Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir (which includes the region of Jammu, Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Siachen), the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
In the first half of the 1st millennium, the Kashmir region became an important centre of Hinduism and later of Buddhism; later still, in the ninth century, Kashmir Shaivism arose. In 1339, Shah Mir became the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir, inaugurating the Salatin-i-Kashmir or Shah Mir dynasty. Kashmir was part of the Mughal Empire from 1586 to 1751, and thereafter, until 1820, of the Afghan Durrani Empire. That year, the Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir. In 1846, after the Sikh defeat in the First Anglo-Sikh War, and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the new ruler of Kashmir. The rule of his descendants, under the paramountcy (or tutelage) of the British Crown, lasted until the partition of India in 1947, when the former princely state of the British Raj was claimed by both Pakistan and India.
Since 1947, the greater region of Jammu and Kashmir has been embroiled in a territorial dispute between India, Pakistan and China—with India controlling approximately 43% of the land area of the region and 70% of its population. Pakistan controls roughly 37% of the land, while China controls the remaining 20%. Kashmir is widely regarded as the world's most militarized zone—the region has witnessed three major wars between India and Pakistan, another limited war between India and China, numerous border skirmishes, high mountainous warfare, an ongoing insurgency, a Hindu exodus and internal civilian unrest.
The Sanskrit word for Kashmir was káśmīra. The Nilamata Purana describes the Valley's origin from the waters, a lake called Sati-saras. A popular, but uncertain, local etymology of Kashmira is that it is land desiccated from water.
An alternative, but also uncertain, etymology derives the name from the name of the sage Kashyapa who is believed to have settled people in this land. Accordingly, Kashmir would be derived from either kashyapa-mir (Kashyapa's Lake) or kashyapa-meru (Kashyapa's Mountain).
The Ancient Greeks called the region Kasperia which has been identified with Kaspapyros of Hecataeus of Miletus (apud Stephanus of Byzantium) and Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44). Kashmir is also believed to be the country meant by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria.
Cashmere is an archaic spelling of present-Kashmir, and in some countries it is still spelled this way.
During ancient and medieval period, Kashmir has been an important centre for the development of a Hindu-Buddhist syncretism, in which Madhyamaka and Yogachara were blended with Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta. The Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka is often credited with having founded the old capital of Kashmir, Shrinagari, now ruins on the outskirts of modern Srinagar. Kashmir was long to be a stronghold of Buddhism. As a Buddhist seat of learning, the Sarvastivada school strongly influenced Kashmir. East and Central Asian Buddhist monks are recorded as having visited the kingdom. In the late 4th century CE, the famous Kuchanese monk Kumārajīva, born to an Indian noble family, studied Dīrghāgama and Madhyāgama in Kashmir under Bandhudatta. He later became a prolific translator who helped take Buddhism to China. His mother Jīva is thought to have retired to Kashmir. Vimalākṣa, a Sarvāstivādan Buddhist monk, travelled from Kashmir to Kucha and there instructed Kumārajīva in the Vinayapiṭaka.
Karkoṭa Empire (625 CE – 885 CE) was a powerful Hindu empire, which originated in the region of Kashmir. It was founded by Durlabhvardhana during the lifetime of Harsha. The dynasty marked the rise of Kashmir as a power in South Asia. Avanti Varman ascended the throne of Kashmir on 855 CE, establishing the Utpala dynasty and ending the rule of Karkoṭa dynasty.
According to tradition, Adi Shankara visited the pre-existing Sarvajñapīṭha (Sharada Peeth) in Kashmir in the late 8th century or early 9th century CE. The Madhaviya Shankaravijayam states this temple had four doors for scholars from the four cardinal directions. The southern door of Sarvajna Pitha was opened by Adi Shankara. According to tradition, Adi Shankara opened the southern door by defeating in debate all the scholars there in all the various scholastic disciplines such as Mīmāṃsā, Vedanta and other branches of Hindu philosophy; he ascended the throne of Transcendent wisdom of that temple.
Abhinavagupta (c. 950–1020 CE) was one of India's greatest philosophers, mystics and aestheticians. He was also considered an important musician, poet, dramatist, exegete, theologian, and logician – a polymathic personality who exercised strong influences on Indian culture. He was born in the Kashmir Valley in a family of scholars and mystics and studied all the schools of philosophy and art of his time under the guidance of as many as fifteen (or more) teachers and gurus. In his long life he completed over 35 works, the largest and most famous of which is Tantrāloka, an encyclopaedic treatise on all the philosophical and practical aspects of Trika and Kaula (known today as Kashmir Shaivism). Another one of his very important contributions was in the field of philosophy of aesthetics with his famous Abhinavabhāratī commentary of Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni.
In the 10th century Mokshopaya or Moksopaya Shastra, a philosophical text on salvation for non-ascetics (moksa-upaya: 'means to release'), was written on the Pradyumna hill in Srinagar. It has the form of a public sermon and claims human authorship and contains about 30,000 shloka's (making it longer than the Ramayana). The main part of the text forms a dialogue between Vashistha and Rama, interchanged with numerous short stories and anecdotes to illustrate the content. This text was later (11th to the 14th century CE) expanded and vedanticised, which resulted in the Yoga Vasistha.
Queen Kota Rani was medieval Hindu ruler of Kashmir, ruling until 1339. She was a notable ruler who is often credited for saving Srinagar city from frequent floods by getting a canal constructed, named after her "Kutte Kol". This canal receives water from Jhelum River at the entry point of city and again merges with Jhelum river beyond the city limits.
Shams-ud-Din Shah Mir (reigned 1339–42) was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir and founder of the Shah Mir dynasty. Kashmiri historian Jonaraja, in his Dvitīyā Rājataraṅginī mentioned Shah Mir was from the country of Panchagahvara (identified as the Panjgabbar valley between Rajouri and Budhal), and his ancestors were Kshatriya, who converted to Islam. Scholar A. Q. Rafiqi states:
Shāh Mīr arrived in Kashmir in 1313, along with his family, during the reign of Sūhadeva (1301–20), whose service he entered. In subsequent years, through his tact and ability, Shāh Mīr rose to prominence and became one of the important personalities of the time. Later, after the death in 1338 of Udayanadeva, the brother of Sūhadeva, he was able to assume the kingship himself and thus laid the foundation of permanent Muslim rule in Kashmir. Dissensions among the ruling classes and foreign invasions were the two main factors which contributed towards the establishment of Muslim rule in Kashmir.
