with Kashmiri, Grierson has botched up the whole question of affiliation.

 We find him going to absurd lengths in trying to establish that Kashmiri has close affinity with Shina, shutting himself out from facts and displaying on]y a superficial knowledge of Dardic phonetic and morphological systems. Ironically, while he rejects vocabulary as the determining factor in the matter of linguistic classification, he starts with using this very factor as a proof for his conclusions. Of the 128 Shina words he has listed for having cognate forms in Kashmiri 14, more than 107 are unmistakably of Sanskrit origin-a fact that he chooses to conceal. Let us have a look at some of these:

English  Shina  Kashmiri  Sanskrit
acid  churko  tsok  chukra
after  phatu  pati  pashchat
army  sin  sina  sena
aunt  pafi (Hindi fufi)  poph  pitushvasr
autumn  sharo  harud  sharad
be  bo-  bov  bhu
beard  dei  daer  danshtrika
between  maji (Pkt. majjh, Hindi manjh)  manz  madhya
blue  nilo (Hindi nila)  nyul  nila
Bone atoi  aedij  asthi
bow  danu  duny  dhanush
break  put  phut  sphot
cold  shidalo  shital (the actual Kashmiri word is 'shihul')  shital
cow  go  gav  gau, gav
dance  nat  nats  nrtya
day  dez  doh  divas
death  maren  mara (marun)  maranam
dog  shu  hun  shun or shwan
dry  shuko (Hindi sukha)  hokh  shushka
ear  kon  kan  karna
eat  ko-  khe  khad
escape  much  mwkal  much, mukti
face  mukh  mwkh  mukham
far  dur  dur  duram
feet  pa  pad  pada
finger  agul  ongijy anguli
fortnight  pach  pachh  paksha
give  di (the actual word is doiki)  di  dada
gold  son  swan  swarna
grape  jach  dachh  draksha
hand  hat  athi  hasta
leaf (of a tree)  pato (Hindi 'pat')  patir  patra
learn  sich (Hindi sikh)  hechh  shikasha
lip  onti  wuth  oshtha
man manuzho  mohnyuv  manushya
meat  mos  maz  mamsa
milk  dut  dwd  dugdha
naked  nanno  non  nagna
name  nam  nav  nama
new  nowu  nov  nava
night  rati  rat(h)  ratri
old  prono  pron  puranam
plough  hal  ala-  hala
receive  lay  lab-  labh
right  dashino  dachhin  dakshina
rise  uth  woth  utishtha
sand  sigel  syakh  sikta
seed  bi  byol  bijam
silver  rup  rop(h)  raupya
sing  gai  gyav-  gayanaga
smoke  dum  dh  dhuma
smooth  pichhiliko  pishul  pichhala
sweet  moro  modur  madhuram
today  acho  az  adya
tongue  jip (Hindi jibh)  zyav  jivha
tooth  don  dand  dantah
vein  nar  nar  nadi
village  girom  gam (Pkt. gamo)  gramah
weep  ro-  riv-  rodan/ruv
woman  chai  triy  stri
write  lik-  lekh  likha
yes  awa  ava  ava

The Sanskrit Factor

It will not be difficult to see from these examples selected at random by Grierson that it is not the Dardic connection that binds Kashmiri and Shina but the affiliation of both to Sanskrit or the Old Indo-Aryan upon which they draw as the basic source for their vocabulary. Many of these, as Grierson hirmself admits, have cognate forms in other Indian languages too because of the Sanskrit factor and, therefore, these do not show any exclusive linkage between Kashmiri and Shina. It can also be easily marked that phonetic systems of the two languages operate along entirely different lines. The presence of one or two Shina loan words in Kashmiri does not go to prove anything for, as T. Graham Bailey has clearly pointed out, Shina in turn, particularly in its Guresi and Tileli dialects, has been influenced considerably by Kashmiri. The fact is that Dardic languages have borrowed heavily from Urdu/Hindi and Punjabi and have some singificant morphological similarities with these North Indian languages, while with Kashmiri they have practically none.

 Contrary to what is generally believed, there are wide differences between the linguistic traits of Kashmiri and Shina, too fundamental to be ignored. Proceeding one by one according to the criteria set up by Grierson himself for affiliation, let us see how tenable the arguments in support of grouping Kashmiri with Shina as a representative language of the Dardic group are. But before that let us have a look at some of the lexical and morphological similarities that link the Dardic speeches with other modern Indo-Aryan languages. These will be found to be of more than casual interest. Here are some lexical items from Shina and their corresponding Hindi equivalents.

Shina  Hindi  English
agar  angar  a live coal, cinder, spark
agut  angutha  thumb
ashatu  ashakt  powerless, helpless
ash  ashru, ansu  a tear
bago  bhag  part, portion, division
bar  var  husband
baris  baras  year
bachhari  bachhri  female calf
bish  vis (note the cerebrals)  poison
biz  khiti  fear
burizoiki  burna  to dip, be immersed
charku  charkha  a spinning wheel
chilu  chir  cloth
choritu  chor  thief
chushoiki  chusna  to suck
dugunia  dugna  double
dut  dudh  milk
eklu  akela  alone
gant (note the cerebral)  ghanta  hour
gur  gur  molasses
halizi  haldi  turmeric
hanz  hans  a swan
hiu  hiya  heart
jaru  jara-  old age
jinu  jivit, jina  alive/to live
kali  kalah-kari  querrelsome
kriye  kiri  anant
khen  kshan  an instant, glamoment
lash  ajja  shame
manuk  mendhak  a frog
manu  manushya, manav  a man
mos  mans  meat, flesh
musharu  mishra  mixed
mushtake  mushti, mutthi  fist
on  anna  grain, food
paku  pakka  ripe
pochi  poti  grand-daughter
rog  rog  disease
rong  rang  colour
sand  sand  a bull
sheur  shvasur, sasur  father-in-law
sheu  shvet  white
shing  sing, shring  horn
shish  shis  head
sioki  sina  to stitch, sew
tal  tal  bottom
teru  terha  crooked, bent
jo  jo  which, who that

These are but a few examples that should be sufficient to give an inkling of, how lexical items in both the languages are derived from a common source. The similarity extends to other features also. For instance, pronomial forms (first person-singular) in Shina closely resemble the corresponding Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi pronouns. The same is true of adverbs of place and of conjunctions, most of which appear to be borrowings from these languages. The Shina auxiliary and substantive verb-forms hanus, hanu, hane, haniek bear an amazing similarity to Hindi hun, hai, hain, honge. If that is the case, are we to conclude that Hindi too is a Dardic language?

Kashmiri and Shina: Phonetic Dissimilarities:

Let us go back to the dissimilarities between Kashmiri and the Dardic languages and start from their phonetic features. Though too glaring, these have never been highlighted. Some of the important differences are as follows. (1) The peculiar Kashmiri vowel sounds ae ae: i and i: do not occur in Shina and other Dardic languages, nor does Kashmiri share with them its umlaut system or "consonantal epenthesis under influence of a following vowel". In turn Kashmiri does not follow the short, very short, long, half- long vowel system of Dardic languages. (2) Almost all nasals occurring in the old Indo-Aryan exist in Shina, including the cerebral n, Kashmiri has only n and m. (3) Dardic languages have the sibllant cerebral s, Kashmiri has not. (4) Existence of two sets of so-called palatal letters, both fricatives and stops, is a marked features of Shina, while Kashmiri like other Indo-Aryan languages has only one- the fricates sh, and z and zh do not occur in it nor does cerebral j. (5) Like most modern Indian languages the cerebral letters t, d, r and n are an intrinsic part of Shina, but Kashmiri does not have n and r., the latter being used in the rural dialect only in place of r. (6) In Shina the position of the half-vowel y is very weak and often approaches e; in Kashmiri y is strong in initial, medial and terminal positions.

