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Livestock Development in Kashmir

Dr. Tarun Kumar Sarkar // In Jammu and Kashmir the cattle population is more than 3 million and the State produces around 64 lakh MT of green fodder and 35 lakh MT of dry fodder. Despite availability of natural pastures the State is 67% deficit in green fodder and 27.31% in dry fodder.  The per capita availability of milk is 378 gm as compared to 937 gms in Punjab. To mitigate the fodder deficit there is need to divert policy towards development of breed having high milk yielding capacity and less body weight so that the fodder requirement can be minimized. The Jersey breed is most suitable for Kashmir valley having high milk yielding capacity and less body weight. Whereas, Holstein Friesian (HF) is a giant breed, needs more fodder requirement to rear. Milk specific gravity of HF is less as compared with Jersey having 3.5 vs 5.5 fat %. Keeping in above facts Mountain Livestock Research Institute, Manasbal has adopted a practice to produce elite Jersey germplasm having lactation yield of 5500-6000 lt by using USA Jersey frozen semen with sire dam’s yield 8500-9000 kg. Additionally, Livestock Development Board Kashmir has initiated to procure the Jersey bull from MLRI Manasbal in order to supply frozen semen to different AI centers to Kashmir region.

In Kashmir region the farmers are providing mainly unchaffed paddy straw/oat hay during winter without Urea-molasses fortification. Due to provision of unchaffed hay/straw to livestock, 20-30% wastage are mixed with faeces and they are not decomposed with farm yard manure and by using them in agricultural field the fertility of soil is not reached upto the satisfactory level. Dairy farmers should establish vermicompost unit with their Dairy farming to make these fully decompose. Vermicomposting is emerging as profitable business and without this section, Dairy farming along can not be flourished.  In chaffed straw the palatability and digestibility is higher as compared with unchaffed straw. The digestible crude protein in paddy straw is zero so it needs scientific fortification with Urea-molasses to enhance nutritive value. The farmers are not aware how to prepare compound mash feed at their own level, they are only providing wheat bran and rice bran to their cattle/sheep without mixing of other ingredients in a balanced proportionate like mustard oil cake/ground nut cake, maize, De oiled rice bran, molasses, mineral mixture, iodized salt, yeast etc., as a result the productivity of these animals are not reaching as per their genetic potential. Most of the Dairy farmers in valley are not providing the maintenance ration to their cattle from April-September except grazing, even in case of lactating cattle. This traditional practice need to be shifted towards scientific feeding. In Kashmir region farmers only depend on hay for winter feeding without any awareness about silage. Rabi hay production needs sunny weather but in April months always there is disturbance of rains. In silage, the green fodder is preserved anerobically by adding minimum 0.5-1% iodized salt and it does not require any extra precautionary measures. All the developed countries in World have adopted scientific silage feeding because of high nutritive value as compared with hay.

The farmers are cultivating oat as a Rabi fodder crop for hay making. Oat is mainly energy source fodder and it has limitation to enhance productivity. There is need to adopt grass (carbohydrate)-legume (protein) Rabi crops association like oats+Vetch combination to enhance productivity. Farmers have not adopted multicut legume Rabi crop like berseem and multicut Kharif crop like Bajra. Most farmers in valley have not adopted scientific perennial energy and legume combination fodder cultivation in their fruit garden as a result livestock are not getting quality fodder. There is ample scope for development of Horti-pastoral (Fruit + Fodder crops) systems in Kashmir valley by adopting high biomass perennial legumes like Red clover and Alfalfa in association with perennial high biomass energy sources like Tall fescue and Orchard grasses. The sorghum (M.P. Chari variety) in combination with cowpea fodder cultivation have been neglected but these energy and legume combination are most suitable for valley. Further, sorghum is more draught resistant crop as compared with maize fodder and it remains green upto ending October.

To mitigate the demand of mutton consumption on daily basis about 3000-3500 sheep are being procured mainly from Rajasthan due to deficit of 73.20% mutton production in valley. For sustainable mutton production there is need to disseminate the ovine Booroola fecundity gene in Kashmiri sheep for twin (double) lambing to increase the sheep population vertically, otherwise the demand for mutton will never be fulfilled. Australia imported the Garole sheep (ovine Booroola fecundity gene carrier) during 18th Century from South 24 Parganas, West Bengal and since then the twine lambing has been maintaining in Australian sheep scientifically without deviation from wool quality and mutton production.

