Again a Black Chapter
Torture of innocent people for the sake of Islamic imperialism
Pandits had reached top posts in the administration in Kashmir, as per their calibre, because of the liberal policies of Sultan Zainul. This society was becoming influential in the field of trade, agriculture. This state of happiness was not cherished by those contractors of the Muslim society the Syeds from central Asia who had set their foot on Kashmir to fulfil their dream of having a "Darul Islam" in the valley.
Thus they reminded Sultan Hyder Shah of this aim and through him they subjected the basic society to torture and atrocities.
In the Hindi translation of Rajtarangani Dr. Raghunath Singh has written that there was no sight of cruelty during the period of Zainulab Din. But as a result of his growing weakness, and on account of greed for power of his sons, there was advent of cruelty. A tussle ensued between Adam Khan and his younger brother Haji Khan at Shurpur and a marriage party that had come to Shurpur was killed without any fault.
After Zainul cruelty had touched new heights. Hyder Shah had a trusted barber, Bhratipuran, who used to get the limbs of the people severed. This was a simple affair for him. He had sawed the bodies of Thakkur and other trusted people of Zainul. People, walking on the roads, would be easily hauled up and five to six persons used to be executed at a time. The bodies of Vaidurya and Bhishag were mutilated on charge of being subversives. Many other prominent people including Sheekh and Nonak had to face chopping of their nose, hands and tongue. Terror had gripped people so much that many drowned themselves in Jehlum like Bhim and Jajj who had committed suicide by drowing in the river. The king himself used to encourage these cruel killings. He ordered killing of Hassan and others. They should be brought tactfully and killed. Hassan, who had organised the coronation of the king, Mer Kak and five-six persons were sitting on costly seats waiting for the regal orders. That very time the king ordered their killing. When Ahmed, known for his erudition and good qualities, was writing in the palace, he was killed suddenly. His body was not handed over to his family members. These unclaimed bodies were carried to the foot of a mountain where they were buried during the night. (Rajtarangini-2: 466-47, 48-50, 53, 47, 78, 81, 88, 142).
The Sultan ordered torture af the Hindus. He ordered chopping of the hands and nose of Ajjar, Amar, Budh and other Brahmins. Those days "Bhats", on seeing the loot of their community, would leave their country and while fleeing they shouted "we are not Bhats, we are not Bhats." Under the inspiration of foreigners the king ordered desecration and destruction of the idols of prominent deities. Those people who had been given lands by Zainul were deprived of it without any reason. (Rajtarangini-2: 131-127)
Brave Pandits sounded the bugle of struggle
It is worth mentioning here that Hyder Shah ruled Kashmir for only one year. And within this one year he broke all the records of repression. But the common Muslim society did not support his cruelties. Possibly the one-year old good feelings were still alive. Pandits were still occupying key posts. Thus some Pandits dared to sound the bugle of struggle against the in human plans of Hyder Shah. But this revolt was crushed with strength.
A Muslim historian Hassan has written that when the cup of patience of Pandits overbrimmed, they together revolted. These angry Pandits set ablaze those mosques which had been built by Sikander out of the debris of the destroyed temples. I With the power of the sword this revolt was crushed. Innumerable people were drowned in the river and there was none to stop the loot and killings.
Only those people could save themselves who either fled, or went into hiding or adopted Islam or became obedient servants of the Sultan and lived an ignominious life after paying taxes. But during the time of Hyder Shah the practice of religious conversion was confined to some big cities like Srinagar only. Hindus and Muslims continued to live in love in the villages. This tussle remained confined to the upper class of Hindus and Muslims because its main aim was to dislodge Hindus from the key posts. But Hindus too became victim of this loot, plunder, struggle and massacre. During this one year 24,000 Hindus had been converted to Islam, Brotherhood and mutual love that had been established during the reign of Zainul were completely destroyed. Kidnapping of Hindu women, their rape and their killing had become a daily routine. The exodus of Hindus from Kashmir started again.
Impact of the call of Islamic doctrines
After Hyder Shah's one year of cruel rule, Hassan Khan (1475 A.D.) ocoupied the throne. Hassan Khan, a lover of music, took the reigns of the Government in his hands and revived all the civilised and cultural traditions of the period of Zainul. He was also a scholar of Sanskrit language. He had deeply studied and understood the Hindu life philosophy. He, therefore, got run centres of Sanskrit and art and schools for the promotion of culture.
But despite all these works he became a victim of a horrible conspiracy. Hassan Khan was a great boozer. He used to booze and enjoy the dance of dancers in the music concert throughout the night. He would, because of these engagements, devote a little time towards the administration. Taking advantage of this weakness of the king of the Syeds raised their head again. The drunkard king had no strength to crush the poisonous fangs of the snake like Syeds. These very Syeds prepared a Muslim class in the administration which was entrusted with the task of carrying out religious conversion of Hindus in the absence of the Sultan. These Syeds were foreigners. They had no link with Kashmir. Their only aim was to force Hindus to adopt Islam. They started preparing Hassan Khan for perpetrating atrocities on Hindus in the name of Islamic principles. One famous Syed, Nasira, married his daughter with the Sultan. And now onwards the Syeds started playing political dice on the level of the relation between the son-in-law and the the father-in-law.