 There is a great divergence in the phonetic changes that words of Sanskritic stock undergo in Kashmiri and in Shina. Sanskrit s and sa almost invariably change to ha' in Kashmiri, but in Dardic languages this phenomenon seldom occurs. Some examples: Sanskrit sharad, Shina sharo, Kashmiri harud; Skt. shun Sh shun, Ksh. hun; Skt. shikasha Sh. sich, Ksh hech, Skt. shrnkhala Sh. shangal, Ksh. h:nkal; skt. shushka Sh. shuko, Ksh. hokh; Skt. vis Sh. bish Ksh. veh; Skt. shakti Sh. shat, Ksh. hekat. Initial h chances to a in Kashmiri, but is generally retained in Dardic: Skt. hasta, Ksh ath, Sh. hat; Skt. hamsa, Ksh. anz Sh. hanz; Sanskrit tr changes to cho, in Shina while in Kashmir it is generally preserved: Skt. stri Sh. chei, Ksh. triy; Skt. trini Sh che. Ksh tre; Skt. jamatr Sh. zamoch. Sanskrit dr changes to z in Shina, where as in Kashmiri the d of the compound consonant is generally preserved: Sh. heridra, Sh. halizi, Ksh. ledir, Skt. draksha zach. Ksh. dachh. Sanskrit bhr also changes to z in Shina, but not in Kashmiri: Skt. bhratr Sh. za (cf. Panjabi bhra), Ksh. boy. In Shina, as in several Indian languages, Sanskrit v becomes 'b', but in Kashmiri its position is generally strong. Skt. vish Sh. bish, Ksh. veh; Skt. vatsa Sh. batshar (c.f. Hindi bachra). Ksh. votshh. Terminal b, in Shina tends to become p and terminal d is pronounced as t in words of Persian or Sanskrit origin; gulab > gulap, garib > garlp, jibh > jip faulad > fulat. This is rarely the case in Kashmiri.

 That should be enough to blast the myth that the Kashmiri phonetic system is allied to that of Shina. The fact is that phonetically Shina has little to do with Kashmiri, though it has features that can be found in Hindi/Urdu and Punjabi. Grierson has unfortunately chosen to give selective, distorted and misleading information by taking words- from Dardic and Kafir speeches and even from the so-called Siraji and other supposed dialects of Kashmiri.

Morphological Differences

We find the same process of falsification of facts repeated when we come to morphological features. Grierson has kicked so much dust about these-accidence and syntax and so on-that it would be worthwhile to examine in brief some of the important ways in which these features differ in the two languages15:

(1) Shina has two sets of accusative-the first after transitive verbs in general and the second after verbs of striking (with hand, stick, knife etc.), the nominative having the same form as the Ist accusative.

 (2) The genetive in Shina is formed by adding the suffix- ei or -ai in Kashmiri post positions. un and iny and n and ni are added to the dative for masculine and feminine, singular and plural proper nouns relating to human beings, uk and iky and ich and ichi in case of inanimate objects. For nouns other than proper names hund or sund, hindy or sindy in case of masculine singular and plural and hinz and sinz and hinzi or sinzi in case of feminine singular and plural nouns are added.

 (3) Shina has a prepositional case to be used after most prepositions, Kashmiri has no prepositional case.

 (4) In Shina separate suffixes -r and -zh are used to denote in and on or upon in the locative.


(i) ai disher (in that place); hier, in (my, his, your) heart.

 (ii) mecizh, generally used with azhe, as mecezh azhe, upon the table;

 (iii) anu manuzezh (it ibareh nush, I have no faith in this man.

In Kashmiri locative is formed by using postpositions like andar, tal, dur, kyath, nyabar, pyath etc. with the dative case.

 (5) Pronouns in Shina are mostly of the Hindi/Urdu, Panjabi type, except the nominative and agentive plural of Ist person masc. be, bes which appear to be influenced by Kashmiri. Only pronouns in the 3rd person have a feminine in singular. The most important difference is that unlike Kashmiri there are no regular indefinite and relative pronouns in Shina.

 The interrogative pronoun is commonly used in their place especially in negative clauses. For example:

(i) ko, (who): ko mush, there was no one, mutu ko (someonel

 (ii) jeh (what): jega nush, (nothing at all), mutu jek (something else).

 (iii) kos thai buti daulat naye gub (the man who lost all your wealth), main jek daulat haniek, (whatever wealth there may be of mine).

6. In Kashmiri adjectives are declined and agree with the noun in gender, number and case. In Shina only adjectives ending in -u are declined, and these agree with the noun in gender and number only, not in case. Other adjectives are not declined and are treated as nouns.

 7. There are no forms for the comparative and superlative in Shina. These are expressed by means of the preposition jo or zho, (from, than). Thus: chunu, small: mojo chunu, smaller than, but, e jo chunu: smaller than all i.e., smallest. In Kashmiri the comparative and superlative are formed by using khwoti and sariviy khwoti respectively.

 8. Numerals in Shina are counted by twenties or scores, though there are words for hundred, thousand and lakh (the last two have been borrowed from Hindi/ Urdu). To form numbers beyond twenty the conjunctive particle ga is added to it. For example bi(h), twenty: biga ek, twenty and one or twenty one; bi ga dai, twenty and ten or thirty; dibyo ga che, two-twenty and three or forty three and so on. In Kashmiri cardinals are formed as in other modern Indo-Aryan languages - akavuh, twenty one; trih, thirty, tsatji, forty, teyitae:ji forty three and soon.

 9. Cardinal numbers in Kashmiri are declined in agreement with their nouns. In Shina, they are declined only when used by themselves as nouns, not otherwise.

 10. Ordinals in Kashmiri are formed by adding the suffix -m or -yum to the cardinal, whereas in Shina ordinals after pumuko or 'the first' are formed by adding - mono and -mone in masc. singular, and plural and -moni and -monye in fem. singular and plural respectively.

 11. Like Hindi/Urdu and Panjabi, noun of agency is formed in Kashmiri by adding vol (Hindi vala) in masculine and vajyen (vali) in feminine singular. This is not the case in Dardic languages. In Shina, the auxiliary verb is used to express the idea. For instance, Ek achi hanu musha hanu, one eye is man is, a one- eyed man; shei jakur hani chei hani, white hair is woman is, a white-haired woman.

 12. In Shina verbs most commonly used are thoiki (ta do) boiki (to be) and doiki (to give). Boiki and thoiki are correlative verbs used with the same nouns or adjectives to form intransitive and transitive verbs respectively. This is not the case with the corresponding verbs karun, asun and dyun in Kashmiri.

 13. Pronominal suffixes are a prominent feature of Kashmiri, but they rarely occur in Dardic languages.

 14. The present tense in Kashmiri is formed by the auxiIiary verb chhu and its various masculine and feminine forms. In Shina auxiliary forms hanus, hane, hanu, haniek etc. are used which bear a similarity to hun, hai, hain, honge etc. It must be stated that substantive verb forms based on the root chha occur in many Indian languages, but not in Dardic languages.

 15. There is no ordinary way to express the idea of continuance in Shina. While in some cases the word hel is employed to indicate habit, the conception underlying the Kashmiri bi osus khyavan (I was eating), bi gos khyavan, (I went on eating), su rud vuchha-n, (he kept looking) etc. is not expressed in everyday speech in Shina.