On daily basis valley is procuring about 1.5-2 lakhs broiler from Punjab, Haryana and other nearer states to mitigate the demand of chicken consumption and the business market is mainly captured by Punjab and Haryana based enterprises. In Kashmir very limited systematic broiler farms are available where the parent broiler stock is maintained. The small scale farmers are procuring day old chicks mainly from out side of valley for rearing. Broiler industry has tremendous future for employment generation if Government Organization at sub-divisional levels should take responsibility to maintain parent broiler stock with hatching facilities and shall initiate the distribution of day old chicks among unemployed youth to start broiler farming. The European countries, USA and Canada are facing more sub-normal temperature during winter season than Kashmir valley even then they are masters in dairy sectors, sheep farming and broiler industries. In Kashmir valley during winter seasons all these sectors are in paralysis mode and running on loss. The matter should be resolved by fulfilling all lacunas through concrete steps on priority basis. The state of Jammu and Kashmir brings mutton, milk and poultry worth Rs 16000 crores annually from different states. In one hand valley is earning money by exporting fruits to other states but at the same time all the money earned is being spent to procure sheep and chicken from outside states. To mitigate the demand of mutton and chicken the sheep and broiler are procured mainly from other states covering a distance of 500-1000 km. Due to transportation stress there is accumulation of toxic metabolites and cytokines in their body. When these animals are slaughtered without any rest period there is every possibility of human health hazards like depression, anxiety, blood pressure, gout, cancerous diseases etc.

In valley about 2.5-3 lakh broiler and about 8000 small and large ruminants are slaughtered on daily basis and the huge quantities of wastes and by-products are generated. These are causing environmental pollution and health hazards, attract flies and harbours multifarious microbes of pathogenic nature. These by-products can act as a source of energy, livestock feed, fertilizer, liming components for soil collagen, gelatine and calcium. After suitable processing, poultry by-products can be converted into feather meal, hydrolized feather meal and poultry by-product meal. The leather industries in valley has not developed even though on daily basis huge numbers of hides are collected and these raw hides mixing with salt are transported to different tanneries and leather factories out side of state for making different products like jacket, shoes, wallets, purses, belts etc. and the valley is loosing income generation in this sector.

What can be done is frank admission of our failure to focus on the basics, and unfortunate tendency to hide inconvenient facts. The practical real data in the grass root level should not be hided or fabricated to satisfy the superiors or State Ministers. The Directors/ Deans/ concerned Head of the Departments of SKUAST-Kashmir need to divert more of their research work towards applied side. There is need of more coordination between scientists and the developmental Departments. A will to make the difference can help move us towards self reliance in livestock sector and create thousands of jobs in the process while saving billions annually to State exchequer.  The myth is J & K has to keep begging and the reality is it needn’t and if we plug leaks and gear up, it will not.

Author is Senior Scientist (PB-IV) Incharge Mountain Livestock Research Institute, SKUAST-Kashmir 

