“India declared issues of Kashmir its independence from British dominion from within Indian territory on November 1, 1947, and on August 23, Indian troops crossed into East Pakistan. This was known as a ‘Oath-taking day’ for Indians” – Kolkata Police. This famous quote by an eminent officer from one of the biggest police forces in the world has been framed as an iconic image in this city, by which it can always be understood that ‘Kashmiri Independence Day’ is synonymous with ‘Oath Taking Day’ across several countries and regions, including Pakistan.
Who made Issues of Kashmir before independent?
According to all sources, Kashmir gained independence with the help of Sardar Udham Singh of Jammu and Issues of Kashmir who was part of The National Conference.
Now, let us explore the historical reasons behind why Kashmir got independence the way it did.
The British were making their presence felt. In 1947, they had occupied Kashmir for nearly fifty years. A new power called Pakistan was formed after 11 days of war against their forces in 1971, where Issues of Kashmir is continued to fight until August 14, 1999. After 13 long years (from 1971 to 1990), India was finally free of Britain after two decades of fighting during which the UN decided to give them some autonomy.
The reason their land got divided is that Kashmir was already separated from Punjab, and there wasn’t much need to divide it further. Moreover, due to the lack of any internal conflict, their people were very peaceful and no protests existed. It was only those from other provinces, like Baluchistan, Sindh, and Gilgit, who took advantage of it.
Apart from these factors, when you look at history books, these are the incidents that have contributed to the partition of Pakistan. These include the following:
1947 — After WWI, India became aware of Pakistan as an emerging nation in the South West Asia subcontinent where most political and social tensions existed. Hence, in response to growing pressure from India, the Government of Pakistan established Hindu Rashtra Manch or HRM, to represent minorities and also oppose discrimination.
They were also responsible for founding schools for girls such as Birla Institute of Modern Languages and Sanskrit University. In 1952, Hyderabad High Court ruled in favour of Muslims and gave their right to self determination in areas where Islam was dominant to separate from Hindus. In 1962, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa split from Pakistan to form Pakistan, while Issues of Kashmir joined as a princely state. Later on, Naga militants took control of Kashmir as well and started terroristic activities.
Then, in 1963, RSS activists attacked government buildings in Agartala resulting in more violence. After this incident, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made another attempt to settle the situation. However, he failed because the Kashmiris responded violently. Similarly, the Army also used force in retaliation.
Thus, a ceasefire was signed between India and Pakistan in June 1972, which led to the formation of new states for the Kashmiris, the Balochistanis, and Sikhs. The Muslim League also supported him in his move. By then, Issues of Kashmir’s autonomy was achieved as per India’s demands of having complete freedom from the British.
Issues of Kashmir (Islamic Republic of) in 1988
The first time Kashmir was recognized as an independent country was in 1988 when the Pakistani parliament passed resolution No. 15 of August 18 in order to recognize Kashmir as an autonomous province of Pakistan. From here onwards, many changes took place in the area. As mentioned earlier, the Kashmir Valley remained divided till 1999 when the entire region was given full autonomy. With this, it became clear how important it was to bring peace to the region.
Kashmir Issue History
Issues of Kashmir
The native population of Kashmir is approximated 25 million people by 2007. According to the 2006 census conducted by the Population Foundation of India, the total number of residents in Kashmir is close to 400 million people. The main religion in Kashmir is Islam. Most of the population is Sunni (65.8%), followed by Shia (14.8%), Christians (15.3%). Interestingly, Hinduism has not found any stronghold in Kashmir.
Majorities among ethnic groups living in Kashmir are Muslims. On the contrary, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhists, Zoroastrianism/Aryan, Druze, Parsi, Christian Orthodox Church, Jewish communities and others are also present.
According to data from 2003, the overall minority population in Kashmir is estimated to be 5.6% Hindu, 2.9% Sikh, 3.6% Buddhist, 1.6% Christian & 0.9% others. Besides Pakistan, India, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Iran are also among its neighbours.
