- Religious Persecution
rule came to an end in 1339, when Shah Mir, under
the title of Sultan Shamas-ud-Din founded Sultan
dynasty, which ruled for 222 years (1339-1561 AD).
During the first 50 years of their rule, there is no
evidence of religious persecution of Hindus. There
is no record of forcible conversion. In fact the
first three Sultans were quite liberal and had
allowed complate religious freedom. But things
changed during the rule of Sikandar (1389-1413).
followed the policy of religious tolerance for some
time. His thinking changed with the arrival of 700
Sayyids under the leadership of Sayyid Mohamad
Hamdani. They came from Persia as they had been
persecuted there on political reasons by Timur.
Sikandar received them with open .mp3s.
were orthodox Sunni theologians. Sikandar came into
direct contact with them. As a result he was fired
with religious zeal. He resolved to run the State on
Islamic laws [The present call for Nizam-e-Mustafa].
He tried to propagate the faith by force. In this
task, he was actively assisted by his prime minister
Suha Bhat (Saif-ud-Din), a recent convert to Islam.
Thousands of Hindus were converted and killed. A
large number of Brahmins migrated to plains,
carrying their sacred books with them. Hundreds of
temples were destroyed.
Sikandar, Butshikan was succeeded by his eldest son
Noor Khan, who assumed the title of Sultan Ali Shah
(1413-1420). He retained the services of his
father’s prime minister, the renegade Brahmin Suha
Bhat. Ali Shah continued the policy of persecution
of Hindus till Suha Bhat’s death. After the
latter’s death, Ali Shah appointed his younger
brother Shahi Khan his prime minister.
of Tolerance - An Interlude
Khan (later knows as Zain-ul-Abidin) - Early life:
younger son of Sikandae, he had fortunately received
good education. He had had an opportunity of
remaining in the court of Timurlaine (Timurlang) at
Samarqand for seven crucial years. He observed the
secrets of the prosperity of the people in that
land. He had also developed interest in arts and
crafts of the region. He realised their importance
in the economy of Kashmir valley. By disposition, he
was free from religious fanaticism.
prime minister in the court of his elder brother, he
followed a liberal religious policy. Luckily his
elder brother, the Sultan had by then mellowed down.
Shahi Khan tried to assuage the hurt feelings of the
Hindus. He tried to treat all irrespective of their
religion, but on their merit. In a very short time,
he succeeded in winning the confidence of Hindus.
Khan, Ali Shah’s prime minister and younger
brother ascended the throne of Kashmir in 1420. He
assumed the title of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin.
accession to the Kashmir throne ushered in an era of
peace, religious tolerance, justice, material
progress, prosperity and glory of the valley. He has
truly been called Budshah for his benevolence. He is
chiefly being remembered for the following:
Recall of the Hindus: For bringing order in the
country, he wanted the old class of officials, the
Pundits, back with guarantee of full civil and
religious liberties. Providence also helped. He fell
seriously ill. He was cured by the famous physician
Shri Bhat. The king wanted to give him a valuable
gift. Shri Bhar refused to take anything for
himself. Instead he wanted the king to remove all
restrictions on Pundits imposed by Sikandar
including poll tax (Jazia). The king at once granted
him the request. He took the following steps:
Pundits could perf.mp3 their religious functions
Shri Bhat his prime minister.
persecutionary laws made by Sikandar were withdrawn.
who had migrated, were invited back and most of them
People were p.mp3itted to build new temples, some old
ones were repaired.
king built two temples near Ishbur with land grants.
Poill tax (Jazia) was abolished.
Killing of cows was banned.
During Hindu festivals, the king himself abstained
from eating meat.
