Category Archives: Kashmir Sufiana

Supplication in Nothingness.

zikr e jaana


There comes a time when a man realizes that nothing is truth and absolute except God, the merciful. When there is no sky above, no earth beneath, and no hands left to cradle. All alone, left to shambles, in a ruthless mare’s nest. With all the certainty, this time comes in every person’s life, but alas! when this realization strikes most people tend to run over it, dump it to unseen, so they can escape this blue truth of life. Intoxicated with the pleasures of this ephemeral world. 

In such a state of nothingness, on a dusty and weary shelf, I caught hold of an old book co-edited by my grandfather. Flying through the first few pages, I came across a supplication by Hazrat Mulla Moin Kashifi (R.a), which is often recited in mosques and Khanaqah’s of Kashmir. I knew a few lines but to recite it in its totality was a blessing. Specially, coming to know…

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कॅशीर کٔشِیر कश्मीर کشمیر‎ RESHIYYAT


Reshiyyat, Mysticism and Metaphysics

From the perspective of perennialism one could say that the term Reshi is Indian way of referring to Logos, the Light of Muhammad, and the Christ-Reality. If the first Reshi was Ahmad Reshi and the latter is synonymous  with the pole of Existence, the Universal Man, the envoy of the Absolute  as elaborated in Sufi metaphysics then Reshiyyat is an integral tradition and formulation of the Sanatana Dharma, the primordial Din, the Sophia perennis, javidaan khird.  This makes it truly universalistic. Reshiyyat’s history  doesn’t extend only to 4000 years as some have argued but to all eternity, to preeternity.  Specifying Muhammad as the first Reshi is not to restrict Reshiyyat to post-Islamic period. In fact the Prophet’s name is Ahmed in heaven in Islamic tradition.  Sheikh Nuruddin’s specification of the name as Ahmed Reshi seems to be an allusion to this heavenly or timeless transhistorical Muhammad. It is also established that Reshiyyat in Kashmir predates the birth of the Prophet of Islam. The Reshi’s journey is from pre-eternity to post-eternity and we are all, willy nilly summoned to take this great expedition. We are all fellow travelers on the path of Reshiyyat because to be a Reshi  is to be concerned, ultimately concerned with our Ground of Being, which is none other than God who is none other  the Self, the ideal pole of man.
What is common between Buddhism, Saivism, Tantricism and Sufism is the religious experience, the fruit of which is the peace that passeth all understanding. The path is transcendence of ego to realize the Infinite, the Unconditioned. Theologies are only different conceptual schemes to make sense of the religious experiences of the prophets and saints and are dispensable. Metaphysics which is the science of the supraphenomenal, the science of the Infinite and the Unconditioned transcends the theologies as it speaks of direct vision or gnosis (irfan). It is non-dualistic and takes Absolute or Godhead rather than the personal God of theology as the Ultimate Reality. Enlightenment/deliverance/ gnosis/ vision of God or the kingdom of God dissolves all questions that conceptual intellect raises. Theologies and forms are transcended as their supraformal referent and ground is realized. The great end is not merely mystical realization but metaphysical realization where the there is no limitation of finitude or individuality and knowing and being are merged as subject-object duality is finally transcended. Transcendence of the desiring self is the unifying element of all traditional religions. Perennialists convincingly argue that that there is no important difference between different mystical paths which constitute the inner reality of all religions. There can’t be any difference in the fruit either. They claim to derive logical conclusion from the Quranic verses that speak of the universality of revelation and ad-Deen and that describe the Quran as the testifier of previous revelations. Tawhid, Sufistically interpreted as ‘There is no truth but Truth or there is no reality but Reality,’ is seen to be the essence of all religious and mystical traditions. Iqbal’s description of the Prophet in such verses as Lowh b tou, kalm bi tou, tera wujood alkitab, Aayai Kaiyinat ka main-i- dareyaab tou/ niklae teri talash mai kafla haay rang-o boo, Nigahi isq-o- masti mai wahi awwal wahi aakhir approximates the metaphysical understanding of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings – the very name Muhammad means the praised one. Organized ritual blessing on him is a practice in vogue in Kashmir. Praising Muhammad is, metaphysically speaking, praising and blessing Existence or Life. Durood is at root indicative of the attitude of yes-saying to life which could be contrasted to absurdist attitude of rebellion or nihilistic despair) that perennialists put forward in defence of their thesis that Muhammad is universally acknowledged by traditional communities. Muhammed, seen in mystical and metaphysical terms as the Pole of Existence, the Logos, the Principle of Manifestation, the positivity of existence, the envoy of the Absolute, the First stage of the Tanazullat-i-Sitta, the Praised One in the capacity of perfection of man, the ideal pole of man, the essence of Aadamiyat, the Light that was created before Adam, the revealer of Divine Attributes, the unfragmented integrated perfected manhood, the transhistorical or metahistorical or archetypal Muhammad is not denied by any integral religious tradition. Islam, metaphysically and mystically interpreted as the surrender of the finite self before the Infinite, the Totality, the Existence, is not a religion among other religions but the Religion. It is the religion of all prophets. Islam is not a set of propositions or a mere creedal system. It claims to be the Truth or Reality (Allah’s denotative name is al-Haqq) that is Manifest. Allah is the Manifest Truth according to the Quran. Islamic kalima is translatable in such terms that only a spiritually blind person who deliberately chooses to veil or cover the truth. Kafir, in the Quranic parlance, is one who denies the truth that is made manifest to him with dazzling clarity and not the one who denies certain theological proposition. The Quran is not reducible to theology. In fact it is not understandable in purely theological terms. Traditional Muslims have never encouraged kalam. At the stage of metaphysical realization the theological plane which is dualistic and inherently limited is transcended so that no question of exclusivist labels and identities is there. So the question whether Lalla was a Saivite or Muslim belonging to the theological plane cannot be entertained from the metaphysical plane.
Reshiyyat is not to be designated as a religion but as a metaphysic and esotericism that grounds different religions. This metaphysics assumes different forms in accordance with different religious traditions. This metaphysics forms the unifying element of all traditions religions. Religions are adaptations according to different human receptacles of the truths of metaphysics. Doctrinal content or dogmas of different religions are reducible to metaphysical principles. There is a difference between religion and metaphysics. As Guenon points out the metaphysical point of view is purely intellectual while as in  the religious or theological point of view the presence of a sentimental element affects the doctrine itself, which doesn’t allow of it complete objectivity.1
The fact that Reshi is a transreligious term and can’t be spoken of as belonging to only a particular religious universes means we have to see the underlying metaphysical truths that he comes to realize. Forms are relative; only the Absolute is absolute. Theologies are forms. The supraformnal truth that Reshi comes to cognize allows him to penetrate the forms from within and then at the same time transcend them. The fact that Reshis have arisen within specific religious traditions and have remained loyal to a particular religious universe disproves crude syncretistic view that dissolves forms as irrelevant. Forms are also divine though relative. They conceal an esoteric supraformal truth of which they are clothing. It is for the insider only that a journey to the centre of religious universe which is Godhead is possible according to the perennialists. Ad-Deen is the eternal truth that different sha’ria and theologies express and it is the later that vary across time and space in the history of religions. By virtue of crossing the dark night of the soul and attaining to the stage of haqq-ul-yakeen the Reshi or the Sufi is able to have unmediated vision of truth that ad-Deen is. A Muslim Reshi is born in the bosom of Islam and lives Islam but that doesn’t mean the truth in previous revelations is thereby negated but only relived in a different form. Reshiyyat is not approachable as a particular philosophical system. It because it refers to the Universal, the Unlimited can’t be contained in a particular system. Metaphysics, being the truth of Universal Principles or the Infinite and All-Possibility isn’t definable. One can’t make a system or ideology out of it. Only reason constructs systems or ideologies. Darsanas of Indian origin and Sufism are not philosophical schools in the Western sense of the term. So those authors who use such phrases as Reshi ideology, Reshi philosophy or Saivite philosophy misuse the terms. Western philosophy lacks complete metaphysics and is not what Plato meant by it: a way of life and love of wisdom. Philosophy in the primordial sense of the term that prepares one for death and assimilation to God as Plato said is not a rational logical abstract discipline only and is allied to gnosis, a way of life or realization of the good. It is not a prerogative of ratio or mental faculty of reason but of nous, the supraindividual universal faculty of intellect. Metaphysics, the science of supraphenomenal universal principles, the Infinite, that transcends all binaries and dualisms that have plagued the Western philosophical and theological tradition, and resolves all contradictions in the One, the Absolute, coincidentia oppositorum, is intellectual (non-discursive intelligence) rather than rational discipline and postmodern critiques are hardly relevant to it as it is not dualistic, “structuralist,” or to be identified with metaphysics of presence. It is not a mere theoretical rational inquiry but a realization, intellection or noetic vision that transcends subject-object duality and demands something like ethical discipline that Plato argued for. Platonic philosophy, understood as a spiritual and contemplative way of life leading to illumination or enlightenment; an intellectual discipline based on intellection culminating in union (henosis) with ideal Forms; his “Orphic”-Indian conception of philosopher as one who seeks release from the wheel of cyclical term  concurs with the perennialist understanding of metaphysics and Indian understanding of darsana. Reshiyyat is a philosophy in this sense and not in the typical Western sense.
Reshi metaphysics is not rational construction. It is not a totalizing system either. It is not a metaphysics of presence either as the Supreme Principle or Absolute in Buddhism, Kashmir Saivism or Sufism is not Being but pure Being or Beyond-Being or Non-Being best described as Void or Northing in Reshi literature. Deconstruction and other postmodern philosophies problematize rational metaphysics and theology only. Reshiyyat also doesn’t take a humanist view of self which postmodernism challenges. Postmodernism has indirectly helped to strengthen the realm of unreason that mysticism takes care of. Mystical traditions such as Reshiyyat transcend all thought constructions and the binaries of dualistic mind and thought. Reshi talks about the language of silence, of prelinguistic prereflective witnessing of phenomena and deconstruction can do nothing to discredit this “discourse” of silence.
History shows that mysticism in Kashmir has been the defining element of Kashmiri tradition and identity. Buddhism and Saivism are essentially mystical religions. Ritualism had been  questioned from the very beginning in the history of religious thought in Kashmir. Buddhism that coloured Kashmir religious  landscape before the advent of Saivism is strongly critical of ritualism. Saivist sages emphasized relativity and even dispensability of forms. Kashmir Saivism was especially Unitarian or nondualistic like Sufism that followed it.  Tantricism was  extreme development of  esoterical viewpoint that led ultimately to disregard of law. Muslim Kashmir’s greatest  sons have been mystics. Our greatest poets have been mystics. Our art is a reflection of our mysticism.

