Kashmir is known to be “The Switzerland of Asia” for the rest of the world. Geographically and topographically the comparison sounds justified and reasonable. Just as Switzerland is a land replete of mountains bordering on Germany, France, Italy and Austria, so Kashmir lies in the heart of Asia, the Indian sub-continent to the south-west and Afghanistan to the north-west, the Russia to the north, China and Tibet to the north-east and east. Gifted with a great geographical location, strategic protection, topographical and climatic distinction and cultural specialty, Kashmir has from early times moulded her personality in an individualized style that differentiates her from rest of the world, evoking admiration from one and all, friends and foes, royals and plebeians, spiritualists and even atheists.It is due to her fascinating and enchanting character, Walter Lawrence remarked, in his magnum opus The valley of Kashmir,
“Neither the natural beauty nor the delicious climate of the valley has been so exaggerated in the books that I have read and every year’s residence in the valley discloses some new charm and new interest”.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir comprises of three distinct and separate provinces namely Jammu (26,293 km2) including Muslim majority areas of Poonch, Dooda, Kashtwar etc., Kashmir (15,948 km2) and Ladakh (59,146 km2) largest in terms of area but sparsely populated, still all three provinces are under the occupation of India. The region with a total area of around 85,800 square miles [222,200 square km] has been under the military occupation of India for the past over seven decades. Moreover, China actively took part in the eastern area of Kashmir in 1950s and has been controlling the northeast part of Ladakh, which is the extreme eastern part of the region, since 1962. The Indo-sino skirmishes has risen after India revoked the special autonomy of Kashmir in August 2019.
The climatic conditions of the region range from subtropical in the south-western lowlands to alpine all across the mountain areas. Precipitation is not constant rather variable; it is heavier in areas that can be reached by the monsoonal winds west and south of the great ranges and sparse to the north and east where continental conditions prevail.
There is no any authentic historical record of the aborigines of the people of Kashmir. The earliest known source is Nilmata Purana which is the fine example of socialization of the mythological conjectures. Some recent hypothesis trace its origin to the ‘Lost tribe of Isreal’ but again the lack of substantial evidences make it a farce than fact. However, the undeniable reality is that the people of Kashmir have submitted to the creator of all humanity with zeal and zest and are proud to be the adherents of Islam.
According to the recent census(2011) conducted in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the total population of the state is 1,25,41,302 of which male are 6,640,662 and female has been enamoured as 5,900,640. in terms of religion 68.31% are figured as Muslims whereas Hinduism is followed by 28.44%. the total number of Muslims as per the given census is 85,67485 and Hindus are 35,66,674. there are over 3% other minorities as well living in the state. However, the Muslim leaders and intellectuals have expressed their concern over the manipulation of the figures in which Muslims are shown less than the actual whereas the number of Hindus is exaggerated.