|Regions with significant populations|
|Chitral District, Hunza (Pakistan)|
Hari Parbat, Jammu and Kashmir (India)
|Ismaili Islam, Twelver Shia Islam, historically Shamanism, Buddhism, Hinduism|
The Burusho or Brusho, also known as the Hunza people or Botraj, live in Hunza, Nagar, Chitral, and in valleys of Gilgit–Baltistan in northern Pakistan, as well as in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Their language, Burushaski, has been classified as a language isolate. Although their origins are unknown, it is likely that the Burusho people "were indigenous to northwestern India (current day Pakistan) and were pushed into their present homeland by the movements of the Indo-Aryans who migrated to the subcontinent in 1800 B.C.
The longevity of Hunza people has been noted by some, but others refute this as a longevity myth and cite a life expectancy of 53 years for men and 52 for women although with a high standard deviation. There is no evidence that Hunza life expectancy is significantly above the average of poor, isolated regions of Pakistan. Claims of health and long life were almost always based solely on the statements by the local mir (king). An author who had significant and sustained contact with Burusho people, John Clark, reported that they were overall unhealthy.
Clark and Lorimer reported frequent violence and starvation in Hunza.
Upper Hunza, locally called Gojal, is inhabited by people whose ancestors moved up from proper Hunza to irrigate and defend the borders with China and Afghanistan. They speak a dialect called Wakhi, which is influenced by Burushahski and Pamiri languages due to the closeness and contact with these mountain communities. The Shina-speaking people live in the southern Hunza. They have come from Chilas, Gilgit, and other Shina-speaking areas of Pakistan.
The Burusho people also reside in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, being mainly concentrated in Batamalu, as well as in Botraj Mohalla, which is southeast of Hari Parbat. This Burusho community is descended from two former princes of the British Indian princely states of Hunza and Nagar, who with their families, migrated to this region in the 19th century A.D. They are known as the Botraj by other ethnic groups in the state, and practice Shiite Islam. Arranged marriages are customary.
Since the partition of India in 1947, the Indian Burusho community have not been in contact with the Pakistani Burusho. The Government of India has granted the Burusho community Scheduled Tribe status, as well as reservation, and therefore, "most members of the community are in government jobs." The Burusho people of India speak Burushashki, also known as Khajuna, and their dialect, known as Jammu & Kashmir Burushashski (JKB), "has undergone several changes which make it systematically different from other dialects of Burushaski spoken in Pakistan". In addition, many Jammu & Kashmiri Burusho are multilingual, also speaking Kashmiri and Hindustani, as well as Balti and Shina to a lesser extent.
A variety of Y-DNA haplogroups are seen among certain random samples of people in Hunza. Most frequent among these are R1a1 and R2a, , which are associated with Indo-European peoples and the Bronze Age migration into South Asia c. 3000 BCE, and probably originated in either South Asia,   Central Asia or Iran and Caucasus. R2a, unlike its extremely rare parent R2, R1a1 and other clades of haplogroup R, is now virtually restricted to South Asia. Two other typically South Asian lineages, haplogroup H1 and haplogroup L3 (defined by SNP mutation M20) have also been observed from few samples.
Other Y-DNA haplogroups reaching considerable frequencies among the Burusho are haplogroup J2, associated with the spread of agriculture in, and from, the neolithic Near East, and haplogroup C3, of Siberian origin and possibly representing the patrilineage of Genghis Khan. Present at lower frequency are haplogroups O3, an East Eurasian lineage, and Q, P, F, and G. DNA research groups the male ancestry of some of the Hunza inhabitants with speakers of Pamir languages and other mountain communities of various ethnicites, due primarily to the M124 marker (defining Y-DNA haplogroup R2a), which is present at high frequency in these populations. However, they have also an East Asian genetic contribution, suggesting that at least some of their ancestry originates north of the Himalayas.
Healthy living advocate J. I. Rodale wrote a book called The Healthy Hunzas in 1955 that asserted that the Hunzas, noted for their longevity and many centenarians, were long-lived because they consumed healthy organic foods, such as dried apricots and almonds, and had plenty of fresh air and exercise. He often mentioned them in his Prevention magazine as exemplary of the benefits of leading a healthy lifestyle. Since the opening per se of the state of Hunza to Pakistan and rest of the world, the diet that almost exclusively consisted of organically grown fruits and vegetables, oils, and seasonings grown in the immediate localities is now dominated by extensive trade with neighboring China and Pakistan. Subsequently, much processed modern and even GMO food products have reached this remote habitation.
Dr. John Clark stayed among the Hunza people for 20 months and in his 1956 book Hunza - Lost Kingdom of the Himalayas writes: "I wish also to express my regrets to those travelers whose impressions have been contradicted by my experience. On my first trip through Hunza, I acquired almost all the misconceptions they did: The Healthy Hunzas, the Democratic Court, The Land Where There Are No Poor, and the rest—and only long-continued living in Hunza revealed the actual situations". Regarding the misconception about Hunza people's health, Clark also writes that most of his patients had malaria, dysentery, worms, trachoma, and other health conditions easily diagnosed and quickly treated. In his first two trips he treated 5,684 patients.
Furthermore, Clark reports that Hunza do not measure their age solely by calendar (metaphorically speaking, as he also said there were no calendars), but also by personal estimation of wisdom, leading to notions of typical lifespans of 120 or greater.[verification needed]
Another, more likely origin story, given the uniqueness of their language, proclaims that they were indigenous to northwestern India and were pushed into their present homeland by the movements of the Indo-Aryans, who traveled southward sometime around 1800 B.C.E.
Among the Burusho of India, the parents supposedly negotiate a marriage without consulting the children, but often prospective brides and grooms have grown up together and know each other well.
The community has no contact with their Burushos of Gilgit-Baltistan since 1947, when partition of India and Pakistan necessitated the division of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir. No participant was ready to move to Hunza/Nagar if provided a chance.