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Mediaeval Kashmir Historiography

Written on August 21st, 2008 in IDP


By K.N. Pandit


The Calendar


What is the precise historical time to reckon as the beginning of mediaeval period? Scholars have forcefully debated the question. Western historians say that modern age dawned (in the west) with the advent of industrial revolution around A. D. 1688. Others believe that Renaissance of early 16th century ushered in a new era since it marked the end of Dark Age and the beginning of the era of enlightenment.


But to Muslim historians this distribution of historical period is somewhat confusing. According to them the period of enlightenment began when the Prophet brought a new faith and with that a different approach to material and spiritual life. The Muslim calendar begins from Muharram 1, A.H. 1 corresponding to 16 July 622 A.D., and the day on which Prophet Muhammad left Mecca and proceeded to Medina on the invitation of seventy-five inhabitants of Yathrib. His departure is known as hijrat, an Arabic word meaning “migration”. Hence we have the Muslim hijri calendar as against the Christian calendar. Muslim historians have used only the hijri calendar.


The Muslim Calendar is a religious calendar, and based solely upon the Moon’s changes. It is related that while reciting the khutba , or Sermon at his Farewell Pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad said: “ A year is twelve months, as at the time of Creation” (Mishkat, Book xi, chapter xi). The Qur’an says: “Verily twelve months is the number of the months with God, according to God’s Book, ever since the day when He created Heaven and Earth” (Sura ix, verse 36.).



Muslim historians of mediaeval and even of later mediaeval times have invariably used the hijra lunar calendar for recording events in their historical works. However, Iranian historians of later period have used hijri ( solar) calendar, and this means variation in the dates. Iranians/Shia’s call it hijri shamsi while the Sunnis call their calendar hijri qamari.


Muslim Historiography


Muslim contribution to the science of historiography is appreciable in terms of quality as well as quantity. Credit goes to the depth and vastness of Arabic language, which generally facilitated writing with elegance and without too many ambiguities. Moreover, early Arab conquests opened a vast new world for Arabs, warriors, traders, and adventurers. The new world had much to offer to the historians; not only the flora and fauna of the conquered countries but also their life style, and social structure. There was at hand a rich fund for comparative study. Fortunately, the Arab historians have left to us some significant material that deals with pre-Islamic civilizations, too, be it of the Aryan or the Semitic or the Mongolian race. Had not they done so, we would have been deprived of considerable portion of ancient history of the people in the East (take the case of Al Fihirist of Ibnu’l-Nadim or Tarikh-i- Tabari.. This is invaluable record of insights into pre-Islamic history of Iran, Al-Biruni’s Mal’il-Hind or Indica (translated by Sachau) is a fairly strong example to support the assertion.).


The Saracens had a fairly developed sense of history. Supported by a language that contained rich vocabulary and powerful syntax, and also taking cue from the powerful Qur’anic text, early Arab historians evinced interest in the events of their days.


In the beginning, Arab historians liked writing biographies (siyar) or what may now be called biographical histories. But when gradually their conquered lands took political shape and structure, and Islamic society moved towards cohesion of sorts, having spread over vast regions of Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, Iran, and Central Asia, Arab historians found new material and new subject matter to deal with. Civilization, society, agriculture, trade, architecture, arts, economy, land settlement, science of warfare, administration, inter-group relations etc. were some of the new themes in which they evinced keen interest. In the Prolegomena to his great work, Ibn Khaldun has adequately dealt with this subject (Muqaddimah)


Arab invaders finally overthrew the Sassanian Empire of Persia (Iran) around A.D. 652. With this event of much historical importance, we find that Zoroastrian faith — the faith of the Sassanian Iran — gave way to Islam, the new faith brought by the invaders from Arabia. Thus began a long process of replacing a grand old civilization of Achaemenian and Sassanian era (for in depth information on the grandeur of Sasanian Empire see Iran be ahd-I Sasanian), — the civilization of fire-worshippers — to the youthful Islamic civilization of very recent origin. Among other cultural manifestations, the Arabs brought with them their language and literary traditions to the newly conquered lands among which Iran was a very fertile ground for Arabic traditions to flourish, of course notwithstanding numerous anti-Arab movements, some of them very violent, that shaped in Islamic Iran during the early days of the Umayyid and Abbasid caliphates (some of these movements were led by the Saffaris, Buwayahids, Zayyars, Daylamites and Samanians in Iran and Khurasan. Fore more information see Tarikh-i-Adabiyyat dar Iran by Dr.Z.U Safa,vol. i,Teheran, 1982. Also see A Literary History of Persia, vol,i and ii, E.G. Brown, Cambridge, 1892).


Pre-Islamic Iran may boast of producing some works of history (see A Literary History of Iran, E.G. Brown, London, 1901. vol. I. Chapters i and ii). But the fact is that most of such works as could escape the onslaught of time, are in the category of doxological and mythical lore of ancient Iran. Only scant historical content of cohesive nature is deducible from these works, which are hardly comparable to fairly deep and wide ranging subject matter of historical works of post-Islamic period of Iran. Nevertheless, we are thankful to the Parsi ecclesiasts (dasturs) of Bombay, who have painstakingly preserved to us the remnants of their liturgical fund (In particular the Cama Institute of Bombay deserves full appreciation for rendering immense service to the researchers of ancient religions and civilizations).


When Arab domination of Iran became pervasive, Arabic language made deep inroads into Iranian life and culture. Arab Governors in Iran, supported by local warlords and satraps, lavishly patronized promulgation of Arabic language and culture in Iran, and Central Asia in particular, owing to ethnic diversity in these regions. Poets, writers, intellectuals and men of letters needed court patronage to flourish, and since Arabic was now the language of culture, they vied with one another in claiming superior linguistic and rhetorical skills. This was true in the case of almost all genres of literature, including historiography. Thus a model was set before the Iranian historiographers, which would, in due course of time, extend to the lands in the east that fell within the sphere of influence of Islamic Iran. Kashmir was one such region.


In the beginning, Iranian historiographers employed a simple and plain style of Farsi prose for the simple reason that they wrote for ordinary readers. Bal’ami’s Farsi translation of Tarikh-i-Baihaqi is an example of this style.


