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Linguistic Sociology of Ancient Kashmir

Prof. T. N. Ganjoo

It is an undeniable fact that in the evolution of language, the kin names, and terms of statement for very common and regularly surrounding objects and processes, have a primary and preeminent placement. The sociolinguistics and other sociologists contribute to the views that the earliest form of articulation must have grown round the kin relational primaries in the family, to artifacts and implements of daily need and the primitive psychological and sociological stresses experienced in every day life. The dynamics of the primitive culture must have, therefore, been the major source of articulation and language.2

Apart from the theoritical assumption underlined above, the kin names with which this study is particularly connected has an other and a more vital aspect, and that aspect has a direct and very deep bearing on the linguistic sociology and the general investigation of the root and source of a linguistic structure. Linguistics psychology confirms the fact that the kin-names constitute a sub-stratum which through ages modifies its extension, yet remains substantially unchanged in its vital substance and basis. This sub-stratum descends down through the generations and is inherited by us and still forms an important part of the linguistic pattern of our age. The relevance of the kin-sociology3 is formulated clearly on the ground that kin-names throw considerable light on the early language forms and their development through time which cannot be measured and approached easily. In the 18th century Sir John, a leading Indologist collected a long list of kin-names which were morphologically, phonetically and semantically of the same root and later conducted an exhaustive linguistic investigations which revolutionised the accepted notions of language and linguistics and exploded the myth that the European languages were connected with the Semitic-Hebrew group. Sir John classified Indo-European4 languages in a common linguistic family and opened a new perspective, not only in the linguistic movements of the Aryan stock, but also in the aryan race movements in general, which must have occured along-with.

It is in the light of these formulations that an attempt has been made to present a survey study of the kin-names in the Kashmiri language, which is possibly the oldest derivative of the spoken Aryan language of the Rig-vedic5 era. Kashmiri, though modified phonetically still retains the basis and root of its source. It has definitely certain special features which differentiate it from the Indo-Aryan languages of India, mainly because it is a direct descendent of the vedic. The Indo-Aryan languages have passed through many linguistic stages changing and modifying in the course of evolution and have also run into contact with languages spoken by the proto-Australoid and later mediterranean stocks, which were hurtled down to the South to settle in to Dravidian communities there. The kin-names offer the explanation for these dissimlarities and also enable us to locate the basic identity between the Vedic and the Kashmiri.

A significant aspect of the kin-names and their appreciation is their relevance to the periodisation of the evolution of economic and social frames, a fact which is of paramount importance not only to the history of Kashmir but to the entire history of India. Placed alongside the agro-linguistic studies, the kin-names provide sources for the location of social strata as they got piled up, one upon the other. The corroboration of the Kashmiri, Kin-names with the Rig Vedic nomenclatures therefore, open a break-through for the constructions of the Kashmir's historical past, which otherwise is absolutely shrouded in mystery. The attempt made here is therefore, to provide a clue to the origin of linguistic development in Kashmir, and also periodisation of the proto-history of this ancient land.


K : 1 Vedic = /Matri/ (Rigveda 1.24-1, 7.10130) mother (In Kashmiri Prakrat/T/and/Y/ changes into J/. In present Kashmiri/Maja/Dr. S.K. Chatterji is of this opinion that /Matra + Arya/has formed present form of Punjabi/Maji/.

In Kashmiri language, there is evidence of this fact that the ancient Kashmiri Society was Matriarchal rather than Patriarchal. It is because of this fact that married daughter calls her parental home/Malyun/(Parental home) which is broken form of /Matra + Mouli + ayanana/. In Rigveda/ayanan:is used for Home.

Vedic : /Mola/ (Pancavimsha-Bhasmana. 13.4.11)

(father) the stem of this word is based on three different roots.

(a) /Mula avadharane/

(b) /Mula Pratisthayam/

(c) /Mula Ropane/

M. Monier William's Sanskrit- English Dictionary explains the semantic of this word like 'The original root, germ, out of which all apparent forms are evolved. The primary cause / Maula / the head, chief, foremost and the crown.

In traditional Kashmiri language/Mola/is considered/Muladdhar a/(The main factor of the family) This is a respectable word also. Vedic/Rishi+Nauli/Kash/Rasoi+mola/ (Sage father).

