The song "Kashmir" laments the
plight of the 12 million innocent people caught up in a decades old struggle
for possession of this beautiful land, claimed by both India and
Kashmir is an area on the northern borders of
India and Pakistan; officially known as Jammu & Kashmir.
Kashmir is famous for its natural beauty
and has often been referred to as the 'Switzerland of the East'. The heart
of the area is the fertile Vale of Kashmir (known as The Valley), which
lies between the Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. Here the
climate is mild and the soil well watered.
The Indus river flows through Kashmir. The
river Jhelum flows through the Vale of Kashmir. The mountains have much
About 12 million people live in Kashmir, of
which around 70% are Muslims. The rest include Hindus, Sikhs and
Buddhists. Hindus live mostly in the south and around the city of Jammu.
To the east is the Ladakh region, where the majority of the people are
Buddhists and of Tibetan origin. Most of the Kashmiri people work on
farms. Others are engaged in small industries making shawls, rugs and
carpets. Kashmir is well known for its wool and, in particular, its shawls
Much of the farmland is under intense
cultivation, producing corn, wheat, rice and saffron amongst other crops.
Fruit and nuts are also produced in quantities including pears, apples and
Kashmir has been the key to the dispute
between India and Pakistan since their independence from the British in
1947. Each country claims Kashmir as a part of its territory. As a result
of a rebellion in 1947 and the subsequent wars between India and Pakistan
over Kashmir, the area is separated by a Line-of-Control (LOC or
cease-fire line). To the east of the LOC lies the vale of Kashmir, Jammu
and Ladakh which are administered by India. To the west lies the area now
known as 'Azad [Free] Kashmir' which is governed by its own government
with strong ties with Pakistan.
The capitals of Indian-held
Kashmir are Srinagar in the summer and Jammu in the winter; whilst the
capital of Azad
Kashmir is Muzaffarabad.
Since 1989 the controversy over Kashmir has
taken a violent turn in the valley; the Kashmiri people themselves have
taken up arms against the Indian occupation. India is now deploying more
than 700,000 troops in the valley to crush the Freedom Movement.