The British Mirpuri (Urdu: برطانوی میرپوری ) community comprises people in the United Kingdom who originate from the Mirpur District and surrounding areas in Pakistan-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir, thus being a part of the Mirpuri diaspora. While no accurate statistics are available, an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of British Pakistanis in England trace their origins to the administrative territory of Azad Kashmir in northeastern Pakistan, mainly from the Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber districts.[1][2][3]

British Mirpuris
Total population
Approximately 60–70 per cent of the British Pakistani population (estimate for England only)
Regions with significant populations
Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Luton, Leeds, Blackburn and surrounding towns
Urdu, Pahari-Pothwari, English (British)

Mirpuris started settling in Britain in the 1940s, transferring their workmanship on British merchant navy ships to the industrial needs of the growing British economy. The migration accelerated after the construction of the Mangla Dam in 1966, which submerged vast areas of farmland in the Mirpur district.[4]

Population edit

Large Azad Kashmiri communities can be found in Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester, Leeds, Luton and the surrounding towns.[5][2]

History edit

Migration from the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir began soon after the Second World War as the majority of the male population of this area and the Potohar region worked in the British armed forces, as well as to fill labour shortages in industry. But the mass migration phenomenon accelerated in the 1960s, when, to improve the supply of water, the Mangla Dam project was built in the area, flooding the surrounding farmlands.[6] Up to 50,000 people from Mirpur (5% of the displaced) resettled in Britain. More joined their relatives in Britain after benefiting from government compensation and liberal migration policies.[7]

Cultural assimilation and social issues edit

Mirpur was considered to be a conservative district in 1960s, and life in its rural villages was dominated by rigid hierarchies. The first generation Mirpuris were not highly educated, and they had little or no experience of urban living in Pakistan.[8] An economic boom brought dramatic changes to the area after its residents began migrating to Europe, especially the UK, bolstering remittances to Pakistan. Families in Pakistan are close knit and the guiding influence behind everything from marriage to business.[9] The current literacy rate of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is 78%, compared with 62.3 in Pakistan.[10] In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, primary school enrolment is 80% for boys and 74% for girls.[11]

The community has made notable progress in UK politics and a sizeable number of MPs, councillors, lord mayors and deputy mayors are representing the community in different constituencies.[12]

Endogamy and kinship edit

Cousin marriages or marriages within the same tribe and caste system are common in some parts of South Asia, including rural areas of Pakistan.[13] A major motivation is to preserve patrilineal tribal identity.[14] As a result, there are some common genealogical origins within these tribes.[15] Some British Pakistanis view cousin marriages as a way of preserving this ancient tribal tradition and maintaining a sense of brotherhood.[16]

A small scale study of 100 randomly selected British Pakistani mothers was published in 1988 in the Journal of Medical Genetics, which looked specifically at two hospitals in West Yorkshire, found that the rate of consanguineous marriage was 55 per cent and rising,[17] compared to a worldwide rate of 29 per cent.[18] However, this rate is significantly lower than in Pakistan, where consanguineous marriages are estimated to be at 73 per cent.[19]

Representatives of constituencies where there are high Pakistani populations say that consanguineous marriages amongst British Pakistanis are now decreasing in number, partly because of public health initiatives.[20]

Forced marriage edit

According to the British Home Office, as of 2000, more than half the cases of forced marriage investigated involve families of Pakistani origin, followed by Bangladeshis and Indians.[21] The Home Office estimates that 85 per cent of the victims of forced marriages are women aged 15–24, 90 per cent are Muslim, and 90 per cent are of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage.[22] 60 per cent of forced marriages by Pakistani families were linked to the small towns of Bhimber and Kotli and the city of Mirpur.[23]

Identity edit

Christopher Snedden writes that most of the native residents of Azad Kashmir are not of Kashmiri ethnicity; rather, they could be called "Jammuites" due to their historical and cultural links with that region, which is coterminous with neighbouring Punjab and Hazara.[24][25] Because their region was formerly a part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and is named after it, many Azad Kashmiris have adopted the "Kashmiri" identity, whereas in an ethnolinguistic context, the term "Kashmiri" would ordinarily refer to natives of the Kashmir Valley region.[26] The population of Azad Kashmir has strong historical, cultural and linguistic affinities with the neighbouring populations of upper Punjab and Potohar region of Pakistan.[27][28]

In 2009, a consultation was undertaken into the effects of providing an individual tick-box for "Kashmiri" people in the UK census. The majority of those who took part in the consultation chose to self-identify as Pakistani and a decision was taken not to introduce a Kashmiri tick-box for the ethnic group question in the 2011 census.[29]

The following ethnic codes are used in UK school ethnicity profiles:[30]

