Home » History of Kashmir

History of Kashmir


Kashmir Borders Click on map to view

Rulers

By the early 19th century, the Kashmir valley had passed from the control of four centuries of Muslim rule under the Mughals and the Afghans, to the conquering Sikh armies. Jammu and Kashmir being predominantly Muslim was now ruled by a Sikh Prince who kept the control of the Region by paying British in India a ransom of 7.5 million Indian Rupees.

Region and Demographics

Jammu and Kashmir combines disparate regions, religions, and ethnicities. To the east Ladakh was ethnically and culturally Tibetan and its inhabitants practised Buddhism and Islam; to the south, Jammu had a mixed population of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs; in the heavily populated central Kashmir valley, the population was overwhelmingly Muslim. India has been accused by separatist groups in Kashmir of attempting to change the demographics of the region by encouraging illegal settlement of Indian hindus in the region.

Monarchy & Politics

19th century Kashmir was now under a Hindu  rule. Ranbir Singh’s grandson Hari Singh  a hindu ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925. The Maharajah Hari Singh never represented the will of his subjects, creating tension between the Hindu rulers and the Muslim population of Kashmir. Muslims in Kashmir detested him, as they were heavily taxed and had grown tired of his insensitivity to their religious concerns. The Dogra rule (the name of the municipal governments) had excluded Muslims from the civil service and the armed services. Islamic religious ceremonies were taxed. Historically, Muslims were banned from organizing politically, which would only be tolerated beginning in the 1930s. In 1931, in response to a sermon that had tones of opposition to the government, the villages of Jandial, Makila, and Dana were ransacked and destroyed by the Dogra army, with their inhabitants burned alive. A legislative assembly, with no real power, was created in January, 1947. It issued one statement that represented the will of the Muslim people: “After carefully considering the position, the conference has arrived at the conclusion that accession of the State to Pakistan is absolutely necessary in view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious conditions.It is therefore necessary that the State should accede to Pakistan.

Prem Nath Bazaz, a hindu and founder of the Kashmir Socialist Party in 1943, a reliable primary source of history, reiterated that a majority of Kashmiris were against the decision of the Maharajah.In his book, The History of The Struggle of Freedom In Kashmir, He writes, “The large majority of the population of the State, almost the entire Muslim community and an appreciable number of non Muslims was totally against the Maharjah declaring accession to India.” This statement, and the decision reached by the legislative assembly are important because they dispel any belief that the Kashmiris’ religious ties with Pakistan did not necessarily indicate a will to unite. Indeed, the ethnic bond between Kashmir and Pakistan influenced a majority of the people to seek accession with Pakistan. Maharaja signed a “standstill” agreement with Pakistan, which ensured continuity of trade, travel, communication, and similar services between the two. Such an agreement was pending with India. In October 1947, Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province invaded Kashmir. The ostensible aim of the guerilla campaign was to frighten Hari Singh into submission. “Instead 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, “Indian soldiers landed in Kashmir and drove the Invaders out. As Pakistan and India continued to fight, Pandit J Nehru PM of India decided to take the matter to the UN. 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 referendum can only take place if Pakistan withdrew its troops from part of Kashmir it occupies. Pakistan has been less hesitant than India to resolve the dispute as it is only Indian held Kashmir where freedom slogans can be heard.

UN, India,China & Pakistan

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 three more wars over Kashmir in 1965, 1971 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, or historically known as regions of Gilgit and Baltistan; and Pakistan Administered Kashmir. India claims significant part of Kashmir lies with China near Ladakh region.

According to 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 Vale of Kashmir and estimated to number more than half the population of the entire region, lay in Indian-administered territory.

The UN Security Council on 20 January 1948 passed Resolution 39, establishing a special commission to investigate the conflict. Subsequent to the commission’s recommendation, the Security Council ordered in its Resolution 47, passed on 21 April 1948, that the invading Pakistani army retreat from Jammu & Kashmir and that the accession of Kashmir to either India or Pakistan be determined in accordance with a plebiscite to be supervised by the UN. In a string of subsequent resolutions, the Security Council took notice of the continuing failure by India to hold the plebiscite. However, no punitive action against India could be taken by the Security Council because its resolution requiring India to hold a Plebescite was non-binding, and the Pakistani army never left the part of the Kashmir they occupied as required by the Security Council resolution 47. The Government of India holds that the Maharaja signed a document of accession to India 26 October 1947. Pakistan has disputed whether the Maharaja actually signed the accession treaty before Indian troops entered Kashmir. Furthermore, Pakistan claims the Indian government has never produced an original copy of this accession treaty and thus its validity and legality is disputed.

In 1949, the Indian government obliged Hari Singh to leave Jammu and Kashmir, and yield the government to Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of a political party, the National Conference Party which favoured Kashmirs accession to India. Since then, a bitter enmity has been developed between India and Pakistan and three wars have taken place between them over Kashmir. The growing dispute over Kashmir also lead to the rise of armed insurgency against Indian rule in the state. The year 1989 saw the intensification of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir when Kashmiri youngsters joined the armed rebellion against Indian Occupation.India has blamed Pakistan for training these insurgents and fueling rebellion against India in Kashmir.

References:

1.Wikipedia

2.The History of The Struggle of Freedom In Kashmir by Prem Nath Bazaz

Comments are closed.