Reshiyyat: Key to Kashmir Religion and Philosophy

Muhammad Maroof Shah

Kashmir is traditionally held to be a sanctified or blessed land of the Spirit. Kashmir is indeed a pir-waer and the garden of paradise on earth if paradise is the name of saints’ dwelling. Kashmir as the fairyland of peace and contentment warped round the devotion and silence of the Himalayas, musical streams and limpid lakes is an ideal location for japa or zikr, for contemplation or meditation. It is no wonder that the history of Kashmir is a history of its saints and sages who have provided the life style and culture to its people. The valley itself was founded and established by a legendry mystic, Kashyapa who drained the waters of “Sati Sar.” He recognised the sacredness of the land and designed it to be the abode of saints. If there is any land where the order of eternity and the order of time, the heaven and the earth, intersect and overlap, where celestial lights illumine everything it is Kashmir.
Our aim is to argue that it is the mystic that defines the ideal of Kashmiri consciousness. Throughout history it is mysticism that has given identity to Kashmiris. It is not dualistic exoteric religion but esoteric or mystical thought that has been central to the definition of Kashmiri culture in all its different forms – Buddhist, Saivist or Islamic. If history is any guide to the determination of present identity then mysticism emerges as a strong candidate for it. Kashmiri culture has been and is mystically oriented. It has upheld a mystical or philosophical (more precisely metaphysical) outlook and not simply a religious worldview which could easily lend itself to communal or sectarian appropriation. Kashmir, historically speaking, has never been a theologically oriented culture. Its religiosity can’t be measured in terms of more conventional parameters and amazement expressed by many scholars regarding the Kashmiri’s lax religiosity is not difficult to comprehend. In this paper it is argued that the traditional mystical identity of Kashmir needs to be understood from metaphysical rather than religious perspective and that it could be deployed in charting a response to  a host of current challenges – social, economical, religious and  environmental. Mysticism has sample resources for us to squarely face the problems that bedevil  the postmodern West and a world condemned to live in the midst of divergent cultures and identities . So far there has been no comprehensive attempt to study diverse religious traditions of Kashmir simultaneously especially in relation to modern secular thought currents and exclusivist theological voices. In the absence of any attempt to apply by comparativists any comprehensive methodology to deal with divergent religious world-views  we have yet to develop outlines of what could be called as Kashmir philosophy. If the most important task of comparative philosophy is to understand common basis of different traditions as Ananda Coomaraswamy said we can say that Kashmiri scholars have yet to contemplate such vital a task.  In this paper the task before us is:
Identifying mystical/metaphysical basis of different religious traditions that have informed our heritage.
Attempt to argue for the centrality of the mystical in Kashmir religion and culture.
Salvage the mystical worldview of Kashmir against its modern day critics especially exotericist critics.
Identify misappropriations of the mystical in occultist and pseudomystical circles.
Critique  exploiting power structures that  trade in the name of the mystics.
I shall be taking a series of questions and attempt to answer them from the perennialist viewpoint to establish the basic theses that Reshiyyat is the integrating and unifying element of all the important religio-philosophical traditions of Kashmir and that the state of Reshi, identified as the sage or the mystic in less precise terms, is the ideal posited by different traditions. The thesis of the paper is that transtheological, transsectarian  and thus metaphysical Reshiyyat as Kashmir’s quintessential  tradition and its defining identity. Reshiyyat approached from the framework of traditional metaphysics unites diverse theological traditions without denying the validity of particular religious traditions. It is unfortunate that it has not been approached from this perspective so far and in fact there is no systematic presentation of Reshi metaphysics available. A lot of religious/theological, sociological and historical studies of it have been done but the profound metaphysical grounding of it has yet to be attempted. Understanding Reshiyyat from metaphysical perspective serves to foreground the essential transcendent unity of contributing traditions and help evolve a response to pluralism and multiculturalism that has become the reality of the postmodern world. The questions I shall take for discussion include What is Reshiyyat and its history? Who is a Reshi? What is the relation between exoteric and esoteric dimensions of religions? Could traditions be under threat from “rival” traditions and in need of revival.
Who is a Reshi?
How does one become a Reshi and who qualifies as a Reshi? The answer is a good Muslim or Sufi is a Reshi according to Sheikh Nuruddin. The Reshi is Sanskrit equivalent of mystic or inspired person, one to whom the vision of God has been vouchsafed. It signifies mystical consciousness which precedes or transcends diverse theological formulations or expressions. Reshi is a generic term for mystic or enlightened person or anyone who seeks to realize the esoteric aspect of his religious tradition. The fruit of the path that he follows is self realization. “Know thyself” is first commandment of all mystical traditions, Eastern and Western. Reshi goes on the great adventure to know this self.  The debate over Persian vs. Sanskrit origin of the term is hardly warranted in view of the fact that the mystic is a bird of lamakaan for whom these things hardly matter.  There has been an attempt by Hasan and certain other scholars to Islamize the term Reshi, its origin and the whole chronology that Nurrudin gives in his famous verses. This should be understood from the same perspective and we need not fight over the literal or historical validity of this Islamized history of Reshiyyat in Kashmir. We need to caution against confounding literal with the symbolic and historical with metahistorical and absolutizing the names and labels.  The Reshi, the sage, the self realized one, the inspired poet, is the image of primordial man or Adam. One becomes a Reshi by transcending desiring self or ego and becoming a mirror to Reality or God.  When the realm of the known ceases, when thoughts cease, when the mind is transcended, when carnal self goes, man becomes a fit receptacle of divine tajalliyat.  When nafs or hawa don’t speak, God speaks.  The Quran must be revealed to us for authentic existential response from our side, as Iqbal has famously said in his Urdu couplet.  The Reshi is name of a medium, an empty receptacle (where no fog of passions and mind obstructs the Unknown, the revelation to descend), a flute, a clean slate on which God writes with his own qalm.  One must be gone to be able to assimilate the mighty speech of God.  No earthly tongue can be vouchsafed the ability to utter God’s word.  The ego or the lower self must be annihilated so that only God remains as happened in case of Mansur. The Reshi passes away from this phenomenal world, as the Beloved’s word consumes him, burns him.  One can’t live (as the ordinary self) and know God.  That is what is the purport of the following verses of the Sheikh, the revivalist, the resurrector of Reshi movement in the 14th century A.D. “The reading of the Quran should have broken the flashy talisman of your life. In reading the Quran  Mansur annihilated himself.”  These verses explain the meaning and making of a Reshi.  God can only speak through man/ to man when man is no longer man in the ordinary sense of the term.  To let God speak man must be silent.  He must pass through that severe mystical discipline and control his mind and self.  It needs, to quote our Shiekh, “Consecrating life to the search for Truth.” One who “tighten the belly to learn (the virtues of) patience/Gives up his ego/ Contemplates Him in seclusion” could be eligible for the lofty station of the Reshi.  Shiekh Nuruddin, identifying true Muslim with the Reshi, explicates attributes of him.  “Who longs to live by the sweat of one’s mind/ Who shows fortitude in provocation/who shares meals with the hungry / who is obsessed with the idea of removing huger, who scorns anger, greed, illusion, arrogance and self conceit.”  The Reshi reaches  arsh by the load of his nobler actions and then only “the grace of the Omnipotent embraces him.” The Reshi is one “who remains humble despite his substance and sits  very low on the wheel of life.”  Consuming himself in the fire that the kalima generates and realizing the mirage of existential unity he finds the Eternal and transcends space.  The Reshi may be ummi or unlettered but by knowing the meaning of kalima which is “the source of all knowledge”, he appropriates all the essential metaphysical, eschatological and moral truths that are contained in the kalima.  The Reshi kindles the lamp of knowledge and religion as he realizes the essence of all knowledge contained in alif, lam and mim. The Reshi realizing the oneness of existence (what Shaikhul Aalam calls kunyr) radiates peace.  There is no “other” for him as he has realized unity by transcending all dualities and dualism.  His principle of nonviolence extends to all nature, inanimate and animate.  His Unitarian weltanschauung dissolves all exclusions and marginalization. He isn’t guilty of any epistemic violence.  He is one with Existence.  He makes no claims over and against it.  He surrenders to Reality and that is why he attains peace within and without.   Islam as another name of peace and non-violence and an ethic of social justice has been practically realized by the Reshis. For Nuruddin the Reshi is more a name of a consciousness than a name of particular historical or concrete personality and by virtue of that belongs to all of us.  We are all, by virtue of being humans, Reshis or Reshis is the making.  This world is the Vale of Reshi making and the Reshi in widest sense of the term is Spirit or its archetypal image.  The Reshi possesses the essence of all religious traditions and is heir to everything grand and noble in the history of humanitarian and mystical thought.  He sacrifices his desires for the good of others.  That is the meaning of his vegetarianism and faqr.  He has no self or ego and is epitome of altruism. To be a Reshi is a realization that mere creedal formulae can’t save. It is to be the object of one’s knowledge or belief. It is not merely consent to a proposition but whole hearted effort to submit to the Truth that makes one a Reshi. Becoming a Reshi is a process and not an event. It is lifelong commitment to follow a different life. It is not consummated at some point of time. It is lifelong odyssey. God is the name of perpetual creativity.  Life divine is an unfinished project. One never reaches God. God is a perpetual quest, unattainable ideal. Reshi life is a matter of choices that one makes every moment. Seeing God is the last luxury of life and very few can afford it. It costs one everything including one’s soul. It is idle to debate who is a Sufi or a Reshi from outside. Forms must be transcended according to all Sufis if one has to make the great leap to God. There is no address of the man of God. The man of God is trackless, traceless as Rumi says. One wonders how one can judge Sufis or Reshis on the basis of the world of forms which they have realized in depth and then transcended.
Reshiyyat, Mysticism and Metaphysics
From the perspective of perennialism one could say that the term Reshi is Indian way of referring to Logos, the Light of Muhammad, and the Christ-Reality. If the first Reshi was Ahmad Reshi and the latter is synonymous  with the pole of Existence, the Universal Man, the envoy of the Absolute  as elaborated in Sufi metaphysics then Reshiyyat is an integral tradition and formulation of the Sanatana Dharma, the primordial Din, the Sophia perennis, javidaan khird.  This makes it truly universalistic. Reshiyyat’s history  doesn’t extend only to 4000 years as some have argued but to all eternity, to preeternity.  Specifying Muhammad as the first Reshi is not to restrict Reshiyyat to post-Islamic period. In fact the Prophet’s name is Ahmed in heaven in Islamic tradition.  Sheikh Nuruddin’s specification of the name as Ahmed Reshi seems to be an allusion to this heavenly or timeless transhistorical Muhammad. It is also established that Reshiyyat in Kashmir predates the birth of the Prophet of Islam. The Reshi’s journey is from pre-eternity to post-eternity and we are all, willy nilly summoned to take this great expedition. We are all fellow travelers on the path of Reshiyyat because to be a Reshi  is to be concerned, ultimately concerned with our Ground of Being, which is none other than God who is none other  the Self, the ideal pole of man.
What is common between Buddhism, Saivism, Tantricism and Sufism is the religious experience, the fruit of which is the peace that passeth all understanding. The path is transcendence of ego to realize the Infinite, the Unconditioned. Theologies are only different conceptual schemes to make sense of the religious experiences of the prophets and saints and are dispensable. Metaphysics which is the science of the supraphenomenal, the science of the Infinite and the Unconditioned transcends the theologies as it speaks of direct vision or gnosis (irfan). It is non-dualistic and takes Absolute or Godhead rather than the personal God of theology as the Ultimate Reality. Enlightenment/deliverance/ gnosis/ vision of God or the kingdom of God dissolves all questions that conceptual intellect raises. Theologies and forms are transcended as their supraformal referent and ground is realized. The great end is not merely mystical realization but metaphysical realization where the there is no limitation of finitude or individuality and knowing and being are merged as subject-object duality is finally transcended. Transcendence of the desiring self is the unifying element of all traditional religions. Perennialists convincingly argue that that there is no important difference between different mystical paths which constitute the inner reality of all religions. There can’t be any difference in the fruit either. They claim to derive logical conclusion from the Quranic verses that speak of the universality of revelation and ad-Deen and that describe the Quran as the testifier of previous revelations. Tawhid, Sufistically interpreted as ‘There is no truth but Truth or there is no reality but Reality,’ is seen to be the essence of all religious and mystical traditions. Iqbal’s description of the Prophet in such verses as Lowh b tou, kalm bi tou, tera wujood alkitab, Aayai Kaiyinat ka main-i- dareyaab tou/ niklae teri talash mai kafla haay rang-o boo, Nigahi isq-o- masti mai wahi awwal wahi aakhir approximates the metaphysical understanding of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings – the very name Muhammad means the praised one. Organized ritual blessing on him is a practice in vogue in Kashmir. Praising Muhammad is, metaphysically speaking, praising and blessing Existence or Life. Durood is at root indicative of the attitude of yes-saying to life which could be contrasted to absurdist attitude of rebellion or nihilistic despair) that perennialists put forward in defence of their thesis that Muhammad is universally acknowledged by traditional communities. Muhammed, seen in mystical and metaphysical terms as the Pole of Existence, the Logos, the Principle of Manifestation, the positivity of existence, the envoy of the Absolute, the First stage of the Tanazullat-i-Sitta, the Praised One in the capacity of perfection of man, the ideal pole of man, the essence of Aadamiyat, the Light that was created before Adam, the revealer of Divine Attributes, the unfragemented integrated perfected manhood, the transhistorical or metahistorical or archetypal Muhammad is not denied by any integral religious tradition. Islam, metaphysically and mystically interpreted as the surrender of the finite self before the Infinite, the Totality, the Existence, is not a religion among other religions but the Religion. It is the religion of all prophets. Islam is not a set of propositions or a mere creedal system. It claims to be the Truth or Reality (Allah’s denotative name is al-Haqq) that is Manifest. Allah is the Manifest Truth according to the Quran. Islamic kalima is translatable in such terms that only a spiritually blind person who deliberately chooses to veil or cover the truth. Kafir, in the Quranic parlance, is one who denies the truth that is made manifest to him with dazzling clarity and not the one who denies certain theological proposition. The Quran is not reducible to theology. In fact it is not understandable in purely theological terms. Traditional Muslims have never encouraged kalam. At the stage of metaphysical realization the theological plane which is dualistic and inherently limited is transcended so that no question of exclusivist labels and identities is there. So the question whether Lalla was a Saivite or Muslim belonging to the theological plane cannot be entertained from the metaphysical plane.
Reshiyyat is not to be designated as a religion but as a metaphysic and esotericism that grounds different religions. This metaphysics assumes different forms in accordance with different religious traditions. This metaphysics forms the unifying element of all traditions religions. Religions are adaptations according to different human receptacles of the truths of metaphysics. Doctrinal content or dogmas of different religions are reducible to metaphysical principles. There is a difference between religion and metaphysics. As Guenon points out the metaphysical point of view is purely intellectual while as in  the religious or theological point of view the presence of a sentimental element affects the doctrine itself, which doesn’t allow of it complete objectivity.1
The fact that Reshi is a transreligious term and can’t be spoken of as belonging to only a particular religious universes means we have to see the underlying metaphysical truths that he comes to realize. Forms are relative; only the Absolute is absolute. Theologies are forms. The supraformnal truth that Reshi comes to cognize allows him to penetrate the forms from within and then at the same time transcend them. The fact that Reshis have arisen within specific religious traditions and have remained loyal to a particular religious universe disproves crude syncretistic view that dissolves forms as irrelevant. Forms are also divine though relative. They conceal an esoteric supraformal truth of which they are clothing. It is for the insider only that a journey to the centre of religious universe which is Godhead is possible according to the perennialists. Ad-Deen is the eternal truth that different sh’aria and theologies express and it is the later that vary across time and space in the history of religions. By virtue of crossing the dark night of the soul and attaining to the stage of haqq-ul-yakeen the Reshi or the Sufi is able to have unmediated vision of truth that ad-Deen is. A Muslim Reshi is born in the bosom of Islam and lives Islam but that doesn’t mean the truth in previous revelations is thereby negated but only relived in a different form. Reshiyyat is not approachable as a particular philosophical system. It because it refers to the Universal, the Unlimited can’t be contained in a particular system. Metaphysics, being the truth of Universal Principles or the Infinite and All-Possibility isn’t definable. One can’t make a system or ideology out of it. Only reason constructs systems or ideologies. Darsanas of Indian origin and Sufism are not philosophical schools in the Western sense of the term. So those authors who use such phrases as Reshi ideology, Reshi philosophy or Saivite philosophy misuse the terms. Western philosophy lacks complete metaphysics and is not what Plato meant by it: a way of life and love of wisdom. Philosophy in the primordial sense of the term that prepares one for death and assimilation to God as Plato said is not a rational logical abstract discipline only and is allied to gnosis, a way of life or realization of the good. It is not a prerogative of ratio or mental faculty of reason but of nous, the supraindividual universal faculty of intellect. Metaphysics, the science of supraphenomenal universal principles, the Infinite, that transcends all binaries and dualisms that have plagued the Western philosophical and theological tradition, and resolves all contradictions in the One, the Absolute, coincidentia oppositorum, is intellectual (non-discursive intelligence) rather than rational discipline and postmodern critiques are hardly relevant to it as it is not dualistic, “structuralist,” or to be identified with metaphysics of presence. It is not a mere theoretical rational inquiry but a realization, intellection or noetic vision that transcends subject-object duality and demands something like ethical discipline that Plato argued for. Platonic philosophy, understood as a spiritual and contemplative way of life leading to illumination or enlightenment; an intellectual discipline based on intellection culminating in union (henosis) with ideal Forms; his “Orphic”-Indian conception of philosopher as one who seeks release from the wheel of cyclical term  concurs with the perennialist understanding of metaphysics and Indian understanding of darsana. Reshiyyat is a philosophy in this sense and not in the typical Western sense.
Reshi metaphysics is not rational construction. It is not a totalizing system either. It is not a metaphysics of presence either as the Supreme Principle or Absolute in Buddhism, Kashmir Saivism or Sufism is not Being but pure Being or Beyond-Being or Non-Being best described as Void or Northing in Reshi literature. Deconstruction and other postmodern philosophies problematize rational metaphysics and theology only. Reshiyyat also doesn’t take a humanist view of self which postmodernism challenges. Postmodernism has indirectly helped to strengthen the realm of unreason that mysticism takes care of. Mystical traditions such as Reshiyyat transcend all thought constructions and the binaries of dualistic mind and thought. Reshi talks about the language of silence, of prelinguistic prereflective witnessing of phenomena and deconstruction can do nothing to discredit this “discourse” of silence.
History shows that mysticism in Kashmir has been the defining element of Kashmiri tradition and identity. Buddhism and Saivism are essentially mystical religions. Ritualism had been  questioned from the very beginning in the history of religious thought in Kashmir. Buddhism that coloured Kashmir religious  landscape before the advent of Saivism is strongly critical of ritualism. Saivist sages emphasized relativity and even dispensability of forms. Kashmir Saivism was especially Unitarian or nondualistic like Sufism that followed it.  Tantricism was  extreme development of  esoterical viewpoint that led ultimately to disregard of law. Muslim Kashmir’s greatest sons have been mystics. Our greatest poets have been mystics. Our art is a reflection of our mysticism.
Genealogy of Reshiyyat
Reshiyyat has been the Great Tradition of Kashmir from preIslamic times. The origins of the Reshi movement go back to pre-Islamic times in the Vedic period. The founder of the Muslim Reshi movement in Kashmir, Nuruddin Nurani (1377-1440), moulded the pre-existing Reshi tradition, transforming it into a vehicle for the spread of Islam, using local institutions and methods to make Islam more comprehensible  to the Kashmiris. After Nuruddin Reshi movement made deep inroads in Kashmir. Mystical ethos found newer expressions and continues vigorously in the form of Sufis and their shrines. Most Kashmiris are followers or admirers of some local Sufi.
The first Reshi, from traditional metaphysical and mystical viewpoints is Logos, the Pole of Existence, the Principle of Manifestation.  He brings into consciousness the archetype of God. The term Reshi should be seen as a “perspective, a standpoint, an archetype of certain dominant historical personalities and even dominant images, a way of looking at experience as a whole, a way of interpreting certain fundamental features of human existence” (Khan, 1994). Shiekh Nuruddin has used the term Reshi in this universal transhistorical and transempirical sense. This is evident in his famous eulogization of the ‘legendry’ Reshis.  He wants to convey something more valuable than an elementary historical definition of the term.  Mystical quest is perennial.  In this sense one could well argue that the Reshi movement didn’t originate in the 14th century but has been always there. Consciousness has no beginning in time; rather it creates time and history. The Reshi is the name of this consciousness. The Reshi lives in eternity, in timeless moment. The present author strongly disagrees with traditional historical approach to phenomenon of Reshiyyat which belongs more to metahistory than history and it is only metahistoric or transhistoric dimension of the Reshi movement that makes it perennially relevant. The origin and evolution of the Reshi movement  should be discussed in terms of its metahistorical archetypal image rather than in purely historical terms.
All the great names in Kashmir’s religion and mysticism which include such Buddhist sages, philosophers and kings as Nagasen, Mender, Nagarjuna, Kumarajivia, Gautama Sanghadeva, Punyatrata, Vimalaksa, Dharmamitra, Ashogosh, Varsobando etc. and suchKashmiri Saivite sages and philosophers as SriKantha, Vasugupta, Kallata, Prodyumna Bhatta, Prajnarjuna, Somanand, Utpal Dev, Abhinavgupta, Jayaratha are links in the Reshi chain.  Lalla connects Saivism with Islamized  Reshiyyat of Shiekh Nuruddin.  Great Khulafa (disciples) of Shiekh Nuruddin and Khulafa of those Khulafa and the Sufi appropriation of Reshi movement by Shiekh Makhdoom and from then on a galaxy of Reshis of 3rd period (Ist period is up to Shiekh Nuruddin and from him up to Harda Reshi is 2nd period and from then on may be labeled) as third period when Reshis modified their socio-economic structure by abandoning strict “monkish”  asceticism and began to earn their own livelihood) have been keeping alive the great Reshi tradition. The Sufi poets of Kashmir have been vital in preservation and transmission of Reshi message. Sufi poetry represents the essence of Reshiyyat.  Thus not only the great Reshis such as Bamuddin, Zainuddin, Latifuddin, Nasiruddin, Payamuddin, Lacham Reshi, Reshi, Rupa Reshi, Sangam Dar, Hardi Reshi and later day representatives like Shankar Reshi, Aali Baba Saeb, Rajab Baba Saeb but also great Sufi poets of Kashmir whose names are too well known are links in the great chain of Reshiyyat.  Intellectual and religious history of Kashmir is the history of Reshiyyat.
Islam and Development of Reshiyyat
We now take up the discussion of development of Reshiyyat in relation to Islam in Kashmir to foreground the centrality of the mystical in the whole process of conversion and consolidation of power by Muslims. The story of Islam in Kashmir is one of the most interesting stories in the history of civilizational dialogue. There is hardly any similar example in history of peaceful takeover of one religion and culture by the other. This feat became possible because of the role of Sufis. It is a unique story exemplifying Islam’s resilience and potential to appropriate alien traditions. It shows contours of interfaith dialogue in action. It refutes the dominant perception of Islam as monolithic exclusivist legalistic tradition. The story of Islam in Kashmir is an interesting case of larger story of cultural transformation brought about by mysticism. How mysticism approaches and solves certain important problems is illustrated in Kashmir.
We need to know historical reasons for the ascendency of Islam in Kashmir.  Saivism had lost vitality. It degenerated in the course of time as traditions do. No major thinker was produced by Kashmir Saivism after the 12th century. Spirituality had given  place to occultism. Buddhism had already yielded to dominant tradition and even adopted the latter’s many forms. Masses had been alienated from decadent religiosity and oppression of priestly class. Prof. Rattan Lal Hangloo has, for instance, argued in his The State in Medieval Kashmir that the mass conversion to Islam was facilitated by the then “Hindu society and polity” which produced “deteriorating social system, the broadening crisis in economy or political insecurity” (Hangloo, 2000).  According to him the spread of Islam appeared as an answer and solution to the “problem of injustice, disharmony and the people’s misery.” Islam filled the vacuum quite admirably. It was Sufism that was destined to play historical role in consolidating and revitalizing centuries of spiritual heritage. Mysticism has been the religion of man from the very beginning. It has adapted itself to diversity of forms. Men are programmed to worship God according to the Quran. There is no escape possible from God who is our Environment, our Origin and our End.
Mansur al-Hallaj, the famous mystic-martyr, is said to have visited Kashmir. It took many centuries, until the advent of Sufis from Central Asia and Persia, for the process of conversion to significantly transform religious and cultural landscape of Kashmir.  Islam won mass conversion in the 14th century and from then on it has been the dominant tradition displacing both the already enfeebled Buddhism and the decadent Saivism.
The thousands of years long heritage of Reshiyyat easily adapted to the Sufistic face of Islam. Reshiyyat got Islamized at the hands of Sheikh Nuruddin and his followers. Native thought currents thus got assimilated` in the new “synthesis” of the Shaikh, popularly called Shaikhul Alam or Jagat Guru. Masses didn’t feel alienated from their tradition in embracing Islam at the hands of Sufis and Reshis as Islam’s spiritual dimension converged significantly with the Hindu-Buddhist Unitarianm outlook. Ibn Arabi’s wajudi Unitarian version of Islam that Syed Ali Hamdani, the great leader of about 700 Sufis that constituted organized mission for Islamizing Kashmir, advocated could easily get acceptability in already monistically oriented mind of Kashmir. It has been amply demonstrated that conversion to Islam was either by Reshis or Sufis rather than state sponsored enterprise.
New life was breathed into the age old Reshi tradition by Shiekh Nuruddin.  He transformed it from the perspective of Sufism and gave it a social dimension.  As is usual with the mystics, hardly anything is known with certainty about his life.  And we needn’t know! One wonders why biographers and historians exhaust so much energy on these issues. The Sufi comes from nowhere and goes to nowhere.  Indeed from nothingness to nothingness is man’s journey.  God who is our Origin and End is both Void or Nothing or Sunyata (in the tradition of negative divine) and Fullness or Plenitude of Being, Goodness, Beauty and Truth or Truth, Existence and Bliss (in the tradition of positive divine). Only God is, man as an independent self subsisting entity isn’t.  Man can attain baqa only when he ceases to be, when he transcends his “I” or ego consciousness and only mirrors God by total surrender.  This is the essence of mysticism of which Shiekh Nuruddin is the exponent.  Body and details of its earthly career which subject of biographies are hardly of any significance from the mystical point of view.  So our historians’ obsession with the facts or concrete details of worldly life of saints is unwarranted.  What isn’t important for a saint because of his transcendence of all labels, all the coordinates of space and time that could be used to fix his position, shouldn’t of much importance to us also and our obsession with it creates such needless controversies as ‘Was Nunda Buddhist or Muslim?’ or ‘Was Lalla Savite or Muslim?’  These questions needn’t be asked and can’t be answered and even if answered by careful sifting of historical evidence, Reshi’s cause isn’t served – who essentially belongs to the supraformal world and not to the realm of nasut, to metahistory and not to history.  India, the land of the seers, never cultivated history as a discipline in the modern sense of the term.  To the extent modern man (and modernist Kashmiri historian) has lost the sense of the Sacred, the Immutable, the  Metahistorical, to that extent he is interested in prying in historical facts and details. We have, generally speaking, no biographies of saints available. We need not either. Historical life of a saint has not to do much with the essence of the thing for which  mysticism stands.  The earthly period of a saint hardly matters as he lives in eternity. The Spirit (which is the purely divine element in man as is clear from the Quranic verse nafiktu fir-ruhi as distinguished from soul) is never born and never dies. It transcends history and time completely. Our inmost reality is constituted by spirit. This is why, generally speaking, saints don’t care for biographies. As individuals or egos saints don’t exist. They are nobodies, nameless, trackless gone in the experience of fana. Only God is absolutely real; only God’s Face abides and everything else is annihilated and strictly speaking nothing is existent in the real sense.
That is why most modern historians (and this is true of G.M.D. Sufi, A.Q. Rafique and to some extent Ishaq Khan though the last mentioned takes great care to approach it from within and go against the orthodox rationalist historical viewpoint) can’t make sense of hagiological literature with its preponderances of the supernatural. It is modernist historians’ credulous attitude towards the myth and metanarrative of rationalistic scientism that makes him incredulous towards the element of supernatural in the lives of Reshis.  The present author is much pained to see misappropriations of hagiographical accounts of our Reshis in rationalist naturalist reductionist framework of modernist historians. Modernist Kashmiri historians’ representations/appropriations of hagiographical sources or miraculous or supernatural  element in the lives of the Reshis have serious limitations and sometimes we see gross distortions on account of their rationalist modernist assumptions. There is no space here to elaborate the point.
While analyzing the question of Islam in Kashmir from a theological viewpoint serious misunderstanding have arisen and scholars are still fighting over unresolved issues regarding the distinctive character of Kashmiri Islam or the relationship between Sufism and Reshiyyat, the religious identity of Lalla, communalist vs. secular interpretation of Reshi movement etc. A purely historical approach has led to unending problems for scholars of Kashmir Studies. There is a need to situate Islam and Reshiyyat in the context of pre-Islamic heritage of Kashmir by foregrounding metaphysico-spiritual dimensions of the respective traditions that have contributed to the formation of Kashmiri identity and culture. The theological as against the metaphysical approach adapted by communalists needs to be transcended. This will put in proper context the role of Saivite mystic Lalla vis-à-vis Islam’s emergence in the Valley. The origin and evolution of the Reshi movement  should be discussed in terms of its metahistorical archetypal image rather than in purely historical terms. Is Reshiyyat different from Sufism in the same manner in which Saivism and other religious tradition of Kashmir are different from Islam? Is Islamic framework dispensable in Reshiyyat as it developed after Nuruddin? The issue of religious affiliation of Lalla or Buddhist influence on Sheikh Nuruudin is also very controversial. How to make sense of popular perception of Sufi connection of this Saivite mystic? These and other problems are best approached, in the opinion of the present author, by taking recourse to insights of perennialist scholars which are represented by Ananda Coomaraswamy in India.
The story of Islam in Kashmir has largely been a story of Islamic mysticism or Reshiyyat as Islam entered the valley through the efforts of mystics called Sufis and Reshis. The legalist exotericist exclusivist version of Islam that attained dominance in certain regions in the world today could not take roots in Kashmir. Kashmir has been a pir-waer, the land of saints and it is mysticism which has been instrumental in determination of its  sensibility. The modernist rationalist historian or an exoteric exclusivist theologian can’t fully deal with the transcendery phenomenon of Reshiyyat, the former being uncomfortable with the supernatural ambience surrounding it while as the latter being uncomfortable with its inclusivism and sulhi-kul (peace with all).
Reshiyyat and the Question of Conversion
Another issue that has been subject of much controversy is Reshis’ role in conversion of non-Muslims.  This is also made more complex issue by sensitive issue of conversion itself.  For such scholars as Rafiqi the Reshis “didn’t go out to seek adherents to Islam as proclaimed “conscious missionaries”, like the immigrant Sufi and their Kashmiri followers.  Not did they act as “high priests” but as the saints who were willing to help the needy on the spiritual path.” (Rafiqi:). In contrast Khan credits them with primary role in Islamization of Kashmir.  Again esotericist or metaphysical perspective of perennialist authors could be used as a corrective to limitations of traditional historical scholarship.  It is a fact of history that despite their tolerance of other faiths and inclusivism the Sufis from Central Asia and Persia and the Reshis have been instrumental in Islamization of Kashmir. It is only in the integral tradition of a particular religious tradition the seed of mysticism grows and fructifies pace the belief of our syncretists and secularists.  Sufism is understandable only in the light of Islam. The question of syncretism and borrowing doesn’t arise if we understand what Frithjof Schuon calls universal orthodoxy of mysticism.  The Sufis/Reshis needed to preach Islam as an integral tradition so that the souls could be weaned for their spiritual growth.  Esoterism can’t be practiced in isolation from exoteric religion, despite what libertine mystics like Osho and Krishnamurti assert.  What I want to point out is that conceptual framework of our scholars of Reshiyyat and Kashmir history suffers from certain limitations, which could be redressed by recourse to perennialist insights.   Then only could the sensitive issue of conversion and the Reshis’ role in it be clarified and the process of Islamization of Kashmir understood in its proper context.
Orthodoxy of Reshiyyat
There is also not much warrant for doubting orthodox credentials of Reshi version of Sufism.  From the insider’s perspective there is hardly anything such as borrowing from any alien source. The form of spiritual practices and discipline don’t constitute the essence of a mystical tradition like Sufism.  Masters of tariqah know that in the path of enlightenment or irfan any practice or mode and discipline are substitutable.  It is only a saint like Nuruddin who can decipher the esoteric significance of exoteric dimension (sh’aria) of Islam.  There are as many kinds of spiritual practices and disciplines as there are men.  There is no such thing as orthodoxy in this context.  There is a lack of sound scholarship on mysticism and metaphysics in literature on Reshiyyat.  It needs a metaphysician and a mystic of the calibre of Frithjof Schuon (Isa Nuruddin) to clarify the question of origin, orthodoxy/heterodoxy and borrowings in case of Reshi movement.  It is the end of the quest or path i.e., enlightenment or irfan (gnosis) that is important for the mystic.  Paths, the practices and the modes of discipline  are variable even within the same silsilah sometimes.  These can’t be made the basis for labelling and categorizing such saints as Nuruddin and Lalla.
