5000 years of Recorded History. Let us understand the historical position of Islam in U. Kashmir a little more.
Mahabharata epic is one of the two greatest epics of Hindus, and it describes a great war that took place around 3000 BC. In this epic there is a mention of Kashmir’s Kings, the contemporary King was Gonand II. Raj Tarangini is the authoritative history of Kashmir written by the famous author Kalhan. Names of various dynasties who ruled Kashmir then onwards is also available5; e.g. Sandiman, Sunder Sen, Nara etc. Emperor Ashok, who ruled from Afghanistan to the Eastern India, and south up to Deccan, established in 250 B.C. the capital of Kashmir ‘Shrinagari’, very near present day ‘Srinagar’. King Kanishka also ruled Kashmir along with major portions of India, during 1st century A.D. He organized a world conference on Buddhism, which has been reported later by the Chinese traveler Hien-Tsang who came in the seventh century A.D. During 724 – 761 A.D. Lalitaditya established another great empire like that of Ashok. He built the famous Martanda (Sun) Temple, ruins of which can still be seen. Ajaatapeeda ruled during 813 – 850 A.D., and the city Pompore famous for Saffron was founded,. Awantiwarman ruled during 855 – 883 A.D., and founded the city Awantipur. Shankarwarman ruled during 883 – 902 A.D., and founded ‘Shankarpura – Pattan’ (now known as Pattan). Chenghis Khan, the well known Mongol warrior during 13th century attacked Central Asia up to Iran, and thus created havoc in those areas because of his brutality. Thousands of Muslim refugees escaped to peaceful Kashmir, and the era of Islamic invasion began. Muslim invaders started attacking Kashmir one after another. In 1320, on the death of King Suhadeva, a Tibetan prince Rinchana, who was given a jaageer, (an area) to rule by the King, became the King by intrigue and sought conversion to Hinduism. When refused, in anger he got converted to Islam and ruled for three years. After his death in 1323, the Hindu Queen Kota Rani (wife of King Suhadeva; the fourth woman in Kashmir to become a Queen) ruled till 1338, when Shah Mir seized the power by defeating the Queen. Shah Mir, who had also been given a Jaageer by the King Suhadeva, established the first Muslim dynasty; and Islam spread quickly.
Muslim Rule (1389 – 1819)
In 1389, came even more brutal King Sikandar6 who was so ruthless that all Hindus either got converted or left Kashmir. But during the reign of his son Zain-ul-Abidin (1420 – 1470), who realized his father’s folly, became liberal, and many Hindu families returned. But after him, the persecution continued, sometimes very severe and at others somewhat liberal. According to a tradition, 24000 Brahmin families were converted by the power of sword during one of the proselytizing mission of one of such brutes viz. Mir Shams-ud-din Iraqi in 1492. The Mughal emperor Akbar in 1587 won Kashmir and then it remained with Mughals till 1752, when Afghans won it. Afghans were very inhuman in their proselytizing mission. There 67 years rule was the most tyrannical of all the Muslim rules.
Muslim Rishis : A Unique Blend
While these atrocities, persecution and forced conversions of Hindus in to Islam were going on for 500 years, a unique blend of Hinduism and Sufism was under development in the same Kashmir. In the mid 14th century, a woman saint Lalleshwari (1335-1376) arises from the swamp of persecution, violence and hatred, and sings –
“Shiva7 pervades the world
Hindu and Muslim are the same.
If you are wise know your Self8
Then you will know the Supreme One
She says that the Supreme One is present in every atom of this world. There is nothing without Him. Therefore Hindus and Muslims are the same as they all are pervaded by the same Supreme. If you want the supreme wisdom, then know who you are, know your Self, which is beyond this mind and body. Once you know your Self, then you will know the Supreme, for then you will realize that the Supreme is nothing else but the same as your Self.
People believed the truth in what she had said –
“I saw my Self in all things
I saw the Supreme shining in everything.
You have heard, stop! See Shiva
The house is His, who am I, Lalla! 9
She says, “I have seen mine Self and also seen that Self of mine is in everything. That Self of mine is the Supreme One who is shining in everything”. Then she tells herself, “You have heard what was just said! Then stop, remain still, realize the Supreme One. This house i.e. this mind and body, is His, for He, the Supreme One, lives in this. Who am I? I am not this mind and body; I am the Supreme One living in this mind and body!”
