i read somewhere (will try to get the link) that Kashmiris are one of the long lost tribes of Israel. Alas, now they have become muslims. However
their last names and some of their traditions still can be traced back to ancient israelites.
I also have heard of the Bei Manashe (sp?), who 'claim' to be one of the lost tribes and are waiting to make their aliyah. I am not sure how true
their genetic claim is though their customs also have similarities to judaic rites.
Here's the link: www.moshiach.com...
The main elements that support the hypothesis that Kashmiris are descendants of Israelites are:
1) cultural features and traditions;
2) geographical names;
3) historical records.
1) Cultural features and traditions:
Even though most Kashmiris are Muslims, they feel a particular attraction and sympathy towards Jews and
the Israeli nation, of whom they claim to be descendants. Indeed, the name Israel - never used by Muslims - is very common among them. They have
the "Magen David" as their emblem,
and men usually have Jewish-style beard and sidelocks. Kashmiris light a candle for the Shabbath,
celebrate in Spring a festival that they call Paskha;
in this period they adjust their lunar calendar with the solar year, and the way they do
it is similar to the Jewish system. Even their language has many Hebrew words.
Kashmiris' character, style of clothing, traditions and habits resemble those of Israelis. They do not use animal fat but vegetable oil in their
food. The head cover of the old Kashmiri women is quite like the one for Israeli women.
Kashmiri girls dance in formations in a similar
fashion like the Israeli girls. The Kashmiri women, following the delivery of a child are considered impure for forty days, like the Israeli women
. The majority of the old graves in Kashmir are aligned in east-west direction like the Jewish graves,
whereas the Moslem graves are in the
There is a group of Kashmiri people that still today call themselves "B'ney Yisrael", meaning "Children of Israel" (different from the B'ney
Yisrael of India, now fully recognized by the State of Israel as Jewish). They assert that this is the original name of all the people of Kashmir in
Indeed, the names of the Kashmiri tribes are amazingly very similar to the Tribes of Israel, and according to these names it is likely that they
reached the Valley of Kashmir in different periods: one is called the Tribe of Israel, another is Abri [meaning "Hebrew"], and the tribe of Kahana
[like the Hebrew word for priest], as well as the Tribes of Musa (Mosheh), Shaul, and Shulaymanish (Shlomoh) seem to indicate a migration before the
Kingdom was divided. Other names correspond to single Israelite Tribes, like Gadha as Gad, Asheriya as Asher, Dand as Dan, and even Lavi as Levi.
There are legends and tales that link the Kashmir Valley to different events actually happened in the Land of Israel, or about Jewish historical
people. For instance, a legendary site allegedly being the grave of Mosheh, and another claimed to be Yeshua's grave, that they say, reached
Kashmir in his search for the "Lost Tribes of Israel" -
it is very probable that one of his followers, perhaps Toma, who is known to have
reached India, has been the one who actually did so.
Another tradition says that King Shlomoh visited Kashmir and after his wise counsel the people achieved in successfully regulating the Jalum river.
There is a place called Solomon's Throne situated above Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir. Even though his personal visit to the country should be
considered a myth, it is quite likely that King Shlomoh had any contact with the people of Kashmir, since he had a fluent commercial activity in
2) Geographical names: more than three-hundred places in Kashmir have names that sound very familiar to ancient Israelites,
the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom. Some of these places are Mamre, Gilgit (Gilgal), Nabudaal (Nevo), Pishgah (Pisgah), Heshba (Heshbon),
Bushan (Bashan), Medianpura (Midyan), Amunah (Amon), Goshan (Goshen, the region in Egypt where Israelites sojourned), Guzana (Gozan, that in Assyrian
language is Guzana, one of the places where the Northern Tribes were sent in exile), and there is even Samaryah.
Besides toponyms, also many names
of people, male and female, are typically Hebrew.
3) Historical records:
The history of the Kashmiris is shrouded in mystery. After accurate research, most scholars support the hypothesis that
a consistent part of the Kashmiris are descendants of the Israelite Tribes that were exiled in Assyria in 3039 (722 b.c.e.). According to an
Apocryphon ascribed to Ezra and other ancient records, many of these Israelites decided to emigrate into a distant country in the east. Along their
route, many of them reached the Kashmir Valley and settled there.
Other historians' records: Kitro, in his book "General History of the Mughal Empire", said that the Kashmir people are the descendants of the
Israelites. The traveling Arab historian El Bironi (12th century c.e.) wrote, "In the past, permission to enter Kashmir was given only to Jews".
Another witness of the 15th century c.e. wrote, "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". The two outstanding historians of Kashmir, Mullah Nadiri, who
wrote "The History of Kashmir", and Mullah 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 Israelites.
[edit on 8-11-2004 by aryaputhra]