Chapter 7: Yusuf Shah Chak's Accession
Sayyid Mubarak retires
Yusuf Shah formally ascended the throne in the year
A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578):
[ verses ]
With his accession, the office of the Chief Vizir
passed on to Muhammad Bhat. Sayyid Mubarak Khan now found himself preoccupied by
thoughts of the transience of human life and the need for humility on the part
of man. Holding his sons by their hands, he brought them to Yusuf Shah in the
presence of the elders of this land, and said to him: "All the three sons
of mine solemnly declare their allegiance to you and promise to fulfill all the
pre-requisites of faithful subordination to you." He reiterated that he had
decided to spend the rest of his life in seclusion and retirement, meditating
all the time. He said, "It is too well-known that for a long time I have
been seized by this desire but the late 'Ali Shah always dissuaded me from
taking a step in that direction and, in deference to his wishes, this could not,
in fact, materialize. " Yusuf Shah heard these words and nodded in
agreement, At this, Miran Sayyid Mubrak felt overjoyed. But he did not cease to
pay occasional visits to Yusuf Shah.
During the reign of Yusuf Shah, when Muhammad Bhat had
been in office for a little over two months, Abdal Bhat, a rival to the high
office of the Chief Vizir, finding himself disappointed, adopted a hostile
attitude towards Yusuf Shah. He tried to align with himself disgruntled sections
of the people of the land; and, through guile and craft, secured their
assistance for realizing his plans. Finding that Sayyid Mubarak Khan rarely went
to Yusuf Shah, he concluded that it was an indication of some great confusion in
the country. By using false and sinister words, he frightened most of the
people like 'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, and Shams Chak, son of Naji Chak. In
spite of the fact that they were near relatives of Yusuf, he managed to align
them with himself.
Abdal Bhat chose a certain night for raising the banner
of revolt, and destroyed the bridges over the river in the city, and on the 16th
of Rabi'u'th-Thani, A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578), he sought shelter in the house of
Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan. Showing profound regards and respect to him, he told
him submissively that the Sayyid should not disappoint the supplicants by
refusing to grant their request. They declared that bad times had forced them to
seek redress of their grievances at the doors of the benign and generous Sayyid.
[ verses ]
The situation caused the Sayyid embarrassment; for a
moment he could not decide what course of action he should adopt. But, in
conformity with his previous attitude of dissuading 'Ali Shah from inflicting
brutal punishments, he undertook to intercede for this group also and forthwith
rode to meet Yusuf Shah. But on his way he was told that this group, out of
dread and fear of Yusuf's soldiers, had hewed down the bridges over the river in
the city and had, thus, precipitated trouble for Yusuf Shah. As the crossing of
the river was rendered impossible by the hewed and destroyed bridges, the Sayyid
was forced to retrace his steps. He came to the Idgah mosque and summoned Baba
Khalilu'llah to his presence to entrust him the mission of intercession lor this
group with Yusuf Chak. Through him, he sent a verbal message to Yusuf Shah,
entreating him to follow the policy of his father in upholding his (Sayyid's)
intercession for the repenting insurgents. He expressed his faith in Yusuf's
laudable qualities of character and recommended that he overlook the acts of
omission and commission of people, both high and low, of this land. He advised
him to patronize them and thus work for the return of peace and tranquility in
the kingdom. But, despite Baba Khalil's forceful, persuasive and eloquent
representation of their case with the intention of diffusing the tense
situation, the counsellors and advisers of the Sultan did not pay heed to his
words. On the contrary, they said that the culprits be brought before Ynsuf Shah
with their hands and feet put in fetters. They further threatened that anybody
promising support to them or showing a partisan attitude towards them would only
land himself in the throes of death and destruction.
Sayyid Mubarak confronts
Baba Khalilu'llah was disappointed for having failed in
carrying out the mission entrusted to him by Sayyid Mubarak Khan. He was
directed to go back, and close at his heels was despatched Muhammad Khan, son of
Husi Chak, an acknowledged veteran of Yusuf's army, for fighting Sayyid Mubarak
Khan. His troops repaired the bridges over the river in the city near the langar
of Baba Bulbul; and crossing the river along with his troops and the ancillary
staff, Yusuf Shah reached the Idgah maidan to fight Sayyid Mubarak Khan. It now
became clear to the Sayyid that they [Yusuf and his advisers] had abandoned the
path of peace and compromise and had taken recourse to confrontation and
fighting. Hence, without losing time, he came out with his small force to fight
the large army of Yusuf Shah. But, before the actual fighting, he, once again,
as on previous occasions, offered to negotiate and intercede on behalf of that (Abdal's)
group. But Yusuf Shah's commanders did not listen to him. They thought it an
easy task to wipe out a handful of their opponents by making use of arrows,
muskot fire, and fire-missiles; thus they thought of strengthening and
consolidating the position of Yusuf Shah.
As against this, the aforesaid Sayyid, proud of his
inherent traits of bravery and manliness, got involved in a fight with a large
number of his opponents. Historians have given an account of this battle in
prose as well as in verse.