Killing of fish in springs sacred to Hindus was
would take part in Hindu festivals and go on
pilgrimage to Hindu Tirthas including once to the
holy Sharada Temple.
a) He built numerous houses for widows of Brahmins
killed in the reigns of Sikandar and Ali Shah.
got Hindu Shastras including Mahabharata translated
entrusted administration to Pundits,
encouraged them to learn Persian before it became
the official language. Shri Bhat, Tilakacharya,
Shiva Bhatt, Simha Bhatt, Bodhi Bhatt and Shri
Ramanand were some of the learned men and prominent
Development of Arts & Crafts: Zain-ul-Abidin
recognised the ability and zeal of Kashmiris to
learn certain arts and crafts, which he had learnt
while at Samarqand. He introduced: a) Carpet Making.
b) Papier Machie. c) Wood Carving. d) Silj Weaving.
e) Paper Making. f) Stone Cutting & Poilishing
etc. g) Window Cutting. h) Gold Beating. He invited
competent teachers and craftsmen to train his
subjects endowed with talent and natural aptitude.
Soon these products acquired great fame in Asia and
Europe. Pt. Anand Kaul says, “Zain-ul-Abidin
turned Kashmir into a garden of industry.” Most of
these are the bedrock of Kashmir economy even today.
Public Works: Zain-ul-Abidin built many towns and
villages. He built several canals, many of them have
been repaired or reconstructed and are under use.
Bijbehara, Mansbal, Zainagir, Shahkul at Bawan are
some of them revived for use. His engineer Damra
Kach paved a road with stones. He also made Zaina
Kadal, the first wooden bridge in Kashmir. The
Sultan introduced wooden architecture. His 12
storeyed Zoona Dab is well known. (Also refer Pages
6,7,8 of Information Digest Vol.1)
short Zain-ul-Abidin reversed the policy of
his father Sikandar Butshikan, re-established a
regime of religious tolerance, introduced measures
to generate employment, improved irrigation and the
economy of his State. And therefore called Budshah.
Birth of Jammu & Kashmir State
Owen Dixon said in 1950, “The State of Jammu &
Kashmir is not really a unit geographically,
demographically or economically. It is an
agglomeration of territories brought under the
political power of one Maharaja. That is the unity
it possesses”. How that unity was achieved
is the story of the birth of J&K State.
passed into the hands of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in
1803. It was given to Raja Gulab Singh in F.mp3 by
Ranjit Singh in 1820. Gulab Singh was the son of
Mian Kishore Singh, jagirdar of an area near Sambha.
He was a brave adventurous young man. Born in 1792,
he joined the services of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in
1809. He rendered meritorious services to Ranjit
Singh, conducted many successful military campaigns
and brought under control the unruly Jammu province.
[Kashmir valley was ruled by the Sikhs through
governors from 1819.]
1820, Jammu province was given to Gulab Singh (by
Ranjit Singh) in f.mp3. To enable him to collect the
revenues, Gulab Singh was allowed to raise an .mp3y
and was given the title of Raja. In 1821, the Raja
annexed Kishtwar. Gulab Singh reduced Rajouri under
the instructions of Ranjit Singh. Thereupon Maharaja
Ranjit Singh granted to Gulab Singh and his
successors the principality of Jammu with the
hereditary title of Raja. His able general, Wazir
Zorawar Singh subjugated Ladakh and then Baltistan.
Later, after the defeat of the Dogras and the death
of Zorawar Singh in a battle at Lhasa, Ladakh was
temporarily lost to Tibetans. Raja Gulab Singh sent
6000 troops under the command of Diwan Hari Chand
and Wazir Ratnu to Ladakh. The Raja directed the
campaign himself in the name of the Lahore (sikh)
government while camping at Nasim bagh in Srinagar.
The Dogras won a decisive victory. According to a
treaty with the Tibetans, the boundary between Tibet
and Ladakh was defined, the latter coming under
p.mp3anent Dogra rule.
Ranjit Singh’s death in 1839 was followed by
disorder in the Lahore government. Gulab Singh
played a significant role in the struggle for the
Sikh throne. In 1841, the British wanted cooperation
of the Sikhs in Afghanistan. Raja Gulab Singh was
deputed by the Lahore government. He rendered
valuable services to the British government and won
their favour. He aimed at securing an independent
status for his newly f.mp3ed State of Jammu.
opportunity came. In the war between the Sikhs and
the British, Raja Gulab Singh played an important
role. He entered into negotiation with the British,
who had won a decisive victory. Conscious of the
strength of Gulab Singh, the British welcomed a
negotiated peace. The treaty among other things
The Sikh Maharaja recognises independent sovereignty
of Raja Gulab Singh.