However, this did not last long. When Khurasan, the eastern part of the Caliphate, assumed more and more autonomy from Baghdad, and people left behind severe constraints caused by the dismemberment of old Iranian monarchy, local satraps and warlords established their sway and carved for themselves principalities and satrapies in the vast region. Writers, poets, historians and intellectuals flocked to the courts of these satraps where they received frugal patronage from the Amir. This caused rivalry among court historians and intellectuals who now, in a bid to make a show of their linguistic accomplishments in Arabic so as to win the favour of their patrons, adopted ornate style of writing. Thus began an age of bombast and hyperbole in prose works of Farsi in Iran. This was to pass on to historiographers in Kashmir through the conduit of Islamic missionaries who, started moving into the valley in the early decades of 14th century and then continued it for next three hundred years. Being missionaries, they had to have very good command on Arabic language and thorough knowledge of the Quran, hadith and known works of theological science.


Beginning of mediaeval historiography


When did Muslims in Kashmir begin to write history? This question cannot be answered precisely because of the loss of at least three early Farsi histories mentioned in later historical record. We are told that one Mulla Naderi, living at the court of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin (A.D. 1450), was a court historian and had written the history of his patron. This work is no more extent. Likewise, the Farsi translation of Rajatarangini made during the reign of Zainu’l-‘Abidin, too, is lost to us. Of more known histories of mediaeval Kashmir, we may list Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Sayyid Ali (A.D. 1579), Tarikh-i-Kashmir, Mull Husain Naderi (A.D. 1580), Tadhkiatu’l-‘Arifin, Mulla Ali Raina (A.D. 1587), Tabaqat-i-Akbari, Nizamu’d-Din (A.D. 1592), Tarikh-i- Narayan Kaul Ajiz, Tohfatul Ahbab, Muhammad Ali Kashmiri (c. A.D. 1560), Tarikh-i-Rashidi, Mirza Haider Dughlat (A.D. 1592) and Baharistani-Shahi, by Muhammad Ali (A.D. 1622) Among histories of later period we may include Tarikh-i- Kabir of Miskeen (A.D. ? ), Waqa’at-e-Kshmir by Dedamari (A.D. 18th century ) and Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Pir Ghulam Hasan Khuihami (A.D. 1890)


Official Islam came to Kashmir in A.D. 1339, corresponding to A.H. 740, when Shah Mir, a fugitive chieftain driven out from his native place in present Waziristan region of Pakistan, captured the Hindu kingdom of Kashmir through an act of treachery against the ruling queen. Thereafter, Muslim missionaries from Iran, Khurasan (Khurasan (khur+as+aan) of old Persian means ‘wherefrom the Sun comes’. Khwar+sheid = the bright Sun with sheid being the corrupted form of Sanskrit shveta meaning white or bight. Thus Khur+as+aan means the land wherefrom the bright Sun rises. Khurasan province is situated to the east of Iran. In early ages it formed the part of the kingdom of Turan) and Ma’wara’-an Nahr (literally meaning “beyond the river”, the term has been generally used by Arab historians for the region of Central Asia known to Herodotus as Trans-Oxiana. Tajiks called it velayat-e bala and vara rud again meaning beyond the river. The river in question is The Oxus of the Greeks, Amu of Farsi/Tajiki historians and scholars and Jayhun of Arab scholars) made a bee - line into Kashmir. When the Shahmiri dynasty of rulers established its sway over the vast Kingdom of Kashmir whose boundaries extended to Gandhara (Kandahar) in the west and to the banks of Stadru (Sutlej) to the south (see Baharistan-i-Shahi, loc.cit., p. 98fn 24. Also see Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Ghulam Hasan Khuihami, vol ii. p 409), it realised that the nascent Muslim state could survive only when it received politically important support of local feudalist and nobility, which exercised immense influence among the masses of people. It was, therefore, necessary to convert the feudal chiefs, their lieutenants and the higher echelons of Kashmir nobility to the new faith. The energetic and zealous Muslim missionaries from proselytised Iran, Iraq and Khurasan found to their surprise a great and religiously pleasant job awaiting them in the landlocked Kingdom of Kashmir. In the process, destruction of vibrant symbols of Hindu civilization was a foregone conclusion as was the case with Iran when Arabs overran the Sassanian Empire and decimated the last Zoroastrian stronghold in A.D 652.


But the true story of mass conversion of Hindus of Kashmir to the Islamic faith during the first century of advent of Islam, viz. 1339 to 1425, has never been told in detail except only sporadically by Jonaraja and Shrivara. They speak in parables and allegories for fear of grave reprisal. No doubt, Muhammad Ali Kashmiri, a rabid Iranian Nurbakhshiyyeh missionary to Kashmir in the early years of 16th century, gives us in his work (Tohfatu’l-Ahbab) a graphic picture of destruction of temples and forced conversion just out of his fervour for recording Islamic achievements. While most of the historians of later times have said nothing about that event, moderate historians like Pir Ghulam Hasan Khuihami and Malik Haider Chadora have just made some understatements. This is why all these three histories are given very little attention by broad sections of Kashmir historians.


The life-long mission of forcing conversion on the Hindu masses of Kashmir and large-scale destruction of their civilizational symbols were essentially major political compulsions for Sikandar — the Iconoclast — (A.H. 796/A.D. 1393), third in the line of succession to Sultan Shah Mir. Evidently, he needed a freshly converted powerful local feudal social structure to lend him support in his ambitious mission of propagating the new faith of foreign origin. The services of Suh Bhat, Islamised as Malik Saifu’-Din by Mir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani, the illustrious son of Shah Hamadan to whom he had given his daughter in marriage, were used with maximum result? (The author of Baharistan tells us: “He discarded the faith of the infidels and their aberrant practices, and accepted Islam. Amir Sayyid Muhammad conferred upon him the title of Malik Saifu’d-Din. Thus Sultan Sikandar and Malik Saifu’d-Din joined hinds to gear their full effort towards the eradication of infidelity and other aberrant practices. Through the blessings and support of Islam and by the propagation of the commands of sharia , they were rewarded with victories wherever they led their armies, confirming the saying that “God helps those who help Muhammad’s religion.” Baharistan-i-Shahi, tr. K.N. Pandit, Calcutta, 1991, p 38 et.seq. Also see Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Ghulam Hasan Khuihami, p. 178, Tarikh-i-Sayyid ‘Ali, Acc. No. (missing) MS. F. 44a, Fatahat-i-Kubraviyyeh MS. F. 157. For the story of persecution of Hindus, see Jonraja’s Rajatarangini (ed. Srikanth Kaul), stanzas 657-669 and 597, 606 – 2. Also see Tarikh-i- Malik Haider of Chadora, MS, Acc. No. 39, Research & Publication Department, J&K, f. 44a).