[ verses ]
Battle at Idgah
Being very close to each other the two armies found it
impracticable to use arrows and lances. Consequently, they used their swords and
daggers and got locked up in a hand to hand fight. In the course of fighting,
Muhammad Khan, a peerless warrior of this land, fell from his horse, but quickly
got back into the saddle and continued to fight bravely and was slain.
[ verses ]
In the battle, Malik Mir Qasim, the youthful son of
Najl Malik, fought gallantly but was slain. 'Ali Malik, an accomplice of Abdal
Bhat and the cause of turmoil and destruction of Yusuf Shah's regime, received a
blow fram the sword of Mir Muhammad, son of Naji Malik which sliced off one of
his nostrils and he fell down from his horse.
[ verses ]
At the instance of Lohar Chak, son of Shankar Chak, he
got a second cut on the same wound which caused his death after a few days.
Another recognised Kashmiri warrior, Ibrahim Ganai, was slain on the battlefield
by a stroke from the sword of Sayyid Husain Khan. Most of the soldiers of
Yusuf's army sustained many deep wounds at the hands of the sons of the
above-mentioned Sayyid. At last, finding themselves hard-pressed, they retreated
by crossing the Nawakadal bridge and then rejoined Yusuf Shah at Zaldagar maidan.
Some of his soldiers joined Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan's camp and the opponents
of Yusuf Shah. It led to a large scale disorder and disruption in Yusuf Shah's
[ verses ]
On account of these developments, Yusuf Shah reproached
his counsellors and advisers, accusing them of their short-sightedness and poor
intelligence. He stressed that if they had heeded to the recommendations of
Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and acted upon them as they did in the past, they
would not have seen this day of defeat and misery.
[ verses ]
Perceiving that Yusuf Shah had been overtaken by defeat
and dejection, his opponents went to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and suggested to
him that he should forthwith move towards Yusuf Shah and deny him a chance of
withdrawing from the battlefield unhurt so that he does not become a cause of
further chaos and confusion.
[ verses ]
For the good of the land this was sound advice but
being a devotedly God-fearing man, he turned it down, and told them: "Only
dogs fight over wretched morsels; it does not behove friends to fight over
Mulla Hasan's negotiations
The Sayyid thus turned down the suggestion of chasing
Yusuf Shah, saying that they had not to forget that he was the descendant of
'Ali Shah. Yusuf Shah came to know of it and, because of his helplessness,
adopted an attitude of friendship and conciliation. He deputed Mulla Hasan
Asward, the tutor of the late 'Ali Shah, on a mission to apprise Sayyid Mubarak
Khan of the circumstances which had led to the present crisis. Mulla Hasan, in
turn, communicated to the Sayyid all that Yusuf had desired of him to report
regarding the condoning of his past acts of omission. The Sayyid listened to the
Mulla with full attention and told him that unlike in the past nobody was
prepared to take his counsel then; and the result was chaos and disorder of
great magnitude. If the ugly exchange of insults and counter-insults had not
taken place, he would have called on Yusuf Shah that very moment, revealed the
facts to him, and reinstalled him on the throne. But as the disturbances were on
the increase, it would be advisable that the aforesaid Shah retired to some
mountain place in Kashmir, the climate of which would suit him. He should live
there for sometime with all his treasures and equippage. God willing, he would
be recalled after some time and re-installed on the throne of his kingdom.
It may be recalled that, on account of a breakdown in
the administration during the days of Yusuf Shah, Haidar Chak moved in from
Kamara; and entered the services of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan after the
above-mentioned battle was over. In the course of deliberations between the
Sayyid and Yusuf's envoy, named Mulla Hasan, Haidar Chak addressed the Mulla in
uncivil words. Taking cue from the Sayyid, the Mulla reacted with harsh words,
saying that the illustrious king had a hundred thousand footmen like him to run
errands and it hardly behoved a man of his diminutive stature to speak
contemptuously of him.
[ verses ]
Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan ignored them, and sent Baba
Khalilu'llah, Miran Sayyid Barkhordar, and Mulla Hasan to Yusuf Shah to convey
to him permission to leave. Yusuf Shah sent his royal belongings to the house of
'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, through the brave and capable Naji Malik he
proceeded to the mountains of Nayaks, a site for which he had a liking.
This course of action was hardly agreeable to Yusuf's
opponents, and the efforts of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan to reestablish law and
order in the state earned him nothing but their malice. All of them together
with 'Ali Khan and Abdal Bhat retired with pomp from the locality of Idgah to
their respective places. Showing due courtesy to them the Sayyid retired to his
Mubarak declines crown
Miran Sayyid was too self-abnegating to be tempted by
wordly things and, as such, the throne of this land remained unoccupied for some
time for want of an incumbent. Ali Khan, the eldest of brothers, saw that Miran
Sayyid Mubarak Khan did not covet worldly possessions and, therefore, resolved
to seize the authority of this land for himself. He felt encouraged by the
support of his brothers and associates and felt haughty by the riches left by
Yusuf Shah in his trust. For three successive days he remained confined to his
house and did not call on Miran Sayyid Mubarak. The counsellors, the secretaries
and the sons of Miran Sayyid came to him (Miran Sayyid) one by one and talked to
him about the nature of the situation that prevailed. They told him that even a
single minute of kingship was a boon and that royal robes befitted the body of
none but he.
