Mr. Kashi Nath Pandita
Mr. Kashi Nath Pandita
Table of Contents
   Index
   About the Author
   Acknowledgments
   Excerpts
   Bibliography
   Abbreviations
   Translation Methodology
   Foreword
   Introduction
   Hindu Period
   Zulchu and Rinchan
   Early Shahmirs
   Later Shahmiris
   The Chaks
   Chak Rulers
   Yusuf Shah Chak's Accession
   Rise & Fall of Yusuf Shah Chak
   Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

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Chapter 7: Yusuf Shah Chak's Accession and Dethronement

Sayyid Mubarak retires

Yusuf Shah formally ascended the throne in the year A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578):

[ verses ]

With his accession, the office of the Chief Vizir passed on to Muhammad Bhat. Sayyid Mubarak Khan now found himself preoccupied by thoughts of the transience of human life and the need for humility on the part of man. Holding his sons by their hands, he brought them to Yusuf Shah in the presence of the elders of this land, and said to him: "All the three sons of mine solemnly declare their allegiance to you and promise to fulfill all the pre-requisites of faithful subordination to you." He reiterated that he had decided to spend the rest of his life in seclusion and retirement, meditating all the time. He said, "It is too well-known that for a long time I have been seized by this desire but the late 'Ali Shah always dissuaded me from taking a step in that direction and, in deference to his wishes, this could not, in fact, materialize. " Yusuf Shah heard these words and nodded in agreement, At this, Miran Sayyid Mubrak felt overjoyed. But he did not cease to pay occasional visits to Yusuf Shah.

Abdal's revolt

During the reign of Yusuf Shah, when Muhammad Bhat had been in office for a little over two months, Abdal Bhat, a rival to the high office of the Chief Vizir, finding himself disappointed, adopted a hostile attitude towards Yusuf Shah. He tried to align with himself disgruntled sections of the people of the land; and, through guile and craft, secured their assistance for realizing his plans. Finding that Sayyid Mubarak Khan rarely went to Yusuf Shah, he concluded that it was an indication of some great confusion in the country.[1] By using false and sinister words, he frightened most of the people like 'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, and Shams Chak, son of Naji Chak. In spite of the fact that they were near relatives of Yusuf, he managed to align them with himself.

Abdal Bhat chose a certain night for raising the banner of revolt, and destroyed the bridges over the river in the city, and on the 16th of Rabi'u'th-Thani, A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578), he sought shelter in the house of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan. Showing profound regards and respect to him, he told him submissively that the Sayyid should not disappoint the supplicants by refusing to grant their request. They declared that bad times had forced them to seek redress of their grievances at the doors of the benign and generous Sayyid.

[ verses ]

The situation caused the Sayyid embarrassment; for a moment he could not decide what course of action he should adopt. But, in conformity with his previous attitude of dissuading 'Ali Shah from inflicting brutal punishments, he undertook to intercede for this group also and forthwith rode to meet Yusuf Shah.[2] But on his way he was told that this group, out of dread and fear of Yusuf's soldiers, had hewed down the bridges over the river in the city and had, thus, precipitated trouble for Yusuf Shah. As the crossing of the river was rendered impossible by the hewed and destroyed bridges, the Sayyid was forced to retrace his steps. He came to the Idgah mosque and summoned Baba Khalilu'llah to his presence to entrust him the mission of intercession lor this group with Yusuf Chak. Through him, he sent a verbal message to Yusuf Shah, entreating him to follow the policy of his father in upholding his (Sayyid's) intercession for the repenting insurgents. He expressed his faith in Yusuf's laudable qualities of character and recommended that he overlook the acts of omission and commission of people, both high and low, of this land. He advised him to patronize them and thus work for the return of peace and tranquility in the kingdom. But, despite Baba Khalil's forceful, persuasive and eloquent representation of their case with the intention of diffusing the tense situation, the counsellors and advisers of the Sultan did not pay heed to his words. On the contrary, they said that the culprits be brought before Ynsuf Shah with their hands and feet put in fetters. They further threatened that anybody promising support to them or showing a partisan attitude towards them would only land himself in the throes of death and destruction.

Sayyid Mubarak confronts

Baba Khalilu'llah was disappointed for having failed in carrying out the mission entrusted to him by Sayyid Mubarak Khan. He was directed to go back, and close at his heels was despatched Muhammad Khan, son of Husi Chak, an acknowledged veteran of Yusuf's army, for fighting Sayyid Mubarak Khan. His troops repaired the bridges over the river in the city near the langar of Baba Bulbul; and crossing the river along with his troops and the ancillary staff, Yusuf Shah reached the Idgah maidan to fight Sayyid Mubarak Khan. It now became clear to the Sayyid that they [Yusuf and his advisers] had abandoned the path of peace and compromise and had taken recourse to confrontation and fighting. Hence, without losing time, he came out with his small force to fight the large army of Yusuf Shah. But, before the actual fighting, he, once again, as on previous occasions, offered to negotiate and intercede on behalf of that (Abdal's) group. But Yusuf Shah's commanders did not listen to him. They thought it an easy task to wipe out a handful of their opponents by making use of arrows, muskot fire, and fire-missiles; thus they thought of strengthening and consolidating the position of Yusuf Shah.

