Chivalrous Lohar Dynasty
Rani Didda, a Successful Ruler
In 950 A.D. Emperor Khemgupt occupied the throne of Kashmir. Didda, by her beauty, clever speech and dramatic behaviour, influenced King Khemgupt to the extent of casting a spell on, him with the result that it was considered necessary to consult Didda on every matter connected with the running of the state administration. Whether in the matter of appointment of Army commanders and administrative officers or in the field of trade, agriculture and industry her guidance and interference remained quite apparent. As a result of her interest in state administration Didda not only gained experience in political activities but it also developed in her mind self praise, expectations and determination. The reins of Khemgupt were completely in the hands of Didda. Didda held these reins in such a successful manner that the emperor was called "Didda-Khem".
For eight years Didda held the reigns of the administration in Kashmir as the wife of the emperor. Khemgupt's second wife, Chandralekha, was the daughter of Prime Minister, Phalgun. Didda, through affection, kept her also in control. In 958 A.D. Khemgupt died and Didda arranged the coronation of his son-Abhimanyu, even if he was quite young. This way she held all the sources of the administration in her hands. She organised the state setup in a nice but tough ways. She ordered several changes for keeping Government employees and officers in her control. She gave key posts to men of her choice and sacked those whose bonafides were in doubt. While declaring many people as guilty Didda ordered their imprisonment and execution. Where Didda has been dubbed as ruthless by the historians, there she is also treated as a successful administrator.
Didda ruled for 14 years as mother of the king. In 972 A.D. king Abhimanyu died. After his death Didda installed his son, Nandigupt, on the throne. But she held the reins of the Government in her hands. By this time bitter and cruel behaviour of Didda had touched new heights. But the death of Abhimanyu had resulted in deep mental depression in Didda. Her behaviour later witnessed transformation and the death of her son awakened in her the beauty of female characteristics. Her attention was now drawn towards construction and development works of the state. Many development schemes were launched. Monasteries and temples were built. Experts in the different fields came in the forefront and as per the desire of Didda many new villages and towns were inhabited. She evinced interest in the construction of temples. There is one locality in Srinagar which is called Didda road. Here Didda got built a huge building under the name of "Didda Math".
This way Didda took the responsibility of running the state administration as grandmother of the king. In 975 A.D. Didda installed, Bhimgupt, second son of Abhimanyu and her grandson, on the throne of Kashmir. The old bitterness and cruelty re-emerged in her. Thus that religious feelings, spiritualism, constructive mind which had emerged in her mind for a brief period went into oblivion again. King Bhimgupt kept on tolerating it with a pinch of salt. Bhimgupt, having been installed on the throne because of the kindness of his grandmother, wanted to do something but remained helpless. Officers of the administration, Army commanders and influential section among the people remained under the control of Didda. In order to save his throne the king adopted the policy of appeasement of this section of the society for their support.
This is but natural. When power is secured through the influential people of the society, it becomes necessary to adopt the policy of appeasement to keep this section of this society in good humour. National interest gets eclipsed in front of appeasement and the nation and the society are pushed to the background.
When Bhimgupt opposed his grandmother, she gave an angry look. With the help of her trusted men in the administration Didda got Bhimgupt arrested and sent him to the jail. Bhimgupt died in the prison. In 980 A.D. Didda herself became the empress of Kashmir. Now Didda ruled like a dictator after assuming powers as the constitutional head.
She started reorganising the administrative setup strictly with her experienced hands and as per her desires. Both self-respect and sound state setup, influenced her style of functioning. Almost a campaign was started for installing favourites on the keyposts. An ordinary and simple shephered, named Tung, was her lover. Tung was physically well-built and had received military training. Didda, on becoming the queen, had installed Tung as the Prime Minister. Didda did not give any hint of this plan to any of her ministers and advisors. Many ministers and advisors were annoyed over this dictatorial attitude. But no one had the strength to oppose this deed of Didda.
One thing special in the political acumen and functioning of Didda was that no administrative officers got time for their joint activities. Didda had finished all the arrangements for conveying their joint opinion to the queen. When, once the voices of dissent against this behaviour of queen echoed, the Prime Minister, Tung, stiffled these voices of dissent. All the rebels were defeated and the flames of rebellion subsided. In this context Didda can be described as a successful leader. According to Gopinath Shrivastav, Didda remained the queen for 25 years. During this period she hatched number of conspiracies, killed many innocent people and many were thrown out of the country. All this had been done by her to save her throne. Even if Didda's character was bad and she had sinned, still she had run the administration successfully.