[ verses ]
They declared that he was the finest of the clan of
noble Sayyids and the most illustrious of the elderly persons of that house. The
Sayyid declined to oblige and told them that he was not interested and if they
wanted him to be their friend he should be left alone. He further told them that
they could entrust this important responsibility to anyone they liked.
[ verses ]
After saying these words, he came out of his private
chamber and sat in the audience-hall. He then distributed the crown and the
royal parasol which had been artistically decorated and studded with precious
jewels among his soldiers and spiritualists. In this way, he caused searing
pain to peop]e with material ambitions.
[ verses ]
Mubarak assumes power
In the year A.H. 988 (A.D. 1580), the reins of
authority of this realm passed into the hands of that illustrious Sayyid. But he
detested and, therefore, denied himself the display of pomp and glory. He freed
the minds of the people of this land from fear of oppression and tyranny and
opened the doors of equitable justice and compassion for one and all .  Years
after this event, Kashmiri nobles and commanders received encouragement from
Yusuf Shah, and developed rancour and malice against Mubarak Shah. They
joined hands and on the second Sha'ban of the aforesaid year recalled Yusuf
Shah from the mountains.
Yusuf was brought to Barthal ranges, and was joined
by a large number of soldiers, villagers, horsemen, footmen and highlanders. On
the other side, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah also started necessary preparations to
keep his troops in readiness and moved on to the village Sast[l2] [sic]
wherefrom he sent a message to Yusuf Shah.[l3] It said that since life was
uncertain, he was sure that a mutual dialogue would be in the interests of peace
and would lead to a solution to the crisis. "Let all fears be given up to
help the beginning of a dialogue," it said. The message was conveyed to
Yusuf Shah through one Da'ud Mir. Yusuf Shah trusted the words of Sayyid Mubarak
Shah and despatched two of his sons, Mirza Ya'qub and Mirza Ibrahim, to him
along with Da'ud Mir and Mulla Hasan Aswad. He was also inclined to hold a
meeting with him.
Meanwhile, Abdal Bhat learnt about these negotiations.
He sent word to Yusuf Shah and his commanders imploring them not to trust Sayyid
Mubarak Khan and not to be duped into a meeting with him. He also added that [Abdal
Bhat and his party] had rectified their past lapses on their own and would
henceforth strive their every nerve to achieve whatever aims and objectives he
had. At last through flattery and cunning, he (Abdal) succeeded in aligning with
himself a majority of nobles, commanders and soldiers of the realm of Kashmir
and thus imagined himself to have been elevated to some superior position. In
this way started the the rivalry and ill-will between them.[l4]
Abdal Bhat's words eventually destroyed Yusuf Shah's
power of right thinking. His counsellors and advisers showed contemptuous
indifference to Da'ud Mir, the emissary, and spoke to him harshly:
[ verses ]
The emissary informed Miran Sayyid Muhammad how badly
he had been treated and what harsh and uncivil words were spoken to him [by the
advisers of Yusuf Shah]. He further told him that they thought of nothing but
fighting him. The aforesaid Sayyid, infused with a sense of valour and heroism,
so pre-eminently needed in a warrior, set up a royal pageant and swiftly crossed
mountains and plains with such facility as if he was moving through gardens, and
engaged himself in fighting with his adversary. In this battle some enemy
warriors of considerable renown like Geda Beg Turkman and Bolar Khan Afghan
were slain on the battlefield.
[ verses ]
Shanki Mir Chadura and others were taken prisoner and
brought before the Sayyid with their hands and feet in chains. All the houses of
Naji Raina in the village of Barthal were set on fire and got reduced to ashes.
Yusuf Shah, preferring death to a dishonourable life,
took position on the steep mountain summit of Bartal along with a handful of his
[ verses ]
Sayyid Miran was moved by this, and out of compassion,
he adopted a patronizing attitude towards Yusuf Shah's staff. He put a stop to
the attempts of his soldiers and field commanders to take revenge against Yusuf
Shah. On the aforesaid day, along with his soldiers, he entered into the city
triumphantly. It almost looked like a pageant.
'Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, held himself back for
sometime in the countryside on the pretext of shikar and did not join Yusuf
Shah. He explained his conduct to Sayyid Mubarak and returned to the city.
[ verses ]
Before doing so, he divulged to Abdal Bhat all that had
transpired between him and Yusuf Shah and also the words of love and friendship
which he had spoken to him out of expediency. Although Abdal was revolted by his
words, he gave no expression to his feelings and kept it a secret.
During this time, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah was taken
ill. Abdal Bhat looked upon the Sayyid's temporary illness as a serious set-back
to his plans. Forthwith he came to see him and pursuaded him to imprison 'Ali
Khan for some time because, according to him, 'Ali Khan had once again taken to
subversive activities. He also told him that it was necessary because of his
failing health . Abdal Bhat pleaded that 'Ali Khan could be set free after the
disturbances had subsided and he was restored to health.