As against this, the aforesaid Sayyid, proud of his inherent traits of bravery and manliness, got involved in a fight with a large number of his opponents. Historians have given an account of this battle in prose as well as in verse.

[ verses ]

Battle at Idgah

Being very close to each other the two armies found it impracticable to use arrows and lances. Consequently, they used their swords and daggers and got locked up in a hand to hand fight. In the course of fighting, Muhammad Khan, a peerless warrior of this land, fell from his horse, but quickly got back into the saddle and continued to fight bravely and was slain.

[ verses ]

In the battle, Malik Mir Qasim, the youthful son of Najl Malik, fought gallantly but was slain. 'Ali Malik, an accomplice of Abdal Bhat and the cause of turmoil and destruction of Yusuf Shah's regime, received a blow fram the sword of Mir Muhammad, son of Naji Malik which sliced off one of his nostrils and he fell down from his horse.

[ verses ]

At the instance of Lohar Chak, son of Shankar Chak, he got a second cut on the same wound which caused his death after a few days. Another recognised Kashmiri warrior, Ibrahim Ganai, was slain on the battlefield by a stroke from the sword of Sayyid Husain Khan. Most of the soldiers of Yusuf's army sustained many deep wounds at the hands of the sons of the above-mentioned Sayyid. At last, finding themselves hard-pressed, they retreated by crossing the Nawakadal bridge and then rejoined Yusuf Shah at Zaldagar maidan. Some of his soldiers joined Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan's camp and the opponents of Yusuf Shah. It led to a large scale disorder and disruption in Yusuf Shah's domain.

[ verses ]

Yusuf's tactics

On account of these developments, Yusuf Shah reproached his counsellors and advisers, accusing them of their short-sightedness and poor intelligence. He stressed that if they had heeded to the recommendations of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and acted upon them as they did in the past, they would not have seen this day of defeat and misery.

[ verses ]

Perceiving that Yusuf Shah had been overtaken by defeat and dejection, his opponents went to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and suggested to him that he should forthwith move towards Yusuf Shah and deny him a chance of withdrawing from the battlefield unhurt so that he does not become a cause of further chaos and confusion.

[ verses ]

For the good of the land this was sound advice but being a devotedly God-fearing man, he turned it down, and told them: "Only dogs fight over wretched morsels; it does not behove friends to fight over material possessions."

Mulla Hasan's negotiations

The Sayyid thus turned down the suggestion of chasing Yusuf Shah, saying that they had not to forget that he was the descendant of 'Ali Shah. Yusuf Shah came to know of it and, because of his helplessness, adopted an attitude of friendship and conciliation. He deputed Mulla Hasan Asward, the tutor of the late 'Ali Shah, on a mission to apprise Sayyid Mubarak Khan of the circumstances which had led to the present crisis. Mulla Hasan, in turn, communicated to the Sayyid all that Yusuf had desired of him to report regarding the condoning of his past acts of omission. The Sayyid listened to the Mulla with full attention and told him that unlike in the past nobody was prepared to take his counsel then; and the result was chaos and disorder of great magnitude. If the ugly exchange of insults and counter-insults had not taken place, he would have called on Yusuf Shah that very moment, revealed the facts to him, and reinstalled him on the throne. But as the disturbances were on the increase, it would be advisable that the aforesaid Shah retired to some mountain place in Kashmir, the climate of which would suit him. He should live there for sometime with all his treasures and equippage. God willing, he would be recalled after some time and re-installed on the throne of his kingdom.

Yusuf dethroned

It may be recalled that, on account of a breakdown in the administration during the days of Yusuf Shah,[3] Haidar Chak moved in from Kamara; and entered the services of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan after the above-mentioned battle was over. In the course of deliberations between the Sayyid and Yusuf's envoy, named Mulla Hasan, Haidar Chak addressed the Mulla in uncivil words. Taking cue from the Sayyid, the Mulla reacted with harsh words, saying that the illustrious king had a hundred thousand footmen like him to run errands and it hardly behoved a man of his diminutive stature to speak contemptuously of him.

[ verses ]

Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan ignored them, and sent Baba Khalilu'llah, Miran Sayyid Barkhordar, and Mulla Hasan to Yusuf Shah to convey to him permission to leave. Yusuf Shah sent his royal belongings to the house of 'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak,[4] through the brave and capable Naji Malik he proceeded to the mountains of Nayaks,[5] a site for which he had a liking.

The stalemate

This course of action was hardly agreeable to Yusuf's opponents, and the efforts of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan to reestablish law and order in the state earned him nothing but their malice. All of them together with 'Ali Khan and Abdal Bhat retired with pomp from the locality of Idgah to their respective places. Showing due courtesy to them the Sayyid retired to his place.

