Table of Contents
  About the Author
  About the Book
  Laying the Scene
  Sayyid Sharafu'D-Din
  Mir Ali Hamadani's role ...
  P.N. Bazaz and P.N.Bamzai ...
  Laleshwari - A Shining...
  Trika Paved the Way for Islam
  Kashmir - Not A Tabula Rasa
  Willing and Peaceful ...
  Extra-ideological Methods
  Compromise as Tactics
  Shihab-ud-Din's anti-Hindu ..
  'Sufi-face of Islam' thesis ...
  Sultan Sikandar -  a Cruel ..
  Mir Ali Hamdani's Advice ...
  Return of Sanity
  Na Bhatto Aham -  A Cry ...
  Crusade Re-launched
  Nirmal Kanth - A Pillar ...
  Inter-face Between Hinduism..
  Regeneration of Kashmir ...
  Mughal Annexation at ...
  Learning Not Enough, ...
  Muslims Invite Afghans
  Birbal Dhar and Sikhs
  Loot of 1931
  Loot of Landed Properties
  Loot of a Kashmiri Pandit ...
  Loot and Plunder of 1986
  Nehru's Advice to ...
  Pan-Islamic Design
  Sponsored Terrorism
  Kashmiri Pandits -  soft ...
  JKLF - An Outfit of Killers
  Jammaat-i-lslami - ...
  Afghans Again Invited ...
  Massacre of Kashmiri Pandits
- Part 1 of 3
- Part 2 of 3
- Part 3 of 3
  Loot, Grab and Arson ...
  Destruction and Desecration ...
  Loot and Burning of Books
  Kashmiri Pandits As Migrants
  Conversions as Muslim ...
  Kashmiri Pandits and ...
  Homeland Demand Raised
  Sangrampora Massacre
  References and Notes
  List of Illustrations
  Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity


Part I: Chapter 2


A major role for paving the way for launching upon a state-based campaign for proselytisation of the Hindu Kashmir was played by a notable Sayyid, Mir Ali, said to be a Kubravi Sufi, who was a fugitive from Hamadan where Timur enraged by his indulgence in political affairs had swayed his power against the Alawi Sayyids. He cooled his heels in Kashmir, which had come under the rule and hegemony of Muslims. As testified to and buttressed by his extant works, he in essentia can be characterised as a formidable proselytiser and a fundamentalist theologian with a deep streak of interest in affairs mundane.

Capitalising on his position of authority and influence as a Sayyid, he issued fiats to the Muslim ruler, Qutub-ud-Din, to Islamise his state by placing it on the foot-stool of Sharia (Islamic law) and also impose 'twenty humiliating conditions' on the Hindu Kafirs with the express intent of coercing them to get converted to Islam at pain of death. Politically, socially and religiously coercive and awesome, the fiat (in the form of an advice) was an unholy combine of gag-order and lynch-law meant for prompt compliance and implementation by the Muslim ruler, whose temporary dithering and equivocation occasioned by dynastic considerations and ground realities was seriously resented and vigorously opposed by the Sayyid, who having sown the seeds of contradictions, religious fanaticism and polarisation for a social and political rupture quit the scene in absolute anger and despair too.

Records Baharistan-i-Shahi, "Sultan Qutub-ud-Din failed to propagate Islam in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of Amir Sayyid Ali Hamadani and as such the latter found himself reluctant to stay on in Kashmir."

It was on the persistent proddings of Sayyid Ali that the Sultan gave up his participation in Hindu festivals, fairs and ceremonies and forced the Muslims to adopt the same dress that was prevalent and in vogue in Muslim countries with a view to establishing their separate identity from the Hindus, but linking it up with the Muslim 'umma'. The ruler was exhorted to divorce one of the two uterine sisters whom he had married as it was deemed un-Islamic in law and practice.

Over-awed by the Sayyid, the Muslim ruler, Qutub-ud-Din, oriented and regimented into the regime of his religious duties gave in and succumbed to the baptisation in matters of dress codes and fundamentals of Islamic law, but somehow pulled his punches from sponsoring an aggressive conversion campaign, which, he felt, might jeopardise his position and stature as the ruler of a Hindu dominated region. As he was not in haste, his clever strategy was to mark time till the thorough entrenchment of the Muslim rule. But as against him, Sayyid Ali was in post-haste and was for strident and quick measures to dent the bulwark of Hindu culture and civilisation and also harboured a lurking fear that the Hindus, though politically subjugated, might re-group and fortify their ranks to overthrow the Muslim rule, thus defeating his plans for converting Kashmir, a Hindu citadel, for which the Prophet as claimed by him had ordered him to visit Kashmir.

