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Kashmiri Pandits (KP)

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  • Mahendra Nath Kaul, OBE (1922 - 2018)
    Broadcaster and restaurateur. Kaul was born in Kashmir, and began broadcasting in 1948 for Radio Kashmir, and shortly afterwards, All India Radio. In the 1960s he moved to London and began a broadcasti...
  • Bal Kak Dhar, rais azam, Jagirdar of Kashmir, Wazir-e-Wazarat of Kashmir (b. - bef.1961)
    Bal Kak Dhar was the last zamindar of the Dhar dynasty of Kashmir. He was a wealthy nobleman, owning several Jagirs around Srinagar and resided in the clan's ancestral house, Dharnivas, in Safakadal.
  • Shambhu Nath Kaul (deceased)
    I have seen Pt Shambhu Nath Kaul, his old mother and his issues at Faizabad during my childhood. He was a leading advocate of the city and a generous secret doner to needed people, which was known to u...
  • Bhola Nath Ganju (deceased)
    Its matter of research that the famous Bhola Nath ka kuwan ( well ) situated in chowk Lucknow is in his name?

About Kashmiri Pandits

The inhabitants of Kashmir were followers of the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion before the formalization of Rigvedic Hinduism in the period 1700–1100 BC. Therefore, the region has been associated with Hinduism since even before the origin of the religion. The name Kashmir is said to be derived from Kashyapa, one of the seven Rishis in Hindu mythology.

Kashmiri Pandit (Kashmiri: कश्मीरी (कॉशुर, کٲشُر) पण्डित) refers to a person who belongs to a sect of Hindu Brahmins originating from Kashmir, a mountainous region in South Asia. Both racially and ethnically, the Kashmiri Pandits are descendants of the (Proto-Rigvedic) people. It has been often mentioned by experts that the region of Kashmir is the original home of the Aryan Race.

About the Project

This race has over the years produced many a world renowned personalities in the fields of politics, administration, judiciary, Military, poetry and artistry and others. The community is well knit and interconnected. Moreover, a very vibrant community exists on GENI.

The goal of this project is to add,edit, and enrich the profiles and tree's of prominent members of the community. Further, more importantly, using this platform establish the genealogical inter connections between the community

Project Photo
==Expectations from Collaborators==

1) Enrich profiles - Look at the list of profiles added here and the profiles of people in there tree and add information in the profiles such as pictures, location, dates, about me etc. As comprehensive as one can get.
2) Add profiles to the project - If you are aware of a person who needs to be here please add him/her to the project. It is entirely your judgment on who qualifies to be here.

History of Kashmiri Pandits

The inhabitants of Kashmir were followers of the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion before the formalization of Rigvedic Hinduism in the period 1700–1100 BC. Therefore, the region has been associated with Hinduism since even before the origin of the religion. The name Kashmir is said to be derived from Kashyapa, one of the seven Rishis in Hindu mythology.

The religious philosophy of Kashmiri Hindus is rooted in Kashmir Shaivism, a school of Shiva philosophy that originated near Kailasha in Himalayas around 400 AD. Kashmiri Shaivism, also known as Pratyabhijna (meaning "recognition") school of Shaivism, adopts a purely monistic metaphysical position. It considers the Supreme Lord, called Shiva or Maheshvara, as the Supreme Reality, which is innermost as well as transcendent.


A large number of Kashmiri Pandit families were forced to migrate to the plains in the early fifteenth century during the reign of Sikandar Butshikan, and in the late seventeenth century during the reign of Aurangzeb. However, Mughal emperors before and after Aurangzeb invited Kashmiri Pandit scholars, who were fluent in Persian, Sanskrit, Avestan and several other classical languages, to their courts. Several princely states in northern and central India, such as Patiala, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, and Ratlam have had Kashmiri Pandit prime ministers (dewans).

The largest concentrations of Kashmiri Pandits were found in medieval urban centres such as Lahore, Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Hardoi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Gwalior, Jaipur and Jodhpur. Substantial numbers were also found in Shimla, Ambala, Multan, Ajmer, Dehradun, Ujjain, Indore, Bhopal and Cuttack. Most of the Kashmiri Pandit families that migrated to the plains before the twentieth century have a strong influence of the Muslim culture of Awadh in their language, and to some extent, in their food.

Meaning of surnames found on the KP tree

Bakaya - An officer of the rank of a Tehsildar was appointed in the time of Sikhs and Pathans to realise the outstanding taxes from the people. His descendants were nicknamed as Bakaya.

