[Reader-list] Kashmir: Foreign invaders seek independence? - Rashneek Kher

Aditya Raj Kaul adityarajkaul at gmail.com
Sun Aug 26 09:31:03 IST 2007

Kashmir: Foreign invaders seek independence? - Rashneek Kher

*Is the pseudo-intellectual brigade right in alleging that alienation of the
Kashmiri masses is the reason for insurgency in Kashmir? They should realise
that those who are seeking independence for Kashmir are themselves foreign

THE PSEUDO-INTELLECTUAL brigade of our nation often cites alienation of the
Kashmiri masses as the reason for the armed insurgency in Kashmir. As a
result of this, we Kashmiris living outside the State are often left to
answer a barrage of questions ranging from, what exactly is wrong in Kashmir
to who do you side with; ubiquitous and seemingly intelligent
*jhollawallas*(an extinct breed of communists elsewhere, to be seen
only in India) asking
why doesn't India let go of Kashmir if the people don't want to stay with
India. Being no historian of any repute whatsoever, I decided to write what
can be a layman's guide to the genesis of the Kashmir crisis and the
independence issue.

Unlike other Islamic invasions like that of Iran, Kashmir did not have
armies of Arabs or Turks marching into Kashmir. Zulchu entered Kashmir in
the early spring of 1323 A D to raid it and not to rule it.  This is evident
from the fact that when his armies marched back (with women and children as
slaves) they were caught in a snowstorm, which killed all of them. The
conversion of Rinchan Lama (who defeated Suhdev's general Rama Chand by
treachery) to Islam was a turning point in the history of Kashmir.  There
are various theories on how Rinchan (1324-26 AD) converted to Islam but the
most plausible one seems to be that Bulbul Shah (a zealot of the Shah
Ne'matullah Wali sect) converted him to Islam.  Thus Rinchan was the first
Muslim ruler of Kashmir, apart from being a foreigner.

We must not fail to mention the role of Shams-ud-din (Shah-Mir 1341-45 D)
who visited Kashmir as a dervish, killed associates of Kota Rani (wife of
Rinchan) and usurped the crown later. Thus Kashmir began to be ruled by
invaders and its natives lost their independence.  The next notable king was
Shihabu'd-Din (1360-1378 AD, grandson of Shams-ud-din) about whom the famous
Persian Text Bahiristan-i-Shahi says: (and I quote) "Towards the fag end of
his life, he was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses and
destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive
temple at Beejeh Belareh (Bijbehara). He had designs to destroy all the
temples and put an end to the entire community of the infidels. But death
overtook him in the year A.H. 780 (A.D 1378)."

This was the beginning of miseries for the people of Kashmir. The rather
notorious role of Sayyid Ali Hamdani (popularly called Shah-i-Hamdan in
Kashmir by Muslims) in changing the mindset of foreign Muslim
invaders-cum-rulers from fairly benign to extremely fanatic Muslims is clear
from the fact that he asked Sultan-Qutubdin to impose Shariah (Islamic Laws)
in Kashmir. About Sayyid Ali Hamdani, Bahiristan-i-Shahi says (and I quote):
"Again it needs to be recorded that for some of the time which the holy Amir
spent in Kashmir he lived in a sarai at 'Alau'd-Din Pora. At the site where
his khanqah was built, there existed a small temple, which was demolished so
he could offer namaz (prayer) five times a day and recite portions of the
Quran morning and evening. Sultan Qutbu'd-Din occasionally attended these
congregational prayers." I am choosing a Muslim source to quote, for, it
lends credence to the fact that such demolitions were glorified and even
considered righteous by the Muslim rulers, historians and the Amirs. After
the death of Sultan-Qutubdin, he was succeeded by his son Sultan Sikandar,
who needs no introduction.

"Sikandar But-shikan or Sikandar the Iconoclast" burnt or destroyed as many
temples as he could lay his hands on. He killed thousands of Hindus and
converted lakhs of them. One significant detail is that three kharwars (one
kharwar is approximately equal to eighty kilograms) of Hindu ceremonial
thread (zunnar) were burnt by Sultan Sikandar. (Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami, Pir
Ghulam Hasan, Vol II, RPD,* Srinagar 1954.). His period was a period of
utter darkness and barbarism in the history of Kashmir. This is what
historians (mostly Muslims) have to say about him. "He [Sikandar] prohibited
all types of frugal games. Nobody dared to commit acts which were prohibited
by the Sharia. The Sultăn was constantly busy in annihilating the infidels
and destroyed most of the temples..." (Haidar Malik Chădurăh:
Tărîkh-i-Kashmîr; edited and translated into English by Razia Bano, Delhi,
1991, p. 55.) "[He] strove to destroy the idols and temples of the infidels.
He got demolished the famous temple of Mahădeva at Bahrăre. The temple was
dug out of its foundation and the hole (that remained) reached the water
table. Another temple at Jagdar was also demolished… Răjă Alamădat had got a
big temple constructed at Sinpur. (...) The temple was destroyed [by
Sikandar]." (Khwăjah Nizămu'd- Dîn Ahmad bin Muhammad Muqîm al-Harbî:
Tabqăt-i-Akbarî translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973) "Sikander burnt all
books the same way as fire burns hay". "All the scintillating works faced
destruction in the same manner that lotus flowers face with the onset of
frosty winter." (Srivara, Zaina Ra-jtarangini).

