Origin and EthosThe
Kashmirian Hindus popularly known as Kashmiri Pandits are a distinct class
of their own and are considered to be purest specimen of the ancient Aryan
settlers in the Valley.1 Kashmir Brahmans as per George Campbell are quite
High-Aryan in the type of their features- very fair and handsome, with
high chiselled features and no trace of intermixture of the blood of any
other race.2 In the words of George Grierson, 'The Kashmiris form a branch
of the race which brought the language of Indo-Aryan type of India is a
fact established by the evidence of their language and physical appearance.3
In his reference to Kashmiri Pandits Thompson writes that 'the Aryans were
a long-headed race of tall stature with narrow noses and fair complexion.
Their present representatives are found today in Kashmir'.4 P. N. K. Bamzai
records, 'It is definite that the Aryans of Kashmir are a part of the ancient
Aryan settlements on the banks of the river Saraswati. They migrated to
the Kashmir Valley when the river changed its course and finally dried
and torture, the Kashmirian Hindus have considerably succeeded in preserving
and cultivating their profusely rich and variegated cultural heritage bequeathed
to them by their saints and thinkers, literary men and women and other
high-brow intellectuals. The broad mosaic of culture woven during the Hindu
period of Kashmir history has the potential and inherent strength of standing
comparison with any of the ancient world cultures. The value pattern generated
as a result of cultural growth and resurgence shaped the lives of the Kashmirian
Hindus endowing them with the qualities of head and heart. Invested with
breadth of mind and depth of understanding, they lived their lives as vibrant
and forward-looking individuals in a society that was open, dynamic and
away from contributing to archaic models of thought. The Kashmirian Hindus
as heir to a culture and civilization brimming with tremendous vitality
and endurance have never exhibited aversion and apathy to new trends of
thought and influences without minding the source and direction they came
and emanated from There are ample evidences available establishing the
omnosis of the Kashmirian culture and civilisation with those of the Greek,
Roman and other pre-Islamic Persian cultures and civilizations. Tolerance
has been the hall-mark of the Kashmirian culture and civilisation built
and fostered during the Hindu period. Unique in its formations, the Hindu
cultural ethos has never been exclusive by way of rejecting ideas, beliefs
and thought-ways harboured by other religions and value-systems. The Hindus
have been assimilative par excellence.
Hindu pattern of values and world-view has not been in any way distinct
and separate from the one evolved in the Indian subcontinent. Tolerance,
good-will, sympathy and compassion as broad values of humanism have been
handed down to the Hindus from their hallowed texts of religion. Motivated
by the breadth of cultural ethos, the Kashmirian Hindus having come into
contact with the aboriginal Naga worshippers were not ruthless in extirpating
and decimating the contents and contours of their faith. Instead they assimilated
their faith and modes of worship without resorting to religious persecution.
the most tolerant religion of world religions6 came into the region of
Kashmir only to stimulate a new cultural and religious resurgence. The
Kashmirian Hindus particularly the Brahmans joined the ranks of the Buddhist
Church investing it with new direction and enrichment. Not fewer than 700
Brahman- monks from Kashmir crossing the inaccessible mountain barriers
carried the message of Buddha's religion to Tibet, China and Central Asia.
They were not on horse-backs with deadly swords in their hands only to
reduce populations, kill, massacre, loot and plunder them for converting
them to their faith. Armed with Buddha's gospel of love, peace, non-violence
and compassion, the Brahman monks stirred and generated a new cultural
and religious reformation in the regions they entered and encouraged the
populace to think and ponder over the existential problems of man and his
ultimate destiny. The Brahman-monks also enriched the philosophical content
of Buddhism by giving a new treatment to the issues Buddha had hinted at
in his sermons.
its hey-day was never intolerant of other religions and credos. It did
not stamp them out, but allowed them to exist, thrive and interact. Forcible
conversion was unknown to the Kashmirian ethos. Shaivism with its deep
roots in the ancient history of Kashmir battled against the Buddhist ideology
largely propped on logic and rational approach to the issues of metaphysics.
The battle was on the plane of ideas. The Shaivite scholars wove their
web of ideas to refute the Buddhist formulations only to establish their
world-view based on a structured thought-process. The 'Saivites borrowed
many Buddhist concepts only to invest them with a new ring of meaning within
their conceptual ambience. The 'Saivite and Buddhist approach to the moot
issues of philosophical thinking never generated religious frenzy leading
to the annihilation of the harbourers of each faith.
thought equally co-existed with the Buddhist and Saivite thought-ways.
The appellation of Kashmir as 'Sharda-desh' (land of Sharda) establishes
the Vaishnavite faith having come to Kashmir to leave its impress not only
on the thinking elite, but on the general mass of people at grass-root
level. Nilamat Puran as a Vaishnavite work declares Kashmir as the seat
of Cakrin (Vishnu). Kashmir had its own share of Panchratra followers,
who propagated and shaped the specifics of the creed only to mould the
thought-structure of other religions. The interpenetration of Buddhism,
Saivism and Vaishnavism has been the product of the most tolerant cultural
ethos obtaining in Kashmir. There existed mutual commerce of ideas and
beliefs among the three religions, each borrowing the concepts from the
other and investing them with new nuances as necessitated by its conceptual
frame. The triad of Brahma as creator, Vishnu as preserver and Shiva as
destroyer were not conceptually jealous of one another. They were transcendental,
but also immanent involved in the weal and welfare of mankind at large.