The Sultan continued to get entrapped in their tricks and the Syeds got an opportunity to enjoy hegemony in the state administration. According to Dr. Raghunath Singh, cruelty further intensified during the period of Hassan Shah. Hassan Shah gouged out the eyes of Bahram Khan, son of Zainul. First his eyes were covered with cotton and later red hot iron rods were pierced through his eyes. Shrivar feels incapable of giving an account of pain Bahram Khan suffered. Inspired by the torture and death of Abhimanyu, Hassan Shah had ordered removing of the eyes of Bahram Khan. The same torture of Abhimanyu became an object of misfortune for the Sultan who was arrested. (Rajtarangini-3: 107-109 and 130-133)
It was a simple routine for keeping anyone in the prison. Out of anger Sultan Hassan sent Avtar Singh and others to the jail without any trial and justice. Many prominent citizens became victim of the anger of the Sultan and were jailed and later their eyes were gouged out. After two years' of imprisonment they too were killed like Bahram Khan. Yusuf was the son of Bahram Khan who was innocent. He was jailed because of his father and an account of being a man from the royal dynasty. Even being innocent he was killed. Officers and ministers too would be jailed without any thought. (Rajtaragini - 3 :100,131, 135, 399)
Loot of wealth and property was a routine affair. On getting dissatisfied the Sultan would grab wealth and property of his ministers, associates and beloved ones anv day without anr reason or thought. The Sultan was not responsible for anyone. He was without any restraint. The ministers too would behave without any self-restraint. Suspicious people and those who opposed them were immediately banished. (Rajtarangini-3: 148, 155)
The Hindus were so much terrorised by the atrocities ordered by Sultan Hassan Khan, under the influence of the Syeds, that they thought it better to migrate from Kashmir. And those who remained in Kashmir shaved off their tuft of hair and removed their sacred thread after tearing it. Hindu customs, religious functions and prayers were being performed within the four walls of their houses. Tormented and victimised Hindus inflicted wounds on the nose and ears of their daughters so that their ugly village would save them from the evil designs of the Sultans and their henchmen.
Influential Muslim sardars revolted
The strength of the Syeds was so large that they increased the pace of religious conversion. Hindus would be forcibly dragged out oftheir houses and beef was stuffed in their mouths to pollute their religion. These inhuman plans and activities generated anger among the Hindus but besides this number of influential Muslim sardars and leaders of Muslim organisations were also annoyed over these inhuman actions of the Syeds. They protested against it. As a result of this terrorisrn generated by the Syeds, a section of Hindus and Muslims decided to revolt against the Sultan. Their representatives succeeded in establishing contact with the Sultan.
One big General, Jehangir Mage, whose strength had been cut asunder by the Syeds, managed to reach the King. He told the king candidly that these Syeds had been once banished but had been recalled. He told the King "you have yourself invited this curse to this peaceful state... In the hope of support the Turks have given additional encouragement to the Syeds. And one should always beware of them. They are as much desirous of power as the kite is greedy of flesh. My Lord, it is not proper to discard other goals by clinging to one side .. I am going away in the interest of the security and protection of the state and of you. The country has been ruined but you should try to protect yourself".
The same Jehangir assumed the leadership of those local Muslims who had started a revolt against the dictatorial bigotry of the king and collected some companies of soldiers in his areas of influence and left the capital of the state so that appropriate action was launched at opportune time.
Apart from the foreign Syeds and some local Muslims there was one third political force of the Chhak community which enjoyed hegemony in Kashmir. When during the time of King Sehdev, Rinchan from Tibet and Shahmir from Turkey had come to Kashmir, at that very time one Muslim sardar, Lankar, Chhakya, also had reached Kashmir from the nearby Persian territory. At that time this community got no opportunity for creating some area of influence in Kashmir. By having stayed in Kashmir for a long time they had mingled with the life style of Kashmir. Taking advantage of the atmosphere of anarchy in the state the Chhaks, known for their fighting valour, mustered courage and jumped into the revolt against the Syeds and their atrocities on the people.
Hindus suffered more in this revolt
Though the Pandits tried to keep themselves away from this revolt, the flames of this rebellion hit them hard. With the full support of the King, Syeds crushed the revolt through many inhuman and terrorist plans. They would enter the houses of Pandits and stay there for many days for forcing them to accepted religious conversion. Consumption of liquor and perpetrating atrocities on those women were a daily routine. In the houses of Pandits their lands were grabbed and their occupation too was farcibly taken away. One Vaishnavi Brahmin, "Muni", with the help of his associates, opposed these Syeds and their terrorist friends. With courage and determination these religious and patriotic youths faced the terrorists. But they were very small in number and were crushed by the huge and cruel strength of the Government. The houses of these nationalist people were destroyed and their women were made victims of their lust. Many were forcibly kidnapped by these inhuman bigots and others consumed poison or jumped into the river or well to commit suicide.
