The significance of Kashmir and Kashmiri identity in J&K
in Independent Kashmir
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This chapter provides important historical and social background about J&K and its administrative structure, as well as some geo-political observations about this princely state. It explains why the princely state was popularly, but confusingly, called ‘Kashmir’ not ‘Jammu’, why the Kashmir region was the most important region in J&K, and why, in 1947, subcontinental politicians desired Kashmir and wooed Kashmiris. The chapter’s other observations chiefly concern the Kashmir region and Kashmiri Muslims’ relationships, or not, with other J&K-ites. In particular, this chapter comprehensively explores the significant and ongoing issues of Kashmiri identity and Kashmiri nationalism and why these are important factors within J&K. The discussion includes examining why Kashmiris have long believed in, and supported, a Kashmir ‘nation’. This dynamic is important to understand as it helps to explain why Kashmir enjoyed greater status and was more significant politically in 1947 than either the Jammu region or the Frontier Districts region. In that tumultuous year, the major ramification of Kashmir’s importance was that people were focused almost exclusively on this region and its residents. The other areas of J&K appeared to be peripheral. Additionally, in 1947 and thereafter, Kashmir and Kashmiris quickly came to dominate politics in J&K and in relation to the Kashmir dispute.

Independent Kashmir

An incomplete aspiration

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