I: Chapter 20
ANNEXATION AT THE BEHEST OF MUSLIMS
Mughal annexation of Kashmir is said to be the direct outcome of the Shia-Sunni
strife and turbulence that had ravaged and seeped deep to the very roots
of Kashmir polity causing chaos, disruption and dismantling of societal
and political structures. The Sunni Muslims as per their history in time
complained of severe and unsparing political and religious oppression and
persecution, which touched its culmination in the exile of Sheikh Hamza
Maqdoom from the precincts of Srinagar city to Beerva village in Badgam
District for spear-heading an anti-Shia movement. The two political advisers
of the Sheikh, paradoxically designated as suns, repaired to the imperial
court of Akbar faith the humble petition that the Sunni Muslims had been
reeling and groaning under severe religious and political repression and
needed an immediate retrieval and salvation from the chak rulers and their
official machine. Yaqub Sarfi and Baba Dawood Khaki known as inveterate Shia-foes were involved in a maze of conspiracies against the chak regime.
That they sought for the intervention of the Mughal Emperor to dismantle
the Shia-led regime was deemed as the only viable and acceptable course
open to them.
deliberately smoke-screened, yet there is clinching historical evidence
available not only to suggest, but also to establish the leading role of
Yaqub Sarfi in coaxing and inviting the Mughals for invasion of Kashmir.
At the head of a Sunni delegation, he ostensibly apprised the Mughal Emperor
of the oppression perpetrated by Chak fanatics as deviants from Islam on
the Sunni Muslims, but in reality, he in his moves and motives was prompted
by his sectarian and anti-Shia sentiments and prejudices. It is said that
he even spelt-out in detail some of the conditions, which the emperor was
required to act upon in the wake of the annexation of Kashmir to the vast
Mughal empire. That the Muslims (Sunnis) would not be reduced to the position
of slaves, they would not be oppressed and harnessed for begar (Corvee)
and the treacherous Chak nobles would be kept away from the administrative
management of Kashmir were the prime conditions stipulated by the delegation
led by Sarfi. Muslims of the Sunni brand alone were his primary and over-riding
concern. Not a word was said about the Kashmiri Pandits, who were marauded,
brutalised and massacred for the religion they espoused and harboured.
They were hounded out and obliged to roam about the mountainous regions
and plains of India to save themselves from the hurricane of Muslim bigotry
and intolerance. It is within the realms of possibility that the Emperor
had his covetous eyes on the splendorous vale of Kashmir and even had prior
plans to annexe Kashmir. But, the Sunni-Muslim leadership after prolonged
and concerted deliberations sent a mission to the Imperial court, thus
providing an alibi to the Emperor for an armed intervention in Kashmir.
The front-line objective of the Sunni-Muslims was only to turn turtle the
apple-cart of the Shia-Muslims and destroy their hegemony over Kashmir.
It is said that Yaqub Sarfi and Baba Dawood Khaki cringed and crooned before
the Emperor for immediate despatch of troops to the valley and when troops
were despatched, Sarfi accompanied the Imperial army to be at its beck
and call and also serve as its guide to facilitate the conquest of Kashmir
It was at the
persuasion of Sarfi that the recalcitrant Chiefs of Karnah (West of Kashmir)
surrendered to the Mughal army, which as a matter of strategy utilised
that as a vital base for further forays and incursions into the
valley of Kashmir. The emperor possessed of ample fund of military experience
made his own assessments and calculations and virtually ignored and paid
no heed to the boastful claims of Sarfi about the unstirred support that
he drew from the fractious nobles and grantees of Kashmir for the Mughal
annexation of the territory under the Chak sway and rule. The troops were
despatched via Hirpur route and in the battle that ensued at Hastivanj,
Sarti was seriously wounded and was removed from the battle-field by his
friends in the arms.
role played by the Sunni leadership operating under the direct guidance
and patronage of Sheikh Hamza Maqdoom is deliberately being played down
and even rejected as untrue by the formulators and sponsors of the theory
that Kashmir lost its independence with the Mughals annexing it to their
empire ruled from Delhi and Agra in 1586 A.D.
"Kashmir suddenly became part of a larger world and peace of this world
of empire would last for more than a century and a half, that was the extraordinary
legacy of Akbar."
records, "A standard land revenue policy brought stability and growth to
the largely agricultural economy.