Source: Daily Greater Kashmir (


Kashmir needs CPEC

Abdul Latif Bhat//Experts on China-Pakistan-India relations on Saturday said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 46-billion US dollar economic project of China, will have a definite impact on Kashmir and that Kashmir needs to put itself in South Asian and Central Asian paradigm to reap dividends.The economic, political and geo-strategic aspects of CPEC were discussed in a seminar titled “Impact of China Pakistan Economic Corridor on Kashmir”. The speakers gave a detailed outline of how the project will seriously impact the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, both politically and economically.The seminar was organized by The Kashmir Institute – a Srinagar based think-tank, with Siddiq Wahid, historian and former V-C IUST; Andrew Small, author of The China Pakistan Axis; Mubeen Shah, ex-president, KCCI; Zubair A. Dar, researcher Economy and Resources at University of Berkeley and Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim, Economist from University of Kashmir – moderated by political commentator and journalist, Gowhar Geelani.It was the first event of the think-tank and its Director hailed everyone’s support for it to be established and begin with the seminar. The Director, Fahad Shah, spoke about the importance of the think-tank and also gave brief introduction to how the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor began and what is its current stage and how in the long run it is going to change the political and economic scenario of South Asia.Andrew Small while explaining the economic and political significance of the CPEC said China is investing between 28 to 53 billion US dollars in the CPEC project. “China’s economy is in a transition phase right now. The growth rate has decreased and it is looking for new markets. Privileged access will be given to Chinese industries inside Pakistan. China has in the recent past made statements on Pakistan’s policy on the region including the Kashmiri militant groups and Kashmir itself through which some of the corridor route passes,” he said.Siddiq Wahid – in past economic spaces used to be smaller and now in relation to CPEC and look at geopolitics economic spaces have gotten larger with smaller political spaces. The power lies within states or the empires. We need to put CPEC beyond India and Pakistan, and this would put Kashmir in larger South Asia and Central Asia paradigm. In general it is good for us as Kashmiris to be talking to China because India shares an immense border with china.
Most of the Indians do not care about Kashmir if their financial bottom line is fine. And most of the Pakistanis don’t know what is happening in Kashmir. We people of Kashmir, Ladakh, Jammu and Gilgit Balstistan are on the periphery of the South Asia and Central Asia – so we have to take Jammu and Kashmir out of India-Pakistan paradigm. I don’t want to think of Kashmir as a buffer zone because it has connotations as a shock absorber. If CPEC happens it is we the people of Kashmir who will have control to how we create capacity.
Mubeen Shah strongly advocated for two divides sides of Kashmir to be as single free economic zone. “Both India and Pakistan need to be specific about political positions. Kashmir could actually become – trade will decide the future of Kashmir. CPEC might not change everything but it is a first step towards final settlement of Kashmir, giving examples of Dubai and Shangai. We can focus on horticulture, textiles and other industries. How distance will be reduced and the road between Kashmir and Central Asia will be much cheaper,” he said.
Zubair A. Dar spoke about how this will reduce the distance and how this could have huge impact in terms of environment and the pollution will affect Kashmir at large scale. “It is much deeper strategic partnership supported by military power. If Iran also becomes a part of CPEC and convinces Pakistan to use Chabahar port in Iran and then Afghanistan will join too. Developments in Pakistan-administered Kashmir will be impacted the most because China will be building several development projects leading to Chinese economic military colonization. China has own model how they work, maybe when CPEC becomes more powerful and economically beneficial then maybe India will change its mind. Economy drives the politics of any place including Kashmir,” he said.
Dr. Mohammad Ibrahim gave a brief introduction of the whole CPEC project in relation to Kashmir, and explained the significance. “India is not in favour of the CPEC because they are more interested in Chabahar port. Kashmir is important to Pakistan in terms of water resources. Maybe CPEC could in future help in the peace process between both the countries and geo-economics can actually impact the geo-politics,” he said.
At the seminar, the think-tank also re-launched its in-house publication Mizraab, which a monthly tabloid.

—Courtesy: KW

Kashmir China Relationships

M.Ashraf – Srinagar (Daily Greater Kashmir) Presently, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is the hot news. The project is being implemented by China and Pakistan at an accelerated pace. Work in full swing started on it in 2015 after an agreement was signed between China and Pakistan to link the warm waters of the Arabian Sea to China and Central Asia. CPEC projects will provide China with an alternate route for energy supplies, as well as a new route by which Western China can conduct trade. Pakistan stands to gain due to upgrade of infrastructure and introduction of a reliable energy supply. It is said that the plans for the corridor date back to 1950 and motivated the construction of Karakoram Highway in 1959. The CPEC was formalised on November 13, 2016 when the first Chinese convoy carrying 250 containers arrived in Gwadar for export to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UAE and the EU. The Chinese exports via Malacca Straits have not only been lengthy but also subject to risk due to the problems in the area. The new corridor is a big boon for Chinese from all angles. It will also allow the Central Asian countries to have an alternate route. Pakistan will have a tremendous impact in every possible way including abundance of energy from which it has been suffering.

In fact, the development of this economic activity would be a boon for the entire South Asian region. One would have expected that India which from the time of Pandit Nehru has been trying to lead South Asia for development would welcome the setting up of this economic zone. On the contrary, the Indian side has been feeling uncomfortable with the setting up of this economic corridor. Unfortunately, they have been facilitating the re-colonisation of the country by the western powers especially, the Americans through a corporate culture. There is still time to take a bold initiative and offer to join this important economic activity which could sort out the age old political problems facing the sub-continent. Ironically, all the earlier Indian supporters including Russia are keen to join the corridor.

