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Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism
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Kashmiri Hindus are ethnic Kashmiris who practice Hinduism and are native to the Kashmir Valley of India. With respect to their contributions to Indian philosophy, Kashmiri Hindus developed the tradition of Kashmiri Shaivism. Most of Hindus are now mostly settled in Jammu and other parts of India, mainly after their exodus.
See also: History of Kashmir
During the reign of Ashoka (304–232 BCE), Kashmir became a part of the Maurya Empire and Buddhism was introduced in Kashmir. During this period, many stupas, some shrines dedicated to Shiva, and the city of Srinagari (Srinagar) were built. Kanishka (127–151 CE), an emperor of the Kushan Empire, conquered Kashmir and established the new city of Kanishkapur.
The Karkota dynasty (625–855 CE) ruled over the Kashmir and parts of northern Indian subcontinent and their rule saw political expansion, economic prosperity and emergence of Kashmir as a centre of culture and scholarship. Lalitaditya Muktapida (724–760 CE) was a powerful ruler of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir region in the Indian subcontinent. After the seventh century, significant developments took place in Kashmiri Hinduism. In the centuries that followed, Kashmir produced many poets, philosophers, and artists who contributed to Sanskrit literature and Hindu religion. Among notable scholars of this period was Vasugupta (c. 875–925 CE) who wrote the Shiva Sutras which laid the foundation for a monistic Shaiva system called Kashmir Shaivism.
After the dawn of the Lohara dynasty, Islam had penetrated into countries outside Kashmir and in the absence of support from Hindus, who were in the majority, Rinchana needed the support of the Kashmiri Muslims. Shah Mir's coup on Rinchana's successor secured Muslim rule and the rule of his dynasty in Kashmir.
The largest community within the Kashmiri Hindus are the Kashmiri Pandits (Kashmiri Brahmins), who are divided into several gotras, such as the priests (gor or bhasha Bhatta), astrologers (Zutshi), and workers (Karkun).
The Wani are historically Banias, with subcastes, such as the Kesarwani. During the Mughal era, many Kesarwanis migrated to other parts of India such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
According to officials, 98,600 Kashmiri Hindus were issued domicile certificates of Jammu and Kashmir up to the end of June 2021. They further state, "90,430 domicile certificates were issued to displaced Kashmiri Pandits, while 2,340 families of displaced Kashmiri Pandits were registered as fresh migrants. Of these, 8,170 individuals received the domicile certificate."
On 16 May 2020, Order 52 was issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (JK DMRRR) which states that: "Bonafide migrants and bonafide displaced persons who are not yet registered with the relief and rehabilitation commissioner (migrant), Jammu and Kashmir, can apply before the competent authority for registration for purpose of issuance of a domicile certificate only." This is as long as one of the necessary documents is provided. The timeframe for registration (and claiming domicile) of Kashmiri migrants and displaced persons was later extended for the final time up to 15 May 2022.
Under the rule of Sultan Sikander Butshikan in the 14th century CE, many Kashmiri Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. They began to leave the valley in much greater numbers in the 1990s during the eruption of militancy following large scale militarization of Valley.
This is a list of notable Kashmiri Hindus.
Kashmiri Muslims represent the majority population in Kashmir Valley, while Kashmiri Hindus represent a small but significant minority community.
Hindus of the Kashmir Valley, known as Pandits, are mostly upper caste Brahmins.
Taking into account decennial growth rates and migration patterns, the 1981 census data suggests that there would have been 161,000 Hindus, most of them Kashmiri Pandits, in the valley in 1991.
'Kashmiri Brahmins are said to have originally belonged to only six gotras, -By intermarriage with other Brahmins the number of gotras multiplied to 199' ( Koul 1924).
The Hindus belong with few exceptions to the Brahman caste and are known as 'Pandits', while in other parts of India they are generally called 'Kashmiri Pandits'. These Kashmiri Brahmans are divided into three subcastes consisting, namely, of priests (gor or bhasha Bhatta), astrologers (jyotishi), and workers (karkun).
The Indic influence extends across caste and clan. The last name of Burhan Wani, the slain jihadist now deified by separatists, is derived from the Hindu bania caste, and it further devolved into specific subcastes depending on what they traded in — for instance, those who trade in saffron became Kesarwani.
A community sometimes referred to as Kesarwani, they are reported from Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. In Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, they provide histories of migration and origin which are somewhat similar. In Bihar, the Kesarwani or Kesri Bania believe that their community name indicates their original occupation of trade in kesar (saffron). They were originally the inhabitants of Kashmir who migrated to different parts of India during Mughal rule.
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Then came the fanatical and tyrannical rule of Sultan Sikander, the iconoclast (1398-1420 CE) who let loose a sort of hell against the non-Muslims through forced conversions and widespread destruction of their religious shrines all over the Valley. Possibly, by this time, the lower Hindu castes had got converted to Islam with the help of passionate zeal of the Islamic missionaries moving freely among the socially backward and rigid Hindu caste hierarchies already shaken by the spread of the Buddhist creed when Kashmir was from a considerable period one of the staunchest centres of the anti-caste movement of the Buddhist cult.
This community prior to their conversion was divided amongst the Brahmin, Kshatria, Vaish, and Shudr castes.
Even now there are many distinguished scholars of Persian among the Kashmiri Brahmins in India. Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru and Raja Narendranath to mention two of them.