 Kashmiri differs from Dardic languages in numerous other ways, all of which cannot be recounted here for want of space. A few similarities there may be, but these are mainly because of the Sanskrit factor common to Indo-Aryan languages. In view of such overwhelming evidence that separates Kashmiri from the Dardic group in such important aspects as phonetics and accidence, the assertion that Kashmiri possesses nearly all the features that are peculiar to Dardic and in which Dardic agrees with Eranian" looks preposterous. It is difficult to believe, yet it is true that Grierson has gone to the extent of distorting linguistic facts and making false and misleading statments- a case of suppresso veri and suggesto falsi- in his desperate attempt to procure evidence for his pet theory. A glaring example of the tendency on his part can be seen in his suggestion that all basic Kashmiri numerals are Dardic and therefore Eranian in spite of their obvious development from the old- Indo-Aryan, or the "Pali-Sanskrit" pattern to use Siddeshwar Verma's words Similarly, it is a known fact that Kashmiri borrowed the Persian poetic forms like the Ghazal and Masnavi and the metre Bahar-e-Hajaz in the 19th century, but it is the Vakh and the Shruk that are considered to be the representative Kashmiri metres. How does this lead to the conclusion that Kashmiri metrology is basically Iranian? Fifteenth century Kashmiri works Banasur Katha and Sukh Dukh Charit have employed well-known Sanskrit metres, which have contributed primarily to the evolution of vatsun or the Kashmiri short lyric, and also some original Kashmiri metres like Thaddo and Phuro. These facts are too signiticant to be overlooked.

Kashmiri a Sanskritic Language

Just because Kashmiri is different in some ways from languages like Hindi and Gujrati, does it make linguistic sense to exclude it altogether from the Indo-Aryan family? How strong its affinities are with this family is revealed by its basic word-stock, or, to put it in Grierson's own words, "the commonest words-the words that are retained longest in any language, however mixed, and seldom borrowed". Surely words relating to parts of the body 'physical states and conditions names of close relatives, animals and bids, edibles, minerals, objects of common use etc. can be described as such words and show that their etymology can be umistakably traced to Sanskrit.16 (For details see Appendix I).

Morphological Features

Coming to accidence or morphological features, Kashmiri reveals its Sanskritic roots no less firmly. Declensions of Kashmiri nouns show how new cases have developed from old Sanskrit bases. For instance, the instrumental in masculine singulars takes the case-ending -an which is a remanant of Skt. -ena or -ena: Ksh. tsuran, Skt. chorena. The dative suffix -as or -is is obviously the same as Pali - assa, which in turn is a derivative of Skt. -asya, though there it is used with the genetive: Ksh. tsuras, Pali chorassa, Skt. chorasya. The locative singular takes the ending -i or e: Ksh. vati, Skt. pathi; Ksh. gari, Skt. grihe. The ablative masculine singular ends in -a or -i, a remanant of Skt. -at: Ksh. tsuri, Skt. chorat For agentive masculine plurals the affix used is -av which appears to have evolved from the Vedic ebhih: Ksh. tsurav, Skt. chorebhih. In the accusative/ dative masc. pl., the case-ending -an can be traced to Skt. -anam: Ksh. tsuran, Skt. choranam: Likewise, fem. sing. nouns take the affixes -yi or -i in accusative/dative/agentive case which can be said to have been derived from the Sanskrit case-endings im, -ya, yah: Ksh. d-iviyi, Skt. deviml devya/devyah.

 Like other modern Indo-Aryan languages, Kashmiri forms a new genetive by adding postpositions to the dative and agentive cases. The postpositions used are hund or sund with masculine singular and hinz or sinz with feminine singular nouns and pronouns in case of animate objects the plural forms being, hindy or sindy and hinzi or sinzi respectively Punjabi uses handa or hunda and sanda and Sindhi sanda. According to Becames, sanda is the Panjabi form of the Prakrit santah18, which becomes handa and hunda' with the s changing to h. Buhler is of the opinion that Kashrniri sund comes from Sanskrit shyunda19, which appears to be a little far-fetched. The genetive takes the postpositions un and iny also in masculine and feminine nouns denoting living things; the plural forms are iny and ni. With inanimate objects uk and ich are used in singular and iky and chi are used. These correspond to the Hindi ka, ke and ki, while in Gujrati we have no (bapno ghar- father's house). The feminine forms of the Kashmiri genetive remind one of the corresponding Marathi forms chi che etc.

 Several other cases can also be formed by adding postpositions to the dative.

 Kashmiri pronouns have preserved many old forms, which occur in Sanskrit but are not found in Prakrit. For example, the personal pronouns (third person) su (he) and su (she) are quite akin to Sanskrit sah and sa. and their plural forms tim (they masc.) and timi (they fem.) to Sanskrit te and tah. All other forms of this pronoun have evolved from the Sanskrit root tad. The Kashmiri first person pronoun bi or bo (I) is a remarkable new form which Buhler regards as "a representative of Skt. bhavat, originally present participle of bhu, 'to be"'. All other forms of this pronoun have developed from the Sanskrit root asmad, as is the case with Punjabi and some other modern Indo-Aryan languages Ksh. asy, panj. assi. Kashmiri interrogative pronoun, kus, who, and its plural kam, as also their various forms reveal a close relationship with Skt. kah and kas. The demonstrative pronouns yi, this has its origin in the Skt. root idam while the relative pronoun yus and yim come from Skt. yah yo and ye.

 Verbal forms in Kashmiri follow Sanskrit in being derived from the root of the verb, especailly in the past tense. As Buhler has pointed out, "it is impossible to explain them by Kashmiri'20. In this context Buhler cites deshun, 'to see' and dyun to give; as examples. From these we get the forms dyuth, saw', and dyut, was given', which are derived from dittho Skt. drstitah and ditto < Skt. dattah respectively. This process is visible in the formation of all basic tenses- past, present and future. Various forms of the Kashmiri auxiliary verb chhu and as, which are derived from the Skt. roots kshi, 'to be' and as, and occur in several other Indian languages too, are formed by affixing remanants of personal pronouns to the stem. The simple future tense is formed by adding the suffix -i to the nominative base in the 3rd person, a remanant of the Sanskrit suffix -syati: Ksh. kari (-he/she will do), Skt. Karis yati, Ksh. mari (-he/she shall die), Skt. marisyati, Ksh. vegli (it will melt), Skt. vigalisyati, Kashmiri imperative verbs can hardly be distinguished from their corresponding Sanskrit forms. For example we have, Ksh. gatsh, 'go' Skt. gachcha; Ksh. Iekh, write, Skt likha; Ksh. an, bring', Skt. anaya; Ksh. dav, run Skt. dhava, Ksh. lab, find', Skt. labha(sva), Ksh. kar; do', Skt. kuru, Ksh. van, tell', Skt. varnaya and so on. It appears that most Kashmiri verbs spring from Sanskrit roots.

 Verbal nouns are formed in Kashmiri by adding the suffix -un to the base, which can be easily traced to Skt. -nam or nam and is similar to the Hindi suffix -na. Examples Ksh. marun. Skt. maranam (Hindi marna; Ksh. tarun Skt. taranarn (Hindi tarana); Ksh. vavun, Skt. vapanam -(Hindi bona); Ksh. pihun, Skt. pesanarn (Hindi pisna); Ksh. pihun, Skt. pesanam (Hindi pisna); Ksh. tsihun, Skt. chusanam (Hindi chusana), Ksh. khanun, Skt. khananam (Hindi khodana Ksh. tachhun, Skt. takshanam; Ksh. thavun, Skt. sthapanam; Ksh. vuchhun, Skt. vekshanam (Panj. vekhna), Ksh. vatun. Skt. vestanam and so on.