Importance of taking Hindu wives, and giving Muslim girls in marriage to Hindu chieftains provided the latter converted to Islam, has been quite deliberately understated by Muslim historians of Kashmir. Perhaps Shah Mir could not have wrested Kashmir throne with as much ease as he did if he had not managed support from the Damara chiefs of Kashmir with whom he had entered into matrimonial alliances (the author of Baharistan tells us: “He discarded the faith of the infidels and their aberrant practices, and accepted Islam. Amir Sayyid Muhammad conferred upon him the title of Malik Saifu’d-Din. Thus Sultan Sikandar and Malik Saifu’d-Din joined hinds to gear their full effort towards the eradication of infidelity and other aberrant practices…Through the blessings and support of Islam and by the propagation of the commands of sharia , they were rewarded with victories wherever they led their armies, confirming the saying that “God helps those who help Muhammad’s religion.” Baharistan-i-Shahi, tr. K.N. Pandit, Calcutta, 1991, p 38 et.seq. Also see Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Ghulam Hasan Khuihami, p. 178, Tarikh-i-Sayyid ‘Ali, Acc. No. (missing) MS. F. 44a, Fatahat-i-Kubraviyyeh MS. F. 157. For the story of persecution of Hindus, see Jonraja’s Rajatarangini (ed. Srikanth Kaul), stanzas 657-669 and 597, 606 – 2. Also see Tarikh-i- Malik Haider of Chadora, MS, Acc. No. 39, Research & Publication Department, J&K, f. 44a).




We have already said that some reportedly valuable Farsi histories of Kashmir of early Islamic period are lost to us. In particular, mention has been made of the history of one Mulla Naderi, which, in fact, is said to be the Farsi rendering of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, and brought up by the author to his own times, viz. the reign of Sultan Zain’l-‘Abidi (d. A.H. 878/A.D.1473 having reigned over Kashmir for fifty-two years) (Describing the story of abdication of Sultan Ali Shah (A.H 816/A.D. 1413 – 22), Haider Malik writes, “ The works of his poet-laureate, Mulla Naderi, which reportedly contain details of the events of his reign, are lost to us.” Tarikh, loc. cit. MS.Acc. No. 39, F. 39a). Abul Fadl, whose Ain-i-Akbari contains very valuable and comparatively exhaustive record of Kashmir history, is said to have found access to Mulla Naderi’s history. During my researches in mediaeval Kashmir, I have often wondered whether the loss of some important Farsi histories of early Islamic period of Kashmir (and for that matter even some Sanskrit histories of early Islamic period also) is attributable only to the vagary of time and not to the vagaries of human nature (Discussing the Israeli origin of Kashmiri people, an Israeli scholar has noted that Kashmiris are the descendents of the Lost Tribe of Israelis exiled in 722 B.C. They wandered along the Silk Route and many of them settled in Kashmir. He further states, “ Mulla Naderi wrote the History of Kashmir and Mulla Ahmad wrote ‘Events of Kashmir’. Both have established without a trace of doubt that the origins of Kashmiri people are to be found in the people of Israel” Visit Willful destruction of such authentic historical evidence is not unexpected of vandals in Kashmir. Al Biruni, who had visited Northern India in 12th century, writes, “In the past, permission to enter Kashmir was given only to the Jews”. See Al-Biruni’s Indica, tr .Sachem. In his work Dabistau’i-Madhahib, tr, Shea and Troyer, Mohsin Fani also reports the presence of many Jews in Kashmir during his days {17th century}).


Farsi histories of mediaeval Kashmir hardly give any indication of noticeable impact of the art of historiography of pre-Islamic Kashmir on their works. The reason was that Sanskrit language, occasionally if not invariably written in Sharda script - the script evolved during later Hindu period, (the text of the Rajatarangini used by Stein was in Sharada script. See Rajatarangini, A. Stein vol. p.) — dwindled fast as Arabic and Farsi languages flourished first through strenuous efforts of Muslim missionaries from Iran, Trans-Oxiana and Arab lands (Arabistan), and secondly, owing to frugal patronage of the Sultans and their non-Kashmiri ministers and advisers. The number of indigenous bilingual (Sanskrit/Sharada and Farsi) historians decreased sharply with the rise of Baihaqi Sayyids to positions of power and influence at the royal court. Kashmir historians have made no secret of the apathy rather disregard of Baihaqi Sayyids towards indigenous culture of Kashmiris: they considered them of lower cultural level.


By and large, scholars who tried to make good use of their bilingual skill up to the end of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s times, are known by the epithet Mulla prefixed to their names. We come across many of them during the first one and a half century of Muslim rule over Kashmir. The word Mulla is widely in use in Trans-Oxiana region from early times (a university professor in present day Tajikistan is called ‘ da Mulla’. Da in Tajiki corresponds to ‘the’ in English). It means a man of secular learning and not necessarily a ritual performing clergy, as is generally believed. In all probability, this was the indigenous title given to the Zoroastrian mobids in Iran and Khurasan after their conversion to Islam. In the case of Kashmir, this is the precise Farsi translation of Sanskrit word Pandit. The inference is that a well-versed Sanskrit scholar of good standing in Hindu period assumed the title of Mulla when converted to Islam, and continued his intellectual pursuits in the new social construct. One may assume that those bearing the prefix Mulla to their Muslim names during the period in question were the learned Hindu scholars (Pandits) or scholarly priests (Puruhit) who, after conversion to Islam, endeavoured to continue their scholastic pursuits, albeit in a different set of circumstances in which the emphasis shifted from general or secular to exclusively religious studies.


In a gloss to the statement of the author of Baharistan-i-Shahi, in which he speaks of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin retrieving many important works of the Hindu scholars from throes of destruction, the translator and annotator of the text writes: (See Baharistan, p. 97, fn 22). “Copies of the Vedas and Shastras were procured from India, and got translated into Farsi. Many Arabic and Farsi books were got translated into Sanskrit. Particular mention can be made of Mulla Ahmad’s translation of Rajatarangini and Mahabharata. The Sultan also made Pandit Jonaraja to write an epilogue to Kalhana’s chronicle, which is the chronicle of events from the times of Jayasimha to his days.” (The loss of this valuable fund remains unresolved so far. Tarikh of Pir Ghulam Hasan Khuihami, p. 147.).