The syncretic images of the Triad explored from various sites in Kashmir
sufficiently pinpoint and highlight the tolerant ethos of the Kashrnirian
Hindus, who at no point of time in their history engaged themselves in
sectarian battles generating and unleashing the forces of hatred, ill-will
and religious bigotry.
beyond number can be culled and gleaned from Rajtarangini, magnum opus
of Kashmir history, which firmly establish that the Hindu kings, queens
and other high degree men in corridors of power harbouring a particular
faith built temples and Caityas of other faiths. There was absolute religious
harmony at socio-political compass. No brute force was employed to convert
men of other faiths. In reality, conversion as a tern was alien to the
Kashmirian milieu and culture. Abhinavgupta, a scion of Kashmir Shaivism,
never had even a flicker of thought for converting Ksemendra, a myriad
minded genius, who was a Buddhist by faith and credo. Reverence for faiths
and beliefs of others was the sine qua non of the Kashmirian Hindu ethos.
Persecution and torture on religious grounds were absolutely unheard of
in Kashmir and elsewhere in the Indian sub-continent.
and multi-dimensional contributions made by the Kashmirian Hindus to various
segments of human knowledge have been admirably recognised the world over.
There is hardly a domain of creative and critical activity they did not
touch and turn it into gold. Philosophy, poetics, dance, drama, painting,
architecture, sculpture and music and more than most astronomy, astrology
and mathematics are the domains the Kashmirian Hindus have nourished and
abundantly enriched by their high-level creative faculty and prolific-intelligence.
That Kashmir was a 'High School' of Sanskrit learning and scholarship is
testified by the fact that Chemong, Fayong, Hieun-Tsang and Ou-Kong from
China traversed all the way to Kashmir to study Sanskrit texts on Buddhism
only to refurbish and enrich their stock of knowledge. Kashmir was littered
over with temples, Caityas and Viharas is amply substantiated by all the
available historical tomes. The Hindu places of worship and prayer were
not centres for preaching and propagating intolerance, religious bigotry
and hatred, but were actually repositories of literary, religious and philosophical
manuscripts. They were the nerve-centres of learning and erudition motivated
by the sole design of cultivating an ethos, which was humanistic, pietic
and more than most tolerant.
Be it said,
in fine, that the Hindu religious doctrines and concepts have carried the
message of peace, brotherhood and co existence of all faiths and credos.
The Hindus of Kashmir through their high-profile thinking turned their
land of scenic beauty into an intellectual centre attracting everybody
in quest of higher values and spiritual ascension. From Mahayana Buddhism
to Trika Philosophy of 'Saivism, they irrigated varied fields of human
activity leaving their deep imprint on them. Kalhana, Jonraj, Srivara,
Prajya-Bhat and 'Suka, the eminent masters of history, compiled and up-dated
the world famous historical document of Rajtarangini delineating the historical
upheavals and sweeping changes the Hindus had to undergo. Apart from philosophy
and history, the Hindus made masterly contributions to the domain of sculpture
revealing profundity of conception and execution. The sculptural images
explored from the sites of Ushkur, Harwan, Avantipora and Divasar are definite
pointers to the apogee sculpture in its varied spectrum achieved during
the Hindu period of Kashmir history. The monumental edifices of Martand, Pattan, Avantipora and Parihaspora and other places in the region of Kashmir
bear features testifying to the existence of a distinct school of architecture
in Kashmir with close resemblance to the Greek and Roman style of architecture.
That the Kashmirians were renowned for being deft and dexterous builders
gets sufficiently established by the term of 'Shastra-Shilpina' tagged
onto them. The Karkotas and the Utpalas established kingdoms politically
and economically strong and viable commanding respect and tribute from
socio-political and religious structure of Kashmir suffered a subversion
in the beginning of 13th century when some Muslims and pagans harassed
to the limits of physical annihilation by their enemies and archi dissenters
found a niche for shelter in politically instable but spiritually stable
Kashmir. Muslims and other non-Hindus, though very small in numbers, had
started creeping into the armies of the Hindu rulers. It was only in the
times of Suhadeva (1305-24) that the entry of Muslims and many other outside
elements gained momentum only to swell and beef up the ranks of those already
in the military services of the Kashmirian rulers. Motivated by high-degree
ethical values, the Hindu rulers afforded the refugees and other aliens
shelter and succour and permission to practise their religion without any
check or restraint. Rinchin, a fugitive from Ladakh, was provided shelter.