  • AMPK: Mirpuri Pakistani
  • AKPA: Kashmiri Pakistani
  • AKAO: Kashmiri Other

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Balcerowicz, Piotr; Kuszewska, Agnieszka (26 May 2022). Kashmir in India and Pakistan Policies. Taylor & Francis. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-351-06372-2.
  2. ^ a b Sökefeld, Martin (6 June 2016). "The Kashmiri Diaspora in Britain and the Limits of Political Mobilisation". Migration - Networks - Skills. transcript Verlag. pp. 23–46. doi:10.1515/9783839433645-002. ISBN 978-3-8394-3364-5. Individual migration from what later became AJK started already before the Subcontinent's partition and independence. From the 1950s, chain migration developed, transferring large portions of the population of southern AJK (today's districts of Mirpur, Kotli and Bhimber), resulting in quite concentrated settlements of Kashmiris in Britain, especially in Birmingham, Bradford, different towns in Lancashire and around London.
  3. ^ Kalia, Ravi (11 August 2015). Pakistan's Political Labyrinths: Military, society and terror. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-317-40544-3.
  4. ^ Ballard, Roger (2002), "The South Asian presence in Britain and its transnational connections" (PDF), in H. Singh; S. Vertovec (eds.), Culture and economy in the Indian diaspora, London: Routledge, pp. 197–222
  5. ^ Skutsch, Carl (7 November 2013). Encyclopedia of the World's Minorities. Routledge. p. 694. ISBN 978-1-135-19388-1. Kashmiris from Azad Kashmir (the Mirpur and Kotli districts) relocated to Britain in the 1950s, especially to the towns of Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Luton, on account of the availability of unskilled work.
  6. ^ Ballard, Roger (2002), "The South Asian presence in Britain and its transnational connections" (PDF), in H. Singh; S. Vertovec (eds.), Culture and economy in the Indian diaspora, London: Routledge, pp. 197–222
  7. ^ Kinship and continuity: Pakistani families in Britain. Routledge. 2000. pp. 26–32. ISBN 978-90-5823-076-8. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  8. ^ Werbner, Pnina (2005). "Pakistani migration and diaspora religious politics in a global age". In Ember, Melvin; Ember, Carol R.; Skoggard, Ian (eds.). Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World. New York: Springer. pp. 475–484. ISBN 0-306-48321-1.
  9. ^ "The limits to integration", BBC News, 30 November 2006
  10. ^ "Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training".
  11. ^ Abdul Rehman (November 2015). "The province-wise literacy rate in Pakistan and its impact on the economy". Science Direct. Vol. 1, no. 3. pp. 140–144. doi:10.1016/j.psrb.2016.09.001. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  12. ^ Shackle, Samira (20 August 2010). "The mosques aren't working in Bradistan". New Statesman. Retrieved 17 August 2014.
  13. ^ "Birth defects warning sparks row". BBC News. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  14. ^ DeVotta, Neil (2003). Understanding Contemporary India. London: Lynne Rienner. pp. 232–237. ISBN 1-55587-958-6.
  15. ^ Monika Böck and Aparna Rao (2000). Culture, Creation, and Procreation: Concepts of Kinship in South Asian Practice. Berghahn Books. pp. 81–157. ISBN 1-57181-912-6. ... Kalesh kinship is indeed orchestrated through a rigorous system of patrilineal descent defined by lineage endogamy
  16. ^ Zafar Khan. "Diasporic Communities and Identity Formation". University of Luton. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  17. ^ The frequency of consanguineous marriage among British Pakistanis, Journal of Medical Genetics 1988;25:186–190
  18. ^ "Pakistan Faces Genetic Disasters – OhmyNews International". 6 October 2006. Archived from the original on 16 March 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  19. ^ Our Correspondent. "Cousin marriage playing havoc with health in Pakistan". Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  20. ^ Asian News. "Calls for reviews of cousin marriages". Asian News. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 26 December 2010.
  21. ^ Groups try to break bonds of forced marriage, USA Today, 19 April 2006
  22. ^ Woman saved from forced marriage in Pakistan by new UK law, The Daily Telegraph, 11 February 2009
  23. ^ Bloom, Adi (9 April 2010). "Cry freedom". Times Educational Supplement. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  24. ^ Snedden, Christopher (15 September 2015). Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. Oxford University Press. pp. 21–24. ISBN 978-1-84904-622-0. Confusingly, the term 'Kashmiri' also has wider connotations and uses. Some people in Azad Kashmir call themselves 'Kashmiris' This is despite most Azad Kashmiris not being of Kashmiri ethnicity. Indeed, most of their ethnic, cultural and historical links have been, and remain, with areas to the south and west of Azad Kashmir, chiefly Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. Nevertheless, Azad Kashmiris call themselves Kashmiris because of their region's historical connections with the former princely state of J&K that popularly was called Kashmir. Some Azad Kashmiris also call themselves Kashmiris simply because their region's official name, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has the word Kashmir in it. (Using the same logic, Azad Kashmiris could call themselves "'Jammuites', which historically and culturally would be more accurate, or even 'Azadi- ites'.)
  25. ^ Kennedy, Charles H. (2 August 2004). "Pakistan: Ethnic Diversity and Colonial Legacy". In John Coakley (ed.). The Territorial Management of Ethnic Conflict. Routledge. p. 153. ISBN 9781135764425.
  26. ^ Christopher Snedden (15 September 2015). Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. Hurst. pp. 21–24. ISBN 978-1-84904-622-0.
  27. ^ Jabeen, Nazish; Malik, Sajid (June 2014), "Consanguinity and Its Sociodemographic Differentials in Bhimber District, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan", Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, 32 (2): 301–313, PMC 4216966, PMID 25076667, Kashmiri population in the northeast of Pakistan has strong historical, cultural and linguistic affinities with the neighbouring populations of upper Punjab and Potohar region of Pakistan.
  28. ^ Ballard, Roger (2 March 1991), "Kashmir Crisis: View from Mirpur" (PDF), Economic and Political Weekly, 26 (9/10): 513–517, JSTOR 4397403, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016, retrieved 19 July 2020, ... they are best seen as forming the eastern and northern limits of the Potohari Punjabi culture which is otherwise characteristic of the upland parts of Rawalpindi and Jhelum Districts
  29. ^ "Kashmiri Research Project" (PDF). Office for National Statistics. October 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  30. ^ "Complete the school census - Find a school census code - Guidance - GOV.UK". Retrieved 13 December 2022.