A couple of Farsi histories, like the Waqa’at-e-Kashmir (Tarikh-i-Uzma) of Muhammad ‘Azam Dedamari (A.H. 1158/A.D 1745), Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Pandit Birbal Kachroo A.D. 1845), and Tarikh-i-Kashmir by Ghulam Hasan Khuihami (A.D. 1892) begin their account by making a mention of the Hindu kings of Kashmir. But most of them generally dismiss the two thousand years of Hindu rule summarily in a page or two. From their point of view, the meaningful history of Kashmir begins only with the advent of Muslim missionaries and the faith they brought. It is disappointing to note that even Haider Malik of Chadora, who claims to have descended from the superior Suraj Bansi clan of Hindu Rajputs, has dismissed the Hindu period and the story of his illustrious forebears almost perfunctorily (see Tarikh by Haider Malik Chadora, MS. Acc. No 39, RPD, J&K Government).


Having said that, let us focus on some prominent characteristics of mediaeval Kashmir historiography. It has to be noted that mediaeval Kashmiri historians or even the historians of later periods writing in Farsi, are, one and all, writing under conditions of partial guilt. Willy-nilly, they are obliged to eschew recounting the history of vast Hindu period, firstly owing to a lack of linguistic skill to accede Sanskrit source material, and secondly because of the compulsion of adhering to non-secular format of historiography of Muslim period.


Thus almost all Farsi mediaeval histories of Kashmir are stoically silent or non-committal on the phenomenon of socio-cultural transition of Kashmirian society in the 14th and 15th centuries. This vacuum is likely to remain unfilled, and the yawning gap in the continuity of historical record has given way to many controversies, misunderstandings and wild speculations. This, to some extent, has led to understating and topically distorting many facts of Kashmir history. Only genuine secular scholarship with adequate linguistic skills and professional honesty can deliver the goods.


Of course a feeble attempt has been made by a couple of historians to remove this discrepancy. Three works in particular, namely Tohfatu’l-Ahbab (circa A.H. 1052/A.D. 1642), Baharistan-i-Shahi (A.H 1023/A.D. 1614), and Tarikh-i-Hasan (A.D. 1892) have tried to give a peep into the phenomenon. For example, the author of Baharistan-i-Shahi writing about Sultan Qutbu’d-Din says:


Although the Sultan had been admitted to the Islamic faith, in those days none of the ulema and men of learning in Kashmir preached religion without hypocrisy. The Qadis and the theologians of those days paid scant attention to things permitted or prohibited” (Loc. cit. p. 35).


Tohftu’l-Ahbab gives a deeper insight into the phenomena of transition. He says:


The real reason for the animosity and rancour of these detestable wretches towards Amir Shamsu’d-Din was that the wives and women of the mullas of Kashmir were mostly from the (houses of) infidels and polytheists. They had taken them in marriage and the faith and solidarity which these women developed (among their group) overpowered them (their husbands). Habits, traditions, and rituals of the people of these lands had got mixed up with those of the infidels, idol-worshippers, and men of aberration and of rank ignorance. It had become a normal practice in their households. Those who dispensed the permitted and the prohibited in their families and homes were all infidels and polytheists. The ulema, theologians, men of scholarship and erudition of this land had accepted the customs and the traditions of depraved and innovative aberrant people instead of the traditions and the path shown by the Holy Prophet of Islam. They had discarded all Islamic laws and the basic tenets of Islamic faith. The commandments of God and the Prophet had been set aside. All of them were engrossed in mataearial acquisition and kept themselves busy with only transient matters. Marriages of women and girls were performed according to the instructions from the infidels and the polytheists. Routine matters like hosting of feasts for the bride and the groom, their schedule of daily life including the hours of waking up and going to sleep, were all governed after seeking permission from the infidels and the polytheists. ” (Translation by K.N. Pandit, pp. 88-9 {translated not yet published})


Writing about the persecution of Hindus, Pir Ghulam Hasan ways:


Twenty-four thousand Hindu families were converted to Shamsu’d-Din Araki’s faith (Shia’ – Nurbakhshiyya) by force and compulsion (qahran wa jabran) (Tarikh, p. 223).


The authors of two former histories are of Shia’ faith, while the last one is an astute historian trying to be as honest and unbiased as he can. Though adhering to Sunni Hanafi School, he, like Haider Malik of Chadora, is proud of his latent Hindu ancestry. Because of outspoken Shia’ bias, Baharistan and Tohfatu’l-Ahbab have found virtually no favour with the Sunni historians of mediaeval Kashmir who accuse them of distorting facts and stating falsehoods. As such, they have discredited both works by not recognizing them as authentic histories. Commenting on the role of Shaykh Hamza Makhdum, respectfully called Sultanu’l-‘Arifin (The King of Mystics) by the people in Kashmir, Hajji Mohiu’d-Din Miskeen Saraibali, the author Tarikh-i-Kabir writes:


The people of Kashmir are gratefully obliged to their two venerable savants. They are obliged to Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani for bringing Islam to their land, and they are also obliged to Sultanu’l-‘Arifin, who revived Sunni faith (in Kashmir) and delivered the people from the threat of being misled by innovators (see Waqa’at-e Kashmir, (tr) Shamsu’d-Din, J&K Islamic Research Centre, Srinagar, 2001, p. 752), (bid’at). (Innovation in Islam has generally been condemned as an anti-Islamic act. Staunch Muslims have not accused only the Shia’ of bid’at but Sufis, too, have not been spared by them man in bid’at nami aram dar Islam/ kih chun rohban rwam dar kuhsaran).


Sunni-Shia divide in mediaeval Kashmir society has left unpleasant memories. In fact, the divide goes to the times of Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani’s first visit to Kashmir in A.H. 783/A.D. 1381. (Baharistan, loc.cit. p.34. A big controversy with mediaeval and even modern Kashmir historians has been raging on the question whether Amir Sayyid Ali Hamadani adhered to the Shia’ or to Sunni faith? The authors of Baharistan and Tohfatu’l-Ahab, and Shia’ scholars of contemporary times believe he was an adherent of the House of Ali whereas the Sunni historians have categorically stated that he was of Sunni faith. Akbar Haideri has indulged in an interesting debate on this subject in the introduction to his translation of Baharistan-i-Shahi, Delhi, 1982). Sunni hatred for the Shia’ is exemplified by Mirza Haider Dughlat in his Tarikh-i-Rahsidi. (A.H. 947/A.D. 1540). Subsequent Kashmiri historians, doubting the veracity of aforementioned two mediaeval histories of Kashmir, both authored by historians of Shia’ faith, have discreetly avoided using these as source material even for patent and non-controversial historical detail. They have labelled them unauthentic chronicles.