Sultan Qutub-ud-Din, to Sayyid Ali, appeared tolerant and liberal unto the Hindus who as a measure of expediency were permitted to be the government functionaries and being Kafirs were neither hounded out nor persecuted and as such had failed to draw a leaf from his religiopolitical culture to divide his subjects into the strait-jacket of Muslims and Kafirs granting them the rights and privileges that flowed from the religions they espoused. Incensed at this, Sayyid Ali's relations with the Muslim ruler suffered a dip and were bitter and rancorous and as a matter of result an internecine 'conflict arose between them because of their differing attitudes about the Hindus'. As a strong believer in Kufra, he viewed political conquest as a sure means of propagation of religion and its support-base.

As explicated in his two principal works, Risala-i-Maktubat and Zakhiratul-Muluk, Sayyid Ali's political thought, an anathema to a sufi of real and genuine vintage, appears to cloud his sufi credentials and poses and projects him as a political crusader, who is not only conscious of, but frantically eager to enlist and harness the support of government apparatus to boost and push up the interests of Islam, its precept and precedent. Force and authority as two coercive weapons of the state as he firmly held were not to be spared in the enforcement of religious lawns His immediate and persistent efforts to mobilise the Muslim ruler and the instrumentalities of his government for aggressive and forceful propagation of Islam and annihilation of those outside the orbit of Islam, Kafirs in usual Muslim parlance, are sufficient pointers to establish that he was more wedded to the narrow interests of Muslimisation campaign than the domain of Sufism, which, to a lay Indian mind, connotes if it can a broad plexus of values and concerns of humanism transcending myopic religious and political perceptions.

In sharp contrast to the Kashmiri mystics and quietists, ever in spiritual quest, the authorities on sufi trends of thought have observed that the Kubravi subs much in the line of subs of various silsilas (orders) were sappers and miners of Islamic crusade and surprisingly enough, were politics-oriented and more than most avidly keen to find a niche in the courts of Sultans and nobles and enjoy positions of power and panoply.

Comments Rafiqi, "Besides occupying positions such as that of Qazi and Shaik'ul Islam, some of them (Sufis) held high positions in administration, including that of wazir and they also served as ambassadors. They visited the royal courts, established matrimonial alliances with leading nobles and ruling houses. They dabbled in politics and on many occasions were exiled from the country."


Mir Ali's Zakhiratul-Muluk containing twenty humiliating conditions couched in unpolished and unsophisticated language is a testament of intolerance, hatred, distrust and hate-campaign against the Hindus of Kashmir. The fiat in the form of an advice reads as under:

1. The Hindus will not construct any new places of worship or idol temples in the territory under the control of a Muslim ruler.

2. They will not re-construct any existing place of worship or temple that may fall into ruin.

3. They will not prevent Muslim travellers from staying in their places of worship or temples.

4. They will receive any Muslim traveller into their houses and will provide him with hospitality for three days.

5. They will not harbour any spies and will not act as spies themselves.

6. If any of their relations show any inclination to embrace Islam, they shall not prevent him from doing so.

7. They will respect Muslims.

8. If they are holding a meeting and a Muslim happens to come there, he will be received respectfully by them.

9. They will not dress like Muslims.

10. They will not adopt Muslim names.

11. They will not ride a saddled horse.

12. They will not carry swords or bows and arrows.

13. They will not wear rings with diamonds.

14. They will not openly sell or drink intoxicating liquor.

15. They will not abandon their traditional dress so that they may be distinguished from Muslims.

16. They will not openly practice their customs and usages among Muslims.

17. They will not build their houses in the neighbourhood of Muslims.

18. They will not cremate their dead.

19. They will not mourn their dead loudly.

20. They will not buy Muslim slaves.

The advice concludes with the note that if they (Hindus) infringe any of the twenty conditions, they are not to be protected and Muslims may rightfully kill them and appropriate their property as if they were Kafirs (idolaters i.e; Hindus) at war.

Observes Rafiqi, "In his Zakhiratul-Muluk (Pp 117-18), Saiyid Ali advises a Muslim ruler to impose twenty humiliating conditions on his non-Muslim subjects and in return the non-Muslims are guaranteed nothing 107-9".

He further states, "Saiyid Ali reserves every benefit of the state for the Muslims. Unlike al-Mawardi, he does not explicitly mention any rights which non-Muslims could expect in return for obeying the above twenty rules.

"Mir Ali Hamadani's Zakhiratul-Muluk set a new agenda for the persecution and massacre of the Kashmirian Hindus if they did not succumb to the blind forces of Islam. The book in its contents is highly subversive and set the ground for unleashing an orgy of violence, commotion, disorder and anarchy aimed at corroding and dismantling a social and religious ethos, which had a humanistic base and was high above religious bigotry and myopia," writes Koul.