Had he chosen to stay in in his native land, he would have been brutally
butchered by his own kinsmen. Another such refugee, who was defeated in
a battle by his arch enemies, was Lanker Chak from Dardistan. He had to
run for life only to find shelter under the wings of Hindu hospitality.
Shah Mir, essentially a refugee from Swat, was also a beneficiary of Hindu
munificence and benevolence. Bulbul Shah, a Muslim proselytiser from Turkestan
under fire in his native land, was also provided shelter in Kashmir, and
was permitted to practise his religion with freedom and liberty.
and generous hospitality of the Hindu rulers found its echo in many Muslim
countries including Central Asia. Thousands of Muslims including Sayyids
entered the purlieu of Kashmir only to save themselves from persecution
and torture of their Muslim rulers. Travellers, savants and scholars from
abroad paid visits to Kashmir to satiate their deep thirst for knowledge
as Kashmir had gained tremendous reputation as a pivotal centre of learning.
The outside Muslims had no such mission, yet they stayed on enjoying the
profuse hospitality and generosity of the Hindu rulers and general mass
broad-mindedness and religious tolerance as the bed-rock virtues of Hindu
polity proved ominous for the people of Kashmir. The outside refugees,
who had sought and were provided shelter in the country, became ambitious
of grabbing the throne of Kashmir with the sheer design of transforming
the entire religious profile of Kashmir. These outsiders included proselytisers
masquerading as sufis obliged to flee their lands under severe threats
of torture and persecution were totally responsible for creating conditions
in the region of Kashmir leading to torture, severe pains and woeful miseries
to be inflicted on the Kashmirian Hindus in the name of God and Islamic
A Turkish Tartar
Zul Qadar Khan7 (1320 A.D.) along with 60,000 soldiers of Turks and Mongols
invaded the peaceful and prosperous land of Kashmir reducing it by loot,
plunder and arson. Resorting to all cruel acts of savagery, he put even
the standing crops to flames. The fertile and prosperous land of Kashmir
presented a spectacle of ruin and desolation with every trace of life and
blade of verdant grass destroyed and decimated. The cruel invader indulged
in an orgy of loot, murder and ruination for full eight months and finally
with the onset of winter he was forced to return. But, by way of nemesis,
he was caught in a blizzard and thus got perished along with 50,000 Kashmirian
Hindus, men, women and children enslaved by him only to be sold off as
slaves in the slave-market of Turkestan.8
Jonraj, a contemporary
historian, has delineated a graphic picture of Kashmir marauded by Zul
Qadar Khan's army. Records he, "Kashmir presented pitiful spectacle. Father
sundered from his son wailed and moaned. Brother got separated from his
brother, never to meet again.... depopulated, uncultivated grainless and
gramineous, the country of Kashmir offered, as it were, the scenario of
primal chaos" .9
Zul Qadar Khan
massacred thousands and perpetrated unimaginable atrocities on the Kashmirian
Hindus. He was cruel and inhuman. Having looted everything from the land
of Kashmir, the Hindus died from poverty and starvation. There was so much
of blood- letting that the rivers, brooks and brooklets went gory with
human blood. Piles of corpses with ravenous crows prying on them could
be seen lying about and even wild grass providing sustenance to the blighted
people was burnt and reduced to ashes.
In the wake
of havoc wrought by Zul Qadar Khan and his host of Turks and Mongols, it
was Ram Chander, the commander-in-chief of Kashmir army, whose star was
up in the political firmament of Kashmir as he had achieved tremendous
success in repulsing the incursion of the Gaddies of Kishtawar. Rinchin
too with his eyes set on the throne of Kashmir was awaiting an opportune
moment to grab the throne. But, ground realities were not favourable to
him. Daring not challenge Ram Chander to an open fight, Rinchin resorted
to a sordid stratagem to get him murdered through his Tibetan accomplices
and thus captured the seat of power.
a Bon from Ladakh with all the ingredients of pagan culture in him. That
he waa a Buddhist is far removed from truth. He was under persecution in
Ladakh and that is what made him flee his land. It was Ram Chander,l0 who
provided him shelter, succour and safety. That he was immeasurably cruel
and disloyal is testified by the conspiracy he hatched to get his patron
and benefactor hacked to death.11
Keen to consolidate
his power, Rinchin approached Devaswami, a 'Saivite saint and scholar,
for his admittance to the fold of Hinduism. As Hindus have no history of
converting people of other faiths, he flatly refused him admittance to
the Hindu fold. Eager to identify himself with a group of people in Kashmir,
he approached Bulbul Shah, who readily admitted him to the Muslim fold
and re-christened him as Sadr-ud-dinl2 The dominating factor motivating
Rinchin for conversion to Islam was only to entrench himself in the power
structure of Kashmir. He had no spiritual upbringing or initiation and
the statement made by the sectarian chroniclers that he was thirsty of
spiritual peace and solace is a sheer myth. He was brutal which stands
sufficiently demonstrated by the fact of his ripping open the wombs of
pregnant women of Ladakhis, who were his sworn enemies.
