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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 Pakistan.
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 precious forests.
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 and carpets.
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 walnuts.
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.
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.