Sapru - Dr. Iqbal, who was the worthy descendant of a Pandit family whose surname was Sapru, wrote to Mr. Fauq about the word Sapru as follows. He wrote that Mr. Dewan Tek Chand M.A., who was a Commissioner in Punjab, had a taste for linguistic research. He told Mr. Iqbal that the word Sapru had its genesis from the Ancient Iranian Kings 'Shapur'.

Saprus are those Iranians who had settled down in Kashmir much before the advent of Islam and because of their sharp intellect were absorbed soon with Brahmans of Kashmir.

Dr. Iqbal has further written that his father used to say that 'Saprus' are the descendants of those Kashmiri Brahman families who were first to learn Persian and other Islamic studies, during the Muslim rule. Sapru means a person who is first to learn a new thing. This name was given to them out of contempt by other Brahmans. The latter analysis is nearer in the approach of a common Kashmiri and the former assertion needs full investigation.

Bakshi - It is a common Punjabi surname. A Pandit employed as an Assistant to a Punjabi officer, having Bakshi his surname, was also known as Bakshi. Mr. Fauq says a Pandit employed as a clerk of the Army was known as Bakshi or Mir Bakshi.

Munshi - It is a common surname among many linguistic groups of India. K. M. Munshi was a Gujrati and a famous Indologist. Munshis exist in almost all the Hindi-speaking areas of India. Munshi means a clerk. Mr. Fauq says that a certain Pandit of Tikoo family was employed as a Munshi during the rule of Sikhs or Pathans. He was the most intelligent and efficient Munshi Kashmir had ever seen. Therefore, he became famous by his professional name and his children were also known by this name.

Wazir - The Pandits employed in the service of Wazirs of Kashmir during Pathan and Mughal rule became gradually famous by the name of Wazir.

Chakbast - 'Chak' in Kashmiri is the name given to a large piece of land. Chakdari was a common £eature of Kashmir's agrarian system. It was abolished after the end of Dogra regime in 1948. Before the passing of Agrarian laws large pieces of land would be given to influential zamindars as the 'Chaks' on a nominal rent. Therefore, the officers entrusted with the job of keeping a regular- account of these land holdings were known as 'Chakbast.' They were also known as Kanoongo.

Bhan - It is an ancient Kashmiri nickname given, perhaps, to those who sold the utensils. Bhan is the name of the Sun also but this name does not justify itself to be a source of a nickname or a family name. There is a locality, known as, 'Bana Mohalla', in Srinagar.

Langar or Langroo - Some of their ancestor must have been the manager of a Government kitchen. His descendants were, therefore, nicknamed Langar or Langroo.

Wattal - It is a very derogatory term and is used for a low caste tribe. It is also used for a person who indulges into very mean and lowly acts. It is presumed that some Pandit must have been appointed as an officer of Wattals, who himself was later on known by this very name.

Fauq says that during Hindu rule many people swept the premises of temples, without any compensation, out of devotion to the presiding deity of the temple. They and their descendants were later nicknamed as Wattal. One more theory being forwarded is that the Pandits whose family name is Wattal are the descendants of some famous saint by the name of Wattal Nath.

Bazaz - Some ancestor of the family must have been a cloth merchant.

Taimini - It is presumed some Pandit must have been under the service of Taimini Pathans of Kabul and earned this nickname. Fauq believes it to be a word of Hindu or Buddhist origin and considers this family to be the followers of some Rishi or Muni. At the same time, it is suspected that some ancestor of this family might have been of black colour, and was called Tamini as the Tamun in Kashmiri means the carbon formed on the bottom of the utensils.

Mattu - It is derived from the Sanskrit word Math. Some of the ancestor of this family must have either been a founder or a manager of some Math.

Chak - Employees of Chak Kings.

Zalpuri - Employees of traders from Zablistan. It is often mispronounced out of Kashmir as Zalpari.

Khar - It means an ass in Kashmiri. A Pandit employed to realise taxes from donkey drivers (Markaban).

Hazari - A servant of Hazari Pathan's got this nickname.

Zutshi - It is a corrupt form of the word Jyotshi. Zutshis are reported to have been distinguished astrologers and Sanskrit scholars.