The charter of conditions is shocking and stunning and ironically enough framed and conceived by a sufi, whose role in Kashmir on religious grounds has been trumpeted beyond credible limits. As a prelude to the policy of death and destruction against the native Hindus, it, in fact, contained seed ideas of Muslim vintage for re-modelling of the Kashrniri society by forcibly transmuting its religious complexion and colour by unjust and unkind means, thus causing a yawning hiatus by tearing it away from its historical and socio-cultural moares. The fiats calling for blatant and naked interference by any incognito Muslim traveller (with its extended import to cover all Muslims) legitimised to sponge on Hindu Kafirs and their religious places for goods and services strangely in the name of hospitality were not only coercive and persecutionary, but also reflective of a mind that could be anything but not sufistic in frame and motivations. Despite pretensions of Justice, brotherhood and equality, the charter was manifesting a psyche, narrow, intolerant and more than most highly coercive, and was issued out not as a matter of theoretical assumption, but for practical application and if and when applied, it would flagrantly violate and transgress all decent and civilised principles and modes of a cohesive and harmonious civil life and prognosticate a political, religious and societal structure etched upon pillars of coercion, persecution and inequity.

Brimming with the force and fury of a command, the catalogue of woeful conditions supposed to invoke an instantaneous obedience of a Muslim ruler, if true to his religious grain, was designed to project the Hindus as the 'other,' to finish them politically, socially and religiously, shorn of rights and privileges as they were the exclusive preserve of Muslims in a Muslim state. If reacting to his captive state, any Hindu spartacus flouting any of the medieval conditions, cruel and base, in protest or desperation was flared to be massacred and his property looted and appropriated (for distribution as booty among the faithfuls). First subjugated and humbled and then stigmatised as Dhimmis, the Hindu Kafirs if granted the status as it was meant for Jews and Christians only (ahli-Kitab) would be reduced to the miserable state of the denizens of a gulag and could be given a semblance of protection, though perpetually vulnerable, only after they paid the hated Jazia (poll-tax) to the Muslim ruler.


Temple-breaking as the sordid practice and standard police of Muslims was given a new pace and direction when the famous temple of Kalishree in the city of Srinagar was desecrated and demolished with absolute vengeance and a mosque constructed at the site on its plinth. The operations against the temple as a precious relic of Kashmiri culture were led by none other than Mir Ali himself. The holy spring inside the temple littered over with the images and idols of gods and goddesses (still intact) was covered with logs and planks, thus hidden from public view, forbidding the people to drink its sparkling waters believed to be efficacious in curing diseases. Even though the temple was dismantled and grabbed, the Kashmiri Hindus never abandoned their claims to and the practice of worshipping the temple from the river side. The mosque as the inaugural of Muslim oppression in Kashmir has been a bone of discord between the Hindus and the Muslims generating many a religious strife. In the Sikh times, Phula Singh trained his guns on the mosque, which escaped demolition and destruction at the intervention of a Hindus

"Mir Ali Hamadani was the author of the iconoclastic chapter of Kashmir history." writes Parimoo.

Records Rafiqi, "It is said that when Saiyid Ali converted the Chief Brahman of Kali-Mandar at Srinagar to Islam and turned the temple into a mosque, he ordered Saiyid Kabir to settle down there and preach the truths of Islam to people."

Puts Baharistan-i-Shahi," That some of the time which the holy Amir spent in Kashmir, he lived in a Sarai at Alaudipora. At the site where his Khanqah was built, there existed a temple which was demolished and converted into an estrade on which he offered Namaz five times a day."

Conversion realised through Force

Mir Ali steeped in his religio-political culture and persuasion could not continue with and stick to the peaceful propagation of Islam in Kashmir as his successes by way of luring converts to Islam were not significant and encouraging. After a bitter feud with the Muslim ruler, he left Kashmir in absolute anger and appointed Sayyid Kabir at the mosque to preach and propagate the canons of Islam to the people, but in sheer despair, he shifted to another quarter in Srinagar for he was just ignored as a non-entity and people evinced no interest in his preachings and sermons, if at all he were delivering any. There was not a single neo-convert, who had the expertise of calling the faithfuls to prayers. Conversion to an alien religion was considered atrocious. Any convert to Islam was ostracised and held in extreme hate and contempt. Fearing public wrath, a neo-convert had clandestinely fled to Samarqand for refuge and succour. Such was the initial response to the missionary and proselytising activities in Kashmir. It is amazing to learn that Mir Ali in his subsequent visits converted 37000 Hindus to Islam though he had no direct rapport with the people except through the externalities of the religion he harboured.