The most important constituent of the corridor is the road and rail link that would be passing through Gilgit-Baltistan which has been part of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. Interestingly, Kashmir getting a connection to this link which has in fact been the historical route of trade between Kashmir and China till 1947 would be a big boon to the otherwise physically and politically isolated Kashmir Valley. The traders from Yarqand, Kashgar and other places used to come regularly to Kashmir with their long lines of Bactrian camels. The Zoji La route was the famous caravan route for trade with the Central Asia and China including Yarqand, Kashgar, and Sinkiang and so on. The Hajis from Yarqand used to go to Makkah through Kashmir. There was a Sarai of Yarqandis in Safakadal known as Kak Sarai where one could see lines of Bactrian camels (Double Humped) which used to come from Yarqand and other places.  In fact, a large number of refugees from the Chinese Revolution in 1949 came from Sinkiang and Yarqand to Kashmir. They ultimately migrated to Turkey and other places. Some remained here. This route was a small branch of the historically famous Silk Route.

Incidentally, Kashmir has had strong relationship with China in the past. The Annals of Tang dynasty of China know Lalitaditya-Muktapida under the name of Mu-to-pi, as the King of Kashmir who sent an embassy to the Chinese court during the reign of Emperor Hiuen-tsung (AD 713-755). The main purpose of the embassy had been to seek alliance of the Chinese rulers against Tibet. Ambassador U-li-to whom Mu-to-pi had sent to the imperial court distinctly claimed for his master repeated victories over Tibetans. The auxiliary Chinese force of two hundred thousand men which the Kashmir King invited to his country and for which he proposed to establish a camp on the shores of Mahapadma or Volur Lake, was meant for further operations against the common foe. There is evidence that the Tibetans had established a powerful empire at that time and had threatened both Kashmir as well as China. As there is no evidence of any Bhautta invasion of Kashmir, one must assume that Lalitaditya’s expeditions towards north were real and lasting and checked the Tibetan march towards Kashmir. Lalitaditya had also subdued Kashmir’s immediate northern neighbours, the Dards. The Dard tribes have from very early times to the present day inhabited the mountain territories immediately adjoining Kashmir to the north and north-west. The very safety of the valley has many times necessitated expeditions against these areas.

As has been opined by many experts, the setting up of this corridor which passes through a part of Kashmir may ultimately help in resolving this age old problem and bring peace not only to the valley but the entire sub-continent. The example of the European countries shows that it is ultimately the economic considerations which take precedence. If after fighting two destructive world wars all these countries finally came together to form the European Union, why can’t India and Pakistan which too have fought a number of wars come together to ameliorate their economically backward masses? We did fight the colonialists and got rid of them but they came back as neo-colonialists through various economic handles with local collaboration. Those people instead of ameliorating our economically weak status created discord and disputes and supplied us weapons to fight each other. This helped them keep their own economies running at our cost. It is time for a rethink if we want to survive and progress. Kashmir could become a free trade zone for the Corridor and practically take on the role of Switzerland through those destructive wars. Let there be an open debate on the subject.


Bhutan-China Boundary Negotiation: Should India Worry? – Analysis

By Amitava Mukherjee* In addition to the diplomatic retreat that India had to swallow over its relations with Nepal, especially with China gaining a new strategic depth in that Himalayan country in…

Source: Bhutan-China Boundary Negotiation: Should India Worry? – Analysis

Why can’t China come closer to Kashmir region?

From Beijing to Guangdong and Shanghai to Chengdu , Eastern China is overcrowded, brimming and desperate to expand. Even with a reduced growth target the country needs to adjust its fiscal policy measures with a renewed pledge to economic prosperity goals. Economy is not a sole headache for self-centred leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The list of worries goes beyond economic agenda. International trade, regional political nexus in the South China Sea region and trade liberalisation are a few to name.

The economic, cultural and social background of the mega-cities development of China’s provides ample evidence of the success of country’s mechanisms of governance and urban growth strategies. However, China’s economic power in western half of the country is yet to be exploited. The Chinese government envisions a new era marked by the theme of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, it is all the more important for it to carry on the Silk Road Spirit in face of the weak recovery of the global economy, and complex international and regional situations.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a well planned, strategically significant and economically viable option that will set China’s role in a multipolar world. The region expanding from Chengdu to Yunnan and Gangsu to Kashgar, which is bigger than Europe in size is yet to be explored, tapped and plugged with prosperous China.  Thus, several regions in central and western China are in need of a quick surge in economic activity.

