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Kashmir in 2019

Kashmir in 2019

In the wake of the latest developments on Kashmir after Article 370 and 35A were revoked on 5th of August, 2019, Kashmir has once again become a politically hot topic of discussion. It’s not just the big-wigs of the major political parties or their spokes-persons, the political analysts aligned to different viewpoints, electronic or the print-media, but the people – both at the local and national level, who are discussing the situation and trying to understand its real meaning in context of the latest development.

What has happened on 5th August, 2019 is so historical in nature that perhaps it would be difficult to find its equal, not just in domestic politics but at the world level too. The major legal constitutional change that repealing Articles 370 and 35A has brought is that prior to that Jammu & Kashmir was an Indian State with ‘special status’ and now it’s bifurcated into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh. Geographically located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir, as it’s been commonly and popularly known, is a collective land of 3 regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Gifted with rich natural bio-diversity where both thorn scrub forests as well as Himalayan subtropical pine forests are found, the Himalayas divide the region into valley of Kashmir, Jammu region and Ladakh.

In terms of its population, the Kashmir valley has 96.4% Muslims, the Jammu division has 62.5% Hindus and Ladakh is inhabited by 46.6% Muslim and 39.7% Buddhists. It was the only state, now 2 UTs, with Muslim majority population. The issue of Kashmir, which is at the roots of India-Pak political relations has a history which dates back to the time of Independence. Kashmir, Gilgit (POK), Jammu and Ladakh had been parts of different empires at different times. Over the years, this area was under the control of Hindu rulers, Muslim emperors, Sikhs, Afghans and Britishers. At that time, Kashmir was an integral part of India, however, not an independent nation.

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Thomas Strinder

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