On the other hand, some mediaeval as well as modern historians with pronounced Shia’ proclivity have exaggerated the role of Shia’ rulers (Chaks) and their Shia’ nobility, and tried to legitimise their persecution of the Hindus and Sunnis. (Muhibbu’l-Hasan’s work Kashmir under the Sultans, Delhi, 1974, is one such example). Tohfatu’l-Ahbab, the biography of the founder of Nurbakhshiyyah order of Sufis in Kashmir, is a hopeless litany of complaints, assaults and denunciations against the Sunni scholars and religious leaders of his days (mid-16th century) in Kashmir. The following anecdote borrowed from Tohfatu’l-Ahbab gives an insight into the level of sectarian hatred and animosity that prevailed in Kashmir at that point of time. (Tohfatu’l-Ahbab, loc. cit p. 117 et. seq (English translation by K.N. Pandit under publication).


During the days of Mir Shams, one Mulla Farhi arrived from Khurasan. He was shown due respect in Kashmir. In his library was a volume of Jami’s Silsilatu’z-Zahhab. It had beautiful binding but its contents were repugnant. “Once Qadi Muhammad and I (this writer’s father) were going through his books and the above volume. We examined it in part and found that Mulla Jami had demonstrated arrogance towards Amiru’l Momineen, Hazrat ‘Ali. We read the derogatory remarks; our sense of faith was aroused and our Islamic identity sensitised. The book was brought to Kashmir for the first time: it was not found in any part of Kashmir before the arrival of Mulla Farhi (Farji?) although its contents had reverberated in these lands. After studying all the derogatory remarks, Mulla Farhi was told that Jami had composed a satire on ‘Ali and had been very arrogant towards him. But, Mulla Farhi said that they (Qadi Muhammad and my father) were accusing Jami of prejudice against ‘Ali whereas he (Jami) had actually composed an encomium for ‘Ali. There was no proof of condemnation or satire. He said that they had not understood the text because of their inadequate knowledge and lack of analytical comprehension.


Thereupon Qadi Muhammd read out a few verses from the above named book and asked him (Mulla Farhi) to explain and bring out the meaning of a few verses. Mulla Ahmad was head to tail drowned in sectarian prejudice and said that they were not able to comprehend the meaning of Mulla Jami’s verses. He said that even the men of learning and eminence were unable to understand what Jami said. How then could people of lesser intellectual faculty be able to comprehend him? He snatched away the book from the hands of the Qadi and asked what had he to do with the book. The Qadi exhibited great patience and restraint but the writer’s father could not stomach the remark. He stood up and overpowered the foreigner placing his feet on the latter’s chest. He snatched the book from his hands and gave it to Araki. Qadi Muhammad also followed the writer’s father (Maulana Jamalu’d-Din Khaleelullah) to the presence of Mir Shams. They just wanted to know what Araki had to say about the work. Mulla Ahmad Khwajeh, too, had accompanied the Qadi. They recounted the whole story to Shamsu’d-din Araki. He said that that was not the volume, which contained Jami’s canard. However, the Qazi said that it was the same book. Thereupon, Shamsu’d-Din said,” Oh Mulla! Take this book to the kitchen and burn its each and every page.” With these instructions given to us, we stood up and departed to our cells. However, I came to the kitchen where Qadi Muhammad and Mulla Ahmad Farhi (sic) also joined me. He made supplication and wanted a few leaves of the book to be given to him. He said we might retain the rest and do with it whatever we pleased to do. He said if a portion of the book did not lie with him, he would feel broken down because he had taken great pains to procure it. I was not moved at all and put each leaf to the leaping flames in his presence. With the tearing away of each leaf of the book, it appeared as if his heart was rent into pieces. I tore up many leaves and then cast the pieces into the burning flames. On beholding the torn pieces, that filthy man tore his clothes and beat his breast. With each leaf flying into flames, he would tear away a small sheaf of his beard and throw it into the flames along with the burning leaf. It appeared as if he was going to consign himself to the flames. Although a pupil of Jami, nevertheless he was not as bold and courageous as his teacher was to consign himself really to flames.


When the entire book was consigned to the flames, he fell on my feet and begged that the cover of the book be returned to him so that he could preserve it as a souvenir. We did not spare the cover and left no trace of the work for its wretched owner. When the burning of the book was over, he besmeared his head with ashes and cried loud. Back in his home, he sat mourning the loss of the book. Qadi Muhammad also proceeded to his home while I kept myself busy with the chores of the hospice and of Mir Shamsu’d-Din. I came to the presence of the Qadi the next morning. He said that we would go to the house of Mulla Ahmad that day and sit for some time in his company. I asked him how we could sit in his company in view of the things that had happened the previous night. The Qadi said that the previous night we had burnt his heart and today they would rub salt into his wounds.


On finding us at his residence, Mulla Ahmad flew into rage. He said we had almost killed him the previous night and now we had come to be with him. He asked whether we had any new mission to accomplish. The Qadi told him that he had come to recite to him some of the encomiums composed by Jami so that he would do justice by realising what type of encomium were written. The Mulla was not prepared to listen. He said that he nursed deep hatred for them and was not prepared to sit in their company. But, the Qadi was determined to sit with him and I too sat by the side of the Qadi. He took out the paper from his pocket and began reading the mathnavi. He read it out as Jami penned down in Silsilatu’z-Zahhab. He read each verse of Jami twice while this wretched Khariji sat like a coiled snake. The Qadi asked whether they considered those verses as encomium and praise of Hazrat ‘Ali and a satire and condemnation for Jami. What answer would they give to the Holy Prophet on the Doomsday? It is better that I put the verses of the mathnavi (with the Qadi) on paper here so that friends and well-wishers would enjoy reading them and send blessings to the soul of the Qadi.