Population Density & Urbanization
Compared to its neighbors, Kashmiris live in lower density. The average population density of Kashmiris is approximately 11,000, which means roughly 15 people have to share every square foot of space. The lowest density of all the four neighbouring countries (India, China, Pakistan, and Iran). Out of these, Pakistan has the highest density of 6,500 per square meters while Kashmir follows closely behind with 4,000.
With so high population density in Kashmir, the majority of the population lives in urban settings. Almost 80% of the population lived in rural areas, while 20% of them still live in the tribal settlements. Over 70% of this population is located in the valley itself. Only 1% of the population in Kashmir lives in urban areas, and in the rest, 90% reside in villages.
Most of the population in Kashmir is settled along the banks of rivers in the valley itself. However, the river valleys are surrounded by forests (Kulgam and Baramulla) and agricultural lands (Srinagar and Pulwama) that house around 60% of the population.
The top three cities in the population density are Srinagar and Pulwama, followed by Samba and Chilas districts. Although these cities hold around 2% of the population, the remaining 97% are scattered throughout the plains and hinterlands.
The highest density of population in Kashmir is concentrated around Kotli Bagh (population density — 15,000 [per square meters] or 8,000 [per square kilometers]) — the largest fort located in the area — followed by Gulmarg (13,000 [per square miles] or 9,000 [per square kilometers]), Ganderbal (12,000 [per square miles] or 8,000 [per square kilometers]).
Despite being considered sparsely populated, a lot of resources are available to sustain life in Kashmir. Some of them include timber and mineral water, natural gas, organic farming and hydroelectricity, and hydroelectricity, fishing, commercial rice cultivation, tourism, handicrafts, wool production, leather extraction, gold mining, cattle rearing, agriculture etc. The capital city of Kashmir is not as vibrant as Lahore, Mirpur (Pakistan’s capital city), Islamabad and Quetta, but still holds significant economic potential along with other industrial sites like Karachi.
The poverty index of Kashmiri women is slightly higher than that of men, although the standard of living among Kashmiri citizens is better and almost equal to the national average in Pakistan. About 85% of the population has access to basic education and basic health care facilities. There are also several NGOs active in Kashmir. For example, World Vision runs schools for orphan children and non-militant widows, International Islamic Relief provides food aid and humanitarian works.
The major linguistic groups residing in Kashmir are Punjabi, Tibetan (16.3%), Indo-Aryan languages, which account for about 50%, Urdu (10.6%) and Dardic languages (6.6%). Other minor groups include Shina, Pahari, Brahman, Rajput (3%). Minor local dialects like Burushaski also exist.
The current language is Bengali (33%) unlike Kashmiri (20%). Also, since most of the citizens speak Hindi as their official language, they tend to use English (and vice versa) even if the official language isn’t written in their native tongue. Many other regional languages are spoken too, such as Persian, Arabic, and Hindkoi.
The Kashmiri culture is unique because it incorporates elements of different cultures, especially among Kashmiri individuals. Though Kashmiris are mostly multi-cultured, the predominant religions include Islam, Buddhism, Shamanism, Judaism, Christianity, Sikhism, Christianity, Parijat, Buddhism, Taoism, Tantra (Buddhist meditation), Zoroastrianism and Sufism. However, Hindus are also quite common.
Kashmiri society has seen great developments owing to different influences coming from outside. Particularly, the development of modern communication technologies such as satellite TV and internet services, the emergence of large industrial conglomerates in major towns such as Srinagar and Pulwama, liberalisation or de-industrialisation of the economy and the introduction of international trade facilitated a lot of cultural exchange.
There is evidence to suggest that certain cultural practices have persisted for centuries and influenced each other. One such practice is dress code, particularly traditional clothes like dhoti, kurta, chilla, shawl, pajama, dupatta and tumbi. Another is religious practices, particularly the importance placed on festivals, which are celebrated regularly to mark different occasions.