(Dogri: जम्मू और कश्मीर; Urdu: جموں و کشمیر) is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the People's Republic of China to the north-east , the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and Pakistani-administered territories of Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas to the west and north-west respectively. Formerly a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, this territory is disputed between China, India and Pakistan. Jammu and Kashmir is referred to by Pakistan as "Indian-occupied Kashmir".
Jammu and Kashmir consist of three regions: Jammu, the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Srinagar is the summer capital, and Jammu, its winter capital. While the Kashmir valley, often known as Paradise on Earth, is famous for its beautiful mountainous landscape, Jammu's numerous shrines attracts tens of thousands of Hindu and Muslim pilgrims every year. Ladakh, also known as "Little Tibet", is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and Buddhist culture.
The Valley of Kashmir was once the great lake Satisar. According to Hindu texts, the Hindu sage Kashyapa drained a lake lying north of the Pir Panjal Range by cutting the mountain near Varamulla. The sage then encouraged people from India to settle in the valley that was formed after the lake was drained. The locals named the valley Kashyap-Mar and Kashyap-Pura in honour of the sage. The name Kashmir is derived from ka (the water) and shimeera (to desiccate), so the word Kashmir implies land desiccated from water. The lake was very holy to the population until it drained.
Kashmir was one of the major centres for Sanskrit scholars in ancient times. According to Mahābhārata evidence, Kambojas had ruled over Kashmir during epic times and it was a Republican system of government under the Kamboj. The capital city of Kashmir (Kamboj) during epic times was Rajapura e.g. Karna-Rajapuram-gatva-Kambojah-nirjitastava. Epic Rajapura is the same as Ho-lo-she-pu-lo of Yuan Chawang and has been identified with modern Rajauri. Later, the Panchalas are stated to have established their sway. The name Peer Panjal, which is a part of modern Kashmir, is a witness to this fact. Panjal is simply a distorted form of the Sanskritic tribal term Panchala. The Muslims had prefixed the word " peer " to it in memory of one Siddha Faqir and the name thence-after is said to have changed into Peer Panjal.
The Kashmir valley was first incorporated into the Maurya Empire and then into the Kushan Empire. In the early 8th century, Kashmir became the center of Hindu warrior Lalitaditya Muktapida's empire spanning much of northern India and Central Asia. Kashmir was invaded in mid 12th century by the Muslim Turkish army but it was completely occupied by Turkish Zulkadur Khan in 1322. Later in 1394, another Turkish occupation took place by Sikandar who made Islam the state religion allegedly resulting in forced mass conversions. Udayan Dev was the last free Kashmiri ruler but after his death in 1338, Kashmir was completely occupied by the Muslims Turks. Turkish rule ended when the Mughal Emperor Akbar invaded Kashmir in 1586, led by Hindu King Bhagawant Das and his aide Ramchandra I. The Mughal army easily defeated Yusuf Khan of Kashmir. After the battle, Akbar appointed Ramchandra I as the governor of the Himalayan kingdom. Ramchandra I founded the city of Jammu (named after Hindu goddess Jamwa Mata) south of the Pir Panjal range. Ramchandra was the ancestor of the last Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir Hari Singh.
In 1780, after the death of Ranjit Deo, a descendant of Ramchandra I, Jammu and Kashmir was captured by the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Lahore and afterwards, until 1846, became a tributary to the Sikh power. Ranjit Deo's grand-nephew, Gulab Singh, subsequently sought service at the court of Ranjit Singh, distinguished himself in later wars, and was appointed as the Governor or Raja of Jammu in 1820. With the help of his able officer, Zorawar Singh, Gulab Singh soon captured Ladakh and Baltistan, regions to the east and north-east of Kashmir.
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. In the first, the State of Lahore (i.e. West Punjab) was handed over to the British, for an equivalent amount to one crore rupees of indemnity, the hill countries between the Beas River and the Indus River; by the second the British made over to Gulab Singh for 75 lakhs rupees all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus River and west of the Ravi River" (i.e., the Vale of Kashmir). Soon after Gulab Singh's death in 1857, his son, Ranbir Singh, added the emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar to the kingdom.
