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History of Jammu & Kashmir and Article 370

Jagatheesh is interested in reading Political science with History around the world.

Jammu and Kashmir is an Indian province that came to the spotlight when the Indian government removed Article 370 of the Indian constitution. The article grants some special concession to the state during its annexation to India. The Indian government has reorganized the state into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir as a single territory and Ladakh as a separate territory. The whole Jammu and Kashmir are divided into four parts: Pakistan occupied Kashmir, China Occupied Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir territory, and Ladakh.

Jammu and Kashmir Map. Green shaded region occupied by Pakistan, Yellow shaded region under Chinese occupation

Jammu and Kashmir Map. Green shaded region occupied by Pakistan, Yellow shaded region under Chinese occupation

History of Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmir was mentioned in Ptolemy's record as Kashpeira, a region including provinces from Punjab and North Western Provinces. According to Legends, King Jambu Lochan found Jammu in the 14th Century. In his hunting campaign, the King saw a goat and a tiger drinking water in the same stream near the Tawi river. The King was impressed by this act and decided to build a town at that place in his name. He named the place Jamboo, which later turned into Jammu.

During Emperor Ashoka's reign, Kashmir became part of the Mauryan empire and came under the influence of Buddhism. Several dynasties ruled Kashmir in different phases of History. Emperor Akbar brought Kashmir under Mughals. Ranjit Singh of Punjab brought the province under his control. The Anglo-Sikh war made Dogras rulers of Kashmir. They ruled the province till Indian Independence in 1947.

Jammu and Kashmir is the major reason behind three Indo Pakistan Wars. The province has the potential to determine the peace and stability of South East Asia.

Jammu and Kashmir during Partition of British India

During Independence, the British Indian government gave an option to the princely states. They can either join India or Pakistan. They can also have the option to remain independent. Initially, Maharaja Hari Singh, the Dogra ruler, planned to keep his province as an independent nation. But in June 1947, Poonch rebels invaded Kashmir under the name of Azad Kashmir with the support of the Pakistan army.

To protect his kingdom, the maharaja sought help from the Indian government. Maharaja signed an instrument of accession with the Indian government. After a fierce battle, Indian troops defended the majority of Kashmir. But a small portion went under the control of Pakistan. That particular province is now called Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which has its own prime minister. Akshai Chin, the eastern part of Kashmir, is under Chinese control.

I've never seen anywhere in the world as beautiful as Kashmir

— Salman Rushdie

India's promise to Kashmir people

At the time of accession, the Indian government gave special concessions to Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir people can determine the internal constitution of the state as well as the nature and extent of the jurisdiction of the Indian government over the state. In pursuance of this commitment, Article 370 was incorporated into the Indian constitution through a presidential order.

The article clearly states that the provisions concerning Kashmir are only temporary and not permanent. In 1954, the constituent assembly of the Jammu and Kashmir approved the states' accession to India. In 1957, the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir adopted the states' own constitution.

Sheikh Abdullah receiving Nehru in Srinagar, 1947

Sheikh Abdullah receiving Nehru in Srinagar, 1947

Special privileges to Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in the Indian union to have special privileges. Article 370 of the Indian constitution granted autonomy to the state. No law enacted by the Parliament of India, except for those in the field of defence, communication, and, Foreign policy will be extendable to the state. The state legislature has to ratify the law for applicability in the state.

Subsequently, the jurisdiction of the Supreme court of India is extended to the state. Jammu and Kashmir was the only state in India to have its own flag and constitution apart from the national flag and Constitution. The state constitution under Article 35A bars Indians from other states to buy property.

Without resolving Kashmir dispute, lasting peace cannot be maintained in the region

— Shehbaz Sharif

The U.S President's offer

In July 2019, U.S President Donald Trump and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had a bilateral discussion. After their meeting, the then US President offered to assist in solving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan. India rejected the offer. The traditional policy of India avoids third-party mediation on the Kashmir issue.

The Shimla agreement of 1972, and the Lahore declaration of 1999, helped both countries to agree to solve their disputes by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations. The US state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus clarified the US position on the Kashmir dispute. He confirmed the US policy of not interfering in the bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.

Bilateral discussion between Pakistan Prime Minister and U.S President in July 2019

Bilateral discussion between Pakistan Prime Minister and U.S President in July 2019

Amendments to the Article 370

In August 2019, the Indian Government removed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 was removed by a Parliamentary amendment. The Indian Parliament also removed Article 35A of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. With this amendment, every law made in the Indian Parliament is now applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian Parliament bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir. The Ladakh region was separated as a union territory without a legislature. The rest of Jammu and Kashmir is converted as a separate union territory with legislative power. Now the Indian government has more control over the state. Even before bifurcation, the people of Ladakh demanded to have a separate state. They have their unique culture and language.

The Economy of Jammu and Kashmir

The economy of Jammu and Kashmir mainly depends on agriculture and allied activities. The Kashmir saffron has a huge demand around the world. It yields a considerable amount of foreign exchange. Kashmir willow, a kind of wood, is used to make cricket bats that have huge demand. Tourism is another major contributor to Kashmir's economy. Kashmir is also known as a paradise on Earth due to its scenic beauty and nature.

Around 50% of Ladakh's GDP is contributed by tourism. The region is known for its adventure sports. Most of the people in Ladakh are nomads, with sheep rearing as the main occupation.

The Indian government thinks that the removal privileges will improve the economy of the state. The government also believes that the amendments will open the markets to Kashmiri products. It will also improve the employment opportunities for the younger generation.

An interview of a Kashmiri Student about Article 370

Bottomline

Kashmir is always a dispute between India and Pakistan. The territory was a major reason for the Indo-Pak war in the past. It has the potential to determine peace in South East Asia. With the recent amendments, the Indian government believes that the well-being of people will be improved. But it is too early to conclude the government's move. Moreover, it is the people who have the right to determine their life. Let's hope for the betterment of people with more optimism.

Reference

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Jagatheesh Aruchami

Comments

Jagatheesh Aruchami (author) from Coimbatore, India on September 12, 2019:

Thank You Shreenidhi for your comment. I am happy to hear that this article helped you to know about the history and disputes of Kashmir.

SHREENIDHI from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India on September 10, 2019:

Great article...keep it up.. and you have chosen a very good topic as most of them( including me) had no idea about the history of kashmir and the reasons for the disputes connected to it.

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