Kargil History, Geography,Climate

Kargil District (Brief Introduction): Kargil, the second mountainous district of Ladakh region of the Jammu & Kashmir lies across the lofty Himalayan ranges. It is situated in the western most stretches of Tibetan cold deserts. The climate is very harsh, maximum temperature goes upto 300C in Mid July and minimum temperature is recorded minus 350C in winter months. Winter starts right from Mid November and ends in Mid April. Being cold area, precipitation is low and wheather remains dry throughout the year minimum snowfall is 1-2 feet and maximum 3-5 feet in winter months. Harshness of the climate can well be judged from the fact that Drass, an important region of Kargil is the second coldest inhabited place in the world. June, July and August are the main working months and rest of the two months of September and October passes in collecting winter stockings.

Communication:- Kargil District remained totally a land locked region. People used to travel long distances to Srinager and other neighbouring important cities on foot or on ponies for trade and commerce and treatment as well. Kargil town was an important station on the Treaty Route leading to famous SILK ROUTE. It was only in late sixties that the Government of India constructed a motorable road between Srinager and Kargil via Zojila pass. The people of Kargil could then see marvels of the ‘wheels’ the most revolutionizing invention of mankind. Vehicular transport were started to play between Srinager and Kargil. Travel & trade avenues were opened for one and all.

Population: The present day population of Kargil is an amalgamation of Dard (Aryan) Mangol & North Indian Mons (Aryan) who were early settlers of these mountainous valleys.

Tribe: As per the survey conducted by the Registrar General of India in nineties, about 95% of the population comprises of 8 tribes namely Purik,Balti, Boto, Mon, Dard, Brokpa & Sheena. The Government of India through an enactment in 1995 declared all the above tribes as “Scheduled Tribe”and provided necessary reservation and other concessions as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

                                            It won’t be out of place to mention here that the famous Aryan race is inhabited in Batalik area of Kargil.

Occupation: Majority of the population is engaged in agriculture cultivating small land holdings and rearing few domestic animals. A small portion of the population is engaged as seasonal labourers and a small size is now-a-days employed in government and semi government offices. A countable number is also engaged in trade and commerce and other private businesses. Resources for any industrial and other major economic activity are dearth here.

Governance :- Mostly, Kargil remained under chieftain with some interlude of sway under major rulers of neighbour hood till it was conquered by the Dogra rulers of Jammu in 1834 AD and became an integral part of Jammu & Kashmir, India.

Religion: – About 88% of the population is Muslim out of which 90% belongs to Shia sect and the rest Sunni sect of Islam. About 12 % of the population belongs to Buddhist faith. Followers of other religions like Hindu, Sikh are negligible.

Kargil During Silk Route Trade

General Scenario

Pre-Independence: Due to economic conditions the overall living of the people has remained very pathetic under the rulers. The people have had to pay heavy taxes to the rulers. The rulers hardly used to spend a single penny on welfare and upliftment of the people. Things had to be arranged by the people themselves. The people have had to work hard to keep both the ends meet. In case of draught or famine people were forced to live in starvation. Life was very miserable at that time. Income was very low as opportunities were extinct. People had to strive hard for earning a single rupee to pay the tax on due date to upkeep their land holdings intact. Education and other amenities was things unheard of and even it was considered to be prohibitable acquire knowledge. Schools, hospitals and other basic amenities were extinct. One could hardly even dream of these things.

Post independence:- The country witnessed tremendous development after independence but Kargil remained as it were for various topographical and socio-political reasons. The government, though opened some schools and centre of other amenities at different places but did not yield any thing concrete because of age old oppression, depression, illiteracy and misconceptions. Parents were not ready to send their children to schools. Local teachers/personal were not available at all. Non local teachers etc from either Srinager or Jammu were reluctant to come as Kargil used to remain locked from all sides and it remained cut off from rest of the country for all the year.

After 1962 Chinese aggression on India the Government of India realized the urgency of having a road connectivity to the region for its defence strategies, and constructed a motorable road from Srinager to Kargil. Kargil was then linked with the rest of the country and the world as well. Things started changing gradually thereafter. Amazingly by then Kargil had only 2-3 dozens of matriculate persons and a few graduates belonging to the elite section among the population of about 68000 souls.

The year of 1979 proved to be year of special blessings from the Almighty Allah. Kargil’s fortune started changing from this year. Prior to 1979 Kargil was a Tehsil of the erstwhile district of Ladakh so it had no any proper attention/fundings for its development and prosperity. The sequence. of events that influenced Kargil in that year can broadly be described as follows:

              Firstly in 1979 it was given a status of fullfledged district by the state government and then it got its due share of funds from both the state and central governments enabling it to have proper planning for development. Secondly the success of Islamic Revolution in Iran under the leadership of Imam Khomeini(RA) awakened the people. The hitherto sceptical thinking changed all together and exposure to Islamic awakening started showing results in various developmental fields particularly in education of women. 

Education: This sector got much importance after 1979 both at government and private level. Private schools started to come into existence. Today in addition to the private schools the district has one Degree College, 14 Higher Secondary Schools, 44 High Schools, 256 Middle Schools and 232 Primary schools in the government sector. The present literacy rate of the district as per censes 2011 is 74.49% with considerable increase in women literacy rate.

Health: Although much more needs to be done, yet considerable progress has been made in this sector also. In addition to a 100 bedded District Hospital, has one sub district Hospital, 2 PHCs, 3 CHCs, 14 ADs, 65 Med. Sub centers and 68 MACs at various locations.

Road infrastructure: About 75% of the villages have been covered under motorable road connectivity.