 The Kashmiri conjunctive participle -ith preserves elements of the old Sanskrit form -tva. Thus, we have Ksh. karith (-having done), Skt. Krtva, Ksh. namith (having bowed) < namitta < Skt. namitva (nutva), Ksh. gatshith having gone) < ae gachitta (-having gone") < gachhitva < ae gachhitva (gatva), likhit < Skt. likhitva, rachhit Skt. rakshitva.

 Kashmiri adverbs too point to their old Indo-Aryan origins, quite transparently:

1. Adverbs of Time:

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
yeli  when  yarhi
teli  then  tarhi
kar  when, at what time  karhi
az  today  adya (Pkt. ajja)
rath  yesterday, yesternight  ratrih
suli  early  sakae (saka+ika)
tsiry  late  chiram
pati  afterwards  pashchat
adi  after that  ada (Vedic)
prath dohi  everyday  prati+divase
prathryati  everymonth  prati+rituh
prath vari  every year  prati+varse
gari-gari  every now and then  ghatika (Pkt. ghatia, Hindi gari ghari)
yuthuy  as soon as  yathapi
tyuthuy  at that very moment  tathapi
totany  till then  tavat
yotany  till such time until  yavat, as
2. Adverbs of Place:
Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
yeti  here, wherever  yatra
yetyath  at this place  
tati  there  tatra
tatyath  at that place  
ati  at that place/from that place  atra
kati  at which placet (interrogative)  kutra
yot  to this place/to whichever place  itah
tot  to that place  tatah
kot  to which place  kutah, kutra
tal  under, below  tale
manz  in, inside  madhye (Pkt. majjhe, Hindi manjh)
manzbag  in the middle  madhya+bhage
dur  far  dura
duri  from far  dure
yapari  on this side  iha+pare
3. Adverbs of Manner:
Kashmiri English  Sanskrit
yithi  in which manner, as in this manner  yatha
tithi  in that manner, like/that  tatha
kithi  in what manner (interrogative)  katham
yithi-tithi  somehow  yatha+tatha

Kashmiri conjunctions too show the same trend with 'ti' and, coming from Skt. tatha, 'ti', 'also' from Skt. iti'21 and beyi, and, 'more', 'again', from Pkt. 'beiya' Skt. 'dwitlya'.

Order of words

Inspite of all this massive evidence the fact that Kashmiri is an Indo-Aryan language is sought to be dismissed with the argument that the order of words in a Kashmiri sentence is not the same as in Hindi or other north Indian languages. But the order of words is not the same in any of the Dardic languages either which have a totally different syntax. Besides this is not the whole truth. True, the order of words very nearly approaches that of English in direct or coupla sentences with verb coming in between subject and object, but certain other types of Kashmiri sentences do resemble those of Hindi and even Sanskrit, as for instance, in certain types of imperative and interrogative sentences. Consider the following examples:-

(1) Imperative sentences:

Kashmiri  English  Hindi
yot yi ti bati khe  come here and eat your food  yahan a aur khana kha
humis adkas nishi beh  sit near that boy  us larke ke pas baith
yim palav chhal  wash these clothes  ye kapre dho
chay chyath gatsh  leave after taking tea  chay pikar ja
guris (pyath) khas  mount the horse  ghore par charh
vwazul posh an  get the red flower  lal phul la
kuthis manz par  Read inside the room  kamre mein parh
yitsi kathi ma kar  Don't talk so much  itni baten mat kar
tot dwad ma che  Don't take hot milk  garam dudh mat pi
nyabar ma ner  Don't go out  Bahar mat nikal
gyavun ma gyav  Don't sing a song  gana mat ga
vuni ma shong  Don't sleep yet  abhi mat so

Some of the simpler imperatives can hardly be distinguished from Sanskrit: 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
ati ma par  Don't read there  atra ma patha
gari ma gatsh  Don't go home  ghriham ma gachchha
az ma lekh  Don't write today  adya ma likha
krud ma kar  Don't be angry  krodham ma kuru

(2) Interrogative sentences:

Kashmiri  English  Hindi
tse kya gatshi?  What do you want?  tumhe kya chahiye?
su kot gav?  Where di he go?  voh kahan gaya?
yot kar-ikh?  When will you come here?  yahan kab aoge?
chany kur kati chhe?  Where is your daughter?  tumhari beti kahan hai?
yi kamysund gari chhu?  Whose house is this?  yeh kiska ghar hai?
bati kus kheyi?  Who will take food?  khana kaun khayega?

In subordinate or relative clauses the verb generally come last as in Hindi: 

Kashmiri  English  Hindi
su ladki yus yeti rozan os kot gav?  Where has the boy who lived here gone?  voh larka jo yahan rahta tha kahan gaya?
su hun yus tse onuth tsol rath The dog which you brought, ran away yesterday  voh kutta jo tumne laya tha, kal bhag gaya
yosi kath taemy vaeneyi so drayi paez  What he had said came out to be true jo bat usne kahi thi voh sach nikali
yosi kath gaeyi, so gaeyi  what is past is past  jo bat gayi so gayi

This is not to suggest that Kashmiri agrees with Sanskrit in every respect. As a language it has its own peculiarities and distinguishing features. But its basic word-stock does come from Sanskrit, or old Indo-Aryan, and its grammatical forms too have without doubt, developed from it to a considerable extent. True that a great number of Persian and Arabic lexical items have found their way into Kashmiri after the advent of Islam and have become a part of its vocabulary. These, however, are later day additions made much after Kashmiri had evolved as a distinct language.

Written Evidence: Kashmiri and MIA

Though it is not possible to say at what point of time exactly did Kashmiri start taking shape as a distinct language, much of its early literary output having been lost, there is enough written evidence available to help one outline its gradual development fromthe MIA stages of Prakrit and Apabhramsha through which other modern Indo-Aryan languages have passed. Anyone who cares to study its earliest extant record, that exists in the form of the Chhumma Sampraday verses, Mahanay Prakash, Banasur katha and 'Sukha-dukha Charit' will be able to see clearly the continuity of linguistic development that runs through these works. While Chumma Sampraday can be assigned to 11th or 12th century, Mahanay Prakash written by Shitikantha can be rated to the 13th century, both being treatises of esoteric Tantric sects. Then we have the verses of Lalleshwari and Sheikh Nur-ud-Din, celebrated saint-poets who lived in the 14th century, but these have been passed down for centuries in oral tradition and thier language cannot be said to be the same in which they were originally composed. The sentence 'Rangassa Helu dinna' (the village of Helu was given to Ranga) occuring in the 12th century work Kalhana's Rajataringini is also a curious piece of of linguistic evidence. Though Shitikantha's 'Mahanay Prakash' and Avtar Bhatta's Banasur Katha are separated in time by about two centuries, these works share many a linguistic feature.

 Shitikantha claims to have written his work in the local dialect "inteligible to all people'-"sarvagochardeshabhasa", and Avtar Bhatta too has used the term "deshy" to describe the language he wrote in. The term has been used by Prakrit grammarians to denote local or provincial dialects, as pointed out by Dr. Tagare. Prakrit works by Jain writers are replete with references to eighteen such dialectsor "attharas bhasa", of which Kashmiri must have been one.