Rinchan, from Ladakh, and Lankar Chak, from Dard territory near Gilgit, came to Kashmir and played a notable role in the subsequent political history of the Valley. All the three men were granted Jagirs (feudatory estates) by the King. Rinchan became the ruler of Kashmir for three years.
Shah Mir was the first ruler of Shah Mir dynasty, which had established in 1339 CE. Muslim ulama, such as Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, arrived from Central Asia to proselytize in Kashmir and their efforts converted thousands of Kashmiris to Islam and Hamadani's son also convinced Sikander Butshikan to enforce Islamic law. By the late 1400s most Kashmiris had accepted Islam.
The Mughal padishah (emperor) Akbar conquered Kashmir, taking advantage of Kashmir's internal Sunni-Shia divisions, and thus ended indigenous Kashmiri Muslim rule. Akbar added it in 1586 to Kabul Subah, but Shah Jahan carved it out as a separate subah (imperial top-level province) with seat at Srinagar.
The Afghan Durrani dynasty's Durrani Empire controlled Kashmir from 1751, when weakling 15th Mughal padshah (emperor) Ahmad Shah Bahadur's viceroy Muin-ul-Mulk was defeated and reinstated by the Durrani founder Ahmad Shah Durrani (who conquered, roughly, modern day Afghanistan and Pakistan from the Mughals and local rulers), until the 1820 Sikh triumph. The Afghan rulers brutally repressed Kashmiris of all faiths (according to Kashmiri historians).
In 1819, the Kashmir Valley passed from the control of the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan to the conquering armies of the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of the Punjab, thus ending four centuries of Muslim rule under the Mughals and the Afghan regime. As the Kashmiris had suffered under the Afghans, they initially welcomed the new Sikh rulers. However, the Sikh governors turned out to be hard taskmasters, and Sikh rule was generally considered oppressive, protected perhaps by the remoteness of Kashmir from the capital of the Sikh Empire in Lahore. The Sikhs enacted a number of anti-Muslim laws, which included handing out death sentences for cow slaughter, closing down the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar, and banning the adhan, the public Muslim call to prayer. Kashmir had also now begun to attract European visitors, several of whom wrote of the abject poverty of the vast Muslim peasantry and of the exorbitant taxes under the Sikhs. High taxes, according to some contemporary accounts, had depopulated large tracts of the countryside, allowing only one-sixteenth of the cultivable land to be cultivated. Many Kashmiri peasants migrated to the plains of the Punjab. However, after a famine in 1832, the Sikhs reduced the land tax to half the produce of the land and also began to offer interest-free loans to farmers; Kashmir became the second highest revenue earner for the Sikh Empire. During this time Kashmiri shawls became known worldwide, attracting many buyers, especially in the West.
The state of Jammu, which had been on the ascendant after the decline of the Mughal Empire, came under the sway of the Sikhs in 1770. Further in 1808, it was fully conquered by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Gulab Singh, then a youngster in the House of Jammu, enrolled in the Sikh troops and, by distinguishing himself in campaigns, gradually rose in power and influence. In 1822, he was anointed as the Raja of Jammu. Along with his able general Zorawar Singh Kahluria, he conquered and subdued Rajouri (1821), Kishtwar (1821), Suru valley and Kargil (1835), Ladakh (1834–1840), and Baltistan (1840), thereby surrounding the Kashmir Valley. He became a wealthy and influential noble in the Sikh court.
"Gulab Singh contrived to hold himself aloof till the battle of Sobraon (1846), when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted advisor of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. By the first the State of Lahore (i.e. West Punjab) handed over to the British, as equivalent for one crore indemnity, the hill countries between the rivers Beas and Indus; by the second the British made over to Gulab Singh for 75 lakhs all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus and the west of the Ravi i.e. the Vale of Kashmir)."
Drafted by a treaty and a bill of sale, and constituted between 1820 and 1858, the Princely State of Kashmir and Jammu (as it was first called) combined disparate regions, religions, and ethnicities: to the east, Ladakh was ethnically and culturally Tibetan and its inhabitants practised Buddhism; to the south, Jammu had a mixed population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs; in the heavily populated central Kashmir valley, the population was overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, however, there was also a small but influential Hindu minority, the Kashmiri brahmins or pandits; to the northeast, sparsely populated Baltistan had a population ethnically related to Ladakh, but which practised Shia Islam; to the north, also sparsely populated, Gilgit Agency, was an area of diverse, mostly Shi'a groups; and, to the west, Punch was Muslim, but of different ethnicity than the Kashmir valley. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857, in which Kashmir sided with the British, and the subsequent assumption of direct rule by Great Britain, the princely state of Kashmir came under the suzerainty of the British Crown.
In the British census of India of 1941, Kashmir registered a Muslim majority population of 77%, a Hindu population of 20% and a sparse population of Buddhists and Sikhs comprising the remaining 3%. That same year, Prem Nath Bazaz, a Kashmiri Pandit journalist wrote: “The poverty of the Muslim masses is appalling. ... Most are landless laborers, working as serfs for absentee [Hindu] landlords ... Almost the whole brunt of official corruption is borne by the Muslim masses.” Under the Hindu rule, Muslims faced hefty taxation, discrimination in the legal system and were forced into labor without any wages. Conditions in the princely state caused a significant migration of people from the Kashmir Valley to Punjab of British India. For almost a century until the census, a small Hindu elite had ruled over a vast and impoverished Muslim peasantry. Driven into docility by chronic indebtedness to landlords and moneylenders, having no education besides, nor awareness of rights, the Muslim peasants had no political representation until the 1930s.
