translated by K. N. Pandit
Baharistan-i-Shahi, a Persian Manuscript history of Kashmir by anonymous author and brought down to A.D. 1614, 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. Baharistan-i-Shahi is essentially a political history of mediaeval Kashmir, though a few aspects of Kashmiri society, such as its feudalistic character, group and factional alignments, communal tensions and recurrent internal power struggles can also be gleaned from it. The concluding portion of the book throws considerable light on relations between the ruling Chak Sultans of Kashmir and the Mughals, and the final annexation of Kashmir by Akbar in A.D. 1587 in somewhat confusing circumstances. The chronicle is also rich in topographical detail.
Mr. Kashi Nath Pandita
P.B. No. 129,
Born in Baramulla in 1927, he obtained his M.A. in Persian from the Panjab University and Ph.D. in Iranian from Teheran University. He served for a long time as professor in the Persian Department and the Centre of Central Asian Studies at the Jammu and Kashmir University. He has authored several books including My Tajik Friends, Iran and Central Asia, and Baharistan-i-Shahi.
|A positive response
from the Indian Council of Historical Research encouraged me to take up
the translating of 'Baharistan-i-Shahi' from Persian into English. Many
friends helped me in bringing this work to its successful completion. I
am thankful to them. In particular, I am indebted to Prof. T. N. Dhar of
the Department of English, University of Kashmir, for the pains he took
in examining, revising and improving the English version. But for his untiring
labour and patience and the long and late sittings he had with me, the
work could not have seen the light of the day. Professor S. L. Pandit,
former Head, Department of English, Kashmir University, graciously agreed
to read the final draft and offer valuable suggestions.
I am thankful to Prof. N. N. Raina, formerly Head of the Department of Physics, Kashmir University, for his sustained encouragement and guidance during the course of my work and for agreeing to write a preface to it.
My sincere thanks are also due to Messers Firma KLM Private Ltd. of Calcutta whose staff worked hard to bring out the book within the shortest possible time. I am also thankful to the Government of India, Department of Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development, for the financial support they gave me for the printing and publishing of the work.
- Dr. Kashi Nath Pandit
Excerpts from the book:"....Persecution of Hindus (see Chapter 4)
[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 furtherance of the Muhammadan
|Rajat.||Rajatarangini, tr. M. A. Stein, 2 vols. London, 1900.|
|Jonar.||The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, ed. Srikanth Koul Vishveshvaranand Institute, Hoshiarpur, 1967.|
|T.H.K.||Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami, Pir Ghulam Hasan, Vol II, RPD,* Srinagar 1954.|
|T.M.H.||Tarikh-i-Malik Haidar, Malik Haidar Chadora, MS. RPD. Acc. No. 39.|
|T.N.K.||Tarikh-i-Narayan Koul Ajiz, MS. RPD. Acc. No. 934.|
|Tohfat||Tohfatu'1-Ahbab, Anonymous, transcript copy RPD. Acc. No. 1155.|
|---||Omission in the text|
*Note: RPD stands for
Research and Publication Department, J &K State Government, Srinagar.
|1. Since the chronicle
was one long narrative, it became necessary to divide it into chapters.
There are eight of them, each dealing with a particular period or a particular
ruling house. Care has been taken to ensure that minimum dislocation of
events or their overlapping takes place.
2. As stated elsewhere in the introduction, translation of verses has been left out. Likewise superfluous titles and appendages to names, a practice very common to Persian historiographical style, have also been left out to make the account readable.
3. Effort has been made to reproduce the place names as correctly as possible; some deficiencies have still remained.
4. Transliteration of Persian/Arabic/Sanskrit words, names, phrases etc. has been done in accordance with the accepted system. (See the key to transliteration). Diacritical marks have been used wherever necessary.
5. Explanatory comments wherever necessary have been put in round parenthesis, but whatever was felt necessary to clear the textual ambiguities has been put in square brackets.
6. Blanks and erasions in the MS have been shown by the sign ... in the English translation. Illegible words have also been indicated likewise followed by the abbreviation illeg.
7. Conversion of Hijra years into Christian years has been done on the basis of the Lunar year system of the Muslim calendar and not the Solar year system of the Iranians.
8. Qur'anic verses, which figure in the chronicle, have been rendered into English wherever possible.
9. Folio numbers of the MS and their corresponding printed pages have been given on a separate sheet.
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