The growth targets for infrastructure development in Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Chongqing and Shaanxi are ambitiously high. As China comprehends the Belt and Road Initiative will further its agenda to Central Asia and the Middle East, China’s western inland regions are desperatedly looking for speeding up projects involving construction, engineering and transportation.

The mega cities on China’s well-developed eastern coast has less potential to attract further expansion, while central and western regions will continue their high-speed growth in investment in future. By tapping into these unexplored and unpaved regions, both internally and externally, China can pursue a target that matches to it’s economic might.

However, what is lacking in this design is an ostentatious expression of an intention to embark upon these projects . Arguably, it reflects China’s age old policy of not being over ambitious when riding on a rocky roller-coaster of economic and development growth.

In an age of rising protectionism and anti-globalisation , China’s political backing to those regions that have never been on the radar of powerful global economic giants, can be a blessing in disguise for them. The regional neighbours of China which are less developed, scarcely populated or hitherto unknown to the world are equally promising, attractive and well-suited to the agenda. Apart from densely populated countries such India, Pakistan, Iran small regional small pockets like Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Jammu and Kashmir, Nepal and Tibet can be for more attractive locations for meeting growth targets than China’s internal dispersed regions.

China’s ambitions for regional development, cooperation and advancement in various sectors may not necessarily be exploitative in nature as is brandished in regional and international press. Any of the world power-houses is too good to be branded as highly responsible, intrinsically positive in its political or otherwise agenda and comfortably sitting on a moral high ground. Why is it not good for China to take one step forward and extend a helping to those smaller nations and countries who have not yet been able to be fairly and equally benefited from their immediate circle of influence?

So, will it be too optimistic or dangerous for people of Jammu and Kashmir region to reflect upon a possibility of closer economic, social and cultural ties with China? Luckily, history has a whole lot of conceptual, experiential and thematic areas to look into such possibilities. For people of Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining regions, the time has never been so ripe to be open for a realistic, pragmatic and tactical change in their direction.

A study of cultural routes of Jammu region

Poonam Chaudhary// It is a well-known fact that cultural and commercial intercourse existed between India and China since ancient times. It may however be noted here that Kashmir, the northernmost state of India played a major role in this commercial intercourse.

We also know that for external trade Kashmir was connected to central Asia via the silk route. The commodities like saffron, kutha (herb used for medicinal purposes), etc were in great demand in China . We have ample of refrences to prove that saffron was exported from Kashmir to China during third century B.C. and that Chinese monks used large quantities of saffron in the rituals connected with their daily worship.

Similar demand existed for Kutha with China was thus to some extent responsible for the flourishing economy of ancient Kashmir. However, the intercourse between China and Kashmir was not only commercial but cultural influences too flowed via the silk route.

Hieun tsang , the celebrated Chinese pilgrim is said to have visited the valley in study Buddhism .Later Fahien and Itsing , the Chinese pilgrims came to India to know more about Buddhism. Hence, the importance of this study cannot be underestimated.

The trade and salt routes played an important role in stabilizing the economy of Jammu and kasmir state since ancient times. The routes acted not only as the channels for trade and commerce but also contributed in te promotion of culture and learning. Kashmir, the summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir evolved as a cultural and intellectual center from ancient times and continued to be so at least till after the Mughal era, and it’s an atmosphere, which still pervades today. Jammu, the winter capital of the state too basked in the same atmosphere.

It would not be wrong to mention here that the state of Jammu and Kashmir in ancient times comprised not only the provinces of present day Jammu and Kashmir but also the regions like Bimber, Sialkot, Mirpur, Kotli, Muzzafrabad, etc, which are now under POK jurisdiction It may also be noted here that the region was so located that through out its history it remained strategically as well as economically very important, as through the region passed the main routes of cultural and commercial intercourse.

Due to this Kashmir since ancient times had flourishing trade based economy and hence was very well connected for external as well as internal trade. For external trade Kashmir was connected to Central Asia via the Silk route and with the western world through sea/ riverine routes.

Similarly for internal trade Kashmir was connected with the rest of Indian sub- continent through various land routes, which passed through different areas of the State, thereby enhancing the trade potentials of these areas.