Ali Khan trapped
Having discussed the proposed course of action with the
advisers of Sayyid Mubarak so as to get it ratified by him, he went to 'Ali Khan
and through deceit and cunning sent him to the presence of Sayyid Mubarak with
pomp and show. Himself he returned to his lodging with the hope that on seeing
the physical infirmity of the Sayyid, 'Ali Khan might be tempted to rise in
revolt against him. 'Ali Khan dismounted from his horse and proceeded towards
Miran Sayyid. Da'ud Mir Piloo (Biloo ?), one of the veteran warriors of the
Sayyid took him by hand and led him straight to the prison-house. Most of his
military officers and commanders, like Shams Dooni and Daulat Khan, became
confused and sought refuge in the house of Miran Sayyid Husain Khan. Shams Chak,
'Alam Sher Khan and others came as supplicants to the house of Miran Sayyid Shah
Abu'l-Mu'ali and offered to keep themselves at his disposal.
Abdal Bhat combined in himself the twin qualities of
shrewdness and villainy. He told Lohar Chak and the top leaders of the tribe of
Chaks that in that matter Miran Sayyid had acted independently and had never
sought his advice. He cautioned them that a similar treatment could be meted out
to them as well. This caused serious anxiety among the advisers and counsellors
of Yusuf Shah, with the result that each of them took steps to ensure his own
safety. They sent letters to Yusuf Shah in which they apparently appealed for
unity with him, but these in fact carried the seeds of discord. They promised to
him that even at the cost of their lives, they would try to achieve and fulfil
whatever objective was set before them. They assured him that they would make a
public announcement of the relevant facts when the time was ripe. At that time
he was to move to the city swiftly without hesitation.
On the 15th of Sha'ban in the aforesaid year, Abdal
Bhat gave out the false story that Yusuf Shah had entered into the city. This
rumour spread among the commoners as well as the soldiers. He got a soldier
attired in royal robes and decorated with other regal appendages so that he
looked like Yusuf Shah. An imposing pavilion was also set up and the imposter
was brought to take the royal seat. The soldiers and the civilians believed that
Yusuf Shah had returned to the city. At the same time they also came to know
of the physical infirmity of the Sayyid. Hence many people joined Abdal Bhat in
Miran Sayyid learnt about the situation and, early in
the morning, despite his physical infirmity, moved on to Idgah maidan along with
his troops and battle equipment to fight his opponents. He despatched the
garrulous and sweet-tongued Muhammad Padar as his messenger to Abdal Bhat,
conveying to him that it behoved the valiant to display whatever feats of valour
they laid claim to on the battlefield. He had come on the Idgah maidan to
challenge him. Like a good warrior he should trust his words, cross the river in
the city, and move his horsemen to the Idgah maidan. Alternatively, he should
give him a gentleman's promise to let his soldiers cross the river and take up
their position at Zaldagar. They would prove their strength on the battlefield
and whomsoever God blesses with victory, shall occupy the seat of governance of
The message touched the sense of honour of Kashmiri
commanders who resolved to give a tough fight to the Sayyid; and, consequently,
moved on to the river bank. Apart from possessing considerable experience in
fighting, Abdal Bhat was as wise as he was brave. Many a time had he been a
witness to the bravery of the aforesaid Sayyid on the battlefield and, besides,
had also heard stories of his dauntless courage. Therefore, in tthe context of
the impending situation, he hela consultations with his field commanders and
issued strict instructions to them not to move from their positions. He
cautioned them that a fight with that group would affect them adversely and
nobody could save his life unless he fled from the battlefield.
[ verses ]
"It is only prudent that our numerical strength
should not make us complacent nor should we feel overconfident about our
bravery. It would be sheer stupidity to decide upon a fight for revenge without
taking cognizance of the realities af the situation. Certainly, duplicity and
craft shall have to be employed to deal with the situation." he
[ verses ]
After taking stock of things, Abdal Bhat thought of
resorting to guile to further his objective, although he was not very sure
whether his villainy would succeed. He immediately summoned to his presence Baba
Khalilu'llah, in whose august presence he sent a messenger to Yusuf Shah with a
letter stating that the nobles and commanders of Kashmir had concluded a solemn
agreement and resolved to act upon one another's friendly advice according to
which they meant to offer to him the power and authority of the government of
this land. As such he was to make no delay in coming. A verbal message was also
sent to him which conveyed 'Ali Khan's agreement to what they had stated in
their letter. At that time 'Ali Khan was a prisoner in the hands of the
representatives of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah.
[ verses ]
Abdal Bhat drew the plans in the presence of Baba
Khalilu'llah and Miran Sayyid Barkhordar. He employed whatever craft he could
and sent a message to Miran Sayyid Mubarak at Idgah: "Sayyid Mubarak Khan
should not consider today's event as a mere happening. Since 'Ali Khan has been
detained by your agents without reason, the people have become apprehensive.
