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Title: Dards  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Indus River, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Persian people, Bactria, Index of Pakistan-related articles, Gilgit–Baltistan, Kalash people, Gurais
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Dard people (Perso-Arabic: دارد, Devanagari: दारद) are a group of Indo-European Indo-Iranian-speaking[1] people predominantly found in northern Pakistan's Gilgit–Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northern India's Jammu and Kashmir, and eastern Afghanistan.

The community is also known as Brokpa, Drokpa and Shin, and speak Dardic languages.[2]


Parpola (1999) identifies "Proto-Dardic" with "Proto-Rigvedic", suggesting that the Dards are the linguistic descendants of the bearers of proto Rigvedic culture ca. 1700 BC, pointing to features in certain Dardic dialects that continue peculiarities of Rigvedic Sanskrit, such as the gerund in -tvī (p. 189).

During Swati rule, the Dard people were dominantly Hindu and frequent small scale jihad against Dard might have been a routine.[3]


The majority of Dardic peoples are Muslims, with a significant population of Kalash[3][4] The Kashmiri Pandits who follow the shaivist sect of Hinduism, are a non-dardic people and should not be confused with the authentic Kashmiri Dards, who are predominantly Muslim and Kalash.[5] Dardic religion in Indian Ladakh, particularly in the villages of Da and Hann, retains marked traces of the pre-Buddhist animistic religion, Bon-chos.[4] The Kalash tribes found in Chitral, are exceptional in having retained their ancestral polytheistic religion and are protected by the Government of Pakistan.

Social status

As of 2001, the Dards were classified as a Scheduled Tribe under the Indian government's reservation program of positive discrimination.[2]

See also


  • Asko Parpola, 'The formation of the Aryan branch of Indo-European', in Blench and Spriggs (eds), Archaeology and Language III, London and New York (1999).
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