Entire trade of the area was possible only because of the network of routes and which resulted in an expansion of commercial and cultural exchanges between Kashmir, China, Tibet, etc on one hand and on the other with rest of India. It was because of the lucrative trade that the entire region, comprising the modern state of Jammu and Kashmir, flourished.

These routes, which traversed the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir, acted as channels for transporting not only commercial commodities but also religious and cultural influences of the neighbouring areas into the region.

Looking at the population of the state on can easily have the glimpse of the cultural fusion, which took place in the areas along theses routes. One important example of this is the concentration of the Sikh community along these trade routes in the area of Poonch.

Similarly we have people who call themselves Mughals and trace their descent from them. A study of the cultural fusion which took place on these routes is an important part of the intangible heritage and is an interesting study.

An abstract from a conference Paper.

Poonam, Chaudhary l(2005) A study of cultural routes of Jammu Region. In: 15th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Monuments and sites in their setting – conserving cultural heritage in changing townscapes and landscapes’, 17 – 21 oct 2005, Xi’an, China.

A brutal history of tax collection in Kashmir

The history of tax collection in Kashmir is not just thought-provoking; it is a symbolic account of an immoral, brutal and corrupt revenue collection system which was built hundreds of years ago, and is still functioning in various forms.

The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir came into existence in March 1846 with the signing of the Treaty of Amritsar between the East India Company and the Dogra Raja of Jammu. The British established their control over the political and economic administration of the state by posting their officials. In fact, after setting up the residency in 1885, the British directly intervened in the running of the tax and revenue affairs of the princely state.

Before the arrival of the Dogra’s, the people of Kashmir had witnessed various rulers and dynasties as well as undergone numerous phases of state formation and revenue generation. The practice of land grants to a few families in exchange for loyalty and support continued through the centuries. The rulers generated resources by levying several taxes beside collecting land revenue from cultivators. Details about the volume of land revenue collected are not available for the early medieval period.

The current revenue collection system in Kashmir evolved as early as the Mughal period in Kashmir.To maintain economic and political stability in the state, Emperor Akbar sent a five-member team in 1589 to formulate the pattern of land revenue assessment and to determine the nature and volume of collection. Thus, a detailed report about the nature of land, its classification, production and appropriation was prepared.

Several revenue collection departments, officials and agencies established by Mughal emperors about 300 years ago still exist in all parts of modern Kashmir.

For instance, this was the Mughal era when revenue administration was thoroughly reorganized by with the creation of positions such as patwari, tahsildar, amil, fotedar, musif, qanungo, chaudhri, dewan and others.

In today’s revenue collection systems, patwaris and tehsildars work amicably with the database administrators, and there exists no conflict of interest. The interest of all official revenue collection agencies in Kashmir was linked with the state exchequer in times of Maharaja and it continues to serve the state governments on both sides of the Line of Control today.

Hundreds of years ago, the revenue generation in Kashmir was based on activities related to agriculture, village manufacturing and wood carving, weaving of woollen cloth, basket making, papier machie, silver and copper work, shawl and carpet making, leather furs. Land taxes, both in kind and cash, formed a vital component of the revenue.

After the Mughal period, the Afghan, Sikh and Dogra rulers retained with minor variations, the practice of land grants and old system of revenue generation. Jagirdars imposed various levies and taxes on the farmers as several corrupt practices entered the administration of revenue collection.

The Sikh rulers time, the land was considered the property of the ruler called Khalisa, which was partly given out as grants jagirs and partly assigned to cultivators every year in proportion to the strength of the family.

In times of Maharajas, Pandits, Sayyids and Pirzadas charged taxes to people on behalf of the rulers.

During the British rule, the advocacy of grain trade and the shift towards payment of land taxes in cash led to far reaching changes in the economy.

Waltraud Ernst and Biswamoy Pati, Ed. Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Asia, India’s Princely States. People, princes and colonialism, Routledge, 2007

Siddiqi, Norman Ahmad. Land revenue administration under the Mughals, 1700-1750. Published for the Centre of Advanced Study, Dept. of History, Aligarh Muslim University [by] Asia Pub. House, 1970.

Tulbul Shah brought silk to Kashmir

A large number of devotees recently gathered to pay obeisance to Sufi saint Tulbul Shah at his shrine in Sopore.

