‘Kashmir’ denotes the whole state of Jammu & Kashmir as it existed before October 1947. Millions of years back enormous tidal waves arose from the Indian ocean and layer after layer of silt and rock deposited to make the Himalayan range of mountains. The rock formations seen today confirm this theory.
These waves brought water with them. The receding waters left infertile foothills and the shelving shores of inland sea, the lakes of Kashmir today . Kashmir was an expanse of water and the first people who ever lived had homes in water, and indeed some still do ! Islands of land surfaced in time and people migrated . Theories have been postulated to explain this evolution. A massive volcanic eruption made a crater in the mountains and drained the water. Earthquakes in Kashmir are common and the bye-products like ash from lava is present in mountains. Kashmir could have been a mighty glacier in ice-age and earthquake split open a gorge , ice melted and drained away.
In Hindu mythology the big lake (Satisar) was inhabited by Nagas (Snake people) who fearing the demon (Jaladeo) pray to Kashyap (The sage). The sage goes into long penance to deliver the Nagas. Shiva (Hindu God) came down and with a hard blow created a crater in the mountains and drained the water away to surface land on which people started living. There is also a legendary story about Kind Solomon using ingenious canalization methods , drained the waters, using human labor. Whatever it was which created Kashmir it has since been awfully serpentine, ruefully demonic and the natives suffered gusty blows from the mighty waves of mordant politics
Jehlum river , the hydaspes formed the Eastern limit of advances for Alexandra the great of Macedonia. He left behind a gene- pool of a big continent of his army. The God King, ferocious fighter died in Babylon at 36 in 323 BC. The fair color of Kashmiri skin may be attributed to that invasion.
3rd century BC Ashoka (296-232 BC) the grandson of Chandra Gupta, the Mauryan King made Srinagar the capital of his huge empire. The Buddhists ruled up to 8th century and left their culture and monasteries, especially in Ladakh.
Huns gained control in sixth century. Mihira Kula, a Hun prince was known as cruel as death for his cruel behavior. The Ujjan empire took control in 530 AD. The Hindu king Lalitya Dityas’ rule ( 724-761) marked an era of literature and learning. Kashmir as his base he led his armies deep into South India, Turkistan and Tibet. He built temples at Martand , Avantipor and Pandrethan which still remain. He set an example for Kashmir as an independent country.
King Unmattavati 939-944 AD was inauspicious. He ripped the abdomen of the pregnant women to see the fetus, plunged daggers in the hollows between the breasts of naked women. The saga of repression continued during the time of King Harisha 1089-1101 AD.
Pundit Kalhane the great poet of the 12th century wrote Rajatarangi (River of Kings). He wrote “Kashmir may be conquered by force of spiritual merit but never by force of soldiers” which, in present political climate may be worth remembering. The spate of literal tranquility was short lived , ferocious tartars ( 1300-1320AD) Zulfi Khan from Changis Khan family invaded and indulged in ruthless killing, loot and arson. He perished in a blizzard crossing the Devasar pass. Simha Deva and his associate Ram Chand ruled for a while but soon Prince Rinchen took over having killed Ram Chand and married his daughter, Kuta Rani. Rinchen converted to Islam and called himself Sultan sadru-ud-din and built the great Jama Masjid and Ziyarat for Bulbul shah who was his mentor. Rinchen died and Simbha Deva’s brother Udayadeva married the widow Kuta Rani and ruled for 50 days. Shah Mir a Muslim from swat and adviser to Rinchen was waiting in the wings and took over the throne. This heralded the ‘ Sultan dynasty’ which lasted 200 years.
In 1372 Shah Hamadan arrived from central Asia with thousands of followers and spread his message of Islam. People were converted to his faith enmasse.. In the meantime Shah Mir died and the throne was inherited by Sultan Skinder in 1389 who ruled for 24 years and destroyed idols and sacred thread (500 lbs) of the converted Hindus . The fifty years rule of Zainul Abidin (Budsha) which followed is known as the golden era in the history of Kashmir He invited artists from Iran and handicrafts boomed. His rule has been remarkable in progress, prosperity and justice. His rule extended to Tibet and Punjab. He built a palace in the island called Zainlank also made by him and inscribed on the edifice ‘May this edifice be as firm as the foundation of the heavens’ He married into a Hindu Raja family from Jammu.. His two sons fought with each other after his death in 1470 and lost the throne to Chak family , waiting in the wings.
Yousuf Shah Chak and his wife Haba Khatoon were ruling when Akbar the Mughul Emperor beguiled him and entered Kashmir on June 5, 1586 to rule for the next 166 years. Jehangir inherited the throne and became obsessed with the beauty of Kashmir. He and his wife Nur Jehan built 777 gardens and panted Chinar trees. On his death in 1627 he uttered ‘Kashmir only Kashmir’.