a Muslim proselytiser under persecution in his native land, saw the fruition
of his plans while admitting Rinchin to the Islamic fold. Toeing the line
of sufis of all hues,l4 he managed entry into and proximity to the Court
of a Muslim ruler, who would be instrumental in launching upon the persecutionary
campaign against the die-hard Hindus, who despite his preaching of the
Islamic tenets could not be attracted to Islam. At the behest of Bulbul
Shah, Rinchin as the first Muslim ruler of Hindu Kashmir launched upon
the vigorous campaign of converting the Hindus of Kashmirl5 to the faith
of Islam, 'by coercion, by taxation, by administration of law, by the sword
and by inter-marriages.'l6
demise, power structure though considerably infested with outside Muslims
again slipped into the hands of Hindu rulers, who could not retain it for
long due to their lack of well-devised strategy and also the introduction
of subversive elements aided and abetted by outside proselytisers. Rinchin
had already signalled the direction and the Hindu-baiters armed with strategies
and fanatical zeal strained every nerve to snatch power back from the Hindu
rulers. Shah Mir as one already entrenched in the power structure of Kashmir
could not rally the majority section of the Kashmirian population for his
sectarian and partisan political stances at a crucial juncture in the annals
of Kashmir. He was known as the leader of a small colony of Muslims, who
had started living in Kashmir after they had sought refuge. The mantle
of leadership fell on Kota Rani, who became the rallying point for the
Hindus of Kashmir whose land was once again ravaged and cruelly invaded
by another Turk, Achala by name, (1331 AD) ferocious and atrocious in deeds.
All the areas he passed through were laid waste by the inhuman invader.
Kota Rani saddled
on the throne set herself earnestly to repair the damage and ruin brought
about by foreign invaders in her land of birth. But, Shah Mir in league
with all outside elements, who had crept their way into the power structure,
managed to imprison Kota Rani in the fort of Jayapidpur (modern Inderkot),
cut off the supplies and sent her messages suggesting joint rule and conjugal
life.l7 Finally capturing her, Shah Mir slept with her on the same bed
for one night and next morning handed her over to the executioners.l8
Shah Mir, thus,
through political chicanery, became responsible for founding the Muslim
kingdom in Kashmir. He did not deem it feasible to fully Islamise the Hindu
Kashmir as his atrocious treatment meted out to redoubtable Kota Rani was
bitterly resented by the Kashmirians. His priority was to entrench Muslims
as rulers of Kashmir. Under the directive of the outside Muslims having
come from all Muslim countries, Shah Mir launched upon the strategy of
encouraging inter marriages between the Hindus and the Muslims thereby
disrupting the family life of the Hindus and also breaking their resistance.
He married his two grand-daughters to Lusta and Telak Sura, chieftains
of Shankerpura and Bhangila. His son married the daughter of Laksmaka,
a Hindu.l9 Shah Mir, flouting the Muslim law, married his daughter, Guhara,
to a Hindu. Comments Jonraj, "Damaras (feudal lords) wore the daughters
of Shah Mir as garlands and did not realise that they were the she-serpents
of deadly venom".20 Shah Mir's encouragement of inter-marriages in the
land of Kashmir was essentially designed to create and spread the support-base
of Islam in Kashmir.
That Shah Mir
was scheming is demonstrated by the manner he manipulated the assassination
of Bhatta Bhikshana and Bhatta Avtar, two scions of the court of Kota Rani.
He feigned illness and his collaborators made it publicly known that he
was about to breathe his last. As a matter of courtesy, Kota Rani, the
ruler, deputed Bhatta Bhikshana and Bhatta Avtar to call on him and enquire
about his health. Entering Shah Mir's residence, the two were mercilessly
murdered by the armed men of Shah Mir. Enraged by this outrageous act,
Kota Rani was out to avenge their death, but was deterred by her courtiers
on the plea that his killing would flout all moral canons as he was given
refuge in the land of Kashmir. Had she acted and beheaded Shah Mir the
same way as she had beheaded Achala, the Turkish invader, cruel and barbarous,
the Hindus of Kashmir, addicted to education, simple and non-violent, would
have been spared from pains, agonies, woes and unimaginable persecution,
which were heaped on them for being Hindus by the Muslims succeeding Shah
Mir. There is much of meaning in the observation of Prof. S.K. Koul that
the spirit of valour and capacity to fight back among the Hindus is chilled
by feeding them on the diet of non-violence, deep-set values and high-degree
With the entrenchment
of Muslim rule in Kashmir, the Muslims in general and Sayyids in particular
felt encouraged to pour into the region of Kashmir for purposes of propagating
Islam in Kashmir known world over as the bastion of Hindu religion and
philosophy. It was Timur, who had unleashed severe repression against the
Sayyids forcing them to march out of their country. The notable Sayyid,
Mir Ali Hamadani, only to avoid the 'fire ordeal' and save himself from
Timur's oppression, fled his native land and poured into Kashmir for refuge.22
He was accompanied by 700 Sayyids said to be his followers and kinsmen.23
Qutb-ud-din acting as the surrogate of Sultan Shihab-ud-din threw red carpet
reception for him and maintained him on state expenses for the period he
stayed in Kashmir. He paid three visits to Kashmir only encouraged by the
Muslim rulers, whose role for forcible conversion of the Kashmirian Hindus
was well within his comprehension and grasp.
