Wednesday 25 March 2015

Demographics Of Jammu & Kashmir

India has 29 States and 7 Union Territories.  One of them is the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It has a unique status for being the only Muslim majority state. This reason has caused a big international controversy between India and Pakistan, as both control different parts of this state and at the same time, claim the part that they do not control.

Kashmir was a part of the Mughal Empire for nearly two centuries until 1750s. Due to its beauty and climate, it was a favourite haunt of the Mughal emperors. In 1753 Durranis of Afghanistan conquered it and ruled it till 1819 (probably only the Kashmir valley and not the Jammu region). That year Sikhs under Maharaja Ranjit Singh conquered it. Sikh rule turned out to be oppressive and many anti Muslim steps were taken. Taxes were high and general population had minimal rights. Jamia Masjid in Srinagar was closed and calling azaan was banned. Punishment for cow slaughter was death.

Jammu was already under the Sikh control since 1780. The descendants of the last raja, joined the service of Ranjit Singh and rose to prominent positions. One of them Gulab Singh was made the governor of Jammu and played a great role in the conquest of Kashmir Valley and Ladakh for the Sikh government of Lahore.  After the death of Ranjit Singh the chaos prevailing in Lahore Darbar and factional infighting gave opportunity to Dogras to increase their power in Jammu region and they become autonomous rulers of this region.

In 1845 the first Anglo Sikh war broke out and resulted in the defeat of the Sikh State. In consequence the Sikhs lost Jullundur Doab to the British and also agreed to pay Rs 10 million as indemnity. They also agreed to keep a British resident at Lahore Darbar to look after the and control the affairs of the state.

During this all crisis, the attitude and the role played by Gulab Singh, made him a favourite of the East India Company rulers. He not only gained full control of Jammu Subah but also took control of Kashmir valley, in return of Rs 7.5 million payment to the British. Thus the State of Jammu & Kashmir was created under the British rule. This treaty is called Treaty of Amritsar. The Dogra rule was no less than a nightmare for Muslims of the state. British of that era agree that the Dogra rule was the most oppressive and incompetent in the whole India. Muslims were virtually slaves, crushed under the heavy taxes and had no rights what so ever. Bondage labour and inhumane punishments were order of the day. Even the cases of skinning alive were reported.

To sum up the situation I would like to quote Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerjee, who was appointed as Diwan of Jammu & Kahsmir in 1927, but resigned in 1929 on moral grounds. He says:

“Jammu and Kashmir state is labouring under many disadvantages, with a large Mohammedan population absolutely illiterate, labouring under poverty and very low economic conditions of living in the villages, and practically governed like dumb driven cattle. There is no touch between the government and the people, no suitable opportunity for representing grievances... The administration has at present no or little sympathy with people's wants and grievances...” [Wikipedia]

Then came the cataclysmic year of 1947. Against the wishes of large majority of its population, ignoring geographical considerations and against the principle of the partition of India, Hari Singh the ruler of  Kashmir decided to accede to India, thus laid the foundation of a dispute which has kept the South Asia in a constant state of tensions, wars and arms race.

In January when I thought of writing this post, the first problem I encountered was incomplete data about the religious demographics of J&K. The figures available were only for the districts, but I wanted figures on tehsil level. At this stage the help came from an unexpected source. Mr Edin Radoncic is a Bosnian scholar based in Sarajveo, he read my blog and sent me a message, appreciating my work. He also sent me two great books written by him. The one is World Almanac Of The Demographic History of Muslims and the second is Twice a Stranger; Greece Turkey And The Minorities They Expelled. On my request he provided me the complete data of population of Kashmir on Tehsil level. So I was able to write this post. He can be contacted at

As the name of this state itself suggests it is a combination of two regions that are Jammu & Kashmir. Besides that there are at least three other regions that form the parts of erstwhile princely state, that are Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan. A large portion of Ladakh is controlled by China and is called Aksai Chin. The following map shows the current political situation of Kashmir.

Now the first two maps show the population of Muslims in Indian controlled Kashmir.

The next two maps show the population of Hindus in the state.

The following map shows the simple religious majorities in all parts of Kashmir:

For the data of each and every tehsil of J&K the tables given below:

 J&K is not only religiously diverse, it is more diverse linguistically as the map given below shows:

The above map shows that Kashmiris speaking people are overwhelmingly Muslims, while Hindus are mostly Dogras.

I hope the people interested in the affairs of Kashmir will find above maps and data useful. I shall welcome any additional information provided or any inaccuracy pointed out.

Tariq AmirDoha - Qatar. March 25, 2015.