Rishis and Sufis


Most mediaeval histories of Kashmir written in Farsi are the biographies of Islamic Sufis, Shaykhs, Sayyids and spiritualists of “extraordinary supernatural powers.” An interesting feature of Kashmirian non-secular historiography is of juxtaposing proselytised Hindu rishis to Sufi community with names neutral to two communities like Sangar Rishi, Yasman Rishi, Plasman Rishi, Hardi Rishi etc. Describing the Rishi order in pre-Islamic Kashmir, Hasan writes (Tarikh, vol. iii, p. 101).


From the very beginning, the people in Kashmir were idol worshippers. Among them was a group that would renounce the world and all its attractions. They lived in caves and hollows of trees and remained engrossed in penance and prayers to God Almighty. They subsisted on wild leafy vegetables called vopal hak in Kashmiri. They believed that self-mortification could produce spiritual powers in them. When “the light of Islam” spread in Kashmir, it overtook idol-worshipping Brahmans, trinity-worshipping soothsayers (Rabbi), and Christian monks of the land and they were converted to Islam. Locals gave these God-fearing men the title of Rishi.


Undoubtedly, these recluses and self-abnegators had exercised profound influence on the masses of people by their long tradition of living a life of asceticism and renunciation. This life style suited orthodox Muslim missionaries after the rishis converted to Islam, and continued their life of seclusion. Having fulfilled that objective, the question was of reducing their influence and popularity among local people. This was done by introducing Sufiism as the Islamic variant of Hindu rishism. In the works like Asraru’l-Abrar and Trikh-i-Kabir, fascinating stories of conversion of the Hindu rishis to Islam and retaining the suffix rishi to their Islamic names will be met with (see Tarikh-I-Hasan, vol. 3, p. 128-9. Here is an example of such stories. Hasan writes that one Aditya Raina was the administrator of Marvwatsun in Pargana Breng. Once he visited Hazrat Shaykhu’l-‘Alam ( d. circa A.H. 842/ A.D. 1438) who asked him what had brought him to his presence. Aditya said, “Your love and regard attracted me to you.” “Unless a friend takes after his friend, the claim of his friendship is not true”, said the Shaykh. “Obey the command of God Almighty”, he added. “What is God’s command?” Aditya asked. “Accept Islam and repose faith in God’s oneness,” said Shaykhu’l Alam. Aditya said, I am God’s worshipper but I am not a Musalman.” The Shaykh said,” You get your food from the Great Supplier (God) but you worship the idol.” On hearing this, Aditya fell unconscious. When he regained his senses, he converted to Islam and was given the name Shaykh Latif. He spent the rest of his life in Pushkar. Ibid. vol. .iii. p. 128-9).


We find that mediaeval historians have recorded with great gusto many incredibly fascinating stories about the miracles and occult powers of these rishis. The purpose has been to legitimise the hold of Islam on the masses of people through rishi link by ascribing extraordinary spiritual powers to them.


The fact of the matter is that Islamic Sufism is in no way either the continuation or the extension of Kashmir rishism. In Islamic history we read about Arab sufiism and Iranian sufiism. The principles and practices of the former are strictly within the Quranic prescription whereas in the sufiism of Iranian type, there have been innovations that are repugnant to the orthodox Sufism of Arabs (discussing the philosophy of a leading Arab Sufi scholar, Junayd Baghdadi (d. AH.297/A.D.909), historians tell us, “ He (Junayd) asserted that the links of the Sufis with the Qur’an and Hadith (Tradition) were strong and nobody could lay claim to guiding the pupil along the path of mysticism if he had not read the holy book and the hadith.” See Nameh-e-Danishwaran, vol. v, p. 15, Teheran). For example, music and dancing (surood wa sama’), though prohibited in Islam, were legitimised by Iranian Sufis: we have the Wandering Dervishes of Turkey, the followers of the tradition of Maulana Jalalu’d-Din Rumi. But when more prominent Iranian/Khurasanian Sufi orders (Naqshbandi. Suharwardi, Kubravi, Chishti and Qadiri) pandered to the propagation of faith rather than philosophy of oneness, they unwittingly left unhealthy impact on recently converted Kashmiri Muslim society. In Kashmir, we have the followers of all the five schools of Iranian/Central Asian Sufism. It should be noted that Kashmir itself did not produce any Sufi order. The people followed one or the other order imported by the missionaries. As such, local people including a section of the mediaeval Kashmir elite tried to introduce Kashmir rishism as a Kashmiri variant of various schools of Islamic Sufism. While distancing from Arab Sufi tradition, Kashmir Sufiism came very close to the Iranian oriented pro-orthodoxy Sufism.


The question is how far did the imported traditions of sufiism exercise impact on the life of local people? No mediaeval history has discussed this issue at length. All that they have done is that they have furnished a long list of “sufis” and then add encomiums to them and recounted amusing and exaggerated stories of their so-called spiritual powers with the sole purpose of constructing an over-reaching profile in the eyes of local people. Kashmir sufiism was much more an instrument of propagation of Sunni Islam among a freshly proselytised people with instinctive vacillation still haunting them, than an established way of communion with the Supreme Being.


Mediaeval historians have carefully kept the negative role of the Sufis under wraps. A close study of their words and deeds shows that their primary agenda was to carry forward Islamic mission as dini mujahid — the Crusaders –, under the mask of sufiism and dervishism. Take the case of Shaykh Nuru’d-Din (called Shaykhu’l-‘Alam and also Nund Reshi). His biographer Bahau’d-Din Mattoo has, in Rishi Nameh, (Published by J&K Academy of Culture and Art in at Srinagar) given us the graphic story of how he, along with his sufi followers — actually goons– assaulted the Hindu priest named Bhim (Bomeh) Sadhu at the cave-shrine of Bomzuv in Mattan and flung the cow hide on the idols, which the priest used to worship. He was forcibly converted and given the name of Bam Sahib. Such acts of vandalism by Sufis and Rishis are unheard of in the history of Islamic Sufiism.


