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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Third Exodus under the Mughals (1585-1753)

Akbar captivated by the idyllic and scenic beauty of the val­ley of Kashmir visited the place three times. His court poet Maulana Faizee composed a poem to eulogize the beauty of Kashmir. It purposes to say that the dust of Kashmir is like an eye lotion and the grass and herbs are vital medicines for beauty. Faizee depicts the great Mughal's fascination for the allurement of Kashmir. Akbar initiated many plans and welfare schemes for the people of Kashmir. He attempted to expend his liberal policies to Kashmir. He entrusted the administration of the valley to a subedar.

Akbar launched a comprehensive scheme for the rehabilita­tion of Kashmiri Pandits honourably in their native place. He also became aware of the importance of the role they could play in managing and running the administration of Kash­mir. They in fact rose to high places of status and prestige. After about a span of thirty years the KPs again started feel­ing comfortable and assured of their safety and security. They found the atmosphere favourable enough to practise their faith without any coersion and persecution.

Akbar was admittedly highly tolerant and refrained from fall­ing into the net of fanatic religious zeal. He never resorted to following the policy of persecution and discrimination against the Hindus who had earlier encountered periods of misfortune at the hands of Muslim rulers who made them targets of their religious bigotry and persecution.

On his visit to Kashmir in 1589 Akbar gleaned accounts of stirring and blood boiling plight of the KPs where groaning, being crushed to pulp under the heavy weight of the vexa­tious extortion's like the much deplored Jazia (Poll tax), Akbar repealed the black tax along with other taxes and fines imposed by the vicious Chak rulers. Akbar's decree abolishing them brought a relief and much sought after respite to the KPs. Many KPs who fled to other safer places their lives and honour found conditions in their home Iand quite conductive to their honourable return though shocked to find their homes and hearths looted and plundered by the Muslim zealots during the period of their absence.

Jehangir, Akbar's son made a departure from the path of religious tolerance and non-interference in other religious affairs. His sectarian predilection and prejudices were clearly pronounced. He shuffled his stances in his dealing with KPs and his inconsistencies were to a large extent responsible for the communal frenzy and rioting to resurface in its full fury. It was during his rule the Kashmiri Pandits were forced to marry their daughters to Moghul officers and Subedars and yet it is an irony that Jehangir is known for his "adal" and love and concern for justice. Seemingly just and equitable in his treatment of the Kashmiri Pandits, he upheld and followed in letter and spirit Islamic practices. This blots and besmears his image of being a tolerant ruler. He disapproved of and opposed matrimonial relations between Hindus and Muslims but declared that while a Hindu was forbidden by law to marry a Muslim woman. Muslim had all the license to marry a Hindu woman.

Jehangir did not lag behind in following the footprints of earlier Muslim fanatics. It was at his behalf that the flight of steps linking the temple of Shankeracharya to the river Jhelum near the temple of Trepur Sundary was dismantled and the smooth chiseled stones thus got were used by Noorjehan to erect the massive mosque at Pather Masjid in down town Srinagar on the west bank of over Jhelum. The Mughal Sardar Itquad Khan, cruel and inhuman as he was,  further tarnished and blackened Jehangir's image that had already been soiled by anti-Hindu pursuits in Kashmir. Itquad Khan forced the Hindus at gun point to get converted to Islam and tortured them by levying taxes on them. As the Shia Chaks had persecuted Sunni Muslims, he persecuted the Shias.

Shah Jehan was a chip of the old block of his father and proved true to him. No less ardent lover and admirer of the natural beauty of Kashmir he did conceal the ugliness in his mind. He did justice to his faith as a Muslim in devoting himself to torturing and persecuting the Kashmin Hindu. He laughed with pleasure when a Muslim mob led and insti­gated by Kwaja Mam pounced on a prominent Kashmir Hindu Pandit Mahdeo's house and looted it and set it ablaze.

Shah Jehan did not fall to keep up the iconoclastic heritage of his father and did his bit by desecrating and demolishing a number of temples in Kashmir. Bernier is reliable in his conclusive finding that "the doors and pillars were found in some of the idol temples demolished by Shah Jehan and it is impossible to estimate their value." Shah Jehan showed his love for gardens by laying out Shalimar, Nishat, Achabal. He also got constructed many mosques, but hardly cared to reconstruct temples, monasteries and libraries of Hindus demolished and destroyed by Islamic zealots preceding him.