Shah Jehan stepped in after his father Jehangir and also built places like Chashma Shahi and his sons Murad married to a Kashmiri girl built the Island called Char Chinar. His eldest son dara Shikoh built Pari Mahal and Greystone mask still standing today. It was Aurangzeb who got the throne having beheaded Dara. In 1664 Dec Aurangzeb set off from Delhi for Kashmir , accompanied by his sister Roshan Ara. 100,000 horsemen, camels, elephants and cattle. He lost most of his livestock in the mountains. The Mughal era came to an end with the ferocious invasion of Persian leader Nadir Shah in 1739. He took the peacock throne and Kohinoor and left the Mughals in disarray.
It was the Afghans who saw an opportunity and invaded Kashmir. Ahmad Shah Abdali ruled in a ruthless manner, he ordered public executions and people drowned in the Jehlem river. Afghans built Amira Kadal, Hari Parbat forte. One ruler 18 year old Azad Khan plundered , killed and raped like a lunatic. He slit the stomach of his doctor for not curing his eye ailment. Abdali died in Kabul in 1818 , the sons fought and lost Kashmir to Sikhs. It was like coming out of the frying pan into the fire !
The Sikhs were invited by locals to get rid of the Afghans but the 27 years rule from Sikhs was a hell . People were stoned to death for killing a cow. A despotic rule which led to pestilence, destitution followed unfortunately by earthquakes and famine of 1832. Ranjit Singh the ruler never visited Kashmir but wanted , taxes, shawls and women. Gulab Singh a dogra commander won his favor by fighting the British. He was awarded Jammu as Jagir.
It was Gulab Singh who conquered Ladakh and Dardistan in 1840. Poonch remained with his brother Dyan Singh. Gulab Singh betrayed his old master and helped the British to defeat Ranjit Singh. British demanded a heavy fine to relinquish Kashmir. Gulab Singh offered to pay and Kashmir was sold to him for Rs 75,000, one horse , 12 goats and three shawls. One shawl and 100 goats also to be given every year otherwise Kashmir would revert back to the British.. This became the famous Treaty of Amritsar.
Gulab Sigh consolidated power and Dogra rule of a complete century was heralded. He was very cruel and sought to reconvert all Muslims back to Hindus. 1857 Rambir Singh took over and helped British retake Delhi after a mutiny. His repressive rule lasted for 28 years and was succeeded by Major General Partap Singh. Partap Singh was dominated by British and he allowed a resident and a revenue commissioner Walter Lawrence was installed. This was a great relief for Kashmiris, because inhuman laws like ‘Beggar’ or forced free labor and execution for cow slaughter was abolished. In 1889 the British took over direct rule for sixteen years , giving a breathing time of relief for Kashmiris from repressive Dogra rule. Soon enough Maharaja was reinstalled in 1905 and saga of autocratic despotic rule continued. Hari Singh was the nephew ( Partap Sigh had no son) born and educated in Paris. He became the westernized Maharaja of Kashmir. Polo. golf, house -boats and trout fishing became the norm in Kashmir. British missionaries like Arthur Neve, Cecil Tyndale Biscoe, Miss Mellinson became the pioneers of development and education in Kashmir.
Srinagar Silk Weaving factory strike in 1924 when Said-ud-din Shawl and Noor Shah Naqshbandi were expelled was an important landmark for the political renascence of Kashmir. They submitted a petition to Lord Reading the viceroy of India with their grievances . On 13 July 1931 nine people were gunned down in front of central jail who were protesting against a Jammu policeman desecrating Quran. This became the ‘Martyrs Day’ A school teacher Shiekh Abdulla formed the ‘Muslim Conference’ which he later converted to National Conference to include the non-muslims in the party. Several thousand people got killed by Dogra army. The British set up the Glancy commission to investigate. Maharaja caved in and passed the constituent assembly act. Now 35 out of 70 seats would be elected. Muslim conference still active in Jammu under Choudry Abbas got 14 seats. The ‘Quit Kashmir’ movement launched by Abdulla took off like wild fire. Repression intensified. “Srinagar has been transformed into a graveyard” stated Nehru ” I must go there” He was greeted with black flags by Pandits and arrested.