The entire era is full of struggles, conspiracies and intrigues. The state administration was totally disturbed by the continued armed campaigns launched by different tribes, different groups of powerful courtiers, ruling and the opposition sides in order ta assume power. King after king assumed power forcibly. Syeds, Dhars, Magri and Chhak communities openly participated in these political conspiracies. Among the foreign powers two groups were strong and influential. First was the Chhak group which adopted Shia sect and other group was of the Syeds who usually were Sunni Muslims. Kashmir Pandits had to suffer tribulations because of the conflict between the Chhaks and the Syeds. The sagas of atrocities committed by the Syeds have been mentioned in earlier chapters. In the same way the Chhaks ruled Kashmir for 33 years.
Atrocities of Chhak rulers
These Chhak rulers too left no stone unturned in looting and destroying Kashmiri Pandits. They forced them to migrate from Kashmir and carried out their conversion to Islam. The three main rulers, Qazi Chhak, Mhussainshah Chhak and Alishah Chhak, adopted painful means for converting a major chunk of the Hindu population irto the Shia sect.
According to Justice Kilam, in his book "The History of Kashmiri Pandit", under the orders of the Chhak rulers 1,000 cows would be slaughtered daily without any opposition. He has written that Brahmins were subjected to force like an eclipsed sun. They lost their means of livelihood. Like the musk deer the Brahmins too became rare in the country. After the banishment Brahmins had to remain alert and at times they were made an object of hatred and ridicule.
During the rule of the Chhaks the Brahmins were subjected to special pressures. They had to pay for performing their religious customs. The house in which lived a family of charactered Brahmin had to pay a yearly gift to the king for preserving his sect. Every Brahmin was supposed to present 40 precious stones (emerald and diamonds) to the king annually for the preservation of their sacred thread. Good Brahmins had left the country. Weak Brahmins had relinquished their sect.
Converted Moosa Raina increased pace of conversion
In this era of uncertainty and disturbances Fateh Shah too ruled Kashmir. Prior to the Mughal rule, he was the last Sultan to occupy the throne of Kashmir. During his time a follower of Shia sect and a Muslim religious preacher, Shams-ud-Din Iraqi came to Kashmir. With him came many fundamentalist Muslim Mullahs and Molvis. Fateh Shah himself was a strong Muslim fundamentalist. The work for converting Hindus into Muslims had his backing and protection. During this period one converted Muslim, Moosa Raina, who had fled to a foreign land during the conflict with the Syeds, returned to Kashmir. He gave a full display of his anti-national attitude. With the help of Moosa the Shia Preacher, Shams-ud-Din, set up a new record in the annihilation of Hindus.
Mohd. Din Fak has written in his "History of Kashmir" that the Shia preacher, Shams-ud-Din Iraqi, along with Moosa Raina returned with added vigour and feeling for religious preaching in Kashmir. When peaceful means of educating people failed, force was used. Though Fateh Shah was a Sunni Muslim, it is said many Sunni Muslims were forced to accept Shia sect and many were killed. But Pandits became the main target of his wickedness. Many were killed. Innumerable Pandits had to fled from Kashmir.
About 28,000 Pandits were forcibly converted into to Shia sect. The property of the Hindus was confiscated. Those who were allowed to live had to pay taxes imposed by Moosa Raina.
The same Moosa Raina had besides providing financial assistance to Shams-ud-Din gifted his land to him. In order to utilise the influence and power of Moosa Raina Shams-ud-Din had given full patronage and encouragement to Raina. He held a meeting with Fateh Shah where it was decided to take full advantage of this anti-nationalist. Sultan Fateh Shah appointed Moosa Raina as his Prime Minister. Power hungry and a wolf in the guise of man Moosa Raina, on assuming the seat of the Prime Minister, directed the sharp edge of his dagger towards Hindus. This demon got scholastic and influential Hindus killed under his supervision. For the purpose of destroying temples he formed a gang under the leadership of one quarrelsome Chhak, which was given arms for eliminating Hindu families and for destroying Hindu temples and schools. And while tolerating terrific pains and miseries some Hindus grouped under the leadership of a Pandit scholar, Nirmal Kant, and sent a delegation to Moosa Rsina. All the requests and appeals of the delegation fell on the deaf ears.
Their implorings and appeals had not only humiliated them but all of them were arrested because it was no use to plead in front of a cruel ruler like Fateh Shah, clever and diplomat like Shams-ud-Din and heartless Prime Minister like Moosa Raina. All of them were jailed and were forced to die out of hunger. This era, thus, became a tainted page in the black history of Kashmir.
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