British government agreed to recognise Gulab
Singh’s independence and right to enter into a
separate treaty with it.
British government and Maharaja Gulab Singh signed a
treaty on 16 March 1846 at Amritsar, known as the
‘Treaty of Amritsar’. The British transferred to
Maharaja Gulab Singh and his heirs all the hilly
country to the eastward of the River Indus and
westwards of the River Ravi including Chamba and
excluding Lahul (area ceded to the British by the
Sikhs) in lieu of rupees seventy five lakhs, which
the Sikh government had to pay to the British as
ransom. The Maharaja accepted the supremacy of the
British and agreed to pay a tribute. Gulab Singh
overcame all local resistance of Sikh governors in
Kashmir valley and added it to his possessions, to
give birth to the State of Jammu and Kashmir,
comprising hilly districts of Jammu including
Kishtwar and Rajouri, Ladakh, Baltistan and Kashmir
valley. The British recognised it as an independent
state with complete internal independence.
of Gilgit: Gilgit and adjoining areas on the right
side of the River Indus were not transferred to
Gulab Singh, though had been under the Sikhs. Gulab
Singh succeeded in exercising control over it though
temporarily. He lost the area in 1851 due to a
series of rebellions. However, Ranbir Singh finally
annexed it in 1859. In 1870, Chiefs of Nagar and
Hunza were subjugated. Chitral followed suite and
received Rs. 12000/- annually as subsidy from
Maharaja Ranbir Singh. In 1889, the Kashmir Council
ruling the State (Partap Singh was deprived of
power) allowed the British government to establish
the British Agency in Gilgit with Civil, Political,
Military administrative powers.
29th march 1935, Maharaja Hari Singh gave Gilgit
Wazarat to the British government on lease for 60
years with authority to establish civil and military
government there. (In addition to Gilgit Agency).
State of Jammu & Kashmir was ruled by Dogra
dynasty from 1846 to 1947 AD.
1846 - 1856 Maharaja Gulab Singh
1856 - 1885 Ranbir Singh
1885 - 1925 Partap Singh
1925 - 1947 Hari Singh
of Modernism 1846-1925 AD
rule saw the end of certain pernicious practices,
such as Begar (forced labour) and emergence of
trends leading to the beginning of Modernism.
Gulab Singh suppressed crime ruthlessly. Some
leaders of Galwans (Horse thieves) were captured and
executed publicly. He introduced a Criminal Penal
Code (CrPC), still essentially in vogue. He
established 30 Subordinate Courts and Appeal Courts
at Srinagar and Jammu. Any one could approach the
Maharaja - Cost half a rupee Stamp Paper.
Education, the central pillar for progress received
Ranbir Singh was a patron of education and learning.
He donated liberally to Sanskrit institutions at
Banaras, donated a lakh of rupees for founding the
Punjab University and became its first fellow;
established Maktabas and Pathshallas.
Ranbir Singh established a Sanskrit college, a
research centre, a library with 5000 manuscripts, a
translation bureau where Sanskrit and Persian books
were translated into Hindi, Urdu and Dogri, and
Sanskrit texts written in Sharda script transcribed
in Devanagari script at Raghunath Mandir, Jammu,
which he had built earlier.
Ranbir Singh started a State school at Srinagar in
1874, where education was imparted in Persian and
Sanskrit. In 1886 AD, Dr. A. Mitra introduced
English teaching according to University curriculum.
1905 AD (Partap Singh rule) a college was set up at
Srinagar with the efforts of Annie Besant. It was
later taken over by the State government and named
Sri Partap College. Later in 1908, another college
was started at Jammu.
Earlier Ranbir Singh had allowed the Church
Missionary Society of England to open a private
school (CMS School). Rev. J.S.Doxey opened a school
in 1881. He was succeeded by Rev. Hinton Knowles who
handed over the charge of the school (with 500
students) to Rev. C.Tyndale Biscoe in 1892. It was
the first school in the State to follow the
university syllabus and imparted education in
State Subject Question:
Government service was the only source of employment
of the educated. With better facilities for
education, pressure on employment increased.