One can’t properly speak of Reshiyyat as Reshiyyat because “ism” has the connotation of an ideological system. However the suffix ism has now been used widely on even such non-ideological traditions as Sufism so we may retain the use of such terms as Reshiyyat but without understanding thereby that it is name of an ideology. One can say that Reshiyyat is not a name of some entity over and against different integral religious traditions. It is not a rival religious or philosophical tradition. It is the esoteric and metaphysical content of these religions.
The God of Islam is synonymous with truth (God is named the Truth in the Quran) and truth has infinite faces, aspects and layers. One can’t impose a version of Islam as orthodox and disqualify all divergent interpretations. The Quran and the Prophetic traditions contain inexhaustible treasures of meaning and are vulnerable to potentially countless interpretations. Purely literal understanding of Islam is impossible. Even an uncompromising Zahiri exotericist or literalist theologians is bound to resort to non-literal interpretation at certain places. All truths are mediated through our linguistic, cultural and conceptual filters. So labelling certain interpretation such as Reshi interpretation of Nurudduin as deviant or heterodox is to be guilty of what Lyotard calls meaning closure. Strictures of certain exoteric authorities regarding the Islamic credentials of mystically inclined Kashmiri people’s understanding of Islam reflect an imposition of certain totalistic and totalizing preconceived ideological reduction of Islam at the hands of these exotericists. Islam has not outlawed any interpretation as long as the frame of reference is the Quran and Sunna. Islam resists and transcends all totalistic ideological reductions because of its universality and timelessness.
There are some huge misunderstandings about the Reshis’ attitude to orthodox religious forms. For instance, the issue of Sufi connection of this Saivite mystic Lalla is a problem for exoteric authorities.  She inherited and organically fused in her own way Saivism, Upansadic wisdom and Sufism. Her transcendence of dualist plane is revealed by the fact that her religious identity is still a matter of dispute. The message of Nuruddin and Lalla is hardly distinguishable. Saivism comes close to Islamic metaphysical doctrines and Sufistic “wahdatul wajoodi” thought  and that accounts for Lalla being at home in either of them. It doesn’t regard phenomenal world as unreal but as the self expression of Siva, His poem, His art. It, like Islam, sees God both as Immanent (Shakti) as well as Transcendent (Siva). A Reshi is a bird of lamakaan and every attempt to circumscribe him in conceptual categories or theological labels that are derived from makaan or time is a category mistake. The realm of eternity is incommensurable with the realm of time. In God’s proximity all labels must drop as that station is attained only by the surrender of finite self and individuality before the Nameless Infinite.
One can loosely take Reshiyyat as Perennial Philosophy as it developed in India. Islam is simultaneously a religion and a metaphysic. So Reshiyyat as traditional metaphysics itself is part of integral Islamic tradition. As Sufism can’t be practiced outside the formal religious universe of Islam according to perennialists so Reshiyyat after Nuruddin needs the supposing framework of Islam. Esotericism isn’t realizable in religious vacuum despite the assertion of libertine mystics to the contrary. Without the background particular religious forms Reshiyyat becomes almost impossible to become a concrete reality. One can loosely say that Reshiyyat as tariqat is the fruit of sha’ria. Over and above Islamic sha’ria Reshiyyat has no inalienable doctrinal or practical principle. Reshiyyat is Kashmiri version of Sufism and if it appropriates and accommodates influence of certain local or indigenous practices it is in keeping with the principle that in every age Sufism needs new formulations and adaptations in consonance with the spirit of that age. Kashmir’s collective unconscious, its archetypal inheritance necessarily needs to be taken into consideration when a spiritual genius such as Nuruddin wishes to Islamize it. Reshi version of Islamic Sufism is the best creative adaptation of Islam with religious universe of Kashmir that had moulded it from centuries. Local context has always affected the expression of the “alien” religious tradition. Such praiseworthy innovations as the  practices of loud recitation of durood and awrad in Kashmir make smooth assimilation and penetration of “alien” religious universe possible.
Limitations of Historical Approach to Reshiyyat
No purely historical approach will be able to clarify what Reshiyyat is and make sense of its diverse and rich literature. Only the shell of Reshiyyat enters history. That is why our historians have created more controversies than they have been able to resolve. The core of Reshiyyat which consists of ineffable experience of God can’t be philosophically, theologically or historically approached and analyzed. The Life of Sprit which Reshiyyat actualizes is living life in a spirit of detachment, as a witnessing self. The Spirit transcends all the humdrum of life. It watches and watches without identifying with any of life’s actions and experiences. The philosophy of actionless action or wu wei wei is what mystics or Reshis advocate. The Reshi transcends mind and lives in the space of no-mind as God is revealed only when we transcend time and mind. A purely historical approach that gives much importance to the life lived in time and the life of mind can’t do justice to such a person such as Reshi and his thought that transcends all discursive thought. Authentic life or the life of freedom in mystical perspective is possible only when one transcends ego and the dualistic plane of action, the fret and fever of the life of mind. The joy that the Reshi finds in God is expressed either through dance as in Lalla or in aesthetic contemplation or poetry of love and bliss or in selfless service. What is visible to the historian from the life of Reshi is only a surface or outward face of it.
Reshiyyat does enter history as an institution in a particular spatio-tempioral setting which, however, is to be differentiated from the eternal essence of religion or mysticism. We must not confound the eternal and the temporal dimensions of the Reshi movement. For the temporal setting historical and phenomenological approaches do have ample relevance but must caution against the reductionist tendency that is quite fashionable with modern academic disciplines. It is not a name of an historical movement that began somewhere at sometime in history. It is not in its essence a merely human thing. It is a celestial song, a celestial feast. It is celebration of love and peace that passeth all understanding. It is Kashmiri adaptation of perennial wisdom that is the common property of all traditional civilizations. The modernist rationalist historian or an exoteric exclusivist theologian can’t fully deal with the transcendery phenomenon of Reshiyyat, the former being uncomfortable with the supernatural ambience surrounding it while as the latter being uncomfortable with its inclusivism and sulhi-kul. From the perennialist perspective only a Reshi can authentically talk about Reshiyyat. Reshiyyat aims at self realization which is something very personal and beyond the jurisdiction of any categorical propositional framework. It can’t be discussed, analyzed, proved or refuted in the usual sense of these terms. It is too existential an affair to be handled by abstract philosophical theorizing. It is more akin to a love affair with the Absolute rather than to an abstract philosophy or religious ideology. It is a celestial song, a grand and life long adventure of spirit. It demands transcendence of subject-object duality and that is what metaphysical meaning of tawhid implies. It is a monologue of the Self, heard in silence. It is an unheard melody. It is not a matter of kal (talk) but hal (existential state or taste). It is a concrete living experience. It is synonymous with innocence of becoming and the repose of being. No categorizing conceptual framework could deal with it. Historical/philosophical analytical and ideological appropriations of Reshiyyat may miss its kernel. It is a matter of experience or realization and not of discourse or debate. It demands the whole of our life, a free response to the call from the Absolute.
Societial Dimension of Reshiyyat
Mysticism isn’t a flight into dreamy foggy subjectivity but as manifested in concrete historical milieu is Eternity permeating and informing time as supernatural order suffusing natural order, as heaven showering life giving rain on earth, as Presence transmitting and transforming our baser elements into gold.  It is deeply concerned with this worldly problems also.  It has a deep social concern.  The mystic doesn’t enjoy the solitary bliss of divine vision but like Buddhisatva is concerned with salvation of whole humanity. He returns from his cave, having reached the other shore after crossing the dark night of the soul, into the world of time and space, of evil and suffering, to transform it in accordance with his transcendary vision.  He celebrates mystery and beauty of life and shares woes and sufferings of his fellows and leaves forests to jackals and monkeys and caves to rats.  He in no way denies life or this world at the cost of the other world, but only uplifts it, transforms it. All these characteristics of mysticism are evidenced in Reshiyyat and its history.
Political readings of Sufism need to be cautiously appraised. Sulhi kul of Sufis is not passive resignation in the face of adverse socioeconomic and political realities. Though Sufism as such has no ideological commitments but it seeks realization of the God of justice. Sufi care of the self is not at the cost of the world of form and colour. Both Saivism and Sufism transcend the dichotomy of the sacred and profane and take ample care to beautify the world. Both are conscious of our historicity, our temporality. The world is not left to dogs. It is a belief of Sufis that rulers are first chosen in the higher world and monitored strictly according to divine standards of justice. Sufism need not be dragged into the service of one’s political belief.   Political appropriations of spirituality are at the cost of spirituality itself and always dangerous.
The Sufis have played very important role in the political life of Kashmir.  They have been informal advisors to kings. They have been influential in some important decision making. It is a widely shared belief amongst Kashmiri Muslims  that Sufis play key role in making and marring of the kingdoms. Most rulers from the great Budshah to Farooq Abdulla, the chairperson and former chief minister, paid obeisance to Sufis, living and dead. The Sufis have been, according to popular belief, closely monitoring performance of authorities in terms of rendering social justice.
Mass Appeal of Sufism
Reshi/Sufi thought has deeply impacted on the development of artistic and literary culture of Kashmir. Sufism has become an integral part of Kashmiri artistic sensibility.  Most of the great names in the history of Kashmir Sufism have been great poets. There exists a strong oral literary tradition amongst Sufis. Most Sufis and their students remember  great number of verses by heart and routinely sing Sufi poetry in sama gatherings.  There are numerous Sufi poets in Kashmir. Almost every Sufi writes poetry as if the latter  is a spontaneous expression of a heart tuned to the divine. Sufism has shaped Kashmiri music and given rise to a distinct brand of classical music in Kashmir called Sufiana music All great names in Kashmir literature, until recent times,  have been either Reshis or influenced by Reshiyyat. Poetry in Kashmir is either mystic poetry or sort of romantic poetry that we can subsume under the head of mysticism. Many Kashmiris believe that Habba Khatoon wasn’t married to Yusuf Shah and that their relationship was spiritual or platonic. Even modern poets such as  Mehjoor, Rahi and Kamil  couldn’t afford to extricate themselves from Sufi influences. We need not to be surprised that a mystic verse occurs all of a sudden in their romantic poems. Legends and myths too have been appropriated in mystical terms e.g., five Kashmiri mystic poets have versified the folk story of “Aka-Nandun” and appropriated mystic themes in it. The same is the case with “Heemal Naagraj.” The Gulrez of Maqbool Shah Kralwari, the “Bakawali” of Lassa Khan Fida and such mathnavis and narrative poems as “Heemal Nagraj” appear love poems when superficially read but are “essentially a journey from an outer world towards the inner.” The poet is called gwanimath – a word charged with mystic connotations. Didacticism and certain artistic lacunae don’t generally mar the merit of great mystical poetry of Kashmir.
Sufism in Kashmir embodies one of the most interesting experiments in world spirituality. Here is a test case for integration of different traditions. Reshiyyat appropriates the  central insights of four different religions of the world. It expresses the metaphysical core of all religions. Though Reshiyyat no longer survives in the form of a movement it continues to live in and impact essentially Sufistic tradition of Kashmir. The shrine of Nuruddin is still the most respected shrine of Kashmir. Nuuddin is called Alamdar or standard bearer of Kashmir. There is hardly any room for any sectarian or fundamentalist outlook in a predominantly Sufistic culture. But the unfortunate political legacy has precipitated certain communal problems which have been misappropriated by political forces.
Walter Lawrence wrote about Kashmir in his famous The Valley of Kashmir that no niche is without a shrine here. It may well be said that Sufism is today the most popular tradition in Kashmir. It has resisted all attacks and campaigns from legalistic theological schools in recent years. Almost every Kashmiri is a Sufi in  making. Sufi gatherings and festivals are spread round the year. Kashmir’s prayer food culture, niyaz culture and shrine culture all testify to the deep influence of Sufism. Kashmir is traditionally called as a land of mystics (pir waer). Here even many mentally deranged people are respected because suspected to be majzoob Sufis. Most families have a family saint. Though newer generations are critical of antinomian tendencies in some Sufis and of pseudoSufis for promoting polytheistic interpretation of Sufism. However the fact remains that Kashmir culture remains an essentially mystical culture.
Perennity of Mysticism in Kashmir
Mysticism survives the change of religious guises in the course of history. The Quran makes it clear that God’s words can’t change or don’t change. The eternal element in religions that perennialists designate as Sophia perennis and the Quran subsumes in the notion of Ad-din  is the living element of mysticism. It ensures continuity of religious thought across millennia. Exoteric religion or the form of religions changes but the essence that forms seek to express remains the same. Metaphysics can’t change by definition. God is unchangeable. The Truth is timeless. Metaphysical foundation of all traditional religions is one as perennialists have demonstrated.  In Kashmir different traditions have been living and displacing one another and in a way continue to live in different forms today. In fact one may remark here that traditions hardly ever die in the course of history. They get transformed and their spirit gets adapted to newer vehicles. They continue to influence even after their supposed death substituting traditions. This point is illustrated in the fate of Buddhism in Kashmir.
Reshiyyat and Impact of Buddhism
Buddhism penetrated into the heart of Hinduism and transformed it from within so much so that the greatest Vedantic philosopher Sankara is accused to be a cryptobuddhist. Buddhism changed its guise and continued to flourish in Saivism of Kashmir. Similar remarks could be made and applied in case of Islam. Neither Buddhism nor Saivism died here. Their essential spirit and many peripheral practices  continued to be, in one or the other form, in Rishiyyat or post-Nuruudin Islam in Kashmir. Risshiyyat has appropriated key Buddhistic elements in its practice. A poem composed in honour of Buddha by Sheikh Nuruddin is ample evidence of impact of Buddhist tradition. Buddhist metaphysics of Void, its eightfold path, its four noble truths, its silence towards speculative metaphysical theological issues, its emphasis on orthopraxy rather than any particular view of Ultimate Reality, its pragmatism, its monkish culture, its ahimsa and vegetarianism all could be traced in Risshiyat of Kashmir in the Muslim period. Kashmiris continue to use, both consciously and unconsciously key Buddhist concepts and formulations in their discourse. Kashmiris blame their karma rather than any external factor or force for their suffering. Whenever something untoward happens he cries panien gunah, aamali baden hienz shamat (My bad karma, bitter fruit of bad actions). Many proverbs and folk stories have possible connection with Buddhism. Many traditional Kashmiris seek refuge in God and in Pir which seems to echo Buddhist practice of talking refuge in the Buddha. The world is described as a place of suffering by common Kashmiri (dunya chu tawan). Impermanence of everything is asserted by such common sayings as dunya chu napayidar, yaet kya chu rozwun(nothing stays long in the world). “Permanence” is attributed to Spirit or Absolute only, to Void in Buddhist terms. “Rozuwun chu bas tamsund naw”(God’s name or Essence alone is permanent) is a common saying in Kashmir. One can cite many more similar expressions used in different contexts of which we can find equivalent in Buddhism.
Kashmir remains a land of the Buddha despite centuries of oblivion of Buddhism. Buddhism never really disappeared in Kashmir. It impacted on deeper structures and in subtle ways on Kashmir’s history, religion and culture and its impact continues. It continues to live in Muslim Kashmir, not to speak of Leh etc. Contemporary Muslim Kashmir is not understandable without appreciating impact and living presence of Buddhism.
Islam in Kashmir is a fulfillment of socially engaged egalitarian Buddhist project rather than a new faith that negated the spirit of Buddhism and usurped its throne by force. Buddhism is not history here and its study is not of merely historical importance. It lives in archetypes and as a metaphysical and mystical darsana it can’t be exiled from the collective unconscious of Kashmiris. Of course its distinct identity may be nonexistent now but it doesn’t bother about its distinct identity. Wherever people attempt to conquer suffering and identify desire, the desiring self (nafsi amara) as the culprit) and seek the light (nur in the Quranic terminology) out of existential darkness that constitute samsaric becoming there Buddhism lives. Buddha will have nothing new to teach our Sufis and Sufism, properly understood and shorn of its theological dress, is living and authentic expression of timeless wisdom of which historical Buddhism was one expression.
Buddhism has a very sublime conception of tawhid, understood metaphysico-mystically. Originally it rejected image worship. It completely rejected anthropomorphism in its theology. It guarded against shirk so successfully that even now after centuries of development and even distortion Buddhism refuses to allow any human conception of the Ultimate Reality any validity and strictly advocates silence. Kashmiri Sufi poets have appropriated essential Buddhism in their conceptions of fana, devotion to Unitarianism, and sublime conception of divine transcendence. Qadir Sb Keyna is a Sufi poet who has specifically composed verses on void. “I am the Void, you are the Void/ What shall I speak of the Void.” Lalla’s vaakhs too have echoes of the Buddhist formulation regarding the Void. Nuruddin Reshi, popularly called the Sheikhul Alam (world teacher) has emphasized mingling of the Void and Shiva and thus foregrounding Islamic integral metaphysical formulations that take care of both the positive and the negative divine. Negation of all gods in Islamic terminology is what Buddhism asserts in its doctrine of impermanence of all manifested things. Kashmiri Sufi vision is strongly centred on this negative view of divine. A Kashmiri is fond of using tasbih and forms of collective meditation such as durood and azkar. Relic culture has Buddhist origins. Keeping photographs of pirs and parents and grandparents is a substitute for image culture which flourished from Buddhist times in Kashmir.
Though none can deny differences at theological plane the question is what differentiates Islam from Buddhism in such sharp terms at metaphysical or ethical plane. Metaphysical unity of diverse traditions which claim to be founded on religious experience of its founders has been amply demonstrated by various scholars, most importantly and most cogently and forcefully by perennialists. Theological differences when translated in terms of more foundational metaphysical or esoteric principles (of which theologies are distant and inexact or crude translations) get dissolved and can be easily reconciled. Let us analyze differences between Buddhism and Islam of which such critics as Harun Yaha make much fuss.
The doctrine of rebirth, anatta, absence of theism or “agnosticism,” different doctrines concerning hell and heaven, asceticism or world negation, which are part of Buddhism are found to be irreconcilable with Islam according to most scholars. But a deeper analysis of all these doctrines reveals remarkable convergence with Islamic doctrines. Here a very brief explication of these doctrines could be attempted in the following paragraphs.
There is no such thing as rebirth understood in animistic sense of transmigration of soul or personality in integral traditions according to Comaraswamy. God is the only transmigrant as Shankara put it. There is no reality behind the façade of ego/personality which could survive and transmigrate according to all religions. As long as man is trapped in the illusion that there is really a person So and so he is condemned to suffer and in the symbolic language of Scriptures to rebirth. Really there is no birth, no autonomous soul or self, no death. The Buddha taught suffering bred from illusion of desiring self and a way of escape from it. About the whither and whence of souls he is not concerned. His problem is salvation or conquest over suffering and ignorance. Islam too has not entertained discussion over  those questions which have no bearing on human salvation. Discussion divine Essence, destiny, eschatological states, origin of the world of manifestation are not encouraged. The only problem is correct knowledge or right view which leads to right conduct, to God or Truth.
The doctrine of annata is the integral part of Islamic conception. Only the Spirit, a transindividual faculty, the luminous centre of consciousness/knowledge is immortal or divine element in man. The body and  the soul are subject to sin and suffering. The Spirit transcends all the individualities of existence and is not liable to sin or corruption. The Spirit constitutes our buddha nature. Nirvana is a blissful experience because our Spirit is made of the substance of joy or ananda. Sufism ceaselessly talks about transcendence of nafs or desiring soul. The Quran asserts mortality of the soul (nafs) in clear terms (“for every individual soul is death” it says). All compounded things are mortal but the spirit is not a compounded thing. It is not born and death can’t approach it.
About the posthumous states there also is little difference amongst traditions. The final destination is no destination, the Garden of Essence where there is no separate individual desiring self hankering for pleasures. It is a state of utter contentment where Spirit comes to enjoy its eternal repose. Like parinirvanic state it is a state of unalloyed bliss. All seeking, all questioning is laid to rest. Nirvana is unimaginable as is the joy of contemplating God in the other world. Seeing God one is lifted above all cares and transcends all desires. Nirvana too is a state of cessation of desires. For the soul under divine tuition there are states and stations in hells and heavens according to Buddhism. Islam is in essential agreement with the conception of posthumous life on different planes. Hell is not the everlasting abode of any sinner. The flames of hell are finally cooled. Eternity belongs to God only and not to any created or manifested realm. God is the only Permanent entity. “Everything is annihilated and only God’s face remains” declares the Quran.
The question of theism/atheism loses its significance from the Sufistic metaphysical viewpoint. When doctrine of tawhid is approached as Unity of Existence the question of personal divinity is almost bracketed off. Personal God of Muslim theology is not the Absolute of  Buddhism and Islamic metaphysics. The former is in Divine Relativity and the Absolute transcends it.
It must be acknowledged that Buddhism is less open to the graces emanating from the world of hue and colour. Islam takes a more positive view of the world, of women and sexuality, of seculer pursuits. However Buddhism too, according to Mahayana school, declares samsara and nirvana as one. It too is compatible with worldly pursuits taken up in the sprit of detachment.
Attachment to doctrines, to rituals, to forms is to be transcended for attaining the ultimate goal. Buddhism has no quarrel with any religion, no truck with identity problem. The dispute for superiority of a doctrine or creed is vain from a Buddhist viewpoint thatis committed to no-view or transcendence of all views. Buddha is a mirror with no form of its own. It is the plain light of Spirit that shines inside all of us. Kashmiri Sufis have often used the metaphor of mirror for the arrived souls and for expressing the mystery of creation. The only significant question from Buddhist viewpoint is how free we are from the bondage of desires and attachments to perishing things. All other questions are secondary. Buddhism can enter into a dialogue with world traditions so readily because it has no views of its own to impose. Kashmir as a land of Rishis has been a land of Buddhist Reshis. Reshi movement of Kashmir has appropriated Buddhist wisdom and made it a part of Kashmir culture and heritage.    What emerges from the above discussion is that there is little divergence at deeper mystical-metaphysical plane between Buddhism and Islam. It is no wonder that Islam found a receptive audience in the Buddhist world.  I wonder why some Buddhist leaders of Kashmir  should be pained at Rinchana’s conversion and see it as betrayal of Buddhist community.
The Question of Identity
It is the question of identity of Kashmiris that has been hotly debated in recent times. In the light of perennialist insights this vexed issue could be resolved in a satisfactory way. We can’t write off any period of history or any of the major traditions Kashmir has been hosting in determining its present identity. Here we may turn to Reshiyyat and its revivalist Nuruddin who is acknowledged as the patron saint of the valley by both Hindus and Muslims. He is remembered as Sheikhul Alam or Jagat Guru (The World Teacher) by Muslims and as Shahjanand (The Blessed One) by Hindus. Reshiyyat that can’t be identified with or subsumed under any one historical movement or religious tradition and thus provides a transcendentally grounded identity. Nationalistic and religious appropriations of Kashmiryat (lately introduced term for Kashmiri consciousness and identity) are not quite warranted have been increasingly questioned in recent times. We must note that Kashmir’s identity can’t be defined in isolation from the distinct mystical and metaphysical ethos that has traditionally defined Kashmir. Kashmir has housed or appropriated most of the major world traditions. It has been argued that to its sacred ambience most of great religions and civilizations – Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim – have contributed. Reshiyyat seeks to transcend all local, regional, divisive identities perpetrated by various groups and to be grounded in the universal or cosmic or divine Reshi identity that duly encompasses and appropriates other identities as well.  Shiekh Nuruddin and Lalla, the patron saints of Kashmir, have emphasized transcendence of  all identities of self, caste, race, nationality and even religion taken in its exclusivist sense. In the Sheikh’s universalistic inclusivist humanitarian transcendental cosmopolitan vision of Reshiyyat could alone be true Kashmiriyat grounded. Kashmir has been hosting some of the most important world religions and has been largely unfamiliar with sectarian strife.  Its values of tolerance and non-violence are attributable to its mystical (Reshi) identity. Reshiyyat should be taken not in the narrow historical sense as a cult of Sheikh Nuruddin but in the wider sense as mystical dimension of Kashmir and that alone safeguards its universalism.
Kashmir’s resistance to all sectarian divisive identities and cults, to exclusivist fundamentalist dogmatic theological voices and to this worldly oriented secular visions that are divorced from the wellsprings of transcendence is attributable to its deep mystical ethos. It has been more interested in exploring inner landscape, in the great adventure of consciousness than in looting and plundering the neighboring territories. Believing in the gospel of truth and love it has not worshipped the Mammon of power and it has too readily succumbed to political subjugation from non-natives. Its cosmopolitan consciousness has assimilated Sayyids and Pathans, Mugals and Dogras. It knows no nationalism in the constricted sense of the term. Like India it has been a soft target of all imperialist forces. But it must be noted that the hell modern man is in is because the mystical gospel of love and compassion that has been promulgated by Reshis has been forgotten. In a postmodern globalized transnationalistic world only the kind of identity that mysticism gives could give us an abiding peace. All borders are becoming irrelevant and it is the renunciatory ethic that gives us transcendent grounding and identity that needs to be foregrounded.
Reshiyyat vis-à-vis Hinduism and Islam
It is also to be noted that Hinduism or Buddhism and Islam are not as divergent at deeper level as exotericist theological reading of Islam would have us believe. Originally every human collectivity has been blessed by the presence of prophets according to the Quran. Vedanta, Kashmir Saivisnm and Buddhism are not dualistic or polytheistic but essentially Unitarian or tawhid centred traditions if one grants Sufistic-metaphysical understanding of tawhid as the correct view of it in place of dualistic theological reading.  These are all Absolute-centric tradition and this Absolute is not to be subsumed under the theistic theology. At the level of Absolute (Zat) theism is transcended. Islam and other religions are not opposed in fundamentals of faith as all have originally been recipients of revelation in accordance with the Quranic dictum that all human collectivities have received revelation. Despite distortions and extrapolations in subsequent centuries it is still possible to unearth the core of Tawhid in these religions. Spiritually or mystically one can easily see how all religions are oriented towards God and none allows associating partners with God, the popular “polytheistic” idolatrous interpretation or mask of Hinduism not withstanding as it is quite heterodox reading of originally monistic/monotheistic traditions. Tawhid, according to the Quran, is the one message of all prophets and if we presently see anything that deviates from pristine conception of Unitarianism or Tawhid it is surely a product of misinterpretation according to perennialists. But one must first be sure that some doctrine alleged to be polytheistic/animistic etc. is really so. It needs great mastery in comparative religion to be able to understand different doctrinal formulations in different religions. There are few comparativists in the world, not to speak of Kashmir. Dismissive remarks and generalizations are too readily made betraying one’s ignorance of the traditions in question. Just one instance may suffice here. Abdul Wahid Yaha and  Isa Nuruddin, arguably the greatest metaphysicians and authorities on comparative religion in the 20th century, demonstrate that there is no pantheism, no idealism, no rebirth, no individualist subjectivist mysticism  as ordinarily understood in orthodox Hindu traditions.
Some critics here are needlessly apologetic about using the word Reshi by Sheikh Nuruddin. It suffices to mention that it was the Sheikh  who opted for this terminology and found no need of another term such as Wali for describing himself and his disciples. Had the Shiekh    adopted the strategy suggested by our critics which emphasizes differences instead of common points and wishes to prove that the advent of Islam was a radical break from the traditional past of Kashmir Islam could hardly have been firmly planted in Kashmir. It was great catholic, assimilating and appropriating genius of the great Shiekh to Islamize Reshi movement and it opened natives for Islam. Loud recital of durood, awrad etc. was another strategy to show Islam’s assimilating potential. Thank God Syed Ali Hamdani had no advisors to censure him for these “unIslamic” innovations as otherwise Islam’s diffusion in the masses would have been more difficult.  Our Sufi poets have appropriated pre-Islamic notions and allusions and nothing can be done to edit them from a supposedly Islamic perspective. Sufis are at home in different traditions and don’t feel Islam is polluted or in danger if one appropriates other than Islamic mythological or linguistic resources.
It must be noted that Sufism can’t be practized outside the doctrinal framework of Islam. The fact is that the post-Nurudin Kashmir is Islamic Kashmir that has already appropriated the best of spiritual genius of India. Islamized Reshiyyat appropriates, for all practical purposes, Buddhist, Saivite and other Indian traditional philosophical thought currents and is not to be construed as an appendage to them. By practicing Islam in all its depths, one practices all religions, as Abdul Wahid Yaha (Rene Guenon) said who wrote, despite being a Muslim, many greatly acclaimed and sympathetic work on Hinduism. We must not allow encroaching of Islamic identity of Sufism or present day Reshiyyat in the name of superficial syncretism. It is not for nothing that many of the greatest spiritual minds of the 20th century in the West became Sufis. Muslims don’t need to look here and there in the past for inspiration and metaphysics. Saivism, Buddhism etc. are to be read as historical religions in Kashmir and as independent traditions and not to be confounded with or grafted with or privileged in any sense against the Islamic context and framework of present Reshi thought. We need to respect uniqueness of all traditions and not attempt syncretism.
Some further clarifications are in order to put in right perspective the charge of Brahamanism against Kashmiri Muslims. Sufism isn’t to be confused with Vedantic Islam or Islam in Vedantic dress. Rumi’s or Ibn Arabi’s Unitarian (as distinguished from dualist monotheistic exoteric Islamic) perspective has also been well appropriated in orthodox terms. Islam has shielded diverse theological, mystical and philosophical schools in its history. Its tradition is far more catholic than usually conceded. The catholicity of Sufism is well known and if we grant that Sufism is indeed the esoteric dimension of Islam and not an alien growth on its soil we hardly need to argue for universalism or catholicity of Islam. Some passages of Ibn Arabi would appropriate even seeming atheists in the salvific scheme. In fact much to the delight of many ecumenists Islam transcends theistic/nontheistic binary. Islam is acceptance of truth in its widest sense. It isn’t an interpretation of truth despite the claim of exclusivists to the contrary. Islam doesn’t talk about truth but talks truth. It is witnessing the truth and that truth is the truth of Infinite and All-Possibility. The Quran identifies God as Al- Haqq or the Real. Truth has no face; it has infinite aspects. Whatever partakes of the Reality or truth is affirmed in Islamic shahadah which is translated by the Sufis and perennialists as “There is no reality but Reality.” Islam means surrender to God, Truth and Reality, for God is Al- Haqq.  It is too inclusive to be guilty of any exclusion which Foucault and others fear Thus Islam shields a great heterogeneity and the image of pure monolithic homogenous traditional Islam isn’t vindicated by its history, the protest from certain ultra orthodox sections notwithstanding. To be a Muslim is to be in a placeless place. He declares with Rumi (who is generally recognized by the orthodoxy as one of the greatest representatives of esoterism):
I have expelled duality from myself. I have seen the two worlds as one
Let me seek one, say one, know one and desire one
He the First, He the Last, He the Manifest, He the Hidden./Without Him and other than Him  nothing else I know.
I am drunk with the soul of love and the two worlds have passed from my hand
Further remarks seem to be warranted here for elaborating Sufi view of man- God relationship which has been misinterpreted by exoteric critics of Islam and Hinduism. The first premise of the doctrine of unity to which Rumi and the Ibn Arabi adhered is the vision of God in man, be it male (Shams in case of Rumi) or female (Nizam in case of Ibn Arabi) before which one feels one’s nothingness. It is after this vision of God, and love for it, that one strives to attain God Himself and finally becomes His vision, His proof (Ali), His testimony, Shahid (Hallaj) or His manifestation (Ibn Arabi), the perfect man. God and the world/man according to the Quran aren’t two poles apart. God is the other, the ideal pole of man as far as the latter is the Spirit or the abode of the Spirit (God having breathed the Spirit in him). Man as an ego or soul, as creature is of course not one with God. Ibn Arabi for whom God is the essence of all existence including man was nevertheless emphatic in maintaining that man can never become God and vice versa. Islam rejects hulul in no uncertain terms. It is only when the ego is gone in the experience of fana and only God remains that An’al Haq (I am the truth can be asserted). In fact this claim is made by the Spirit which is in man but is not his. The Quran’s conception of Unity perceives both God and the man as the two aspects of reality by underlying the apparent duality of God and the world/man on the one hand and their essential oneness on the other. This is best manifested in the Quranic conception of Jesus, who was a man like any other human being but he was at the same time the word of God (kalimatullah) or the one in whom God had breathed His own spirit (Ruhullah). The Sufi conception of the perfect man or Insan-i-Kamil also problematizes the absolutization of man-God polarity. The question of man’s relation to God is better approached from the Absolute-relative rather than the Lord-creature framework as the perennialist metaphysicians have argued. Theological controversies are resolvable at the metaphysical plane and it is losing sight of this point that has contributed to unwarranted dualistic polemical quibbles between Sufis and different theological schools and between Hindus and Muslims. The Quran emphasizes both God’s transcendence  as well as His immanence in creation (man/world). A typical verse in this connection is “Nothing is like Him and He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
How perennialists reread theological differences may be shown with reference to the notion of Avatara in Hindu traditions. As Schuon explains:

Muhammad was not and could not be an Avatara; but this is not really the question because it is perfectly obvious that Islam is not Hinduism and notably excludes any idea of incarnation (hulul); quite simply, and using Hindu terminology, which is the most direct or the least inadequate, we would reply that a certain Divine aspect took on under particular cyclic circumstances a particular earthly form, something in full conformity with what the Envoy of Allah testified as to his own nature…,
In any case, if the attribution of divinity to an historical personage is repugnant to Islam, that is because its perspective is centred on the Absolute as such, as is show for instance in the conception of the final leveling before the Judgment: God alone in this conception remains ‘living’ and all else is leveled in universal death including the supreme Angels, and so also even the ‘Spirit’ (Er-Ruh), the divine manifestation at the luminous centre of the cosmos (Schuon,1963:90-91).
For Schuon (Isa Nuruddin) Islam is the way of intelligence; it is simply objective perception of the Reality. Allah means Reality, Truth as such which both transcendent and immanent. Islam in its deepest meaning is ‘that which is everywhere’ And ‘that which has always been’(Schuon, 1963:104) and the Prophet represents both universality and primordiality (Schuon, 1963:104). Perennialist perspective conceives Muhammad as Logos, as pole of existence, as one through whom God is known, manifested. As a spiritual principle the Prophet is not only the Totality of which we are separate parts or fragments, he is also the Origin in relation to which we are so many deviations; in other words the Prophet as norm is not only the ‘Whole Man’ but also ‘Ancient Man’(Schuon, 1963:103). Thus to be as Muslim doesn’t require belief in a certain proposition, a certain narrative or an ideology. It transcends all linguistic and conceptual categories and thought constructions. Metaphysics isn’t absolutization of certain viewpoint or aspect to the exclusion of other possible perspectives. It is the vision of totality of the Real as such and this is achieved by transcendence of merely rational faculty, by becoming a mirror that will reflect the truth, the Essence. Intuition of the mystic isn’t subject to any critique such as that of deconstruction. It is prereflective prelignuistic apprehension.
Schuon explains the limitations of the theological approach and thus of all those statements made by exoteric authorities while appraising doctrines of other traditions.
The ordinary monotheist theologies are hardly capable of giving adequate account of theism, owing to the fact that they operate only with the utterly inadequate alternatives of the “created and the uncreated.” For these theologies there is only God and the world m the creator and the created, whereas inn reality, there is first of all the Absolute and the relative, and then within Relativity itself, the Uncreated Creator, not the Uncreated in itself and all creation… .The alternative in question could be transposed to the Divine level and the distinction between the “created” and the “Uncreated” expressed instead as a distinction between the’ “personal God” and the “impersonal Divinity”, and hence between “Being” and “Beyond-Being”( Schuon, 1963: 185-86).
Schuon doesn’t see any essential contradiction between Muslim and Hindu eschatologies unlike exoterism that finds them simply irreconcilable. He finds the meeting point between the monotheistic eschatology of Islam and Indian “transmigrationism” in the concepts of Limbo and Hell and also in the ‘resurrection of the flesh’ in which the being isn’t however invested with a new individuality (Schuon, 1969:139). Ananda Coomaraswamy, Schuon and other perennialists reject popular animistic conception of rebirth as do they reject exotericist conception of afterlife, of perpetuity of hell or eternal damnation.
Sufism and nondualistic Saivism are, from the perennialist viewpoint, subsumable under the rubric of common traditional metaphysics as both share the conceptions of Absolute and nondualism. Both advocate almost analogous schemes of descent of the Absolute towards the increasingly grosser or impure states of existence. Both share a realist ontology taking the world of phenomena as real rather than illusory as they share the understanding of Divine Relativity or Maya. We see affirmative transcendence in both of them. Both recognize the importance of diverse approaches to God realization. Both are against a renunciatory life negating ascetism as they believe in metaphysical transparency of phenomena. Sufistic Unitarian perspective harbours an epistemology that could readily appropriate Kashmir Saivistic doctrine of recognition or pratibijna. Both see man as microcosmos. Mystical disciplines or meditational techniques and spiritual anthropology and psychology in both traditions show a remarkable convergence. Exoteric/esoteric division and a respect for exoteric formulations are noticeable in both traditions. One can also discern convergence in metaphysics of Beauty between the two traditions.  However if we approach the two traditions from purely theological viewpoint certain differences are easily noticeable. Theology and metaphysics are confusingly mixed in usual expositions of Saivism. A lack of philosophical rigour in theistic appropriations of  Saivism is evident. Panentheistic reductionist tendency in most of modern expositions of nondualistic Saivism compromises orthodox or traditional character of Saivism. There is a need of approaching Saivism from the perennialist perspective to put Saivism in the proper context of traditional Indian darsanas. Dualistic schools of Saivism are to be seen as stopping short of pure metaphysics. We need to reject against fashionable uniformitarian syncretistic approach to Saivism and Sufism and attempt to situate them in their respective traditions of Vedantic and Islamic frameworks that respects their unique character and different theologies while also emphasizing their shared metaphysics.
Reshiyyat and Environmentalism
Perennialists have made major strides in ecological reading of the sacred scriptures. The great relevance of perennialist perspectives lies in pointing out metaphysical errors of modern man and science that have contributed to ecological crisis. However they have been compelled to lean primarily on premodern traditional civilizations while showing the concrete examples of practice of ecological wisdom. I think we could point out to Kashmir as living example of traditional outlook that concretely embodies ecological consciousness even today. A very important dimension of Reshi thought is its ecological consciousness and that makes it vitally relevant to the world that has lost ecological health. The Reshi’s aversion to causing injury to all animate beings including plants, insects and animals; their concern for conserving  forests; dissuading hunters from hunting hangul; personal care of pets, tamed animals and birds; planting trees throughout the length and breadth of Kashmir – all these things show how deeply  eco-conscious has been the Reshi movement.  Long before ecological crises occurred Shiekh Nuruddin had anticipated it.  Mysticism provides the only valid ideological framework for practizing sound ecology.  Kashmir has traditionally been ecologist’s paradise. How ecological consciousness has been achieved in Kashmir is a forgotten chapter of history of ecology and it is again our duty to present ecological face of Kashmiri Reshiyyat to the world.  Shiekh Nuruddin could well be proposed as patron saint of ecology.
Appraisal of Major Criticisms of Kashmir Mysticism
Kashmir’s mystical credentials have been questioned only very recently by some circles. Progressivist writers found fault with Kashmir’s mystical bias. More recently some exotericist theologians have questioned authenticity of Kashmiri Muslim identity as they believe mysticism to be alien to Islamic tradition. Sheikh Nuruddin has been seen as social reformer and preacher rather than a mystic. To these points one may reply that for good or worse Kashmiris are mystically oriented. I think it is for good in the age that swears by pluralism and is fed up with self styled advocates of God. It is gross misreading of the text of Sheikh Shruks and history to write off the mystic in the great Sheikh. Sufism understood as spiritual dimension of Islam is inalienable from it. Nothing in Islam makes sense except in light of this spiritual dimension. AntiSufi rhetoric is modernist heresy. It is good to censure excesses and perversions and misuses of Sufism in Kashmir but to reject the esoteric in the name of literalism and supposed fidelity to scripture is quite unacceptable. Sufism is the metaphysical face or even basis of Islam. History of Islam is largely the history of its saints and philosophers and mystically oriented ulema. The most illustrious thinkers of Islam have been influenced by Sufism. Islamic art and architecture is incomprehensible without the knowledge of Sufi symbolism. Kashmir’s arts and crafts express Sufi symbolism. From turban to carpets everywhere we see symbolism in work. No wonder the Dargahs of Hazratbal, of Makhdoom Saheb and of Sheikh Nuruddin continue to attract millions of Kashmiris today.
Mysticism in Kashmir has been attempting to obliterate class and creedal divisions. Shrines have been acting as public guest houses providing food and shelter to anyone regardless of class. Shrines act as cohesive and integrating centers. They are retreat centers. Today newer generations nostalgically recall their immediate past that is believed to incarnate certain values of simplicity, honesty, purity of conduct and thought which we usually associate with saintly life.
One may point out that class analysis of Kashmir society is yet to be made. But one needs to note that Reshis were not complicit with ruling class. Neither were they associated with the rich. It might be objected that they were parasitic on common people’s properties. This too is contravened by history. It is only recently that a class of beggers and begger priests has been thriving in the name of past saints.
Mysticism is a million dollar industry in Kashmir according to critics. Of course abuse of mysticism is a huge industry in itself but we need to note that mysticism contributes significantly to Kashmir economy. Shrines are amongst the most visited tourist spots. Local tourism is largely concentrated on shrines. Much donation money is with Wakf Board which could be used to finance thousands of welfare projects if steps are taken in this direction. The Board could well experiment with a variation of interest free Grammein banking or Islamic banking that could potentially benefit thousands. Prayer food culture is a huge industry in Kashmir that contributes to cohesion of social bonds as well.
There is a pir class, occultist class and the class of so-called majzoobs that largely exploit the name of mysticism and contribute to discrediting it in the eyes of many. A large number of social drop outs and parasites support their living by masquerading as mystics. Salafi onslaught against abuses of mysticism in Kashmir is not quite unwarranted. Illiteracy and gullibility of local people contributes to their exploitation at the hands of many dabblers in the spirit business, black magic and the like.
Mystic class continues to be among the most influential one in today’s Kashmir though some mystics claim that there is hardly any genuine mystic living today. Too many are masquerading as mystics as mysticism sells like anything and could be resorted as a means of livelihood by all kinds of charlatans.
Mysticism is the best antidote to communalism and sectarianism. Communal violence does flare up occasionally. But it is ironic to note that the religious group playing the card of mysticism (Berelvees) is also the most dogmatic in certain issues and highly rejectionist and exclusivist. There are few traceable or accessible authentic mystics and mystical thinkers in Kashmir today. The serious and systematic study of mysticism is yet to be a prerogative of any academic institution. Masses are either simplistic believers in claimants of mystical power or alienated from the founts of traditional mystical wisdom on account of propaganda from certain antimystical quarters.
Reshiyyat vs. Humanism
Reshiyyat is often labelled as humanistic tradition . This is incorrect because humanism is a loaded term that arose in the Western against theocentricism of traditional Christianity. Reshiyyat though stressing the dignity of man as a mystical and metaphysical worldview is an antithesis of humanism which severs all ties with transcendence and defies man at the cost of God.. It shifts the emphasis from Being to being, from Nature to man, from universalism to individualism, from metaphysics to science. It rejects heart in favour of head. In place of traditional pontifical man it puts Promethean Faustian man. Man is considered as an end in himself. It takes man for granted as he stands, and takes man the world of man’s experience as it has come to seem to him. Man is defined as or identified with  Ego. Science and reason are its idols. Supernatural or higher degrees of reality or vertical dimension is rejected by such different varieties of humanism as Huxley’s evolutionary humanism, Sartre’s existential humanism, secular theological humanism or scientific humanism, Marxist humanism. Humanism  in Guenon’s words  implies a pretension to bring everything down to purely human elements and thus to exclude everything of a supraindividual order. Sartre thus gives a representative humanist statement “There is no other universe except the human universe, the universe of human subjectivity… This is humanism, because we remind  man that there is no legislator but himself: that he himself, thus abandoned must decide for himself” It surrenders not to God but to human finitude and severes all ties with transcendence.  Humanistic theologian by identifying the Truth of God with this worldly truth degrades the essence of religion.
Contemporary Significance of Reshiyyat
Regarding contemporary significance of Reshiyyat which has been challenged by certain modernists it may be remarked that for modern man salvation and recovery of meaning could be possible only through the mystical. If theology no longer convinces and philosophy stands challenged from various quarters it is mysticism alone that fits the bill – it is no wonder that many (post)modern writers and philosophers are mystically oriented. Reshiyyat as a formulation of timeless perennial philosophy can’t be dead as long as man remains man in need of transcendence. Reshis have not been inflexible with regard to any dietary, juristic, theological, meditational prescriptions. No institutional framework is indispensable for practising mysticism. All of us who take transcendence or sacred seriously are Reshis or would-be-Reshis, to a little or greater extent. Man is condemned to be a meaning seeking or self transcending  creature. He is bound to transcend himself and look heavenward if he is not to be reduced to beastly status. God is the ideal pole of man. He is our “ultimate concern.” Any search for fuller and larger life, a more creative life, a more celebratory and more authentic life, is basically a search for God as God is really another name for Life. This is the purport of the Quranic name al-Hayy for God. God is our Environment (al-Muhit) as the Quran says. We live by transcendence and breath it. Transcendence is accessible through search for values. According to Plato anyone who chooses to seek beauty, truth and goodness (the three defining attributes of God) would qualify as a lover of wisdom or mystic. Man is properly called human only when he seeks to realize these values. In broader terms we can say that we are all travellers on the path (salikeen) of Reshiyyat. All travelers on the path of life who have faith in life and seek to beautify it are in a way Reshis.
There is something about Kashmir mysticism whether Saivist or Sufistic that  makes it quite interesting and relevant for modern man. Its attitude of affirmative transcendence, affirmation of world and life, despite its renunciatory ethic or asceticism characterizes Kashmiri mysticism. If Shiva is all or God is the only existent then by affirming life we affirm God. The body too is a temple of God and thus its needs can not be ignored. There is no escapism but positive acceptance of Immanent existence. “Don’t torment your body with the pangs of thirst and hunger/Whenever it feels exhausted take care of it.” For a non-dualist Reshi like Lalla there is no difference between “I” and the “other”(par te pan); immanence and transcendence, universal and individual; consciousness, subjective and objective reality being but aspects of the  ultimate reality  which is indivisible.
Reshiyyat is not dead or history; it continues to live as it has always been living in the unconscuious or preconscious of Kashmiris. It continues to inform our movement forward in history and every aspect of Kashmiri culture and spirituality. “Shiekh Nuruddin’s verse dominates preacher’s sermon at pulpit, it has been lulled on the strings of Sufiana musician, it along with Lal waakh devises the introductory tunes of light  music Chakri, it is quoted by the house wife  when the souring prices exhaust has small purse and it is usually quoted by common voters against the monkeys of such ruling cheques which misrule the country. The piercing sarcasm against Mulla retains its freshness.”  He is living in the language that he helped to shape.  One could well transpose the words of French president de Gaul about Sartre on him and assert, “Shiekh is Kashmir.”
Eco-conscious earthly “matriarchal” socially conscious world-view of Reshiyyat is presently being advocated as a remedy of so many ills that affect not only Kashmir but also the whole globe. The need is to interpret Reshi message in contemporary language. This contemporary language that postmodern man can understand is not the language of moralism or theology but the wordless language of mysticism. Only the religion of the heart, whose language is silence, is experiential and existential and is synonymous with selfless service of man could be the religion of (post)modern man and in the context of Kashmir what else besides Reshiyyat, which after Nuruddin is an adaptation of Islamic esoteric kernel, could provide it.  Sufism of which Reshiyyat now is a tested historical manifestation has the best resources to address our post-Nietzschean postmodern ages that claims to be posttheological.
1    The emotional element nowhere plays a bigger part than in the “mystical” form of religious thought. Contrary to the prevalent opinion he declares that mysticism, from the very fact that it is inconceivable apart from the religious point of view, is quite unknown in the East. (Guenon, 1945:124) “The influence of sentimental element obviously impairs the intellectual purity of the doctrine. This falling away from the standpoint of metaphysical thought occurred generally and extensively in the Western world because there feeling was stronger than intelligence and this has reached its climax in modern times.” (Guenon, 1945:125) Modern theistic appropriations of mystical experience by choosing to remain at the level of theology and not cognizing the metaphysical point of view (that brilliantly and convincingly appropriates such apparently divergent varieties of mystical and metaphysical realization as that of Buddhism and Christianity) cannot claim total truth as theology itself cannot do so.  And it is not always possible to fully translate metaphysical doctrines in terms of theological dogmas. Antimetaphysical anthropomorphism  comes to the fore in this realm of individual variations. Reshiyyat is thus misdescribed as mystical. However it has been almost universally used to describe it by scholars. So we may follow the accepted though inaccurate description while at the same time qualify it by foregrounding the metaphysical content of it and its supraindividual and intellectual character
Guenon, Rene, Rene Guenon, An Introduction to the Study of Hindu Doctrines, 2000 (1945) Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi,
Hagloo, R. L., The State in Medieval Kashmir, Manohar Publishers , New Delhi, 2000.
Khan, Ishaq, Kashmir’s Transition to Islam: The Role of Rishis, Manohar Publishers, New Delhi,1994.
Lawrence, Walter, The Valley of Kashmir.
Rafique, A. Q., Sufism in Kashmir, Varanasi, Bharatiyya Publishing House, n.d.
Schuon, Frithjof. Dimensions of Islam trans. T.N. Townsend George Allen & Unwin, 1969
Schuon, Frithjof, Understanding Islam .George AlIen &Unwin, 1963,
Wani, M A., Islam in Kashmir Oriental Publishing House, Srinagar, 2005.

