The Muslim Mirpuris in Britain

bible-urdu-30-days-netMirpuris (people originating from the Mirpur district in Pakistani Kashmir), form about 70% of the British Pakistani population of about 747,000. The percentage is even higher in northern cities and towns. For example, in Bradford, an industrial town in Northwest England, it is estimated that roughly three quarters of the population are from Mirpur.

Cultural Dislocation


The reasons for the large proportion of Mirpuris in the UK is historical. In the late 1950’s & early 1960’s, the Pakistani Government planned the Mangla Dam, which was to be built in the Mirpur area. They asked several thousand locals to leave the land. At that time, the British needed man-power mainly for their textile factories. Many of the Mirpuris moved to Britain and started working in factories, mostly in the so called “black country” and the area of Bradford, England. In some villages, more than half the village population moved to the UK to settle in the industrial towns. This rural, impoverished district provided cheap, unskilled labour for Britain in the 60’s and 70’s.

Most immigrants were from subsistence farming communities and had had little or no schooling. They made a huge cultural and geographical leap to settle in the UK. The profound cultural dislocation experienced by the Mirpuris is hard to imagine. Most Mirpuris speak Pothowari, a language related to Punjabi. The prominent clans among them include Rajputs (Janjua), Sudhans, Khokhars, Gakkhars, Awans, Jats, etc.

Imported Marginalisation

One of the things they brought with them was the perception of a long history of dispossession and marginalisation. The partition of India brought terrible bloodshed along with the division of Kashmir between Pakistan and India. (This was the issue cited until very recently as the most pressing political priority in the UK by the majority of British Muslims). Three of the suicide bombers of the London underground bombings in the summer of 2005 were originally from this region of Pakistan.

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Map of UK

The Mirpuris are still a very unreached people group. There are only a handful of known believers among them in Britain. Some of them have experienced much persecution and suffering. The home of one believing family was even set on fire fairly recently.

Please Pray:

* Pray that more British Christians would see the need to reach out to the Mirpuris, and that many more would get involved in praying for them. Pray also that Christian workers from around the world would be willing to come and minister among them.

* Pray for the few cross-cultural workers that are ministering among them, that they would have wisdom to know how to effectively reach them. And, that they would see a spiritual breakthrough among them soon.

* Pray for the few Mirpuri believers, that they would be protected, and that they would be able and willing to share the Gospel with their family and friends with cultural sensitivity and insight. Pray also for the establishment of fellowships of Mirpuri Muslim background believers.

Video: Homeless Portraits

Homeless Portraits from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.


Comments

  1. Arsalan, you may be surprised to learn that, seeing as a very large proportion of the Sikh and Hindu Punjabis living in the city of Delhi were originally from the area around Rawalpindi, many many of the Punjabis in Delhi today speak ‘pahari’ / potwari Punjabi just like you. And they are referred to, by other Sikhs, as pahari people. That pahari dialect has, since time immemorial, been considered as one of the many Punjabi dialects (such as the majha dialect of Lahore and Amritsar, the malwai dialect of Ludhiana, the doaba dialect of Jalandhar which is now also spoken in the Faisalabad area of Pakistan.
    Those ‘pahari lok’ Sikhs and Hindus in Delhi look just like you in that they are, generally, alot fairer than other Punjabis and have more aryan features. However, neither they nor you are, or ever have been, Kashmiri.

  2. soothsayingsmurf says:

    mirpuris are by and large inbred and 60 years and a few generations is proof enough that cultural dislocation is not the culprit but their own inabilities to offer something aside from claiming benefits and free housing including prison cells.

  3. Kashmir Valley says:

    The jat and rajput casts are by their very nature a people originating from Punjab and other northern Indian areas. But the families have lived there a very long time and they consider themselves kashmiri despite not being ethnic kashmiri descendants. It is also true that since the mid 19th century, historical Kashmir consisted only of the valley of Kashmir, which extended from pir panjal mountains to the Himalayas. It was this region that jenghir reffered to as ‘heaven on earth’

  4. Yes they want world peace and they will kill anyone who tries to stop them achieving it.

  5. Mirpuris aren’t ethnic kashmiri or punjabi, and there is no such thing as ethnic punjabi as punjabis are a linguistic not ethnic group. Pahari people live on and around the pir panjal mountains, we are not punjabi or kashmiri as we are too brave to be part of any of these 2 groups. [Edited by Admin]

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