Hindko Culture

Hindkowans (Pashto/Punjabi: هندکوان; “Hindko-speakers”) are an linguistic-cultural group native to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pothohar Plateau and Azad Kashmir regions of Pakistan. Hindkowans have mixed origins and almost all speak various Hindko dialects. They were originally settled in the northern regions of Pakistan. At present, Hindkowans can be found in Peshawar, Nowshera, Swabi, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Haripur and Attock. Those who live in Afghanistan are known as Hindkis. Most of the Pashtun tribes residing in Hazara Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa such as; Tareen, Tanoli, Jadoon, Tahirkheli, Dilazak, Mashwani, Swati and Utmanzais, speak Hindko and constitute an integral part of Hindkowan community. Those who resides in urban centers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan such as: Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshera and Swabi are alternatively termed as “Kharian/Kharay” or city-dweller. Some Hindkowans have left the region and now live in other parts of South Asia, such as; Indian-controlled Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Azad Kashmir.
Origin
The NWFP Imperial Gazetteer of India (1905) regularly refers to their language as Hindko, which refers to the “Hindu Kush mountain range. According to the publication Hindko and Gujari:
“More than one interpretation has been offered for the term Hindko. Some associate it with India, others with Hindu people, and still others with the Indus.
In Afghanistan, a group of Hindus still continue to speak Hindko and are referred to as Hindki, which according to Grierson is a variant of the term Hindko. The Hindkis are also sometimes applied in a historical sense to the Buddhist inhabitants of the Peshawar Valley north of the Kabul River, who were driven thence about the 5th or 6th century C.E. and settled in the neighbourhood of Kandahar
Religion
Hindkohwans are predominantly Sunni Muslims, due to missionary Sufi saints whose dargahs dot the landscape. There are also a number of Hindu Hindkowans. Some of these Hindu Hindkowans are traders and over time, have settled in areas as far as Kalat, Balochistan. Other Hindu Hindkowans migrated to India after the independence in 1947.