There are instances in the history which speak about Didda's strict administrative setup, about her capacity to eliminate rebels but there is no strong basis for her character assassination done by the historians. Her capabilities outshine her minus points.
It is a measuring rod for a woman's success, calibre and determination to rule continuously for 254 years. It is difficult to have an example similar to Didda in the history of the world. First as a queen, then as guardian of her son and grandson and finally as a ruler she remained an unchallenged prominent lady. Didda is one among those characters in the history who can be praised and criticised. She kept her country united despite many problems and this she could do through her success in controlling conspiracies, killings and politics of intrigues.
When queen Didda became old she requested Samgramraj, son of her brother, Uday Raj, who was the ruler of Lohar, to run the Government. This way Didda herself performed the coronation of her nephew.
King Sangramraj Who Forced Mohd. Gaznavi to Lick Dust
After conquering Iran, Turkey and some parts of India, Mohd. Gaznavi returned defeated twice from the soil of Kashmir. It is a historical fact that he could not face the thrust of the swords of Kashmiri soldiers forcing him to give up his desire of conquering Kashmir. This chivalrous king ruled Kashmir from 1003 to 1028 A.D. The last invasion on India by Mohd. Gaznavi took place in 1030 A.D.
Sangramraj had understood the style of invasion of Mohd. Gaznavi. He issued instructions to his soldiers to remain alert on the borders of Ksshmir after realising the gravity of the invasion of Mohd. Gaznavi which was based on fraud, deception, destruction of places of worship, rape and other evil practices. People in the border areas were given training so that they were capable enough to face any eventuality. Albrooni has made a mention of the security arrangements made on the borders with the help of people. He has written that people of Ksshmir "remain all the time eager about the actual strength of their country". That is why they have been keeping a strict watch on gateways of Kashmir and other border routes.
According to Albrooni, as a result of it, it was difficult to have any trade transactions with the people. At that time they would not allow even Hindus, not to speak of others, to enter the country.
Mohd. Gaznavi attacked India's borders many times. This demon trampled many towns. After conquering Nagarkot fortress in Kangra his eagle-eyed gaze fixed on independent Kashmir. In order to win Kashmir he launched an attack in 1015 A.D. He and his soldiers camped in Tousi named field near Lohkot fort. Any stream is called Tousi. A similar stream at this place joins river Jehlum and that is why it was called Tousi Maidaan.
The news of the invasion of Mohd. Gaznavi reached king Sangramraj through intelligence sleuths and because of vigilance on the border. The Army of Ksshmir marched under the leadership an able Chief, Tung. In Kabul, adjacent to Kashmir, Trilochanpal was the king. Trilochanpal himself came to Tousi Maidaan along with his troops. Gaznavi's soldiers were surrounded from all the four sides. His soldiers were experienced in fighting wars in the plains but were ignorant about the mountain routes. The war style, based on intrigues, of Mohd. Gaznavi was beaten in front of the clever mountain warfare of the Kashmiri soldiers. The Toushi battlefield was full of the dead bodies of the soldiers of Gaznavi. In the initial stages Lohkot fort was in the hands of Mohd. Gaznavi but he, with his small group of soldiers, had to flee for safety when a company of soldiers, sent by Sangramraj, well trained in breaking the fortification, surrounded the fort and entered into it.
Cambridge History of India has given a clear description of it. It has recorded that in India it was the first defeat of Mohd. Gaznavi. His soldiers lost their way on unknown mountain routes and their retreat route was blocked by flood water. After the death of many soldiers, Gaznavi's troops fled in the plains and could reach Gazni in great disorder and disarray.
Even after having been mauled by the Kashmir soldiers, the urge for conquering Kashmir further strengthened in the mind of Gaznavi who had recognised the fighting style of the troops in Kashmir. He could not control his desire and in 1021 A.D. he came to invade Kashmir again. This time also he camped at the Lohkot fort. The King of Kabul, Trilochanpal, again surrounded him and his troops started pushing them back. But Mohd. Gaznavi had come fully prepared this time for the invasion and the pain of his earlier defeat was still fresh. Another defeat turned him miserable like a mad animal. Sangramraj also sent his soldiers in support of Trilochanpal. The soldiers of Gaznavi started facing defeat in all departments. After facing another defeat Mohd. Gaznavi returned to Gazni. After this he never dared to look at Kashmir.