Mubarak declines crown

Miran Sayyid was too self-abnegating to be tempted by wordly things and, as such, the throne of this land remained unoccupied for some time for want of an incumbent. Ali Khan, the eldest of brothers, saw that Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan did not covet worldly possessions and, therefore, resolved to seize the authority of this land for himself. He felt encouraged by the support of his brothers and associates and felt haughty by the riches left by Yusuf Shah in his trust. For three successive days he remained confined to his house and did not call on Miran Sayyid Mubarak. The counsellors, the secretaries and the sons of Miran Sayyid came to him (Miran Sayyid) one by one and talked to him about the nature of the situation that prevailed. They told him that even a single minute of kingship was a boon and that royal robes befitted the body of none but he.

[ verses ]

They declared that he was the finest of the clan of noble Sayyids and the most illustrious of the elderly persons of that house. The Sayyid declined to oblige and told them that he was not interested and if they wanted him to be their friend he should be left alone. He further told them that they could entrust this important responsibility to anyone they liked.

[ verses ]

After saying these words, he came out of his private chamber and sat in the audience-hall.[6] He then distributed the crown and the royal parasol which had been artistically decorated and studded with precious jewels among his soldiers and spiritualists.[7] In this way, he caused searing pain to peop]e with material ambitions.

[ verses ]

Mubarak assumes power

In the year A.H. 988 (A.D. 1580), the reins of authority of this realm passed into the hands of that illustrious Sayyid. But he detested and, therefore, denied himself the display of pomp and glory. He freed the minds of the people of this land from fear of oppression and tyranny and opened the doors of equitable justice and compassion for one and all . [8] Years after this event, Kashmiri nobles and commanders received encouragement from Yusuf Shah,[9] and developed rancour and malice against Mubarak Shah. They joined hands and on the second Sha'ban of the aforesaid year[10] recalled Yusuf Shah from the mountains.

Yusuf returns

Yusuf was brought to Barthal ranges,[11] and was joined by a large number of soldiers, villagers, horsemen, footmen and highlanders. On the other side, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah also started necessary preparations to keep his troops in readiness and moved on to the village Sast[l2] [sic] wherefrom he sent a message to Yusuf Shah.[l3] It said that since life was uncertain, he was sure that a mutual dialogue would be in the interests of peace and would lead to a solution to the crisis. "Let all fears be given up to help the beginning of a dialogue," it said. The message was conveyed to Yusuf Shah through one Da'ud Mir. Yusuf Shah trusted the words of Sayyid Mubarak Shah and despatched two of his sons, Mirza Ya'qub and Mirza Ibrahim, to him along with Da'ud Mir and Mulla Hasan Aswad. He was also inclined to hold a meeting with him.

Meanwhile, Abdal Bhat learnt about these negotiations. He sent word to Yusuf Shah and his commanders imploring them not to trust Sayyid Mubarak Khan and not to be duped into a meeting with him. He also added that [Abdal Bhat and his party] had rectified their past lapses on their own and would henceforth strive their every nerve to achieve whatever aims and objectives he had. At last through flattery and cunning, he (Abdal) succeeded in aligning with himself a majority of nobles, commanders and soldiers of the realm of Kashmir and thus imagined himself to have been elevated to some superior position. In this way started the the rivalry and ill-will between them.[l4]

The clash

Abdal Bhat's words eventually destroyed Yusuf Shah's power of right thinking. His counsellors and advisers showed contemptuous indifference to Da'ud Mir, the emissary, and spoke to him harshly:

[ verses ]

The emissary informed Miran Sayyid Muhammad how badly he had been treated and what harsh and uncivil words were spoken to him [by the advisers of Yusuf Shah]. He further told him that they thought of nothing but fighting him. The aforesaid Sayyid, infused with a sense of valour and heroism, so pre-eminently needed in a warrior, set up a royal pageant and swiftly crossed mountains and plains with such facility as if he was moving through gardens, and engaged himself in fighting with his adversary. In this battle some enemy warriors of considerable renown like Geda Beg Turkman and Bolar Khan Afghan[15] were slain on the battlefield.

[ verses ]

Shanki Mir Chadura and others were taken prisoner and brought before the Sayyid with their hands and feet in chains. All the houses of Naji Raina in the village of Barthal were set on fire and got reduced to ashes.

Yusuf Shah, preferring death to a dishonourable life, took position on the steep mountain summit of Bartal along with a handful of his associates.[16]

[ verses ]

Mubarak relents

Sayyid Miran was moved by this, and out of compassion, he adopted a patronizing attitude towards Yusuf Shah's staff. He put a stop to the attempts of his soldiers and field commanders to take revenge against Yusuf Shah. On the aforesaid day, along with his soldiers, he entered into the city triumphantly. It almost looked like a pageant.

'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, held himself back for sometime in the countryside on the pretext of shikar and did not join Yusuf Shah. He explained his conduct to Sayyid Mubarak and returned to the city.

[ verses ]

Before doing so, he divulged to Abdal Bhat all that had transpired between him and Yusuf Shah and also the words of love and friendship which he had spoken to him out of expediency. Although Abdal was revolted by his words, he gave no expression to his feelings and kept it a secret.