They destroyed the bridges over the river in the city to secure themselves
against danger. In fact, this group requests your protection and does not want
to confront you."
[ verses ]
An action which was inherently dangerous did not take
place and a calamity which could have caused chaos had been averted. The message
ran further: "Inglorious is the person who rakes up trouble and disorder or
takes recourse to fighting and hostility when a possibility of solving the issue
through peaceful means and negatiations is not lacking. It has been our
considered opinion that Yusuf Shah should be recalled and a conference be held
with your officials at the khanqah of Baba Khalil'llah in honest faith with a
view to laying down necessary conditions of agreement. Yusuf Shah should be
re-installed on his throne and all the chiefs and commanders should be allowed
to resume authority and control over their respective frontiers and divisions as
per the practice in the past. In this way chaos and disorder shall he stamped
out and order restored. You may come to the khanqah of Baba Khalil along with
'Ali Khan to put seal on the proposed agreement."
Mir Sayyid trapped
The aforesaid Sayyid acted upon their suggestion and
got 'Ali Khan's fetters removed. 'Ali Khan consulted his son Yusuf Khan about
Abdal Bhat's action. His opinion was that it would not be practicable to
implement the suggestion unless Miran Sayyid was restored to his health and
strength. He said that if they visited the camp of the enemy in his state of
physical infirmity, they might be taken captives. His opinion was that prudence
demanded that since the sons and counsellors of Miran Sayyid were disturbed by
his physical weakness and that there was virtually no dispute or cause for
dispute between them ['Ali Khan and his son], rather as the Sayyids were sorry
for their faults, they should not take the risk of going to the camp of the
enemy and allow themselves to be overpowered by them
[ verses ]
Trusting the friendly overtures of Abdal Bhat and not
paying heed to the right suggestion of his son and not thoroughly considering
these words to be of an interested person, 'Ali Khan left the battlefield and
walked the distance from Idgah and arrived at the khanqah of Baba Khalilu'llah.
The aforesaid Sayyid, too, dismounted from his horse and, because of his weak
health, reclined against the wall of the khanqah. His sons and soldiers saw that
crowds of people had begun to assemble around them. Hence they dispersed and
retired to safe place. Only two of his sons, namely Miran Sayyid Shah
Abu'l-Mu'ali and Ibrahim Khan, kept him company.
Delegation under Haidar Chak
Most of his (Sayyid Mubarak Khan's) kinsmen and near
ones, confused and embarrassed as they were, joined Yusuf Shah at the village
called Pantehchuk. Thus the plan of Abdal Bhat succeeded:
[ verses ]
He immediately sent Haidar Chak along with a team of
seniors to Sayyid Mubarak Khan. They found that the lion of the battlefields had
lost his power and strength on account of his illness, and had now taken to
meditation and telling of beads. 'Ali Khan was granted permission to return to
his house. TO Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan he showed due courtesy and regard and
sat with him in the boat that brought him to his lodging. Bt there is a saying
that what is ordained cannot be changed:
[ verses ]
That very moment 'Ali Khan, along with his son, was
dragged out of his house, brought to the house of Lohar Chak, and finally put in
chains. His son Yusuf Khan, on witnessing the turn of events, could have said
after the poet:
(On my dear, much did I entreat ye not to go to a place
where ye be caught. Ye did go and then happened what I had feared.)
After his event Abdal Bhat felt sory for having acted
unfairly and for having broken his promise. He sent his son to Yusuf Khan
post-haste to tell him that the situation was such that his coming would bring
harm to him and could even aggravate the situation further. He advised him to
[ verses ]
This news forced Yusuf Shah to think, but for a while
he was overtaken by confusion. At last he returned to his old place. There
he spent a few days and then established liaison with the cousins of Miran
Sayyid Mubarak Shah and proceeded to the court of Akbar Padshah at Agra to seek
In the aforesaid year, Abdal Bhat, with the support
and consent of the commanders of this land, installed Lohar Chak, son of Shankar
Chak, on the throne of Kashmir. But in effect, he concentrated all power in his
own hands and reduced Lohar Chak to the position of a nominal king. Except for
reading the homily ( khutba ) and the striking of coins in his name, Lohar Chak
had no authority whatsoever.
Some of the notable persons of this land, such as Habib
Khan, son of Abdal Khan, who loved Yusuf Shah's company, broke away from Miran
Sayyid Mubarak Shah and joined hands with Abdal Bhat. But this shift of
loyalty caused them much anxiety, because Abdal Bhat dealt with them in an
arbitrary and autocratic manner. He either put them in prison or held out
threats to them, but did not take the extreme step of liquidating them or
putting them to the sword. In fact, later on, he was not really unfavourably
disposed towards them.
For one year, he (Abdal Bhat) ruled over the people of
this land in a manner already mentioned. In course of time most of the
people of this land, including soldiers and horsemen, ran away to join Yusuf
Shah whenever an opportunity came their way. These, for instance, included men
like Shams Chak and 'Alam Sher Khan.