Published as theme paper by the Institute of Kashmir Studies, Kashmir University (2010)

A Chronicle of Medieval Kashmir


A Chronicle of Medieval Kashmir


Persian Manuscript history of Kashmir

Chroniclers [1] of the rulers of the domain of Kashmir, while recording in Kashmiri language [2] the events connected with their rule and also the affairs of people high and low, have written that in distant past the land we call Kashmir had remained submerged in water for two thousand years.[3] In those days, it was called Kashyap Sar. In its neighbourhood there dwelt a married hermit from India [4] named Kashyap. He made supplication to God Almighty for dry land where he could pray. Then God Almighty sent three angels [5] commanding them to drain off the water to make dry as much of land as was required by him. The land which they dried was named by them Kashshile [sic], which means a ‘chiselled stone.’ It is said that subsequently [a person ?] Bekdarat [sic] by name sowed many kinds of seeds in the muddy soil and raised crops, and developed the place extensively. A large number of people came from India to settle on this land. Their king, the exalted Raja, is Turkshil (sic); Turkshil [sic] means ‘unmatched in fortune and dignity.’

This land has been called Kashmir. The source of the Ganges also lies here, [6] [though] it is not accessible [to people]. Kashmir is protected by mountains. At their feet lie vast, clear and attractive lands; these are called tavar. All these lands comprise seventy-two sectors and are spread over one hundred and eight kuroh . [7] Amidst these lands is situated the city of Kashmir,[8] from which emerged people of sixty-four classes. Brahmans are one among them, all of whom are learned, and elderly theologians. After them is the class of Khatrish [sic]. Then come Vaish; they are artisans and peasants. Then follow Chandals, the lowest among the masses; they resemble gipsies.

The ruler who first founded the city of Kashmir was called Pravarasen.[9] It widened under his stewardship. After his death, his sepulchre cracked and he rose to heaven near Maheshwar.[10] He was succeeded to the throne by his son Ratnaditya,[11] who reigned for sixty years. After him, his son Onta Dev reigned for forty years.[12] Lalitaditya[l3] who descended from him ruled for eighty years. The people of Kashmir call him zu’l-Qarnain. It is also said that he brought under his sway the entire world from the borders of China to the farthest west. Many of the idol-houses in Kashmir have been built by him. He also built a city named Parihaspora, [14] which means a ‘peerless city’.[15] In it he built idolhouses, in which he installed huge idols. Each of these measured sixty yards in height.[l6] It is said that in those days it was the usual height of human beings, and a man’s shoulders were as broad as he was tall. Whatever Zu’lQarnain[17] asked of the idol, it was granted to him. The idol was worshipped ardently in his days.[18]

In those days there lived a man who possessed two jewels. The property of one of these was that if cast into an ocean it could dry up all its water, making it possible for anybody to walk across the dried-up path. The property of the other jewel was that when held in front of an ocean, the first one would be drawn to it and water would recede to its original level. Zu’l-Qarnain wanted to buy these two jewels, but the owner declined to part with them, saying that none but Shakyamuni was capable of taking them away from him. Shakyamuni means one who can transfer his soul into another body. [The owner of the jewels] said that he had been freed from all privations and hardships by means of these two jewels.[19]

After the sixth year,[20] he (Zu’l-Qarnain) returned to Kashmir and entrusted the city of Kashmir to his grandson named Ratnatir.[21] Then he proceeded to conquer foreign lands; he did not return nor did anyone bring the news of how he died.[22]

His grandson Vinayaditya proceeded to conquer foreign lands and captured many cities. At last he came to a city in the East. Its king was made to fear Vinayaditya; he consulted his ministers and nobles to seek their opinion in this matter. His senior ministers submitted to him that Ratnatir was a mighty king and they could not stand against him in battle. His chief minister said to him that it was difficult to repel his attack. But now that the king had asked for his counsel, he would advise him to surrender to Vinayaditya. This would enrage him and he would order that his nose be chopped off which would be followed by his expulsion from the city. After his nose would be chopped off and following his expulsion [from the city], he would join the enemy and devise some plan of destroying him.

When the enemy came to know of the minister’s affairs and the news reached Vinayaditya, he made him his associate in conquering the neighbouring lands. The crafty minister, full of deceit and guile as he was, led Vinayaditya to take a route where no water was available for ten to twelve days [of their journey], and a fairly large number of his men and beasts perished. Seeing through the deceit and craftiness of the minister, Vinayaditya asked him what his objective was in [doing this]. The minister told him that he wanted to get rid of him so that the country of his king was spared the scourge that he was. When Vinayaditya heard this, he gave him a robe of honour and other rewards and also extended favour to his king.

From there Vinayaditya went to the countries of Kesh and Bahrain where he met with a disastrous defeat resulting in heavy loss of men and material. Along with a handful of his followers, the king fell into the hands of the king of Bahrain who placed them all in the custody of his mother, so that she could keep an eye on them. One day Vinayaditya threatened her with dire consequences for her son. Completely bewildered, she asked him how his capacity for retaliation had grown during his captivity.

Meanwhile, there blew a strong gale and he, as well as the mother of the king, embarked for Mabar.[23] In that place there was a man-eater and the king found himself unable to kill it. Vinayaditya put his left hand into the jaw of the lion and with his right hand rent it asunder, which surprised the king of Mabar. He summoned him to his presence and bestowed upon him robes of honour and other rewards and gave him his daughter in marriage.[24] A large contingent of troops was despatched under his command to ccnquer the country of Pars.[25] He brought those lands under his sway and totally subjugated their people. Then he went back to Kashmir to continue with his rule over that land.

Once, while he was riding a horse, his whip slipped out of his hand. Thereupon he bade one of his attendants present there to reach him the whip. The attendant declined to oblige [him] saying that it was not his job. He was a courier called Potkan in Kashmiri. Enraged by his audacity, the king ordered that he be given a proper assignment forthwith. Then he wrote down a message, handed over the document to him, and directed [him] to carry it to the ruler of Lank, which is a big and famous city of India. The name of the ruler of this city was Dados [sic].[26] The message was that the king of Gang[?] despatch one thousand and five boats forthwith to him for the purpose of building a fort. Hardly had the messenger embarked when an enormous fish gulped down the boat along with all the passengers. The messenger had a sword with which he pierced the belly of the fish which caused its death.[27] The carcass was cast ashore near the city of Kajendan. The messenger emerged from the belly of the fish which amazed the people of Kajendan. They enquired of him about this happening. As a proof of what he had told them, they found the letters of command from [the king of Kashmir] on his person, and carried these to the king of Gang. On knowing all that had happened, the king of Gang despatched along with the Potkan a convoy of one thousand and five boats. When he reached the outskirts of the city of Kashmir he informed the king about the coming of the demons of the ruler of Gang. The ruler of Kashmir sent pulses and many thorny fruits for them. The daily quota of ration for the demons, consisting of pulses and cereals was sent to them till the fort was completed at Andarkol.[28] Here the king reigned for seventy years. Then he handed over the reins of government to his son named Bardanatant[29] [sic] . The kingship then passed on to Kashshil [sic], and then to Rama Chand, and after his death to Onta Dev. He was miserly and so greedy for wealth that he ordered his daughters to take to prostitution in the streets to extract money from people.

There was a man, Brahman by name, who was notorious for his licentiousness. After his death he was survived by his wife and son, who fell in love with the daughter cf the king. On learning of her son’s passionate love for the princess, his mother admonishingly told him that he had hardly inherited anything from his father which could help him in realizing his objective. All that his father had left behind was a dinar.[30] which had been put in his mouth at the time of his cremation. On knowing this, he visited the spot where his father’s dead body had been cremated. There he was able to find the coin which he, later on, presented to the princess and succeeded in fulfilling his desire. Next day, along with other girls, she went to see the king. He was delighted to see the standard coin, and bade his nobles to summon its owner. The Brahman’s son presented himself [before the king]. He asked him how he had procured the dinar and asked him questions about his passionate love [for the princess]. After knowing the whole story, he sought from his sagacious minister an answer to the question whether a person carried with him any worldly possessions after his death. The minister told him that a dead man carried with him nothing but memories of his good deeds, his evenhanded justice to his subjects and of his acts of enduring benevolence. On hearing these words, the king repented over his deeds. He then ordered the building of schools, laying of the foundations of prayer-houses and construction of bridges and roads. He distributed all his worldly possessions among the destitute and the mendicants. He then restored to his subjects their due rights. Of his line there were nine [persons], who ruled one after another over a period of three hundred and sixty years. During their reign they amassed three hundred and sixty treasures, which were ordered to be sealed.

In those days. there lived a distraught person, who held a stone under his arm and went to the king exhorting him to bury his traesure (the stone) along with his treasure. The king said to him, “O you mad person ! What you have is a stone and not a treasure.” He replied that a profitless treasure, a remorseless [sic] heart, and untimely anger were of a lesser value than that stone. The king uttered a cry, beat his head, and told him that he was right. He added that one should pay attention to words and not to the person who utters them. He opened his treasures and distributed their wealth among soldiers, destitutes and the poor. Soon after, the king breathed his last.

During his days, there lived a hermit who, on hearing the news of the king’s death, expressed sorrow for the loss of his charitable acts. He transferred his soul into the body of the [dead] king and brought him back to life. The king expressed his thanks to God for having been revived to life after his death. This news spread through the lands of India. Learned men assembled to make a submission to the king that enquiries be made if someone had expired recently. These revealed that a hermit had died and his body had been burnt immediately lest the soul returned to it. Thereafter the king ruled for thirty-six years and then died.

His death led to dissension among the nobles. They resolved that whosoever entered the city gate first on the next morning would be proclaimed king. The first to do so next morning was a mendicant. He was made king and the crown and the throne were given to him. His descendants ruled for four hundred years. The last of their house was named Harshid [sic]. [31] He invented the art of carving idols out of wood, stone, chalk and clay, [whereas] formerly these used to be cast in gold and silver [32] only. Another king[33] who lived in those days had two sons. Harshid [sic] decided to kill both of them because his nobles[34] were favourably disposed towards them. On learning of Harsha’s intention, both of them fled for their lives.[35] He pursued them but was unable to lay his hands on them. However, he killed their parents and returned [to his place]. The boys received the news of the killing of their mother[36] and sought assistance from the rulers of neighbouring regions.[37] They marched against Harsha. In the fighting that ensued, he was defeated and killed.[38] His domain, crown and throne passed on to the elder of the two brothers, who meted out justice [to his people]. Twelve persons of his line reigned successively; the last of them, Shiv Dev by name, ruled in A. H. 750 (A. D. 1349).[39]

During his days, there lived a king in India named Shri — [40] who had a giant-like physique. He attacked the king of Kashmir, killed him and occupied his country. He [Shri —] ruled for a hundred years. Towards the end [of his reign], he was attacked by Shri [Shir?] Akramadit[sic][41] who wrested from him the city of Kashmir. He (Shri) was killed, leaving behind him his minor daughter and son, who fled to a foreign country. For many years they lived in the hollow of a tree. In due course of time their progeny increased numerically — . When asked about their antecedents, they said that they were the offspring of the tree. They also said that formerly there lived a king in India Shri Harsha Dev by name, who had given Kashmir to their ancestors. Then they attended to the task of developing Kashmir. He and his descendants reigned for three hundred years. They were followed by the aforesaid Shri Akramadit [sic]. Then came Rama, the paternal uncle of Shiv Dev. He was attacked by the Mongol army. Under the orders of Qaan[42] (Gur), the commander of the troops [of Qaan] besieged the city of Kashmir and plundered its people. Ram Dev tried to run away [on horseback] but was pursued by the enemy. He jumped into a river and crossed it.

The Mongols stayed on in Kashmir for six months, plundering and pillaging. After they returned to their native land, Ram Dev re-entered Kashmir. He gained control over the kingdom, defeated the Mongols, and later on raised an army. When Miku (Mangu) Qaan[43] came to know of it, he sent his troops under the command of Salinuyan to deal with Ram Dev. The city of Kashmir was once again besieged and its elders were put to the sword or taken prisoner. After Ram Dev’s death, his brother, Laxma (Laxman) Dev, ascended the throne on the orders of Miku (Mangu) Qaan and Hulagu Qaan. [44]

Laxman Dev died in A.H. 531 (A.D. 1136), and was succeeded by Zeyeh Sehm Dev[45] as the lord of Kashmir. During his reign in A. H. 535 (A.D. 1140), Malla Chand,[46] Raja of Nagarkot, came to Kashmir and after aligning himself with Zeyeh Sehm Dev, requested him to make him the commander of his troops.[47] Zeveh Sehm Dev reigned for about twenty-seven years and died in A. H. 555 (A.D. 1160).[48] He was succeeded by his son Parmat Dev[49] who reigned for nine years and six months and died in A. H. 568 (A.D. 1172). After him, came his son Vanta Dev [Onta Dev], who reigned for nine years and two days and died in A.H. 577 (A.D. 1181). His son Bupeh (Vupeh) Dev remained in power for nine years, four months and two days, and died in A.H. 586 (A.D. 1190). Then came his son[50] Zaseh Dev[51] who reigned for eighteen years and thirteen days until his death in A H. 604 (A.D. 1208). He was succeeded by his son Zageh Dev, who, after ruling for fourteen years and two months, died in A.H. 618 (A. D. 1221).[52] He was succeeded by his son Razeh Dev.

During the days of this Razeh Dev, Gaga Chand,[53] a descendant of the house of Chandas became the commander of his troops. Earlier rulers [of Kashmir] had confined themselves to the territories of Kashmir, and did not venture to annex the adjoining lands. But this Razeh Dev, on the advice of Gaga Chand, who also commanded his troops, subjugated and annexed the areas adjoining the kingdom of Kashmir. In the pargana of Lar, Gaga Chand built the fort of Gagangir.[54]

Razeh Dev’s reign lasted twenty-three years, three months and twenty-nine days. He died in A.H. 641 (A.D. 1243), and after him came his son Sangram Dev. During his reign, Balad Chand, [55] son of Gaga Chand, assumed the command of his army. He founded the locality of Bardi Mar[56] in the city. When Sangram Dev constructed Sangram Itoo [sic][57] in the town of Bejeh Belareh.[58] Balad Chand founded Chandpuryar[59] in that town.

Sangram Dev’s reign lasted sixteen years, and he died in A.H. 657 (A.D. 1258). His son Ram Dev succeeded him and ruled for twenty-one years, one month and twelve days and died in A.H. 678 (A.D. 1279).[60] Then came his son Lachman Dev[61] who ruled for thirteen years, three months and twelve days. The command of his troops was in the hands of Balad Chand’s son Sangram Chand.[62] In A.H. 691 (A.D. 1293), Lachman Dev breathed his last,[63] and was succeeded by his son[64] Simha Dev who reigned for fourteen years and six months and died[65] in A.H. 705 (A.D. 1305). Then came his son[66] Suh Dev who ruled for nineteen years, three months and twenty-five days. Their commander was Rama Chand the son of Sangram Chand.


1. The chronicles of Kashmirian kings are mentioned in Kalhana’s Rajatarangini: Suvrata’s handbook of historical poems, Nilamata Purana, Ksemendra’s Nrpavali, Chavillakar’s work and the “eleven works of former scholars.” See Rajat Vol. I, ‘Introduction’, p. 24, Vol. II, p. 365 et seq.

2. ‘ba galam-i Kashmiri’ of the text does not mean Kashmiri language as it is used now. It obviously means Sanskrit in Sarada script. The codex archstypus on which Stein based the text of Rajatarangini is in Sarada script.

3. Regarding the calendar of “the people of Kashmir,” see al-Biruni’s India (tr. Sachau), Vol. II, p. 8; Buhler’s Kashmir Report, p. 38, passim; and Rajat. Vol. I, p. 25.

4. The author considers India a foreign country throughout the text.

5. For the story of Satisaras and the prayers of Kashyapa, see Buhler’s Report, p. 39 and Rajat. Vol. I, pp. 26-27 and Vol. II, pp. 388-89. Three angels referred to are Druhina, Upendra, and Rudra.

6. See Rajat. i, 57n.

7. 1 kuroh is approximately two miles.

8. The name Srinagar is nowhere mentioned in the text; instead we have the ‘city of Kashmir’ (Shahr-i-Kashmir). In Ferdawsi’s Shahnameh also Shahr-i-lran ( sometimes IranShahr) is used to denote the capital city of Iran. (Shahr = Shathra in Avestic).

9. Pravarasena II (3186-3248 Loukika) of Gonanda dynasty made extensive conquests in the south and the north. He built the capital town Pravarapura. See Cunningham’s Ancient Geography of Kashmir, p. 91. The city contained thirty-six lakh houses. See Rajat, i, 356.

10. See Rajat, i, 374. It was in the temple of Pravaresa that King Pravarasena II attained spiritual perfection. A breach or an opening in the temple could be seen in Kalhana’s days. He writes that rising into the sky, King Pravarasena “joined in his body the assembly of tho Lord of Beings (Siva) who is also called Maheshwara.” Stein identified its ruins at a place now occupied by the Ziorat of Bahau’d-Din Sahib near the present Nowhatta locality in Srinagar, See Rajat. i, 350-51n.

11. Pravarsena II was succeeded by his son Yudhisthira II and not by Ratnaditya. See Rajat. iii, 379. Ratnaditya of the text is perhaps a reference to Ranaditya the son of Yudhisthira II and the younger brother of Narendraditya (Lahkhana), the successor and son of Yudhisthira II. Ranaditva’s reign lasted three hundred years, which appears to be an error in the text of Rajatarangini. See Rajat. iii, 470.

12. The succession list of Gonanda rulers in Rajatarangini does not include any king by the name of Onta Deva. However, a silver coin of Lahkhana, the grandson of Pravarasena, bears the legend (Raja Lahkhana Udyaditya. See Cunningham’s Later Indo-Scythians, p. 97. Onta Deva might be the scribe’s mis-writing of Udyaditya who ruled for thirteen years (3286-3299 Loukika).

13. Lalitaditya Muktapid (377 Loukika/A.D. 700-736), the fifth ruler in the line of Karkota dynasty, ruled for thirty-six years, seven months and eleven days and not eighty years. See Rajat. i, 136 and iv, 366.