People had tremendous faith in her; they had veneration for her because they could see from her behavior that she had realized the Supreme One. No wonder she had both Hindus and Muslims as her disciples. One of her Muslim disciple Sheikh-ul-Alam became the most revered Rishi for all. Another famous disciple Nur-ud-din (1377-1438) says –
“That Lalla of Padmaapore, she drank
Her fill of divine nectar;
She was indeed an awataar10 of His
O Supreme One , grant me the same boon!11
He says, “Lalleshwari of Padmaapore had realized the Supreme One and had enjoyed the divine Bliss. She was, no doubt, a realized person who had become the Supreme One herself. O God grant me the same Bliss, same realization.”
People saw that Sheikh-ul-Alam and Nur-ud-din were realized persons, and they had high reverence for them. They had both Hindus and Muslims as disciples. They were given the title of a ‘Rishi’ which means a sage of as high a status as those of Vedas, the ancient Hindu scriptures. And thus started the ‘Islamic Rishi’ tradition in Kashmir. The well known poets who followed in this Rishi tradition are Mali, Habba Khatun (16th century), Rupas Bhawani (1621- 1721), Arnimal (d.1800), Mahmud Gami (1765 – 1855), Rasul Mir (d. 1870), Paramaanand (1791 – 1864), Ghulam Ahmad Mahjur (1885 – 1952), Abdul Ahad Aazaad (1903 – 1948), and Zindaa Kaul (1884 – 1965) etc. The Rishi tradition, despite persecution by Muslim rulers, was followed by Kashmiris for 500 years. Now the intolerance of Sunni-ism is being spread with the weapon of terrorism. Though feeble and mute, Rishi tradition is still surviving now, but is under grave danger of extinction. However it may revive if the terrorism is stopped soon enough. Genocide, though of a different kind, is going on in Kashmir.
Birth of original J&K
In 1819 Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler, won Kashmir from Afghans and appointed Gulaab Singh, the Dogra ruler of Jammu as his representative for Kashmir. Gulaab Singh won Ladaakh, Baltistan etc and by mid nineteenth century enlarged his Kingdom to that of the pre-partition days (U. Kashmir). British defeated the Sikhs in 1845. In a treaty signed in 1846, the British recognized Gulab Singh as the independent ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulaab Singh had to accept their ‘paramountcy’ and had to pay them 7.5 million rupees (probably annually), for his recognition as the Ruler. That boundary is the boundary of undivided J&K.
Genesis of Kashmir Problem
During the British rule, U. Kashmir was ruled by Gulaab Singh like any other princely state those days. On independence of India, a group of Muslims, under the leadership of Jinnah, with British support, got Pakistan carved out of India. On 15th August 1947, in the British ruled portion of India, Muslim majority areas with contiguity with each other went to Pakistan. The rulers of erstwhile States had to choose between India and Pakistan, subject to contiguity, or independence. All the states chose to join India or Pakistan but not Hari Singh, the then ruler of U. Kashmir. He had full faith on his very small and mostly Muslim army. He obviously was totally out of touch with reality when he dreamt about remaining independent. When he delayed his decision, Pakistan first stopped the route for essential supplies to U. Kashmir, for then main supply routes were in their areas. This was the first violation of the ‘Agreement’ on ‘Partition’ by Pakistan. Then on 22nd October 1947 came the second violation, a disastrous one, which shattered Hari Singh’s dream when a large number of tribals armed and supported by Pakistan Army attacked U. Kashmir. The impractical Maharaja Hari Singh even then delayed his choice, and signed the stipulated, and now famous, ‘Instrument of Accession’ only when the invaders reached close to Srinagar, on 26th October. This signing of the Instrument was supported by Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of the people of Kashmir.
The Governor General of India, Lord Mount Batten accepted the ‘Instrument of Accession’, thus making it legally binding. It is only then that the Indian Forces entered U. Kashmir and, firstly, saved Srinagar and then started driving the invaders back. The Indian Forces got total support of the local people, without which they could not have defended because only a small army could be taken to the airport of Srinagar by air in such a short time, as no proper land route was then existing between J&K and (newly divided) India. The earlier route had been through Lahore which with hair-line-thin majority of Muslim population had gone to Pakistan.
– Continued on Next Page
6. Kashmir in a Historical Outline – Kashmir-Information.com
7. The Supreme One
9. Adapted from Bamzai - 1962
11. By – Kaul 1973