Akbar and Yusuf Shah
A year after the assumption of reins of kingship, Akbar
showed royal favour to Yusuf Shah by offering him two mistresses. He
entrusted the mission of conquering Kashmir to Mirza Yusuf Khan and Raja Man
Singh. The victorious imperial army reached the capital city of Lahore.
Yusuf Shah, along with his troops, proceeded towards Bahlool Pore to know about
the commanders of that land and also to meet his sons .  These reports were
brought to Abdal Bhat and his commanders who lost no time in despatching their
secret messengers with letters to Yusuf Shah, the contents of which were couched
in soft words. They wrote to him that he should be careful about the
developments which had taken place and know that the imperial troops might
behave in a different manner after they had occupied the land.
[ verses ]
In his letter Abdal Bkat told him to trust his words
and promises and not hold him responsible for whatever faults there were in the
past. He suggested to him that he should leave the imperial troops and return to
this country without entertaining any fears.
[ verses ]
Ensnared by false promises and trusting the deceptive
overtures of that group of people, Yusuf Shah turned towards Rajouri mountain
range from Bahlool Pora. He left his family and children in the fort at
Parot [sic] and himself descended on the village Verinag situated at the foot of
The news of Yusuf Shah's escape was received by Akbar
with disapproval. He felt displeased and criticised Raja Man Singh and Yusuf
Khan. Yusuf Shah stationed himself at Verinag and in this way Abdal Bhat created
trouble for himself. In order to ensure security and safety of Hirpur pass,
Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah sent a contingent of troops with commanders such
as Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, and others. But this group of soldiers took
advantage of the opportunity and joined Yusuf Shah at the aforesaid village. Mir
Hasan Chaduru (Chadura) and Shams Dooni also joined Yusuf Shah along with their
troops. Everyday footmen and horsemen of this land ran away and joined Yusuf
Shah's army, whenever they got an opportunity to do so.
Abdal Bhat broke his pledges and promises and made
preparations for a confrontation with Yusuf Shah and sealed all paths through
which his troops could have forced their entry into the Valley:
[ verses ]
From Abdal Bhat's actions Yusuf Shah could follow that
he ( Abdal ) would try to seek the support of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah for
himself through flattery and guile. He, therefore, sent a secret messenger with
a letter to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah reminding him that Abdal Bhat was trying
to make overtures to him for no purpose other than that of soliciting his
support to strengthen his own position and for his selfish interests. As such,
he requested him to oblige him (Yusuf Shah) by not extending his support to
Abdal Bhat. Yusuf Shah conveyed to him that he had left the fruition of his
enterprise to God Almighty and the blessings of the respected Sayyid. He was
sure that any adventure undertaken by Abdal Bhat without the tactical advice of
the Sayyid was bound to fail.
[ verses ]
Yusuf Shah strikes
The message from Yusuf Shah fully confirmed Miran
Sayyid's own assessment of the situation and he found himself disposed to agree
with him. Thus sings the bard: 
A heart finds its way to a reciprocating heart under
the dome of the sky. Love begets love and enmity begets enmity.
Thus Miran Sayyid responded to the message of Yusuf
Shah. Expressing his approval of Yusuf Shah's onward march [to the city], he
bade farewell to his messenger. Miran Sayyid's encouraging reply brought joy and
exultation to Yusuf Shah. Without loss of time, he mounted his horse and, making
a dash from the aforesaid village, took the Tsereh-har route, struck a
devastating blow to the passholders of Abdal Bhat, and forced his entry into the
town of Kashmir [Sopor]. Lohar Chak's troops had been stationed at Sopor
with the purpose of ensuring the security of those areas. But with God's help,
Yusuf Shah broke their might and occupied the town of Sopor and its surrounding
areas. He stationed himself at that place and sent word to Abdal Bhat through a
messenger that, relying on his promises and letters, he had left the imperial
troops and encamped at Sopor. If Abdal was true to his word, he should
immediately proceed to meet him and submit to him so that with his cooperation
he would march on to occupy the seat of kingship.
[ verses ]
To this message Abdal Bhat reacted with cool-headed
diplomacy of giving false assurances to the messenger and bidding him return to
his master. For the purpose of strengthening Lohar Shah's regime, Abdal Bhat
released Miran Sayyid Mub.lrak Shlah and 'Ali Khan from prison and tried to win
them over by soft words. Although this action increased the prestige of Miran
Sayyid Mubarak Shah, yet, fully conscious of the fact that the glib-tongued
Abdal Bhat's words were nonsense, he preferred to remain tight-lipped and sought
to engage himself in meditation in the prayerhouse to the last day of his life.
[ verses ]
Miran Sayyid Mubarak prayed and meditated devoutedly
and this shall receive further notice shortly.
'Ali Khan, acting in concert with Lohar Shah and Abdal
Bhat, raised the banner of opposition against Yusuf Shah to further his
interests. In this way they determined to destroy Yusuf Shah.
