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The Shina, also known as the Shin are a Dardic tribe residing in southern Gilgit–Baltistan, Chitral and the western part of the Kohistan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, as well as the Dras Valley and Kishenganga Valley in the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir, India. They speak an Indo-Aryan language, called Shina, which has varied dialects, such as Brokskat.[1]

Shina people
Shina language.png
Shina people of Pakistan and India depicted in Dark Orange
Regions with significant populations
Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan
Jammu and Kashmir, India
 Pakistan2,084,673 (in 2004)[citation needed]
 India185,720[citation needed]
Shina, Brokskat
majority Shi'a Islam,minority Sunni Islam, Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Dardic peoples


In Pakistan, the Shina people are found in Shinkari (the part of the Indus Valley below Gor near Ghorband), Gor, Chilas, Tangir, the Indus Valley below Sazin, and the upper part of the Gilgit Valley above Ponyal.[2][better source needed] Many Shina people have also migrated to Karachi and Islamabad for employment, carrying out business, and education purposes, and many of them have permanently settled in these cities.

In India, the Shina people are found in Gurais, as well as in Dah Hanu and beyond the city of Leh.[3]


The Shina people originally practiced Hinduism,[4][5][6] as well as Buddhism.[4] As such, the Shina, particularly the Dangariké caste, were referred to by their neighbours as "cow people".[5][7] In Gilgit, Hunza and Nagar, the Hindu Shina formerly practiced sati, which ceased before A.D. 1740.[8] 1877, in that region, marked the last year that Shina men underwent Hindu cremation rites.[8] Many castes of the Shina people, such as the Açar'îta, converted to Islam in the 19th century and this faith is now observed by the majority of the ethnic group.[9] Other Shina people, such as those residing in Dah Hanu, continue to practice Buddhism.[10]

Pre-Islamic Hindu Shin namesEdit

Male Shin Names

Moosing Hubba Sing Ram Sing
Kummosing Gissing Poonyar Sing
MelSing Chumar Sing Singoo
Dem Sing Boonyal Sing Dingoo
Boomersing, Hinnasing Gelsing ,

name="ReferenceA">Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh John Biddulph Sang e meel Publications Page 99</ref>

Female Shin Names

Sheli Bai Sookoomull Rozi Bai
Shubibi Bibi Shermull
Shoosha Bai Bai Doodi Soti Poti