During this time, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah was taken ill. Abdal Bhat looked upon the Sayyid's temporary illness as a serious set-back to his plans. Forthwith he came to see him and pursuaded him to imprison 'Ali Khan for some time because, according to him, 'Ali Khan had once again taken to subversive activities. He also told him that it was necessary because of his failing health . Abdal Bhat pleaded that 'Ali Khan could be set free after the disturbances had subsided and he was restored to health.

Ali Khan trapped

Having discussed the proposed course of action with the advisers of Sayyid Mubarak so as to get it ratified by him, he went to 'Ali Khan and through deceit and cunning sent him to the presence of Sayyid Mubarak with pomp and show. Himself he returned to his lodging with the hope that on seeing the physical infirmity of the Sayyid, 'Ali Khan might be tempted to rise in revolt against him. 'Ali Khan dismounted from his horse and proceeded towards Miran Sayyid. Da'ud Mir Piloo (Biloo ?), one of the veteran warriors of the Sayyid took him by hand and led him straight to the prison-house. Most of his military officers and commanders, like Shams Dooni and Daulat Khan, became confused and sought refuge in the house of Miran Sayyid Husain Khan. Shams Chak, 'Alam Sher Khan and others came as supplicants to the house of Miran Sayyid Shah Abu'l-Mu'ali and offered to keep themselves at his disposal.

Abdal's trick

Abdal Bhat combined in himself the twin qualities of shrewdness and villainy. He told Lohar Chak and the top leaders of the tribe of Chaks that in that matter Miran Sayyid had acted independently and had never sought his advice. He cautioned them that a similar treatment could be meted out to them as well. This caused serious anxiety among the advisers and counsellors of Yusuf Shah, with the result that each of them took steps to ensure his own safety. They sent letters to Yusuf Shah in which they apparently appealed for unity with him, but these in fact carried the seeds of discord. They promised to him that even at the cost of their lives, they would try to achieve and fulfil whatever objective was set before them. They assured him that they would make a public announcement of the relevant facts when the time was ripe. At that time he was to move to the city swiftly without hesitation.

On the 15th of Sha'ban in the aforesaid year, Abdal Bhat gave out the false story that Yusuf Shah had entered into the city. This rumour spread among the commoners as well as the soldiers. He got a soldier attired in royal robes and decorated with other regal appendages so that he looked like Yusuf Shah. An imposing pavilion was also set up and the imposter was brought to take the royal seat. The soldiers and the civilians believed that Yusuf Shah had returned to the city.[11] At the same time they also came to know of the physical infirmity of the Sayyid. Hence many people joined Abdal Bhat in groups.

Mubarrak reacts

Miran Sayyid learnt about the situation and, early in the morning, despite his physical infirmity, moved on to Idgah maidan along with his troops and battle equipment to fight his opponents. He despatched the garrulous and sweet-tongued Muhammad Padar as his messenger to Abdal Bhat, conveying to him that it behoved the valiant to display whatever feats of valour they laid claim to on the battlefield. He had come on the Idgah maidan to challenge him. Like a good warrior he should trust his words, cross the river in the city, and move his horsemen to the Idgah maidan. Alternatively, he should give him a gentleman's promise to let his soldiers cross the river and take up their position at Zaldagar. They would prove their strength on the battlefield and whomsoever God blesses with victory, shall occupy the seat of governance of this realm.

The message touched the sense of honour of Kashmiri commanders who resolved to give a tough fight to the Sayyid; and, consequently, moved on to the river bank. Apart from possessing considerable experience in fighting, Abdal Bhat was as wise as he was brave. Many a time had he been a witness to the bravery of the aforesaid Sayyid on the battlefield and, besides, had also heard stories of his dauntless courage. Therefore, in tthe context of the impending situation, he hela consultations with his field commanders and issued strict instructions to them not to move from their positions. He cautioned them that a fight with that group would affect them adversely and nobody could save his life unless he fled from the battlefield.

[ verses ]

"It is only prudent that our numerical strength should not make us complacent nor should we feel overconfident about our bravery. It would be sheer stupidity to decide upon a fight for revenge without taking cognizance of the realities af the situation. Certainly, duplicity and craft shall have to be employed to deal with the situation." he observed.[18]

[ verses ]

Abdal's cunning

After taking stock of things, Abdal Bhat thought of resorting to guile to further his objective, although he was not very sure whether his villainy would succeed. He immediately summoned to his presence Baba Khalilu'llah, in whose august presence he sent a messenger to Yusuf Shah with a letter stating that the nobles and commanders of Kashmir had concluded a solemn agreement and resolved to act upon one another's friendly advice according to which they meant to offer to him the power and authority of the government of this land. As such he was to make no delay in coming. A verbal message was also sent to him which conveyed 'Ali Khan's agreement to what they had stated in their letter. At that time 'Ali Khan was a prisoner in the hands of the representatives of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah.

