Although spoken by 50% of the population in Jammu & Kashmir, it is not the official language of the state. Kashmiri literature dates back to around 12AD. Kashmiri has an interesting linguistic history. Like the other North Indian languages, it branched off the Indo-Aryan Sanskrit, but had another ancestor before that â€“ the Shina languages of the Indo-Iranian family. But when mighty Sanskrit came, Shina was thickly overlaid. From about the 14th century, medieval Persian too started creeping into Kashmiri. With such foreign influences, the language boasts of peculiarities like certain vowel and consonant sounds which no other Indian language has. Kishtawari is the most popular dialect of Kashmiri.