kind of fanaticism and religious bigotry brought about an end to a well
founded culture and civilisation and the region of Kashmir fell to its
hands. The paradise (that Kashmir was) was profoundly wounded, nay decimated,
not by the Arab legions led by Bin Qasim but by the legions of Sultan Sikander
and Sultan Ali Shah. What Bin Qasim was to Sindh, Sikander and Ali Shah
were to Kashmir.
It is a recognised
fact of history that Zain-ul-abidin was the author of a new chapter of
tolerance, mutual good-will and co- existence in the history of Kashmir.
He failed his father by not adhering to the atrocious precedent of religious
persecution leading to a blood-soaked catastrophe. Nor was he myopic, narrow
minded and fired with religious sectarianism. Be it said, "His reign shines
out as a sparkling gem amidst the narrow-minded and short sighted rulers
of his time''.l Anand Koul Bamzai records, "In the world around him he
could have found little to help him. He was a potentate encouraged to be
tyrannical and selfish by tradition and especially by the example of his
father, Sikander. Zain-ul-abidin was deservedly surnamed Bud Shah or Great
allowed the Kashmirian Hindus, who had stood the hurricane of the Islamic
zealots, to breathe and live without subjecting them to terror and tyranny.
He was gracious enough to send messengers to various corners of India inviting
the Kashmirian Hindus, who had fled their land of genesis, to return to
Kashmir. He allowed the Hindus to burn their dead on payment of a nominal
tax, which also was withdrawn and abolished at the behest of 'Srivar, Bud
Shah's court historian and musician, who had to pay it at the time of the
cremation of his close relative3.' At the behest of Shirya Bhat, who happened
to cure the Sultan of a fatal boil, the Hindus were allowed to take to
education and join the services for earning livelihood without discriminating
them. He allowed them to celebrate their festivals and religious ceremonies
without any let or hindrance. 'Srivar records that the Sultan erected two
temples for the Hindus and also renovated the ones that were plundered
and damaged by the religious vandals4. He proved large-hearted to settle
the cases of the Hindus in consonance with their laws and customs. He revoked
the ban on dance, drama, music, painting and other artistic and aesthetic
pursuits of the Hindus.
suggestion of Shirya Bhat, the Sultan revived the tradition of historiography,
which had suffered a hiatus from the date Kalhan had left it. Jonraj and Shrivar, his courtiers, read out the Hindu scriptures especially the
to their munificent patron, thus awakening him to spiritual yearnings.6
Highly impressed by the Hindu view on God, man and the world, the Sultan
got some Hindu scriptures, which had escaped the wrath of his father, translated
into Persian.7 He repealed the Jazia (poll-tax), which the Hindus had to
pay in a state ruled by the Muslims.
of tolerance, good-will and co-existence pursued by Bud Shah as the policy
of the state was outrageously denounced and hated by the Muslim fanatics,
who were not stamped out but enjoyed patronage from the Muslim institutions.
He was condemned as one who had revived idolatory in Kashmir.8 He was denounced
as be-din9 (infidel) for having allowed the Hindus to pursue their modes
of worship. He was accused of lending a new lease of life to the Hindu
infidelity (kufur) by having called them back to their ancestral land.
The Muslims accused him of patronising 'crowds of infidels and tribes of
polytheists'.l0 There was a sudden dip in his popularity graph when he
protected the gold image of Buddha from destruction at the hands of Muslim
vandals. A lot of resentment got generated against him when he got Sayyid
Ali (Saidal) paraded through the streets of his capital for his atrocious
crime of killing an innocent yogi dressed in saffron robes. He having repaired
some Hindu temples vandalised by his father had to encounter stiff opposition
from the Muslim zealots, who rued the day when he as the son of a vadaliser
came to the throne only to undo the things his father had already accomplished
with real Islamic zeal and zest.
As he was firmly
saddled in power, no coup could be organised against him. In his death,
the Hindus lost an incarnation of Vi'snu (Naranarayan), 11 who had granted
them peace without much of torture and the Muslims lost 'Bhatta Shah',
the King of the Kashmirian Hindus. Be it said that the Muslims out of sheer dis-approval of his policy stances unto the Kashmirian Hindus maligned
him by surnaming him as 'Bhatta Shah'.
The trail of
'justice and generosity', 'peace and tolerance' and 'goodwill and co-existence'
as blazed by Sultan Zain-ul-abidin did not prove of much import and significance
to the Hindu- baiters, who were instinctively bent upon extirpating infidelity
from Kashmir. The fanatical elements lying low in the heyday of Bud Shah
could not achieve notable successes in preventing him from putting his
state on the pedestal of justice and tolerance. But his demise suddenly
led to chaos and confusion in the land of Kashmir. Sayyids responsible
for playing havoc with the Hindus and wounding the Kashmirian Hindu polity
continued to be in corridors of power, but could not carry on with their
policy of fire and sword because of Bud-Shah's full hold and command over
the state machine. The rulers succeeding Bud-Shah were by and large weak,
usually prone to be misled into undesirable channels by their unscrupulous
councillors and ministers. Sultan Haider Shah was one such ruler, who was
advised by his barber to put to death the same noble, who had managed the
throne for him.
given to bouts of drinking and spending much of his time in the company
of beautiful damsels proved ferocious for the Kashmirian Hindus. On the
advice of his barber, he committed atrocities on the Kashmirian Hindus.
Accused of re-importing practices of infidels, Haider Shah only to disprove
the content of accusations took to harassing, torturing and killing of
the Hindus with impunity. Having lost their patience, the Kashmirian Hindus
got collected in good numbers and set fire to some mosques, which were
built on temple plinths or erected with temple materials.l2 The uprising
was suppressed by looting, killing and drowning the Kashmirian Hindus.
The Sultan given to drinking carouses could not bear with the fact of the
Hindu rebels damaging the Mosque of Mir Ali Hamadani, which was built on
the plinth of the Kalishree Temple. He issued an atrocious government decree
to chop off the noses and ears of all Kashmirian Hindus wherever they be
and whatever their station in life was.
As a matter
of consequence, the Hindus everywhere were forcibly caught and their noses,
ears and arms brutally chopped off. The Hindus working in the court of
Haider Shah were not spared either. They were subjected to the same brutal
treatment.l3 There were thousands of brave Hindus, who braved this savagery
and brutality. But there were many others, who cried in pain and agony
"Na Bhatto aham - I am not a Kashmiri Hindu."14 The brutal onslaught on
the Hindus was accompanied by loot, rape and arson.
"Nona Deva, Jaya and Bhima and others were maimed.... They struggled and
finally jumped into the Vitasta river.... the arms, noses and ears were
cut off even of those Hindus who were working in the court and were King's
1. PNK Bamzai,
History of Kashmir, P 330. 2. PNK Bamzai,
History of Kashmir. 3. 'Srivara, Rajtarangini. 4. Ibid. 5. Ibid.
6. "Introducing Jonraj," Prof. M.L. Kaul. published in Daily Martand,
Srinagar. 7. Ibid. 8. Baharistan-i-Shahi,
MS F23a. 9. Tuhfat-ul-Ahbad,
MSF 106a. 10. Baharistan-i-Shahi;
quoted from Prof. S.K. Koul's Introduction to Jonraj. 11. Jonraj,
Rajtarangini. 12. Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir. 13. Shrivara,
Zaina Rajtarangini. 14. Koul, S.K. Prof., Introduction to Jonraj. 15.