 Features of early Kashmiri that appear in Chumma Sampraday in a nascent form become more developed and distinct in Mahanay Prakash, which displays a definite tendency of Prakritization. Banasur Katha, on the other hand, is a record of that state of Kashmiri when the language had just emerged from the Prakrit-Apabhramsha egg-shell. The language of Sukha-dukha Charit is relatively closer to modern Kashmiri while sharing most of the characteristics of Banasur Katha. Being a record of the Kashmiri language as it was spoken in the 15th century, the last two works shed useful light on its medieval development and are greatly helpful in tracing earlier forms of a good number of Kashmiri words. For instance, various forms of the auxiliary verb chhu occur as ksho, kshi, kshem, kshoh, kshiyiy etc, suggestirg that these have originated from the Sanskrit root kshi, meaning 'to be'. Similarly we find the original sh retained in words like shiki, shit; shiton of which the corresponding modern forms are heki, kyath, 'hyotun', Skt. sh generally changing to h in Kashmiri. Shot is another word of this kind, its modern form being hot, 'throat' This is precisely what we find in the Poguli dialect which even today preserves the original sibliant. 'Dittho' (modern Ksh. dyuth) Skt. drishtwa and ditto (mod, Ksh. dyut) < Skt. dattah are among the many intermediary forms of modern Kashmiri words that occur in Banasur Katha.

 Most of the phonetical changes one comes across in Mahanay Prakash (M.P), Banasur Katha (B.K) and Sukha-dukha Charit (COC) take place much the same way as they do in Prakrit and Apabhramsha. Many of these changes have crystallized to form words which are used in present-day Kashmiri. For instance, of elision of independent consonants ch, t d and p, there are many examples in these works, the elided consonant being replaced by a glide, y or v: vachan>vayan, lochan>loyan, gatah> gav vady>vay, avaptam>vato, sthapayitva>thavet. In modern Kashmiri too, excepting the elision of ch in vachan and loyan, we have several examples of this as gav, vay, vot and thevith. In Apabhramsha Skt. r changes to a, i and u. In M.P, B.K. and S.D.C., r>i and a: prithvi>pithiv (M.P), Pithvu (B.K); prakriti > pakiti (M.P), pakit (B.K), trn > tin, mrtyu>mitya, drdha>dado (B.K), drstva>dittho, nrtya>nats etc. In modern Kashmiri this tendency can be seen in words like dor< dridha, nats.  It will be interesting to note that a good number of grammatical and lexical items are quite similar in B.K., S.D.C. and modern Kashmiri, the apparent phonetlc differenes being mostly due to orthographical limitaticns. Another feature that needs to be noted is that several wcrds occuring in B.K. and S.D.C. are found in Hindi and some other north Indian languages but not in present day Kashmiri. For instance we have: jalo (Hindi jala) pado (Hindi para), chados, chadet (Hindi charha, charhe), piya (Hindi piya), guade (Hindi ghore; modern/standard Kashmiri gur, rural Kashrniri gur). In B.K., the word eshen occurs at one place having beeing been used in the sense of 'they came'. Cursiously, this appears to be a Bengali word, the mod. Kashmiri word being ayi (Hindi aye). These do not appear to be loan words. Their occurrence in 15th century Kashmiri lends further support to the view that the lines of development of Kashmiri and other modern Indo-Aryan languages must have been similar in the initial phases.

 Yet another linguistically singificant trait is that in B.K. as well as S.D.C., both 15th century works, several words occur in more than one form. For instance, we have tav and tam, kshyo and chho, ko and kus i and yi. One of these forms appears to be older and unstable whereas the other is relatively new. This shows that the language at that time was more or less in a state of flux and word forms had not yet crystalised. Interestingly enough there are words in contemporary speech also which exist in more than one form. One such word is navid, barber, which is derived from Skt. napita and occurs in the form of nayid (Hindi nai) also, the two forrns denoting two different stages of development: napita>navid, nayid. This makes Kashmiri an interesting subject for study in the Indian linguistic context.


These early Kashmiri texts also shed singificant light on Kashmiri metrics. While in Chumma Sampraday and Maharlay Prakash the metre used approaches Vakh and Shruk(J)' derived probably from Sanskrit Shloka or Prakrit Gaha metres, in Banasur Katha Sanskrit metres like Vasantatilakam. Mandakranta, Narkataka, Sriagdkara have been used straightaway together with what appear to be original Kashmiri meitres like Thaddo, Phuro and Dukatika. We find the author of Sukha-dukha Charit also using these very Sanskrit and indigenous metres and that is the last we see of them.

 The above study, based on written evidence of the state of Kashmiri language as it was used from the 11th to late 15th century, should be enough to indicate the broad lines of its development in the light of the phonetic changes that can be seen to have taken place during this period. It should surely make it easier for us to go back in time and note for ourselves that this process has been hardly different from the one that has led to the development of other Aryan languages of India. For those who care for facts, this is something that is quite valuable for ascertaining and relocating the position of Kashmiri in the Indian linguistic context. One thing is certain, the roots of Kashmiri do not lie hidden somewhere in the Dardic soil, but can now, more clearly than ever before, be traced to a land that formed a part of the Vedic world. Surely, there is a wide area that has still to be explored, but the direction of this exploration is no longer hazy or uncertain.


Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit/Prakrit
val  hair  vala
kali  head  kapalah
buth, mkh  face  mukh
shondi (archaic)  shunda  
aes  mouth  asya
dyak  forehead  Pkt. dhika (Guj-daka-throat; doku-head)
gal  cheek  galla
aechh  eye  akshi
nas/nast  nose  nasa/nast
vuth  lip  oshtha
dand  teeth  danta
bum  eyebrow  bhru
kan  ear  karna
zyav  tongue  jivha
tal  palate  talu
hongany  chin  hanu
vachh  chest  vaksha
katsh  armpit  kakshah (Hindi kankh)
yad  belly  Pkt. Dhidh (Panj. tid)
mandal  buttocks  mand, alah
naf  navel  nabhi
athi  hand  hastah
khonivath  elbow  kaphoni+vatah (c.f. Hindi kohni)
ongij  finger  anguli
nyoth  thumb  angustha (c.f. Sh. aguto)
zang  leg  jangha
khwar  feet  khurah / kshurah (-a cloven hoof- Note the change in meaning)
pad  feet  pada
tali-pod  sole of a foot  padatala
nam  nails  nakham
tsam  skin  charma
rath  blood  rakta
aedij  bone  adda
daer  beard  danstrika
naer  vein, artery, blood vessel nadika
maz  flesh  mamsah
aendram  intestines  antram
bwakivaet kidney  vrikka+vatah (c.f. Hindi bukka)
rum    hair of the body roma
nal  tibia  nalah, nalam (Pkt nalo)
ryadi  heart  hrday

And here are some words relating to various physical states and conditions:

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
zuv  life  jiva
zyon  to take birth  Vedic jayate
asun  to laugh  hasam
rivun  to weep  rodana
mandachh  shyness  manda+akshi
volisun  to feel joy, alacrity  ullasah
bwachhi  hunger  bubhuksha (c.f. Hindi 'bukh')
shwangun  to sleep  shayanam
nendir  sleep  nidra
tresh  thirst  trsa