In Kashmiri language the little boy is affectionately summoned as /Mola/. This is broken form of /Jata/Mauli/one who has hair on the crown of the head) but /Jata/word is gradually omitted.

According to the given roots it was Sexologically established fact in these days that progeny is responsible only with the aid of the father and the very root relates its evidence.

K. 2. /Bhratra (Rigveda 1.64.1) "brother" After so many phonetic changes, present spoken form of Kashmiri is/Boya/ (Brother).

K. 3. /Bhagini/ (Yaska's Nirukta-36) "sister" In modern Kashmirit it is /Beni/(Sister).

K. 4. /Jani/ (Rigveda 4.52.1) "Woman". The present articulation in Kashmiri, has become voiced- affricative /zanya/ (Woman).

K. 5. /Putra/ (Rigveda2.29.5) "Son" In the Panjabi; Kashmiri and Hittate/tre/changes into/tar/ Or/tur. Such forms of Hittite language were found 2000 B.C. in Bogazkoi near, Asia minor) In Kashmiri it is articulated as/potur.

K. 6. /Pautra / (Atharva veda 19.5.30) "Grand-son" Kashmiri-/Putur/(grand-son).

K. 7. /Kumari/19 (Rigveda 1.55.16) "girl" /In Kashmiri linguistics this is a common feature that central-consonant along with the long vowel omits.

 I. Ved. / Tushara / Kash. / Tur. / (Cold)

 II. Ved. / Kapala / Kash. / Kalu / (Head)

 III. Ved. / Shragal / Kash. / Shala / (Jackal)

IV. Ved. / Shamula / Kash. / Shal / (Shawl)

 Similarly the central consonant of / Kumari/ is omitted alongwith the long vowel : Kashmiri form is / Kur / (girl or daughter).

K. 7. /Vayasi/ (Bhasa's-Svapna-Vasovadetta - 2.34) "female friend," In Present Kashmiri/ Vyes/.

K. 8. /Jam/ (Rigveda- 1.31.10) "Husband's sister." It is a startling fact that this ancient Rigvadic word /Jam/ is retained only in Kashmiri and no other Indo-Aryan-language.

 In Kashmiri/J/has changed into voiced affricative and present articulation is /zam/.

K. 9. /Devri/ (Rigveda- 10.86.85) "Husband's brother." Here back/ri/has come to front This is special pecularity of Kashmiri Prakriat and /V/changes into /Y/ is common in all Indo-European and Indo-Aryan language.

K. 10. Vedic : /Shur/ (Rigveda 1.63.10, Nirukt 4/13) "child. In Braja Bhasa/S/has changed into-cha/, so it is/ chora/ (boy) chori (girl). Kash./Shur/ (Child).

 Vedic : /Pitrivya/ (Rigveda 3.53.2) "Paternal uncle"

 In Kashmiri female gender has come out after joining another form

K. 11. Vedic : /Pitravya+ananya/ (Unlce's Beloved) Kashmiri/Pechanya/(aunt).

K. 12. Vedic : Jyeshth Pitrivya + Ananya/Kashmiri/Jith Pechanya/ (Eldest Aunt).

K. 13. Vedic : /Madyam + Pitrivyat / Ananya / Kashmiri/

 manzim Pechanya/ (middle-aunt)

K. 14. Vedic : /Kaniseth + Pitrivya + Ananya / Kashmir /

Knus Pechanya/ (youngest aunt).

 Same rule is applied on mother's sister-in-law.

K. 15. Vedic : /Matul + Ananya / (Yajnavalkya-smriti-, 3.23.2) (Mother's brother's wife)

 Kashmiri/Mamanya/ (Maternal Aunt).

K. 16. Vedic : /Pitrivya + Bharatri (Rig, 3 5.82/1.14) "Paternal Brother)" Kashmiri/Pitur-Boyal/

K. 17. Vedic : /Pitrivya + Bhagini / (Rig. 3.53.2, Yaska's nirukta- 3/6) (Paternal-sister)."

 Kashmiri articulation / Pitura-Beni

K. 18. Vedic /Pitrivya+Bhratri + Kakini / (Rig 3,53.2 1.16.5 "Kakini" Rudra Yamala tantra " One who bestows nectar (Kakini Amrita Jevini) Modern Kashmiri / Piturbay Kakany / (Paternal brother's wife).