14. On the site of Parihasapura and the identification of its shrines with the ruins of Paraspor Udar, see Rajat. Vol. II, Note F.

15. Kalhana’s version is that Lalitaditya built the town at a time when he was given to merry jesting (parihasa) and, therefore, its name. See Rajat. i, 194.

16. Kalhana mentions a great stone pillar, fifty-four spans high, on the top of which Lalitaditya installed the image of Garuda. Ibid.

17. The title Zu’l-Qarniain suggests that the author has drawn the material from some Parsian or Arabic source. For speculations about the identificarion of Zu’l-Qarnain, whose mention is made in the Qur’an, see Dairatu’l-Ma ‘arif, Lahore, 1973, Vol. X pp. 61-62 and Maulana Abu’l-Kalam Azad’s Tarjumanu’l-Qur’an, sura al-Kahaf, 18.

18. It cannot be said with certainty which of the several idols installed by Lalitaditya was ardently worshipped. Kalhana mentions several temples of his; Parihasakesava, Muktakesava, Govardhanadhara, and Brhadbuddha. See Rajat. i, 195 and et seq. However, the site of the temple Jyestharudra (present-day Zithyer) built by Lalitaditya is still visited by Kashmiri Pandits. See Rajat. i, 113n.

19. This seems to be a distorted version of the story given in Rajatarangini about Cankuna, the brother of the magician Kankanavarsa, whom Lalitaditya had brought from Tukhara. See Rajat. i, 246 et seq. For an explanation of the allegory, see verse 260. For Tuhkhara. see J.R.A.S. (NE), Vol. VI, p. 94 et seq.

20. It is not clear whether it is the sixth vear of his reign or of his expedition outside his lands.

21. No historical work lists this name among the successors of Lalitaditya.

22. Lalitaditya’s last instructions to his ministers through their messenger indicate that he had taken a firm decision not to return to Kashmir from the extensive expeditions in the cold northern regions. See Rajat. i, 337.

23. Muslim historians have generally used Mabar for Malabar, which is a town on the south-western coast of India.

24. In Rajatarangini, the story of the killing of a man-eater is associated with King Lalitaditya’s grandson Jayapida. It was King Jayanta of Gauda who gave his daughter Kalyana Devi in marriage to King Jayapida for his bravery in killing the lion. The village of Kalyanapura (present–day Kalampur) was founded by her. See Rajat. i, 453.

25. Focus is on reference to Pars, the southern province of Iran.

26. According to Hasan, the name of the king was Vibhisna. See T.H.K. p. 94.

27. There are several versions of this story. Kalhana, for example, writes that king Jayapida once sent one of his envoys to bring five Raksasas from the king of Lanka. The envoy fell from the ship into the sea and was devoured by a great fish. He, however, freed himself by destroying it. See Rajat. i, 503-4. Also the Rajatarangini of Jonaraja tr. J. C. Dutt, New Delhi, 1986, p. 94.

28. Andarkot, the ancient Abhyantara Kotta on the Sumbal lake was built by King Jayapida. See Rajat. iv, 506-11n, and Buhler’s Report, p. 13 et. seq. The story in the text is perhaps a distortion of the event related to the raising of the castle called Jayapura. See Rajat. iv, 506.

29. Possibly the corrupted form of Varman. If so, the possibility is that the author is alluding to the ascendency of the house of Utpala. ‘His son,’ therefore, refers to Avantiverman. the son of Sukhavarman. See Rajat. v, 713. Another possible name could be Varnata who succeeded his father Yasaskara in A.D. 948. See Rajat. vi, 90-91. In TMH it is Barnadadat, the son of Raja Dowla Chand. MS. f. 11b.

30. Sanskrit dinnara is Kashmiri dyar. For details, see Rajat. Note H.

31. Perhaps Harsa (A.D. 1089-1101), the last ruler of the first Lohara dynasty.

32. That Harsa was versed in “all the sciences” is attested to by Kalhana in his lengthy account of Harsa. But there is no reference to his ability to carve idols out of wood, etc. See Rajat. i, 941.

33. Perhaps it is a reference to Malla, who was of the line of Harsa.

34. It could possibly be Thakkana, the most outstanding of Harsa’s nobles. Rajat. vii, 1252.

35. The two brothers took refuge with the powerful Damaras of Utrasa (Votrus). Rajat. vii, 1254, II. 474.

36. If the allusion is to the sons of Malla, then it was the father (Malla) who had been killed and not the mother. See Rajat. vii, 1481 et seq.

37. These could possibly be the rulers of Rajpuri (Rajouri) and the king of Kalinjar. See Rajat. vii, 1256.

38. Perhaps the author refers to the struggle for power between Harsa and the two sons of Malla, Sussala and Uccala, and the killing of Harsa in A.D. 1101. See Rajat. vii, 1254,

39. Suh Dev was the last of the Hindu rulers of Kashmir. He ruled for nineteen years and four months. See THK. p. 160.

40. There is a gap in the text. Subsequent gaps will be marked as —.

41. He could possibly be the same Vikramaditya who is mentioned by Hiuen-tsiang as the predecessor of Siladitya. He ruled in the first half of the sixth century. See Max Mullar’s India, p. 286, and J. Bo. Br. R.A.S., 1861, p. 208. Kalhana’s chronicle does not record Vikramaditya’s expedition to Kashmir. But he had decreed that Matrgupta would be the lord of Kashmir. See Rajat. iii, 125, and T.M.H. MS. f. 14b.

42. The allusion may be to an incursion by the troops of Chingiz or Hulagu. For details of Mongols in Kashmir, see K. Jahn’s “A Note on Kashmir and the Mongols,” in Central Asiatic Journal, II (3), 1956. pp. 176-80. Also see The World History of Rashid al-Din, (tr. Basil Gray), London, 1978, 6th Chapter, Plate 23.

43. Mangu Qa’an (Khan) was the grandson of Chingiz, and these events took place during A.D. 1251 to 1256. During the reign of Mangu, two great expeditions were sent against China and Persia. The Chinese expedition was entrusted to Kublai, a brother of Mangu. See Browne’s Literary History of Persia, Vol. II, p. 452.

44. The Mongol incursion into Kashmir could have been a part of Kublai’s expedition to China. But Hulagu’s consent to Laxman Dev’s accession to the throne of Kashmir must have been given by him after he assumed power following the death of Mangu.

45. He is Jayasimha of Rajat, who ruled from A.D. 1128 to 1149. He is known as Jayasimha Dev and Jayasimha Raj Dev. See J.A.S.B. 1879, p. 281.

46. Mallacandra, secion of Susrama, the ruler of Trigarta, See Jonar. p. 50, 2n.

47. Jayasimha’s troops under the command of Mallacandra fought the Turks. See Jonar. p. 51, 2n. Also see TMH. MS. f. 31, and TNK. MS. f.35.

48. He was slain by the Turks. See THK. p. 153.

49. Parma Deva is known variously: Parmanuka in Jonar. (p. 52), Parmandi in Rajat. (viii, 1608), Parmandadeva in Tapar Inscription (S.P.S. Museum, Srinagar), and Parmadeva and Paradeva in the coins. See J.A.S.B., 1879, p. 281.

50. According to Jonaraja, he was succeeded by his younger brother and not his son. See St. 56.

51. Jassaka in Jonar, p. 54.

52. Jonarajas version of this is different. According to him Jageh Dey was once forced by his ministers to relinquish power and abandon Kashmir. See Stt. 67-68. About his death, he writes that he was secretly poisoned by Padma, the Lord of the Gate. (Dvarpati). St. 74.

53. For detailed information on this. see Rajat. viii, 43, 605 et seq.

54. For details see Rajat. ‘Introduction’, Vol. I, p. 119.

55. According to Jonaraja, he was the Damara of Lahara (Kashmiri Lar), who belonged to the family of Malla. He occupied one half of the city of Srinagar and even proclaimed himself as king. See p. 56, 5n, and St. 83. Also see Waqa ‘at-i-Kashmir, p. 25.

55. Bladhyamatha in Rajat Vol. II, p. 448, and Baldi Mar in THK. p. 157. AISO see Jonar, St. 82.

57. Setu (?). Sangram mohalla. See THK. p. 158.

58. It is the present-day Bijbehara (Kashmiri Vejehbror).

59. Harisandrapora in Amarnath Mahatmya, ed. Nilakanth Gurtu and Dina Nath Yachh, Srinagar, 1959, p. 41. Chandrayar in THK. p. 158, and Tsendradar/Tsandanyar in present-day Kashmiri.

60. Rama Dava’s queen Samudra constructed a matha in Srinagar. It was named Samudramatha which has given its name to the present-day locality of Sudramar. See Jonar, p. 59 and Rajat. Vol. II, p. 450.

61. Lachman Dev, according to Jonaraja, was Ram Dev’s adopted son. See, Stt. 108-9.

62. Several historians have written about the valorous deeds of this powerful Damara. According to Jonaraja, he succeeded in repulsing the invasion of the Turks (Turuskas) led by Khajlak (Kajjala). See St. 116, 118. See also Eliot’s History, Vol. III, pp. 525-27, and THK. p. 159.

63. His queen Ahala constructed a matha called Ahlamatha, which gives name to the present-day Ahlamar locality. See Jonar, p. 60, ln.

64. This relationship is not endorsed by Jonaraja. See St. 128.

65. He was assassinated by Darya with the support of Kamasuha. See Jonar. St. 128.

66. According to Jonar. he was not his son but brother. See p. 60.



Shah Mir, now known by the title Sultan Shamsu’d-Din, a descendant of the rulers of Swadgir,[1] came to the Kingdom of Kashmir during the reign of Suh Dev.[2] The reason for his coming to Kashmir was this: His grandfather [or ancestor] Waqur Shah was a pious and righteous man. He had received spiritual training from the saints of a recognized order and the Shaykhs who followed the path of truth. He had undergone severe penance which helped him to attain knowledge and a state of purity of the inner self. Through an intuitive observation of the world of the spirit, he had announced : “My son Tahir will be given a son named Shah Mir who will become the ruler of Kashmir and assume the title Shamsu’d-Din. The kingdom of that region and the government of those lands will remain entrusted to and confirmed in the hands of his descendants for a long time.”

When Shah Mir came of age he heard this story from his father and his relatives. He believed in the uncanny and extraordinary feats of his ancestors. Encouraged by the prophecy[3], he migrated to Kashmir along with his wife and children. When Suh Dev received the news of his arrival in Baramulla he directed that arrangements be made for his stay at Dwarksil [4] where he be provided with means for his living.

Lankar Chak

It was during the days of Suh Dev that one Lankar Chak,[5] the forebear of the Chaks, abandoned the lands of Dardu[6] and moved to Drav because of a family feud. He then migrated to Kashmir with his wife and children and settled in the village of Trehgam.[7] As God willed, the same village became the seat of the Chaks [later on].


It was during the reign of Suh Dev that Rinchan came to Kashmir from the dominion of Tibet [8] on account of the hostility he faced from his enemies and adversaries . [9] On reaching Kashmir, he approached Rama Chand, the commander of Suh Dev’s army, who gave him a dwelling place at Gagangir. [10]

Zulchu’s ravages

Zulchu’s[11] [Zulju’s] incursion on Kashmir also took place during the reign of Suh Dev. Chroniclers of the events of Kashmir have not recorded an event more disastrous and catastrophic than Zulchu’s raid. Its details are given below.

In the early spring of A.H. 727 (A.D. 1323), a king [12] Zulchu by name and confirmed as Zulaji by Mirza Haidar [13] entered [the valley] via Baramulla at the head of seventy thousand Mongol and Turk soldiers and horsemen.[14] From there he ordered his troops to carry out a wholesale massacre of the natives. Whosoever fell into their hands between the boundaries of Kamaraj[15] and the extreme end of Maraj[16] was put to the sword. People who had run away into mountains and forests were captured. Men were killed; women and children were made prisoners and sold to the merchants and traders of Cathay who had accompanied his troops. All the buildings of the city and the villages [of Kashmir] were burnt. His troops consumed as much of foodgrains as they needed and whatever remained they destroyed. The whole of Kashmir was subjected to destruction by their ungodly acts.

Suh Dev, the lord and ruler of Kashmir, was much disheartened and discouraged by the tyranny and corruption of Zulchu. With a handful of his close associates he fled towards Kathwar. His commander Rama Chand shut himself up in the fort at Gagangir[17] [sic] in the pargana of Lar. Zulchu’s troops went on killing people and looting their possessions; nobody dared to come out of their hiding places in forests and mountains. The people of Kashmir were reduced to such a state of helplessness that they could not attend to their work of tilling the land. The result was that all arable lands in Kashmir remained unattended and uncultivated. Foodgrains stocked during the previous year were partly consumed and partly destroyed by his troops who now faced hunger and famine and awaited death. In this way they “cast their boat of life into the whirlpool of disappointment and frustration.”

[ verses ]

These alien troops resorted to indiscriminate bloodshed, killing and pillaging beyond all limits for a period of about eight months.

When the sun crossed the capricorn in the zodiac, his [ Zulchu’s] soldiers were faced with an acute scarcity of foodgrains and hence decided to flee this land. They deliberated over the question of the route they should adopt to come out of this land, and enquired about the shortest route to India from the prisoners and the detenus who suggested the road via Tarbal.[18] They proceeded to India by the same route along with the prisoners. On reaching the top of the mountain, God’s wrath hurled upon them a rain of destruction. Thunderbolts were let loose. Such was the onslaught of rain and snow that all the soldiers, the Turks and the prisoners met with their death and nobody survived.[19]

The lands of Kashmir were thus liberated from the ravages of the Turks and Zulchu. The people of Kashmir who had been forced to hide came out of their hiding places and went back to their homes and dwelling places in the hope of finding survivors among their kith and kin, their clan, or neighbours or well-wishers. They found that the domain of Kashmir had been totally destroyed.[20] They frantically searched from place to place, but could not find any of their relatives, friends, or acquaintances. They were so much overwhelmed by grief that they preferred death to life. For years on end, the lands in Kashmir remained barren, uncultivated and unproductive, so much so that though two hundred and seventy years have elapsed, every stretch of uncultivated and unattended land even now is traced to that period. Hence the saying: “Here Zulchu cultivated turf.”

Finding that Kashmir was in a state of desolation, the depradators and robbers[21] living in the mountains poured [into it] from all sides; they plundered the remaining people and took their womenfolk and children as captives. In each pargana, forty or fifty villagers formed a group and chose one person as their leader. They procured various kinds of weapons and resolved to protect their families, their lives and their property. In due course of time they captured a fort in each pargana, appointed a kotwal to take charge of it and claimed to be independent. None of them felt obliged to yield to the authority of others.

Rinchan’s plot

In the pargana of Lar, Rinchan raised a group of soldiers. [22] He aspired to be the master of the land and sent his men to the fort of Rama Chand in the guise of merchants with weapons concealed in their luggage.[23] They were instructed that as soon as he (Rinchan) arrived in the neighbourhood of the fort and signalled for attack and killing, they should throw open the gates of the fort from inside. Following his instructions his men entered into the fort of Rama Chand and he, too, proceeded thither the same night. He from outside and his men from inside of the fort resorted to killing and fighting [Rama Chand’s men]. In the encounter that followed Rama Chand was killed.

Rama Chand’s son Ravan Chand and his wife and children were taken prisoner. Thus in A.H. 725 (A.D. 1324), Rinchan became the ruler and lord of this land. Not being a native,[24] he took the pragmatic view that it would not be possible for him to rule Kashmir unless he won over its people as his friends and supporters. Therefore he bestowed favours upon Ravan Chand to bring him closer to himself and married his sister (Rama Chand’s daughter) Kotehren.[25] He conferred upon Ravan Chand the pargana of Lar and the dominion of Tibet.

In those days the custom prevailing in this land was that if respect had to be shown to anyone, the title ‘Renu’ would be appended to his name. It was regarded as a mark of distinction. The meaning of the word ‘Raina’ is ‘master and possessor.’ For the same reason Rinchan conferred upon Ravan Chand the title of ‘Renu’ which has been retained by that house to this day.'[26]

Suh Dev, the ruler of this land, who had fled to Kathwar[27] because of the threat posed by Zulchu, returned in the hope of recapturing his dominion. He confronted Rinchan, who, some time back, had been one among his inferior servants, but he could not match him on the battlefield and, after suffering another defeat, turned back to Kathwar. In this way the government of his domain passed into the hands of Rinchan.

Rinchan’s wisdom

Rinchan was not bound by any religion or community.[28] However, during his rule, he tried to mete out even-handed justice to his subjects as far as he could, which helped the lands of Kashmir to achieve economic prosperity. In those days nobody would settle public disputes in accordance with the tenets of Muhammadan religion. That is why Rinchan solved very difficult problems of his people with the help of his intelligence, understanding, sagacity, and wisdom.[29] The episode of the claim of two mares over a colt and the jumping of one of them into a stream is one of the examples of wisdom.[30] During his reign, a colt was suckled by two mares and thus had become intimate with both of them to such an extent that the onlookers could not make out its real mother. [This led to a situation in which] an imposter staked his claim of ownership of the colt and pressed it hard upon the real owner. Both of them were compelled to take their dispute to Rinchan. The judges of those days, though competent, were indecisive and hesitant in issuing a decree. Rinchan considered the case carefully and using his [gift of] wisdom ordered that both the mares and the colt be driven to the bridge over the canal passing through the city and the colt be hurled into the flowing waters. The two mares were left on the bridge. As soon as the colt fell into water, one of the two mares, moved by motherly instinct, also plunged into the stream and escorted its young one to the bank. The other mare remained impassive and did not budge from its place. In this way it was Rinchan’s intelligence which established the genuineness of the real owner and rejected the false claim of the imposter.

Rinchan’s conversion

During the early stages of his career, Rinchan showed no inclination towards any of the existing religions.[31] It was in the fitness of things that he embraced one of these religions and vigorously prayed to God the Merciful.

At this time only a handful of people in Kashmir had embraced Islam. Most of the people were either infidels or dissemblers. But when Rinchan thought of embracing a religion and associating himself with a community he made enquiries about the principles and laws of their religion from the savants among the infidels and the learned men of the times. They beseeched him to join their fold.[32] The Muslims also put before him the principles and teachings of the Islamic faith and invited him to embrace their religion. But owing to serious differences between these two religions and the disagreement [prevailing] among the two religious groups, he was not able to reach any decision. Each community considered its religion the true one and each group induced him to embrace its religion. He was in a fix because of the serious differences and glaring contradictions in the views of these communities. Their heated discussions and discourses led him to no satisfactory conclusion. However, blessed as he was with a dispensation for justice, for ‘God helps those who help themselves,’ he found the right path. He firmly decided that he would embrace the religion of the first man he would meet in the street after coming out of his house the next morning. He also resolved to join the community to which that man belonged.

Next morning he came out of his house. The rays of the sun of divine guidance, bringing every object from darkness to light, liberated him from the darkness of ignorance and disbelief; for all of a sudden, in the neighbourhood of his mansion he saw a dervish offering namaz (the Muslim way of praying), with full devotion. He went towards him. When the dervish had finished his prayer, Rinchan held him by his hand and brought him to his house. Then he called in an interpreter who knew their languages. He asked the dervish his name and then about his religion and the sect he belonged to. The dervish told him that his name was Bulbul Qalandar, that his religion was Islam[33] and that his community was that of Muslims. He disclosed to him that he was a member of the sect of Shah Ne’matullah Wali. He then mentioned to him some of the miracles performed by the Prophet, the virtues and superior qualities of ‘Ali, the Imam, and lastly, the extraordinary feats of spirituality performed by Shah Ne’matullah Wali.

[ verses ]

His (Rinchan’s) heart had previously been blackened by the beliefs of a false community.[34] Now he subjected himself to the teachings of the religion of Mustafa (Prophet), and the right principles of the truthful path of Murtaza (Ali), and embraced Islamic religion with sincerity and conviction.[35] He gave up once for all the false and corrupt religions.

In this way Rinchan became the first ruler of Kashmir to be admitted to the Islamic faith. He got a khanqah[36] built for Baba Bulbul Qalandar in the neighbourhood of his own palace and conferred upon him a jagir[37] from the income of which expenses could be met for his followers, kinsfolk, the mendicants and casual visitors to the khanqah, who often stayed there. As a result of the abundance of good-will and purity of disposition of this dervish, the khanqah continues to be in a prosperous state even to this day. The grave of Baba Bulbul is also to be found there. Rinchan also built a mosque[38] for Friday prayers and congregations in the neighbourhood of his lodging and himself joined the Friday congregational prayers regularly besides joining the mass for all the five prescribed times of praying after the Muslim fashion.[39] The mosque built under his instructions caught fire but a smaller mosque made of solid stone was erected in its place later on.

The first to embrace Islam from the house of Chandas was Ravan Raina,[40] the younger brother of Kotehren [Kota Rani], who was brought up by Rinchan.[41] Shah Mir who later earned fame as sultan Shamsu’d-Din, was made one of his chiefs and close associates by Rinchan. By Koteh [Rani], Rinchan got a son and Baba Bulbul gave him the noble name of Haidar Khan. Rinchan entrusted him to the care of Shah Mir who was destined later to become Sultan Shamsu’ d-Din.


1. Originally pancagahvara. See Jonar, p 64. About Shah Mir’s Pandava ancestors, See Jonar. p. 62; Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. II, p. 386; and Tabaqat-i-Akzari (Calcutta text), Vol. iii, p. 424. Malik Haidar is of the view that Shah Mir came to Kashmir as a dervish, which seems to put his royal ancestory in doubt. TMH, MS, f. 28b.

2. One of the very remarkable features of the reign of Suh Dev is that during his rule many outsiders came into Kashmir who played a significant role in its future affairs. Suh Dev seems to have been a very tolerant king. This is attested to by Jonaraja. Commenting on his account of Suh Deva (A.D. 1301-20), the learned Srikanth Koul writes: … it appears from Jonaraja’s poetical language that Suhadeva was munificent in providing means of subsistance to outsiders who had entered the valley in search of employment. In fact the outsiders were mercenary recruits, refugees, and travellers patronized … by the king ….” Jonar p. 62.

3. According to Jonaraja the goddess Mahadevi came to Sahmira in a dream in which she told him that he would become the king of Kashmir. See Jonar. Stt. 138-39. Hasan has reproduced the version of the story presented in the text from Ferishta’s Tarikh. See THK, p. 161. However, there is no mention of either of these two versions in TMH.