As for names of close relatives are concerned Kashmiri 'mol' (father) and 'maej' (mother) are said to be of Dardic origin. 'Mol' is, however, derived from Skt. 'mahal', meaning 'the great one'. Other words are clearly of Sanskrit origin. 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
pot(h)ur  son  putrah
gobur  garbharupah  
kur  daughter  kumari/kaumari (Pkt. kunwari, Kauri, Panj. kudi, Kaur)
boy  brother  bhrataka (Hindi: bhai)
beni  sister  bhagini
petir  uncle (father's brother)  pitravya (Guj.pirai pitrayun)
mas  aunt (mother's sister)  matushvasa (Pkt. Mausi, Hindi mausi, masi)
pwaph  aunt (father's sister)  pitushvasa (Hindi phuphi)
mam  maternal uncle  mamakah (Hindi mama)
mamany  wife of maternal uncle  mamika 
nwash  daughter-in-law  snusa (Panj. nuh)
zamtur  son-in-law  jamatr (Pali jamatar, Hindi jamai)
hyuhur  father-in-law  shvasur (note the change of 'sh' to 'h')
bemi  brother-in-law (sister's husband)  bhama
zam  sister-in-law (husband's sister)  jama (Pk. jami)
zaemi  sister-in-law's husband  jamipati
zaemizi  sister-in-law's daughter  jameya
benthir  sister's son (wife's sister) bhagniputra syali
run  husband  ramanah (Pkt. ramano ravannu) ranu, ravan (dialect)
vyas  female friend  vayasi
methir  friend  mitrah
shaethir  foe  shatruh

Common animals, birds and even worms and insects have names which are derived from Sanskrit. Examples:

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
sih  a lion, tiger  simha (Pkt. siha)
hos (t)  an elephant  hasti
shal  a jackal  shrigalah (Pkt. siala)
sor  a pig  shukarah
gav  a cow  gau (gava)
votsh  a calf  vatsah
hun  a dog  shvanah, shun
vandur  a monkey  vanarah
gur (rural dialect gud)  a horse  ghotakah
bachheri  a colt  vats+ika+ra
tshavul  a he-goat  chhagalah
haput  a bear  shvapadah
vunth  a camel  ustrah
hangul  a stag  shrgalah
maesh  a buffalo  mahisah
nul  mongoose  nakulah
kaechhavi  a tortoise, a turtle  kachhapah
krim  a tortoise, a turtle  kurmah
vodur  a weasel  udrah
sarup(h)  a snake  sarpah
tsaer  a sparrow  chatkah (Hindi chiriya)
kav  a crow  kakah
kukil  a cuckoo  kokil
kwakur  a rooster, cock  kukkutah
aenz  a swan  hamsah
har  starling, mynah  shari
kakuv  the muddy goose  chakravakah
grad  a vulture  grdrah
brag  a heron  bakah
titur  a patridge  tittirah
byuch  a scorpion  vrschikah
maech  a housefly  makshika
kyom  a worm  krmi
pyush  a flea  plushi (Hindi pissu)
bumaesin  earthworm  bhumisnu

Words for Colours: 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
chhot  white, bleached  shvet
kruhun  black  krisnah (cf. Hindi kanha)
shyam  black  shyamah
nyul  blue  nilah
lyodur  yellow  haridra
vwazul  red  ujjvalah
katsur  brown  karchurah
gurut  fair  gaura

Names of days of the week: 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
athvar  Sunday  adityavarah (Hindi itvar, Sh. adit)
tsandrivar  Monday  chandravarah
bomvar  Tuesday  bhaumavarah
bodvar  Wednesday  budhavarah
brasvar  Thursday  brhaspativarah
shokrivar  Friday  shukravarah
batavar  Saturday  bhattarakavarah

Names of edibles: 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
nun  salt  lavanam
til  oil  tailam
tomul  rice  tandulam
danyi  paddy  dhanyam
kinikh  wheat  kanikah
bati  cooked rice  bhaktam
dwad  milk  dugdham (Hindi dudh)
gyav  ghee  ghrtarn
pony  water  pamyam
hakh  pot-herb  shakam
vangun  brinjal, egg-plant  vangan
oluv  potatoe  alukah
muj  radish  mulika
gazir  carrot  garjaram (Pkt. gajjaram)
palak(h)  spinach  palankah
ruhun  garlic  lashunam
mithy  fenugreek methika
kareli  bittergourd  karvellakah
al  the bottle-gourd alabu
hyambi  beans  shimbi (c.f. Hindi chhimi)
nyom  lime, lemon  nimbukah
kel bannana  kadali (Pkt. kelao, Hindi kela)
amb  mangoe  amram (Pkt. ambam)
aeen  pomegranate  dadim
dachh  grapes  draksha
tang  pear  tanka
khazir  datepalm  kharjurah (Pkt. khajjuro)
narjil  coconut  narikelah
ael  cardamom  aila
tel  sesamum seed  tila
rong  clove  lavang
marits  black pepper  maricha
martsivangun  chilli  maricha+vangana
mong  a species of pulse  mudgah (Pkt. muggo)
chani  gram, chick-pea  chanakah
mah  a bean  masha
muth  a kind of pulse, vetch  mayasthah, makushthah
makey  corn, maize  markaka (Pkt. makka+ika)
machh  honey  maksha
khyatsir  a dish of rice and split pulse  krsharah (Hindi khichari)
ras  juice, gravy  rasah
layi  parched grain  laja
shakkar  unrefined sugar  sharkara
shonth  dried ginger  shunthi
zyur  cumin seed  jirakah
yangi  asfoetida  hingu
gor  molasses  gudah (Hindi gur)
rot  a sweet cake offered to a god  rotah

Names of the minerals also show the same tendency: 

Kashmiri English  Sanskrit
swan  gold  swarna (Hindi sona)
rwap(h)  silver  raupya
tram  copper  tamra
shastir  iron shastrakah
parud  mercury  pardah
kenz  brass, bellmetal  kansya

Names of objects of common use are mostly of Sanskrit derivation:

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
kapur  cloth  kalpatah (Pkt. kappado, Hindi kapra)
pot  woollen cloth  patah
sitsan  needle  suchika
raz  rope  rajju
sithir  cotton thread  sutrah
trakir  balance  tarkari
parmani  weights  parimana
prang/palang  couch  paryankah
bani  utensils  bhajana (Pkt. bhayana, Guj. bhanun, bhanen, Sindh banu)
vokhul  mortar  ulukhalah
kazul  collyrium  kajjalam
kath  wood  kastham
kammal  blanket  kambalam (Pkt. kammal)
mokhti  pearls  mukta
nav  boat  nava (Vedic)
dungi  a canoe, a large boat  drona+kah (c.f. Hindi donga)
shup  winnower  shurpa
baehaets  a large boat  vahitra, vohittha (c.f. Hindi bohit)
thal  a large plate of metal  sthalam (c.f. Hindi thal)
gasi  grass  ghasam (Hindi ghas)
kangir  a portable fire-pot, brazier  kastha+angari+ka, ka+angari+ka
dand  a staff  dandam
zal a net  jalam
baji  a musical instrument  vadya+kah (Hindi baja)
vaejy  a ring  valaya
kofur  camphor  karpuram
gadvi  a water vessel  gadukah
sranipath  a loincloth  snanapattam
ganti  bell  ghanta
sendir  vermilion  sindurah
kapas  cotton  karpasam (Pkt. kappasam)
toh  chaff  tusa
turi  claironet  turya
bin  lute  vina (Hindi bin)
vaenk  braid  venika
vag  bridle  valga (Hindi bag)
baety  wick  vartika
kangany  comb  kankatika
mal  garland necklace  mala
bungir  bangle, bracelet  vank+diminutive affix ri (c.f. Hindi bangri, bangri; Marathi bangrya)
pulihor  a shoe of grass or straw  pula+kah (Hindi pula)

Names of different seasons are peculiarly Sanskritic:

Name of the season  Kashmiri  Sanskrit
spring  sont(h)  vasanta
summer  grishim  gris, ma
rainy season  vaehrat  varsa+ rituh (Hindi 'barsat')
autumn  harud  sharad
winter  vandi  varsant

