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History of Jammu & Kashmir and Article 370

Jagatheesh is a Political science student with special love for History and polity around the world.

Jammu and Kashmir is a province in India that become a much debated topic around the world after the Indian government amended the article 370 of the Indian constitution which gives special concessions to the state. Jammu and Kashmir is always a conflict zone for India and Pakistan. The state is divided into five zones Pakistan occupied Kashmir, China occupied Kashmir, Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. This particular province was the sole reason behind the Indo-Pakistan wars in 1947,1965 and in 1999 and it has the potential to determine the peace in South East Asia.

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 records as Kashpeira a region that includes provinces from Punjab, north west provinces. According to legend, Jammu was founded by King Raja Jambu Lochan in the 14th century BC. During one of his hunting campaigns he reached the Tawi River where he saw a goat and a lion drinking water at the same place. The king was impressed and decided to set up a town after his name, Jamboo. With the passage of time, the name was corrupted and became "Jammu".

During the reign of Ashoka (304–232 BCE), Kashmir became a part of the Mauryan Empire and Buddhism was introduced in Kashmir. Thereafter several dynasties ruled Kashmir, during Emperor Akbar's reign Kashmir was brought under Mughals control. After decades of Mughals rule, Kashmir fell to the conquering armies of the Sikhs under Ranjit Singh of Punjab. After Anglo Sikh war, treaty between British Empire and Dogras brought Kashmir under Dogras' rule whose reign lasted till Indian Independence in 1947.

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

— Salman Rushdie

Kashmir during Partition of British India

At the time of Indian independence, the British government gave special concessions to the princely states by which they can either join India or Pakistan or they can remain independent. Initially, Maharaja Hari Singh the Dogra ruler of Kashmir tried to keep Jammu and Kashmir independent, but in 1947 Poonch rebels in the name of Azad Kashmir invaded Kashmir with the support of the Pakistan army.

To protect his kingdom Maharaja Hari Singh sought help from the Indian government and an Instrument of Accession was signed between Kashmir and India. Indian troops defended Kashmir. But A portion of Kashmir is still under the control of Pakistan's occupation called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan which has its own prime minister. Akshai Chin- the eastern part of Kashmir is under the Chinese occupation.

India's promises to Kashmir

India gave a promise to the people of Kashmir that through their own constituent assembly, Kashmir would determine the internal constitution of the state and the nature and extent of the jurisdiction of the Union of India over the state. In pursuance of this commitment Article 370 was incorporated in the Indian Constitution through a presidential order. It clearly states that provisions with respect to Kashmir are only temporary and not permanent. The article also made restrictions on the power of the Indian parliament to make laws on Kashmir. In 1954 Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir approved the state's accession to India. and the President of India passed a constitutional order. In 1957 constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was adopted.

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 India which enjoyed special autonomy under Article 370 of the Constitution of India. According to the article no law enacted by the Parliament of India, except for those in the field of defense, communication, and foreign policy, will be extendable in Jammu and Kashmir unless it is ratified by the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India over Jammu and Kashmir has been extended. Jammu and Kashmir was the only Indian state to have its own official state flag along with national flag and constitution. Under Article 35A of Jammu and Kashmir's constitution, Indians from other states cannot purchase land or property in the state.

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

— Shehbaz Sharif

Offer from The U.S. President

After a bilateral discussion between The United States President and Pakistan Prime minister in July 2019, President Donald Trump offered to assist in solving the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, but India rejected the offer. As per India's traditional position, they rejected third party mediation on the Kashmir issue. In the Shimla agreement of 1972 and the Lahore declaration of 1999, India and Pakistan agreed to solve their disputes by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations. The US policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and it is up to the two countries to decide on the pace and scope of the talks on the issue which was confirmed by State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus while answering to a question to the media.

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

Recent amendments to Article 370

In August 2019 Indian Government removed the special status given to Kashmir through a Parliamentary amendment to article 370. It also removed the special rights under Article 35A of the Jammu and Kashmir's constitution. Now every law made by the Indian parliament is directly applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is bifurcated into two provinces, Ladakh region is converted into a Union Territory without legislative power which will be under the direct control of Indian Government and the rest of the Jammu and Kashmir as Union territory with legislative power. Even before the bifurcation, the Ladakh people don't have similar interests with the rest of the Kashmiri people as they have their unique language and culture, and union territory status was a major demand by Ladakhi people for decades.

Economy of Jammu and Kashmir

The economy of Jammu and Kashmir mainly depends on agriculture and allied activities. Kashmir Saffron has much demand around the world and it yields a considerable amount of foreign exchange. Wood from Kashmir is used to made cricket bats popularly known as Kashmir Willow. Kashmir region is also known as Paradise on Earth, known for its tourist attraction and scenic beauty. Ladakh region is noted for adventure sporting and 50% of GNP of Ladakh is from the tourism sector. Ladakh region has more number of nomadic people whose main occupation is sheep rearing. By removing the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir Indian government is planning to improve the economic activities by encouraging the business world to invest in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian government also believes that these amendments will open the markets to the Kashmiri products which will provide employment opportunities to the younger generation.

An interview of a Kashmiri Student about Article 370

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.