In 1846, the British created the state of Jammu and Kashmir and then quickly sold this prized region to the wily and powerful Raja Gulab Singh. Intriguingly, had they retained it, the India-Pakistan dispute over possession of the state may never have arisen; but Britain’s concerns lay elsewhere—expansionist Russia, beguiling Tibet and unstable China—and their agents played the ‘Great Game’ in Afghanistan and what was then known as ‘Turkistan’.
In this authoritative book, Christopher Snedden contextualizes the geo-strategic and historical circumstances surrounding the British decision to relinquish prestigious Kashmir, and explains how they and four Dogra maharajas consolidated and controlled J&K subsequently. He details the distant borders and disunified peoples that comprised this diverse princely state, and explains the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir’s controversial accession to India in 1947—and its unintended consequences.
Snedden weaves a compelling narrative that frames the Kashmir dispute, explains why it continues, and assesses what it means politically and administratively for the divided peoples of the state and their undecided futures.