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Persecution of Kashmiri Hindus

A Historical Evidence

The following excerpts have been taken from Baharistan-i-Shahi, a Persian Manuscript history of Kashmir by anonymous author and brought down to A.D. 1614. It has served as an important reference work for historians from the 17th century to the present day. But it has been inaccessible to the non-Persian knowing scholars and historians. Its first English translation is made from a collated text of the two extant manuscripts preserved in the India Office Library and the British Museum. Exhaustive footnotes have been added to it to make it readable and useful. 

The chronicle begins with a legendary account of the creation of Kashmir and a summary treatment of the Hindu period. It is followed by a detailed account of the Shahmiri and Chak Sultans of Kashmir taking the narrative to the year A.D. 1614. The historical work gives considerable attention to Baihaqi Sayyids, a group of Sayyids of Iranian origin who played a significant role in the affairs of the kingdom. 

From Chapter 4:

Malik Musa held the reins of administration for about nine years, during which period the enforcement of Islamic laws and religious tenets of the Prophet reached the highest point. Under the guidance of the righteous Amir (Shams) Shaykh Muhammad 'Iraqi, the pure religion of Muhammad and the prosperity of the Muslim community reached the highest pinnacle [of attainment]. Malik Musa Raina supported and advanced the mission of Mir Shams 'Iraqi.

Persecution of Hindus

[It may be recorded] that the temples of idol-worshippers, which had been destroyed and razed to the ground by the religious-minded and justice-loving Sultan Sikandar- God bless his grave and bless him-had been rebuilt and rehabilitated by Zainu'l 'Abidin. He had permitted idolators and polytheists to revive the practices of infidelity and they had propagated heresy (kufr) and false religion (din-i batil). With the support of some more kings, the infidels had flourished day after day. But with the support and authority of Malik Musa Raina, Amir Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad undertook a wholesale destruction of all those idol-houses as well as the total ruination of the very foundation of infidelity and disbelief. On the site of every idol-house he destroyed, he ordered the construction of a mosque for offering prayers after the Islamic manner. The idolatory and heresy which had existed prior to his coming to this place were effectively replaced by his preaching and propagation of Islamic laws and practices. He brought honour to all the infidels and heretics (zandiqa) of Kashmir by admitting them to the Islamic faith and bestowed upon them many kinds of rewards and benefactions. It is publicly known as well as emphatically related that during his life-time, with the virtuous efforts and elaborate arrangements made by the fortunate Malik Musa Raina, twenty-four thousand families of staunch infidels and stubborn heretics were ennobled by being converted to the Islamic faith. It is difficult to compute the number of people who had hitherto indulged in corrupt practices of a wrong (false) faith and dissent and were put on the right track under the proper guidance of Mir Shamsu'd-Din 'Iraqi.

In fact the transmitter of (God's) grace (Mir Shams 'Iraqi) conferred favours upon the righteous Malik Musa Raina and gave him blessings which enabled him to fulfill that cherished task. Indeed, fortunate is one who has been able to become the recipient of such special consideration at the hands of a highly venerable and elderly person like him (Amir Shamsu'd-Din). After Sultan Sikandar-God's peace be upon him-no one among the Muslims who wielded authority over this country rendered as much service to Islam by its propagation and advancement as Malik Musa Raina did. Nobody was able to make as organized an effort as he did towards the advancement and furtherence of the Muhammadan religion.

From Chapter 5:

Massacre of infidels

One of the big tasks completed by him and one of the major commands of Amir Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad 'Iraqi carried out by him was the massacre of infidels and polytheists of this land. It happened like this.

During the government of Malik Musa Raina, all the depraved heretics of this land had been converted to Islam. [But] with the help of some of the chiefs of this land, some of them had reverted to the customs of the infidels and polytheists. These apostates had resumed idolatory. Some of the infidels related that during the hours of offering prayers and worshipping of idols, they would place a copy of the holy Qur'an under their haunches to make a seat to sit upon. Thus idol-worshipping proceeded even while they sat on the divine book. When the news and details of these doing were brought to Amir Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad 'Iraqi, he summoned Malik Kaji Chak to him. Accompanied by Malik 'Ali and Khwaja Ahmad, his two counsellors and administrators, Malik Kaji Chak presented himself before the venerable Amir Shamsu'd-Din 'Iraqi, who declared to them: "This community of Idolators has, after embracing and submitting to the Islamic faith, now gone back to difiance and apostasy. If you find yourself unable to inflict punishment upon them in accordance with the provisions of sharia' and take disciplinary action against them, it will become necessary and incumbent upon me to proceed on a self-imposed exile and in that case you shall not stand in my way at the time of my departure."

Since the above-mentioned Malik, prior to his assumption of power and authority, had promised him that he would never deviate from or disregard his wishes and injunctions, therefore, in deferance to his wishes, he held consultations with his counsellors and administrative officers, and decided upon carrying out a wholesale massacre of the infidels. Their massacre was scheduled for the days of the approaching 'Ashura. Thus in the year A.H. 924 (A.D. 1518), corresponding to 94th year of Kashmiri calendar, during the 'Ashura, about seven to eight hundred infidels were put to death. Those killed were the leading personalities of the community of infidels at that time: men of substance and government functionaries. Each of them wielded influence and sway over a hundred families of other infidels and heretics. Thus the entire community of infidels and polytheists in Kashmir was coerced into conversion to Islam at the point of the sword. This is one of the major achievements of Malik Kaji Chak.

Kashmir History and Politics

 

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