January-March 2002 issue
Pages of History
J. N. Kachroo
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.