People of Jammu
Jammu province is inhabited by diverse castes and sects.
The Dogras inhabiting the hilly tract bounding the mountains of the Kashmir
valley on the south and extending to the plains of the Punjab, are descended
from Aryan stock. They speak the Dogri language - a mixture of Sanskrit, Punjabi
and Persian - whose origin goes back to the Indo-Aryan branch of Sanskrit. Their
staple food consists of rice, wheat, and pulses. Their dress is simple, a short
coat or a flowing shirt with pyjamas at the knees and tight-fitting at the
ankles. The men's turban on the head is generally complemented by a kamarband at
the waist. With a shawl or dupatta thrown over the head, women put on
tight-fitting bodice or jumpers over pyjamas which resemble those of the men
Rajputs, who have traditionally made the Army their profession are
not big build, their average height being 5'4" (160 cm). The
men's complexion is light brown, the women's lighter still.
The dishes are delicious, with abundant nutritional value. One of the
dainties of Dogra dishes is auria, made from yoghurt and potatoes. Other Dogra
specialities are ghiwar, a sort of bread fried in ghee; thothru, well-kneaded
fermented balls cooked in dried wheat flour pieces, also fried in ghee.
Distinct and remarkable, Dogra cuisine complements the people's
soldiers, painters and builders of temples and forts. Through the Basohli
school and other paintings, Dogras have made a notable contribution to the
development of painting in India. Basohli emerged as a great centre of painting
early in the 18th century. Outstanding paintings of this school depict Krishna's
frolics, scenes from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata etc. Basohli paintings have
been characterised as ' poems in colour ' for their extraordinary lyrical
The Dogras are deeply attached to their land. Much of their folklore - myths and
legends - relates to their shrines. Religion also contribute to the mass
entertainment of the people in the form of Ras dances.
The Brahmins of the
Jammu province are mainly engaged in agriculture. A minority among them comprise
the priest class. The Chibbalis and the Sudans - the chief sects among the
Muslim Rajputs - are also a martial race.
Khatris and Mahajans
are of Punjab stock. They generally follow sedentary occupation like trade and
commerce. Harijans constitute another large segment of population. They are
agriculturists and pursue semi-skilled professions, including those of
cobblers and scavengers.
muscled, virile, simple and truthful, the Paharis inhabit the hilly
tracts of the 'middle mountains'. Theirs is a hard life, rearing sheep and
cultivating the sparse available tracts of land on hilly, sloppy terraces for
barley, wheat and maize. Many people of this area recruits to the Army. Their
hospitality is exemplary. Their diet is simple and sparse -
wheat bread with whey and lentils. Their language is a mixture of Dogri,
Punjabi and Hindi. Generally dressed in grey woolens and loose pyjamas, they
also flaunt a kamarband. Women wear long, loose tunics, close-fitting
chudidars and dupatta or cap to complete their charming ensemble. The Kashmiris
who have immigrated into this region have adopted the same dress and speak a
mixture of Pahari and Kashmiri dialects.
The physical features of a Kishtwari are unmistakably those of an Indian-dark
complexion , thick protruding lips and broad noses, akin to Dravidians. They
are of short stature, simple and unsophisticated but are very hardy. They are
sure-footed mountaineers. Guileless and credulous, they are superstitious.
Witchcraft prevails among some of them. The people speak the Kishtwari dialect,
which is a mixture of Dogri and Kashmiri.