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History

Isolated remains of Homo Erectus in has been found indicating that Pakistan might have been inhabited since atleast the Middle Pleistocene era. The precise date of these remains is unclear, and archaeologists put it anywhere between 200,000 to 500,000 BCE. The fossils are the earliest human remains found in South Asia. More than 60% of Pakistanis have their mtDNA maternal roots in South Asian specific branches of haplogroup 'M'. Because of its great time depth and virtual absence in western Eurasians, it has been suggested that haplogroup M was brought to Asia after their evolution in Africa, along the southern route, by the earliest migration wave of anatomically modern humans, Homo Sapiens, nearly 60,000 years ago

The original inhabitants of Pakistan may have been the tribals speaking languages related to Munda family of languages. Pakistan was the site of the world's oldest 8,000 year old civilisation at Mehrgarh in the Balochistan province. The Mehrgarh declined about the same time as the Indus Valley Civilization only 200 Kilometers south east was developing. It has been surmised that the Mehrgarh residents moved to fertile Indus River valley as Balochistan became arid over time.

The neolithic culture is indicated by the discovery of ground and polished stone axes, hoes, pestle, and bone implements at the well-known menhir-site of Burzahom, ten miles east of , Srinagar. Burazahoma is famous as one of the only two megalithic sites in the extreme north-west of Pakistan. We do not exactly know the cultural horizon of the Burazahoma megalithic, nor the Purpose for which they were erected, but the indications are, they were put in places towards the end of the neolithic period at that site, between 3000 BCE. The original inhabitants of ancient Kashmir, and rest of ancient Pakistan, were the aborigine tribes speaking languages related to Munda languages. The Tibetan tribes migrated to the Ladakh region of Kashmir. The Dravidians invaded from the Iranian plateau and settled in the Indus valley around 4000 BCE. The Dravidian culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan around 3000 BCE. The main site of the Indus Valley Civilization in Punjab was the city of Harappa. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today Pakistan, but suddenly went into decline just prior to the invasion of Indo-European Aryan tribes from the Eastern Europe. A branch of these tribes called the Indo-Aryans are believed to have founded the Vedic Civilization that have existed between Sarasvati River and Ganges river around 1500 BCE and also infuenced the Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization helped shape subsequent cultures in South Asia. Due to its location, the Kashmir region came under constant attack and influence from the west. Influenced by Uighurs, Tibetans, Persians, Greeks, Mauryans, Kushans, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, and Sikhs, Kashmir has developed a unique culture that combined that of significant Middle Eastern and Central Asian influences even prior to the coming of Islam.

The ancient name of Kashmir was 'Kashyapa'. The Kashmiris were in ancient times were foloowed tribal religions then Hinduism was arrived from India and later replaced by Buddhism. The Kashmiris were predominantly Buddhist and were in the process of coming under the influence of Hinduism when Muslim missionaries, Sayed Sharafuddin Bulbul Shah from Turkey and Shah Mir from Iran arrived in Kashmir. These Muslim missionaries converted thousands of Kashmiris including the Kashmir's Buddhist King Rinchan to Islam. After converting to Islam King Rinchan ruled as Sultan Malik Sadruddin in 1330 CE. After the death Sultan Malik Sadruddin, Shah Mir ascended the throne under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-din, and his dynasty ruled the Kashmir for 222 years. The majority of Kashmiri population converted to Islam during the rule of this Muslim dynasty.. The Muslim technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to Islamic Sultanate and settled in Kashmir. Emperor Akbar conquered Kashmir and the Mughals ruled from 1587 to 1752. The Afghanistan's ruler Sultan Ahmad Shah Durrani conquered Kashmir in 1752 and Afghans ruled until 1819. The Sikh invaded and conquered Kashmir in1819 and started reign of terror in Kashmir.

The British defeated the Sikhs in 1846 and 'sold' Kashmir province to a Hindu Dogra chieftain for 7.5 million rupees, nearly $160. The Hindu Dogra rulers persecuted the Muslim majority and promoted Hinduism and a large number Hindu migrants settled in the Jammu region. Athe time of independence, the Muslim majority of Kashmir wanted to join Pakistan in 1947 but the Hindu Dogra ruler instead signed to join Hindu India. This action led to invasion and occupation of Kashmir by the Indian army. The Pakistan's volunteers joined the Kashmiri Muslim armed resistence and liberataed nearly quater of Kashmir from Indian occupation. The UN Security Council resolution on April 21, 1948 demanded that the Kashmiri people should decide their own future in a democratic referendum. The India has refused to allow the referendum to take place since the Muslim population of Kashmir will vote to join Pakistan.

Geography

Kashmir province is bordered by China in the north, India in the east, Punjab and Sarhad provinces in the south. The Kashmir province is divided into four main regions Jammu, Ladakh, Kashmir Valley and the Northern areas. The total area of Kashmir is 222,236 km².

Demography and Society

The population of province of Kashmir is nearly 11 million in 2005. The ethnic groups of Kashmir are: Kashmiris, Dards, Ladakhis, Dogras, Hanjis, Gujjars, Hunzas, etc. Nearly 90% of the population is Muslim, approximately 7% Hindu and 2% Buddhists.

Districts

Anantnag
Astore
Baramulla
Budgam
Diamer
Doda
Ganche
Ghizer
Gilgit
Hunza
Jammu
Kargil
Kathua
Kupwara
Leh
Muzaffarabad
Poonch
Pulwama
Rajauri Garden
Skardu
Srinagar
Udhampur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page last updated:  Thursday, February 02, 2006 06:17:54 PM -0500