 Maharashtri = /kaki/(brother's wife)

K. 19. Vedic : /Matul/ (Asvalayana-grihyasutri 1.24.4) Declension of vocative case / Mama / (V.S. Apte's Sanskrit English Dictionary Vol. II p. 1263) Maternal uncle. Kashmiri articulation/mam/The Kinship of maternal uncle side follows the same pattern.

K. 20. Vedic/Mam-ith-Bharatri/ (Yajnavalkya-Smriti-3.232, Rig. V, 1.164) "Maternal brother" Kashmiri/mamutur-Boya. "Maternal brother"

K. 21. Vedic/mam-ith-Bhagini/ (Yaska's Nirukta 3.6)

In Kashmiri language / mamutur-Beni/ "Maternal sister" The kinship is expanded by using / Mam-ith/ which denotes the maternal uncle's side.

K. 22. Vedic : (mam-ith-Jami / Kah / Mamutur-zam / (maternal-sister-in-law).

K. 23. Vedic : (Mam-ith-Bhratri-Kakini/Kash. / Mamutur-Bay-Kakany) (maternal sister-in-law).

 The maternal uncle's third generation extends on the same principle.

K. 24. Vedic : /Mamith-Bhratri-nicchiva/

 Kashmiri-mamutur-Bay Sund-Nchuv / (Maternal brothers son).

 /Sund/post position belongs to Shourseni Prakrit, there it is used for oblative while in Kashmiri it is used for genitive.

K. 25. Vedic:/mam-ith-Bhratri-Kumari/Kashmir-mamutur-Bay-Sunz-kur/(maternal & brother's daughters/Sunz/Post Position as genitive in female gender)

K. 26. /Matri Mouli-alaya / (mother father's house) Kashmir/Malunya/. (In Kashmiri prakirt/T/and/d/ generally changed into /J/.

O. 27. Vedic : /Krevyada/Kashmir/Kavuja/an appointed man of cremation ground.

O. 28. Vedic : /Matri / Kashmiri/Maj/ (Mother)

K. 29. Vedic : /Bratri-kakini/Kash/Bayikakuny/ Sister-in-law" Or general term for brother's wife The gradual development according to the Age-group.

K. 30. /Jyshth-Bhratri-Kakini/ "eldest" brother's wife "Kash/zithbaykakanya/

K. 31. Vedic : /Madhyama - Bhratri - Kakini /Kashmiri / Manzum-Baykakanya/ "middle brothers wife."

 Same rule is applied for the formation of male gender.

K. 32. Kash-Zuth petur/eldest uncle.

K. 33. Kash/Manzum Petur/ (middle uncle)

K. 34. Kash/knus petur/youngest uncle.

K. 35. Vedic : /Matrishvasri / Panini Asthadhyayi 4.1.134 "Maternal Aunt"

K. 36. Bangla/Masim/

K. 37. Maharasthri/masi/

O. 38. Punjabi/Masi

K. 39. Kashmiri/mas/

K. 40. Vedic : /Pitrishvarri/ (Panini 4.1.135)

O. 41. Bangla/Pisiwa/

O. 42. Sindhi/Pa/

O. 43. Punjabi/Phuphi/

O. 44. Kashmiri/Popha/ (father sister)

 The male gender is made by using /uva/suffix/.

K. 45. Vedic : /Masuv/ (maternal uncle for Husband of mother's sister). /Paphuv/ (Paternal uncler or Husband of father's sister)

 This will not be off the point to mention that the male-maternal uncle and male-paternal uncle is missing in vedic literature. But Kashmiri has retained its ancient form, though phonetically tremendous change has occured.

K. 46. (a) Vedic : Matrishvasri+Dhavh/Kashmiri/Mas+Uv/ (Mother's Sister's Husband)

K. 47. (b) Vedic : /Pitrshvasri+Dhavn/Kashmiri/Paphu + Uv/. (father's sister's husband)

 The Linguistic expansion of three kin names will follow the same rule.

