Pashtuns of Kashmir valley in 1895

According to “The Valley of Kashmir” By Walter R. Lawrence (written in 1895 AD), Pashtuns in Kashmir were more numerous than Mughals in the late 19th century Kashmir and were mostly found in Uttar Machipura (Kupwara district, Kashmir). The most interesting colony of Pashtuns was that of the Kuki Khel Afridis of Dranghaihama, who retained all the old Pashtun customs, and still for the most part spoke Pashto in 1895. They stood out from the native Kashmiris. Walter R. Lawrence writes: “They (Kuki-Khel Afridis) wear a picturesque dress and carry swords and shields. They pride themselves on their bravery, and in the absence of a nobler foe engage the bear on foot with the sword or spear him from their plucky little ponies.”

Another colony of Pashtuns in Kashmir was known as Machipuria, who belonged to the Yousafzai tribe and were known as MarufKhani Pathans among Kashmiris. By intermarriage with Kashmiri women, those Yousafzais had lost most of the characteristics of the Pashtuns in 1890s. However, their old men could still talk Pashto, but the younger generation resembled Kashmiris and spoke their language. The name Machipuria was erroneous, as they lived in Hamal, which only adjoins Machipura.

The Afridis and Machipurias (Yousafzais) were employed by the Dogra rulers of Jammu and Kashmir. The Afridis furnished thirty-five men for service on the Gilgit road, and the Machipurias twenty-five. In payment for this they held certain villages free of revenue.

The majority of the Pashtuns came to Kashmir in the Durrani time, but many were introduced by the Maharaja Gulab Singh, who granted them jagirs for service on the frontier. In Bhiru many villages were held by Swatis and Bunerwals. Jugokharian belonged to a number of Khattak families. The Pashtuns were always given the title of Khan by Kashmiris.

Pashtuns of Gotlibagh in Ganderbal district of Kashmir speak Pashto to this day.

Pathans Kashmir
Gotlibagh has largest concentration of Pashtuns in Kashmir valley. A group of Pashtun men of Gotlibagh, 2011.
Pashto Kashmir
A Pashtun girl stood behind a clay tandoor outside a home in Gotlibagh, 2011
Pathan Kashmir
A Pashtun woman at her home in Gotlibagh, 2011
Kashmiri girls
Young Pashtun girls of Gotlibagh, 2011. Source


Malik Samad Khan Malikdin Khel Afridi

Malik Samad Khan Malikdin Khel moved from Tirah to Kashmir in 1855 at a young age and joined the Dogra army as a mercenary. He and his Afridi clansmen assisted the Dogras in conquering Yasin (in Gilgit-Baltistan) in 1863, for which they received large jagirs as rewards in Gotlibagh, Haihama (Kupwara), Achabal, Khour, and Battal Ballian in Udhampur. All of the four sons of Samad Khan joined the state armed forces of Dogra-ruled Jammu-and-Kashmir. His eldest son, Samanadar Khan, retired from service as a Major general and his second son, Rahmatullah Khan, as a Brigadiar in 1944. Air Marshal Asghar Khan was one of the sons of Brigadier Rahmatullah Khan.

Pathans Kashmir
Malik Samad Khan Malikdin Khel Afridi


1- “The Valley of Kashmir” By Walter R. Lawrence
2-“History of the Pathans”, Vol.IV, Haroon Rashid
3- “Gilgit Agency 1877-1935”, by Amar Singh Chohan,


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