4. Originally called Dvarvati. See al-Biruni’s India, (tr. Sachau), Vol II, p. 313, and Rajat. Vol, II, p. 480.

5. Lankarchak is a corruption of Alamkaracakra. See Rajat. Vol. II, p. 341.

6. They actually came from the village Barshal in Dardu. See THK. p. 217. For Dardu and Drav, see Rajat. Vol. II, p. 282 and i, p. 93, vii, 201, 1130.

7. Now in Kupwara district.

8. There are conflicting views about Rinchan’s status in Tibet. See THK. p. 161 Malik Haidar states that he was just a noble person of his land. See TMH. MS. f. 28b.

9. This is contradicted by Jonaraja and Malik Haidar. Both of them state that he ran away because of the opposition from his relatives. See Jonar. Stt. 149-52, and TMH. MS. f. 25b.

10. Malik Haidar makes no mention of such a request. But Hasan confirms that he sought military assistance from Rama Chand in the fort of Gagangir. See THK. p. 161.

11. Jonaraja names him as Dulaca. See Jonar. St. 142.

12. There are conflicting views about his status in the country of his origin. Hasan, who calls him Zu’l-Qadr Khan, states that he was a grandchild of Hulagu from his daughter’s line. See THK, p. 162. Malik Haidar’s opinion is more assured when he states that he was the ruler of Turkestan. See T.M.K. MS. 29a. Jonaraja, however, says that he was a general in the army of Emperor Karmasena. See Jonar. St. 142. This seems to be correct because Srikantha Koul writes that Dulaca (Jonaraja’s version of Zulchu’s name), is not the personal name of Zulchu, but a corruption of Darakechen, a military office under the Mongols. See Jonar. p. 165.

13. Mirza Haidar Dughlat, the author of Tarikh-i-Rashidi.

14. The text obviously is silent about how the king of Kashmir reacted to his invasion. Malik Haidar says that unable to resist Zulchu’s attack, Suh Dev the ruler of Kashmir fled to Kathwar. See TMK. MS. f. 29b.

15. See Rajat. ii, 476-90.

16. Ibid.

17. The text is not clear. Hasan writes that the fort was that of Gagangir. THK. p. 162.

18. Name of a pass in the mountainous area of Divsar pargana. See Jonar. p. 69, 1n. The route over it led to Visalata (Srivara, i, 7. 206-7), identified with Bichlari river valley by Stein. See Rajat. viii, 177n. Tarbal in TMH. MS. f. 29b and Khori in Divsar mountains in THK. p. 163. One more possible reading of this word can be Barbal. See Rajat Vol . II, p. 399.

19. Fifty thousand Kashmiri captives perished in the disaster. See TMH. MS. Cat. No. 39, f. 56, and TNK, MS. Cat. f. 40b.

20. Jonaraja describes the ravages tellingly: “Depopulated, uncultivated, grainless, and gramineous, the country of Kashmir offered, as it were, the sight of primal chaos.” See Jonar. St. 162. Hasan says that out of a hundred persons only one person survived and the city (of Srinagar) shrank to eleven families. THK. p. 163.

21. The robbers belonged to the tribe of Khasas of Khakhas. See Rajat. Vol. II. p. 430 and THK, p. 164. Jonaraja describes them as Abhisaras, who lived between Vitasta and Chandrabhaga (the rivers of Jhelum and Chenab). See Jonar. St. 163. Also see Rajat. i, 180n.

22. Hasan writes that Rinchan was provided soldiers by Rama Chand, who had proclaimed himself king, to suppress the Khasas. See THK. p. 164.

23. This treacherous act is confirmed by Malik Haidar and Jonaraja. See TMK. MS. f. 30a and Jonar. Stt. 167-69. Hasan writes that arms were concealed in bags of charcoal which were unloaded by the Tibetan merchants in the cells of the fort at Andarkot. THK. p. 164.

24. Hasan writes that Kashmiris had shown their thankfulness to Rinchan for delivering them from the ravages of Khahan (Khasas) by offering him presents in cash and kind. Some of these had teen sent by him to Rama Chand also. See THK. p. 164.

25. From her he got a son named Haidar Khan; Shah Mirza was appointed his tutor (ataliq). See THK. p. 165.

26. Raina is the late version of Rajanaka. See Rajat. iv, 489n.

27. Now called Kishtwar. See TMH. MS. f. 29b.

28. Hasan contradicts this statement. According to him, Rinchan was a Buddhist. See THK. Vol. II, p. 166.

29. See Jonar. Stt. 179 and 184.

30. Hasan associates this story with Malik Saifu’d-Din (Suh Bhatt), the chief vizir of Sultan ‘Ali. See THK. p. 186.

31. Hasan’s account of the religions prevailing at that time is amusingly incorrect. According to him they were: Khetri, Vaish, Kaisth, and Parsi. The first three are actually the classes within the Hindu community. The mention of Parsis is, however, interesting. Jonaraja has made a revealing comment about Rinchan’s religious leanings by stating that “one Devasvami had scruples in initiating Rinchana into the Saivite faith. The refusal was made because Rinchana happened to be Bhautta by birth.” Jonar. p. 71.

32. Malik Haidar is of the view that Rinchan was inclined to embrace the religion of the Brahmans. See TMH. MS. f. 31a.

33. According to Malik Haidar, Baba Bulbul’s answer to Rinchan was: “garibam” (I am a stranger). See TMH. MS. f. 31a. Abu’l-Fazl writes that Rinchan accepted Islam because of Shah Mir. See Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. II, p. 386.

34. This contradicts the author’s earlier statement that “Rinchan was not bound by any religion …” Supra, p. 20. See also note 28.

35. The event occured in A. H. 726 (A.D. 1325). TMH. MS. f. 32a. This reveals that Rinchan was converted by Bulbul Qalandar to Shia’ faith.

36. This was perhaps the first khanqah built in Kashmir. THK. p .166.

37. Hasan writes that a few villages in Nagam pargana were given to him. See THK. p. 166.

38. Called Rentan (Renteh) Masjid. Ibid. p. 167.

39. Malik Haidar is of the opinion that Rinchan’s conversion to Islam was followed by mass conversions. See.TMH. MS. f. 32b.

40. A descendant of the house of Raja Sushram Chand of Nagarkot. Before embracing Islam voluntarily, he held a debate with Baba Bulbul. Ibid.

41. Ravan Raina received the title Malik from Rinchan. Ibid .



Sultan Shamsu’d-Din

Sultan Shamsu’d-Din was gifted with intelligence and sagacity and established cordial relations with all the leading personalities and chiefs of the domain of Kashmir. He also entered into matrimonial relations with them by giving his daughters in marriage to their sons[1] and by accepting their daughters in marriage to his sons. Thus he established harmonious relations with the nobles and the leading personalities [of Kashmir]. Sometime later, Rinchu (Rinchan), in accordance with the Qura’nic saying that “all that lives must taste of death,” left the “world of toil for the abode of eternal peace, ” having reigned for two years and six months. He died in A.H. 727 (A.D. 1326).

Koteh Rani

His widow Koteh Ren[2] [Rani], with the consent of the chiefs of the day, recalled Uden (Udyana) Dev,[3] the brother of Suh Dev, who had fled to the lands of Swadgir during the disturbances caused by Zulji (Zulchu). He was installed on the throne and she married him. This Uden (Udyana) Dev was weak and incompetent and given to monastic life. His wife Koteh Ren (Rani) in effect held the reins of the government of Kashmir. She bore him a son whom she entrusted to the care of one of the chiefs of the land, named Tejeh[4] Bhat Kakehpuri.

At that time, a group of Turks soldiers entered into Kashmir from Hirpur. Coward and pusillanimous as he was, Uden (Udyana) Dev fled towards Tibet, but his wife Koteh Ren (Rani) exhibited singular courage by infusing a heroic spirit in her brother Ravan Raina, Sultan Shamsu’dDin, and Tejeh Bhat Kakehpuri, and managing to rally round her all the kotwals of Kashmir and the people [commandants] of the forts. Weapons for fighting [the enemy] were procured and the Turkish intruders were subjected to harassment. At last truce was made and they [the Turks] were made to quit the land. Negotiations of vital importance in connection with this event were largely conducted by Shah Mir. Thus his prestige and position were further enhanced[6] and most of the areas of the kingdom came under his control.[7] Koteh Ren (Rani) recalled her imbecile husband from Tibet and re-installed him on the throne. In he year A.H. 742 (A.D. 1341), “the cup of his life tumbled upside down as a result of the rotation of spheres.”[8] He ruled for fifteen years, two months and two days. Consequent upon his death, his wife Koteh Ren (Rani) held the reins of kingdom for five months. Her headquarters were at Andarkol.[9]

Shah Mlr found that the realm of Kashmir lacked a government by men of ability. He was reminded of the words of his ancestor and began to nurse the ambition of capturing power and kingship. He took leave of Koteh Ren (Rani), and settled in the city of Kashmir. Through his genial disposition, he succeeded in winning the favour of the chiefs and elders of the state. He got Tejeh Bhat Kakehpuri murdered because he refused to cooperate with him.[10] He assembled the chiefs and besieged Koteh Ren (Rani) at Andarkol. After overpowering her, he bound her willynilly in a marriage contract with himself. [11] Two hundred and eleven years elapsed between the beginning of the reign of Zayeh Dev and the time under reference. From Zayeh Dev to Uden (Udyana) Dev, thirteen rulers ruled over Kashmir, generation after generation. Koteh Ren (Rani) was the fourteenth in order of succession and Rinchan fifteenth in the course of two hundred and eleven years.

In A.H. 742 (A.D. 1341), Shah Mir ascended the throne of Kashmir and assumed the title Shamsu’d-Din by which he is known even today.[12] He ruled for a period of three years and five months and died in the year A.H. 746 (A.D. 1345). He was survived by two sons, Sultan Jamshid and Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din.

Sultan Jamshid

Shamsu’d-Din was succeeded by his elder son Sultan Jamshid who ruled for a year and two months, after which he fell out with his brother. In an armed confrontation which ensued in the village of Vantipore,[13] Sultan Jamshid suffered a defeat,[14] following which Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din ascended the throne in A.H. 748 (A.D. 1347).


He [‘Alau’d-Din] had two sons, Shihabu’d-Din and Qutbu’d-Din. During the reign of ‘Alau’d-Din it so happened that his eldest son, Shihabu’d-Din, in the course of a hunting expedition, strayed into a jungle in the mountains along with his three companions Chandar, Udsheh Rawal and Ikhtuji. [15] Their other followers were left far behind. Suddenly there appeared a woman from the woods[16] who had signs of austerity and righteousness stamped on her face. She offered a cup of sharbet (drink) to Shihabu’dDin and exhorted him to drink it. He took the cup from her hand unhesitatingly and drank it, leaving only the dregs for his comrades. Chandar drank half a draught out of it. So did Udsheh, leaving nothing for Ikhtaji. Then the woman told them that she would speak to them about the future events of their lives: “The throne and the kingdom shall pass into the hands of this Shihabu’d-Din and he shall conquer many more lands and territories which none of the rulers of Kashmir have ever commanded. “She told Chandar and Udsheh Rawal that they would become responsible for discharging vitally important duties in the shaping of [the future] events [of the kingdom]. She further told them that as a proof of what she foretold they would find that this Ikhtaji, who did not have the good luck to drink even a drop out of the cup, would go to the other world before reaching his present destination.

They returned from the hunt and, before actually reaching their destination, the messenger of death overtook Ikhtaji: from the world of matter he moved on to that of spirit. This confirmed the authenticity of the predictions made by that woman and they expected that the other items of her predictions would also come true. ‘Alau’d-Din’s rule lasted twelve years and eight months. He founded the locality of Alau’d-Din Pora where he himself lived.[17] In A.H. 761 (A.D. 1359), he breathed his last;[18] he lies buried under a tomb at ‘Alau’d-Din Pora.

Sultan Shihabu’d-Din

After the death of ‘Alau-Din, his eldest son Shihabu’dDin succeeded him to the throne. Two of his nobles, Chandsar [sic] Dev,[19] a descendant of the line of Chandas, and Ujani Raina were the commanders of his troops. Udsheh Rawal was his adviser and also held the charge of the collector of taxes, duties and revenues of Kashmir. It was he who imposed iki [sic] on boatmen which meant that for one week in a month they were required to render service to the king without receiving wages or remuneration. Many more practices [of extortion, besides the one mentioned] were initiated by him and of these some continue to this day. It was Sultan Muhammad ‘Ali Shah, God Almighty pardon his sins, who discarded the practice of iki [imposed] on the boatmen.

Sultan Shihabu’d-Din ruled for nineteen years during which he engaged himself mostly in subjugating and annexing adjoining territories to his kingdom. This kept him away from Kashmir and he visited it sparingly. The recounters of the events of kings and the choniclers of mighty monarchs have recorded in their annals that Kashmir never saw a king of his valour and a warrior of his intrepidity. Details concerning this have been adequately recorded in the history of written in Kashmiri (Sanskrit).[20] He [the historian] says that if the stories and anecdotes of his remarkable bravery are fully described, people are likely to ascribe them to his poetical exaggeration and as such would be taken as false. They would doubt their veracity. That is why only brief details are given here:

When Kashmir fell into a state of chaos and confusion because of Zulchu’s ravages, it took her considerable time to repair the loss and gradually regain its prosperity. In each pargana villagers joined hands and strengthened their forts. They chose one among them as their leader and claimed to be independent and autocratic. They were not prepared to submit themselves to one another’ s authority. Although some of them did recognize the governor of the city as their overlord and sent presents and gifts to him, yet, strictly speaking, they did not observe the norms of loyalty and submission.

The first and foremost step which Shihabu’d-Din took after ascending the throne of his father was to coordinate civil administration of the parganas in Kashmir. Within a short time, he welded the whole of Kashmir into a single unit. Some of the defiant chiefs and lards of parganas were put to the sword and the others were brought under subjugation .


Having completed the aforesaid measures in Kashmir, he paid attention to the conquest of the neighbouring lands. At the head of a small contingent of troops he came out from Baramulla.[21] His first conquests were those of the lands of Pakli (Pakhli) and Swadgir, followed by the domain of Kakars (Ghakhars). Then he set out for the conquest of Multan. Later he headed towards Kabul and Laghman[22] to restore order in those places. After the conquest and occupation of these lands, he marched towards Badakhshan, and conquered it. From there, he proceeded towards the mountains of Buhlr, Gilgit, and Dardu. The next expedition was to Tibet, which he had firmly resolved to conquer. In those days, Tibet was under the suzerainty of the ruler of Kashghar. On hearing of Sultan’s expedition he gathered together a large number of soldiers and headed towards Tibet where, eventually, the two hostile forces confronted each other. In the ensuing battle each side showed feats of heroism and bravery. Although the troops of the ruler of Kashghar outnumbered the Kashmiris, yet, as the saying goes “when God wills the smaller number shall prevail over the larger number, ” Shihabu’ d-Din emerged victorious . The Kashgharian army was routed and their soldiers dispersed helter-skelter. The victorious Shihabu’d-Din then proceeded via Tibet to conquer Nagarkot and restore order in those areas. He conquered those regions and from there he entrusted the campaign of Kothwar (Kishtwar) to Malik Chandar.[23] He took possession of the whole of the mountain range right upto Jammu. From each town and land that fell into the hands of Sultan Shihabu’d-Din, he carried along with him their gallant and famous warriors, war-veterans and war-horses.

After the conquest of Nagarkot, Shihabu’d-Din resolved to conquer the lands of Hindustan. For this purpose, he assessed the numerical strength of his army, cavalry and foot-soldiers. The number came to fifty thousand horsemen and five lakh soldiers. [24] With this force, he proceeded towards Delhi to conquer the lands of Hind. The king of Delhi at that time was Feroz Shah. Shihabu’d-Din reached the village of Sateh Ledar.[25] Feroz Shah also arrived at the same place at the head of a large army. For some months the two armies confronted each other and no one could overpower the other. At last negotiations were started and hostilities ceased.[26] The lands lying beyond Sirhind right upto Kashmir came under the control of Sultan Shihabu’d-Din. Thus by the grace of the Creator of the World, he returned to Kashmir by Hirpur route carrying his banner of victory and beating the trumpet of his triumph.[27]

The town of Shihabu’d-Din Pora [28] founded during the reign of Sultan Shamsu’d-Din was re-built and considerably developed after the Sultan conquered the Indian lands. It was developed into a pleasure spot where people came for relaxation and enjoyment. He ordered the construction of a Jamia’ mosque in that town.[29]

In order to ensure the safety of his country and the security of its borders, the Sultan sent there some of his nobles and chiefs. He conferred upon Ujani Raina-a descendant of the line of Chandas the village of Chadura as his place of residence.[30] He was sent to Kabul and Laghman to consolidate gains [of conquest] and to enforce security [of those areas]. He first brought Kabul under control and then attended to the defence of Laghman. But there he breathed his last and his dead body was carried all the way back to Chadura where it was buried.

Sultan Shihabu’d-Din addressed himself to such works as would help him get peace in the world hereafter. He arranged a tomb and a burial place for himself to be used after his death. Towards the fag end of his life, he was infused with a zeal for delmolishing idol-houses and destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejeh Belareh [31] (Bijbehara). He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of the infidels.[32] But death overtook him in the year A.H. 780 (A.D 1378). As he lay dying, the glory of kingship, the innumerable troops and a long retinue of liveried servants proved of no avail [to him]. The monarch of his soul that reigned over the realm of his body left his mortal abode and arrived in the everlasting world.[33]


He was succeeded by his brother, Sultan Qutbu’d-Din,[34] who founded Qutbu’d-Din Pora and made it his residential headquarters. Here he built himself a lofty palace the like of which had not been built by his predecessors, except the Palace at Andarkol. The east of the city was selected for a graveyard where he built a tomb [for himself]. A large number of God-fearing men, saints and spiritualists lie buried in that graveyard.

Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani

Sultan Qutbu’d-Din ruled for sixteen years. During his time and in the year A.H. 783 (A.D. 1381), though some say in A.H. 773 (A.D. 1371), His Holiness arrived in Kashmir.[35] God knows better! The protector of the realm of Spirituality, the holder of the position of guidance, the denizen of the hermitage where there is none but God, inmate of the cloister where one merges with the Supreme, monarch on the throne of immortality, the peer of ‘Ali, Amir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, God sanctify his soul, consecrated the land of Kashmir by planting on its soil his most august footsteps. [This event] enhanced the prestige of the inhabitants of this land to supreme heights. Sultan Qutbu’d-Din paid him the highest regard by receiving him [ in person ] with sincerity and conviction. Although Sultan Qutbu’d-Din 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 [in Islamic religion] and, because the teachings of Islamic faith had not been enforced fully, Sultan Qutbu’d-Din had married two women who were uterine sisters. When Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani came to know of it, he forbade him to do so. Sultan Qutbu’d-Din divorced one of his two wives of his free will;[36] with the other he entered into a new marriage contract and made her wear his dress.[37] Sultan Sikandar, the Iconoclast, was born to her after this marriage.

In those days the majority of people was that of infidels and polytheists. The inhabitants of this land wore the common and popular dress of the infidels. Sultan Qutbu’d-Din also dressed himself after their fashion. But at the behest of the Sayyid, he abandoned that costume and adopted the Muslim dress.

The Sayyid presented to the Sultan a cap from his personal wardrobe by way of a token; he considered it a mark of exaltation, and wore it under his crown. All the succeeding rulers of his line observed the practice of wearing it under the crown because they considered it a symbol of exaltation in this world and the other. This practice continued down to the times of Sultan Fath Shah; after his death, it was put in his shroud. A dervish who attended upon the people of that order learnt that the cap of Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani had been put in the shroud [of the dead Sultan]. He declared it as a sinister omen, an indication that kingship and authority would forsake that house for good.[33] And so it did happen. Upto that day the rulers of this house had enjoyed independence and were so powerful that they could dismiss anybody they wished from his official position or elevate anyone they liked to a position of command and prestige. But after the death of Fath Shah, the rulers of the house lost their power and authority. Thereafter each day witnessed a gradual decline in their authority till they were finally replaced by the dynasty of the Chaks, whose account will follow [at its proper place].

Again it needs to be recorded that for some of the time which the holy Amir spent in Kashmir he lived in a sarai at ‘Alau’d-Din Pora. At the site where his khanqah was built, there existed a small temple which was demolished and converted into an estrade on which he offered namaz (prayer) five times a day and recited portions of the Qur’an morning and evening. Sultan Qutbu’d-Din occasionally attended these congregational prayers.

In those days there lived a sirdar called Ladi Magray[39] who belonged to the clan of Magrays. He came to the holy Amir with all sincerety and humility, laying his head in humble submission at his threshold. The saint, bestowing upon him his love and affection, accredited him as his standard-bearer. On account of this distinction, the clan of Magrays stole a march over the rest of the clans of sirdars and chiefs of Kashmir. Sultan Qutbu’d-Din failed to propagate Islam in accordance with the wishes’ and aspirations of Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani and as such the latter found himself reluctant to stay on in this land. Consequently, after a short while, he left via Baramulla under the pretext of proceeding on a pilgrimage to Mecca. Bearing his standard,[40] Ladi Magray accompanied him upto the banks (waters) of Panbeh [sic] Drang. The governors and rulers of those lands showed great respect to the Sayyid and each one of them expressed his sincere loyalty to him. They entreated him to make a halt at their respective places. In A.H. 786 (A.D. 1384), he died at Paneri [sic] in the vilayat of Swadgir on the sizth of Dhu’l-Hijja. In this connection Shaykh Muhammad Berai [sic] has found this chronogram:
Chu shud az gahi Ahmad khatime din
ze hijrat haft-sado shast-o thamanin
biraft az ‘alam-i fani be baqi
Amir-e har do ‘alam zal-i Yasin.

The year of his death has been recorded in another chronogram:
Murshid-i salikan , Shah-e Hamdan
kez damash bagh-i ma’rifat bishguft
mazhar-i noor-i haqq kih ruyash bud
‘aqabat az jahaniyan benihuft
‘aql tarikh-i sal-i rahlat-i u
Sayyid-i ma ‘Ali-e thani guft.

After his death, his sacred remains were carried by his followers and the faithful to Khatlan where they made a burial place for these. All the details concerning his death and the carrying of the catafalque have been recorded by Nuru’d-Din Ja’ far Badakhshi in Khula Satu’l-Manaqib.

