Pahari, which means “mountainous”, is widely believed to have come during the past 3,000 years with refugees from population pressure, plagues, famines, droughts, political oppression, military and civil conflict, and the like. Muslim invasions, from about A. D. 1000 to 1600, may have accelerated such movements, which need not have been characteristically massive but likely included many small-scale, even familial migrations. It is clear that over time the Pahari population has been geographically mobile and numerically variable.
G A Grierson, in his classic Linguistic Survey of India, labeled their In-do-European language "Pahari" and identified its main sections: Western Pahari, found west of the Jumna River (i.e, now Himachal Pradesh) and into Kashmir; Central Pahari, between the Jumna and the Maha Kali rivers (i.e., in Garhwal and Kumaon, now comprising the Himalayan Districts of Uttar Pradesh State; and Eastern Pahari (generally called Nepali), extending from Nepal's western border (the Maha Kali) into central Nepal. The Pahari Speaking community in Jammu and Kashmir is an ancient one- much more ancient than the Buddhist period in Kashmir. The Pahari Speaking people, hereinafter mentioned as PSP, belong to the Aryan race which once raided India and pushed the inhabitants of plains to the areas which constitute southern parts of India these days. This group of people unlike others who stayed in the plains, mostly concentrated in the hilly areas as we see in the Himachal and Jammu& Kashmir. With the passage of time some other people also joined them.
They were a developed class during the Buddhist period. Some of the re-searchers claim that PSP belong to KASH tribe which invaded Kashmir several times and consequently occupied the hilly areas of the state. But as a matter of fact this is not true because the remains of KASH tribe have been found in Uri only while as Pahari community stretches from Gharwal hills up to Hazara belt, in Pakistan. In short the present day Pahari community of J&K state is a combination of various groups of people with language, culture, socio-economic background and locationa disadvantages resulting from geographical and topographical constraints as binding force. Throughout most of the Pahari region the population is clustered in small villages, in Kupwara, Baramulla , Pahalgam areas usually of well under 350 people. These are situated adjacent to open hillsides, near pasturage, forested land, and a reliable water source—either a stream or a spring
Pahari is the mother tongue of the community. In addition to the languages spoken by young folk, the older generation of the community are able to speak kashmiri and urdu. The sex wise distribution of multilingual show that, most of the multilingual are from male folk, with knowledge of at least two to three languages. The female folk are able to speak Urdu and Kashmiri in addition to their mother tongue. English is only spoken by the younger generation.