Hari Singh (Ranbir Singh's grandson) had ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1925 and was the reigning monarch at the conclusion of British rule in the subcontinent in 1947. As a part of the partition process, both countries had agreed that the rulers of princely states would be given the right to opt for either Pakistan or India or—in special cases—to remain independent. In 1947, Kashmir's population "was 77 per cent Muslim and it shared a boundary with Pakistan. On 20 October Pakistan violating the Stand-Still agreement invaded Jammu & Kashmir. Initially the Maharaja fought back but on 27 October appealed to Mountbatten for assistance, and the Governor-General agreed on the condition that the ruler accede to India." Once the papers of accession to India were signed, "Indian soldiers entered Kashmir with orders to stop any further occupation, but they were not allowed to expel anyone from the state. India took the matter to the United Nations. The UN resolution asked Pakistan to vacate the areas it has occupied and asked India to assist the U.N. Plebiscite Commission to organize a plebiscite to determine the will of the people. Pakistan refused to vacate the occupied areas.
Diplomatic relations between India and Pakistan soured for many other reasons," and eventually resulted in three further wars in Kashmir during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 and the Kargil War in 1999. India has control of 60 percent of the area of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir; Pakistan controls 30 percent of the region, collectively known as Pakistan-administered Kashmir and China has since occupied 10 percent of the state in 1962. 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."
The eastern region of the erstwhile princely state of Kashmir has also been beset with a boundary dispute. In the late 19th- and early 20th centuries, although some boundary agreements were signed between Great Britain, Tibet, Afghanistan and Russia over the northern borders of Kashmir, China never accepted these agreements, and the official Chinese position did not change with the communist takeover in 1949. By the mid-1950s the Chinese army had entered the north-east portion of Ladakh: "By 1956–57 they had completed a military road through the Aksai Chin area to provide better communication between Xinjiang and western Tibet. India's belated discovery of this road led to border clashes between the two countries that culminated in the Sino-Indian war of October 1962." China has occupied Aksai Chin since 1962 and, in addition, an adjoining region, the Trans-Karakoram Tract was ceded by Pakistan to China in 1963.
For intermittent periods between 1957, when the state approved its own Constitution
to the death of Sheikh Abdullah in 1982, the state had alternating spells of stability and discontent. In the late 1980s however, simmering discontent over the high-handed policies of the Union Government and allegations of the rigging of the 1987 assembly elections triggered a violent uprising which was backed by Pakistan. Since then, the region has seen a prolonged, bloody conflict between militants and the Indian Army. Both the militants and the army have been accused of widespread human rights abuses , including abductions, massacres, rape and looting.
Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India which enjoys special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India according to which, no law enacted by the Parliament of India, except for those in the field of defense, communication and foreign policy, will be extendable in Jammu and Kashmir unless it is ratified by the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India over Jammu and Kashmir has been extended. Jammu and Kashmir is also the only Indian state that has its own flag and constitution. Designed by the then ruling National Conference, the flag of Jammu and Kashmir features a plough on a red background symbolizing labor substituted the Maharaja's state flag. The three stripes represent the three distinct administrative divisions of the state, namely Jammu, Valley of Kashmir, and Ladakh. Since 1990, the Armed Forces Act, which gives special powers to the Indian security forces, has been enforced in Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to evoke this act was criticized by the Human Rights Watch.
Like all the states of India, Jammu and Kashmir has a multi-party democratic system of governance. Influential political parties include the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (NC), the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP) besides BJP and other smaller regional parties. After dominating Kashmir's politics for years, National Conference's influence waned in 2002, when INC and PDP formed a political alliance and rose to power. Under the power sharing agreement, INC leader Ghulam Nabi Azad replaced PDP's Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir in late 2005. However, in 2008, PDP withdrew its support from the government on the issue of temporary diversion of nearly 40 acres of land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board and currently, the President's rule is imposed in the state as per the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir constitution.
Some Muslim Kashmiris, especially those residing in Kashmir valley, demand greater autonomy, sovereignty and even independence from India. Due to the economic integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India, separatist movements across Kashmir valley were on a decline. However, following the Amarnath land transfer imbroglio, secessionist movements gained a boost.
Jammu and Kashmir is home to several valleys such as the Kashmir Valley, Tawi Valley, Chenab Valley, Poonch Valley, Sind Valley and Lidder Valley. The main Kashmir valley is wide and in area. The Himalayas divide the Kashmir valley from Ladakh while the Pir Panjal range, which encloses the Valley from the west and the south, separates it from the Great Plains of northern India. Along the northeastern flank of the Valley runs the main range of the Himalayas. This densely settled and beautiful valley has an average height of above sea-level but the surrounding Pir Panjal range has an average elevation of .
The Jhelum River is the only major Himalayan river which flows through the Kashmir valley. The Indus, Tawi, Ravi and Chenab are the major rivers flowing through the state. Jammu and Kashmir is home to several Himalayan glaciers. With an average altitude of above sea-level, the Siachen Glacier is long making it the longest Himalayan glacier.