1947 sorting partition of India out Lord Mountbatten called a meeting of the party leaders on June 13, 47. Mr. Nehru said that no state can claim independence, but Mr. Jinnah said ‘that constitutionally and legally the Indian states will be independent sovereign states on the termination of paramountcy and they will be free to decide for themselves to adopt any course they like. They can decide to remain independent. In the later case they enter into agreements and relationships, such as economic or commercial, with Hindustan or Pakistan as they may choose’
Maharaja and his Prime Minister Ram Chand Kak wanted independent Kashmir. A stand still agreement was signed with India and Pakistan. A trade agreement with Pakistan meant oil, salt could be imported and communication link kept open. Sudhans in Poonch revolted and got slaughtered by state forces. On 22 October Tribals from Waziristan invaded plunging Kashmir in darkness. They were only a few miles from capturing the capital city when Maharaja fleeing for life allegedly accepted provisional accession to India, in return for safety of his life. Indian army was flown in on 27th October and a war ensued between india and Pakistan. This resulted in partition of the state and 50 years on it still remains split and divided. The accession document signed by Lord Mountbatten states that the accession is probationary and subject to a plebiscite confirming his action. It is this plebiscite that people were promised that has now caused over 50,000 deaths of Kashmiris.
United Nations got involved. Jan, 24, 1948 Mr. Warren Austen of USA suggested an interim government followed by a plebiscite. Jan 1951 Australian PM , Mr. R G Menzies proposed stationing commonwealth troops or Indo Pakistan joint force or raise a local army in Kashmir It was rejected by India. United Nations or two deadly wars did not alter the status defacto position of Kashmir dispute nor did the Nehru-Abdulla agreement of July 24, 1952 Abdulla , the serving prime minister was arrested and jailed. The reasons for this action are elaborated ( 15 points )
September,4 ,1965 UN resolution stopped the Indo-Pakistani war, culminated in the Tashkent Declaration of Jan, 10, 1966. POW’s were exchanged , but Kashmir was left simmering in the smoldering fire. One more Indo-Pakistani war erupted, this time in East Pakistan and culminated in the Simla agreement of July ,3,1972. Again after exchange of POW’s Kashmir was left to be discussed later , in order to arrive at an amicable solution.
As time passed people eg Shastri, Ayub Khan , Nehru, Abdulla passed away; Even Mountbatten , who would have been an important witness was blown up by the IRA in Ireland. The local people have now come out in open revolt and every day more people die , more homes are blasted, more women molested and dehumanization is a norm.
OVERVIEW OF KASHMIRI RULERS
KASHMIR IN 3RD CENTURY BC
The Imperial history of Kashmir begins in the third century BC with the rule of Asoka. At that time, Kashmiris became famous throughout Asia as learned, cultured and humane and the intellectual contribution of writers, poets, musicians, and scientists to the rest of south Asia was comparable to that of ancient Greece to European civilization. SADR-U-DIN
Rinchen, a Buddhist ruler, who was converted to Islam by a famous Muslim saint Bulbul shah and given the Islamic name Sadr-u-din, became the first Muslim monarch of Kashmir. He was considered to be the wise ruler, but his reign did not last for long.
KINGDOM OF SHAHAB-UD-DIN
Shabab-ud-Din who came to the throne in 1354 is the first great king of Muslim period. Shahab-ud-Din devoted his attention to foreign expeditions, conquering Baltistan, Ladakh, Kishtwar and Jammu. Shahab-ud-Din loved learning and patronized art and architecture. In 1361 there was a devastating flood, but the atmosphere of general well being prevailed. On Shahab-ud-Din’s death in 1373, Qutb-ud-Din succeeded him.
KINGDOM OF QUTB-UD-DIN
During Qutb-ud-Din’s rule, the pace of conversion to Islam increased. Muslim from west and central Asia, in search of refuge from the Mongols, arrived in Kashmir. The most influential among them was Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA). He came with hundreds of missionaries i.e Syeds, from Hamadan and other parts of Persia who preached Islam and made this land the land of faithful. Sir Aurel Stein writes, “Islam made its way into Kashmir not by forcible conquest, but by gradual conversion.”
KINGDOM OF BUD SHAH
After the death of Qutb-ud-Din his son Sikander took over the power in 1389. Sikander was succeeded by his younger son popularly know as Bud Shah (the great king) in 1420. During Bud Shah’s long reign, which lasted until 1470, the valley prospered both economically and culturally. With the death of Bud Shah, the dynasty of the Shah Mirs began to decline.
MUGHAL RULE IN KASHMIR
Attracted by the fame of Kashmir, Mughals made several attempts to dominate it but they always failed. It was at Hamayun’s ruling period that Mirza Haider Dughlat, a cousin of Babar’s mother finally succeeded in conquering Kashmir in 1540. In 1555, Ghazi Chak, bringing the end to the 200-year old dynasty of Shah Mirs, became king of Kashmir. The Mughal Emperor Akbar led Kashmir’s incorporation into Mughal Empire and ended the Kashmir’s long history as a kingdom in its own right.
