Chronological History of the Land of Kashyap

05 Feb 2018 14:58:09

Out of total 22,000 of Kashmir we today have only 16,000 sq. km. The remaining 6,000 is illegally occupied by Pakistan. The majority population of people in this Pak occupied area is Muslims. About 4 lakh Hindus have presently migrated from Kashmir valley. This area comprises of Srinagar valley, Lolab valley and Kishan Ganga valley situated on the basin of Vitasta and Kishan Ganga Rivers. People speak mainly Kashmiri language but about 1/3 of people also speak Punjabi and Pahari.



The History of Kashmir


'Rajtarangini' is one of the oldest works in which the history of Kashmir is written in poetic form. It was authored by famous poet Kalhan during 1149-50. Kalhan has covered the history from Raja Gonand-I before Mahabharata up to 1150 in 'Rajtarangini'. This work of history writing was taken forward by Jaunraj, who compiled the incidents till the rule of Jainul Aabedin. He died in 1459. After him Shrivar, Pragya Bhatt and Shuk wrote the history till Akbar's victory over Kashmir.



According to Kalhan, Gonand dynasty ruled for about 300 years. After them there were many rulers but the main was Emperor Ashok who established his kingdom in Kashmir in 273 BC. He established his ancient capital Srinagari, which was at a distance of 5 km from the present Srinagar. The influence of Buddhism also grew during his period.


After the death of Ashok the Maurya empire could not sustain, and in due course of time it was controlled by the Kushans who had come from Bactria and Afghanistan. The Kushan King Kanishka was a powerful ruler. He embraced Buddhism and established as the official religion of the state. King Kanishka also organised the fourth world Buddhist convention in Kashmir.

(The temples tell tales of rich legacy and refined sense of culture and art)

In the beginning of sixth century, Hun's commander Mihirkul invaded Kashmir and took over its control. After Mihirkul, the rule of Huns sustained only for a limited period. In the year 523 AD Durlabh Vardhan of Karkota dynasty became the king. It was in his time that Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited Kashmir and wrote about the vast areas covered by this state till the West and North-West part of Punjab. The king Chandra Peed of this dynasty had given a very befitting reply to the Arab invasion.


Lalitaditya Muktapeed took over the charge of the state in the year 724 AD. He was a brave and famous king, who not only conquered Tibet and defeated the Turks, but also expanded his empire up to Bengal. He also built the famous Martand temple in Kashmir. He passed away in the year 760. His dynasty ruled Jammu & Kashmir till the middle of 9th century.


It was basically due to the mis-gorvenance of the successors of Lalitaditya that their dynastic rule ended. After that arose the dynasty of Utpal. The Utpal emperor Awanti Verman became the king in the year 855 and remained on the throne for 28 years. Instead of expanding his empire, he focused on strengthening the administration and implementing welfare programmes. The state was at the peak of prosperity in his time. He set up the city called Awantipur and also built grand temples in the name of Awanti Swamin and Awantishwar. The prime reason of the prosperity during his period was milking of the natural resources and preserving the nature.

(Ancient temples of Kashmir mostly range from mid 8th century AD to 12th century AD)

In the year 1014 AD the emperor Jaypeed faced the attack of the Sultan of Ghajani. In the year 1339, Samsuddeen, the Shahmeer of Swat valley, became the king. He was the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. In the year 1389, Sikandar Butskin (destroyer of idols) from the Shahmeer dynasty became the king. He is regarded the cruelest king of Kashmir history. He, with the support of his Minister Malik Saifuddeen, committed severe and inhuman atrocities on Kashmiri Hindus. They destroyed the Hindu temples and idols of gods and goddesses and from the same material got built the mosques. 'jazya tax' was also imposed on Hindus and those Hindus who refused to embrace Islam had to flee the state.


After this, there has been a series of several kings and emperors who continuously fought for power. In the year 1540 AD, Mirza Haidar, the commander of Humayun, also invaded Kashmir but he was killed in the war. In the year 1586, Akbar occupied Kashmir by arresting the then king Yusuf Shah. During the reigns of Jehangir and Shahjahan there were formal relations with Kashmir. But during the year 1674-75 Aurangzeb tried to forcibly convert Hindus into Islam in the areas of Khaiber-Pakhtunkhwan. The Kashmiri Hindus sought the help from Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur, who told them to convey a message to Aurangzeb that if he converts Guru Teg Bahadur into Islam, all Hindus of Kashmir will embrace Islam. Following the orders of Aurangzeb, Guru Teg Bahadur was arrested from Malikpur in July 1675 and was taken to Sarhind, where he was kept for three months. Thereafter, he was put into an iron cage and taken to Delhi publicly insulting him. In Delhi too he was publicly and severely tortured for several days. Even after so many atrocities when he did not agree to embrace Islam, he was beheaded on November 24, 1675 in Chandni Chowk area of Delhi. This place is known as Gurudwara Shishganj today.


After that, Iftikhar Khan, the Subedar of Aurangzeb, forced a majority of Hindu population in Kashmir to embrace Islam. In the year 1752, Ahmad Shah Abdali of Afghanistan conquered Kashmir. The Afghans ruled till the year 1819. The Afghan rule was like the darkest nights for the Hindus who had become habitual of tolerating repeated tortures. During the year 1763-65 the state also witnessed Shiya-Sunni riots. In the year 1793, Meer Hazar Khan stitched many Hindus into sacks and threw them in the Dal Lake of Srinagar. The remaining Kashmiri Pundits escaped from there in order to save their life.




[This article is an extract from the book “Jammu Kashmir: An Analysis of Facts” authored by Sh. Ashutosh. Further chapters of this book will be covered later in a series.]

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