The climate of Jammu and Kashmir varies greatly owing to its rugged topography. In the south around Jammu, the climate is typically monsoonal, though the region is sufficiently far west to average 40 to 50 mm (1.6 to 2 inches) of rain per months between January and March. In the hot season, Jammu city is very hot and can reach up to 40°C (104°F) whilst in July and August, very heavy though erratic rainfall occurs with monthly extremes of up to 650 millimetres (25.5 inches). In September, rainfall declines, and by October conditions are hot but extremely dry, with minimal rainfall and temperatures of around 29°C (84°F).
Across from the Pir Panjal range, the South Asian monsoon is no longer a factor and most precipitation falls in the spring from southwest cloudbands. Because of its closeness to the Arabian Sea, Srinagar receives as much as 25 inches (635 millimetres) of rain from this source, with the wettest months being March to May with around 85 millimetres (3.3 inches) per month. Across from the main Himalaya Range, even the southwest cloudbands break up and the climate of Ladakh and Zanskar is extremely dry and cold. Annual precipitation is only around 100 mm (4 inches) per year and humidity is very low. This region, almost all above 3,000 metres (9,750 ft) above sea level and winters are extremely cold. In Zanskar, the average January temperature is -20°C (-4°F) with extremes as low as -40°C (-40°F). All the rivers freeze over and locals actually do river crossings during this period because their high levels from glacier melt in summer inhibits crossing. In summer in Ladakh and Zanskar, days are typically a warm 20°C (68°F) but with the low humidity and thin air nights can still be cold.
Jammu and Kashmir's economy is mostly dependent on farming, animal husbandry and tourism. The Kashmir valley is known for its sericulture, cold water fisheries as well as agricultural produce like apples, pears and many temperate fruits as well as nuts. Wood from Kashmir is used to make high-quality cricket bats, popularly known as Kashmir Willow. Kashmiri saffron is also very famous and brings the state a handsome amount of foreign exchange. Agricultural exports from Jammu and Kashmir include apples, barley, cherries, corn, millet, oranges, rice, peaches, pears, saffron, sorghum, vegetables, and wheat, while manufactured exports include handicrafts, rugs, and shawls. The region of Jammu is known for its horticulture industry and is the wealthiest region in the state. Though small, the manufacturing and services sector is growing rapidly, especially in the Jammu division. In recent years, several consumer goods companies have opened manufacturing units in the region. The union and state government have planned several industrial parks and special economic zones in Jammu and Kashmir. In 2007, exports from the state amounted to Rs. 1,500 crore. However, industrial development in the state faces several major constraints including extreme mountainous landscape and power shortage.
The Government of India has been keen to economically integrate Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. The state is one of the largest recipients of grants from New Delhi, totaling Rs. 9,754 per capita per year. In an attempt to improve the infrastructure in the state, the Indian government has commenced work on the ambitious Kashmir Railway project which is being constructed by Rites Limited of India at a cost of more than US$2.5 billion. The Jammu & Kashmir Bank, which is listed as a S&P CNX 500 conglomerate, is based in the state. It reported a gross income of Rs. 1,840 crores in 2005.
Before insurgency intensified in 1989, tourism formed an important part of the Kashmiri economy. The tourism economy in the Kashmir valley was worst hit. However, the holy shrines of Jammu and the Buddhist monasteries of Ladakh continue to remain popular pilgrimage and tourism destinations. Every year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit holy shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath which has had significant impact on the state's economy. The Vaishno Devi yatra alone injects Rs. 475 crore to the local ecnonomy annually. Tourism in other parts of Kashmir valley has rebounded somewhat in recent years, with Gulmarg emerging as one of the most popular ski resort destinations in India. Gulmarg is also home to the world's highest green golf course.
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Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India that has a Muslim majority population. Though Islam is practiced by about 67% of the population of the state and by 95% of the population of the Kashmir valley, the state has large and vibrant communities of Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs. In Jammu, Hindus constitute 67% of the population and Muslims 27% and Sikhs, 5%; In Ladakh, Buddhists constitute about 51% of the population, the remaining being Muslims. The people of Ladakh are of Indo-Tibetan origin, while the southern area of Jammu includes many communities tracing their ancestry to the nearby Indian states of Haryana and Punjab, as well as the city of Delhi. In totality, the Muslims constitute 65% of the population, the Hindus about 30%, the Buddhists 3%, and the Sikhs 2% of the population.