Many mosques were constructed from the debris of vandalised Hindu temples.
Iskandarpora was laid out on the debris of the destroyed temples of Hindus.
In the neighbourhood of the royal palace in Iskandarpora, the Sultan
destroyed the temple of Maha Shri, which had been built by Pravarasena and
another one built by Tarapida. The material from these was used for
constructing a Jami' mosque in the middle of the city. Most of the Hindus
fled the valley of Kashmir in order to protect their religion, women and
children. This was the first forced migration of Hindus from Kashmir. Thus
the first steps of pan-Islamization or conversion of Dar-ul-Harb to
Dar-ul-Islam were taken and a strong base was laid for the foreign
invaders-cum-rulers to follow.

However the rule of Sultan Zaina-ul-abidin (Badshah) was a period of glory
and prosperity for Kashmir. He rebuilt a lot of temples and appointed
scholars to re-write Hindu scriptures and texts. A lot of Sanskrit texts
were translated to Persian and vice-versa. Peace and great scholars returned
to Kashmir. Ancient rituals and the customs of the land of Kashmir were
revived. Islam and Hinduism lived in harmony alongside. In terms of
Zain-ul-abidin's achievements his reign can be compared to the reign of the
greatest ruler of Kashmir, Lalit-Aditya-Muktapida. His reign lasted
fifty-two years. With the sad demise of the great leader of men and the
torchbearer of secularism, forces of fanaticism came to the fore again.

There was constant infighting between various contenders for the crown of
Kashmir. All the contenders, despite their differences, were cruel and
unjust to Hindus. The following quote from Baharistan-i-Shahi justifies
that. "With support from some more kings, the infidels flourished day after
day. But with the support and authority of Malik Musa Raina, Amir
Shamsu'd-Din Mu-hammad undertook wholesale destruction of all those
idol-houses as well as the total ruination of the very foundation of
infidelity and disbelief. On the site of every idol-house he destroyed, he
ordered the construction of a mosque for offering prayers after the Islamic
manner. The idolatry and heresy that existed before his arrival were
effectively replaced by his preaching and propagation of Islamic laws and
practices. He brought honour to all the infidels and heretics (zandiqa) of
Kashmir by admitting them to the Islamic faith and bestowed upon them many
kinds of rewards and benefaction. It is publicly known and emphatically
related that during his life-time, with the virtuous efforts and elaborate
arrangements made by the fortunate Malik Musa Raina, 24,000 families of
staunch infidels and stubborn heretics were ennobled by being converted to
Islam. It is difficult to compute the number of people who had hitherto
indulged in corrupt practices of a wrong (false) faith and dissent and were
put on the right track under the proper guidance of Mir Shamsu'd-Din

Not to be fazed and bored by too much of history the point that I am trying
to make is that the Arabs, Afghans and Persians conquered our land for
centuries, killed the natives much like the Europeans who created America by
killing the Red Indians, destroyed temples and other great institutions like
libraries and ancient houses of learning, subjugated the language of the
land and imposed alien languages are now asking for independence of the very
land that simply does not belong to them. That to my ignorant mind is the
genesis of the problem, though self-proclaimed intellectuals like
self-styled commanders would argue the opposite with pen and gun

The leaders of Hurriyat want us to believe two things - one that they are
the true representatives of the people of Kashmir, two, the people of
Kashmir want independence from the Indian dominion. That we are so used to
strange happenings in the State we may believe the most absurd to be the
norm, yet on both these counts our mental faculties would reason us to
believe otherwise. Hurriyat is an amalgamation of fundamentalist religious
parties of a certain faith alone.

People whose ancestors were not natives head most of the constituents of the
Hurriyat; they entered the State as invaders or religious preachers with
political motives. Thus we have a group of people, mostly foreigners,
representing a certain faith, which happens to be Islam in this case. That
puts a big question mark on its so-called representative character. As for
people of Kashmir (even if we consider only Muslims to be the citizens of
Kashmir) desiring independence, why on earth they stood in long queues at
the last assembly elections to exercise their franchise? I am referring to
the last elections only because they were considered free and fair not just
by national agencies but reputed international agencies too. Besides if
Hurriyat is the true representative of the people of Kashmir as they want us
to believe I wonder what the Congress, PDP and other political parties are.
Are the people so naive that they voted them to power despite a strong
threat from terrorists to kill anyone who voted?

The separatists by themselves are no force to reckon with. That's why
Pakistan is supporting them with men, material and money to carry out
subversive activities within the State. Only a weak cause has to be
supported by brute force, which can be testified by the earlier attempts of
rulers of non-Kashmiri descent.  Why did Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela
not need terrorists to support freedom movements in their respective

The garb of independence subtly hides the wolf of Pan-Islamic expansion. It
is about time, we called the separatists' bluff. Let them show their
representative strength first and then claim to be the true representatives
of people and torchbearers of the sponsored freedom struggle. While genuine
grievances of the people of all the regions of the State should be
addressed, terrorism and its traders should be sternly dealt with for what
they are - no better than ordinary criminals.  Thus is the layman's guide to
the genesis and issue of independence in Kashmir.

Read the article at Merinews Picks :

Aditya Raj Kaul
Blog: www.kauladityaraj.blogspot.com
Website: www.adityarajkaul.tk*

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