Kashmir, or Jammu and Kashmir, a mountainous region of the subcontinent of India. It is bordered by Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan. The area is 85,805 square miles (222,234 km 2 ), about that of Utah.
|Facts in brief about Jammu and Kashmir|
|Capitals: Srinagar (summer), Jammu (winter).|
|Official language: Urdu.|
|Area: 39,146 mi2 (101,387 km2).|
|Population: 2001 census—10,069,917.|
|Chief products: Agriculture—apples, barley, cherries, corn, millet, oranges, rice, peaches, pears, saffron, sheep, sorghum, vegetables, wheat. Manufacturing—handicrafts, rugs, shawls.|
Possession of Kashmir is disputed between India and Pakistan, and both occupy part of the region. India claims sovereignty over all of Kashmir, but occupies only about two-thirds of the total area. The Indian-held part is in the south and east; it includes most of the fertile land and most of the population. The Pakistani-held portion, to the north and west, is mountainous and sparsely populated. Indian-held Kashmir is governed as the state of Jammu and Kashmir within that country. The Pakistani-held part is organized into two dependencies—Azad (Free) Kashmir, with an area of about 4,500 square miles (11,600 km 2 ); and the Northern Areas, with an area of about 28,000 square miles (72,500 km 2). Azad Kashmir has its own president and legislature; the Northern Areas are administered directly by the Pakistan government.
Kashmir's climate is varied, due primarily to great differences in elevation. The most heavily populated area is the Vale of Kashmir, a valley between two mountain ranges of the Himalayas. Much of northern Kashmir is occupied by the Karakoram Range. Rivers include the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab.
Although only about 5 per cent of Kashmir's land can be farmed, agriculture is the main source of income. Rice, corn, wheat, barley, fruits, and vegetables are the chief crops. Lumbering and the raising of sheep, goats, and yaks are also important. Handicrafts, including carpets, woolen shawls, and brassware, are the chief manufactured products. The region's breathtaking mountain scenery attracts many tourists.
About three-fourths of Kashmir's people are Muslims, the remainder mostly Hindus. The most widely spoken language is Kashmiri, an Indo-Aryan language. Few of the people can read or write. The population of the Indian-held part of Kashmir in 1991 was 7,718,700; that of Pakistani-held Kashmir was 2,542,000 in 1981. The largest cities. both in the Indian-held part, are Srinagar and Jammu. Muzaffarabad is the seat of government of Azad Kashmir.
During its history Kashmir has been ruled by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Muslims. In 1846 the principalities of Jammu and Kashmir were united under Gulab Singh, who was supported by the British. When India and Pakistan became independent in 1947, Kashmir's ruler, a Hindu. chose to have his state join India. Pakistan. however, demanded a plebiscite to allow the people of Kashmir to decide which nation to join. A short war followed, and by the time the United Nations had arranged a cease-fire, effective January 1, 1949, each nation controlled a part of Kashmir.
In 1957 India declared the entire area a state of the Indian Union. In 1958 China occupied parts of Kashmir. Warfare between India and China broke out in one of these areas, Ladakh, in 1962. In 1965 and 1971 Kashmir was the scene of fighting between India and Pakistan. A 1972 agreement between India and Pakistan established a new cease-fire line in Kashmir. During the 1990's, Muslim rebels conducted a terrorist campaign against Indian rule. In May, 1999, Pakistani forces crossed into Indian-held territory. After heavy fighting they withdrew in July. India and Pakistan agreed to a cease-fire along their border and in Kashmir in 2005.