A study of Tohfatu’l-Ahbab, the biography of Shamsu’d-Din Araki (his firs visit to Kashmir was in A.H 882/A.D. 1477) shows that this rabid missionary of Nurbakhshiyyah order of Sufis had regimented sufi and dervish terrorist gangs whom he led for demolishing Hindu temples, forcing conversions to Islam and spreading awe and terror among the helpless people of Kashmir. Examine the following extract:


“In the neighbourhood of the above-mentioned temple, there stood another idol house called Udran by the infidels of Hindustan and Jammu. It was pulled down and destroyed. When the infidels came to know about the destruction of the temple, they took up bows and arrows and other arms and came out to clash with the group of the sufis of Amir Shamsu’d-Din. The sufis and dervishes were locked in a battle with the infidels for several days. In this great jihad, the infidels and polytheists received reinforcement, which forced the group of the dervishes and sufis to assemble on the open fields towards Zaldagar so that Araki was protected from enemy’s attack. The infidels saw that the Muslims were withdrawing towards Zaldagar plains. This infused courage in them and they launched an attack on Musalmans. Many sufis received wounds. The infidels overpowered them and the sufis were defeated. They had to run away towards the cit)” (Loc. cit, p.183).


The so-called Sufis and dervishes have played a significant role in the propagation of Islamic faith in Kashmir. After forcibly converting a Hindu priest of a temple or a shrine to Islamic faith, these assailants would give Islamic flag in his hands and make him lead the armed crowds (of Sufis and dervishes and the fresh converts) to the next village to re-enact the story of their atrocity. The converted priest was given the epithet of alamdaar meaning the standard-bearer (describing the displeasure of Sultan Qutbu’d-Din with Sayyid Ali Hamadani and the latter’s exit from Kashmir, the author of Baharistan writes, “Bearing his standard, Ladi Magray accompanied him to the waters of Panbeh Drang.” Loc. cit.,p. 36). We also find that the Sufis and dervishes were the foremost in volunteering for free service when a mosque had to be raised at the site of a demolished temple.


Some mediaeval historians have even portrayed Muslim rishis as staunch followers of orthodox Sunni Islam with disgust towards the Shia’. In his qasada lamiyeh, Baba Dawood Khaki has showered praises on Hardi Reshi for his strict adherence to orthodox Islam. He concludes the panegyric with these two rather unsavoury verses.


Gofti aksar dedeh am payghambar o yaraan-i u

Naql mi kardi az ishan pish-e ma ba’zi maqal

Goft deedam murtaza, pursidam az wey hal-e rafz

Goft hast albatteh dar sbb-e musalmanan wobal


Translation: He (Hardi Rishi) said he had often seen the Prophet and his Companions. And he used to recount their stories to us. He said that he had seen the Prophet, and asked him about the affairs of Shia’ faith (rafz). The Prophet said that of course it (Shiism) is criminal in reproaching Muslims.


A Sufi is supposed to be above caste, creed, colour and ethnicity. He is disallowed to put humanity into compartments of accepted and rejected groups. What is the meaning of whadatul-wajud, (the Unity of Being) — the fundamental principle of Sufism? Actually Kubravi Sufis were the first to undertake the destruction of Hindu temples in Kashmir.




A study of Farsi histories of mediaeval Kashmir is a sickening tale of unending rivalries, clashes, court intrigues, murders, treachery and deceit. Mediaeval Kashmir inherited feudal structure from Hindu period. By and large, the clans of feudal chiefs and warlords in Muslim regimes remained as these were under Hindu rajas. In a sense, feudalism was further strengthened under the Shahmirs and the Baihaqis because of induction of the element of religion into its structure. Since both of these ruling houses were outsiders, and had not their roots in local milieu, they had the compulsion of depending on their feudal chiefs and warlords in order to maintain their tight grip on the kingdom. The Hindu Damara, Lavanya, Ekanga, Tantrin, Margresha, Chakra, etc. clan chiefs became Dars (Dhars), Lons, Kengs,Tantreys, Magreys and Chaks of Muslim period. They wielded power and influence over the vast peasantry and also on urban population. They raised private militias for whose maintenance the poor peasants had to bear the burden. The spirit of nationalism was absent and only the interests of the feudal chief or the warlord mattered. The Sultan could do nothing against their wishes. In the long struggle for power between the Baihaqi Sayyids and local chieftains, the sense of nationalism was seldom evoked. The Baihaqi Sayyids were as good aliens for Kashmiris as those descending from the house of Shahmir or the progeny of the Sayyids who came from Iran. The feudal chiefs of indigenous roots stood by no moral principles or commitments. Today they sided with one group and tomorrow with its adversary.


The Sayyids, Shaykhs, the ulema and the followers of the Sufi orders, all of foreign origin, received frugal official patronage. Gradually they formed the elitist group and reduced local populace to a state of servitude.


A warlord or a feudal chief, who was defeated in a fighting with his adversary, usually took flight to the regions beyond Pir Panchal, to Poonch, (Proonts), Rajouri (Rajppuri), and Jammu only to return and reappear on the scene when conditions favoured him. There is hardly any record of these feudal chiefs undertaking any work of public utility except building some bridges or fortresses that served their military design. Except Zainu’l-‘Abidin and marginally Sultan Shihabu’d-Din, this is also true of all Kashmir Sultans from Shah Mir to Ya’qub Chak. As such, the vast peasantry was left to its fate with no support structure to its economic and social conditions. There is no record with mediaeval Kashmir historians to prove that economic conditions really changed with the change of faith. Subjugation to the feudal chief speedily facilitated mass conversion. Note this passage from Baharistan-i- Shahi::


Malik Kaji Chak came to the presence of Shamsu’d-Din Iraqi (Araki) who told him, “This community of idolaters 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 a self-imposed exile and in that case you shall not stand in my way at the time of my departure.”


Since the above–mentioned Malik, prior to his assumption of power and authority, had promised him that he would never deviate from or disregard his wishes and injunctions, therefore, in deference to his wishes, he held consultations with his counsellors and administrative officers, and decided upon carrying out a wholesale massacre of the infidels. Their massacre was scheduled for the days of the approaching ‘ashura. (The 10th day of the month of Muharram. There is a short reference to the massacre of Hindus in Shuka’s Chronicle. He writes, “ Now in times gone by, Shriyya, a twice-born had planted * * * as it were, the creeper of his karma. On the approach of winter * * * it was watered by the good Brahman Nirmalakanha. Then a the time of the melechha oppression, Kanthabhata and others held a council and was able to avert the disgrace, which such oppression begets. Khujja Mir Ahmada, on the other hand, by devoting his life to the service of Kacha (Kaji – Kanchan) Chakra and by giving him wealth, induced him, who was alarmed at the work of Niirmalakantha and others, to give him permission to act against them; and actuated bythe mlechhas, caused them to be murdered. …


… The oppression by the Mausulas (Muslims) which began in the time of the Saidas (Sayyids) was prominently enforced by Somachandra (Musa Raina) and was perfected by Kaka (Kacha0 Kaji) Chakra. See The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. J.C. Dutt,Delhi, 1986,pp. 353-54). Thus in the year A.H. 924/A.D. 1518) corresponding to 94th year of Kashmiri calendar, during the ‘ashura about seven to eight hundred infidels were put to death. 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 the sword. This is one of the major achievements of Malik Kaji Chak. (See Baharisan-I-Shahi, tr. K.N. Pandit, Calcutta, 1991, p.117).


