Table of Contents
   Index
   Acknowledgement
   Introduction
   First Exodus
   Second Exodus
   Third Exodus
   Fourth Exodus
   Fifth Exodus
   Sixth Exodus
   Seventh Exodus
   Book in pdf format

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir

Milchar

Symbol of Unity

 
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The Second Exodus (1506-1585)

The Kashmiri Pandits suffered vicissitudes and misfortune when under the zeal of Islamic fundamentalism the Sultans made it a state under policy to effect forcible conversion and implements it by issuing decrees to sever and chop off limbs of the Pandits, kidnap them, loot their possessions and im­prison respectable people on various concocted pretexts so as to pressurize them to change their faith and become the followers of Islam, the religion of the rulers.

There is a general agreement on the point that the Chaks came to Kashmir from the land of Dares of Dartistan of Gilgit-­Hunza Region. Ferocious, rugged and wild by nature they possessed great physical powers. When Shah Mir founded the Sultanate in Kashmir he found them the most suitable to be recruited to his armed forces. This brought them into great prominence.

The Chaks belonged to the Shia sect of the Muslims, like all other earlier Muslim rulers they also adopted their policy of conversion by coercion, loot, plunder arson and butchering of Kashmiri Pandits, who as a result of continual religious persecution became considerably reduced in number. There was no let up in religious crusade against them either to force them to get converted or face liquidation.

Kashmir universally known as abode of sufis and saints (Rishiwari) presented scenario of religious harmony, peace and absolute tolerance as long as there was preponderance of Hindu population, be it Saivites, Vaishavites or Buddists. All co-existed amidst amity and maintained very cordial re­lations and religious intolerance was unknown. This serene and sublime atmosphere was vitiated and poisoned by the emergence of alien Muslim rulers, no matter what class of  dynasty they belonged to. The holy land of Kashmir, the cradle of Trika philosophy, the abode of rishis and munis was transformed into an arena of strife and intrigues which very soon saw not only the reversal but also the annihilation of centuries old and precious socio-cultural attainments.

Making a historical evaluation of political and social role of Islam in Kashmir and among various medieval societies, his­torians have adjudged Muslim ideology as parochial and ste­reotyped. It is in this ideological framework that, to one's amazement and shock, loot, arson rape, murder and killing have a religious recognition and sanction.

Firstly all this appears legalized under the umbrella of 'mali­ganeem' . Secondly any social strife leading to disorder and anarchy is permissible getting covered under Jehad (holy war). Thirdly any Muslim intoxicated with religious frenzy and going on a spree of killing without rhyme or reason is saluted as'Majahid' or 'Ghazi' (conqueror or victor).

The Kashmiri Hindu having reached a high level of cultura attainment was found to be a soft target and was thus sub­jected to the most horrendous tortures and atrocities in the name of service to Islam. A right thinking person wonders whether the message of Islam was bloodshed, plunder, arson and liquidation of followers of other faiths or for spirrtual betterment and exaltation of mankind at large.

Dr. M.L. Kapoor observes that it took Islam almost six cen­turies to secure a strong foothold in Kashmir. Subsequently with a jet speed it galloped through and within next one hun­dred years over shadowed Hinduism and claimed a major­ty. Quoting Jonaraja Dr. Kapoor writes "As the wine de­stroys the trees and locusts the paddy crops, so did the Yavanas destroy the usage of Kashmiris and the Kingdom of Kashmir was polluted by evil practices of malechhas."

While the power of the later Sultan ebbed, the Chaks corre­spondingly gained supremacy at the court and ultimately succeeded in usurping the throne and establishing their suzerainty over Kashmir. They consolidated their political power through intrigues, conspiracies and murders of politi­cal rivals and opponents. They spared no ferocious and barbaric means to seize political power. Though belonging to the Shia sect the Chaks were no less ruthless than the earlier Sunni rulers and showed no sympathetic consider­ation for the Kashmiri Pandits whose number continued dwindling steadily following the unrelenting onslaughts of the fanatical zealots.

When Fatah Khan (1506-16) proclaimed himself the ruler and ascended the throne under the title of Sultan Fatah Shah, the situation in the valley was depressing and deplorable. He tried bid best to restore normalcy and rule of law and order by curbing the power of nobles but met with no suc­cess. Contrarily he ended up in becoming a mere tool in the hands of those who counted in the echelons of power. Fore­most among those were the intriguing Shams Chak, and his three trusted friends. Nasrat Raina, Sarhang Raina and Moosa Raina. Moosa Raina succeeded Shamas Chak as the Prime Minister of Sultan Fatah Shah. He was a confi­dent of Shams-ud-Din Iraqi propagator of Islamic faith and converter of non-believers and Sunnis to Shia sect of Islam. Hailing from Talish on the Caspian Sea he played a capital and instrumental role in converting Chaks to Shia sect of Islam. Receiving green signal from Moosa Raina Shams Iraqi opened floodgates of repression, terror and cruelty against the Kashmiri Hindus. Hindu places of worship were demolished only to see the erection of mosques on their foundations. All traces of infidelity and idol worship were replaced by Islamic symbols and the infidels and holy thread bearers of Kashmir were converted to Islam so much so that Shams Iraqi with the help of Moosa Raina was able to convert 24000 Brahmin families to Islam. (Kapoor from 'Baharistani Shahi'). The two savages terrorized and forced their faith. A model of bigotry and tyranny, Moose mission of humiliating, looting and then murdering those Kashmir Pendits who still clung to their ancient faith besides wiping out residual Hindu temples and schools.