In the 1901 Census of the British Indian Empire, the population of the princely state of Kashmir was 2,905,578. Of these 2,154,695 were Muslims, 689,073 Hindus, 25,828 Sikhs, and 35,047 Buddhists. The Hindus were found mainly in Jammu, where they constituted a little less than 50% of the population. In the Kashmir Valley, the Hindus represented "only 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% of the population. These percentages have remained fairly stable for the last 100 years. In the 1941 Census of British India, Muslims accounted for 93.6% of the population of the Kashmir Valley and the Hindus constituted 4%. In 2003, the percentage of Muslims in the Kashmir Valley was 95% and those of Hindus 4%; the same year, in Jammu, the percentage of Hindus was 67% and those of Muslims 27%.
In the same Census of 1901, four divisions were recorded among the Muslims of the princely state: Shaikhs, Saiyids, Mughals, and Pathans. The Shaikhs were the most numerous, with clan names (known as krams) including "Tantre," "Shaikh," "Mantu," "Ganai," "Dar," "Damar," "Lon" etc. The Saiyids, it was recorded "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 were recorded to have 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 Pashtu."
The Hindu population of Kashmir Valley in 1901 was recorded to be 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)." According to political scientist Alexander Evans, approximately 95% of the total population of 160,000-170,000 of Kashmiri Brahmins, also called Kashmiri Pandits, (i.e. approximately 250,000 to 360,000) left the Kashmir Valley in 1990 as militancy engulfed the state. According to an estimate by the Central Intelligence Agency, about 400,000 Kashmiri Pandits from the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir have been internally displaced due to the ongoing violence.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the principal spoken languages are Kashmiri, Urdu, Dogri, Pahari, Balti, Ladakhi, Punjabi, Gojri and Dadri, Kishtwari. However, Urdu written in the Persian script is the official language of the state. Many speakers of these languages use Hindi or English as a second language.
Ladakh is famous for its unique Indo-Tibetan culture. Chanting in Sanskrit and Tibetan language forms an integral part of Ladakh's Buddhist lifestyle. Annual masked dance festivals, weaving and archery are an important part of traditional life in Ladakh. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa, noodle soup; and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngampe, roasted barley flour. Typical garb includes gonchas of velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots, and gonads or hats. People, adorned with gold and silver ornaments and turquoise headgears throng the streets during various Ladakhi festivals.
The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir valley, performed by men of the Wattal region. The women perform the Rouff, another traditional folk dance. Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and handicrafts. Shikaras, traditional small wooden boats, and houseboats are a common feature in various lakes and rivers across the Valley. The Constitution of India does not allow people from regions other than Jammu and Kashmir to purchase land in the state. As a consequence, houseboats became popular among those who were unable to purchase land in the Valley and has now become an integral part of the Kashmiri lifestyle. Kawa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilled winter climate of Kashmir. Most of the buildings in the Valley and Ladakh are made from softwood and is influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Islamic architecture.
Jammu's Dogra culture and tradition is much similar to that of neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Traditional Punjabi festivals such as Lohri and Vaisakhi are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the region. After Dogras, Gujjars form the second-largest ethnic group in Jammu. Known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle, Gujjars are also found in large numbers in the Kashmir valley. Similar to Gujjars, Gaddis are primarily herdsmen who hail from the Chamba region in Himachal Pradesh. Gaddis are generally associated with emotive music played on the flute. The Bakkarwalas found both in Jammu and the Vale of Kashmir are wholly nomadic pastoral people who move along the Himalayan slopes in search for pastures for their huge flocks of goats and sheep.
Jammu and Kashmir consists of three divisions: Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh, and is further divided into 22 districts: The Siachen Glacier, although under Indian military control, does not lie under the administration of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Kishtwar, Ramban, Reasi, Samba, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Shopian are newly formed districts.
In 1970, the state government of Jammu and Kashmir established its own education board and university. Education in the state is divided into primary, middle, high secondary, college and university level. Jammu and Kashmir follows 10+2 pattern for education of children. This is handled by Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (abbreviated as JKBOSE). Various private and public schools are recognized by the board to impart education to students. Board examinations are conducted for students in class VIII, X and XII. In addition there are various Kendriya Vidyalayas (run by the Government of India) and Indian Army schools that also impart secondary school education. These schools follow the Central Board of Secondary Education pattern.
Notable higher education or research institutes in Jammu and Kashmir include National Institute of Technology Srinagar, Government College of Engineering and Technology of Jammu and the Government Medical College of Jammu. University-level education is provided by University of Jammu, University of Kashmir, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Jammu, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, Islamic University of Science & Technology, and Baba Ghulam Shah Badhshah University.