The Sayyids as
Sayyids had entered the purlieux of Kashmir as proselytisers and ultimately
entrenched themselves in the power structure of Kashmir and cornered high
offices and positions gaining tremendous privileges and favours for themselves
and their kinsmen. They married in royal and noble families and amassed
incalculable fortunes. As they were held in high esteem by the Muslim rulers,
they misused it only to become an instrument of oppression for the mass
of neo-converts and the Hindus as well.
virtually reduced Kashmir to a state of bankruptcy indulging in loot and
wholesale corruption. They maltreated the neophytes and considered them
as low as dust. Having fractured their conscience by furcible conversion,
they added insult to injury by calling them 'Brahmanzadas' - sons of Brahmans.
They indulged in corruption, oppression and drinking. Records Shrivara
"Accepting bribes by them was virtuous, oppressing people was wise and
indulging in drinking and sex was happiness''.l
enormous political power, the Sayyids had to face bitter opposition from
the Muslim nobility, which was side-lined, humiliated and disrespected.
The neo-converts being utterly ignored in matters of politics and religion
rose in revolt resulting in utter chaos and anarchy. But, the Sayyids suppressed
the revolt with firmness. The Sayyid Prime Minister of Hasan Shah installed
an eight year old boy of his own daughter on the throne of Kashmir. In
general, the Sayyids were haughty in their conduct, cruel in behaviour
and urged by excessive cupidity, they oppressed the people like the messengers
bitterly opposed to the policy projections of Bud- Shah, who had granted
peace and respite to the Hindus. A campaign of calumny was launched against
the Hindu infidels forcing them to quit their land or get converted to
Islam. They ruthlessly used force against them designed to annihilate them.
Calling the Sayyids as oppressors, Shrivara is categoric in underlining
the deep-seated bias they harboured against the Kashmirian Hindus, who
had tenaciously withstood the storm of the religious war ravaging them
root and branch. In the end of Hasan Shah's reign, under the directives
of the Sayyids, the religious places of the Hindus were looted, ransacked
and burnt. The Hindus were not heard at all and were shorn of all normal
human rights to live and live with safety. Every puny Muslim would take
law into his own hands and inflict pains and miseries on them, harassing,
intimidating and forcing them to run to the mountainous regions for refuge.
Kashmir, for them, was reduced to a jungle where wild and ferocious animals
could be seen prowling about without any restriction.
under the political hegemony of the Sayyids, who had reduced the local
rulers to a state of nullity, found themselves in tight straits. They could
not lodge a complaint if and when their normal human rights were trespassed
or violated. A Hindu held in great reverence by the Kashmirian Hindus lodged
a mild complaint against the tress-pass of his land to the Sayyid officer,
who decreed the destruction of his entire psoperty, and also the devastation
of the properties belonging to all the Hindus inhabiting that locality.
This incident illustrates the condition of the Hindus under the Sayyids,
who had actually fled their land to ward off persecution and torture and
were given refuge and succour by the very Hindus they were persecuting
and torturing only to break their resistance for conversion to Islam.
with a Damocle's sword perpetually hanging over their necks were terrorised
to the extent of living with utmost care and caution. Even 'Srivara, a
notable figure connected with many courts presided over by Sultans, felt
so much harassed that he was compelled to conceal and dared not record
many facts of historical import while he as a historian was recording the
events happening under his very nose. Writes he, "I have abstained from
giving even a brief aceount of this defeat in consideration of the present
in their crusade against the Hindus entered their private lodgings, ate
from their pots, disrupted their usual modes of worship and indulged in
bouts of drinking and carousing. They would rob them of their domestic
animals, rice and other necessities of life and the most avaricious among
them went to the extreme of killing them in their own houses.4 The lands
belonging to the Hindus were confiscated. They were deprived of the means
of earning their livelihood. A vasnavite Brahman, Muni, rose in revolt
against the Sayyid oppressors, who had plans for the total decimation of
the Hindus. He along with other patriotic elements could not stand the
state oppression. The homes of Muni and his supporters were ruthlessly
ravaged and devastated. Their women-folk were raped and lifted off only
to be sold to fanatical zealots. To avoid brutalities, many Hindu women
committed suicide by jumping into rivers or wells. The Hindus if clinging
to their faith were meted out atrocious treatment. They were put in fetters
and their eyes were gouged out and body-limbs cut off. They would be beheaded
and their bodies thrown on road-sides only to terrorise men of their faith. 'Srivara has drawn a graphic picture of atrocities heaped on the Kashmirian
Hindus by the Sayyids. Crossing all limits of ruthless barbarity, they
cruelly beheaded a renowned Hindu physician, Bhuvneshwara by name and to
instill fear into the Hindus, threw his decapitated head on the road-side.
As if it were not enough, they placed decapitated heads of the Hindus on
a pile of wood and coals on the banks of the river Jehlum for the people
to watch the grisly scene.6
Zaina Rajtarangini. 2. Ibid. 3. Shrivara,
Zaina Rajtarangini. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid. 6. Ibid.