What was the magic formula that worked in Kashmir, which had a continuous and coherent history of culture and civilization? Historians discounting and debunking 'the sufiface of Islam' thesis as a sheer myth have found the answer in cruel, ruthless and indiscriminate use of force, coercion and persecution launched against the Hindus by the proselytizers in tandem with the brutal state power.

Mir Ali as an author

No doubt, a prolific writer, narcissustically in love with his learning and scholarship, Mir Ali thirstily craved for a plume of feathers and immense recognition (normally shunned by a Kashmiri mystic), if not from the heretical world, at least from the Muslim world, for his achievements in the domains of learning and spirituality. But, the tact that he was not accorded recognition almost dismayed him in his commitments and spirits and as an act of self-satisfaction and rationalization he nursed a fond hope that a century after his demise the coming generations would recognise him as a man of scholarship and spiritual attainments. That the Muslim world failed to accord him recognition is both curious and intriguing, but very significant.

Comments Rafiqi, "Devoid of originality as they were, his works did not receive the widespread recognition which those of sufi scholars such as Qushairi, Ghazali, Shaikh Shihab-ud-Din Suhrawardi and Ibn'-Arabi obtained."

Such a telling comment on Mir Ali's works which are mostly tautological and said to be inferior to the doctrine that they claim to demonstrate knocks the bottom out of P.N.K. Bamzai's eulogy woven around his works, thus breaking a new ground for an objective assessment of his role-profile in Kashmir.

With Rafiqi's comment as a valuational Judgment, it is perhaps fair and not unreasonable to stipulate that Mir Ali's challenge and thrust in Kashmir could not be based on his tremendous levels of scholarship nor on his extraordinary attainments in the supra-sensible realms. Kashmir per se as a formidable seat of learning and spirituality could not have only met his challenge, if he had posed any, but also blunted his edge and reduced him to redundance had he resorted to the much respectable and scholarly technique of discussions and discourses for an interface of ideas with a view to settling the religio-philosophical disputations and controversies. Kashmir in the past had the rare destination of having discomfited and convinced Adi Shankaracharya, a philosopher of extra-ordinary faculties, apropos his positions on immensely delicate issues of Advaitism and Shaiva positions on the same and as a result of such an inter-action sharp changes wrought in his postulations got reflected in his 'Saundaryalahiri', a major work of vital importance. But, discussions and discourses, historically speaking, are foreign to Muslims who not only dishonour but crush dissent. While converting the Brahmin-priest of Kali-temple to Islam, MirAli keeping himself out of the ring is said to have prompted and incited his disciple, who in turn resorted to the much-spurned miracle method and sophistry, not the technique of discussions and discourses convincing the adversary of his superior religio-philosophical positions and discursive faculties.

There is much of veracity in the statement that most of the Sayyids who poured into Kashmir were not devout and genuine sufis as they seemed to be this worldly, and curiously took part in politics, which is an unspiritual activity repugnant to a love-affair with God, instigated and indulged in forcible conversions, manipulated and wormed their way to the seats of power, did not spurn comforts and resorted to and set the precedents of ruthless demolition of temples. Some of them were morbidly anti-Shia and raked religious strifes and turbulence of unprecedented scale and dimension. Following their foot-prints, a stiff of local variety with doubtful bonafides had political advisers, who established contacts with an emperor to dismantle the shia-led government.

The set of goals and issues they projected and transformed into the hub of their activities were xenophobia, racist, misanthropic and sadistic absolutely alien to and leagues away from the powerful heritage of Kashmir in terms of cultural and civilisational depth of values of tolerance and acceptance and absorption of extreme religious dissent. The ills they sought to fight were imaginary and the cures mainly in the form of conversions were crippling and destructive. A well orchestrated way of life, a tolerant and vibrant faith and Hell articulated vision of man, world and God became the targets of their proselytising zeal resulting in the decline of a metaphysics-epistemology -ethics continuum sought to be replaced by stray and unrelated constructs to suit a pre-determined and ossified idea, in the death of a creative artist sculpting amazing images of gods and goddesses of Hindu and Buddhist pantheon given the option of carving out grave-stones, un-Islamic, soul-less and monotonous, in the abandoning of chanting of mantras replete with mystical and esoteric content substituted by dull arid meaningless repetition of mere names, in the flight of painters, not reconciling to the dubbing of creative activity as un-Islamic and heretical and refusing to cognise non-figurative dull designs of borrowed variety as real art, in the decay of an ethos, vibrant, assimilative and self-regenerative filling the vaccum by intolerance, dissensions and religious strifes and in the loss of a mother-language, mature and perfect to the core, serving as a vehicle of creativity and philosophical musings and disquisitions replaced by a language nuancing an alien ethos.

In the words of Coomaraswamy, "Conversion destroys and if it does not destroy, it is no conversion."



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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
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