When persecution and religious repression became intoler­able and showed indications of being tantamount to ethnic cleansing, some Hindus rallied round the leadership of one Pandit Nirmal Kanth, a respected scholar. They sent a delegation to Prime Minister Moosa Raina to appeal for mercy. Moosa Raina came down with a heavy hand on the members of the delegation. It was breaking their head against the stone wall of cruel Feteh Shah, wolfish Shamas Iraqi and pitiless Moosa Raina. The suppliants were thrown into jail, where unfed they famished and groaned and died of starvation. This forms one of the darkest periods of the black history of Kashmir. Shamas Iraqi's fanaticism and zealot was unquenchable. His vindictiveness did not get satiated with the massive conversion of Kashmiri Pandits whom he found with suspicion and distrust. He did not spare then even after they had forcibly accepted Islam. He charged the neophytes of clinging to their original faith. He gave free vent to his wrath when he observed them chanting mantra by placing their haunches on the hand written copies of Muslim religious texts and bowing before Hindu idols. Moosa Raina set up camps for forcible circumcision of the neophytes in order to brutalise and deculturise them. Moosa Raina and his gang men would forcibly draw and haul them out of the homes and stuff their mouths with beef so as to stagger and shock them psychologically. This was intended to give them such a shaking that they would not dare retain any Hindu tradition and lest they should be exterminated, snapped their habitual links with the Hindus, their erstwhile brethren.

After Moosa Raina had gone the way of all flesh in 1513 Mohammed Shah (1517) appointed Kazi Chak, again a Shia, as his Prime Minister. Kazi Chak too gave no quarter and no time for recovery to the distressed Kashmiri Pandits. One hound after another thirsty of the blood of the unfortunate Pandits followed in succession. Kazi Chak left no stone unturned inflicting pain and heaping disasters and miseries on the Pandits. He initiated a systematic and planned campaign for the desecration and dismantling of Hindu temples and sacred places. The movable and immovable property of Pandits were looted and ravaged and ruined. It is attributed to him that he used to get 900 KPs beheaded every day for not having accepted Islam as their only mode of faith. Such kind of cruelty was unheard of before.

The Hindus hold cows sacred and revere them. The Chaks ordered that one thousand cows be slaughtered every day to wreck vengeance on the Kashmiri Hindus so as to shock them into accepting Islam. They re-imposed the dreaded punitive tax Jazia on KPs and snapped all means of sustenance from them. The contemporary historian Shukla testifies. "The Hindus were overpowered by the religious intolerance the same way as the sun is overpowered by the gray sable clouds". A KP wearing the sacred thread had to pay annual tax to the Chak rulers. For the Chaks killing, butchering, mangling and marauding was a common place routine after not worth being taken as a sensation.

During the Chak period the KPs were persecuted, snubbed, humiliated, held low and trampled mercilessly. They had to pay tax even for performing their religious rites and obligations, rituals and customs. To preserve the distinctive traits of their sect and creed the Kashmiri Pandits were bound to pay 40 precious stones to the ruler. The Chak era goes down as black saga in the history of the Kashmiri Pandits. The Chak rulers were cruel and heartless and peerless in devising ever-new methods of inflicting pain and misery to the KPs without the slightest tremor of scruple. Those KPs who somehow escaped getting converted to Islam fled their native places to seek refuge and sustenance at safer places in the neighbourhood of Kashmir Valley. It was a massive exodus in that innumerable KPs left their homes and hearths and marched out of Kashmir. While they were fleeing for their lives, a barrage of spiteful abuse and insolent contumely was let loose on them with the aim of preventing their return to the land of their genesis. Thus the genocide of Kashmir Pandits was designed, engineered and pursued to transmute the basic character of the heritage of Kashmir, change its social religious and cultural identity beyond recognition and reduce this ancient land of Hindu sages and saints to the Muslims ghetto as was conceived by the Sayyid theologians. 

When Akbar, the Mughal King, began to make inroad into Kashmir and Yusuf Shah Chalk abjectly surrendered and joined the invading Moghul forces, the rebel Yakub Chak seized the reigns of power in Kashmir. He too initiated his rule with forced conversion of the Pandits, rank communalist as he was. He made the Jama Masjid in Srinagar as the headquarters of his Jehad against the Sunnis and the Pandits. Under his instructions his fanatic Shia zealots committed numerous atrocities on the Pandits, especially on their women folk, including their massacre. He added a new feather to his cap in his Jehad for Islam by hauling up Pandits in their houses and roasting them alive. It was a new cono button to the spread of Islam in Kashmir.

Paradise Lost

 

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