Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India


Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

  Kashmiri Pandits' Association, Mumbai, India

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January-March 2002 issue

Lalla-Ded Educational and Welfare Trust

Table of Contents

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri


From the Pages of History

Selecting A Successor
... J. N. Kachroo

Kashmir was ruled by Kshemgupta from 950-958 AD. He was the son of Parvagupta who had secured the throne by treachery after the death of Yasakara. His rule was insignificant. However, his marriage with Didda influenced the history of Kashmir during following centuries.

 Didda was the daughter of Simharaja, the chief of Lohara. According to Stein, Lohara comprised the hilly districts immediately adjoining the Kashmir valley on the south-west and now a part of Poonch.
 Didda was a dashing and dominating personality. She was a bundle of contradiction in her character. She was cruel, suspicious, and licentious, yet she possessed statesman like sagacity, political wisdom and administrative ability. She was always dominating whatever her role. As a queen consort she so dominated the government that the people nicknamed the King as “DiddaKshema". As regent of her son, Abhimanyu (958-972) she ruled with a heavy hand. She eliminated by means fair or foul all whose loyalty she suspected. Those included the grandsons of Pravagupta. After the death of her son, she seems to have been overwhelmed by her lust for power. As regent of her grandsons, Nandigupta (971-973 AD), Tribhuvan (973-975 AD) and Bhimagupta (975-981), in succession, she destroyed each by witchcraft, torture or poison as soon as she suspected they had realised her misdeeds and misconduct. Finally Didda ruled as sovereign from 981-1003, as ruthlessly as ever.

 It was, therefore, widely feared that after her death, there would be chaos and stampede for succession, as she had spared none in the royal lineage as a legal claimant. Civil war and bloodshed was expected to settle the matter. But some elderly people had the faith in the ability of Dida to find a way and avoid a blood bath. Events that followed proved them right and also proved the shrewdness of the lady with an iron hand. Inspite of all the defects in her character, she remained to the last in possession of the Kashmir throne, and was able to bequeath it to her family in undisputed succession.

 Didda had a large number of nephews, all young boys. She decided to nominate one of them as heir apparent. But whom and how? She did not like to make an arbitrary choice. She was keen that none of her nephews got any reason to believe that they were ignored, nor did she like any of her brothers to feel that she was partial. She wanted to ensure unity in the family of her parents to have any discord before power would flow to them. She played a master game.

 She called all of them and also placed a heap of apples before them. She told them that she would see how many could each pick. There was a scramble among the youngsters. She noticed that Sangramraja, son of her brother Udayraja, had picked up not only the largest number, but was quite unhurt. She asked him how had he succeeded in getting so many, he replied that while remaining aloof from the scramble he had induced the other boys to do so and in the fighting that ensued he had picked up the fruits with ease. On hearing this, that adept in statecraft, Didda considered him the wisest and fittest of them all. She selected him her successor and nominated him as the heir apparent. Thus the throne passed on to the Lohara Dynasty. 

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