Sunday, August 29, 2010

History of kashmir

History of Kashmir

Historically, Kashmir was free and its kings ruled over large parts of India and Afghanistan. It

was ruled mostly under Hindus, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Jains, Tartars, Hamim, Muslims

Shahmiri sultans and the Moghul emperors. The Mughal rule was succeeded by that of

Afghans (17571819)

and then in 1819, Kashmir became a part of the Sikh kingdom, under

the oneeyed

Maharajah, Ranjit Singh, who turned Kashmir into a tributary. His illiterate


year old successor, Gulab Singh, was the real ruler of Kashmir. By 1840, Gulab

Singh had brought most of the surrounding principalities and kingdoms under his Crown. In

December 1845, Gulab Singh fought a war with the British. A Sikh army crossed the Sutlej

river but eventually (after four battles in fiftyfour

days) were defeated by the British.

However, the British empire allowed Gulab Singh to adopt the title of Maharaja, and to

purchase the Muslim populated Vale of Kashmir for a knockdown price, on condition that he

"and the male heirs of his body" acknowledge "the supremacy of the British government."

These arrangements were laid down on 9 March 1846 in the First Treaty of Lahore.1 On 16

March 1846, Henry Montgomery Lawrence, the British representative, signed the Second

Treaty of Amritsar (Sale Deed of Amritsar) whereby Gulab Singh’s annual rent to the


Sir Henry Hardinge, was to be a horse, twelve perfect goats and three pairs

of cashmere shawls. Under the treaty, the whole of Kashmir and Hazara became part of the

Sikh empire and in return the Sikh kingdom paid Rs.7.5 million to the British Empire.2

1 Under the Treaty of Lahore (1846) the British recognised the Sikh government and accepted its suzerinty in the area between Beas and

Sutlej and Beas and Indus. See text of the Treaty of Lahore (Delhi: Government Printing Office, 1846 and 1950).

2 Article 1: The British government transfers and makes over for ever, in independent possession, to Maharaja Gulab Singh and the heirs

male of his body, all the hilly or mountainous country, with its dependencies, situated to the eastward of the river Indus, and westward of the

river Ravi, including Chanab and excluding Lahul, being part of the territories ceded to the British government by the Lahore state,

according to the provisions of Article 4 of the Treaty of Lahore, dated 9 March 1846. Article 3: In consideration of the transfer made to him

and his heirs by the provisions of the foregoing articles, Maharaja Gulab Singh will pay to the British government the sum of 75 lacs (7.5

million) of Rs. (Nanak Shahi) 50 lacs (5 million) to be paid on the ratification of this treaty and 25 lacs (2.5 million) on or before the first of

October of the current year A.D 1846.(1). See text of the Treaty of Lahore (Delhi: Government Printing office, 1950).

After Gulab’s death in 1857, his son Maharajah Ranbir Singh extended the Jammu and

Kashmir border northward into Gilgit. In 1925 Ranbir’s son, Pratab Singh was succeeded by

his nephew, Hari Singh, whose time in England had not been that unremarkable. By 1931,

Muslim agitation started against the Maharaja Hari Singh because his policies and reforms

directly pinched Muslims. Gulab Singh and his successors ruled Kashmir for a whole century


and this period is remembered as the most despotic and oppressive in the

subcontinent’s history. The Dogras of Jammu and the Hindu minority became the privileged

classes of the state. They deprived Muslims of their fertile lands and became feudal lords,

while the Muslim Kashmiris were treated as slaves. The Dogras’ policies3 were based on

social, cultural and economic discrimination against the majority population. Kashmiri’s

experienced severe brutalisation, persecution and were deprived of social and religious


This territory claimed by India was part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir before

1947. After the war of 1948, Pakistan held the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir. UN peacekeepers

drew a ceasefire

line between the rivals in 1949, leaving 50,513 square miles

(60%) under Indian administration and the remaining 40% under Pakistan and the semiautonomous

government of Azad Kashmir. China won Aksai Chin and Demchok in Ladakh

during the 1962 war with India, carving off another piece of the state of Jammu and Kashmir

but magnifying India’s resolve to hold the adjacent territory, where a Buddhist majority has

strong ties with Tibet. Demographically, Muslims were predominating in the valley of

Kashmir, the most populous and relatively more prosperous part of the state, as well as in

Poonch district, Baltistan and the Gilgit region. Muslims constituted 61 per cent of the

total population of Jammu, whereas Hindus were in majority in the Eastern districts of the

province, while Buddhists had a majority in Ladakh. Despite successive demographic

changes and political divisions, Kashmir remained an overwhelmingly Muslim

majority area, and the population ratio in the Indian controlled part of Kashmir is still in

favour of Muslims.

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