Farsi histories of mediaeval Kashmir have, one and all, stated that Kashmiri warlords and elite class had no qualms of conscience in inviting a powerful foreigner to attack a local ruler or chieftain, wrest power and authority from him and place the same in the hands of one or the other supplicant. This has been the bane of Kashmir history from the times of Hindu rajas. However, during the intervals of deep and widespread chaos and confusion of mediaeval times, feudal lords and chieftains invariably approached powerful rulers in adjoining regions of India, to lend them military help.


With the advent of Muslim rule over Kashmir in A.D. 1339, the state and its administrative apparatus focused on two objectives, namely, to propagate and promote the new faith among the people, and to open the floodgates for the influx of large crowds of Sayyids, Shaykhs, Muftis, Peerzadas, Sufis, ulema, theologians, and mendicants from all over the neighbouring Islamic lands as far as Turkey (bilad rum), Egypt and Syria. Mediaeval historians of Kashmir vied with one another in highly exaggerating so-called spiritual qualities and attainments of the aliens coming to Kashmir and the local learned men having converted to Islam. A wretched, heretical atheist and misguided polytheist when converted, overnight becomes the luminous star shedding the light of faith, knowledge and wisdom all around.


The aliens, as hinted above, formed the elitist crust of the new society in Kashmir. It concentrated mostly in the capital city of Srinagar or a few prominent towns. Their direct rapport with the masses of people was minimal except in cases where a couple of villages were given in endowment to a particular Sayyid family. The aliens in such large numbers and their growing influence and power virtually created a super structure on indigenous social foundation. Ultimately it became the political powerhouse very much functional down to the present times. Thus the Sayyids, Shaykhs, Muftis, Peerzadas, Naqshbandis, Suhrwardis, Kubravis, Baihaqis, Qadiris etc. claimed social superiority over local converts even if they were of higher status during the Hindu period, and had retained their Hindu surnames like Kaul, Pandit, Dar/Dhar, Raina, Bhatt, Bakhshi, and scores of them. It remains a visible social divide.


These large Muslim immigrants found warm hospitality not only from the rulers and their courts but also from the nobles, feudal lords and influential persons among the civil society. In recognition of their services to faith, which meant demolition of temples or conversion of a large group of Hindus to Islam, they were rewarded with formal allotment of a fief (jagir), which included several villages for their maintenance and support. In this way a new feudal structure of ecclesiasts, came into being. Although they were not supposed to raise militias and private soldiers as traditional feudal lords generally do, yet in perpetuating the new faith and in eschewing any chance of proselytising, this institution rendered yeoman’s service. With state support, this class gradually became the moral custodian of the masses of people. Very few beneficiaries of this institution actually resided in the villages given to them as jagirs; they mostly lived in the city close to the corridors of power and through matrimonial alliances established their links to influential houses and clans.


A difference that marks mediaeval Kashmir historiography from traditional Muslim or to be precise Iranian historiography is that by and large, Kashmir historians were not court historians. Nor did they exclusively seek the favour of feudal lords and chieftains. The reason is that unlike Iranian satraps, Kashmir chieftains had been thrown into a void in the continuity of their rich cultural traditions besides the lack of a lingua franca. Therefore, historians neither found favour with them nor considered them worthy of any service to the world of intellectual pursuits.


A word about the language should not be missed. Sanskrit, the language of ancient Kashmiris had lost its status with the passage of time. Owing to various reasons, it had degenerated into a local dialect (Kashmiri), which retained a large portion of Sanskrit vocabulary albeit mostly corrupted and deformed. Towards the last phase of Hindu rule, the Brahmans and the literati in Kashmir had evolved the Sharada script to represent the spoken language. This script originated from the Sanskrit script but after making some necessary changes in the alphabet, Sharada was claimed to represent the broken and half broken vowels of Kashmiri dialect. Thus in last two or three centuries of Hindu rule, Sharda was in fair use among the literate people.


With the advent of Islam, Sanskrit language was replaced with Farsi, and Sharada with Arabic script. For some time in the beginning, the use of bilingual scripts continued but ultimately Sharada was pushed out. Replacement of Sanskrit with Farsi was a direct onslaught on Kashmiri dialect, which had become popular around the time of arrival of the Muslims. Though local Muslim intelligentsia borrowed a large number of Arabic and Farsi words to enrich Kashmiri dialect, yet since Farsi was the official language, Kashmiri dialect had no chance of assuming the status of written official language. At the same time to the great consternation of neo-Muslim intellectual class, Arabic script was totally inadequate to represent peculiar Kashmiri sounds and vowels. They would not revise Arabic script, as that would be nothing short of sacrilege (Arabic is the script in which the Quran has been written), and they were loath to revert to Sharada script as that would mean reviving infidelity (to use the script of the infidels). Stuck between the two, Kashmiri language got stifled and was pushed to the background. It is no argument that lakhs of Kashmiris are speaking Kashmiri dialect. It may be so but it is incapable of producing any literature of merit. The power of a language should be examined in its ability to write history, which is totally absent in the case of Kashmiri.


To sum up this long exposition, we find that mediaeval Kashmir historians were mostly propagators of a new faith, which was not of local origin but imported by missionaries who, in turn, had been converted earlier in point of time. The true story of conversion of local people has remained untold. However, some insights are now available. Feudal system of Hindu period continued unchanged under the Sultans. Kashmir peasantry remained a neglected lot. In due course of time, the foreigners dominated the indigenous people and thus a superstructure of traditional Kashmirian society came into being. In these cataclysmic socio-political changes, the greatest loss to Kashmir was crippling the potential of their language and denying it a scientific script.


The End.


(The author is the former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University, Srinagar).

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