JAHANGEER’S GLORIOUS ERA
Of all the rulers of Kashmir Akbar’s son and successor, Jehangeer, is best remembered for his love of the valley Kashmir. He ascended the throne in 1605. During his reign Jehangeer adorned Kashmir with over 700 captivating and charming gardens. Their names evoke the beauty of the place: Shalimar (abode of love) and Nishat (garden of gladness) are the two most famous.
FALL OF MUGHAL REGIME
Jehangir was succeeded by his son, Shah Jehan in 1627. He too loved Kashmir and the valley became a popular place of refuge for the Mughals during the hot summers. Aurangzeb, who came to the throne in 1658, was the last of the Mughal Emperors to make any impact on Kashmir’s history.
AFGHANIS ARRIVAL IN KASHMIR
Nadir Shah’s invasion of the seat of Mughal power at Delhi in 1738 had weakened their imperial hold on Kashmir. This in turn left Kashmir at the mercy of coming rulers. With the decline of Mughal power in India the governors of Kashmir became irresponsible and cruel. In 1762, in alliance with the Dogra Rajput ruler, Raja Ranjit Dev of Jammu, the Afghans attached Kashmir. When the Afghan leader, Ahmed Shah Durrani, died in 1772 Jawan Sher the Afghan ruler of Kashmir, set himself up as an independent ruler. Afghan domination lasted for little more than fifty years, but the period is generally remembered as one of the darkest periods of Kashmir’s history.
After the overthrow of Afghan rulers, the state came under Sikh rule headed by Ranjeet Singh. Ranjeet Singh sent Colonel Mian Singh Kumedan, from Gujranwala as governor to Kashmir. Considered to be the best of all the Sikh governors, he attempted to bring the valley out of the economic chaos resulting from the 1833 famine. Gulab Singh had been Ranjit Singh’s protégé for thirty years. When Ranjit Singh died, Gulab Singh, aged forty-seven, was well-placed to control events not only in the heart of the Sikh empire in Lahore but also in Kashmir. Until the death of Ranjit Singh, the East India Company had maintained cordial relations with the Sikhs; but after his death, the relationship soon fell apart. As relations deteriorated between the British and the Sikh prior to the outbreak of war in 1845, Gulab Singh played an important role, which ultimately helped to further his own territorial ambitions, enabling him to become a maharaja in his own right.
DARKEST DOGRA RULE
Under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Britishers sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh at a cost of 7,500,000 Nanak Shahi currency and hence commenced the Dogra rule in Kashmir. The Dogra rule in Kashmir is thought to be one of the darkest periods in Kashmir’s history. In this period the people of Kashmir have suffered a lot at the hands of Dogra rulers. The successors of Dogra dynasty after Gulab Singh including Ranbir Singh (1858), Partab Singh (1885) and Hari Singh (1925). The latter was the last ruler of the dynasty until partition of the Sub Continent in 1947.
In 1949, the Indian government obliged Hari Singh to leave Jammu and Kashmir, and yield the government to Sheikh Abdullah, the leader of a popular political party, the National Conference Party. Since then, a bitter enmity has been developed between India and Pakistan and three wars have taken place between them over Kashmir. The growing dispute over Kashmir also lead to the rise of militancy in the state. The year 1989 saw the intensification of conflict in Jammu and Kashmir as Mujahadeens from Afghanistan slowly infiltrated the region following the end of the Soviet-Afghan War the same year.
The situation considered by the UN Security Council, which established a special commission was described in UNSC Resolution 39, passed on 20 January 1948. Subsequent to the recommendation of the commission, the Security Council ordered in its resolution #47, passed on 21 April 1948, that the accession of Kashmir to either India or Pakistan be determined in accordance with an internationally supervised plebiscite. In a string of subsequent resolutions, the Security Council noted that the UN supervised plebiscite required by resolution #47 had not been held. Notable resolutions reaffirming the requirement for the UN supervised plebiscite include UNSC resolution #80 of 14 March 1950, which established a ceasefire line after war between India and Pakistan, and UNSC resolution #122 of 24 January 1957, which condemned the establishment of a replacement legislative assembly in Kashmir.
The Government of India holds that the Maharaja signed a document of accession to India in 1948. Pakistan has disputed whether the Maharaja actually signed the accession treaty before Indian troops entered Kashmir. Furthermore, Pakistan claims the Indian government has never produced an original copy of this accession treaty and thus its validity and legality is disputed. However, India has produced the instrument of accession with an original copy image on its website. Alan Campbell-Johnson, the press attache to the Viceroy of India states that “The legality of the accession is beyond doubt.”
Current Status of Jammu & Kashmir
Both Pakistan and India claim the entire Kashmir region to be their integral part based on geographic and political background. This issue has remained a point of contention between the two countries ever since independence from British rule in 1947. Both countries have fought three wars over the Kashmir issue apart from other localized fighting.