Razdan - The census report of 1819 states that Razdan is a corrupted form of ancient Sanskrit epithet Rajanak. Stein is of the view that 'the title Rajanak, meaning literaly "a king", used to be given for services rendered to the King. The title has survived in the form of Razdan as a family name of very free occurrence among the Brahmans of Kashmir. It was borne by Rajanaka Ratanakara, the author of the Haravijaya (9th Century), and by many Kashmirian authors of note enumerated in the Vamsaprasasti which Anama Rajanaka (17th Century) has appended to his commentary on the Nisadhacarita.

As the designation of certain high officials (Muhammadans), the term Rajanaka is often used by Srivara and in the fourth chron (also in the shortened form Rajana).' R. S. Pandit states that the title Rajanaka was continued under Muhammadan rule and was conferred on Muslim officers.

Tikoo - It is said to have originated from the 'Trika'. The members of this family were special devotees of the goddess 'Tripura'. Fauq has given one more explanation stating that an ancestor of this family adopted a non-Brahman boy who was deemed to have become a Brahman by a Tika (a sacred mark on the forehead of a Brahman). He and his descendants were later nicknamed as Tiku.

Kathju - Pandit family residing at Kathleshwar in Tanki Pora (a mohalla of Srinagar) was nicknamed Kathju.

Sopori - Pandits of Srinagar, whose ancestors migrated from Sopore, or the descendants of Soya Pandit (founder of Sopore) were known as Sopori. Kashmiri Pandits of this nickname in plains have hanged the word Sopori into Shivpori.

Thussoo - Emigrants from a village Thus, in Kulgam Tehsil, to the Srinagar city became known by the name of their native village.

Haksar - Emigrants from a village named Hakchar in district Baramullah.

Raina - It is stated that the Pandits who originally belonged to Rainawari and later settled down in the main city were known as Raina. Mr. Fauq states that Rainawari was the capital of the famous King Rana Datta 436 A.D.-497 A.D. There was also a large garden of this king situated at the site of present Rainawari and Vari in Kashmiri means a garden. Thus Rainawari meant a garden belonging to the king Ranadatta. Another view expressed is that it, like Razdan, is a corrupted form of the title Rajanaka.

Waloo or Wali - A fire chimney in Kashmiri is called Wol. One who got constructed a fire chimney in his house at first was immediately nicknamed as Wol, which in due course of time became, Waloo and Wali.

Wantu/Wanchu - Wantu in Kashmiri is used for a hard walnut. It is impossible to get a full Kernel (GIRI) out of a hard walnut, even if it is broken into pieces. Some of the ancestor of this family must have been a top class miser and was compared to a 'Wont doon' (hard walnut). Thus was this nickname started to continue for generations.

Gamkhwar - A Pandit was a born sympathiser. He would share the sorrow of one and all. Somebody out of envey nicknamed him Gamkhar. Mr. Fauq reports that one Sadanand Koul was given the title of Gamkhar by the Mughal King Shah Jahan. His progeny was also known by this title.

Kakh - An elder brother, uncle or a cousin was out of reverence called as Kakh. Some Pandit for his good and generous nature seems to have won the public respect and was called Kakh by the people, other than his family members. He lost his real appellation and was along with his progeny known as Kak.

However, there are repeated references of the family name Kak in Rajtarangini. Shaloka 1311 of Taranga VII reads, 'As his passage was blocked by warriors of the Kaka and other educated families, he retreated from. . .' R. S. Pandit in a footnote to above Shaloka says that the Kaka family is repeatedly referred to by Kalhana. Shaloka 180 and 599 of Taranga VIII says, 'holders of high military rank and others, brave men such as Tilka of the family of Kaka. . .'. 'From the very midst of ..., Sufi captured alive in battle the brave knight Sobhka sprung from the family of Kaka...' Kaks in the ancient Kashmir, therefore, belonged to a military class.

Mushran - An awkward and ugly man with a huge and powerful body is called Mushran. Some ancestor of this family must have been nicknamed as mushran because of his unusual physique and, later his descendants continued to be called by this name.

Sharga - It is corrupt form of Shogo (a parrot). Some member of the family was having small eyes and a long nose like a parrot.

Handoo - This nickname was given to a Pandit who was fat and fresh like a sheep or to those Pandits who somehow were connected with flocks of sheep.

Gurtu - It is a nickname given, perhaps, to those Razdans whose some ancestor was of Gurtu (yellow) colour. Gurtu is now used for those Pandits who do not cook meat and fish on the Shivratri festival.

Kichloo - It means a long-beared in Kashmiri Some elder of the family must have developed a long beard and received this nickname.

Ganjoo - A bald man's nickname or an appellation for a man who was put in-charge of Ganj (treasury).