Ranbir Singh's grandson Hari Singh, who had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925, was the reigning monarch in 1947 at the conclusion of British rule of the subcontinent and the subsequent partition of the British Indian Empire into the newly independent Dominion of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
In the run up to 1947 partition, there were two major parties in the princely state: the National Conference and the Muslim Conference. The former was led by the charismatic Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah, who tilted towards the accession of the state to India, whilst the latter tilted towards accession to Pakistan. The National Conference enjoyed popular support in the Kashmir Valley whilst the Muslim Conference was more popular in the Jammu region. The Hindus and Sikhs of the state were firmly in favour of joining India, as were the Buddhists. However, the sentiments of the state's Muslim population were divided. Scholar Christopher Snedden states that the Muslims of Western Jammu, and also the Muslims of the Frontier Districts Province, strongly wanted Jammu and Kashmir to join Pakistan. The ethnic Kashmiri Muslims of the Kashmir Valley, on the other hand, were ambivalent about Pakistan (possibly due to their secular nature). The fact that Kashmiris were not particularly enamoured with the idea of Pakistan reflected the failure of the idea of Pan-Islamic identity in satisfying the political urges of Kashmiris. At the same time there was also a lack of interest in merging with Indian nationalism.
According to Burton Stein's History of India,
"Kashmir was neither as large nor as old an independent state as Hyderabad; it had been created rather off-handedly by the British after the first defeat of the Sikhs in 1846, as a reward to a former official who had sided with the British. The Himalayan kingdom was connected to India through a district of the Punjab, but its population was 77 per cent Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. Hence, it was anticipated that the maharaja would accede to Pakistan when the British paramountcy ended on 14–15 August. When he hesitated to do this, Pakistan launched a guerrilla onslaught meant to frighten its ruler into submission. Instead the Maharaja appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the governor-general agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. The United Nations was then invited to mediate the quarrel. The UN mission insisted that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained, while India insisted that no referendum could occur until all of the state had been cleared of irregulars."
In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices. However, since the referendum demanded by the UN was never conducted, relations between India and Pakistan soured, and eventually led to two more wars over Kashmir in 1965 and 1999.
India has control of about half the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which continues the name Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan controls a third of the region, divided into two de facto provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "Although there was a clear Muslim majority in Kashmir before the 1947 partition and its economic, cultural, and geographic contiguity with the Muslim-majority area of the Punjab (in Pakistan) could be convincingly demonstrated, the political developments during and after the partition resulted in a division of the region. Pakistan was left with territory that, although basically Muslim in character, was thinly populated, relatively inaccessible, and economically underdeveloped. The largest Muslim group, situated in the Valley of Kashmir and estimated to number more than half the population of the entire region, lay in Indian-administered territory, with its former outlets via the Jhelum valley route blocked."
The eastern region of the former princely state of Kashmir is also involved in a boundary dispute that began in the late 19th century and continues into the 21st. Although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and China's official position has not changed following the communist revolution of 1949 that established the People's Republic of China. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the north-east portion of Ladakh.
The region is divided amongst three countries in a territorial dispute: Pakistan controls the northwest portion (Northern Areas and Kashmir), India controls the central and southern portion (Jammu and Kashmir) and Ladakh, and the People's Republic of China controls the northeastern portion (Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract). India controls the majority of the Siachen Glacier area, including the Saltoro Ridge passes, whilst Pakistan controls the lower territory just southwest of the Saltoro Ridge. India controls 101,338 km2 (39,127 sq mi) of the disputed territory, Pakistan controls 85,846 km2 (33,145 sq mi), and the People's Republic of China controls the remaining 37,555 km2 (14,500 sq mi).
Jammu and Azad Kashmir lie outside Pir Panjal range, and are under Indian and Pakistani control respectively. These are populous regions. Gilgit–Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a group of territories in the extreme north, bordered by the Karakoram, the western Himalayas, the Pamir, and the Hindu Kush ranges. With its administrative centre in the town of Gilgit, the Northern Areas cover an area of 72,971 square kilometres (28,174 sq mi) and have an estimated population approaching 1 million (10 lakhs).
Ladakh is a region in the east, between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south. Main cities are Leh and Kargil. It is under Indian administration and is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the area and is mainly inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. Aksai Chin is a vast high-altitude desert of salt that reaches altitudes up to 5,000 metres (16,000 ft). Geographically part of the Tibetan Plateau, Aksai Chin is referred to as the Soda Plain. The region is almost uninhabited, and has no permanent settlements.
Though these regions are in practice administered by their respective claimants, neither India nor Pakistan has formally recognised the accession of the areas claimed by the other. India claims those areas, including the area "ceded" to China by Pakistan in the Trans-Karakoram Tract in 1963, are a part of its territory, while Pakistan claims the entire region excluding Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract. The two countries have fought several declared wars over the territory. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 established the rough boundaries of today, with Pakistan holding roughly one-third of Kashmir, and India one-half, with a dividing line of control established by the United Nations. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 resulted in a stalemate and a UN-negotiated ceasefire.
In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, the population of the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu was 2,905,578. Of these, 2,154,695 (74.16%) were Muslims, 689,073 (23.72%) Hindus, 25,828 (0.89%) Sikhs, and 35,047 (1.21%) Buddhists (implying 935 (0.032%) others).
Among the Muslims of the Kashmir province within the princely state, four divisions were recorded: "Shaikhs, Saiyids, Mughals, and Pathans. The Shaikhs, who are by far the most numerous, are the descendants of Hindus, but have retained none of the caste rules of their forefathers. They have clan names known as krams ..." These kram names included "Tantre", "Shaikh", "Bat", "Manto", "Ganai", "Dar", "Lon", "Wani" etc. The Saiyids "could be divided into those who follow the profession of religion and those who have taken to agriculture and other pursuits. Their kram name is 'Mir.' While a Saiyid retains his saintly profession Mir is a prefix; if he has taken to agriculture, Mir is an affix to his name." The Mughals who were not numerous had kram names like "Mir" (a corruption of "Mirza"), "Beg", "Bandi", "Bach" and "Ashaye". Finally, it was recorded that the Pathans "who are more numerous than the Mughals, ... are found chiefly in the south-west of the valley, where Pathan colonies have from time to time been founded. The most interesting of these colonies is that of Kuki-Khel Afridis at Dranghaihama, who retain all the old customs and speak Pashto." Among the main tribes of Muslims in the princely state are the Butts, Dar, Lone, Jat, Gujjar, Rajput, Sudhan and Khatri. Some Kashmiri families belonging to Butt, Lone and Wani/Wain clans use the title of Khawaja which was given to them by Mughal governors as these families were associated with Mughal Darbar. The Khatri use the title Shaikh and the Gujjar use the title Chaudhary. All these tribes are indigenous to the princely state which converted to Islam from Hinduism during its arrival in the region.
