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There are seven basic elements of a culture and almost all of them along with their sub elements exist in every nation and country. These elements will be explained with context to Kashmir and Kashmiri people onwards.
Language is the mode of communication used in any area. Urdu, Kashmiri and gojri are the official languages of AJ&K whereas; Hindi, Pahari and Ladakhi, Dograi, Kashmiri, are also spoken in some parts. Northwestern Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European language family is primarily used in Jammu Kashmir whereas language used in Azad Kashmir is Pahari because this part of Kashmir normally contains mountains and hilly areas. Furthermore, variation in language is found when we travel in different areas of Kashmir i.e. the accent, pronunciation, and at times meanings varies from area to area. Arabic script is followed as their writing script.
Norms are the folkways, mores, taboos, rituals that people of a particular area follow. There are different traditions regarding food, dressing, ceremonies etc. Rice is the staple food of Kashmiris. Besides that, majority of the people have their own farms so they grow their own wheat, corn for bread, vegetables, fruit, herbs, rice etc. and they also have their own farm animals like cows, goats, hens etc for their feeding purpose. In the region of Muzafrabad, people do their breakfast with yogurt, naan, Kulcha and pink tea. At the time of ceremonies whether they are wedding or death or any kind of ceremonies, the food served must contain ‘lobia daal chawaal’. Also, pink tea and black tea (kehwa) are the compulsory items after food. Another important thing to be noticed is that Kashmiris’ use salt in the tea (black tea with milk).
After the regimes of General Muhammad Hayat Khan, there are only few villages where the facility of water supply was made available but few were left out. Since the village portion is not developed as such, therefore, people use mudded stove that is fired with woods due to unavailability of gas. And they also don’t have water in their taps so they travel to chashmas’ and lakes where they fill their containers with water to use.
Trend of mudded houses is very common as they act as natural insulator. Further, people tend to walk a lot instead of using vehicles, that’s the reason they are healthy and are kind of saved from normal illnesses.
Kashmiris are really hard working people, they are independent and they work in their on farms for their livelihood because agriculture and cultivation is their main source of earning. They are very courageous as they live in the tough climatic region but still work hard. They are extremely brave as they are continuously striving for their independence regardless of the harshness and torture they face. Moving further, they are highly prone towards education. Children go to their schools in the morning and help their parents in every way they can after coming back from school. They are extremely patriotic.
Talking about their kind of work, they are primarily famous for their hand work. The neatness, the perfection, the ideas, everything is just so amazing. Kashmiri handicrafts, carpets, shawls, wood carvings (decoration pieces, door styles, window styles etc.) are famous worldwide. Another rare thing is the sandal made of rope (baan) with hands. They call shawl for men ‘Looi’.
Azad Kashmir is Muslim majority area. Their religion is Islam and they are really firm about their beliefs and rituals. On the other hand, Jammu Kashmir is populated with Muslim, Hindu and Sikh communities.
Kashmiris are trying to develop their economy with the help of investments and industrialization. They want to expand their networks all over the world. They want collaboration with the Muslim world on the first ground.
Likewise Pakistan and India, the cast system is very active in both occupied parts of Kashmir. People are known, identified and judged on the bases of their casts. Kashmir is densed with Rajputs, sudhans, jatt, chughtais, syeds, daars. And IOK is densed with casts of Msulims, hindus, as well as of Sikhs.
Statuses and Roles
If we look at the status, Kashmiris don’t really have very high standards but the fact can also not be ignored that they possess their own farms, animals houses etc. houses on rent are not really common.
Trends have changed. Now people are more educated, in fact every single person is trying to get the higher education. Due to the reason, they are getting jobs at higher posts. They also are going abroad and these overseas Kashmiris are adding their part in the foreign reserves in the form of remittances.
Recently, due to agreement between Pakistan and India on the border line (between AJK and IOK), the crossing points have been opened where the exchange of goods can be done through trucks and only for the business purpose, that’s the reason people are getting better off financially. There are some complains of deceivement from Indian business community.
There is one negative aspect regarding business on the borderline that Indian army starts firing and shelling without any notice, therefore on the life is not safe, and doing business is a risky matter. Even people working on their own farms near the border line have a threat of life every time.
On the ground level, all element of culture are integrated. Performance of one element somehow affects the other.Kashmir is the beautiful place on earth with the natural beauty but unfortunately the tourism industry there is not developed. If the government pays a little attention towards this part of Kashmir this can be the major source of income for the natives and even for the government itself.