Did you know this about Jammu and Kashmir?
Recently I’ve been observing most of us making raging and sentimental comments about Kashmir ..So I just thought of digging more into what the whole hype is all about.Though I find history a boring subject,the reading about Kashmir’s history was rather an intersting one,especially when related to the comments made today,by people who are ignorant of what happened yesterday,and uninterested of what may happen tomorrow..
Kashmir,the heaven on earth; Ka means “water” and Shimir means “to desiccate”.Kashmir stands for “a land desiccated from water”.What is it as of today,a valley of streaming blood?Let’s look back at some history,as I believe that it is history that made life of people of heaven hell..
A briefing from wikipedia:
The Mauryan emperor Ashoka is often credited with having founded the city of Srinagar. Kashmir was once a Buddhist seat of learning. Following the advent of Muslim rule in 1349, Islam became the dominant religion in Kashmir. The Muslims and Hindus of Kashmir lived in relative harmony, since the Sufi-Islamic way of life that ordinary Muslims followed in Kashmir complemented the Rishi tradition of Kashmiri Pandits. This led to a synergetic culture where Hindus and Muslims revered the same local saints and prayed at the same shrines and Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists were co-existing in the atmosphere of love and brotherhood.
Earlier, in 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, the Raja of Jammu, the kingdom of Jammu (to the south of the Kashmir valley) was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore and afterwards, until 1846, became a tributary to the Sikh power. In 1845, the First Anglo-Sikh War broke out, and 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 (rupees) one crore of indemnity, the hill countries between Beas and Indus; by the second, the British made over to Gulab Singh for (Rupees) 75 lakhs all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of Indus and west of Ravi” (i.e. the Vale of Kashmir . Soon after Gulab Singh’s death in 1857, his son, Ranbir Singh.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 paramountcy of the British Crown.
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 Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan. As parties to the partition process, both countries had agreed that the people or elders of these states will decide to opt for either Pakistan or India keeping in view the geographical position and religious beliefs of the majority of the people or—in special cases—to remain independent. In 1947, Kashmir’s population was 80 per cent Muslim and it shared boundaries with Pakistan and India. Hence, it was anticipated that the Maharaja would accede to Pakistan or India, when the British paramountcy ended on 14-15 August. When he hesitated to do this, a struggle broke out, supported by Pakistan. The Maharaja appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the Governor-General agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India. Once the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession, which included a clause added by Mountbatten asking that the wishes of the Kashmiri people be taken into account, Indian soldiers entered Kashmir and drove the Pakistani-sponsored irregulars from all but a small section of the state. India approached the United Nations security council for cease fire and to mediate the quarrel. The UN Security Council passed the resolution that the opinion of Kashmiris must be ascertained. The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised a Plebiscite under UN supervision which never happened as one of the pre-conditions for the same was Pakistan should withdraw all Military forces from the region of Kashmir.
In the last days of 1948, a ceasefire was agreed under UN auspices; however, since the plebiscite 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; Pakistan controls a third of the region, the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. According to Encyclopaedia 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 Vale 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.”
Currently,The region is divided among three countries in a territorial dispute: Pakistan controls the northwest portion (Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir), India controls the central and southern portion (Jammu and Kashmir) and Ladakh, and China controls the northeastern portion (Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract). India also controls the majority of the Siachen Glacier area including the Saltoro Ridge passes), whereas Pakistan controls the lower territory just southwest of the Saltoro Ridge. India controls 101,387 km2 (39,146 sq mi), Pakistan 85,846 km2 (33,145 sq mi) and China, the remaining 37,555 km2 (14,500 sq mi).
Now, it makes some sense to me as to what is happening in Kashmir today .I am sure most of the people who take this issue as Muslim-fanatic cause, know nothing about what was it that lead to such a pathetic state as of today .I understand that Jammu and Kashmir was purely a political issue, which has turned into a completely religious one in nature over a course of 61 years. I wonder why on earth Hari Singh opted not to join neither India nor Pakistan.. His name will be written in history, in cow dung , for having made a decision that spoiled life of many fellow people, for years ,and many more years to come..
Political parties have taken the most of this issue. Religious fanatics too have used the matter to maximum possible extent, to suit their selfish needs.. But in the end, can anybody answer as to who won and who lost..
What went wrong in Kashmir is that, we have been looking at the issue as a Hindu vs Muslim. Sadly it is not otherwise, though many religious factors have contributed to make the situation even worse.
Don’t mix religion here. This is an issue of redrawing the contours, for the sake of humanity. This is in no way related to other communal issues moving around ,as like in Nagaland and Assam.The integrity of India cannot be questioned, but Kashmir was never part of India, was it? From very day we gained ‘independence’ there is issues going on in the valley.. Its high time we bring an end to it.
As an Indian,I am very much concerned about my nation’s security issues ,once an independent J&K nation is formed.But I believe that India is strong enough to take care of security concerns.But one question is left unanswered;how will the kashmiris survive then?I don’t think Pakistan will care a damn about it.Just for instance,recall what happened during 2005 earthquakes.But then again,they made their own choice and are entitled to deal with the consequences.
During partition, people from other states of India joined Indian union out of their own free will. Same right should be extended to Kashmir .Let them decide what they want. Let India not act like America ,withholding somebody else’s land, even when the inhabitants are against themselves being controlled by an ‘external force’ .I had always stood for national interest,and will remain to do so till my last breath. But I just realized that I was concerned about Kashmir, not about Kashmiris. .Don’t they deserve a life ?Or is it destined to be another Isreal-Palastein conflict?
Read a Kashmiri writing about the other side of Kashmir http://www.saadat.in/blog