Jammu and Kashmir, crown of mother India was called “Paradise on Earth” by Mughal emperor Jahangir. It is spread over an area of 2,22,236 sq. km. It shares its borders with two states, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The state shares maximum international borders with Pakistan, China and Afghanistan (in Pak-occupied Kashmir). The Line of Control (LoC) separates the state with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) while the Line of Actual Control (LAC) demarcates the boundary with China.
- Capital- Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter)
- Districts – 22
- Population – 12,541,302
- Assembly seats – 125
- Lok Sabha seats – 6
- Rajya Sabha seats – 4
- Literacy rate – 67.16%
- Sex ratio – 889
- Life expectancy – 72.6 years.
- Infant mortality rate-37
Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq was the first chief minister of the state which was created on 26 October 1947. The current incumbent, Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed of the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party’(PDP), was sworn in as the state’s 9th Chief Minister on 4 April 2016. The state’s Governor is NN Vohra.
The history of the state has been compiled in four well-known books. Rajatarangini describes the Sangrama reign. The second work, Dvitiya Rajatarangini, gives an insight into the Muslim reign. Tritiya Rajatarangini, the third book, dwells on the period of Fah Shah’s rule. The last book, Rajavalipataka, finishes with the Mughals.
The state has been at the centre of the territorial conflict between India and Pakistan. Four major battles have been fought over it:
- Attack by Pakistan-backed invaders in 1947-48.
- The 1965 Indo-Pak War
- The 1971 Indo-Pak War
- The 1999 Kargil War
- Under Article 370 of Indian Constitution, the state has been permitted to have a different flag. The flag of Jammu and Kashmir is of deep red colour with a symbol of plough representing labour. The three vertical strips in the flag are symbolic to the three diverse regions of the area- Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh.
- The citizens of Kashmir have dual citizenships. Firstly, they are recognised as Indians and secondly, they are the residents of Kashmir.
- The state is governed by its own constitution. It also has its own criminal code, the Ranbir Penal Code. It is named after the Dogra ruler during whose reign it was originally drafted, Maharaja Ranbir Singh.
- Kashmir Valley is the only place in the country which is suitable for the cultivation of walnuts and saffron. The valley is also known for tulip cultivation.
- Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, is located in Jammu and Kashmir. The state also has the highest operational airstrip in the word. This is located at Daulat Beg Oldie, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
- Kalhana wrote a historical write up for the state, Rajtarangini, which says that Kashmir was initially a lake as it is bowl shaped. The word Kashmir is made up of two words ‘Ka’ and ‘Shimeera’ which means “Dried out Land”.
- Urdu is the state language though other languages like Dogri, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Gujri, Ladakhi, Hindi, English and Pahari are also spoken.
- Dhumal and Rouff are the traditional folk dances of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It is the only Indian state with a Muslim majority.
Paradise On Earth
Jammu and Kashmir is known as the “Switzerland of Asia” as it has a long and endless list of tourist attractions. Some of the prominent tourist destinations are the beautiful Srinagar and its Dal Lake, Ladakh and Leh, Kashmir Valley, Gulmarg which is famous for cable car rides, Kupwara, Pahalgam and Katra which is at the base of Vaishno Devi.
Over a crore pilgrims visit the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on the Trikuta Mountains round the year.
Chasme Shahi Garden, known for its perfect Mughal design and its medical properties, was presented to Dara Shikoh by his father, Shah Jahan.
Trade and Industry
The economy of the state is dominated by agricultural revenues and tourism. Pisciculture and sericulture are other economic activities.
Jammu and Kashmir is known for its cultivation of apples, cherries, walnuts, almonds and saffron. The state is also famous for its wool and shawls. ‘Pashmina Shawls’ are exported all over the world. The state also produces fine quality cricket willows or bats.