K. 48. Vedic : /Matrishvasri+Bratri.

 Kash/masatur+Boye/ (Maternal Brother)

K. 49. Vedic : Mastrishvasri + Bhagini/

 Kash/Mastur + Beni (maternal sister).

K. 50. Vedic : /Matrishvasri + Bhagini + Ramanaka / Kash.

 /Masur + Beni (Hund) + Run (Hund/see k. 24) English/Maternal + Sister's+ Husband/

K. 51. Vedic: /Patrishvasri+Bhagini+Ramanaka/ (Paternal+sister's husband) Kash/Pophatur+Beni (Hund) +Run (Hund/see k. 24)

K. 52. Vedic : Ouras + Bhratri/Rigveda 1.116.4-1 Sakuutala- 7

 "Step brother". Kash. Vore+Boyi

K. 53. Vedic : /Auras + Bhagini (Yaska's Nirukt 3/6) Kash /Vora+Beni / "Step sister). In Kashmiri/Ouras/is essentially used step kin-name relation.

K. 54. Vedic : (Aurasa + Mam / Kash / Vora mam/ (Step maternal uncle).

K. 55. Vedic : /Aurasa Mouli / Kash / Vora + mal/ "Step father."

K. 56. Vedic : Aurasa Matri/kash/Vora maja/English/Step mother/.

K. 57. Vedic : Aurasa Necchivi (Rig. 8.93.22)

 Kash. /Vora nechuva/"Step son"

K. 58. Vedic : /Garbha + aurasa/Kash/Gobour/.

 (Not particularly one's own son but used for any boy frequently)

K. 59. Vedic : = /Bhratri+Putra/ (Rig. 1.164.2)


K. 60. Vedic : /Bagini+Putra/ (Yaska's Nirukt-36) (Rigveda- 2.99.5) Kashmir/Benthur/Sister's son.

K. 61. Vedic : /Bhratri+Tanuja/ (Rigveda 5.70.4) (Yaska's Nirukta3/6) Kash./Bevaz/ (niece, brother's daughter)

K. 62. Vedic /Bhagini+tanuja/(Yaska's Nirukta 3.6)

 Kash./Bavaz/"Sister's daughter"

K. 63. Vedic : Snusha/ (Rig. 10.86.13) "bride"

 In Kashmiri linguistics generally frontal voweless consonant/S omits. Kash./Nosh/(Bride)

K. 64. Vedic : /Smabandhin/ (Mahabharata 5.17.20)

 "A relation by marriage"

 Kashmiri/Sonya/ (bride's or bridegroom's father)

 Kashmiri/Sonyenya (bride's or Bridegroom's mother)

K. 65. Vedic : /Vridha+Abha/ (Aitereya Brahman 3.48.9 and Kaskritsna Grammar).

 The basic root is /Abha Janane which means originator, race, lineage and father. In Sanskrit language the common word for grand-father is/Pitamaha which denotes greater than father. But in Kashmiri prote-vedic form is adopted for this kinname which means Old originator of the family.

 Kashmiri/Budi+Bab / (grand-father)

K. 66. Vedic : /Nana / (Rigveda 9.112.3)

 In Rigveda/Nana/is registered for mother-but the ancient must have remained for grand-mother. The new Indo-Aryan languages of India have retained this kin-name with slight classification in respect of maternal and paternal relations viz. /Nana-Nani/ grandma and grand-pa of maternal side and/Dada-Dadi/Grandma and grand-pa or paternal side. But in Kashmiri it is some how different, the paternal grandma is classified, if it becomes necessary other wise not/garucha+Nannya/whose origin is/Griha+ith+Nana (belongs to paternal home) while the maternal grand mother is known as/Matamalucha+Nanya/which is the broken form of/Matri+Mouli+Ayana/(belongs to mother's fathers house).

K. 67. Vedic : Avarin+jaya / (Rigved / Avarinmeans a degraded or a censured women.

 Kash./Voruz/ (a women who marries after the death of her husband. Generally such marriages are not considered socially good.

K. 68. Vedic : /Sapatni / (Rigveda 3.1.10) (Co-wife)

 (In Kashmiri linguistics /P/ has changed into /V/ and only /N/ is retained out of /tni/.

