Formation of Jammu & Kashmir from Princely State to Union Territory

 Formation of Jammu & Kashmir from Princely State to Union Territory. 

Formation of Jammu & Kashmir from Princely State to Union Territory
Formation of J&K State

Jammu and Kashmir is a state in northern India that has a long and complex history. In this article, we will explore how this state came into existence and what are the main events that shaped its political and cultural identity.

The Treaty of Amritsar

The origin of Jammu and Kashmir as a state can be traced back to the Treaty of Amritsar, which was signed on March 16, 1846, between the British East India Company and Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu. The treaty was a result of the First Anglo-Sikh War, which ended with the defeat of the Sikh Empire by the British forces.

According to the treaty, the British transferred the Kashmir Valley and other territories in the region to Gulab Singh, who was a loyal ally of the British and a Hindu ruler of the Dogra dynasty. In return, Gulab Singh had to pay 75 lakh rupees to the British as a war indemnity. The treaty also recognized Gulab Singh as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, and granted him full sovereignty over his domains.

The Treaty of Amritsar was a controversial and unpopular agreement, as it violated the wishes and rights of the Kashmiri people, who were mostly Muslims and had no say in the matter. The Kashmiris resented the imposition of a foreign and oppressive ruler, who exploited their resources and imposed heavy taxes on them. The treaty also created a religious and cultural divide between the Kashmir Valley and the rest of the state, which had different ethnic and linguistic groups.

The British Rule and the Partition

The state of Jammu and Kashmir remained under the rule of the Dogra dynasty until 1947, when the British Indian Empire was partitioned into two independent nations: India and Pakistan. The partition was based on the principle of religious majority, which meant that the Muslim-majority areas would form Pakistan, and the Hindu-majority areas would form India.

However, the partition did not apply to the princely states, which were about 565 semi-autonomous regions that had their own rulers and treaties with the British. The princely states were given the choice of joining either India or Pakistan, or remaining independent, according to their own will and interests.

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir at that time was Hari Singh, who was the grandson of Gulab Singh. He faced a dilemma, as his state had a Muslim-majority population, but he was a Hindu and had closer ties with India. He also wanted to preserve his autonomy and power, and hoped to create a neutral and independent state.

However, his plans were disrupted by the invasion of Pakistani tribesmen, who entered the Kashmir Valley in October 1947, with the support of the Pakistani government. The invaders claimed that they were fighting for the liberation of the Kashmiri people from the Dogra rule, and wanted to annex the state to Pakistan.

The Maharaja was unable to resist the invasion, and appealed to India for help. The Indian government agreed to send troops to defend the state, but on one condition: the Maharaja had to sign the Instrument of Accession, which would make Jammu and Kashmir a part of India.

The Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on October 26, 1947, which was accepted by the Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten. The Instrument of Accession gave India control over the defense, foreign affairs, and communications of the state, while leaving the internal administration and other matters to the Maharaja. The Instrument also stated that the final decision on the future status of the state would be made by a plebiscite, or a vote of the people, after the restoration of peace and order.

The Indian troops arrived in Jammu and Kashmir, and fought against the Pakistani invaders. The war lasted for more than a year, and ended with a ceasefire agreement in January 1949, which was mediated by the United Nations. The ceasefire line, which is now known as the Line of Control, divided the state into two parts: one under Indian control, and one under Pakistani control. The plebiscite, however, never took place, as both India and Pakistan had different views and conditions on how to conduct it.

The Current Situation

Since 1947, Jammu and Kashmir has been a disputed territory, and a source of conflict and tension between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim the entire state as their own, and have fought three wars over it: in 1947-48, 1965, and 1999. The state has also witnessed several internal movements and uprisings, demanding either independence or accession to Pakistan, especially in the Kashmir Valley, where many people feel alienated and oppressed by the Indian government.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir has also undergone several political and constitutional changes over the years. In 1950, the state adopted its own constitution, which declared it as an integral part of India, but also granted it a special status under Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Article 370 gave the state a high degree of autonomy, and allowed it to have its own flag, emblem, and laws, except on the matters that were delegated to India by the Instrument of Accession.

In 1952, the state also abolished the monarchy, and became a democratic republic, with a popularly elected legislature and a prime minister. The prime minister was later renamed as the chief minister, and the head of the state was called the Sadar-i-Riyasat, or the president, who was elected by the legislature. The president was later replaced by the governor, who was appointed by the Indian president.

In 2019, the Indian government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and abolished Article 370. The government also divided the state into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. A union territory is a region that is directly administered by the central government, and has less autonomy and representation than a state. The government justified its decision by saying that it was necessary to integrate the state with the rest of India, and to promote its development and security. However, the decision was met with strong opposition and criticism, both within and outside the state, as it was seen as a violation of the rights and aspirations of the people.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is still a contested and troubled region, where violence, unrest, and human rights violations are common. The state also faces many challenges and issues, such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, environmental degradation, and social and religious diversity. The state has a rich and diverse culture, heritage, and natural beauty, but it also needs peace, justice, and harmony, to achieve its full potential and prosperity.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and learned something new about the formation of Jammu and Kashmir State. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. 

Athar Maqsood

Woking as an Author and Writer since 2020.
Education :
Bachelor in Political Science and Economics. Diploma in Computer Science, Tally, and Typing.

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