rulers harbouring Shia faith pursued the same policy of converting or eliminating
the Kashmirian Hindus, who were largely reduced in numbers as a result
of the processes of fire and brimstone against them. Kashmir with the pre-ponderance
of the Hindu population presented a scenario of religious peace and absolute
tolerance and was widely acknowledged as an abode of rishis (hermits).
There were no religious strifes motivated by the bigoted elements leading
to the extirpation and decimation ot large sections of a particular faith.
The Buddhists, the 'Shivites and the Vai'snavites by and large maintained
well-cemented relations based on the widely accepted doctrine of 'live
and let live', thus strengthening a cohesive social order allowing freedom
to all sections of population to live a vibrant life with least interference
from self-styled conscience keeper5. But the greatest disservice, which
the Muslims rendered unto the land of Kashmir, was to reduce it by religious
strifes, thereby destroying the precious achievements of cultural and civilisational
processes resulting in the establishment of an ethos, tolerant and assimilative.
That the Muslims of one section or the other gaining political ascendancy
are and have been instinctively given to the eradication and uprooting
of religious and political dissent.
evaluating the political and social role of Islam in various medieval societies
have judged the Muslim ideology of any brand as parochial and stereotyped.
What has been astonishing is that murder, loot, rape and arson have a recognition
in the ideological frame-work of the Muslims. Booty from loot appears legalised
under the umbrella of 'mali-ganim'; any social strife leading to disorder
and anarchy is covered under jehad or holy war; any frenzied bigot killing
and murdering is nomenclatured as 'gazi' or 'mujahid'. That the Kashmirian
Hindus subjected to the worst-ever tortures and atrocities wonder if the
message of Islam was for blood-letting, arson and genocide or for spiritual
betterment and elevation of mankind at large.
on the verge of collapse was destined to witness the advent of Chak rulers,
who consolidated their political position through intrigues and political
murders. Belonging to the Dardic descent, the Chaks had entered the borders
of Kashmir during the hegemony of Shah Mir. It was actually Ramchander
as the chief of the Kashmirian army, who rising above narrow considerations,
provided shelter to Lanker Chak and his rullowers defeated in their native
land by the forces inimical to them. The Chaks were ferocious and barbarous
and that is what made them to grab the political power of Kashmir.
At the behest
of Shams-ud-din Iraqi, a proselytiser from Talish on the shores of Caspian,
the Chaks were converted to the Shia sect of Islam. They were equally ruthless
and showed no mercy to the Kashmirian Hindus, whose numbers had been fast
dwindling under the onslaught of the fanatical zealots. Iraqi had no support-base
in Kashmir. He cleverly operated under the protective wings of Sheikh Ismail
Kubravi, who had shown lots of zeal for furthering the cause of Islam in
Kashmir.1 He manipulated a sharp division in the followers of the Sheikh
by boosting up Baba Ali Najar, who was idiotic but wielded considerable
influence over the Kashmirians.2
absolute allegiance of Musa Raina, the Prime Minister in the times of Fateh
Shah (1506-16), Shams Iraqi launched upon a ruthless crusade against the
Hindus of Kashmir. Temples were ruthlessly demolished and mosques built
on their sites.3 The Hindus were terrorised and forced at the point of
sword to get converted to the Islamic faith. 24,000 Hindus were converted
at one stroke.4 The lands belonging to the Brahmans were confiscated and
men associated with temples were both harassed and arrested only to break
their allegiance to the Hindu places of worship.5 Musa Raina, a convert
to Shia faith, was instrumental in piling all manner of persecution and
torture on the Hindus of Kashmir. He was a bigot and tyrant rolled into
one. He organised an armed brigade of goons under the leadership of a Chak
warrior only to loot and murder the Hindus still sticking to their faith.
