British-Paharis

Britian's Pahari Community

British-Paharis comprise of a multitude of communities that include diasporas from Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, Pakistan and Indian-administered-Kashmir. The largest of these communities originates from the Mirpur Division of Pakistan-administered-Kashmir, otherwise known as 'Azad' Jammu & Kashmir. Historically, Mirpur formed part of the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir, a territory that had been indirectly controlled by the British Indian Empire. Today, in international circles the State is known as 'Kashmir' or 'Kashmir State' although the Vale of Kashmir only forms a small part of the State. Following the demise of the British Indian Empire and the communal violence that erupted during its end-days, the Princely State was fought over by the newly constituted Republics of India and Pakistan. As a colonial polity, its 'Hindu' ruler eventually acceded to India whilst large swathes of the Muslim population sought union with Pakistan. This sparked a bitter running conflict between Muslim Pakistan and Secular India. According to international law and UN resolutions to which both India and Pakistan are signatories, the territory is of disputed status awaiting final settlement according to the wishes of its people. The inhabitants of Kashmir State comprise of different ethnic and linguistic groups, each with different sets of political priorities and aspirations. This is further compounded by the misleading shorthand for the state that gives the illusion that we are dealing with a united people with a shared vision of their national aspirations. There are also large sub-sections of the population in each of the administered regions who demand independence based on the colonial state's original borders. 

Following Pakistan's occupation of 'Kashmir State' Mirpur District was reconstituted municipally. The new but much smaller configuration now comprises of Dadyal, Chakswari and Mirpur but the larger Division includes Kotli and Bhimbar. A much smaller part roughly conterminus with the niabut tehsil (administrative unit) of Nowshera, was reconstituted to form part of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir (2) also known in international circles as Indian-administered-Kashmir. Many non-Muslim Mirpuris (Hindus and Sikhs) sought refuge in the Jammu Province of Indian-administered-Kashmir where they account for a large minority. According to some estimates, it is believed that this population that includes Pahari refugees from Muzaffarabad and Poonch has grown to approximately 1 million people. Post-partition approximately 400.000 of these have been resettled in other States of the Indian Union.

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