are 5 to 7 million people there. Generally speaking, they have clearer
complexions and are different from the other citizens of India. An Interesting
tradition is passed down among the Kashmir people regarding their ancestry
from the Lost Tribes of Israel. This tradition is supported by extensive
literature written by both the people of Kashmir and other scholars.
In Kashmir, various places are called with Israeli names, like Har Nevo,
Beit Peor, Pisga, Heshubon. These are all the names in the land of the
Ten Tribes of Israel. The same thing is true in the names of people,
male names, female names, and names of village.
The people in Kashmir perform a feast called Pasca in Spring, when they
adjust the difference of days between the lunar calendar and solar calendar
and the way of this adjustment is the same as Jewish. Several books
are published on this. The Udu language which is used in Kashmir includes
many words of Hebrew.
Most of the people of Kashmir are Muslims. In spite of it, they are
sympathetic towards Jews and Israel. It is evident that their origin
has also led to their interest in the people of Israel.
The history of the Kashmiris is shrouded in mystery as is the history
of other people in that region. Most Kashmir researchers are of the
opinion that many inhabitants of Kashmir are descendants of the Lost
Tribes who were exiled in 722 BCE. They wandered along the Silk Road
into the countries of the East, Persia and Afghanistan until they reached
the Kashmir valley and settled there.
Others say the wanderings began approximately 300 years later. The wanderers
settled in Kashmir, kept their traditions until they were forced to
convert to Islam when the spread of Islam reached the valley. The priest
Kitro in his book, the General History of the Mughal Empire, said that
the Kashmir people are the descendants of the Israelites.
The traveling Arab historian El Bironi in the 12th century wrote, "In
the past, permission to enter Kashmir was given only to Jews."
The priest Monstrat said that in the time of Vasco da Gama in the 15th
century, "all the inhabitants of this area who have been living here
since ancient times can trace their ancestry, according to their race
and customs, to the ancient Israelites. Their features, their general
physical appearance, their clothing, their ways of conducting business,
all show that they are similar to the ancient Israelites."
Names like Israelites in Kashmir
Recently Mr. Ikbal Chapri, the owner of a houseboat called Haifa (the
same name as a big city in Israel) in Srinagar, Kashmir, has written
about this topic in the local newspapers.
His article was about the names of the tribes and places of Kashmir
which are exactly Hebrew. I have a copy of two pages of the list. For
example, one of the tribes of Kashmir is called Asheriya which is Asher,
the tribe of Dand is Dan, Gadha is Gad, Lavi is Levi. The Tribe of Shaul
is the Hebrew name of King Saul. Musa is Moses, Suliamanish is Solomon.
And you also have the tribe of Israel, the tribe of Abri which is the
tribe of Hebrew, and the tribe of Kahana which is the word for Jewish
There are also 50-75 names of places in Kashmir which are in fact the
Hebrew names that ancient Israelites were very familiar with. There
is a place called Samaryah which is Samaria. Mamre is Mamre, Pishgah
is Pisgah, Nabudaal is Mt. Nevo, Bushan is Bashan, Gilgit is Gilgal,
Heshba is Heshbon, Amunah is Amon, Gochan is Goshen, Median-pura is
Midian, and Guzana is Gozan which is a place name in Assyria and the
very place where the Ten Tribes of Israel were deported.
The name Israel is very common among them as it is among the Pathans,
and this name is never used among the Muslims. They also light a candle
for the Sabbath, have sidelocks, beards, and emblem or design of the
Shield of David.
In an area which is on the border of Pakistan, called Yusmarg (Handwara),
there lives a group which to this very day calls itself B'nei Israel
meaning children of Israel. Many of the inhabitants of Kashmir say that
this is the ancient name of all the people of Kashmir.
there is a strange tradition of a small community next to the Wallar
Link who point out the grave of Moses. There is yet another tradition
in connection with King Solomon according to which even King Solomon
reached the Kashmir Valley and through his wisdom aided the people of
Kashmir by successfully regulating the Jalum river. This tradition is
also connected to a place called Solomon's throne which is situated
above the capital of Kashmir, Srinagar. Isn't it strange and fascinating
that there are historical and even folkloristic tales of ancient Israeli
heroes in these strange and exotic places?
These also resemble legends in Japan. There is the grave of Moses in
Mt. Houdatsu, Ishikawa prefecture, and a legend says that many secret
treasures of Solomon are kept in Mt. Tsurugi in Shikoku, Japan.
The two primary historians of Kashmir, Mulla Nadiri, who wrote The History
of Kashmir and Mulla Ahmad who wrote Events of Kashmir have established
without a trace of doubt that the origins of the Kashmiri people are
to be found in the people of Israel.
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