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Before the partition in 1947 Maharaja Hari Singh Bahadur (see History of Kashmir to 1947) controlled an area of more than 92,000 square miles. This area was made up of the territories of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Aksai Chin, Gilgit, and Baltisan. However, following the partition and some other events (see Partition, 1947-49 and Kashmir, 1949-89) the territory was divided among India, Pakistan, and China.

India gained control of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Pakistan seized control of Gilgit, Baltisan, and part of western Kashmir. The Chinese, who have long disputed their border with India, seized control of the Aksai Chin in the 1950s, and India failed to recover the area in the 1962 border war between the two countries. Today, as a result, India controls only 54,000 square miles of Bahadur’s former territory; Pakistan has 32,000; China has a bit less than 6,000.

Today the Indian state--made up of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh--is officially and traditionally called Jammu-Kashmir. People often use the term “Kashmir” to refer to the whole region containing all three areas.

Kashmir has long been famous for its natural beauty and healthy climate. The so-called Vale of Kashmir, a valley created by the Jhelum River, is a particularly fertile and lush region. The Vale of Kashmir is approximately 85 miles long by 25 miles wide and is located at an altitude of more than 5,000 feet. The Vale contains Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, a city of more than 500,000 people.

The Kashmir area of the state is separated from the Jammu area by a range of mountains called the Pir Panjal. Jammu is the principal city of the southern half of the state. Since much of Kashmir is located in the Himalaya Mountains, only about 20% of the land can be cultivated, yet farmers make up 80% of the population. Most of the land in the state is quite dry during much of the year, but the land in the valley along the rivers has been capable of producing a great variety of trees and flowers and rich harvests of rice, fruits, and vegetables. Photo courtesy of www.indiagov.com

Since 1947, Kashmir’s economy has relied on the tourism industry. However, in 1991 Muslim protests against Indian control of the state and India’s attempts to suppress such criticisms have led to increasing violence and, in turn, a decline of that industry.

Its People
According to the 1991 census, the Indian part of Kashmir contained a population of around 9.0 million. The chart below reflects the percent of the population that belonged to each particular religious group.

Most of the Hindus and Sikhs are concentrated in Jammu, Christians are widely scattered throughout the state, and Buddhists are mainly in the very thinly populated Ladakh. Muslims make up 95% of the people in the Kashmir area, 48% in Ladakh, and almost 40% in Jammu. It is important to note that the Kashmir area of the state has a Muslim majority. For this reason, many Pakistanis would like to see this area become part of "Muslim" Pakistan.

Photo courtesy of www.indiagov.com



Kashmir and Its People
..|..History of Kashmir..|..Partition,1947-49.|..Kashmir, 1949-89 ..|..Terrorism and Repression in Kashmir..|..Kashmir's Future

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