1889, the Kashmir Council changed official language
from Persian to Urdu. People were not prepared for
the change. Old State officilas, not knowing Urdu,
were retrenched and replaced by Punjabis. (This
policy continued for a long time.)
educated class (chiefly Kashmiri Pandits) agitated
against the introduction of non state subjects. One
Shankar Lal Koul carried a relentless campaign in
the Indian Press. Ultimately, the State government
accepted that only the State Subjects were eligible
to government service. ‘State Subject Law’ was
ancient times, agriculture was the principal
occupation and land revenue, the main source of
State revenue. During the Hindy period, the State
claimed one-sixth of the produce. During the rule of
Sultans and upto Mughals, it was generally half, but
the Mughals raised it to 75% of the produce.
Maharaja Ranjit Singh experimented with cash
assessment, but it degenerated into a system of
auctioning the land. It ruined the tiller without
any gain to the State.
1889, land settlement was entrusted to Sir Walter
Lawrence. He completed the Survey in 1893. As a
Occupancy rights were given to the cultivator.
State demand was fixed for 14 years.
Payment in cash was substituted for payment in kind.
land was carefully evaluated on the basis of its
quality and irrigational facilities.
Hereditary rights were granted to those who accepted
the first assessment.
Begar (forced labour) was abolished.
ancient times, the valley surrounded by tall
mountains remained isolated. There were no roads
connecting the Valley to the rest of the country.
“There was an absence of roads fit for wheeled
traffic in the Valley in1890”, writes Lawrence.
Construction of the first cart-road linking the
Valley to the nearest rail head at Rawalpindi, 200
miles away, was started in 1880 and completed in
1890. Maharaja Partap Singh inaugurated the road and
named it the Jhelum Valley Road.
1912, under the advice of his far sighted minister
Dr. A Mitra, Maharaja Partap Singh ordered the
construction of a cart-road over the Banihal. The
work was started in 1913 and the first vehicle, a
horse-drawn carriage crossed over in 1915, linking
Kashmir to Jammu, 200 miles away. Jammu was already
connected by rail to Sialkot in 1890.
Gilgit was connected to the Valley by a road fit for
mule and pack-poney traffic. Gilgit Agency was
connected to the .mp3y Headquarter in India and
Residency in Srinagar by telephone. The State also
took limited benefit.
river bed beyond Wular was desilted using mechanical
dredges driven by electricity. For this purpose, a
hydro-electric power house was constructed at Mohara
in 1907. (Second hydro-electric project in India,
first being in Mysore). Dredging started in 1908.
6100 acres of land reclaimed round Wular, used for
paddy cultivation. Dredgers sold in a junk in 1917,
considered a mistake.
- June 1947 to October 1947
The State as on 15th August 1947:
and Kashmir was the largest of the princely states
in territorial extent and the most diverse in
cultural t.mp3s. It was also very strategically
located. It shared its borders with Tibet (720 Kms.),
Sinkiang (640 Kms.), Afghanistan (256 Kms.) and the
newly born Pakistan in August 1947 (1120 Kms.)
besides India. The state was ruled by a Hindu
Maharaja Hari Singh, and had an overall Muslim
majority. However, demographic distribution was as
varied as its cultural diversity. Kashmir valley had
predominantly Muslim population, Hindus (Kashmiri
Pandits) and Sikhs f.mp3ing significant minorities.
All spoke Kashmiri. Hindus were in majority in
eastern Jammu and Muslims in western Jammu. All
spoke Dogri. Ladakh was predominantly Buddhist
populated area, linguistically close to Tibet. West
of Ladakh was dominated by Shia Muslims speaking
Balti. To further north lay Gilgit, mostly Muslim
populated, speaking varied dialects. A strip running
close to Pakistan border, comprised Muzaffarabad
district, Poonch, Rajouri and Mirpur. The population
here was mostly Muslims, with sizeable Hindus and
Sikhs speaking a variant of Hindustani, close in
identity to people on the other side of the border.
Conference (NC) under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd.