The Hindus were found mainly in Jammu, where they constituted a little less than 60% of the population. In the Kashmir Valley, the Hindus represented "524 in every 10,000 of the population (i.e. 5.24%), and in the frontier wazarats of Ladhakh and Gilgit only 94 out of every 10,000 persons (0.94%)." In the same Census of 1901, in the Kashmir Valley, the total population was recorded to be 1,157,394, of which the Muslim population was 1,083,766, or 93.6% and the Hindu population 60,641. Among the Hindus of Jammu province, who numbered 626,177 (or 90.87% of the Hindu population of the princely state), the most important castes recorded in the census were "Brahmans (186,000), the Rajputs (167,000), the Khattris (48,000) and the Thakkars (93,000)."
In the 1911 Census of the British Indian Empire, the total population of Kashmir and Jammu had increased to 3,158,126. Of these, 2,398,320 (75.94%) were Muslims, 696,830 (22.06%) Hindus, 31,658 (1%) Sikhs, and 36,512 (1.16%) Buddhists. In the last census of British India in 1941, the total population of Kashmir and Jammu (which as a result of the second world war, was estimated from the 1931 census) was 3,945,000. Of these, the total Muslim population was 2,997,000 (75.97%), the Hindu population was 808,000 (20.48%), and the Sikh 55,000 (1.39%).
The Kashmiri Pandits, the only Hindus of the Kashmir valley, who had stably constituted approximately 4 to 5% of the population of the valley during Dogra rule (1846–1947), and 20% of whom had left the Kashmir valley by 1950, began to leave in much greater numbers in the 1990s. According to a number of authors, approximately 100,000 of the total Kashmiri Pandit population of 140,000 left the valley during that decade. Other authors have suggested a higher figure for the exodus, ranging from the entire population of over 150 to 190 thousand (1.5 to 190,000) of a total Pandit population of 200 thousand (200,000) to a number as high as 300 thousand (300,000).
People in Jammu speak Hindi, Punjabi and Dogri, the Vale of Kashmir speaks Kashmiri and the sparsely inhabited Ladakh region speaks Tibetan and Balti.
|Administered by||Area||Population||% Muslim||% Hindu||% Buddhist||% Other|
|India||Kashmir Valley||~4 million (4 million)||95%||4%*||–||–|
|Jammu||~3 million (3 million)||30%||66%||–||4%|
|Ladakh||~0.25 million (250,000)||46%||–||50%||3%|
|Pakistan||Azad Kashmir||~4 million (4 million)||100%||–||–||–|
|Gilgit–Baltistan||~2 million (2 million)||99%||–||–||–|
Kashmir's economy is centred around agriculture. Traditionally the staple crop of the valley was rice, which formed the chief food of the people. In addition, Indian corn, wheat, barley and oats were also grown. Given its temperate climate, it is suited for crops like asparagus, artichoke, seakale, broad beans, scarletrunners, beetroot, cauliflower and cabbage. Fruit trees are common in the valley, and the cultivated orchards yield pears, apples, peaches, and cherries. The chief trees are deodar, firs and pines, chenar or plane, maple, birch and walnut, apple, cherry.
Historically, Kashmir became known worldwide when Cashmere wool was exported to other regions and nations (exports have ceased due to decreased abundance of the cashmere goat and increased competition from China). Kashmiris are well adept at knitting and making Pashmina shawls, silk carpets, rugs, kurtas, and pottery. Saffron, too, is grown in Kashmir. Srinagar is known for its silver-work, papier-mâché, wood-carving, and the weaving of silk. The economy was badly damaged by the 2005 Kashmir earthquake which, as of 8 October 2005, resulted in over 70,000 deaths in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir and around 1,500 deaths in Indian controlled Kashmir.
Transport is predominantly by air or road vehicles in the region. Kashmir has a 135 km (84 mi) long modern railway line that started in October 2009, and was last extended in 2013 and connects Baramulla, in the western part of Kashmir, to Srinagar and Banihal. It is expected to link Kashmir to the rest of India after the construction of the railway line from Katra to Banihal is completed.
It was emperor Akbar who brought an end to indigenous Kashmiri Muslim rule that had lasted 250 years. The watershed in Kashmiri history is not the beginning of the Muslim rule as is regarded in the rest of the subcontinent but the changeover from Kashmiri rule to a non-Kashmiri rule.
Jonaraja records two events of Suhadeva's reign (1301-20), which were of far-reaching importance and virtually changed the course of the history of Kashmir. The first was the arrival of Shah Mir in 1313. He was a Muslim condottiere from the border of Panchagahvara, an area situated to the south of the Divasar pargana in the valley of river Ans, a tributary of the Chenab.
A large number of Muslim ʿulamāʿ came from Central Asia to Kashmir to preach; Sayyid Bilāl Shāh, Sayyid Jalāluddīn of Bukhara, Sayyid Tajuddīn, his brother Sayyid Ḥusayn Sīmānī, Sayyid ʿAlī Ḥamadānī, his son Mir Muḥammad Hamadānī, and Shaykh Nūruddīn are some of the well-known ʿulamāʿ who played a significant role in spreading Islam.
The contribution of Sayyid ʿAlī Hamadānī, popularly known as Shah-yi Hamadān, is legendary. Born at Hamadān (Iran) in 1314 and belonging to the Kubrawīyah order of Ṣūfīs, a branch of the Suhrawardīyah, he paid three visits to Kashmir in 1372, 1379, and 1383; together with several hundred followers, he converted thousands of Kashmiris to Islam. His son Sayyid Muḥammad Hamadānī continued his work, vigorously propagating Islam as well as influencing the Muslim ruler Sikander (1389–1413) to enforce Islamic law and to establish the office of the Shaykh al-Islām (chief religious authority). By the end of the fifteenth century, the majority of the people had embraced Islam.
