Although this name appears in the anthropological Literature, it seems that there is no discrete cultural group identifiable as Dards. It is true that Pliny and Ptolemy in ancient times both referred to such a people inhabiting a tract of the upper Indus Valley in what is today Pakistan, and in that area people living on the left bank of the Indus were called Dards. The Dards, based on descriptions of the Gilgit area around 1870, are described as a hunting, herding, and farming people with: large, extended families and some polygyny; some transhumance; no extensive cereal agriculture; villages of from 400 to 1,000 inhabitants; patrilocal postmarital residence; and no localized clans but lineages or sibs spreading beyond a single community. While all of this may have been true for the inhabitants of Gilgit, there is still some question as to whether those labeled Dards are, in fact, a distinct cultural entity.

It is more appropriate to speak of the "Dardic branch," a term used by linguists to designate a small group of languages of the Indo-Aryan Subfamily spoken in and near the north of Pakistan. Of these, Kashmiri is the most important. There is also a territory there known as Dardistan, which includes Gilgit Valley, Hunza, Chitral, Yasin, Nagar, Panyal, Kohistan, the Astore Valley, and part of the upper Indus Valley Between Bunji and Batera.

See also Kashmiri ; Kohistani


Biddulph, John (1880). Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing.

Leitner, Gotlieb William (1877). The Languages and Races of Dardistan. Lahore: Government Central Book Depot.


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