Abdullah, was the most popular political party in
the State. Ideologically, it was close to Indian
National Congress. Ghulam Abbas, a non-Kashmiri
speaking Mirpurian was the President of Muslim
Conference. It had some presence in Mirpur and
Poonch. National Conference had launched Quit
Kashmir Movement in 1946. R.C.Kak was the Prime
Minister. The government came down on the people
with a heavy hand. The Indian National Congress
(INC) , particularly Jawahar Lal Nehru extended
support to the people when they were under
suppression. The State, though overwhelmingly Muslim
populated was not affected by the Two Nation theory
of the Muslim League and, therefore, was free from
communal tensions when rest of the country was in
the grip of communal violence.
- June 1947 onwards
political changes were initiated in the country on
3rd June 1947. The British government announced its
scheme of the partition of British India into two
dominions, India and Pakistan. It was made clear
that the partition was applicable to the British
India only. The Indian states would be dealt with
under the t.mp3s of the Cabinet Mission Memorandum to
the Chancellor of Indian Princes on 12 May 1946,
which in effect stated that once self-governing
governments came into being in British India, His
Majesty's government would cease to exercise the
power of paramountcy over the princes, bringing to
an end the political arrangements (and hence Defence
also) between the States and the British
government. The princes could enter into agreements
with the new government or governments.
17th June, the British Parliament passed the Indian
Independence Act, under which two dominions, India
and Pakistan would come into existence on 15th
August 1947. It was reiterated that paramountcy of
the British Crown would lapse to the Princes, who
were free to accede to one or the other dominion,
keeping in view the principle of contiguity.
562 princes had to decide the fate of their people
and of themselves also, as quickly as possible
before 14th August. Till then, there was only one
Governor General. So like his colleagues, Maharaja
Hari Singh had to take a decision, keeping in view
the socio-cultural and political conditions in view.
19th June 1947, the Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten came
to Kashmir on a four day visit. He advised the
Maharaja not to declare independence, but to
ascertain the will of the people in any manner and
accede to either of the Dominions. He had the
authority from future rulers (i.e. Congress
leadership) of India to assure His Highness that if
he chose to join Pakistan, they would not object.
Mountbatten was also of the opinion that if Hari
Singh would accede to India, Pakistan could not
interfere, as it did not exist. The Viceroy
therefore, insisted that the decision was to be
taken before 14th August 1947. In his speech in
London on his return from India, Lord Mountbatten
lamented that in spite of his repeated advice to the
above effect, His Highness did nothing, giving rise
to complications. (Ref: Time to Look Forward - PP
268-69). About the visit, Campbell-Johnson in his
book 'My Mission with Mountbatten' says, " When
he (Viceroy) got there, he found the Maharaja very
elusive and the only conversations that took place,
were when they were driving. The f.mp3al meeting
fixed for the ultimate day could not take place as
the Maharaja suffered a colic attack. Uncertainty
and indecision continued.
the end of July 1947, Mahatma Gandhi visited
Srinagar. He was not allowed to address the people.
He advised the Maharaja to constitute a democratic
government implying releasing National Conference
leaders and associating Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah with
administration. All that happened was that Thakur
Janak Singh, a f.mp3er revenue minister replaced
R.C.Kak as Prime Minister.
12 August, Kashmir telegraphically entered into a
standstill agreement with Pakistan regarding
continuance of Civil Supplies, Transport,
Communications, Postal Services etc. A similar
telegram was sent to the Government of India. They
wanted a personal discussion which never matured.
after the creation of Pakistan, trouble started
first in Poonch and then on the Poonch-Mirpur
border. On 4th September 1947, the Kashmir
government lodged a strong protest with the
government of West Punjab against large scale border
raids by .mp3ed Muslims. Ignoring the protest, the
Pak administration clamped an economic blockade,
cutting essential supplies. Instead of seeking
relief from India and reading the writing on the
wall, Maharaja Hari Singh thought it fit to send a
cable to the British Prime Minister. By the end of
September, the border raids increased and the
situation became explosive. The British Prime
Minister ignored the cable and the Maharaja was
Janak Singh, after staying in office for about two
months was replaced by Meharchand Mahajan, an
eminent jurist. On 29th September 1947, full 1-1/2
months after Pakistan had been born, Hari Singh
released Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah and other NC leaders
and workers. Sensing danger, the NC leaders
activised the organisation. A delegation under
G.M.Sadiq was sent to Pakistan. Sadiq met Liaqat Ali
Khan, the Pak PM twice and presented to him, a
four point proposal; 1) to support Kashmiri People's
struggle for self-rule; 2) to recognise the right of
the people to decide the question of accession; 3)
to allow people some time for it and 4) not to
precipitate the matter meanwhile. G.M.Sadiq had to
come back empty-handed and hurriedly in the face of
a strict blockade.
