Bringing Hebrew to Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India – Down the road from the knot of houseboats floating in Srinagar’s Nigeen Lake, two Internet cafes are changing the script. To Hebrew, that is.

From Goa to Himachal Pradesh, Israeli backpackers are not an uncommon sight in India, but they’re also making their way to this Muslim-majority valley in the Himalayas.

A sandwich-board sign propped before New Net World features blue Hebrew letters on a computer keyboard. Inside, the young owner Tauqeer Ahmad explains that shortly after opening his shop a couple years ago, an increasing number of tourists began asking if he had Hebrew-language facilities. Seeing the business potential, a friend encouraged him to satisfy the demand.

“Other links also exist.  In lore, there are old claims that Kashmiris descended from one of the lost tribes of Israel. The Ahmadiyya Muslim sect believes Jesus traveled east to preach to Jewish communities in Afghanistan and Kashmir and was buried in Srinagar. Some writers and historians have tried to suggest religious, cultural and linguistic connections. Even today, some here quip of what they see as curious coincidences, such as with the word koshur – used to identify someone or something as “Kashmiri” in Kashmiri – to kosher, the set of standards and laws in Judaism.”

The route Jesus traveled from Galil to Kashmir: By Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian THE FOUNDER OF THE AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT IN ISLAM 1989

Not knowing the language, Mr. Ahmad researched and downloaded Hebrew software and then affixed the alphabetic labels, key by key. ……..

Israelis have been venturing into Kashmir at least since the 1980s, said Majeed Bhat, who has long worked in the tourism industry and helps run the next-door Dream Cafe, ……….

In the past half-decade, Mr. Bhat said he has noticed a trend with larger numbers of Israelis, especially the younger generation, traveling to Kashmir. It’s usually a stop on their route after journeying from Dharamsala and Ladakh. Read more

Categories: Asia, Israel, Languages

1 reply

  1. Yes,
    Many Israelis love to visit that region and Haifa is filled with visitors from there. Great and interesting post.

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