Similarly, Sunni and Shia Kashmiris had troubles at times, with their differences offering the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar (ruled 1556–1605), a pretext to invade Kashmir, and capture it, in 1586.
Most historians of Kashmir agree on the rapacity of the Afghan governors, a period unrelieved by even brief respite devoted to good work and welfare for the people of Kashmir. According to these histories, the Afghans were brutally repressive with all Kashmiris, regardless of class or religion
During both Sikh and Dogra rule, heavy taxation, forced work without wages (begār), discriminatory laws, and rural indebtedness were widespread among the largely illiterate Muslim population.
Kashmiri histories emphasize the wretchedness of life for the common Kashmiri during Sikh rule. According to these, the peasantry became mired in poverty and migrations of Kashmiri peasants to the plains of the Punjab reached high proportions. Several European travelers' accounts from the period testify to and provide evidence for such assertions.
In 1947, J&K's political scene was dominated by two parties: the All J&K National Conference (commonly called the National Conference) and the All J&K Muslim Conference (commonly called the Muslim Conference). Each conference had a different aspiration for J&K's status: the National Conference opposed J&K joining Pakistan; the Muslim Conference favoured this option.
The National Conference was strongest in the Kashmir Valley... conversely, outside the Kashmir Valley its support was much less, with perhaps five to 15 per cent of the population supporting it. The Muslim Conference had a lot of support in Jammu Province and much less in the Kashmir Valley.
Those Hindus and Sikhs who comprised a majority in the eastern parts of Jammu province were strongly pro-Indian. Their dislike of Pakistan and pro-Pakistani J&K Muslims was further heightened by the arrival of angry and agitated Hindu and Sikh refugees from western (Pakistani) Punjab after 15 August 1947. Accession to Pakistan therefore, would almost certainly have seen these people either fight to retain their land or take flight to India. In the event of accession to Pakistan, Hindu Pandits and Sikhs in the Kashmir Valley, most of whom probably favoured J&K joining India, might also have fled to pro-Indian parts of J&K, or to India. Although their position is less clear, Ladakhi Buddhists probably favoured India also.
Similarly, Muslims in Western Jammu Province, particularly in Poonch, many of whom had martial capabilities, and Muslims in the Frontier Districts Province strongly wanted J&K to join Pakistan.
An important trait evident among Kashmiris partially explains why Kashmiri Muslims were ambivalent about Pakistan in 1947.
One significant result of the concept of Kashmiriness was that Kashmiris may have been naturally attracted to secular thinking.
The CMG, the best-informed English-language newspaper on J&K affairs, on 21 October 1947 reported that the southern Kashmir Valley, which apparently was the 'stronghold' of the Kisan Mazdoor Conference, 'last week witnessed a massive upsurge in favour of Pakistan'. However, the CMG's report predated the tribal invasion of Kashmir Province by one day, after which support for pro-Pakistan parties may have lessened, at least in the short term, even though southern Kashmir was not directly affected by this invasion.
According to The Times' Special Correspondent in late October 1947, it was 'a moot point how far Abdullah's influence extends among the Kashmiri Muslims...but in Srinagar his influence is paramount'.
That is why, Kashmiris were not particularly enamoured with the idea of Pakistan. The developments of 1930s (when Muslim Conference was converted into the National Conference) and 1940s (when Kashmiri leadership took a deliberated decision to demand self-government) clearly reflected the failure of pan-Islamic identity satisfying the political urges of Kashmiris.
However, even while rejecting Pakistan, Sheikh did not agree to accept union with India in an unconditional manner. He was very firm about protecting the rights and identity of Kashmiris. As Puri argues, it was the same reason that compelled the Kashmiri leaders to distance themselves from the Muslim politics of pre-partition India, which reflected a lack of urge to merge with Indian nationalism.
The 2005 Kashmir earthquake occurred at 08:50:39 Pakistan Standard Time on 8 October in Pakistan-administered areas of Kashmir. It was centered near the city of Muzaffarabad, and also affected Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. It registered a moment magnitude of 7.6 and had a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). The earthquake also affected countries in the surrounding region where tremors were felt in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Chinese Xinjiang. The severity of the damage caused by the earthquake is attributed to severe upthrust. It is considered the deadliest earthquake to hit South Asia since the 1935 Quetta earthquake.2016 Uri attack
The 2016 Uri attack was an attack by four heavily armed terrorists on 18 September 2016, near the town of Uri in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was reported as "the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades". The militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed was blamed by India of being involved in the planning and execution of the attack. At the time of the attack, the Kashmir Valley region was at the centre of unrest.2019 Indian general election
The Indian General elections, 2019 are expected to be held in April and May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.
Legislative Assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim and Jammu and Kashmir are expected to be held simultaneously with the general elections.Azad Kashmir
Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Urdu: آزاد جموں و کشمیر Āzād Jammū̃ o Kaśmīr, translation: Free Jammu and Kashmir), abbreviated as AJK and commonly known as Azad Kashmir, is a nominally self-governing jurisdiction administered by Pakistan. The territory lies west of the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, and was part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Azad Kashmir is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between Pakistan and India. The territory shares a border with Gilgit-Baltistan, together with which it is referred to by the United Nations and other international organisations as "Pakistan administered Kashmir".
Azad Kashmir is one-sixth of the size of Gilgit-Baltistan. The territory also borders Pakistan's Punjab province to the south and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the west. To the east, Azad Kashmir is separated from the state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan. Azad Kashmir has a total area of 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq mi), and a total population of 4,045,366 as per the 2017 Census.
The territory has a parliamentary form of government modeled after the Westminster system, with its capital located at Muzaffarabad. The President is the constitutional head of state, while the Prime Minister, supported by a Council of Ministers, is the chief executive. The unicameral Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly elects both the Prime Minister and President. The state has its own Supreme Court and a High Court, while the Government of Pakistan's Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan serves as a link with Azad Kashmir's government, although Azad Kashmir is not represented in the Parliament of Pakistan.
