Michael Kolodner: The Indian Occupation of Kashmir

MICHAEL KOLODNER makes a detailed study of
Indian brutality in Kashmir.

Michael Kolodner, Defence Journal, Nov 1998

History and Geography of Kashmir

The State of Jammu and Kashmir is, as its name implies, made up of more than one territorial unit. The Vale, or Valley, of Kashmir and the region of Jammu are joined with Ladakh, Poonch, Gilgit, and Baltistan to form what was, before 1947, a single governmental unit under the rule of the Dogra Dynasty. Each of these regions is distinct from the others in many aspects, and this heterogeneity is important to bear in mind during study of the Kashmir question. However, Kashmiris have a strong culture of their own as well as a distinct language. In many ways, Kashmir’s regions are more like each other than anyone is like the rest of India.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the State, is located in the centre of the Vale. This is the most populous region and the most significant agricultural centre, though it constitutes only 10% of the total land area of the state. The population of the Vale of Kashmir is overwhelmingly Muslim. In 1941, Muslims accounted for over 93% of the Vale’s population. Also living in the Vale, though highly outnumbered, is a population of Kashmiri Brahmin Hindus known as the Pandits. Many leaders of the Indian independence movement came from this community, among them Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

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