Table of Contents
   About the Author
   Kashmiri Hindus: Origin ...
   Sultan Zain-ul-abidin
   The Sayyids as Oppressors
   Chak Fanatics
   The Mughals
   The Afghans
   Sikh Rule
   Dogra Rule
   Post-1947 Scenario
   Jammu and Ladakh ...
   Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad
   Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq
   Sayyed Mir Qasim
   Sheikh Abdullah Sows Seeds ...
   Farooq Abdullah ...
   Ghulam Mohammad Shah ...
   Rajiv-Farooq Accord
   Proxy War Declared
   Muslim Fundamentalism
   Terrible Plight of Minorities 
   13th November, 1991
   Download Book 

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Panun Kashmir


Symbol of Unity



Chak Fanatics

(1554-1585 A.D.)

Chak rulers harbouring Shia faith pursued the same policy of converting or eliminating the Kashmirian Hindus, who were largely reduced in numbers as a result of the processes of fire and brimstone against them. Kashmir with the pre-ponderance of the Hindu population presented a scenario of religious peace and absolute tolerance and was widely acknowledged as an abode of rishis (hermits). There were no religious strifes motivated by the bigoted elements leading to the extirpation and decimation ot large sections of a particular faith. The Buddhists, the 'Shivites and the Vai'snavites by and large maintained well-cemented relations based on the widely accepted doctrine of 'live and let live', thus strengthening a cohesive social order allowing freedom to all sections of population to live a vibrant life with least interference from self-styled conscience keeper5. But the greatest disservice, which the Muslims rendered unto the land of Kashmir, was to reduce it by religious strifes, thereby destroying the precious achievements of cultural and civilisational processes resulting in the establishment of an ethos, tolerant and assimilative. That the Muslims of one section or the other gaining political ascendancy are and have been instinctively given to the eradication and uprooting of religious and political dissent.

Historians evaluating the political and social role of Islam in various medieval societies have judged the Muslim ideology of any brand as parochial and stereotyped. What has been astonishing is that murder, loot, rape and arson have a recognition in the ideological frame-work of the Muslims. Booty from loot appears legalised under the umbrella of 'mali-ganim'; any social strife leading to disorder and anarchy is covered under jehad or holy war; any frenzied bigot killing and murdering is nomenclatured as 'gazi' or 'mujahid'. That the Kashmirian Hindus subjected to the worst-ever tortures and atrocities wonder if the message of Islam was for blood-letting, arson and genocide or for spiritual betterment and elevation of mankind at large.

Kashmir teetering on the verge of collapse was destined to witness the advent of Chak rulers, who consolidated their political position through intrigues and political murders. Belonging to the Dardic descent, the Chaks had entered the borders of Kashmir during the hegemony of Shah Mir. It was actually Ramchander as the chief of the Kashmirian army, who rising above narrow considerations, provided shelter to Lanker Chak and his rullowers defeated in their native land by the forces inimical to them. The Chaks were ferocious and barbarous and that is what made them to grab the political power of Kashmir.

At the behest of Shams-ud-din Iraqi, a proselytiser from Talish on the shores of Caspian, the Chaks were converted to the Shia sect of Islam. They were equally ruthless and showed no mercy to the Kashmirian Hindus, whose numbers had been fast dwindling under the onslaught of the fanatical zealots. Iraqi had no support-base in Kashmir. He cleverly operated under the protective wings of Sheikh Ismail Kubravi, who had shown lots of zeal for furthering the cause of Islam in Kashmir.1 He manipulated a sharp division in the followers of the Sheikh by boosting up Baba Ali Najar, who was idiotic but wielded considerable influence over the Kashmirians.2

Commanding absolute allegiance of Musa Raina, the Prime Minister in the times of Fateh Shah (1506-16), Shams Iraqi launched upon a ruthless crusade against the Hindus of Kashmir. Temples were ruthlessly demolished and mosques built on their sites.3 The Hindus were terrorised and forced at the point of sword to get converted to the Islamic faith. 24,000 Hindus were converted at one stroke.4 The lands belonging to the Brahmans were confiscated and men associated with temples were both harassed and arrested only to break their allegiance to the Hindu places of worship.5 Musa Raina, a convert to Shia faith, was instrumental in piling all manner of persecution and torture on the Hindus of Kashmir. He was a bigot and tyrant rolled into one. He organised an armed brigade of goons under the leadership of a Chak warrior only to loot and murder the Hindus still sticking to their faith. Also the gangsters were entrusted with the specific task of destroying the Hindu families, Hindu temples and Hindu schools.6