Hari Singh was under pressure. He was advised even
by Sardar Patel to associate Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah
with the administration and take a decision. This,
both Nehru and Patel felt was necessary to face any
trouble from Pakistan which they feared.
Unfortunately, time was allowed to slip. .mp3ed
incursions became more frequent, necessitating the
deployment of state forces in small strength all
along the border, leaving no reserves in the
barracks. Brig. Gansara Singh, who had been sent to
Gilgit as Governor to receive charge from the
British, was facing a revolt.
22nd October 1947, 5000 .mp3ed tribesmen guided by
Maj. Gen. Akbar Khan (under the name of General
Tariq) entered the State and occupied Muzaffarabad
and Domel. Their onward march was halted for two
days by the valiant Brig. Rajinder Singh.
NC organised National Militia under the guidance of
Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed. Thousands of men and women
volunteered to join it. Some of them were given
short training in rifle-shooting. They were to
maintain law and order, to keep vigil against enemy
infiltration in the city and suburbs, and to assist
the civil administration. Civil transport, whatever
available was requisitioned along with the drivers
for use in the emergency.
Maharaja sent an SOS to the government of India for
military help on 24th Oct. 1947. Sheikh Mohd.
Abdullah also flew to Delhi to appeal to the Indian
Cabinet. Meanwhile, raiders were marching towards
25th October 1947, the Defence Committee met under
the Cha.mp3anship of the Governor General,
Mountbatten to decide on the Maharaja's request for
supply of .mp3s and ammunition. At this meeting,
General Lockhurt, the Commander-in-Chief in India,
read a telegram from Pakistan .mp3y Chief stating
that 5000 .mp3ed raiders had entered and occupied
Muzaffarabad, and many more were on their way. Would
the supply of .mp3s and ammunition to the local
population meet the requirement in the face of a
massive .mp3ed raid? The problem of troop
reinforcement was talked, but according to
Campbell-Johnson, Lord Mountbatten ruled it out till
the State had acceded. V.P.Menon, the Secretary M.O.
Indian States was sent to Kashmir immediately. Menon
flew to Kashmir, assessed the situation, advised the
Maharaja to leave for Jammu along with him and went
back to Delhi. On 26 October, the Instrument of
Accession was signed by the Maharaja, Meharchand
Mahajan and Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah as a witness.
accession of Jammu & Kashmir was accepted by the
Governor General in the same way as in the case of
other 560 odd Indian States. However in a separate
letter to the Maharaja, Lord Mountbatten said,
"In consistence with the policy of government
of India that in the case of any state where the
issue of accession has been a matter of dispute, the
question of accession should be decided in
accordance with the wishes of the people of State.
It is my government's wish that as soon as the State
has been cleared of the raiders and as soon as law
and order has been restored, the question of State's
accession should be settled by a reference to the
was a promise to the government of India which the
State government fulfilled on 6th February 1954,
when the duly elected Constituent Assembly ratified
the State having acceded to India on 26th October
first batch of Indian .mp3y under Col. Rai landed at
Srinagar airport on 27th October when Baramulla had
fallen. Raiders then moved towards outskirts of
Srinagar city, but were defeated and driven out of
the Valley on 8th Nov. 1947.
has been done in accordance with the
provisions of the Indian Independence Act, 1947,
under which 560 other state rulers decided their
accession. The legality of Kashmir accession has not
been challenged even in UNO. By implication, it has
been recognised. But unfortunately the problem has
been a constant headache. Is it not due to
procrastination of a single person who mattered