[ verses ]

Abdal Bhat drew the plans in the presence of Baba Khalilu'llah and Miran Sayyid Barkhordar. He employed whatever craft he could and sent a message to Miran Sayyid Mubarak at Idgah: "Sayyid Mubarak Khan should not consider today's event as a mere happening. Since 'Ali Khan has been detained by your agents without reason, the people have become apprehensive. They destroyed the bridges over the river in the city to secure themselves against danger. In fact, this group requests your protection and does not want to confront you."

[ verses ]

An action which was inherently dangerous did not take place and a calamity which could have caused chaos had been averted. The message ran further: "Inglorious is the person who rakes up trouble and disorder or takes recourse to fighting and hostility when a possibility of solving the issue through peaceful means and negatiations is not lacking. It has been our considered opinion that Yusuf Shah should be recalled and a conference be held with your officials at the khanqah of Baba Khalil'llah in honest faith with a view to laying down necessary conditions of agreement. Yusuf Shah should be re-installed on his throne and all the chiefs and commanders should be allowed to resume authority and control over their respective frontiers and divisions as per the practice in the past. In this way chaos and disorder shall he stamped out and order restored. You may come to the khanqah of Baba Khalil along with 'Ali Khan to put seal on the proposed agreement."

Mir Sayyid trapped

The aforesaid Sayyid acted upon their suggestion and got 'Ali Khan's fetters removed. 'Ali Khan consulted his son Yusuf Khan about Abdal Bhat's action. His opinion was that it would not be practicable to implement the suggestion unless Miran Sayyid was restored to his health and strength. He said that if they visited the camp of the enemy in his state of physical infirmity, they might be taken captives. His opinion was that prudence demanded that since the sons and counsellors of Miran Sayyid were disturbed by his physical weakness and that there was virtually no dispute or cause for dispute between them ['Ali Khan and his son], rather as the Sayyids were sorry for their faults, they should not take the risk of going to the camp of the enemy and allow themselves to be overpowered by them

[ verses ]

Trusting the friendly overtures of Abdal Bhat and not paying heed to the right suggestion of his son and not thoroughly considering these words to be of an interested person, 'Ali Khan left the battlefield and walked the distance from Idgah and arrived at the khanqah of Baba Khalilu'llah. The aforesaid Sayyid, too, dismounted from his horse and, because of his weak health, reclined against the wall of the khanqah. His sons and soldiers saw that crowds of people had begun to assemble around them. Hence they dispersed and retired to safe place. Only two of his sons, namely Miran Sayyid Shah Abu'l-Mu'ali and Ibrahim Khan, kept him company.

Delegation under Haidar Chak

Most of his (Sayyid Mubarak Khan's) kinsmen and near ones, confused and embarrassed as they were, joined Yusuf Shah at the village called Pantehchuk.[19] Thus the plan of Abdal Bhat succeeded:

[ verses ]

He immediately sent Haidar Chak along with a team of seniors to Sayyid Mubarak Khan. They found that the lion of the battlefields had lost his power and strength on account of his illness, and had now taken to meditation and telling of beads. 'Ali Khan was granted permission to return to his house. TO Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan he showed due courtesy and regard and sat with him in the boat that brought him to his lodging. Bt there is a saying that what is ordained cannot be changed:

[ verses ]

That very moment 'Ali Khan, along with his son, was dragged out of his house, brought to the house of Lohar Chak, and finally put in chains. His son Yusuf Khan, on witnessing the turn of events, could have said after the poet:

(On my dear, much did I entreat ye not to go to a place where ye be caught. Ye did go and then happened what I had feared.)[20]

After his event Abdal Bhat felt sory for having acted unfairly and for having broken his promise. He sent his son to Yusuf Khan post-haste to tell him that the situation was such that his coming would bring harm to him and could even aggravate the situation further. He advised him to turn back:

[ verses ]

This news forced Yusuf Shah to think, but for a while he was overtaken by confusion. At last he returned to his old place.[21] There he spent a few days and then established liaison with the cousins of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah and proceeded to the court of Akbar Padshah at Agra to seek assistance.

Lohar Chak

In the aforesaid year,[22] Abdal Bhat, with the support and consent of the commanders of this land, installed Lohar Chak, son of Shankar Chak, on the throne of Kashmir. But in effect, he concentrated all power in his own hands and reduced Lohar Chak to the position of a nominal king. Except for reading the homily ( khutba ) and the striking of coins in his name, Lohar Chak had no authority whatsoever.

Some of the notable persons of this land, such as Habib Khan, son of Abdal Khan, who loved Yusuf Shah's company, broke away from Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah and joined hands with Abdal Bhat.[23] But this shift of loyalty caused them much anxiety, because Abdal Bhat dealt with them in an arbitrary and autocratic manner. He either put them in prison or held out threats to them, but did not take the extreme step of liquidating them or putting them to the sword. In fact, later on, he was not really unfavourably disposed towards them.

For one year, he (Abdal Bhat) ruled over the people of this land in a manner already mentioned.[24] In course of time most of the people of this land, including soldiers and horsemen, ran away to join Yusuf Shah whenever an opportunity came their way. These, for instance, included men like Shams Chak and 'Alam Sher Khan.