Suspected of clinging to their original faith and religious credos, the neophytes had to suffer the wrath of Shams Iraqi, who had observed them chanting mantras by placing their haunches on the hand written copies of the Muslim religious text and also bowing before Hindu idols. Religious fiat issued by the proselytiser and faithfully executed by Musa Raina and other powerful officials of the faith led to the setting up of camps for the forcible circumcision of the neophytes.7 With a view to brutalising and deculturising them, they were forced at pain of death to eat beef only to shock them psychologically leading to the snapping of their habitual links with the Hindu faith and practices.8 Shams Iraq. vandalised a wing of Vishnu temple at Buniyar in the district of Baramulla.9 He personally led the operations of vandalising, destroying and burning the temples of Srinagar city. Some neophytes led by Kazi Chak launched a campaign against Musa Raina for his anti-Hindu activities. Not that they were honest in their intentions, but used it only as a ploy to overthrow Musa Raina from the absolute political power he was wielding. The campaign ultimately led to the assassination of Musa Raina. During the course of mutual rivalries and internecine bickerings going on between Musa Raina and Kazi Chak and his band of nobles, a daring Pandit, Nirmal Kantha, reconverted all those Hindus, who had been forcibly converted to Islam.l0 The attempt proved disastrous for Nirmal Kantha, all reconverted and original Hindus.

Shams Iraqi regained his hold when Kazi Chak was holding the reins of government in Mohammad Shah's time (1516-18). At the instigation of Shams Iraqi, Kazi Chak gruesomely butchered 800 prominent Hindus only to instill terror in other Hindus,11 who had not joined the ranks of Islam or had dared move out of the orbit of Islam after re-conversion. Terror forced the Hindus to submit and succumb to the sword of Islam.12

Kazi Chak owing allegiance to Shia faith inflicted pains and miseries on the Kashmirian Hindus. He organised and led campaigns for the desecration and destruction of the Hindu places of worship. The material properties of the Hindus were looted and ravaged. Nirmal Kantha proved his daring when he organised and rallied the Kashmirian Hindus for drafting a petition against inhuman atrocities inflicted on them by all hues of Muslims. As the lynchpin of the ruling clique, Kazi Chak took it as a seditious act and what ensued for Nirmal Kantha and his co-religionists was ruthless annihilation and destruction.

The Chaks ordered the slaughter of one thousand cows every day. Jazia was re-imposed on the Hindus. Stark poverty stared them in the face as they were bereft of all means of sustenance.l3 In the words of Shuka, a contemporary historian, "The Hindus were over-powered by the religious intolerants the same wise as the sun is over-powered by the grey sable clouds''.l4 Any Hindu wearing the sacred thread had to pay an annual tax to the Chak rulers.l5 Killing, butchering and marauding the Hindus was order of the day.

Under the oppressive rule of the Chaks, the Hindus determined not to get converted to Islam marched out of their homeland to take shelter at safer zones in the neighbourhood of the valley of Kashmir. It was their massive exodus.l6 While marching out of their homeland, a barrage of spiteful abuse, disrespect and contumely was let loose on them only to stall their return to their land of genesis. Genocide of the Kashmirian Hindus was designed only to reduce the land of Kashmir to a Muslim ghetto as was conceived by the top Sayyid theologians.

Notes and References

1. R.K. Parmu, (Dr.), Muslim Rule in Kashmir.  2. Ibid.  3. Ibid.  4. Ibid, Baharistan-i-Shahi, 78a, 79a, Tarikh-i-Hasan, P347.  5. Shuka, Rajtarangini, P339.  6. Narendra Sehgal, Dharmantarit Kashmir, P127.  7. Tuh-fat-ul Ahbab.  8. Ibid.  9. Baharistan-i-Shahi.  10. R.K. Parmu (Dr.), Muslim Rule in Kashmir.  11. Ibid; R.N. Singh (Dr.), Rajtarangini (Hindi).  12. Baharistan-i-Shahi, ff 88b. 89b.  13. Shuka, Rajtarangini.  14. Ibid.  15. Ibid.  16. Ibid.

Kashmir: Past and Present



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World Kashmiri Pandit Conference 1993 Panun Kashmir
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