A Muslim historian, Najim, has written in his book "Mohammad of Gazni" that in order to avenge his first defeat and in order to regain his prestige Mohd. Gaznavi launched another attack on Kashmir from the very old route. But again the Lohkot fort stopped his march. After a month of unsuccessful fortification Gaznavi thought it fit to flee in the light of his scare over possible disaster. This defeat made him to realise the invincibility of Kashmir state and he gave up his idea of capturing Kashmir.
Prior to these two wars the Kokhar community in south of Kashmir had assisted Anandpal when Gaznavi invaded his country in 1008 A.D. Hindu women sold their ornaments for helping Anandpal to face the powerful attack of Gaznavi.
King Trilochanpal, Symbol of Unique Chivalry
The chivalry of Trilochanpal in the above two battles has a significant place. Trilochanpal was son of king Anandpal. Trilochanpal, the last Hindu ruler of Kabul, was brave and hardworking and well versed in the battle strategy of the Muslims. He had remained, during the time of his father, the Army Chief. He had achieved success in blunting many Muslim invasions in many wars. He was a skilful and able Army commander in fighting mountain warfare. Kalhana has, in Rajtarangani, given a lovely account of Trilochanpal's war tactics: "Who can be competent in describing chivalry of Trilochanpal? He could not be defeated by innumerable enemies in numbered battles."
The Persian historians have made an attempt at concealing this defeat of Gaznavi. They have said that because of floods Gaznavi had to return. But Nizamuddin, a Muslim historian, has accepted the defeat of Mohd. Gaznavi. According to him, in 1021 A.D. Gaznavi invaded Lohkot second time but had to retreat after facing defeat.
One Persian historian Pir Hassan has crossed all the limits while heaping praises on Mohd. Gaznavi. He has said that Sangramraj, after sensing incapacity to face Gaznavi, got himself employed with the Sultan after great entreaties. The Sultan, according to Pir Hassan, had asked him why he had made himself despicable and helpless. The King had replied that gentle people treat it a means of aggrandisement and honour to show hospitality to the guests. The Sultan was impressed by his gift of the gab and after giving him fine dresses and fixing rumeneration he returned the throne of Kashmir to him.
Pir Hassan has, in his above mentioned anabsis, made Mohd. Gaznavi a godly person who welcomes even a defeated ruler. Who will believe that Gaznavi, who destroyed idols in thousands of temples, who sold lakhs of Hindu women, after enslaving them, in the bazaars of Gazni, murderer of lakhs of Hindu civilians, and who converted forcibly lakhs of Hindus to Islam, can return honourably the kingdom to Sangramraj ? It is impossible to believe for all those who have even slight information about inhuman nature of Muslim invaders, their terrible and demonic activities, to support the contention of Pir Hassan. Had King Sangramraj been defeated by Gaznavi, he would have arrested him and taken him to Gazni. He too would have been given the same treatment that was later meted out to Prithiviraj Chauhan, Guru Tegbahadur, Guru Arjundev and Bairagi.
Accordingto Dr. Raghunath Singh, a known commentator of Rajtarangani, Pir Hassan's description is one-sided and limited to an attempt at highlighting importance of Mohd. Gaznavi and inferiority of Kashmiris. The above mentioned incident finds no corraboration and support in any history. Mohd. Gaznavi never entered the valley of Kashmir. The assertions of Pir Hassan are false. The story that Gaznavi came to Kashmir and Sangramraj stooped has been fabricated to denigrade Sangramraj and to establish importance of Mohd. Gaznavi in the eyes of the world.
Possibly Kalhana has made a mention of Gaznavi's invasion of 1013 A.D. His description stands the test of modern research. During this time Trilochanpal had faced Muslim invaders in Punjab for the last time. It is learnt that Mohammad had retreated after a struggle with Trilochanpal in any valley from Jehlum to Kashmir. Some kings of border states of Kashmir might have surrendered before Gaznavi but Kashmir had measured swords with him. Sangramraj had not bowed his head before Mohammad.
King Sangramraj had understood the dangers of the invasions of Mohd. Gaznavi. That is why he accepted the request from Trilochanpal and sent immediately soldiers of Kashmir to fight against Gaznavi. It becomes evident that the farsighted, schemer and patriotic King Sangramraj was the greatest Indian ruler of that time.
Short-sighted King Harsh
After Sangramraj his son, Harsh, ruled Kashmir for 21 years. He was a poet. He provided many facilities in the field of literature. He faced many rebellions through his strength . He reorganised the Army and the administration and introduced reservation in the Army and the administration on the basis of caste. The impact of this short-sightendness was harmful on later history of Kashmir.
