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In 1947, Britain ended its rule on the Indian subcontinent by dividing India into two separate countries, Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Partition unleashed a wave of violence and forced about 12 million people from their homes.
Not much has changed in the intervening 70 years for those living in the Kashmir region. Stuck in the middle, violence and upheaval is no mere memory for them. It's a part of daily life.
The story of Kashmir is complicated. Within the new borders of India and Pakistan were more than 500 sovereign princely states. British colonial officials gave rulers of these states the option to join one of the two countries, or stay independent. But, ahead of Partition, the Hindu Maharaja of the mostly Muslim Kashmir hesitated about which country to join. After Partition he chose India, but with the condition that a plebiscite would be held.
Later that year, though, India and Pakistan fought their first war over the region and the United Nations brokered a peace splitting Kashmir temporarily into two - one part administered by India, one part by Pakistan.
It has been like that since and no plebiscite has been held. So what does the future hold? Will Kashmir always be divided?
On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Assistant Professor, Lafayette College
Rifat Mohidin @rifatmohidin
Journalist and author, "Azad Kashmir and British Kashmiris"
Tanveer Ahmed @sahaafi
What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.