Many people in the western world often associate the word Kashmir with the famous song by Led Zeppelin. However for more than 1.3 billion people in the Indian subcontinent, it’s a place which gives visions of paradise and also pits two nations against each other.
Kashmir is the land which is nestled between the mountainous regions of Ladakh to the east and the western mountainous ranges and passes of the HinduKush range. It is a region which has been described by many as “Heaven on Earth”. However it is also one of the most terror-ridden regions on this planet.
Kashmir is also known as Jammu and it has been a disputed state between India and Pakistan for nearly 60 plus years. However, the problem just didn’t start then it was an issue even before the British conquered the region.
To understand the basis of the issue one must perhaps look at the past history. The word Kashmir is supposedly derived from the name “Kashyap”, the reason being that it was the abode of Saint Kashyap, one of Hindu mythology’s most venerated saints. Till the early 13th century when Islam first came into the valleys of Kashmir, Buddhism and Hinduism were the main religions co-existing. Slowly and surely the population began converting to Islam and by the late 19th century, the Hindus and the Buddhists were a minority in this region. There were local skirmishes amidst the population but the lingering anger never went away. What compounded the problem was the ruler of Kashmir was a Hindu and majority of his population were Muslims.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was during the 1947 partition, both countries wanted Jammu and Kashmir to join them but the king didn’t want to. Sadly, Pakistan took his reluctance as a no and attacked using tribal forces. This forced the King to annex to India.