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Definition: Kashmir from The Macquarie Dictionary

a mountainous area in south-western Asia; sovereignty was disputed by Pakistan and India since 1947; in 1972 partitioned as Jammu and Kashmir, under Indian control, 139 000 km2, and Azad Kashmir, under the control of Pakistan, 83 800 km2. A northern area has been controlled by China since 1962.

Srinagar (summer), Jammu (winter) (Jammu and Kashmir); Muzaffarabad (Azad Kashmir)

Etymology: Hindustani (from Sanskrit ) kas\xcc\x81m\xc4\xabr

Summary Article: Kashmir
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Disputed area on the border of India and Pakistan in the northwest of the former state of Kashmir, now Jammu and Kashmir; area 78,900 sq km/30,445 sq mi. Physical features include the west Himalayan peak Nanga Parbat (8,126 m/26,660 ft), Karakoram Pass, Indus River, and Baltoro Glacier. Through Kashmir flow the headwaters of the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers, important sources of water for irrigation of the plains of Pakistan. Azad (‘free’) Kashmir in the west has its own legislative assembly based in Muzaffarabad while Gilgit and Baltistan regions to the north and east are governed directly by Pakistan. The Northern Areas are claimed by India and Pakistan. Cities in the region include Gilgit and Skardu.

Fighting took place between the pro-India Hindu ruling class and the pro-Pakistan Muslim majority involving Indian and Pakistani troops, until a UN ceasefire was agreed on 30 October 1948. There was open war between the two countries 1965–66 and 1971. The area is today officially divided under the terms of the 1972 Simla Agreement between the Pakistani area of Kashmir and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, since 1990 it has been riven by Muslim separatist violence. Between 1999 and 2002 there was a serious danger of war between India and Pakistan before diplomacy and international pressure defused tensions. Nevertheless, ongoing military skirmishes, acts of terrorism, and the potential for broader conflict over such a divisive issue have since remained a major threat and wider regional concern.

Kashmir had been under the sway of Hindu India for many centuries when Muslim rule was established by the 14th century. Mogul rule began in the 16th century but was brought to a halt by the Afghan invasion of 1753. This was followed by a period of Sikh overlordship from 1819. During the Sikh wars of the mid-19th century, a new Hindu-ruled state of Jammu and Kashmir was established by Maharaja Gulab Singh, a Dogra Rajput, with a home base in Jammu. On 26 October 1947 the Hindu ruler opted to join the Indian Union after Pathan tribesmen from Pakistan had invaded the state following a Muslim declaration of Azad (‘free’) Kashmir. India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was himself drawn from a Kashmiri Brahmin family.


floating market, Kashmir

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