According to Kalhana, Harsh prepared a list of Muslims and reorganised the Army on a different pattern. Each group of 100 soldiers was kept under the command of a Muslim officer so that it would be impossible for soldiers to revolt or flee from their country. After Harsha Muslims emerged as one class in the field of politics. For a long time they established contacts with the rulers of the country and helped them to retain power on the tottering thrones. Muslims became an important part of the political field because of their qualities to fight wars and on account of reservation granted to them by the royalty.
Kashmir remained under the rule of Jaisingh from 1128 to 1140 A.D. He faced successfully many problems and ordeals as he was a strong willed person. He would remain worried on account of growing Muslim strength on north-western region of India. In the light of the possible threat of these dangers he started parlays on this issue with heads of many states adjacent to Kashmir. He initiated many friendly meetings with king of Kanoj, Givind Chander. King Jaisingh also moulded his foreign policy as per these conditions. With the help of neighbouring Hindu kings Jaisingh succeeded in controlling the growing Muslim strength. At that time foreign rulers, especially Muslims Sultans, had cast their evil gaze on Kashmir. As a result of Harsha's broadmindedness and wrong reorganisation of the Army, professional Muslim soldiers and other people had found entry in the Army and the administration. Thus an atmpshere of conflict and confrontation had developed. In order to enlist confidence of such elements the king of Kashmir began providing them more facilities.
This new policy of liberalism which had developed in Kashmir had started damaging the traditianal and natural unity. The strength of Kashmir started declining, there appeared cracks in the feeling of coexistence, internal strife took birth, the poison of religious conversion spread and ways were cleared for converting Hindu Kashmir into Muslim Kashmir.
Rinchan - A Tibetan fugitive
After king Jaisingh the throne of Kashmir was occupied by many kings, one after the other, for about 150 years. Sehdev occupied the throne in 1301 A.D. Like Harsha, Sehdev too gave freedom to foreign elements to enter the administration. This very time a Tibetan fugitive, Rinchan, came to the court of Sehdev alongwith a group of many of his colleagues. A Muslim Sardar from Turkey too came during the same time. Sehdev appointed both of them on high posts in the administration. Besides being short-sighted Sahdev was also a coward.
Historian Hassan has written in "History of Kashmir" that time moved on till Kashmir was rocked by a terrible misfortune. This led to a strange trouble which was a beginning of a change of era. Tatar Chieftan, Dulchoo, invaded Kashmir with 70,000 strong soldiers. Sahdev fled towards Kishtwar after leaving his state at the mercy of cruel invader. Dulchoo ordered genocide and thousands of people were killed. More people than that were sold to Tatar traders who had accompanied the Chieftain. Towns were set ablaze and the standing crops were damaged. After staying here for eight months Dulchoo carried with him 50,000 enslaved Brahmins. However, while crossing the Devsar pass his entire Army and the slaves were killed in avalanches.
At that time
the condition of people was pitiable. Jonraj has written that when Dulchoo
left the place, the people of Kashmir, who had gone into hiding to evade
arrest, came out of the secret places like rats coming out of their burrows.
When violence, initiated by Dulchoo stopped, the son lost his father, the
father had to lose his son and the brother could not meet his brother.
Kashmir turned into its pre-existence stage; an area where was only grass,
nothing but grass and no foodgrains.
(Joanraj: Rajtarangani, Page 152-55)
At the time of invasion of Dulchoo Army Chief of the state, Ramchandra, took advantage of the anarchy which had spread in the entire region following the fleeing of king Sehdev to occupy the throne. But the Tibetan fugitive, Rinchan, who was given a key post in the administration by Sehdev, took advantage of his influence and revolted to oust Ramchandra from power. Ramchandra fled alongwith the members of his family and took refuge in the Lohar fortress. In order to implement his conspiracy Rinchan sent some of his trusted colleagues to Ramchandra for truce.
As per the plan, these associates of Rinchan had gone hiding weapons beneath their garments. Parleys were started with Ramchandra and they fraudulently killed him. This way Rinchan became the king of Kashmir. The death of Ramchandra shocked the people of Kashmir. Some rebellious activities took place but Rinchan by marrying the daughter of Ramchandra, Kotarani, pacified the peoples anger. On the behest of Kotarani Rinchan adopted Hindu religion after discarding Buddhism. But the Kashmiri pandits did not accept him in Hindu religion. Out of reaction to it, Rinchan adopted Islam. This way Rinchan was the first Muslim convert ruler of Kashmir and he became Malik Sadruddin.
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