The Rishi tradition eventually gave birth to the notion of ‘Kashmiriyat’ which refers to the ethno-national and psycho-social consciousness and values of the people from the Kashmir Valley.
The idea of Kashmiriyat refers to feelings of communal harmony, hospitality, peace, equilibrium, tolerance and understanding, embraced by adherents of both Hinduism and Islam in the Kashmir Valley. Despite the difference in religious beliefs, members of the two religious communities manifested similar customs, practices and traditions, which portrayed their common ethnic and cultural ties. In essence, the idea of Kashmiriyat could be described not as an ideology, but rather a behavioural pattern, as a pluralistic culture of tolerance and sharing of common practices, instead of simply an amalgamation of religions.
The politicisation of the term Kashmiriyat already started in the early 20th century, when the excessive oppression and abuse of the Dogra rulers was deemed alien and illegitimate to the common people, triggering nationalistic sentiments. Eventually, the ethos and spirit of the Kashmiriyat were largely destroyed with the onset of the Kashmir conflict in 1947. With the beginning of Islamic militancy in 1989, and thereof the exodus of Kashmiri Hindus and violent attacks against remaining religious minorities, the term completely lost its remaining substance and actuality. What was earlier known as a higher power, which bound together individuals with different beliefs, casts or creeds, was long gone.