The 2005 earthquake killed 100,000 people and left another three million people displaced, with widespread devastation. Since then, with help from the Government of Pakistan and foreign donors, reconstruction of infrastructure is underway. Azad Kashmir's economy largely depends on agriculture, services, tourism, and remittances sent by members of the British Mirpuri community. Nearly 87% of the households own farms in Azad Kashmir, while the region has a literacy rate of approximately 72% and has the highest school enrollment in Pakistan.Gilgit-Baltistan
Gilgit-Baltistan (Urdu: گلگت بلتستان), formerly known as the Northern Areas, is the northernmost administrative territory in Pakistan. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China, to the east and northeast, and the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast.
Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between Pakistan and India. The territory shares a border with Azad Kashmir, together with which it is referred to by the United Nations and other international organisations as "Pakistan administered Kashmir".
Gilgit-Baltistan is six times the size of Azad Kashmir. The territory also borders Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir state to the south and is separated from it by the Line of Control, the de facto border between India and Pakistan.
The territory of present-day Gilgit-Baltistan became a separate administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas". It was formed by the amalgamation of the former Gilgit Agency, the Baltistan district and several small former princely states, the larger of which being Hunza and Nagar. In 2009, it was granted limited autonomy and renamed to Gilgit-Baltistan via the Self-Governance Order signed by Pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari, which also aimed to empower the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, scholars state that the real power rests with the governor and not with chief minister or elected assembly. The population of Gilgit-Baltistan wants to be merged into Pakistan as a separate fifth province and opposes integration with Kashmir. The Pakistani government has rejected Gilgit-Baltistani calls for integration with Pakistan on the grounds that it would jeopardise its demands for the whole Kashmir issue to be resolved according to UN resolutions.Gilgit-Baltistan covers an area of over 72,971 km² (28,174 sq mi) and is highly mountainous. It had an estimated population of 1,800,000 in 2015. Its capital city is Gilgit (population 216,760 est). Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five of the "eight-thousanders" and to more than fifty peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft). Three of the world's longest glaciers outside the polar regions are found in Gilgit-Baltistan. The main tourism activities are trekking and mountaineering, and this industry is growing in importance.Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948, sometimes known as the First Kashmir War, was fought between India and Pakistan over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1947 to 1948. It was the first of four Indo-Pakistan Wars fought between the two newly independent nations. Pakistan precipitated the war a few weeks after independence by launching tribal lashkar (militia) from Waziristan, in an effort to capture Kashmir, the future of which hung in the balance. The inconclusive result of the war still affects the geopolitics of both countries.
The Maharaja faced an uprising by his Muslim subjects in Poonch, and lost control of the western districts of his kingdom. On 22 October 1947, Pakistan's Pashtun tribal militias crossed the border of the state. These local tribal militias and irregular Pakistani forces moved to take Srinagar, but on reaching Baramulla, they took to plunder and stalled. Maharaja Hari Singh made a plea to India for assistance, and help was offered, but it was subject to his signing an Instrument of Accession to India.The war was initially fought by the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces and by tribal militias from the Frontier Tribal Areas adjoining the North-West Frontier Province. Following the accession of the state to India on 26 October 1947, Indian troops were air-lifted to Srinagar, the state capital. The British commanding officers initially refused the entry of Pakistani troops into the conflict, citing the accession of the state to India. However, later in 1948, they relented and the Pakistani armies entered the war after this. The fronts solidified gradually along what came to be known as the Line of Control. A formal cease-fire was declared at 23:59 on the night of 31 December 1948 and became effective on the night of 1 January 1949. The result of the war was inconclusive. However, most neutral assessments agree that India was the victor of the war as it was able to successfully defend about two-thirds of the Kashmir including Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh.In contrary, Pakistan gain a third of Kashmiri territory, thus making the verdict of the conflict disputedIndo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. The conflict began following Pakistan's Operation Gibraltar, which was designed to infiltrate forces into Jammu and Kashmir to precipitate an insurgency against Indian rule. India retaliated by launching a full-scale military attack on West Pakistan. The seventeen-day war caused thousands of casualties on both sides and witnessed the largest engagement of armored vehicles and the largest tank battle since World War II. Hostilities between the two countries ended after a United Nations-mandated ceasefire was declared following diplomatic intervention by the Soviet Union and the United States, and the subsequent issuance of the Tashkent Declaration. Much of the war was fought by the countries' land forces in Kashmir and along the border between India and Pakistan. This war saw the largest amassing of troops in Kashmir since the Partition of British India in 1947, a number that was overshadowed only during the 2001–2002 military standoff between India and Pakistan. Most of the battles were fought by opposing infantry and armoured units, with substantial backing from air forces, and naval operations. Many details of this war, like those of other Indo-Pakistani Wars, remain unclear.India had the upper hand over Pakistan when the ceasefire was declared. Although the two countries fought to a standoff, the conflict is seen as a strategic and political defeat for Pakistan, as it had neither succeeded in fomenting insurrection in Kashmir nor had it been able to gain meaningful support at an international level.Internationally, the war was viewed in the context of the greater Cold War, and resulted in a significant geopolitical shift in the subcontinent. Before the war, the United States and the United Kingdom had been major material allies of both India and Pakistan, as their primary suppliers of military hardware and foreign developmental aid. During and after the conflict, both India and Pakistan felt betrayed by the perceived lack of support by the western powers for their respective positions; those feelings of betrayal were increased with the imposition of an American and British embargo on military aid to the opposing sides. As a consequence, India and Pakistan openly developed closer relationships with the Soviet Union and China, respectively. The perceived negative stance of the western powers during the conflict, and during the 1971 war, has continued to affect relations between the West and the subcontinent. In spite of improved relations with the U.S. and Britain since the end of the Cold War, the conflict generated a deep distrust of both countries within the subcontinent which to an extent lingers to this day.Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir
The insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir or the Kashmiri Insurgency (also known as Kashmir Intifada) is a conflict between various Kashmiri separatists and the Government of India. There are some groups that support the complete independence of Kashmir, while others seek Kashmir's accession to Pakistan. The conflict in Jammu and Kashmir has strong Islamist elements among the insurgents, with many of the "ultras" identifying with Jihadist movements and supported by such.The roots of the conflict between the Kashmiri insurgents and the Indian government are tied to a dispute over local autonomy. Democratic development was limited in Kashmir until the late 1970s and by 1988 many of the democratic reforms provided by the Indian government had been reversed and non-violent channels for expressing discontent were limited and caused a dramatic increase in support for insurgents advocating violent secession from India. In 1987, a disputed State election created a catalyst for the insurgency when it resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly members forming armed insurgent groups. In July 1988, a series of demonstrations, strikes and attacks on the Indian government began the Kashmir Insurgency, which during the 1990s escalated into the most important internal security issue in India.