Akbar and Yusuf Shah

A year after the assumption of reins of kingship, Akbar showed royal favour to Yusuf Shah by offering him two mistresses.[25] He entrusted the mission of conquering Kashmir to Mirza Yusuf Khan and Raja Man Singh.[26] The victorious imperial army reached the capital city of Lahore. Yusuf Shah, along with his troops, proceeded towards Bahlool Pore to know about the commanders of that land and also to meet his sons . [27] These reports were brought to Abdal Bhat and his commanders who lost no time in despatching their secret messengers with letters to Yusuf Shah, the contents of which were couched in soft words. They wrote to him that he should be careful about the developments which had taken place and know that the imperial troops might behave in a different manner after they had occupied the land.

[ verses ]

In his letter Abdal Bkat told him to trust his words and promises and not hold him responsible for whatever faults there were in the past. He suggested to him that he should leave the imperial troops and return to this country without entertaining any fears.[28]

[ verses ]

Yusuf deserts

Ensnared by false promises and trusting the deceptive overtures of that group of people, Yusuf Shah turned towards Rajouri mountain range from Bahlool Pora.[29] He left his family and children in the fort at Parot [sic] and himself descended on the village Verinag situated at the foot of Kashmir mountains.

The news of Yusuf Shah's escape was received by Akbar with disapproval. He felt displeased and criticised Raja Man Singh and Yusuf Khan. Yusuf Shah stationed himself at Verinag and in this way Abdal Bhat created trouble for himself. In order to ensure security and safety of Hirpur pass, Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah sent a contingent of troops with commanders such as Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, and others. But this group of soldiers took advantage of the opportunity and joined Yusuf Shah at the aforesaid village. Mir Hasan Chaduru (Chadura) and Shams Dooni also joined Yusuf Shah along with their troops. Everyday footmen and horsemen of this land ran away and joined Yusuf Shah's army, whenever they got an opportunity to do so.

Abdal Bhat broke his pledges and promises and made preparations for a confrontation with Yusuf Shah and sealed all paths through which his troops could have forced their entry into the Valley:

[ verses ]

From Abdal Bhat's actions Yusuf Shah could follow that he ( Abdal ) would try to seek the support of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah for himself through flattery and guile. He, therefore, sent a secret messenger with a letter to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah reminding him that Abdal Bhat was trying to make overtures to him for no purpose other than that of soliciting his support to strengthen his own position and for his selfish interests. As such, he requested him to oblige him (Yusuf Shah) by not extending his support to Abdal Bhat. Yusuf Shah conveyed to him that he had left the fruition of his enterprise to God Almighty and the blessings of the respected Sayyid. He was sure that any adventure undertaken by Abdal Bhat without the tactical advice of the Sayyid was bound to fail.

[ verses ]

Yusuf Shah strikes

The message from Yusuf Shah fully confirmed Miran Sayyid's own assessment of the situation and he found himself disposed to agree with him. Thus sings the bard: [30]

A heart finds its way to a reciprocating heart under the dome of the sky. Love begets love and enmity begets enmity.

Thus Miran Sayyid responded to the message of Yusuf Shah. Expressing his approval of Yusuf Shah's onward march [to the city], he bade farewell to his messenger. Miran Sayyid's encouraging reply brought joy and exultation to Yusuf Shah. Without loss of time, he mounted his horse and, making a dash from the aforesaid village, took the Tsereh-har route, struck a devastating blow to the passholders of Abdal Bhat, and forced his entry into the town of Kashmir [Sopor].[31] Lohar Chak's troops had been stationed at Sopor with the purpose of ensuring the security of those areas. But with God's help, Yusuf Shah broke their might and occupied the town of Sopor and its surrounding areas. He stationed himself at that place and sent word to Abdal Bhat through a messenger that, relying on his promises and letters, he had left the imperial troops and encamped at Sopor. If Abdal was true to his word, he should immediately proceed to meet him and submit to him so that with his cooperation he would march on to occupy the seat of kingship.

[ verses ]

Abdal's overtures

To this message Abdal Bhat reacted with cool-headed diplomacy of giving false assurances to the messenger and bidding him return to his master. For the purpose of strengthening Lohar Shah's regime, Abdal Bhat released Miran Sayyid Mub.lrak Shlah and 'Ali Khan from prison and tried to win them over by soft words. Although this action increased the prestige of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah, yet, fully conscious of the fact that the glib-tongued Abdal Bhat's words were nonsense, he preferred to remain tight-lipped and sought to engage himself in meditation in the prayerhouse to the last day of his life.

[ verses ]

Miran Sayyid Mubarak prayed and meditated devoutedly and this shall receive further notice shortly.

Ya'qub trapped

'Ali Khan, acting in concert with Lohar Shah and Abdal Bhat, raised the banner of opposition against Yusuf Shah to further his interests. In this way they determined to destroy Yusuf Shah.