[ verses ]
They also incited Ya'qub Shah, the son of Yusuf Shah,
to adopt a bellicose stance towards his father and force an armed confrontation
with him. On finding that 'Ali Khan, Mirza Ya'qub and others had united to rise
against Yusuf Shah, Abdal Bhat regretted the promises and commitments he had
made for him. He then marched out of the city and headed towards Sopor where he
finally took position on the bank of the river. For some days, they were engaged
in sporadic fighting, shooting a casual arrow or firing a stray musket. What
prevented the sides from a major conflict was the river and their inability to
cross it. After holding consultations of tactical nature with 'Ali Khan, Abdal
Bhat placed a force of two thousand strong and well-equipped horsemen under the
command of Haidar Chak to proceed via Kiyamah [sic] route for engaging Yusuf
Shah's troops. On the same day, he deployed his brother, 'Ali Bhat, an the
adventure of crossing the river at Sopor and, in this way, he played the role of
a fox and lion. Through Baba Khalil he advised Yusuf Shah purporting that
"this humble servant had been the beneficiary of 'Ali Shah, and it was his
magnanimity which had elevated him from the dust. It, therefore, was incumbant
upon him not to conceal from him whatever nefarious designs or plans were being
drawn to create anarchy and confusion in the state. He meant to report that some
of the nobles and commanders of his arm conspired to desert him when the
fighting would be in full swing and join the ranks of Lohar Shah's troops. Lohar
Shah had drawn a plan to cross the river in the early hours of the morning along
with the entire body of his soldiers and camp followers and give him a tough
fight. Again, Haidar Chak, at the head of two thousand troops, all armed to the
teeth, had already taken position at the village Buyeh Sangari and he was
poised to launch an attack from the rear. So he was warned in strict confidence
that that very night he should hasten towards Poonch, failing which, he would
only help his enemy to become their prisoner.
[ verses ]
To these veiled threats and intimidation, conveyed
through Baba Khalilu'llah, Yusuf Shah sent a versified reply:
[ verses ]
Abdal Bhat received this reply but, emboldened by
superior numerical strength of his troops in comparison to those of Yusuf, he
made a cool and calculated assessment and chose to send no reply. Permitting
Baba Khalilu'llah to return to the city, he kept himself in readiness for a
battle with Yusuf Shah:
[ verses ]
In the early hours of the following morning, Yusuf Shah
cleared his way a little downwards the town of Sopor. and, riding a swift
horse crossed over to the other bank. He deploved his troops in accordance with
the plan he had drawn in advance. A contingent of foot soldiers was deployed on
the right flank and some of his fire-spitting machines on the left. With this
arrangement, he made an advance to meet his adversary. Lohar Shah was informed
of this tactical move of Yusuf's troops. Consequently, he placed Abdal Bhat in
charge of the vanguard of his grand army and made a direct onslaught on the
enemy. The two warring armies stood with an eye-ball to eye-ball stance, and it
was Ahda1 Bhat who struck first. With a single stroke of his dragon-piercing
lance, Yusuf Shah relieved Abdal Bhat of his life.
[ verses ]
The date of his death on the battlefield has been
recorded in the chronogram nagahan shir darideh dimnak. Then followed the
lightening attacks from Yusuf Shah and his veteran commanders like Yusuf Khan,
son of Husain Shah, Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, Shams Chak, son of Daulat
Chak, Mir Hasan, son of Naji Malik, 'Alam Sher Khan, Shams Dooni, Sayyid Saif
Khan Baihaqi and his brothers, each of whom had won the rightful title of the
battle hero. Unable to withstand their attacks, Lohar Shah abandoned the royal
parasol on the battlefield and fled for his life.
[ verses ]
Habib Khan, son of Abdal Khan, whom Abdal Bhat had,
prior to Yusuf Shah's attack, thrown into the prison and was found on the
battlefield groaning under heavy and painful chains, was released.
By sheer bravery and courage, Yusuf Shah proceeded
triumphantly towards the city. His advance caused confusion in the ranks of
Haidar Chak's army, and soldiers began to desert him. Haidar Chak was also
forced to flee virtually bare-footed, along with a handful of his followers,
through Tsereh-har pass.
1. The relationship between Yusuf Shah and Sayyid
Mubarak Shah is somewhat intriguing. At the time of Yusuf Shah's accession to
the throne of Kashmir, the Sayyid affirms his and his sons' loyalty to him.
After some time, however, the Sayyid, who had nearly given up his earthly
ambitions, becomes instrumental in dislodging him from the throne. Therefore the
nature of the relationship between them needs a thorough investigation.
2. Hasan says that the Sayyid declined to intervene
directly in the matter because he considered it harmful to his own interests.
Instead, he sent Buba Khalil to Yusuf Shah to pursuade him to take recourse lo
reconciliation with the insurgents. See THK p. 299.
3. Malik Haidar also alludes to a breakdown in the
administration of the state during the first term of Yusuf Shah's reign, which
lasted for forty days. See TMH. MS. f. 65b.
4. Haasan says that he sent his crown to Sayyid Mubarak
Khan through Baba Khalilu'llah. THK. p. 300. According to Malik Haidar, it was
sent through Malik Muhammad Naji. TMH. MS. f. 66b. In another MS. of Malik
Haidar's history, it is recorded that the crown and the royal parasol were sent
to the Sayyid through Malik Muhammad Naji and Qadi Musa. TMH. MS(A) f. 68.
