'Kashmir ki Kahani'
Ever wondered how the Kashmir crisis began - what the whole fuss is all about?
Well, you can either read a learned tome - allow me to offer a suggestion - or have a blast reading Sumit Kumar's wickedly entertaining comic history of Kashmir, 'Kashmir ki Kahani', which translates as 'Kashmir's Story'.
You can get a sense of his style from the excerpt on the left: and let me give a beginner's guide to the runners and riders ...
In the top frame on the left you have Jawaharalal Nehru (the Nehru cap is a bit of a give away), India's first Prime Minster - and alongside, in another example of trademark independence-era headgear, Mohammed Ali Jinnah in his astrkhan hat. He was the heavy smoking founder of Pakistan.
They were the two leaders who went to war within months of independence in August 1947 - about who gets Kashmir. The former princely state has, de facto, been partitioned ever since ... though the bigger part in terms of population, including the Kashmir valley, is on the Indian side of the line.
And below is the beturbanned last maharajah of Kashmir, Hari Singh - to him fell the choice of whether his principality should cast its lot with India or Pakistan. His own preference was independence. In the end, as Pakistani tribesmen invaded, he plumped for India. And that's how it all kicked off.
The complicating factor was that Hari Singh was a Hindu prince ruling a state with a (then) three-quarters Muslim population. OK, so it's obvious, Kashmir should have headed to Pakistan ...
But there was another complicating factor - the pre-eminent Muslim Kashmiri nationalist politician of the era, Sheikh Abdullah, supported Kashmir's accession to India. OK, so it's not so obvious ...
But then, a few years later, Sheikh Abdullah had second thoughts about whether Kashmir should be India's. OK, so not clear at all.
As I say, if you want to find out more, and be entertained at the same time, then read 'Kashmir ki Kahani' - you can get to the online version by clicking on the image.
Kashmiris were forced to choose between two countries: Pakistan or India. In 1965 after another war between India and Pakistan broke out over Kashmir, the United Nations stepped in and declared a ceasefire line dividing Kashmir between both countries. But that did not end the conflict as many Kashmiri people wanted independence from both countries or union with Pakistan which is still their dream today.
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