Mir Ali Hamadani
was essentially responsible for subverting the communal peace in Kashmir
by creating conditions leading to the abominable persecution and torture
of the Kashmirian Hindus, who clung to their religious faith despite pressures
exerted on them. He consistently worked to communalise and polarise the
Kashmir polity by the advice he in his capacity as a Sayyid tendered to
the Muslim ruler, Qutb-ud-din who had not dared place and perhaps had no
plans for putting his state on the pedestal of Shariat (Islamic law). 24
As per his directives, the Muslim ruler had not to participate in the Hindu
festivals and ceremonies and had to force the neo-converts to adopt the
same dress that was prevalenl in other Muslim countries thereby establishing
their separate identity from the Hindus but linking it up with Muslims
inhabiting other countries.25 It was at the bidding of Mir Ali Hamadani
that the ruler was made to divorce one of the two sisters he had married
as it smacked of being un-Islamic.26 The ruler was also directed to put
his state on the footstool of Sharia which was flatly flouted by him.27
Mir Ali Hamadani's
book Zakhiratulmaluk is a testament of Muslim intolerance, hatred, distrust
and hate-campaign against the Hindus of Kashmir. The advice reads as under:
1. Muslim ruler
shall not allow fresh constructions of temples and shrines for idol worship.
2. No repairs
shall be executed to the existing temples and shrines of non-Muslims.
3. No Muslim
traveller shall be refused lodgment in these temples and shrines where
he shall be treated as a guest for three days by non-Muslims.
4. No non-Muslim
shall act as a spy in the Muslim state.
5. No difficulty
shall be offered to those non-Muslims who of their own choice show their
readiness for Islam.
shall honour Muslims and shall leave their assembly whenever the Muslims
enter the premises.
7. The dress
of non-Muslims shall be different from that of Muslims to distinguish them. 8. They
shall not proffer Muslim names.
shall not ride a harnessed horse.
shall not go about with arms.
shall not wear rings with diamonds.
shall not deal in nor eat bacon.
shall not exhibit idolatrous images.
shall not build houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.
shall not dispose of their dead in the neighbourhood of Muslim Maqbaras
nor weep nor wail loudly over their dead.
shall not deal in nor buy Muslim slaves.
In the end,
the advice puts that in case the Hindus disobey these conditions, then
possession of their lives is halal (lawful) for a Muslim.28
Mir Ali Hamadani's
Zakhiratulmaluk set a new agenda for the persecution and massacre of the
Kashmirian Hindus if they did not succumb to the blind forces of Islam.
The book in its contents is highly subversive and set the ground for unleashing
an orgy of violence, commotion, disorder and anarchy aimed at corroding
and dismantling a social and religious ethos, which had a humanistic base
and was high above religious bigotry and myopia. Testifying to his intolerant
and bigoted vision, the book openly prescribes for marauding and massacring
Hindus if they dared flout the conditions as are couched in un-varnished
and brutal language. For not getting many converts to Islam, it also smacked
of his frustration generated by the non-compliance of his directions by
the Sultan-mindful of his Hindu subjects.
Mir Ali Hamadani
was the author of the iconoclastic chapter of Kashmir History.29 He was
responsible for the desecration and demolition of the famous temple of
Kalishree and the erection of a mosque on the plinth of the said-temple.
He set the sordid precedent of blatant interference in the religious life
of the Hindus by dismantling and then grabbing their places of religious
worship. The mosque has been a bone of discord between the Hindus and the
Muslims generating many a religious strife. Phula Singh, a Sikh general,
enraged by the demolition of the said-temple, trained his guns against
the mosque30 which escaped demolition only at the intervention of a Hindu.
Till Mir Ali
Hamadani resorted to peaceful preaching of Islam in Kashmir, he failed
to win a convert to the fold of Islam. Leaving the purlieux of Kashmir
after his first visit in 1372 AD, he could not find a neo-convert who would
call the faithfuls not many in number to usual prayers.31 But, after his
two more visits in 1379 and 1387 AD, he is said to have converted 37,000
Hindus to Islam.32 This achievement of extra-ordinary dimension and scale
is highly baffling. Naqshbandiya order of Sufis could not achieve such
a stupendous success anywhere they preached Islam. How did they achieve
such a success in Kashmir, which had 5000 years old cultural and civilisational
history? The historians have found the answer in inveterate and indiscriminate
use of force, coercion and persecution launched against the Kashmirian
Hindus by the Sayyids aided and abetted by the state power.