The Shina festival of Chili marks the commencement of wheat sowing, as with other celebrations in the Indian subcontinent, including Lohri and Makar Sakranti. Chilli also formerly had a connection with the worship of the cedar.[12] Cedar worship is prevalent among historic the Hindu communities of Himalayas, from the Hindu Kush region to Himachal and Uttarakhand. It is known as Deodar, which is derived from the Sanskrit word Devadaru, which means "wood of the gods" and is a compound of the words deva (god) and dāru (wood, etym. tree). The Cedar is also sacred in Kafiristan.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Crane, Robert I. (1956). Area Handbook on Jammu and Kashmir State. University of Chicago for the Human Relations Area Files. p. 179. Shina is the most eastern of these languages and in some of its dialects such as the Brokpa of Dah and Hanu and the dialect of Dras, it impinges upon the area of the Sino-Tibetan language family and has been affected by Tibetan with an overlay of words and idioms.
  2. ^ A glossary of the tribes and castes of the Punjab and NorthWest provinces, compiled by H.A. Rose, vol III Page 405
  3. ^ Prakāśaṃ, Vennelakaṇṭi (2008). Encyclopaedia of the Linguistic Sciences: Issues and Theories. Allied Publishers. p. 143. ISBN 9788184242799. Shina (described as spoken in many dialects in Gilgit, Chilas, etc., as far south as Gurez in Kashmir, and Dah Hanu in Baltistan, even beyond Leh.
  4. ^ a b John Biddulph (1880). Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. pp. 39, 115. In Nager there is a caste called Shoto, which exists nowhere else; they work in leather, and rank below the Doms, who take daughters from them without giving in return ... like the Shins they have come from the south to settle in these valleys. The names of many of the rules and of a number of places, not only in the Indus and Gilgit Valleys, but also in the Chitral Valley, point to a Brahminical origin. Amongst the names of places may be mentioned Seo (Siva, or Mahadeo), Shogram (Siva's village), Shogoor (Siva's priest), and Swami ... some form of Brahminism was introduced by the Shins into the Gilgit Valley, and, to a greater or less degree, wherever their rule extended. In valleys in which they were outnumbered by the former inhabitants, the result was, doubtless, a mixture of Buddhism and Hindooism, grafted on a form of demon-worship existing in the country.
  5. ^ a b O'Leary, Clare F.; Rensch, Calvin Ross; Decker, Sandra J. (1992). Sociolinguistic Survey of Northern Pakistan: Languages of Chitral. National Institute of Pakistan Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University. Phalura had previously been Hindus like the Shin. He referred to the area around Chilas, south of Gilgit, as Dangaristan and discussed how the term Dangarik has been applied to the Shina-speaking people.
  6. ^ Hastings, James; Selbie, John Alexander (1917). Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics: Mundas-Phrygians. C. Scribner's Sons. p. 606. But the Shins have the characteristic Hindu aversion to eating the flesh of milk (or even ghī made from the milk) of the cow, and eschew fowls and fish. The former language of the people was Sanskrit, and the dialect now in use is called Shina. The basic element in the people is thus probably Indo-Aryan, and their festivals preserve many traces of Hindu beliefs.
  7. ^ Morgenstierne, Georg (1941). Notes on Phalūṛa: an unknown Dardic language of Chitral. J. Dybwad. p. 8.
  8. ^ a b John Biddulph (1880). Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing. p. 114. Women's urns are readily distinguished by a number of wooden spindle whorls, mixed with the bones. ... in Gilgit, Gor, Hunza, and Nager, that suttee was formerly practiced. The dead man, with his finest clothese and his weapons girded on him was plpaced on the pyre, and as the fire burnt up, the woman arrayed in her jewellery and her richest clothes, leaped into the flames. The burning of the dead ceased to be practised more than sixty years ago. ... in 1877, a very old man in Darel scandalised his neighbors by calling his sons to him on his death bed, and after having his arms and valuables brought to him, desiring to be burnt with them when dead ... He and a man of Gor, who died twenty years ago, are known to have always refused to be circumcized, or to call themselves Mohommedans. They were probably the very last Hindus in Dangaristan.
  9. ^ Schmidt, Ruth Laila; Kohistani, Razwal (2008). A Grammar of the Shina Language of Indus Kohistan. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 11. ISBN 9783447056762. The Açar'îta themselves told Strand that they have been living in Ashret for "for these approximately eight of nine hundred years as the Shina tribe... We are still making our lives in this homeland, and our language is Shina. We are one people from Chilas; originally, we are from Chilas." ... Biddulph mentions that many Muslims Shins had the surname "Sing". It is also a Rajput name, and the earlier form siṃha is a frequent element in the colophons of the Gilgit Manuscripts (dateable to probably not later than the 9th century C.E.). Bota/bôTâ appears to be a cognate with Bóṭi. The conversion to Islam among the Açar'îta appears to have taken place, according to Strand, between 1820-1840 C.E.
  10. ^ Hattaway, Paul (2004). Peoples of the Buddhist World. William Carey Library. p. 46. ISBN 9780878083619.
  11. ^ a b Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh John Biddulph Sang e meel Publications Page 99
  12. ^ The making of a frontier Five years' experiences and adventures in Gilgit By Algernon George Arnold Durand Page 210
  13. ^ The making of a frontier Five years' experiences and adventures in Gilgit By Algernon George Arnold Durand Page 209