5. Malik Haidar says that he went to the Indian
mountains. TMH. MS. f. 66b.
6. Hasan writes that about an hour after he was crowned
he retired to his private room, lifted the crown from his head, placed it in
front of him and said. "Oh my inauspicious self, verily this royal crown is
of no worth. Do not be proud because on the day of death, the head will lay on
vile dust. The crown, which may be worn for a few days only, is in truth a
burden." THK. p. 301.
7. Hasan states that the Sayyid put on ordinary clothes
and began attending to the affairs of the state. THK. p. 301.
8. Hasan says that he abolished oppressive and
tyrannical practices whilch had become rampant during the reign of the Chaks.
9. This statement is not corroborated either by Hasan
or by Malik Haidar. In fact, the latter writes that it was not Yusuf Shah who
encouraged them, but they who made overtures to him. The reason was that during
his short reign of fifteen days the Sayyid treated the commanders badly and was
tyrannical even to the common people. In this way the author's statement that he
was just and compassionate towords people is repudiated by him. This too calls
for further investigation. See TMH. MS. f. 67a.
10. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.
11. In the pargana of Vesu in TMH. MS. f. 67a.
12. Sindh in THK. p. 302.
13. A written message was sent which began with this
Shaha faqr-o fana az ma wa mulk-o azz-o jah az tu
kih dunya ra wofai nist khwah az ma wa khwah az tu.
THK. p. 302.
14. The contents of the letter which have been put in
the form of verse in the present text have also been used by Hasan in his
history, with some variations. Hasan has only three verses as against eight in
the present text, and even in those three there are two or three variations.
Since the verses are a part of a message which must have been recorded earlier,
it seems likely that the source for both the historians is the same.
15. Bolar Khan Timur in THK. p. 303.
16. According to Malik Haidar a group of soldiers who
had hitherto committed themselves to Yusuf Khan, betrayed him, which forced him
to return to the Indian mountains without hazarding a battle with his opponents.
TMH. MS. f. 67a.
17. The strange story of the imposter does not figure
either in Hasan or in Malik Haidar.
18. Hasan criticizes him for his reluctance to have a
straight fight with the Sayyid. See THK. p. 305.
19. Between the present-day Batwara and Pampore near
guftam ay dil maraw anja kih giriftar shawi
'agebat rafti-o ham guft-i manat pish amad
21. Hasan writes that Yusuf Khan reached Pattan at that
time. See THK. p. 306. But the actual place where he had camped has not been
22. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.
23. Malik Haidar says that they were fed up with the
bad temperament of Sayyid Mubarak Khan. TMH. MS. 67a.
24. Historians have recorded that Lohar Chak meted out
just and kind treatment to the people. There was a good harvest during his reign
and paddy was available at cheap rates. See TMH. MS. f. 67b, and THK. pp. 306-7.
25. According to Hasan, Yusuf Shah stayed at the
Imperial Court for eleven months. THK. p. 307.
26. For details about their mission see
Ma'athiru'l-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 314-21.
27. From Malik Haidar's Tarikh it appears that Yusuf
Shah was given very small military help by Akbar. Muhammad Bhat the former Chief
Vizir of Yusuf Shah proceeded to Lahore leaving behind at Bahlool Pora about a
thousand soldiers (MS. f. 68a). In Lahore and some other parts of Panjab, he
managed to raise a force of about four thousand soldiers. He also raised a huge
loan from the business community of Lahore. See THK. p. 309. Also see
Wagaat-iKashmir, Muhammad Azam Dedemari. p. 95.
28. For more details about Abdal Bhat's communication
to Yusuf Shah, see THK. pp. 308-9.
29. Rai Bahadur, the Zamindar of Rajouri, joined hands
with Yusuf Khan and he made Rai the foremost commander of his army. See TMH. MS.
dil ra ba dil rahist darin gonbad-e spehr
az su-i kineh kineh-o az su-i mehr mehr.
31. baldah-e Kashmir means the town of Kashmir or Sopor
as against shahr-i Kashmir meaning the city of Kashmir or Srinagar.
32. Khulhama in THK. p. 310.
33. Allusion is to Kalileh wa Dimneh.
34. Present Baba Shakuru'd-Din hill-top between
Khuihama and Sopor where Raja Prahlad had built the Prateswara temple. It was
called Bosangeri. The other name of the hillock given in Kashmirian histories is
Sherehkot. See THK. p. 34.
35. Malik Haidar does not give this story; instead he
says it was Shams Dooni, one of his commanders, who suggested to him that since
he had a smaller number of troops at his disposal, he should retire to Poonch
via Gurimarg (Gulmarg) route, but the suggestion was turned down by Malik
Muhammad Hasan. See TMH. MS. f. 68b.
36. This versified reply figures in the history of
Hasan also, confirming the earlier guess that the two historians had a common
source. See THK. p . 311.
37. He crossed the river near Delina shortly after
midnight under candlelight. See THK. p. 312.