In the wake
of it, the repression of the Kashmirian Hindus took a new turn because
of the advice Mir Ali Hamadani had tendered to the ruler, Qutb-ud-din,
the surrogate of Shihab-ud-din. The bigoted Muslims out to launch a persecutionary
campaign against the non-violent Hindus formulated allegations against
them that they were obstructing the processes of conversion by going to
temples, where instead of worshipping and praying, they were weaving conspiracies
to overthrow the Muslim rule. Terming it as rebellion, Shihab-ud-din ordered
looting, ravaging and demolishing of the Hindu places of worship.33 Hasan,
a Muslim chronicler, records that all the temples in Srinagar and the famous
temple of Bijbehara were looted and damaged. The Sayyids made it amply
clear to the ruler and his men in control of governmental machine that
Hindu religion and Hindu politics had to be totally dismantled and rooted
out if Islam had to make headway in the region of Kashmir.
With the advent
of Mir Mohammad Hamadani,34 the son of Mir Ali Hamadani, the persecution
and torture of the Hindus touched a new high. Extensive plans for forcibly
converting Hindus to Islam and weeding out Hinduism from Kashmir were drawn
and formulated. Hindu-baiting with ruthless vigour and fanatical zeal was
resorted to. The campaign managers in Kashmir stressed the consolidation
of Muslim power-base and with the achievement of that end all-out genocide
of the Hindus of Kashmir was launched upon. Mir Mohammad Hamadani made
it patent clear to Sikandar, the iconoclast, that infidelity (Kufur) was
to be extirpated and stamped out of Kashmir. Mir Mohammad Hamadani was
accompanied by 300 Sayyids comprising all shades of proselytisers from
Iraq, Madina, Khurasan, Mawara-un-Nahr, Khwarazm, Balk, Ghazni and other
Muslim countries.36 Malik Saif-u-din, a neo-convert to Islam, proved more
rabid than the original. He was equally responsible for religious war waged
against Hindus. Mir Mohammad Hamadani was responsible for his conversion
to Islam37 and also forged a matrimonial alliance with him only to achieve
effective results in matters of extirpating infidelity from Kashmir. Disapproving
his policy of genocide of the Kashmirian Hindus, Sheikh Nur-ud-din, popularly
known as Nand Rishi, the patron Sufi saint of Kashmir, refused to accept
his superiority as he found him with no achievements in matters of spiritual
under the direct instructions of Mir Mohammad Hamadani took to the idol-breaking38
as fish take to water. The Muslim chroniclers gleefully designated him
as an iconoclast for his demolition and destruction of the marvellous temples
of Martand, Vijayesan, Chakrabrat, Tripuresvar, Suresvari, Varaha and others.
The temple of Martand (sun), a gem of the Hindu architecture symbolising
the high watermark of the Hindu culture and civilisation39, was destroyed
by digging deep its foundations, removing the well-chiselled foundational
stones, filling the gaping wounds with logs of wood and finally putting
it to flames.40 Prior to this, huge hammers were used for one full year
only to break and vandalise its masterly sculptural works of high artistic
merit. Another massive temple at Bijbehara, which had a world famous university
attracting scholars and learners from all parts of the country and world,
was totally demolished and with its well-cut and chiselled stones and other
materials hospice was built still known as Vijyesvara hospice.4l The temple
was previously looted and damaged by Shahab-ud-din. As a piece of clever
manipulation, a stone-slab42 inscribed with 'Sarda letters purporting,
'The mantra of Bismullah will destroy the temple of Vijyesvara' (a 'Siva
temple) was said to have been recovered from the foundations of the temple.
A crude attempt to justify the unpardonable crime of deskoying an architectural
monument of world fame.
Jonraj, a contemporary
historian, records that there was hardly a city, a village or hamlet, where
the (fanatic) ruler did not break idols. These places of worship represented
the cultural history of Kashmir and the Muslims not only in Kashmir, but
globally, suffer from religious paranoia, which compels them to condemn
and destroy the past of the countries wherever they set their feet on.
This religious paranoia is responsible in a large measure for destroying
temples, caityas and viharas and also their proselytising fervour.43
contravening all norms of civilised life, Sikander, who had pawned his
soul to the Sayyid, issued an atrocious and contemptuous government decree
ordering the Hindus to get converted to Islam or flee or perish44. As a
matter of consequence, thousands of Hindus were brutally massacred, thousands
converted and thousands fled the land only to take refuge in the neighbouring
regions of Kishtawar and Bhadrawah via Simthan pass and also to various
provinces of India via Batote (known as Bata-wath, path of the Bhattas
or Kashmirian Hindus). This hateful government decree brought about and
led to the first major exodus of the Kashmirian Hindus from their land
of genesis. As per the living tradition among the Kashmirian Hindus, only
eleven Hindu families stayed back in Kashmir and rest of the Hindu population
migrated, leaving behind homes and hearths only to protect their religion
Drawing a graphic
picture of the miseries and traumatic experiences of the exodus, Jonraj
writes, "Crowds of Hindus ran away in different directions through by-passes;
their social life was totally disrupted, their life became miserable with
hunger and fatigue; many died in scorching heat; many got emaciated due
to under-nourishment; many lived on alms in villages enroute to the provinces
in India; some disguised as Muslims roamed about the country searching
their distressed families; their means of livelihood were snatched from
them to prevent their education and break their morale; the Hindus lolled
out their tongues like dogs searching dog's morsel at every door'.45
numerous crimes against humanity are:-
(a) He banned
music, dance, drama and sculpturing of images, painting and other creative
and aesthetic activities of the Hindus.