Aurengazeb the 'Puritan King' whose life is a sharp contrast to that of his predecessors/ancestors lost no time after as­cending the throne in Delhi in 1658 to convert whole of India to Islam. To fulfil this desire of his he had no hesitation in using and wielding sword. The fundamentalist emperor thew to winds the seemingly secular policy of his forefathers re­placing it by one of religious harassment and persecution. He re-imposed Jazia (poll tax). While the entire lndian people shuddered at his manner of building an Islamic state, he implemented a well calculated plan according to which he started with liquidating Hindu scholars in India in general and the Kashmiri Pandits in particular. Not surprising he did not spare his own father. According to him elimination of Hindu scholars was a pre-requisite for the spread of Islam India.

Since Kashmir has from times immemorial remained a prominent center for learning, Aurangzeb appointed 14 atrocious subedars as administrators and governors of Kashmir for its Islamization. Notable among them was Iftekhar Khan who during his regime (1617-75) unleashed his pack of hounds of cruelties of all sorts to leave the Kashmiri Hindus no alternative but to embrace Islam on pain of death. During his rule of five years of hair raising cruelty and tyranny Iftekhar Khan drove it home to Pandits that then future in their land of birth was assured only if they kissed Islam, failing which they must quit their homeland forthwith; there was no third option.

In consequence of this dire threat thousands of Kashmiri Pandits succumbed to his policy of duress and treacherous religious bigotry of the vicious subeder and thus got converted to Islam. Thousands who could manage to withstand the tremendous pressure bade good bye to their homes and hearths and sought refuge in neighbouring regions to keep alive themselves and their faith that was so dear to them.

It is during the rule of Emperor Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb that Kashmiri Pandits driven out of Kashmir reached Delhi and settled down in Bazar Sitaram. Two prominent castes namely Zutshis and Shangloos reached there after a great ­struggle, difficulties and hardships. These castes over a period of generations had changed into Pehlvis (poets) and Topawallas, said one of the descendants of KPs living in Bazar Sitaram Shri Gulzar Pahlvi. There is a temple of ancient KPs now internally displaced communities in India believe in. It is said that Pandit Nehru's marriage procession had come all along from Allahabad to Bazar Sitaram where his marriage was solemnized. Their present priest is Iqbal Krishen Revoo.

It is during the Aurangzeb-Iftekhar Khan combine that re­duced the Kashmin Pandits as low as dust, nay they made them lick the dust. They trampled the Pandit psyche by subverting all the achievements of this advanced and learned community in social, economic and religious fields during the pseudo-secular stance of the earlier Mughals. Aurangzeb followed Islamic law with fervor showing no regard for nor­mal laws of Hindus.

When the religious persecution and cruelties perpetrated by Iftekhar Khan and approved by Aurangzeb made life un­bearable for Pandits in Kashmir, the latter decided to ap­proach the immortal national hero Shri Guru Teg Bahadur at Anand Sahib for rescuing the Kashmiri Hindus from Islamic onslaught by his personal intervention. A delegation of 500 KPs led by Pandit Kripa Ram learned person, called on the Guru and narrated their harrowing and woeful expe­riences of the diabolical misrule of Iftikhar Khan patronized by Aurangzeb whose wickedness had no parallel. These fun­damentalists thrust Islam by hook or by crook. They converted by atrocities, by polluting the KPs by banning the wearing of sacred thread and tilak, by sexual harassment and forcible abductions of the daughters of Hindus and other satanic misdeeds. The delegations appealed to Guru Teg Bahadur to deliver them from their religion of the land.

The great Saint whose face radiated Cecelia light was pain­fully moved on hearing the woeful tales narrated by the Kashmir Pandit suppliants. This great man from Punjab went to Delhi for the redressal of the grievances of the KPs and got killed by the cunning Aurangzeb. The Guru was asked to embrace Islam but he preferred death to change his Dharma which was most dear to him. Furious Muslim zealot Aurangzeb ordered the execution of Guru Teg Bahadur. His head was slit by one Jalal-ud-din Jalad (Executioner). In this way the Guru attained martyrdom for the sacred cause of saving Hindu Dharma. Shat Shat Pranam. Guru Maharaja's sacrifice sent a shiver down the spine of Aurangzeb and it marked the beginning of the fall of Mughal empire in India.

Despite the supreme sacrifice for the preservation of Hindu religion and Kashmiri ethos, the state terrorism remained unabated for sometime more. The desecration of temples and the killings of KPs continued and the process of exodus also continued.

A griping and inspiring and graphic account of this national issue and the unforgettable sacrifice and martyrdom of Guru along with his three disciples has been given by Giani Gian Singh in his book 'Shri Guru Granth Prakash' and another book 'Shri Guru Pratap Suraj' which are strongly recommended to the readers.

Paradise Lost

 

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