Thousands of people have died during fighting between insurgents and the government as well as thousands of civilians who have died as a result of being targeted by the various armed groups.The Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan has been accused by India of supporting and training mujahideen. to fight in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2015, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf admitted that Pakistan had supported and trained insurgent groups in the 1990s.
According to official figures released in Jammu and Kashmir assembly, there were 3,400 disappearance cases and the conflict has left more than 47,000 people dead which also includes 7,000 police personnel as of July 2009.However, the number of insurgency-related deaths in the state have fallen sharply since the start of a slow-moving peace process between India and Pakistan. Some rights groups claim a higher figure of 100,000 deaths since 1989.Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir ( and (listen)) is a state in northern India, often denoted by its acronym, J&K. It is located mostly in the Himalayan mountains, and shares borders with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. The Line of Control separates it from the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in the west and north respectively, and a Line of Actual Control separates it from the Chinese-administered territory of Aksai Chin in the east. The state has special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.A part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the region is the subject of a territorial conflict among India, Pakistan and China. The western districts of the former princely state known as Azad Kashmir and the northern territories known as Gilgit-Baltistan have been under Pakistani control since 1947.
The Aksai Chin region in the east, bordering Tibet, has been under Chinese control since 1962.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu is the winter capital. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population. The Kashmir valley is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, and Jammu's numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year, while Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.Jammu and Kashmir (princely state)
Jammu and Kashmir was, from 1846 until 1952, a princely state of the British Empire in India and ruled by a Jamwal Rajput Dogra Dynasty. The state was created in 1846 from the territories previously under Sikh Empire after the First Anglo-Sikh War. The East India Company annexed the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs, and then transferred it to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu in return for an indemnity payment of 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees.
At the time of the British withdrawal from India, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the state, preferred to become independent and remain neutral between the successor dominions of India and Pakistan. However, an uprising in the western districts of the State followed by an attack by raiders from the neighbouring Northwest Frontier Province, supported by Pakistan, put an end to his plans for independence. On 26 October 1947, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession joining the Dominion of India in return for military aid. The western and northern districts presently known as Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan passed to the control of Pakistan, while the remaining territory became the Indian state Jammu and Kashmir.Kargil War
The Kargil War, also known as the Kargil conflict,[note (I)] was an armed conflict between India and Pakistan that took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir and elsewhere along the Line of Control (LOC). In India, the conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay (Hindi: विजय, literally "Victory") which was the name of the Indian operation to clear the Kargil sector.The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers disguised as Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the LOC, which serves as the de facto border between the two states. During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces, led by General Ashraf Rashid. The Indian Army, later supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LOC infiltrated by the Pakistani troops and militants. Facing international diplomatic opposition, the Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LOC.
The war is one of the most recent examples of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, which posed significant logistical problems for the combating sides. It is also one of the very few instances of direct, conventional warfare between nuclear states (i.e., those possessing nuclear weapons). India had conducted its first successful test in 1974; Pakistan, which had been developing its nuclear capability in secret since around the same time, conducted its first known tests in 1998, just two weeks after a second series of tests by India.Kashmir Shaivism
Kashmir Shaivism is a group of nondualist Tantric Shaiva exegetical traditions from Kashmir that originated after 850 CE. The term Trika was used by Abhinavagupta to represent the entire Kashmir Shaivism or to designate the Pratyabhijna system and this was actually pan-Indian, also flourishing in Oḍiśā and Mahārāṣṭra.The Tantrāloka, Mālinīślokavārttika, and Tantrasāra of the Kashmirian Abhinavagupta (975–1025 CE) are formally an exegesis on the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, although they also drew heavily on the Kali-based Krama subcategory of the Kulamārga.Kashmir Shaivism claimed to supersede Shaiva Siddhanta, a dualistic tradition which scholars consider normative tantric Shaivism. The Shaiva Siddhanta goal of becoming an ontologically distinct Shiva (through Shiva's grace) was replaced by recognizing oneself as Shiva who, in Kashmir Shaivism's monism, is the entirety of the universe.Kashmir Valley
The Kashmir Valley, also known as the Vale of Kashmir, is a valley in the portion of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. The valley is bounded on the southwest by the Pir Panjal Range and on the northeast by the main Himalayas range. It is approximately 135 km long and 32 km wide, and drained by the Jhelum River.Kashmir division is one of the three administrative divisions of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Kashmir division borders Jammu Division to the south and Ladakh to the east while Line of Control forms its northern and the western border. The division consists of the following districts: Anantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar.Kashmir conflict
The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, having started just after the partition of India in 1947. China has at times played a minor role. India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947 and 1965, as well as the Kargil War of 1999. The two countries have also been involved in several skirmishes over control of the Siachen Glacier.
India claims the entire princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, and, as of 2010, administers approximately 43% of the region. It controls Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen Glacier. India's claims are contested by Pakistan, which administers approximately 37% of the region, namely Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. China currently administers the remaining 20% mostly uninhabited areas, the Shaksgam Valley, and the Aksai Chin region.
The present conflict is in Kashmir Valley. The root of conflict between the Kashmiri insurgents and the Indian government is tied to a dispute over local autonomy and based on the demand for self-determination. Democratic development was limited in Kashmir until the late 1970s, and by 1988, many of the democratic reforms introduced by the Indian Government had been reversed. Non-violent channels for expressing discontent were thereafter limited and caused a dramatic increase in support for insurgents advocating violent secession from India. In 1987, a disputed state election created a catalyst for the insurgency when it resulted in some of the state's legislative assembly members forming armed insurgent groups. In July 1988 a series of demonstrations, strikes and attacks on the Indian Government began the Kashmir Insurgency.