Also the gangsters were entrusted with the specific task of destroying
the Hindu families, Hindu temples and Hindu schools.6
clinging to their original faith and religious credos, the neophytes had
to suffer the wrath of Shams Iraqi, who had observed them chanting mantras
by placing their haunches on the hand written copies of the Muslim religious
text and also bowing before Hindu idols. Religious fiat issued by the proselytiser
and faithfully executed by Musa Raina and other powerful officials of the
faith led to the setting up of camps for the forcible circumcision of the
neophytes.7 With a view to brutalising and deculturising them, they were
forced at pain of death to eat beef only to shock them psychologically
leading to the snapping of their habitual links with the Hindu faith and
practices.8 Shams Iraq. vandalised a wing of Vishnu temple at Buniyar in
the district of Baramulla.9 He personally led the operations of vandalising,
destroying and burning the temples of Srinagar city. Some neophytes led
by Kazi Chak launched a campaign against Musa Raina for his anti-Hindu
activities. Not that they were honest in their intentions, but used it
only as a ploy to overthrow Musa Raina from the absolute political power
he was wielding. The campaign ultimately led to the assassination of Musa Raina. During the course of mutual rivalries and internecine bickerings
going on between Musa Raina and Kazi Chak and his band of nobles, a daring
Pandit, Nirmal Kantha, reconverted all those Hindus, who had been forcibly
converted to Islam.l0 The attempt proved disastrous for Nirmal Kantha,
all reconverted and original Hindus.
regained his hold when Kazi Chak was holding the reins of government in
Mohammad Shah's time (1516-18). At the instigation of Shams Iraqi, Kazi
Chak gruesomely butchered 800 prominent Hindus only to instill terror in
other Hindus,11 who had not joined the ranks of Islam or had dared move
out of the orbit of Islam after re-conversion. Terror forced the Hindus
to submit and succumb to the sword of Islam.12
Kazi Chak owing
allegiance to Shia faith inflicted pains and miseries on the Kashmirian
Hindus. He organised and led campaigns for the desecration and destruction
of the Hindu places of worship. The material properties of the Hindus were
looted and ravaged. Nirmal Kantha proved his daring when he organised and
rallied the Kashmirian Hindus for drafting a petition against inhuman atrocities
inflicted on them by all hues of Muslims. As the lynchpin of the ruling
clique, Kazi Chak took it as a seditious act and what ensued for Nirmal
Kantha and his co-religionists was ruthless annihilation and destruction.
The Chaks ordered
the slaughter of one thousand cows every day. Jazia was re-imposed on the
Hindus. Stark poverty stared them in the face as they were bereft of all
means of sustenance.l3 In the words of Shuka, a contemporary historian,
"The Hindus were over-powered by the religious intolerants the same wise
as the sun is over-powered by the grey sable clouds''.l4 Any Hindu wearing
the sacred thread had to pay an annual tax to the Chak rulers.l5 Killing,
butchering and marauding the Hindus was order of the day.
Under the oppressive
rule of the Chaks, the Hindus determined not to get converted to Islam
marched out of their homeland to take shelter at safer zones in the neighbourhood
of the valley of Kashmir. It was their massive exodus.l6 While marching
out of their homeland, a barrage of spiteful abuse, disrespect and contumely
was let loose on them only to stall their return to their land of genesis.
Genocide of the Kashmirian Hindus was designed only to reduce the land
of Kashmir to a Muslim ghetto as was conceived by the top Sayyid theologians.
1. R.K. Parmu,
(Dr.), Muslim Rule in Kashmir. 2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid,
Baharistan-i-Shahi, 78a, 79a, Tarikh-i-Hasan, P347. 5. Shuka, Rajtarangini, P339.
6. Narendra Sehgal, Dharmantarit Kashmir, P127. 7. Tuh-fat-ul Ahbab.
8. Ibid. 9. Baharistan-i-Shahi. 10. R.K.
Parmu (Dr.), Muslim Rule in Kashmir. 11. Ibid;
R.N. Singh (Dr.), Rajtarangini (Hindi). 12. Baharistan-i-Shahi,
ff 88b. 89b. 13. Shuka, Rajtarangini. 14. Ibid. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid.