Endemic poverty, violence, and oppression, however, have meant that for many inhabitants Kashmir has become a “hell on earth,” especially since the 1980s when the bitter conflict between the inhabitants of the valley and the central government greatly escalated, leading to curfews, economic chaos, and civil disturbances. The tragic human and economic costs of the conflict have been enormous, as have been the national, regional, and global security implications. In August 1947, the Indian subcontinent was divided into two independent nations: the Hindu majority Republic of India and the Muslim majority Pakistan. Sheikh Abdullah had become a warm friend and political ally of Jawaharlal Nehru, the secularist and socialist leader of the Indian Nationalist Congress Party, which played a major role in gaining independence from Britain. The sacking and jailing of Abdullah and the cavalier dismissal of Kashmiri concerns about their future in a Hindu-dominated state was the first of many blunders that the Indian state has made in Kashmir.