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R. SHAH TRADING CO.

A Wholesalers boutique for Kashmiri & Nepali shawls,Carpets, Copperware, Crewel & Indian Handicrafts.
 

History of Kashmir  

       

Jammu & Kashmir is the northern most state of India. It is situated in the heart of Himalayas bordering Tibet, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Indian states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The state is officially known as Jammu and Kashmir and is famous for its natural beauty. It has been referred to as the 'Paradise on Earth' by many Sanskrit poets and famous moghul nobleman Amir Khusro. Jammu and Kashmir can roughly be divided into three major distinguishable regions called Jammu, Kashmir and Laddakh. The state covers an area of 222,237 square kilometers. India’s highest peak in Himalayan region Mount K2 (8,611m) lies in Northern Kashmir which is presently occupied by Pakistan. A part of this region was donated to China by Pakistan. Approximately 65% of Kashmiris were Muslims when India got independence. The muslims and Kashmiri Pandits generally live in the valley. The remainder includes Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Dogra Hindus live mostly in and around the city of Jammu. In the Ladakh region, majority of the people are Buddhists and of Tibetan origin. Tourism was a great industry in the state, before insurgency started in the valley ten years back.

History

Kashmir is one of the oldest places mentioned in Hindu scriptures. Its considered to be a pious land by all Indians. From time immemorial Hindus from all parts of the subcontinent used to visit the famous cave temples of Amarnath and Vaishno Devi. The Ladakh region has many Buddhist temples and is long associated with Mahayana path of the buddhism which worships Lord Buddha as a God like that of Hinduism. There are many place of worship that are considered equally pious by Hindus and Muslims both. Char-e-Sharif is one of them which is also known as Nund Rishi's Dargah and disliked by afghan rulers of Kashmir who hated sufi culture of Kashmir and wanted to impose their savage tribal culture on them. Afterwards there have been Muslim and Sikh rulers also besides Hindus in this state .

It is believed that there was a big Mansarovar like lake surrounded by the mighty Himalayas. A demon had captured the lake and didn't allow any of the sages to come close to this land. A sage named Kashyap broke a part of the mountain and drained out the lake. The demon ultimately died without sufficient water to live and the land was again populated by the brahmins (or Pandits), the oldest settlers of this region.

Buddhism, first introduced by the Emperor Ashoka, flourished under the rule of Kushan in 2nd Century AD. However, Hinduism continued to be the dominant religion. Kasmir was the centre of Saivism for centuries. King Durlabha Vardhana founded the Karkata dynasty in the 7th Century AD which was replaced by the Utpal dynasty in 855AD. The Tantrins, Yaskaras, Gupta, Lohara were the subsequent dynasties that ruled Kashmir. The muslims ruled the state for the first time in 1346 AD when last Hindu king, Udayan Dev was defeated by Shams-ud-Din. In 1586 Akbar the Great added Kashmir to the Moghul empire.

Moghul emperor Aurangzeb decided to Islamize India as fast as possible, starting with Kashmir. In his renowned five volume History of Aurangzeb, Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar writes: "In Kashmir, Hindus and Muslims used to intermarry, and the wife, according to her father's creed, was cremated or buried whether her husband happened to be a Hindu or Islamite. However, in October, 1634, Shah Jahan forbade the custom and ordered that every Hindu who had taken a Muslim wife must either embrace Islam and be married anew to her, or he must give her up to be wedded to a Muslim. This order was rigorously enforced." The result was to turn the Hindus into Muslims by virtue of political power. In any event, it was still a 'slow' process from Aurangzeb's point of view. He wanted to turn the world into a Koranic world of Muslims only and those who still did not opt for Islam, had no place in the kingdom.

Aurangzeb ordered that every Hindu must become a Muslim under pain of death. He also issued a fiat that those who refused to be Mohammedans would be put to the sword and a wholesale order was issued to kill the Brahmins and collect their janeos or sacred threads, as proof of the slaughter. Aurangzeb demanded that enough Kashmiri Pandits were to be slaughtered every day, so that their sacred threads weigh at least 1.25 maunds. The weight of a single thread is very small and on calculation, it was found out that at least 25,000 Kashmiri pandits had to be killed every day in order to fulfill the requirement of the 1.25 maunds of thread. Naturally, there was panic among the Pandits.

Kashmir was conquered by afghan ruler Ahmed Shah Durrani in 1757. That was one of the worst time for Kashmiris. The Afghans were real savages and they looted raped and killed Kashmiris.