Etymology of words relating to physical, natural and environmental phenomena is quite interesting: 

Kashmiri  English  Sanskrit
siri (Muslim Kashmiri 'akhtab')  sun  suryah
tsaendir, tsaendram  moon  chandra, chandra+mas (Hindi 'chandrama')
tarak(h)  stars  tarakah
nab  sky  nabhah
samsar  the universe, world  samsarah
thal  land  sthalah
vav air vayuh
tap(h)  sunlight  atapah
gash/pragash  light  prakash
anigati  darkness  andha-ghata
obur  cloud  abhra
vuzimali  lightening  vidyut+mala
gagiray  rumbling, thunder  gargara
saedir  sea, ocean  samudrah
sar  lake  sarah
kval  stream  kulya
van  forest  van
sangar  shrnga  mountain
sangarmal  shrnga+mala  peaks
bunyul  earthquake  bhu+chala (Hindi bhuchal)

Kashmiri numerals

Of particular interest in this context are Kashmiri numerals, cardinals as well as ordinals, which are amazingly Indo-Aryan, retaining old Sanskritic elements as hardly any other modern Indo-Aryan language does. In the Dardic languages Sanskrit sh does not change to h though in Prakrit/Kashmiri has a full fledged numeral system which by no stretch of imagination can be said to have any links with Dardic where counting is done in twenties. Siddheshwar Verma has very clearly shown that Kashmiri follows the Sanskrit-Pali pattern in its numerals[17]. Let us consider a few examples. Kashmiri is the only modern Indo- Aryan language that retains the Sanskrit dvi in the form of du) in numerals that come after ten (barring twelve). Thus we have, duhaeth (Skt. dva-shasthi, Pali dvasatthi, Pkt. basatthi); dusatath (Skt. dvisaptati, Pali dvasattati), dunamath (Skt dvanavati). In all other Indo-Aryan languages including Prakrit, d>b, as in Hindi basath, bahattar, banave. In the same way Kashmiri shunamath retains the sh of Sanskrit sannavati, whereas in other Indo- Aryan languages sh>chh, Hindi chhiyanave, Bengali chhevanabbe, Sindhi chhanave etc. Again, Kashmiri "satath" is closer to the Sanskrit-Pali pattern and not to Prakrit in which the terminal t of saptati changes to r:Prakrit sattari', Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi sattar, Sindhi satari.

 It is amazing that Kashmir deh (Muslim Kashrnir dah) and hath derived from Sanskrit dash and shat respectively, with sh and some other Indian languages like Marathi it does: (Skt. dashamukha Pkt. dahamuho; Marathi daha- ten) In the Dardic, and even Kafir languages, sh is generally retained. Thus we have: Kalash dash, Gwarbati dash, Garwi dash. Torwali dash, Shina dai, Maiya dash. In Kashmiri shat (h) as well hath are used for hundred hath for numbers below seven hundred and shat for numbers above it. But in Dardic languages sh is generally retained or changed to s as in Hindi and other modern Indo-Aryan languages: Kalash shor, Garwi 'So, Torwali 'So, Maiya shal, Shina shal.

The following table will make the position of Kashmiri numerals more clear:

Numeral  Kashmiri  Sanskrit
one  akh  ekah
two  zi  dvi
three  tre  tri
four  tsor  chatur
five  pantsh  pancha
six  she  sastha
seven  sat(h)  sapta
eight  aeth  asta
nine  nnv  nava
ten  daeh  dash
twenty  vuh  vimsha
thirty  trih  trimsha
forty  tsatiji(h)  chaturvimshata
fifty  pantsah  panchashata
sixty  sheth  shastih
seventy  satat(h)  saptatih
eighty shith  ashitih
ninety  namath  navatih
hundred  hath/shath  shata
thousand  sas  sahasra
lakh  lachh  laksha
crore  karor  kotih


Some Examples of Conjunction

(1) k+t > tt: shakti > shatta, bhakti > bhatta, rakta > ratta; Mod. Kaihmiri: rakta 'rath', 'bhakta (-rice) > bati, saktum > (parched rice) > sot.
(2) p+t tt/t: sapta > satta, avaptam > vato. Mod. ksh.: sapta > sath, avaptam > vot, tapta > tot.
(3) t+y ch: nrtya- > nachha - Mod. Ksh nrtya > nats, atyeti > Pkt. achei > Ksh. ats
(4) d+y jj: adya > ajja, vadyanti vajjan, Mod. Ksh: adya > az, vadyanti vazan.
(5) g+dh > dh: dagdha > dadho, dadhos. Mod. Ksh. dagdha > dod, dodus.
(6) dh+y > jj: madhya > majj (Pkt. majh, Hindi manjh); budhyate > bujje (Pali bujjhati, Pkt. bujjhai). Mod. Ksh: Madhya > manz, budhyate > bozi.
(7) h+v > jj: dahyati > dajji Mod. Ksh: dahyati > dazi
(8) d+v > b: dwitiva > Pkt. belya, bhiya, Mod. Ksh. beyi, dwadash > bah (Hindi barah) dwar > bar (Punjabi bari)
(9) g+n > gg: lagnah > laggo Mod. Ksh. lagnah > lagun, log
(10) g+n > nn: naghah > nanno Mod. Ksh. nagnah > non
(11) t+m > p: atman > pan (Pkt. appa, Hindi ap, Sindhi, pan, u)
In conjuncts with sibliants, the sibliant generally elides:
(1) s+t > th, tth: stana > than, hastat > attha Mod. Ksh: stana > than, stabmbh > tham, hasta > athi
(2) s+th > th: sthal > thal (Pali thal', Pkt. 'thal', Punj. 'thal' Assamese 'thal', Guj, 'thal', Marathi 'thal', Hindi 'thal' Skt. stha piyitva > thavet, sthan > than, Mod. Ksh: 'sthal' > thal, sthapanam > thavun, sthal > thal.
(3) s+ph > ph: 'sphotayah > photiy; Mod. Ksh: 'sphotyati' > phuti
(4) s+m > s: 'smar' > sar, saret (Pali 'sar' -, Pkt. 'sar'-, Mod. Ksh: 'smar' > sar
(5) sh+t/th > ttha: drstva dittho (Pali dittha, Pkt. datt,ha, dittha, Guj. Dithun, Awadhi: ditha), pristha > pittha, nistha > nittha, upavista > bittha; Mod. Ksh: dristwa dyut,h; prishtha > pyath, pith; kostha > kuth; oshtha > wuth; asta > ae: th kashtha > kath (Hindi kath) musti > mvath pusta > puth, jyestha > zyuth (Hindi jetha), bhrasta breth; upavista > byuth.
Another point of similarity between phonology of M.P., B.K. S.D.C. and Prakrit-Pali-Apabhramsha is elision of 'r' in r'-conjunction. The present writer was pleasantly surprised to come acorss the word 'piya' (-beloved) in one of the most beautiful songs of Banasur Katha-piya ma gatsh marnay.
 (1) k+r > k. krodhe > kodhe, krur > kur, Mod. Ksh: krur > kur
(2) k+k > kk: chakra > chakka, shakra > shakka; Mod. Ksh: chukra > tsok, nakrashira > Pkt. nakkasira- > Mod. Ksh. naser
(3) t+r > t: > tatra tatte, tati; yatra > yatti, yati; atra > ati, trasen > trase, tri- > ti.
Mod. Ksh. tatra > tati; yatra > yeti, atra > ati, ratri > rath, kutra > kati
(4) r+n/n, > n (n): varna > vanna; suvarna > suvanna, varnaya > vanno, (a) karne > akannet. Mod. Ksh.: karna > kan, swarna > swan, parna > pan, churna > tsin,
(5) r+m > mm; m; karma > kamma, marma > mamma charma > chamma Mod. Ksh: karma > k aem, charma > tsam
(6) r+p > pp: darpa > dappa; arpit > appu; Mod. Ksh: shurpa > shup; karpasa > kayas
(7) r+h > ll, 1: yarhi > yille, tarhi > tille, Mod. Ksh: yarhi > yeli, tarhi > teli
When 'r' is the second member of a conjunct, however, it does not elide, but is retained with a vocalic release:
(1) Agre > agari, agra; abhrat > abhra; sahasra > sass; nirgatah > niret, niri, nirim; sparsa > parshet, Mod. Ksh: abhra > obur, sahasra > sas, nirgatah > ner; sparsha > phash (Pkt. phassa)
The consonant 'r' is, however, generally retained in modern Kashmiri in initial, medial or final positions. The doubled consonants formed as a result of its elision have been simplied in course of further development of the language in case of words where it has been elided. There is no compensatory elongation of the vowel in Kashmiri for the words so formed, as usually happens in Hindi and other modern Indo-Aryan languages. Thus karna > kan and not kan (as in Hindi), swarna > swan and not sona.