[ verses ]

They also incited Ya'qub Shah, the son of Yusuf Shah, to adopt a bellicose stance towards his father and force an armed confrontation with him. On finding that 'Ali Khan, Mirza Ya'qub and others had united to rise against Yusuf Shah, Abdal Bhat regretted the promises and commitments he had made for him. He then marched out of the city and headed towards Sopor where he finally took position on the bank of the river. For some days, they were engaged in sporadic fighting, shooting a casual arrow or firing a stray musket. What prevented the sides from a major conflict was the river and their inability to cross it. After holding consultations of tactical nature with 'Ali Khan, Abdal Bhat placed a force of two thousand strong and well-equipped horsemen under the command of Haidar Chak to proceed via Kiyamah[32] [sic] route for engaging Yusuf Shah's troops. On the same day, he deployed his brother, 'Ali Bhat, an the adventure of crossing the river at Sopor and, in this way, he played the role of a fox and lion.[33] Through Baba Khalil he advised Yusuf Shah purporting that "this humble servant had been the beneficiary of 'Ali Shah, and it was his magnanimity which had elevated him from the dust. It, therefore, was incumbant upon him not to conceal from him whatever nefarious designs or plans were being drawn to create anarchy and confusion in the state. He meant to report that some of the nobles and commanders of his arm conspired to desert him when the fighting would be in full swing and join the ranks of Lohar Shah's troops. Lohar Shah had drawn a plan to cross the river in the early hours of the morning along with the entire body of his soldiers and camp followers and give him a tough fight. Again, Haidar Chak, at the head of two thousand troops, all armed to the teeth, had already taken position at the village Buyeh Sangari[34] and he was poised to launch an attack from the rear. So he was warned in strict confidence that that very night he should hasten towards Poonch, failing which, he would only help his enemy to become their prisoner.[35]

[ verses ]

To these veiled threats and intimidation, conveyed through Baba Khalilu'llah, Yusuf Shah sent a versified reply:

[ verses ]

Abdal Bhat received this reply but, emboldened by superior numerical strength of his troops in comparison to those of Yusuf, he made a cool and calculated assessment and chose to send no reply. Permitting Baba Khalilu'llah to return to the city, he kept himself in readiness for a battle with Yusuf Shah:

[ verses ]

The battle

In the early hours of the following morning, Yusuf Shah cleared his way a little downwards the town of Sopor.[37] and, riding a swift horse crossed over to the other bank. He deploved his troops in accordance with the plan he had drawn in advance. A contingent of foot soldiers was deployed on the right flank and some of his fire-spitting machines on the left. With this arrangement, he made an advance to meet his adversary. Lohar Shah was informed of this tactical move of Yusuf's troops. Consequently, he placed Abdal Bhat in charge of the vanguard of his grand army and made a direct onslaught on the enemy. The two warring armies stood with an eye-ball to eye-ball stance, and it was Ahda1 Bhat who struck first. With a single stroke of his dragon-piercing lance, Yusuf Shah relieved Abdal Bhat of his life.

[ verses ]

The date of his death on the battlefield has been recorded in the chronogram nagahan shir darideh dimnak. Then followed the lightening attacks from Yusuf Shah and his veteran commanders like Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, Shams Chak, son of Daulat Chak, Mir Hasan, son of Naji Malik, 'Alam Sher Khan, Shams Dooni, Sayyid Saif Khan Baihaqi and his brothers, each of whom had won the rightful title of the battle hero. Unable to withstand their attacks, Lohar Shah abandoned the royal parasol on the battlefield and fled for his life.

[ verses ]

Habib Khan, son of Abdal Khan, whom Abdal Bhat had, prior to Yusuf Shah's attack, thrown into the prison and was found on the battlefield groaning under heavy and painful chains, was released.

By sheer bravery and courage, Yusuf Shah proceeded triumphantly towards the city. His advance caused confusion in the ranks of Haidar Chak's army, and soldiers began to desert him. Haidar Chak was also forced to flee virtually bare-footed, along with a handful of his followers, through Tsereh-har pass.

NOTES

1. The relationship between Yusuf Shah and Sayyid Mubarak Shah is somewhat intriguing. At the time of Yusuf Shah's accession to the throne of Kashmir, the Sayyid affirms his and his sons' loyalty to him. After some time, however, the Sayyid, who had nearly given up his earthly ambitions, becomes instrumental in dislodging him from the throne. Therefore the nature of the relationship between them needs a thorough investigation.

2. Hasan says that the Sayyid declined to intervene directly in the matter because he considered it harmful to his own interests. Instead, he sent Buba Khalil to Yusuf Shah to pursuade him to take recourse lo reconciliation with the insurgents. See THK p. 299.

3. Malik Haidar also alludes to a breakdown in the administration of the state during the first term of Yusuf Shah's reign, which lasted for forty days. See TMH. MS. f. 65b.

4. Haasan says that he sent his crown to Sayyid Mubarak Khan through Baba Khalilu'llah. THK. p. 300. According to Malik Haidar, it was sent through Malik Muhammad Naji. TMH. MS. f. 66b. In another MS. of Malik Haidar's history, it is recorded that the crown and the royal parasol were sent to the Sayyid through Malik Muhammad Naji and Qadi Musa. TMH. MS(A) f. 68.