The brutally oppressive Afghan occupation was followed in 1819 by the Sikh rule. Maharaja Ranjit Singh defeated the afghan ruler in 1819 and Kashmir became a part of the mighty and just Sikh empire. In 1846, when the British defeated the Sikhs and annexed Punjab, Kashmir was sold to a dogra chief of Jammu Maharaja Ghulab Singh for Rs. 7.5 million under the Treaty of Amritsar. British accepted him as an independent princely ruler of Kashmir. Maharaja Ghulab Singh made Ladakh a part of his dominion. Maharaja Ghulab Singh was followed by Ranbir Singh (1857-1885), Pratap Singh (1885-1925) and Hari Singh (1925-1949).

When the struggle for freedom against British empire and princely state began throughout India, Kashmir also became involved. The Nehru family, originally from Kashmir, played an important role in India's struggle for freedom. In 1932 Sheik Abdullah formed the All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim Conference with a demand for a merger of Kashmir into India. His party was later renamed as National Conference in 1939 to suite the secular nature of Kashmiri culture. In 1934 the Maharajah formed a Legislative Assembly.

India was partitioned in 1947 and the new Islamic state of Pakistan was formed. According to the instruments of partition of India, the rulers of all princely states were given the option to remain independent or to become a part of India or Pakistan. Though the people of Kashmir protested in the streets to be a part of India as they were against the two nation theory of M A Jinnah, the impractical and ambitious Maharajah Hari Singh preferred to remain independent. In 1947, Pakistan attacked and occupied a major northern part of Kashmir. The Maharajah asked India for help offering accession to India in return. Eventually he signed the Instrument of Accession on 26th October that same year. Kashmir was accepted into the Indian Union with a special status guaranteed in article 370 of Indian constitution. Sheikh Abdullah was made first popular chief minister of the state

Pakistan continued its war against Kashmir and eventually had to fight India, as Kashmir was a part of India now. Heavy fighting took place in 1947-48 between the Indian and Pakistani forces in Kashmir. On 1st January 1949 a cease-fire was declared which created the first Line-of-Control.

In 1957 the state was, in effect, incorporated into the Federation of Indian States after a bill of this effect was passed by the elected legislative assembly of state under chief ministership of Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed.

In 1965, Pakistan attacked India over Kashmir. A cease-fire was established after the intervention of world community in September 1965. The Tashkent Agreement, on 1st January 1966, between India and Pakistan stated that the disputes between two countries would be solved by peaceful means.

Civil war broke out, in 1971, in East Pakistan and Indian forces were, again, fighting the Pakistani forces in Kashmir. A new cease-fire was called with the signing of the Shimla Agreement by Indira Ghandi and Z A Bhutto. The Shimla Agreement reiterated the promise of bilateral dialects and adopting peaceful means for all disputes including any in Kashmir. In 1989-90 Kashmir witnessed an upsurge of Islamic terrorism within its borders involving the Pakistani and Afghans. The state government, headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah, was dissolved and the state placed in direct control of the governor.

Summary of Important years

till 1325 AD: Hindu Kingdom
1325 to 1585: Muslim Sultans
1586 to 1752: Mughal Rule
1752 to 1819: Afghan Rule
1819 to 1846: Sikhs Rule
1846 to 1947: Dogra Rule
15 August 1947: Independent Kashmir
22 Oct.1947 : Pakistani backed tribal Invasion of Kashmir
24 Oct. 1947: Pakistan occupies one third of Kashmir
27 Oct. 1947: Maharaja signs instrument of accession to India
1949 : Indo-Pak War: Cease-fire.
1957 : Kashmir officialy declared an Indian state
1989-99 : Pakistani backed Terrorism
1999 : Kargil-Drass battle
1999 : Last General election of 20th Century

A Survey of Mogul Rule in Kashmir

The Mogul rule was essentially a military despotism, but not of the variety one witnessed during the regime of the Delhi Sultans who had preceded the Moguls. The despotism of the Mogul rulers, though military in character, was yet very benevolent. They did not remain content with only winning fresh territories or maintaining peace and tranquility in the realm, but were always solicitous for the welfare of their subjects. Praises have been bestowed upon them for their achievements in the domain of architecture, painting and other fine arts. There are yet others who have admired their liberal out-look and the spirit of religious toleration. But it goes without saying that the greatest achievement of Mogul sovereigns has been to free the Government from the shackles of theocracy. It was they who took to kingship as a profession and never boasted of being the "Protectors of Faithful" and so on.

They introduced political ideas into their administration and evolved an administrative policy which was strictly political and secular and never theocratic or based upon religion. They remitted Jazia, the imposition of which was based upon the fact "that since a non-Musiim cannot, in strict theory be allowed to fight on behalf of the Islamic State, he must pay for the support and upkeep of the army of the faithful who fight for the faith.'' The Jazia having been remitted, the Hindus in general and the Rajputs in particular were enlisted in the Imperial army. Even during Aurangzeb's reign Jai Singh was in command of the Emperor's Deccan armies. The strict interpretation of canonical doctrines did not in any way prevent the Emperor from following a policy which political considerations dictated.

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