Sweet Poison in Kashmir's veins
The result was that Akbar ordered a powerful armed campaign under the leadership of Raja Bhagwan Das on Kashmir. In the initial stages Yusuf Shah Chhak faced the soldiers of Akbar but later joined Akbar's troops like a coward. On seeing this development, his opponents installed a rebel Sardar, Yaqub Chhak, on the throne of Kashmir. On assuming power Yaqub Chhak held the command of the troops and started eliminating the soldiers of Bhagwan Das. Sensing defeat Bhagwan Das forged a truce with Yaqub Chhak and returned to his state.
Both Kashmiri Pandits and Sunni Muslims - victims of Yaqub's demonic hunger
On assuming the throne Yaqub Chhak, while exhibiting his communalism, restarted religious conversion. The flames of religious fanaticism emerged out of the ash. The famous Jama Masjid in Srinagar became the centre of such fanatic activities. From here were issued directions for Jehad to the fanatic youths. According to historian, Mohd. Din Fak, Yaqub was a fanatic Shia Musalman. He issued orders to Sunni Muslims to change many of their religious customs. The mosques of Sunni Muslims were damaged. As a result of it there followed Shia-Sunni riots in which Sunni houses and families were destroyed. Yaqub got a Sunni Muslim Qazi (priest) killed.
This did not mark an end of the demonic hunger of Yaqub. The course of the storm of his atrocities turned towards the Hindus. After humiliating Hindu women this mean Sultan ordered their massacre. Kashmiri Hindus were scared and terrorised. Many committed suicide before presenting themselves for mass religious conversion. A new trend took place under which Hindus were hauled up in their houses which were set ablaze.
Being fed up with the communal atmosphere and anarchy in the entire State a delegation of Sunni Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits, under the leadership of Sheikh Sharief and Baba Dawood, reached the court of Akbar. Akbar welcomed them and held parleys with them, where agreement was forged on important issues. Akbar assured the delegation that there would be no intereference from the Government in the religious customs of the people of Kashmir, there would be no share for the old Sultans in the administration and Kashmiris will be brought out of the pitiable situation. After this agreement Akbar sent his troops to Kashmir under the leadership of Mir Qasim and following his victory he made the valley a part of his empire.
Upto the time Kashmir became part of Akbar's empire the political situation in Kashmir had totally collapsed . Its economy had registered total collapse. And Kashmir's art and culture had been totally eclipsed.
From the saga of the fall of Kashmir and from all the historical facts connected with the misrule and misfortune one thing becomes clear, whenever riots and cruelty of the Government manifest themselves, Kashmiri Hindus became the main victim and target of it. The fall of the basic heritage in Kashmir is highly heart rending.
Era of Akbar's rule
As part of the Mughal empire Kaishmir's link with rest of India was renewed. Akbar visited Kashmir thrice. An attempt was made to carry to Kashmir Akbar's liberal policies. And Kashmir was freed from anarchy. As in other regions of India, the administration in Kashmir was entrusted to a Subedar allowing the Government in Delhi to have in control on Kashmir. Administration and institutions were set up on the Mughal pattern in Kashmir.
During the stay of Akbar in Kashmir his court poet, Maulana Faize, wrote a poem after being attracted by Kashmir which says: "The dust of Kashmir is like an eye lotion and its grass and herbs are powerful medicines for beauty. Court poets are usually engaged in writing poems as per the desires of the kings." Thus Faizee's couplet is an expression of the feelings of Akbar and his attraction towards Kashmir. Akbar started many plans and schemes for the welfare of the people of Kashmir. People were delighted over the advent of peace in Kashmir and they got engaged in various development works of the state.
A comprehensive scheme was launched for rehabilitating honourably, Kashmiri Hindus in their original places. For this work one influential Hindu, Aditya Pandit, was appointed head of the ministry, specially established for it. Some villages were made protected zones for the Pandits only. They were given land free of cost. For the first time, after Kanishka, Kashmir became a part of a vast empire. The local trade progressed because of the development of road links between Kashmir and other parts of India. The traditional Kashmir handicrafts started being exported. Kashmiri traders started visiting even central Asia in connection with their business. Now the Kashmiri Hindu started getting prosperous.
The importance of Kashmiri Pandits in the administration started being felt. Taxes imposed on Kashmiri Pandits were abDlished totally. Hindus from this place reached Delhi and other big towns of India. They started regaining their ancient glory. The exchange of views between Muslim and Pandit scholars proved beneficial for the entire India. The emerging political, social and military disturbances for many centuries stopped now. Those who indulged in such exercises had no place in the administration and the Government. Pandits started getting posts of Army officers and commanders. People started breathing an air peace after movement of foodgrains became easy on the main roads constructed between the Jehlum valley and Pir Panjal.
Hideouts of infiltrators destroyed
After Akbar, Jehangir occupied the throne of Delhi. As a lover of pleasure Jehangir too became fond of Kashmir. Jehangir too did not show an indifferent behaviour towards the Hindus. His Subedars too were lovers of pleasure they did not interefere in the religious freedom of Hindus.
