I: Chapter 17
KANTH - A PILLAR OF RESISTANCE
had to quit Kashmir amidst bitter opposition and stormy protests from the
Sunni Muslims, who had not taken kindly to and savoured well his religious
activities related to the proliferation of support-base of Shia-sect of
Islam. With the decline of Musa Raina, he lost patronage and protective
shield from his government and had no option but to buzz off Kashmir in
utter haste and confusion. In the wake of his departure, a daring Pandit,
Nirmal Kanth, defying oppression and opposition, launched upon a campaign
to re-convert the Hindus who had succumbed to the sword of Islam. His successes
in his unique venture of reclaiming the lost were enormous and baffling,
but also fraught with perils for him, the re-converts and original Hindus.
Amidst the tycoon of Muslim bigotry, Nirmal Kanth, became a rallying point
for the Pandits who were eager to organise themselves and weld their ranks
to seek protection of their faith and limb from the biased Muslim ruler.
After hectic and prolonged confabulations, he drafted a mild petition and
submitted it to the Sultan, who was incompetent and apathetic to the affairs
of the state except to enjoy his position of pelf and panoply. In fact,
was vested in and wielded by the feuding Shia nobles, their proteges and
ignoble government officers.
and bitter struggle for power between Musa Raina and Kaji Chak finally
culminated in the elimination of Musa Raina. Seizing the reins of government
Kaji Chek was in a tearing haste to harness its instrumentalities to perpetrate
death and destruction on the Hindus. Shams Iraqi was in doldrums in Khurasan
where the Sultan, Hussian Mirza, had developed deep suspicions about his
political and religious activities and had ordered his immediate expulsion
from the country. With the active aid and support of his previous contacts,
he managed to stage a come-back into Kashmir after a period of twelve years.
Kaji Chak came under the umbrella of his influence and ideology and eight
hundred prominent Hindus especially the re-converts including Nirmal Kanth
were gruesomely massacred as they were given the bad name of apostates,
who had betrayed and defied Islam and had practise idolatory by placing
their haunches on the divine book.
"With the help of some of the chiefs of this land, some of them had reverted
to the customs of the infidels and polytheists. These apostates had resumed
idolatory. Some of the infidels related that during the hours of offering
prayers and worshipping of idols, they would place a copy of the Quran
under their haunches to make a seat to sit upon. Thus idol-worshipping
proceeded even when they sat on the divine book. When the news and details
of these doings were brought to Amir Shamsud-Din Iraqi he summoned Malik
Kaji Chak to him. Accompanied by Malik Ali and Khwaja Ahmed, his two counsellors
and administrators, Malik Kaji Chak presented himself before the venerable Amir, who declared to them.
of idolators has after embracing and submitting to the Islamic faith, now
gone back to defiance and apostasy. If you find yourself unable to inflict
punishment upon them in accordance with the provisions of Sharia and take
disciplinary action against them, it will become necessary and incumbent
upon me to proceed on self-imposed exile and in that case you shall not
stand in my way at the time of my departure.'
adds, "Kaji Chak consulted his counsellors and administrative officers
and decided upon carrying out a whole-sale massacre of the infidels. Their
massacre was scheduled for the days of the approaching 'Ashura'. Thus seven
to eight hundred infidels were put to death."
also describes, "Those killed were the leading personalities of the community
of infidels at that time, men of substance and government functionaries.
Each of them wielded influence and sway over a hundred families of other
infidels and heretics. Thus the entire community of infidels and polytheists
in Kashmir was coerced into conversion to Islam at the point of sword.
This is one of the major achievements of Malik Kaji Chak."
As models of
brutal intolerance and tyranny the chaks re-imposed Jazia (poll tax) on
the Hindus, who were exempted from paying it during the benevolent rule
of Sultan Zain-ul-abidin. They had in all vengefulness ordered to kill
one thousand cows every day with a view to injuring and offending the religious
susceptibilities of the Hindus. To coerce them to join the Islamic fold,
the Hindus were blatantly discriminated and deprived of the opportunities
of earning their livelihood and thus stark deprivation and poverty stared
them in the face.