Destruction of Cultural Symbols
and Shrines of Kashmir
and destruction of temples is not new and unusual phenomena. The process
has been continuously going on ever since Kashmir passed into political
domination of Muslim rulers in the first quarter of fourteenth century.
Islam like other Semitic religions enjoins upon
the faithful to expand their religion by proselytizing the heathens, infidels
and 'kafirs' (non-believers) to their faith to gain religious merit. "Jihad"
or holy war is the instrument that is used for proselytization. The Muslim
rulers of Kashmir, the Mughals and Pathans made full use of their political
authority to effect conversion of Hindus of valley. To achieve the objective
it became imperative for them to wipe out all traces of religious and cultural
symbols of Hindus which included their temples, libraries, universities
and ashrams etc.
In Kashmir gun powder was used for the first time
not for fighting a war but for destroying massive Hindu stone temples.
When it was felt that the fissionable material was not available in sufficient
quantity for the iconoclasm, the nearby jungles were cut and used for setting
on fire the giant stone structures of Hindu Temples. By excessive heat
the stones burst, broke-away and crumbled these gigantic structures that
spread through the length and breadth of Kashmir. The ruins of Martand,
Avantipur, Devar etc. are mute witnesses of the depredation.
Central Camp Office, Jammu, India
KASHMIR DOCUMENTATION - Pandits in Exile