- Kathua district
Kathua district is one of 14 administrative districts that comprise the state of
Jammu and Kashmirin India. It is surrounded by Jammu to the northwest, the Dodaand Udhampurdistricts to the north, the state of Himachal Pradeshto the east, Punjab to the south, and Pakistanto the west. Its terrain is diverse, consisting of rich agricultural areas along the Pakistani border, plains sweeping eastward to the foothills of the Himalaya, and a mountainous Pahariregion in the east.
Kathua district is divided into 8 blocks:Bani, Barnoti, Basholi,
Billawar, Duggan, Ghagwal, Hiranagar, Kathua and Lohai Malhar. It has approximately 587 villages.
The traditional language of Kathua is
Dogri. The Pahari language is prevalent in the mountainous area of the east. The principal media of education are English, Hindi, and Urdu.
Muslimmajority state, Kathua, like the Jammu region, is overwhelmingly Hindu, the religionpracticed by 91% of its district population. Another 7% is Muslim, and 2% Sikh.
A relatively safe regional pocket, Kathua was spared the decade-long insurrection sparked by the
Khalistanseparatist movement in Punjab that ended in the early 1990s, just to its south, and the ongoing Terrorism in KashmirValley further to the north, beginning in the 1980's.
Though there is no detailed and fully documented history of Kathua district. It is believed that One Jodh Singh a famous Rajput of Andotra clan migrated from
Hastinapurto Kathua nearly 2000 years ago and settled here. The three Hamlets of Taraf Tajwal, Taraf Manjali and Taraf Bhajwal were established by his three sons Viz. Teju, Kindal and Bhaju. Their descendant are now called as Tajwalia, Bhajwalia and Khanwalia Rajputs of Andotra sub-caste. The conglomeration of these three hamlets was loosely called “KATHAI” in earlier times which with the passage of time came to be called as Kathua.
Greek historians, who provide an insight into the ancient history of Jammu hills prominently record the existence of two powerful empires of Abhisara (present day
Poonch) and Kathaioi at the time of invasion of India by Alexander, Strabo describes Kathaioi as a mighty republic of that era located in the foothills along river Ravi. The topography of Kathaioi corresponds with the present day Kathua. Starbo describes the people of the republic as epitone of bravery and courage and records that they gave a tough fight to invading army of Alexander.
Basohli, a town of Kathua district, is widely known for its paintings. Immortalised by their artistic eminences and their connoisseur patrons, Basohli today is a metaphor for a vigorous, bold and imaginative artistic style, rich, stylish and unconventional. A style of painting characterized by vigorous use of primary colours and a peculiar facial formula prevailed in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries in the foothills of the Western Himalayas in the Jammu and Punjab States. The earliest paintings in this style originated in Basohli from where the style spread to the Hill States of Mankot, Nurpur, Kulu, Mandi, Suket, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, Chamba, Guler and Kangra. The first mention of Basohli painting is in the annual report of the Archaeological Survey of India for the year published in 1921.
Kathua district consists of 8 blocks: Billawar, Basholi, Bani, Duggan, Lohi Malhar, Kathua, Barnoti and Hiranagar. [ [http://jkrd.nic.in/listAllDistricts.pdf Statement showing the number of blocks in respect of 22 Districts of Jammu and Kashmir State including newly Created Districts] dated 2008-03-13, accessed 2008-08-30] Each block consists of a number of
Kathua District has 5 assembly constituencies: Bani, Basohli, Kathua, Billawar and Hiranagar (S.C). [cite web| url=http://ceojammukashmir.nic.in/ERos_AERos.html | title=ERO's and AERO's | publisher=Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir | accessdate=2008-08-28]
* [http://kathua.nic.in/thumb/basohlipaints.htm Gallery for Basohli paintings]
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