Although thousands of people have died as a result of the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict has become less deadly in recent years. Protest movements created to voice Kashmir's disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military, have been active in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. Elections held in 2008 were generally regarded as fair by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and had a high voter turnout in spite of calls by separatist militants for a boycott. The election resulted in the creation of the pro-India Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, which then formed a government in the state. According to Voice of America, many analysts have interpreted the high voter turnout in this election as a sign that the people of Kashmir endorsed Indian rule in the state. But in 2010 unrest erupted after alleged fake encounter of local youth with security force. Thousands of youths pelted security forces with rocks, burned government offices and attacked railway stations and official vehicles in steadily intensifying violence. The Indian government blamed separatists and Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistan-based militant group for stoking the 2010 protests.Elections held in 2014 saw highest voters turnout in 26 years of history in Jammu and Kashmir. However, analysts explain that the high voter turnout in Kashmir is not an endorsement of Indian rule by the Kashmiri population, rather most people vote for daily issues such as food and electricity. An opinion poll conducted by the Chatham House international affairs think tank found that in the Kashmir valley – the mainly Muslim area in Indian Kashmir at the centre of the insurgency – support for independence varies between 74% to 95% in its various districts. Support for remaining with India was, however, extremely high in predominantly Hindu Jammu and Buddhist Ladakh.
According to scholars, Indian forces have committed many human rights abuses and acts of terror against Kashmiri civilian population including extrajudicial killing, rape, torture and enforced disappearances. Crimes by militants have also happened but are not comparable in scale with the crimes of Indian forces.
According to Amnesty International, as of June 2015, no member of the Indian military deployed in Jammu and Kashmir has been tried for human rights violations in a civilian court, although there have been military court martials held. Amnesty International welcomed this move but cautioned that justice should be consistently delivered and prosecutions of security forces personnel be held in civilian courts. Amnesty International has also accused the Indian government of refusing to prosecute perpetrators of abuses in the region.Kashmir's accession to India was provisional, and conditional on a plebiscite, and for this reason had a different constitutional status to other Indian states. In October 2015 Jammu and Kashmir High Court said that article 370 is "permanent" and Jammu and Kashmir did not merge with India the way other princely states merged but retained special status and limited sovereignty under Indian constitution.In 2016 (8 July 2016 – present) unrest erupted after killing of a Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani by Indian security forces.Kashmiris
The Kashmiris (Kashmiri: کٲشُر لُکھ / कॉशुर लुख) are an ethnic group native to the Kashmir Valley, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, who speak Kashmiri, an Indo-Aryan Dardic language. The bulk of Kashmiri people predominantly live in the Kashmir Valley–which is the 'actual' Kashmir and does not include the other territories of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (i.e. Jammu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and Ladakh). Other ethnic groups living in the Jammu and Kashmir state include Gujjars, Dogras Paharis, Baltis and Ladakhis.While Kashmiris are native to the Kashmir Valley, smaller populations of Kashmiris also live in the remaining districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Ethnic Kashmiris can be found in the Chenab region's Doda, Ramban, Reasi and Kishtwar districts and in the Neelam Valley and Leepa Valley of northern Azad Kashmir. Since 1947, many ethnic Kashmiris are also found in Pakistan. Many ethnic Kashmiris from the Kashmir Valley migrated to the Punjab region during the Dogra, Sikh and Afghan rule of Kashmir. Most Kashmiris today are Sunni Muslim but a sizeable Hindu community also exists. Most ethnic Kashmiri Muslims are descended from Kashmiri Pandits and Buddhists, some also use the prefix 'Sheikh'. Common surnames among these people include Bhat/Butt, Dar, Lone, Malik etc.Although all residents of Azad Kashmir call themselves 'Kashmiri', most residents of Azad Kashmir are not ethnic Kashmiris.Ladakh
Ladakh ("land of high passes") is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north.
Aksai Chin is one of the disputed border areas between China and India. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County but is also claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes, but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Since Ladakh is a part of strategically important Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.
The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil. The government of Jammu and Kashmir created a separate administrative division from Kashmir division with headquarters at Leh. Tibetan Buddhists (39.7%) and Hindus (12.1%) collectively represent the majority of the population while a plurality of Ladakhis (46.4%) are Muslims (mainly Shia). Other religious groups include Sikhs etc. Some activists from Leh have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh's cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir while people of Kargil oppose UT status for Ladakh.Line of Control
The term Line of Control (LoC) refers to the military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary, but is the de facto border. Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the "Line of Control" following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972. The part of the former princely state that is under Indian control is known as the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani-controlled part is divided into Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan. The northernmost point of the Line of Control is known as NJ9842. The India–Pakistan border continues from the southernmost point on the LoC.
Another ceasefire line separates the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Chinese-controlled area known as Aksai Chin. Lying further to the east, it is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Former US President Bill Clinton has referred to the Indian subcontinent and the Kashmir Line of Control, in particular, as one of the most dangerous places in the world.Pashmina
Pashmina is a fine type of cashmere wool. The textiles made from it were first woven in Kashmir. The name comes from Persian: پشمینه / pašmina, meaning "made from wool". Pashmina came to be known as 'cashmere' in the West because Europeans first encountered this fibre in Kashmir. The wool comes from a number of different breeds of the cashmere goat; such as the changthangi or Kashmir pashmina goat from the Changthang Plateau in Tibet and part of the Ladakh region, the malra from the Kargil area in the Kashmir region, the chegu from Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas of northern India, and the chyangara or Nepalese pashmina goat from Nepal. Often shawls called shahmina are made from this material in Kashmir and Nepal; these shawls are hand spun and woven from the very fine cashmere fibre.Srinagar
Srinagar ( (listen)) is the largest city and the summer capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies in the Kashmir Valley on the banks of the Jhelum River, a tributary of the Indus, and Dal and Anchar lakes. The city is known for its natural environment, gardens, waterfronts and houseboats. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts and dried fruits. It is the northernmost city of India with over 1 million people.