Tulbul Shah, who had arrived Kashmir during the era of Hazrat Bulbulshah via the Silk Route, brought Mulberry trees from Kashgar in China.

He himself planted lakhs of Mulberry trees in the area. It was from here that Kashmiri silk acquired fame and greater preference over Chinese silk.

Farooq Renzu Shah, the Chairman of the Kashmir Society International, said, “We had beaten China’s silk industry and for two to three centuries, Kashmir remained unbeaten in silk production. Wherever you go Silk is being sold in the name of Kashmir. No matter it is produced in Amritsar in India or in Canada, but they write it as Kashmir. The silk’s main source was this area, but lakhs of Mulberry trees were cut brutally and converted this region as desert”.

Shah and others planted a few Mulberry trees near the shrine as tribute to the Sufi saint.

Shah said that the saint also blessed Kashmir with the largest reservoir Lake Wulur to ensure the maximum preservation of waters from the River Jhelum.

“We have to preserve our water reservoirs. We had trade roads, which have disappeared. We used to have major trade through silk route. And, it was due to this area. This was the actual destination of trade during the Indus civilization. This is the confluence of Walur and Jehlum, where many people from the world over wish to travel, but they fail to visit,” Shah said.

Thousands of Mulberry trees were destroyed due to negligence in the recent past. The Jammu and Kashmir government has plans to revive it by planting more mulberry trees as tribute to Tulbul Shah. (ANI)

Historical background of the Belt and Road Initiative

The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an integral part of the Belt and Road initiative of China, is a befitting title to the historical Silk Route. Traditionally, it was a network of trade routes, formally established during the Han Dynasty of China, which linked various regions of the ancient world.c9e05a660f34ec4654fae2a5a63b8bd9

Indeed, the Silk Road was an access linking east with west, the term ‘Silk Routes’ has become increasingly favoured by historians, though ‘Silk Road’ is the more common and recognized name. In some history books, the Silk Road has been prescribed as pre-dated to the Han Dynasty. From Herodotus to the Persian story tellers, there is huge variety of literature that mentions the grand silk routes.
The Greeks and Romans knew China with a name that meant a land where silk came from’. Another traditional story relates the name of the China, with the merchandise that was transported on camels and horses.110120180759
In ancient China, the Chinese silk was very popular with the west, especially in ancient Europe. As the ancient Silk Road routes stretched from China to Africa and Europe, the Belt and Road Initiative derives the inspiration from old grandeur of the Chinese trade.SilkRoadStatue

The Arabian Peninsula region including the present-day Iran and Central Asian states were the neighbouring regions of the Silk route. The earliest symbols of Old China’s industrial inventions are paper and the gun powder which were traded more frequently than the silk. The rich spices of the east, also, contributed more than the fashion which grew up from the silk industry.

Kashgar to Kashmir

The link between Kashgar and Kashmir is deep rooted in history. Trade, economy, tourism and  social ties are the ancient links between these two scenic places. The most recent is a shared hope for a prosperous future.

Kashgar is a city region in the west of China. It is located at a junction between two branches of the old Silk road. Travel is convenient to/from major cities of mainland China including Urumqi,  Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.China-map-2015-with-Urumqi
is also linked with Kashmir via the silk road. After crossing China Pakistan border at Sost village in Gojal area,the travel is possible towards Upper Hunza, Gilgit–Baltistan and all other main cities in Pakistan.8EC0963E-DF29-4EED-BD51-46C9C79F4F03_w650_r0_s

Sost is the last town inside Pakistan on the Karakoram Highway before the Chinese border. The town is home to a strategic port on the Silk Route as all traffic crossing the Pakistan-China border passes through this town. The Pakistani immigration and customs departments are based here. Pakistan and China have modernized the  border control system for trade and tourism at the port city.

The Silk Route Dry Port operates at Sost to facilitate the trade shipments. Annual trade between China and Pakistan has increased from less than $2 billion in 2002 to $6.9 billion, with a goal of $15 billion by 2014.

Sost dry port is the first formal port at the China-Pakistan border, facilitating customs clearance and other formalities for goods moving from the Chinese regions of Kasghar and Sinkyang to the commercial centers of Pakistan.1175039_10200481774627038_1899106878_n  Sost town is connected by the Karakoram Highway to Gulmit, Aliabad, Gilgit and Chilas on the south and the Chinese cities of Tashkurgan, Upal and Kashgar in the north.

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