5. Malik Haidar says that he went to the Indian mountains. TMH. MS. f. 66b.

6. Hasan writes that about an hour after he was crowned he retired to his private room, lifted the crown from his head, placed it in front of him and said. "Oh my inauspicious self, verily this royal crown is of no worth. Do not be proud because on the day of death, the head will lay on vile dust. The crown, which may be worn for a few days only, is in truth a burden." THK. p. 301.

7. Hasan states that the Sayyid put on ordinary clothes and began attending to the affairs of the state. THK. p. 301.

8. Hasan says that he abolished oppressive and tyrannical practices whilch had become rampant during the reign of the Chaks. Ibid.

9. This statement is not corroborated either by Hasan or by Malik Haidar. In fact, the latter writes that it was not Yusuf Shah who encouraged them, but they who made overtures to him. The reason was that during his short reign of fifteen days the Sayyid treated the commanders badly and was tyrannical even to the common people. In this way the author's statement that he was just and compassionate towords people is repudiated by him. This too calls for further investigation. See TMH. MS. f. 67a.

10. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.

11. In the pargana of Vesu in TMH. MS. f. 67a.

12. Sindh in THK. p. 302.

13. A written message was sent which began with this Persian couplet:

Shaha faqr-o fana az ma wa mulk-o azz-o jah az tu
kih dunya ra wofai nist khwah az ma wa khwah az tu.

THK. p. 302.

14. The contents of the letter which have been put in the form of verse in the present text have also been used by Hasan in his history, with some variations. Hasan has only three verses as against eight in the present text, and even in those three there are two or three variations. Since the verses are a part of a message which must have been recorded earlier, it seems likely that the source for both the historians is the same.

15. Bolar Khan Timur in THK. p. 303.

16. According to Malik Haidar a group of soldiers who had hitherto committed themselves to Yusuf Khan, betrayed him, which forced him to return to the Indian mountains without hazarding a battle with his opponents. TMH. MS. f. 67a.

17. The strange story of the imposter does not figure either in Hasan or in Malik Haidar.

18. Hasan criticizes him for his reluctance to have a straight fight with the Sayyid. See THK. p. 305.

19. Between the present-day Batwara and Pampore near Srinagar.

20.
guftam ay dil maraw anja kih giriftar shawi
'agebat rafti-o ham guft-i manat pish amad

21. Hasan writes that Yusuf Khan reached Pattan at that time. See THK. p. 306. But the actual place where he had camped has not been mentioned.

22. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.

23. Malik Haidar says that they were fed up with the bad temperament of Sayyid Mubarak Khan. TMH. MS. 67a.

24. Historians have recorded that Lohar Chak meted out just and kind treatment to the people. There was a good harvest during his reign and paddy was available at cheap rates. See TMH. MS. f. 67b, and THK. pp. 306-7.

25. According to Hasan, Yusuf Shah stayed at the Imperial Court for eleven months. THK. p. 307.

26. For details about their mission see Ma'athiru'l-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 314-21.

27. From Malik Haidar's Tarikh it appears that Yusuf Shah was given very small military help by Akbar. Muhammad Bhat the former Chief Vizir of Yusuf Shah proceeded to Lahore leaving behind at Bahlool Pora about a thousand soldiers (MS. f. 68a). In Lahore and some other parts of Panjab, he managed to raise a force of about four thousand soldiers. He also raised a huge loan from the business community of Lahore. See THK. p. 309. Also see Wagaat-iKashmir, Muhammad Azam Dedemari. p. 95.

28. For more details about Abdal Bhat's communication to Yusuf Shah, see THK. pp. 308-9.

29. Rai Bahadur, the Zamindar of Rajouri, joined hands with Yusuf Khan and he made Rai the foremost commander of his army. See TMH. MS. f. 68a.

30.
dil ra ba dil rahist darin gonbad-e spehr
az su-i kineh kineh-o az su-i mehr mehr.

31. baldah-e Kashmir means the town of Kashmir or Sopor as against shahr-i Kashmir meaning the city of Kashmir or Srinagar.

32. Khulhama in THK. p. 310.

33. Allusion is to Kalileh wa Dimneh.

34. Present Baba Shakuru'd-Din hill-top between Khuihama and Sopor where Raja Prahlad had built the Prateswara temple. It was called Bosangeri. The other name of the hillock given in Kashmirian histories is Sherehkot. See THK. p. 34.

35. Malik Haidar does not give this story; instead he says it was Shams Dooni, one of his commanders, who suggested to him that since he had a smaller number of troops at his disposal, he should retire to Poonch via Gurimarg (Gulmarg) route, but the suggestion was turned down by Malik Muhammad Hasan. See TMH. MS. f. 68b.

36. This versified reply figures in the history of Hasan also, confirming the earlier guess that the two historians had a common source. See THK. p . 311.

37. He crossed the river near Delina shortly after midnight under candlelight. See THK. p. 312.

 

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