 The joint letter ksh changes mostly to chh or chchh, but in some cases it changes to kh as happens in Mod. Ksh. too.

Here are same examples:

(1) Ksh > chchh/chh: kshut. > chchot; akshi > achchi Mod. Ksh: kshut > tshot, akshi > achh, mandakshi > mandachh, bubhuksha > bochhi, laksha > lachh, vaksha > vachh, raksha > rachh, paksha > pachh, kaksha > kachh, taksha > tachh, yaksha > yachh, draksha > dachh, maksha > machh, kshalava > chhal, shiksha > hechh, veksha > vuchh (Punj. vekh)
(2) ksh > kkh/kh: tikshna > tikkho Mod. Ksh: Lakshmi > lakhymi, sukshma > sikhim, paksha > (-wing) > pakh, kshama > khyama
The sibliants 'sh', 's' (cerebral 'sh') and 's' generally change to 'h' in Kashmiri though there are several exceptions.
(1) sh/s > h: dasha > daeh, ekadasha > kah, chaturdasha > chuddah, nashan > nahen Mod. Ksh: dasha > clah, ekadasha > kah, chaturdasha > tsodah, nashan > nahvun, sharad > harud, shat > hath, shuska > hokh, krisna > kruhun, chusana > tsihun, pesanam > pihun, vestana > vatun, visam > veh, tus > toh, manusya > mohnyuv, upavisha > beh; shun/shwan > hun; shari > haer, mashkah > moh.
(2) sh/s remains unchanged: shobha > shub, maihisa mash, shurpa > shup, pusa/puspa > posh, asha > ash, tris. > tresh, mris. mash-, lesha > lish, prakash > gash.
Initial 'h' changes to 'a' in Kashmiri. There are only a few examples of this in M.P. B.K. aild S.D.C.: hastat > attha, hasti > asis
Mod. Ksh: hasta > athi, hasan > asun, ha,dda > adda
Vowel changes occur in modern Kashmiri almost along the same lines as in M.P. B.K. and S.D.C. Examples of some of these are given below:-
 (1) a > a: sahara > sass, saphal > saphul, nibhrit > nibhara, rakshaka > rakshe, sahit > sate, priya > piya, nashya > nah. Mod. Ksh: sahasra > sas, raksha > rachh-,. nashya- > nah;
(2) a > u: Medial 'a' often changes to 'u' in Kashmiri nominative singular. This tendency is equally strong in M.P., B.K. and S.D.C.
Examples: Janaka > januk, anal > anul, varsana > varshun, tapodhana > tapodhun, sanrakshaka > sanrakshuk, Narad > Narud, Madhava > Madhuv. Mod. Ksh.: balak > baluk, varsan, a > varshun, rakshaka > rakhyuk, takshaka > takhyuk, Narada > Narud, sarpah > sarup, bhramrah > bombur
(3) a > a: Like Maharashtri, Jain Maharashtri, Ardha- Magdhi Prakrits and Apabhramshas, a > a in fem. nom. sing. in M.P., B.K., and S.D.C. Modern Kashmiri also exhibits this tendency. Examples: Puja > puj, katha > kath, bala > bal, Usha (proper name) > Ush, mata > mat Mod. Ksh.: Puja > puz, katha > kath, bala > bal, Usa (proper name) > Ushi, mala > mal, sthala > thal
(4) i > a: narpati > narpat, dinapati > dinapat, nayika > nayak, rishi > rish, rashi > rash, rashmi > rashm, buddhi > buddh, shakti > shatta, bhakti > bhatta, agni > agna. Mod. Ksh.: rsi > ryosh, ganapati > ganapat, rashi > rash, budcdhi > bwadh, gati > gath, prati > prath.
(5) i > u: jiva > juv (Sindhi jiu, Panj, jiu, Kumanoni jyu, ziu, Bengali jiu, Marathi jiu, Hindi jiu) Mod. Ksh.: zuv
(6) u > a: tribhuvan > tibhavan, Shambhu > Shambh, ashru > asra, kutah > katto, asur > asar, shatru > shatra, Visnu > vi,sn,a.
Mod. Ksh.: ashru > osh, kutah > kati, shatru > shathir Vishnu > veshin



Skt.  Sanskrit
Pkt.  Prakrit
Ksh.  Kashmiri
Mod.Ksh.  Modern Kashmiri
IA  Indo-Aryan
OIA  Old Indo-Aryan
MIA  Mid Indo-Aryan
Panj.  Panjabi
Guj.  Gujrati
M.P.  Mahanay Prakash
B.K.  Banasur Katha
S.D.C.  Sukha-Dukha Charit


1. Siddheshwal Verma, The Antiquities of Kashmiri: An Approach. p. 7.
2. See his Detailed Report of a Tour in Search of Sanskrit Manuscripts Made in Kashmir, Rajputana and Central Asia p. 89.
3. Journal Asiatic Society of Bengal, p. 280.
4. Tour in Search of Sanskrit Manuscripts, p. 83.
5. Monier Williams, Sanskrit Dictionary, p. 844.
6. The Antiquities of Kashmiri: An Approach, p. 4.
7. S.K. Toshkhani, "Some Important Aspects of Kashmiri as a Language", The Lala Rookh, August 1967, p. 50.
8. G.A. Grierson, "The Linguistic Classification of Kashmiri", Indian Antiquary XLIV, p. 257.
9. The Linguistic Survey of India Vol. VIII. Part II. p. 259.
10. S.K. Chatterji, Languages and Literatures of Modern India. p. 256.
11. The Lingusitic Survey of India Vol. VIII, Part IV: The Introduction p. 8.
12. Quoted by Murray B. Emenau in AnL VIII. No. 8, p. 282-83.
13. Ibid.
14. G.A. Grierson, The Linguistic Survey of India Vol. VIII, Part II, 251- 2.
15. See T. Grahame Bailey, Grammar of the Shina Language, Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1924.
16. Help has been taken of Turners' Comparative Dictionary of Modern Indo-Aryan Languages' for etymology of most of the words.
17. Siddheshwar Verma, The Antiquities of Kashmiri: An Approach, p. 5-6.
18. Beams, A Comparative Grammar of the Modern Languages of India. p. 291.
19. Tour in Search of Sanskrit Manuscripts, p. 86.
20. Ibid. p. 86.
21. G. A. Grierson, The Language of Mahanay Prakash, Para 274.
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