I: Chapter 12
- A CRUEL CRUSADER
Sikandar and Malik Saif-ud-Din working out the motivational inputs of Mir
Mohammad Hamadani waged a cruel crusade against the Hindus to realise their
conversion to Islam. It was a sheer holocaust for the Hindus. Declared
and projected as Kafirs at war, they were massacred and smothered out mercilessly.
Their cultural achievements dotting the length and breadth of Kashmir were
put to a ruthless and wholesale ravage and destruction. Sultan Sikandar
committed unpardonable crimes, brutal and horrendous, against Hindus, shaming
the cruellest of the cruel. Hindus were held out three options, either
to get converted to Islam or flee their land of genesis or face perishment.
As an outcome of this brutal government decree, thousands of Hindus buckled
under pressure and accepted Islam, thousands fled the land and thousands
accepted death as an alternative to conversion.
sobriquet of 'but-shikan'- idol-breaker, Sultan Sikandar as a Muslim vandal
desecrated, ravaged and smashed into smithereens numerous temples, caityas,
viharas, shrines, hermitages and other holy places of the Hindus and Buddhists.
As a boor, he banned dance, drama, music and iconography as aesthetic activities
of the Hindus and fiated them as heretical and un-Islamic. He forbade the
Hindus to apply a tilak mark on their fore-heads. He did not permit them
to pray and worship, blow a conch and toll a bell.
them from cremating their dead. A Hindu mother giving birth to twins was
exacted. Infamous Jazia (poll-tax) equal to 4 tolas of silver was imposed
on the Hindus in the same manner as Muslims imposed 'blood-tax' on the
Bulgarians. The Hindus were first cruelly butchered and then their sacred
threads were collected and put to flames. They were detained and then hurled
into the waters of the Dal Lake and that particular quarter of the lake
is still known as 'Bata Mazar', grave-yard of Hindus.
war was waged on books enshrining Hindu contributions to and achievements
in the variegated segments of human knowledge and learning. Patrol guards
were posted on all exit-points lest the Hindus should escape the fury with
their bodies and faith intact. Army was harnessed and pressed into service
to convert the Hindus. The Hindus were deprived of the means of livelihood
so as to coerce them to accept Islam. They were fiated not to put their
learners to any type of schools. Celebration of Hindu fairs and festivals
was banned. Islamic law was imposed on the Hindus.
"Immediately after his (Mir Mohammad's) arrival, Sultan Sikandar, peace
be on him, submitted to his supremacy and proved his loyalty to him by
translating his words into deeds. He eradicated aberrant practices and
infidelity. He also put an end to the various forbidden and unlawful practices
throughout his kingdom. Thus during the entire period of his rule, all
traces of wines and intoxicants and instruments of vice and corruption,
like the cord of canticle, lyre and tamborin were wiped out. The clamour
of the drum and the trumpet, the shrill notes of the fife and the clarion
no longer reached people's ears, except in battles and assaults."
forcibly converted to Islam and were massacred in case they refused to
be converted'," writes Hasan, a Muslim chronicler. He further observes,
"And Sikandarpora (a city laid out by Sultan Sikandar) was laid out on
the debris of the destroyed temples of the Hindus. In the neighbourhood
of the royal palaces in Sikandarpora, the Sultan destroyed the temples
of Maha-Shri built by Praversena and another by Tarapida. The material
from these was used for constructing a 'Jami' mosque in the middle of the
fag end of his life, he (Sultan Sikandar) was infused with a zeal for demolishing
idol-houses, destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed
the massive temple at Beejbehara. He had designs to destroy all the temples
and put an end to the entire community of infidels," puts Bharistan-i-Shahi.
In his second Rajtarangini, the historian Jonraj has recorded, "There was no city, no
town, no village, no wood, where the temples of the gods were unbroken.
When Sureshavari, varaha and others were broken, the world trembled, but
not so the mind of the wicked king. He forgot his kingly duties and took
delight day and night in breaking images."
Writes Ajit Bhatracharjee, "Sikandar (1389-1413) equalled the most blood-thirsty and
iconoclastic Muslim conquerors anywhere in his zeal to obliterate all traces
of the Hindu religion and convert its followers to Islam on pain of death.
Temples were levelled and some of the grandest monuments of old damaged
and disfigured………. thousands of Hindus escaped across the borders of Kashmir,
others were massacred."
records, "Hindu temples were felled to the ground and for one year a large
establishment was maintained for the demolition of the grand Martand temple.
But when the massive masonry resisted all efforts, fire was applied and
the noble buildings cruelly defaced."
According to M.Mujeeb, Sikandar, the iconoclast of Kashmir, made forcible conversions
a sustained political policy.
To quote Firishta,
"Many of the Brahmans rather than abandon their religion or their country
poisoned them selves, some emigrated from their homes while a few escaped
the evil of banishment by becoming Mohamadans."
Puts A.K. Mujumdar,
"These Muslim immigrants (so called sufis) brought with them that fanatic
iconoclastic zeal which distinguished Islam in other parts of India, but
from watch Kashmir was happily free up to this time.
records, "Sikandar's reign was disgraced by a series of acts, inspired
by religious bigotry and iconoclastic zeal for which there is hardly any
parallel in the annals of the Muslim rulers of India."