Kashmiri Pandits started being inducted as commanders of the companies of soldiers for the purpose of guarding the borders. During the time of Jehangir one Meru Pandit was an Army officer was the Sardar of a fort in the south. Jehangir appointed him Chief of the security guards of Queen Noor Jahan. One day Jehangir was surrounded by his court sardar but a rebel, Mohabat Khan, and his soldiers on the bank of the Jehlum. At that time Meru Pandit alongwith the security guards of Noor Jahan defeated Mohabbat Khan in the battle.
Historian Mohd. Din Fak has written that on seeing the bravery and skillful Army command of Meru Pandit, Jehangir gifted him estates in Kashmir and appointed him Army Chief for the security of all fotresses in Kashmir.
Duriing the closing period of the Mughal rule groups of dacoits and marauders started infiltrating into Kashmir from the forest belts of Afghanistan and loot property. They increased these activities with the connivance of the border guards when the Subedar of Kashmir ordered one Hindu Chieftain, Balaki Pandit, to curb infiltration. This brave Pandit reorganised the border security force and under his supervision mounted vigil on the border and gave full powers to the Army to stop the infiltration.
The infiltrators were followed inside their territory and one day Balaki Pandit, while flushing out the infiltrators, crossed deep into the border of Afghanistan and after three days' battle he returned after deatroying all the hideouts of these infiltrators.
The tradition of pursuing the infiltrators and the terrorists deep in their territory and destroying their hideouts and training centres was first established in the history by a Kashmiri Pandit.
During the time of Jehangir, Kashmir got all opportunities and facilities for progress of common people. Jehangir used to come to Kaahmir and while describing the beauty of Kashmir he had said that Kashmir is an endless garden of spring, delight packed bed of flowers and an ancestral land which gives happiness to the soul of the sages. The beauty of its happy meadows and its attractive cascade is worth description. There are innumerable cascades and streams.
Invasion of Muslim sardars on Pt. Mahadev's house
After Jehangir Shahajahan occupied the throne of Delhi. He too was enamoured of Kashmir. As lover of art and architecture he got built many gardens and springs in Kashmir. The famous gardens of Shalimar, Achabal, Nishat and the Spring of Chashmashahi and many other gardens were raised. All these played a role in promoting peace, happiness and prosperity in Kashmir. But this construction and development was done in the Mughal style. The ancient art and architecture of Kashmir were eclipsed. The art of Hindus could not get re-established. Besides this, dress, style of living, food habits and social customs were being influenced by the Mughal style.
Shahjahan visited Kashmir six to seven times. He kept on encouraging the activities of the followers of Islam and religious preachers. As lover of mountains, streams, cascades and worshipper of architecture he focussed his attention towards the construction and development of mosques but the temples, monastaries and libraries, which were destroyed by the followers of his religion, did not attract his attention.
Even during the time of Shahjahan the practice of installing Kashmiri Pandits on top posts continued. But a section of the local Muslims started conspiring against the Pandits' holding key posts. During the rule of Shahjahan one Governor of Kashmir, Ali Mardan, had appointed one Hindu leader, Pandit Mahadev, as his chief advisor and entrusted all powers of the state to him. Muslims belonging to the upper class started getting jealous of him because of his calibre, wisdom and capacity for work.
That very time one region of Kashmir was gripped by famine. Pandit Mahadev made all arrangements for the relief of the famines affect people through his strength and capacity. But despite ample facilities provided by the Government some people died because of famine. Taking advantage of it, some Muslim sardars and Muslim leaders of some political groups raised hue and cry against Pandit Mahadev. One Muslim leader, Khwaza Maaf, alongwith a group of people attacked the house of Mahadev. They entered into his house and after looting valuable property set the house on fire. All the Hindu houses in that area were also looted. This incident generated communal tension in the entire state. The news reached Delhi and King Shahjahan summoned prominent Muslim leaders but by then their influence had increased so much that Shahjahan too was unable to punish them. Some guilty people were let off after a mild reprimand.
Historian Hassan has written that when these Muslims, under the leadership of one sardar, Yusuf Shah, reached the court of Shahjahan in Delhi, Yusuf Shah was insulted during his meeting with the king. He could not tolerate this humiliation and fainted there and then. After some days he died.
Paradise or the land of 1ust
Shahjahan was emotional about Kashmir. During his time one Persian poet, Urfi, has expressed Shahjahan's emotions in the following couplet:
(If there is paradise in the world, it is then this Kashmir, it is here, it is here).
But this land was not a paradise only because of its lovely mountains, cool valleys and streams. This land was called a paradise because of the high human principles of art, cultural value, religious equaiity and coexistence. But the conception of paradise on the part of Muslim kings was based on materialism and that is why they used to come to the valley for satiating their lust in the paradise. Thus the land they called the paradise was actually a land of lust for them. Here lies the difference between the Indian mind, which used to worship the land in the form of mother, and that of the foreigners for whom the land was merely a land of lust.
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