(b) He put
to flames six mounds (I mound = 37 kilos) of sacred threads worn by the
Hindus46 as a mark of religious initiation only after massacring them.
(c) He killed
them if they put a tilak-mark on their foreheads.47
(d) He stopped
the Hindus from burning their dead.48
(e) He did
not permit the Hindus to go to temples to pray and worship.49
(f) He did
not permit them to blow a conch or toll a bell.
(g) He destroyed
and demolished the Hindu temples only to build mosques or hospices with
their materials. The present mosque of Mir Ali Hamadani was built only
after destroying the Kalishree temple. The Jamia Mosque in Srinagar was
built on the foundations of a Buddhist Vihara after destroying it. The
majority of mosques are built on temple foundations.
(h) Malik Saif-ud-din, Sikander's army chief (Sipahasalar), used army to convert
the Hindus of Kashmir to Islam. 50
(i) He stopped
Hindus from performing their religious festivals and other practices.
imposed the hated Jazia (poll-tax) on the Hindus.51
(k) He did
not spare even the neophytes as they were suspected of clinging to their
(l) A Hindu
mother giving birth to twins was subjected to Jazia.
(m) At the
appearance of the new moon, the Hindus were not allowed to worship or take
the tacit approval of Sikander and Ali Shah, Malik Saif-u-din stopped the
exit of the Kashmirian Hindus by posting guards at an exit points so that
they could not escape forcible conversion.52
got hundreds of Hindus drowned in the pristine waters of the Dal Lake and
later got them buried.55
(p) He got
all books burnt. Srivara, a historian of Kashmir, records, "Sikander burnt
all books the same wise as fire burns hay".54
fury of genocide of the Kashmirian Hindus launched upon by Sultan Sikander,
his army chief, Malik Saif-ud-din and Sultan Ali Shah knew no moderation
or abatement forcing the Hindus to burn, hang, drown themselves and jump
over the precipices only to protect their religion.55 The genocide of the
Kashmirian Hindus was intensified with all its fury when a second wave
of Sayyids led by Sheikh Jalal-ud-din Bukhari entered the frontiers of
Kashmir. The Hindus and their cultural moorings were ruthlessly destroyed
the same wise as locusts destroy and devour the lush green paddy fields.56
The butchering of the Hindus touched a new high. The standing artifacts
of Hindu culture and civilisation were mercilessly destroyed if they had
been spared in the first fury. Parihaspora, a standing testimony to the
glory of the Karkotas, was ravaged and its temples, viharas and caityas
were plundered and destroyed reducing them to an un-recognisable heap of
ruins. The combine of state power and Sayyids with the general mass of
people either hounded out or forcibly converted to Islam did not spare
even Nanda Risi, Mulla Noor-r-ud-din of Jonraj, the patron-saint of Kashmir
and was detained and imprisoned57 for his total and vigorous opposition
to the genocidal movement against the Hindus of Kashmir.58
He, a real
humanist with malice towards none, was pictured as a ruthless proselytiser
wrapped in the bleeding cow-hide exhorting Bhoma Rishi to get converted
to Islam.59 It will be pertinent to put that Nand Rishi, a celibate and
vegetarian, was essentially given to meditation for purposes of achieving
higher ascension as is enunciated by the Buddhists, the Shaivites and other
thought-processes determining the spiritual ethos of the contemporary times.
The Sayyids especially Mir Maqbool Hamadani were dead-set against him as
he never accepted their religious and spiritual superiority. 'Khat-i-Irshad'61
as a historical document recording Nand Rishi's acceptance of the Sayyid's
spiritual superiority has no veracity and is spurious. The indigenous Rishi
movement rooted in the hoary past of Kashmir based on higher values of
spirituality and broad values of humanism prepared a mind-set or psyshic
frame which was essentially responsible for impelling the neophytes to
chase the Sayyids in the streets of Kashmir hatefully calling them the
'cunning Sayyids' (saad makar).