 Kash-/Svon/ (Co-wife)

K. 69. Vedic : /Poutra / (Atharvaveda 9.5.00. 11.7.16)

 "grand-son" Kash. /putur / (Grand son)

K. 70. Vedic. / Naptri / (Samaveda 5.13. (Arnayagan) grand-daughter."

 In Kashmiri/Nap/is omitted and/tri/is changed into/Jri/Kashmiri/zura/.

K. 71. Vedic : /Jamatri/ (Rigveda 8.2.2) "Son-in-law"


 (In Kashmiri prakrit/Ri/chages into/tur/.

K. 72. Vedic : /Shashur/Rigveda 10.86.13) father-in-law."

 In Kashmiri Prakrita vowelless consonent usually omits in case it is in front of the word.

K. 73. Vedic : /Sphot/Kashmiri/Phut (Broken).

K. 74. Vedic : /Sphorum/Kashmiri/Phorun/ (trob of eye)

 This front/V/of the Shrashru/is omitted and/Sh/is changed into /H/. Kashmiri/Hihuru/


K. 75. Vedic : /Shrashru/(Rigveda : 10.85.46, 1034,3).

 The linguistic development is almost same as already seen in Hihura/ (father-in-law).

 Kashmiri/Hasha/ (mother-in-law),

 The in-laws kin-names follow the same principle.

K. 76. Vedic : /Pitrivya + Shvashri / (father-in-law's brothere).

 Kashmiri / Petru Hihur/

K. 77. Vedic : /Pitrivya Shaashru / (father-in-law's brother's wife)

 Kashmiri /Petru / Has/

 The following three terms indicate Age-wise chronology :

K. 78. Vedic : /Jyosth / Kashmiri /zath (eldest)

K. 79. Vedic : /Madhyama/Kashmiri/Manzum/ (middle)

K. 80. Vedic : Kanitha/Kashmiri/Knus/ (Youngest).

 Euphonic combination of allomorph is framed like this

K. 81. Vedic : Jyosth+Pitrivya+Shrashura/Kashmiri/Zuth+Petru+Hihur/

 (father-in-law's eldest brother).

K. 82. Vedic : /Jyoth+Pitrivya+Shvashru/Kashmiri/zith+petri+Has/ (father-in-laws eldest brother's wife) The other forms adopt the same rule.

K. 83. Vedic : Matrisvasri + Shrashures / Kash. Masu + Hihur/ (mother-in-laws sister's husband)

 The Age-wise gradation follows the same pattern i.e./zuth/ (eldest). / Manzum / (middle) /Knus / (youngest).

K. 84. Vedic : /Matrisvasri + Shashru / Kashmiri/Masu + Hash/

K. 85. Vedic Patri + Shavsri+Shashru/

 Kashmir / Pephu+Hihur (father-in-laws sister's husband).

K. 86. Vedic / Pitrishavsri+Shavashru/Kash-Pephu+Has/ father-in laws sister).

 The Age-wise grouping as classified in three forms / Zuth / (Eldest) / Manzum (Middle) and /Knus/ (youngest)

K. 87. Vedic / Shyalah / Rigveda 1.00. 1.109.2) Kashmir / (brother-in-law) /Sh/changes into /H/ and /L/ changes into /R/

K. 88. Vedic : Shyalh Bharya/Kas./Haharu Bayi/ (brother-in-laws wife or wife's brother's wife)

K. 89. Vedic : Shyale / (Ate's Sanskrit D. Part II. 1672)

 (Rigveda-1-109.2) Kash./Sala/(wife's sister)

K. 90. Vedic : /Syali+Dhava/Appetis Sanskrit. Part III 1672) (wife's sister's husband (In Kashmiri/L/usually changes into/J/see No. 7 Kashmiri/Sajuv/ (wife's sisters husband).


1. Jesperson : Language, its nature, development and origin 273.

2. B. Franz : Race, Language and Culture.

3. Jesperson : Language, its nature, development and origin 222.

4. J. Benphant : Indo-European Languages 149.

5. Dr. S.K. Chatterji : Modern Indian Languages and litrature 125.

The author has been the Professor of Hindi in Kashmir University.

[Reproduced from, "Heritage of Kashmir" 1980. Edited by J.L.K. Jalali and F.M. Hussain, Srinagar.]
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