The rishi were
simple folk affording comfort and solace to all without considerations
of caste, creed and religion. They as a cult abhorred violence and hatred
and saved themselves from touching extremes, always sticking to the middle-path
of the Buddhists. Writes Bamzai, "Like the Hindu rishi or recluses, they
believe in withdrawing from the world, practising celibacy, undergoing
penances in caves and jungles, refraining from killing birds and animals
for food or eating freshly picked vegetables and fruits. They lived on
vegetables and endeavoured to follow the yogic practices of the Hindus.''61
It was the
Risi movement of Kashmir purely based on indigenous- humanistic values
which was chiefly responsible for weaving a web of culture linking all
in an amity of brotherhood. The entire movement was looked down upon by
the Sayyids, who took it as an obstacle in their campaign of genocide of
the Hindus. Castigating the Islamic rishis, Mirza Haider Daughlat writes,
"At the present time in Kashmir the sufis have legitimised so many heresies
that they know nothing of what is lawful or unlawful. They consider that
piety and purity consist in night-watching and abstinence in food. They
are for ever interpreting dreams.... They prostrate themselves before one
another and together with such disgraceful acts observe the forty days
(of retirement). In short nowhere-else is such a band of heretics to be
Muslims were a scourge not only for the Kashmirian Hindus, but even for
the Islamic Rishis and non-sectarian sufis, who were denounced as heretics
for opposing the genocide of the Hindus on religious grounds. They chopped
every twig from the tree of mercy. All traces of Hinduism dotting the length
and breadth of the Valley were stamped out by massacring Hindus and by
ravaging, looting and ransacking their properties and more than most by
kidnapping and raping their women-folk. Jonraj, a contemporary historian,
laments the absolute subversion of the Hindu ethos by Yavanas (Muslims)
and compares them to the locusts destroying a paddy field.63
Williams, Modern India and Indians. 2. George
Campbell, Ethnology of India. 3. George Grierson, Linguistic Survey of India.
History of India. 5. P.N.K. Bamzai, "Kashmiri Pandits," Vitasta Annual Number.
Davids - Buddhism. 7. Tarikh-i-Haider
Malik NS P 35; Waqiati-Kashmir P 27 8. Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 9.
Kings of Kashmir Sts 161, 162. 10. Baharistan-i-Shahi
Ms; Tarikh-i-Haider Malik Ms, P35 11. Waqiat-i-Kashmir,
P 30. 12. Jonraj, Rajtarangini, St 167-69. l 3. Jonraj,
Ibid, St. 213. 14. Sufi
orders. 15. Birbal Kachru. 16. Richard
Temple, Sources of Lalla's Religion. 17. Jonraj, Rajtarangini, St. 303. 18. Ibid.
St. 305. Suicide theory about Kota Rani is a fiction. Baharistan
is silent about it. Stein holds that Shah Mir murdered
Kota Rani, Rajtarangini, Vol II, P 480. 19. Jonraj, Rajtarangini, St. 259.
Sts 250, 252, 257. 21. Introduction
to Jonraj's Rajtarangini. 22. PNK Bamzai, History of Kashmir. 23.
Fauq, Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 24. PNK Bamzai, History of Kashmir. 25. Ibid.
F. 1470 a. 27. PNK Bomzai, History of Kashmir. 28. Parmu R.K. (Dr.), Muslim Rule in Kashmir, P 112.
Kashmir Under the Sultans, P. 56-57. 30. Baharistan-i-Shahi,
MSF lla, Tarikh-i-Sayyid Ali, MSF. F 3a 4a 6a 31. Dr. Rafique, Sufism in Kashmir.
32. Fatahat-i-Kubravia. 33. Baharistan-i-Shahi,
Translated by Dr. K.N. Pandita 34. Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 35.
MSF 12a; Tarikh-i-.Soyyid Ali MSF 9a 36. Prof. S.K. Koul, Introduction to Jonraj's Kings of Kashmir.
MSF 12a; Fatuhat-i-Kubravia MSF 157a 38. Tarikh-i-Sayyid
Ali, MSF 14b. 39. R.C. Kak. Ancient Monuments of Kashmir. 40. Hasan,
Tarikh-i-Kashmir; Fauq, Tarikh-i-Kashmir; Kashmir, Sufi. 41. Ibid. 42. Introduction
to Jonraj's kings of Kashmir by Prof. S.K. Koul. 43. Ibid. 44. Hasan,
Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 45. Jonraj,
Kings of Kashmir, Sts 662, 663, 664, 665, 666, 668, 669ab,669cd 46. Hasan,
Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 47. Ibid 48. Baharistani-i-Shahi,
Tarikh-i-Haider Malik, Fatuhat-i-Kubervia, Tarikh-i-Sayyid Ali 49. Ibid. 50.
Kings of Kashmir, St 655-56 51. Ibid,
St 654. 52. Ibid,
St 606. 53. Jonraj,
Kings of Kashmir, 607. 54. Srivara,
Zaina Rajtarangini, St 75. 55. Jonraj,
Kings of Kashmir, St 657-59. 56. Jonraj,
Rajtarangini St 576. 57. Jonraj, Rajtarangini, St 673. 58. Introduction
to Jonraj's Rajtarangini, Prof. S.K.Koul. 59. Quoted
from Sufism in Kashmir, by Dr. Rafique. 60. Published
in Gulrez, Refer to discussion broadcast from Radio Kashmir, Sgr. 61. PNK
Bamzai, History of Kashmir, P. 547 62. Mirza
Haider Doughlat, Tarikh-i-Rashidi, P 436. 63. Jonraj, Rajtarangini.