Sultan Sikandar

Sultan Qutbu’d-Din died [42] in A.H. 796 (A.D. 1393) and was succeeded by his dear and fortunate son; I mean that the devout, just, the protector of religion, the wielder of good fortune, the recepient of special favour of Master Bestower (God), Sultan Sikandar, the idol-breaker, God enlighten him in the grave, became the king of the realm of Kashmir. [43]

Mir Sayyid Muhammad

During the period of this glorious king’s reign, the holy Amir Sayyid Muhammad, the son of Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani, graced this land with his footsteps.[44] to him [Sayyid Muhammad] goes the credit of wiping out the vestiges of infidelity and heresy from the mirror of the conscience of the dwellers of these lands. Through sermonising and exhortations, he succeeded in enlightening the hearts of the people with the world-embellishing faith of the choicest among men-the faith of Islam. Despite the inexperience of a youth, he was gifted with remarkable piety and knowledge of sciences, esoteric as well as exoteric. Sharh-e Shameh [sic] is his work on logic.[45] He also wrote a tract on mysticism for Sultan Sikandar, in which he has clearly recorded that he was twenty-two years old at the time of writing that book.

Immediately after his arrival, Sultan Sikandar, peace be on him, submitted to his religious supremacy[46] and proved his loyalty to him by translating his words into deeds. He eradicated aberrant practices and infidelity.[47] He also put an end to the various forbidden and unlawful practices throughout his kingdom. Thus during the entire period of his rule, lasting nearly twenty-six years, all traces of wines and intoxicants and instruments of vice and corruption, like the cord of canticle, lyre, or tamborin were wiped off. The clamour of the drum and the trumpet, and the shrill notes of the fife and the clarion no lorger reached people’s ears, except in battles and assaults.[48] After the end of the rule of that king, the supporters and upholders of disbelief and darkness, who helped the growth of infidelity and polytheism, revived their practices. Day after day the customs of religious innovators and polytheists gained currency more than what they had in previous times.

During the days of the late Sultan Sikandar, Malik Suh Bhatt the chief and general of the king, embraced Islam on the initiation of Amir Sayyid Muhammad. He discarded the faith of the infidels and aberrant practices and accepted Islam with purity of heart and sincerity of conscience. Amir Sayyid Muhammad conferred upon him the title of Malik Saifu’d-Din.[49] Thus Sultan Sikandar and Malik Saifu’d-Din, God bless them both, joined hands to gear their full effort towards the eradication of infidelity and other aberrant practices.[50] They raised the banner of Islam and the standard of the faith of the chosen among people to the highest pinnacle of glory and exaltation. Through the blessings and support of Islam and by the propagation of the commands of the sharia’, they were rewarded with victories wherever they led their armies, confirming the saying that “God helps those who help Muhammad’s religion.”

During his (Sultan Sikandar’s) days, Khaqan-i Sahib Qiran, Mirza Timur Gorkan conquered India. He showed love and affection to the above-mentioned Sultan and sent him a pair of elephants as a gift.[51]

It was also during his time that the Sayyids of Baihaq arrived in Kashmir. They had left their native place Sabzewar owing to the invasion of Mirza Timur Korkan and had got scattered over India. But unable to find a safe and tranquil abode in Kashmir, they returned to the plains of India, where they ultimately settled in the town of Jarichah near Delhi. Details of this event will be recorded at the relevant place. They came to Kashmir again along with their entourage during the reign of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin, and finally settled here.

Baihaqi Sayyids

What follows now is the story of this clan. Mr Sayyid Mahmud Baihaqi, son of Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi and a grandson of Sayyid Jalal, did not adequately reflect on finding solutions to the problems arising out of the emergence of Mirza Timur. Resigning himself to the will of God and relying on his [quality of] steadfastness, he fought the overwhelming army of Timur.

[ verses ]

His troops suffered defeat and he fled towards India. On his way he visited the shrine of Ima Reza- salutes and respect to him- to offer his respects. In order to be blessed with knowledge, he retired to a secluded corner in the shrine, and after five days, with awakened mind and vision, saw the Imam in his dream. He prostrated before him as a mark of respect and made a humble submission to him that in his childhood, he had not read anything from books of learning nor had he tried to acquire knowledge. The Imam rubbed his saliva on his tongue which gave Sayyid Mahmud such eloquence that he became one among the learned. The saliva of Imam Reza [also] gave him mystic powers. When he woke up from his dream, he found himself a wise and discriminating person. He found that he had been gifted with wisdom and powers of discrimination to a degree that was neither possible nor imaginable.

After that he left the holy town of Meshhad and arrived in the prestigious city of Delhi during the reign of Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din. On being informed of his arrival, the Sultan showed him due respect by receiving him in person. He sat in his company for a while during which he showed all possible respect to him. The learned and scholerly men of the city would discuss their problems with him and he, with the help of his inspired knowledge, would solve their difficulties.

[ verses ]

After a few days, Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din ordered a grand celebration. Peals of music sounded forth from the harp and the dulcimer; the lute and the organ; the tamborin and bellhanging staff; the violin and the cornet. The harp, the rebeck, and the sikh-i-khatai were played upon; and a quaint melody in Iraqi[52] was raised. The sunlike drum (daf) and the moonlike violin (kemancheh) also came into play. The learned and the celebrated and the elite and the noble from all parts [of the country] living in Delhi gathered together. Upto that day, the sun-the headless and footless globetrotter-had never cast its rays on such a galaxy of brilliant people. The sky, which, through a hundred thousand eyes of its stars and comets, watches closely men and their affairs on this earth had never caught sight of such an assembly.

[ verses ]

Mir Sayyid Mahmud composed two panegyrics in praise of Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din with sham’ and chiragh as qafiyas. Historians have feared the length of the panegyrics and have recorded only the following verses:

[ verses ]

That night Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din heard many strange and sensational things from Mir Sayyid Mahmud. As the sun donned his golden crown and raised its head in the East, Mir Sayyid Mahmud composed this extempore panegyric in praise of the Sultan:

[ verses ]

Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din greatly trusted the words of Mir Sayyid Mahmud. He permitted him to retire to his resting place so that the crowds left the royal palace.

The aforesaid Sultan had a daughter of unparalleled beauty. With regard to the matter of her marriage, he, first of all, held consultations with his courtiers and privy counsellors. They unanimously opined that none but the noble Mir Sayyid Mahmud was qualified for this high favour; any other suggestion would amount to indulging in an exercise in futility. The suggestion of the courtiers was approved by the Sultan and they were entrusted with the mission of negotiating this matrimonial alliance. :But when they made this suggestion to Mir Sayyid-of venerable lineage-, he declined saying that in the holy shrine of Imam Reza, he had received a message from the Inscrutable World that he had been honoured with the title of a dervish, and his entering into matrimonial alliance with the royal house was impracticable. He suggested to them that they could perhaps consider his nephew, Mir Sayyid Hasan, the son of Mir Sayyid Shah, for this alliance and that this special favour could be granted to him. He further told them: “I shall consider this development as an inexhaustible good fortune. I vouch for Mir Hasan’s intelligence, merit, loyalty and sincerity. It is likely that this may create doubts in the mind of the Sultan and he might impute motives to my suggestion. But the fact is that after fighting the overwhelming forces of Sahib Qiran, I retired to the holy city of Meshhad and in the shrine there, the invisible tongue of the Imam conferred upon me the title of dervish. This fact is known to every one.”

Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din’s courtiers conveyed these words to him. Dismissing all doubts and controversial inferences, he told them that he would fulfil the wishes of a pure person’ (mumin) as both the honourable Sayyids were two pearls from one shell.

After a few days, the privy counsellors of the Sultan made elaborate arrangements for collecting gorgeous robes commensurate with their status and worthy of being presented to the royalty and also procured swift horses and camels and an unimaginable quantity of provisions, and then set up a grand feast. Then they carried the chaste betrothed one to Mir Sayyid Hasan Baihaqi. The whole of Sambal and Mian-do- Ab was conferred upon him as his jagir. The pargana of Dankur in the vicinity of Delhi was given to him as his dwelling place. Thus the group [of Sayyids] settled at Jarichah. They subdued and suppressed almost all the headstrong and defiant people of that locality and exacted taxes and tributes from them. Between Sambal and Miando-Ab, they set up security posts at vulnerable points. If a traveller, for some reason, was forced to leave behind his luggage at one of these points, the militant people of the area, fearing this group, would carry it on their backs and heads and bring it to the town of Jarichah.

However, the world and its denizens at large know full well that the turbulent spheres do not let the faithful live in peace and permanence, and [consequently] Sultan Ghiathu’dDin responded to the call of the inevitable.

After the death of Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din, a dervish, after visiting Kashmir, passed through Lahore and Delhi and arrived in Jarichah, where he was introduced to Sayyid Mahmud. He praised Kashmir before him and also recounted to him the tales of just dispensations of Sultan Sikandar, the Iconoclast. This excited in Mir Sayyid a desire to visit that land. He and his warriors left their families-children and womenfolk;-at Delhi and Jarichah and set out for Kashmir via Hirpur. Sultan Sikandar came out to receive them in the city. Their association flourished so much that Mir Sayyid almost forgot his desire of governing Sabzewar and Mian-do-Ab. The remaining part of the story of this group will be resumed at its proper place.

Men of learning

During the reign of that devout king (Sultan Sikandar) eminent and well-known scholars arrived in this land from different cities and places.[53] A fairly large number of revered Sayyids and generous noblemen who had various attainments to their credit graced this land with their august steps. Among them is the versatile and remarkable Mir Sayyid Ahmad bin Sayyid Muhmmad Isfahani whose work Tanvir is based on the commentary on Faraiz-i-Sirraji.[54] This book gives evidence of his sharp intelligence and powers of elucdating subtle truths and sublime realities. Besides this work, his epistles exhibit his superb command over rhetoric. Another man of erudition among the immigrants is Sayyid Muhammad Khawari, Khawari being his pen-name. Khawar Nameh is one of his works. In the field of mysticism, he wrote a commentary on Lum’at. Both these learned men were devoted and close followers of Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani. They have expressed their devotion and adherence to the Sayyid in some of their works. Yet another learned and true Sayyid and the upholder of the faith is Qadi Sayyid Hassan Shirazi, who had held the post of a Qadi in Shiraz. On arriving in this country during the reign of the late Sultan Sikandar, he was appointed to the post of a Qadi. There is a tract in his own hand, in which the Ratniyeh [sic] hadith have been collected. At the end of the tract, the Qadi has recorded that he had shown it to the exalted and venerable Mir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani, who had duly authenticated it. It should not remain unknown that though some of the learned men have raised doubts about Ratniyeh hadith, yet most of the ‘ulema, the grand doctors, and prominent scholars have accepted them as authentic. It is thus clear that in this matter the Qadi was among the pupils of Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani.

In the days of that devout ruler (Sultan Sikandar), a large number of exalted Shaykhs and respectable Sayyids, who were men of extraordinary attainments and of spiritual powers, arrived in this land. One of these was Amir Sayyid Ahmad Madani, who had migrated from Medina along with his family and settled in this land. Many extraordinary spiritual feats are attributed to him. After his death, his burial place became a shrine which common people frequented to receive blessings and for the fulfilment of their desires. Another person is Shaykh Jalal Bukhari who had came to this land from Bukhara along with a large number of his companions including the Sayyids of respectable status. His grave can be found in the graveyard of the native Sultans. The burial places of the Sayyids who had accompanied him have become shrines visited by people. For instance, both Mir Sayyid Taju’d-Din and Mir Sayyid Burhan are buried at Iskandar Pora- a locality laid out by Sultan Sikandar.[55] Sayyid Nuru’d-Din, who is buried in Qutbu’d-Din Pora locality,[56] was a comparion of Shaykh Jalalu’d-Din. Another person is Baba Hajji Adham who had come from Balkh along with a large number of his followers and attendants. Baba Hasan Mantaqi, father of Mir Veys, is buried in the Mazar-i-Salatin and he, too, was among the followers of Baba Hajji Adham. The great grandfather of the writer of these pages named Mulla Hasamu’d-Din was also a follower of Baba Hajji Adham and had accompanied him from Ghazna. He served in the kitchen of that saint and his group of dervishes.[57] This Baba Hajji Adham lived to see the times of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidln. After his death, his body was buried in the well-known garden called Bagh-i Mir Veys-an endowment property-at the foot of the Khanqah of Mulla Parsa near Koh-i-Maran.[58] His grave has become famous for visits [by the needy].

Mir Veys

Baba Hajji Adham’s disciple, Baba Hasan Mantaqi, though a married man, lived the life of an ascetic. Once Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin requested him for a gift. A few days later the Baba carried something in the sleeve of his leathercoat[59] and came to Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin. He asked him to stretch out the hemline of his gown to receive the gift. The Baba put a month-old infant in his lap, saying. “This is my gift to you. Take proper care of him.” The Sultan carried the infant to his private chamber and entrusted it to the care of his chief mistress, the daughter of Seydan Baihaqi. A nurse was engaged to look after the infant. It is said that the queen bore no child to the Sultan. When Mir Veys [60] was given to her, out of extreme maternal love and affection, her breasts were filled with milk. Mir Veys suckled on the milk of the queen as well as the nurse. Whatever portion of knowledge and learning fell to the share of Mir Veys was through the care of Sultan Zainu’l’Abidin, and whatever he acquired of asceticism and mystecism was inherited by him from his father and Baba Hajjl Adham.

Another person among those who arrived in this land during the reign of the devout king ( Sikandar ) is Mulla Parsa.[61] He too was gifted with piety and purity and had various attainments and virtues to his credit. At the foot of the Koh-i-Maran, he built a khanqah for himself.

Sikandar’s achievements

The august king and the upholder of the laws of religion granted villages, hamlets, habitations, and houses, commensurate with their needs and status, to each of the ‘ulema, the learned, the ascetic, the pious, the noble, the Sayyid and the Qadi. These were by way of endowments and stipends so that they were provided with the means of subsistence. Villages and hamlets thus endowed were given as permanent holds to be inherited by their future generations, without any break. Thus their successors continue to hold these endowments down to his day.

The same king (Sultan Sikandar) created the post of Shaykhu’l-Islam in this land. A large number of hamlets and villages were selected from each pargana and set apart as endowed to that noble post so that stipends and alms could be provided through that source for distribution among the learned, the Qadis, the Sayyids, the mendicants, the needy, the pilgrims and the travellers, in accordance with the needs and rights of each.

He also built a hospital, Daru’l-Shifa, in this land, where food, medicines and other requirements were provided for patients and the ailing ones. The physicians and medical practitioners of this land were given stipends and financial assistance to enable them to attend to the sick. They were required to pay daily visits to the hospital, diagnose diseases and prescribe treatments and cures. These acts of charity, which have continued to this day, were the result of the august company and counsel of Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani. It was through his blessings that this noble and religious-minded king was able to support and strengthen the law of Muhammad and to promote and advance his religion and community. So long as Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani lived in this land, the pargana of Mattan was provided for his subsistence. He built a two-storeyed mosque by the side of the spring of Bhavan, a spring of unparalleled clean and transparent waters.

Jami Mosque

The late religious-minded king Sultan Sikandar, built the locality of Navato [62] for his residence. There he built a magnificent palace, the like of which did not exist [before]. A lofty and imposing Jami’ mosque was also built by him in the same locality where Id festivals would be celebrated and congregations held. Throughout the lands of Hind and Sindh and the climes of Iran and Turan, one cannot come across a mosque of such grandeur and magnificence, though, of course such grand mosques do exist in the lands of Egypt and Syria. The architect of this mosque was Khwaja Sadru’d-Din who had come to this land from Khurasan. A Jami’ mosque and a lodge at Vejeh Belarah [3] were also among the architectural works executed under the orders cf this king.

Mazar-i-Salatin and Khanqah

On the banks of the river which flowed through the city, he laid out a burial ground for the royal dead.[64] The lofty ideals and glory of this king are reflected in the magnificent buildings that he raised. The platform which the venerable Amir-i-Kabir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani had raised at ‘Alau’d-Din Pora for addressing religious gatherings was made use of as a foundation for the Khanqah, for the maintenance of which he allotted a few villages by way of endowment and provided means of subsistence for its employees and inmates.

Some people are of the opinion that Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani possessed a jewel which he gave to the late Sultan Sikandar. The Sayyid bought the villages of Talal (Tral) and Vachi, which he later gave to this khanqah by way of an endowment to provide for the recitors of the Qur’an and the caretakers of the khanqah. The foundation and the structure of the khanqah as laid by Amir Sayyid Hamadani made it small and limited. Private houses of the inhabitants [of the locality] and the caretakers were so close to the walls of the khanqah that if a fire wolld break out in the locality, its flames would engulf the entire khanqah [complex] .

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin rebuilt the khanqah. In the days of Malik Kaji Chak, Amir Shamsud-Din Muhammad Iraqi -God bless the most pious one-graced this land with his auspicious footsteps and he undertook the reconstruction of this khanqah afresh to make it spacious, lofty and imposing. Private houses in its periphery were pulled down and adjoining private lands were acquired against substantial cash payments. People who were not in need of money, such as Qadi Muhammad Qudsi and the offspring of Mulla Baba Ali, were given alternative sites in other localities, and thus the neighbourhood of the khanqah was cleared so that in future it would be secure against accidental fires and other calamities.

During the days of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad Iraqi the endowments to the khanqah increased considerably, so much so that during the life time of that venerable person, one hundred and twenty five traks [65] of rice were cooked in the kitchen of the khanqah each day; sixty-five traks for dinner. There was hardly a day when meat was not cooked in the kitchen of the khanqah. These works of public charity included a public kitchen and a pottage-house (ashkhaneh). These were destroyed in a fire. Later on the employees built smaller ones in their place. Loftiness of the building of the khanqah and the commodiousness of its store-house for paddy and other required articles speak of the magnanimity of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi.

Sayyid Muhammad dies

It must not remain unknown that on account of the obduracy and the animosity of Sayyid Hisari towards Amir Sayyid Muhammad Hamadani, the latter found himself disheartened in this land. After seeking the permission of [the late] Sultan Sikandar, he set out on a pilgrimage to Mecca to perform Hajj and ‘Umrah. After fulfilling this wish of visiting the holy shrines of the venerable Imams,[66] he reached the province of Khatlan,[67] his birth-place, and also the land where his illustrious father had been buried. There he breathed his last, and was laid to rest by the site of his father.

Let it be known that Sultan Sikandar, the Iconoclast reigned for twenty-five years, nine months, and six days after which he died.

[ verses ]

Muhammad Baihaqi, who adopted the pen-name of darvish in his verses of which a Diwan was compiled, composed many verses and eulogies in praise of Sultan Sikandar, and has also composed a chronogram suggesting the year of Sultan’s death. The fragment is reproduced from his Diwan:

[ verses ]

Another poet of those days composed some verses to record the year of Sultan’s death.

[ verses ]

Mahmud Baihaqi leaves Kashmir

The late Sultan Sikandar was succeeded by his eldest son Sultan ‘Ali [68] whose reign lasted eight years and some months. He did not feel comfortable in the company of Mir Sayyid Mahmud Baihaqi. The Sayyid thought that the garden of Kashmir was a land of calamities, and made a firm resolve to proceed to Delhi. Thereupon the idea of hosting a public feast struck his mind. All the high officials, the nobles, the Shaykhs, the Sayyids, the learned, and men of eminence were invited to the spacious grounds of Idgah.[69] ‘Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din, the son of the late Sultan Sikandar, was also present in that assembly. Supper was followed by recitations from the Qur’an. After this the invitees were made to remove their mourning weeds and wear robes of honour according to their rank. Then Mlr Sayyid Mahmud moved on to the burial place of Sultan Sikandar to pay homage to him and then recited the following elegiac verses in a doleful voice:

[ verses ]

Thence Mir Sayyid took the Hirpur route and arrived at his former house in Dehli to settle down into a quiet life. He withdrew himself from the base material world and began to attend to pursuits for the world hereafter. He built a mosque with [adjoining] structures and laid a burial ground [for the holy]. An enormous public catering place was also built for the use of people who visited the mosque. His extraordinary spiritual feats are wellknown among the intelligent people in Kashmir and Dehli. His grave has become a shrine for people who usually seek blessings and fulfilment of their desires. His death occured in the month of Rabl’u’l Akhir.

Jasrath’s rebellion

Mir Sayyid Hasan, the nephew of Mir Sayyid Mahmud Baihaqi, had been permitted by him to settle at Nowshehr[70] in India. He was known for his bravery and valour. Within a short time he succeeded in obtaining tributes from the stiff-necked chieftains of the mountaineous regions of Kashmir[71] with which he met the expenses of salaries and provisions of his troops. With a firm hand he suppressed rebellions whenever they were reported and he (ruthlessly) put the miscreants to the sword.

During this time, it was reported to him that Raja Jasrath, with the support of a group of infidels and wicked persons, had become so haughty as to defy his authority in his own fort.[72] He had misled the people to rally round him. On hearing this news, Mir Sayyid Hasan seized his sword, mounted his light-footed horse, and marched out of Nowshehr in India till he confronted the rebels. A fierce battle ensued:

[ verses ]

The fort occupied by the profane infidels was as lofty as the sky and was surrounded by a dark forest.[73] This was the reason why his warriors could not overpower the enemy. Although Mir Sayyid Hasan could not coerce these ill-equipped insurgents into submission, he continued his fight with them acting on the saying “a struggle in the path of God is its own reward.” He looked at his fight with that group as a holy war. In the course of a fierce battle which ensued he attained martyrdom on the second day of Rabl’u’l-Awwal of the year A.H. 837 (A.D. 1433).[74] The year of his death has been commemorated in a fragment:

[ verses ]

His grave is in Jasrot [75] [sic] when the news of his martyrdom reached his relatives and children at Dehli, it was mourned by all the nobles, the learned and the commoners of that city. Mir Sayyid Nasir, the son of the late Sayyid Hasan, invited all the leading aristocrats, Sayyids, learned men, and other notable personalities of Dehli to a feast where they were lavishly entertained with varieties of food and sherbet. Recitations from the holy Qur’an continued for several days and prayers for the peace of the departed soul were offered. He also sent enormous quantities of food and drinks to the houses of the Shaykhs, the divines, Sayyids and all the notable and elderly persons of the city. After fulfilling these obligations, he returned to the town of Jarichah.

Sultan Ghiathu’d-Din’s daughter bore Mir Sayyid Hasan Baihaqi seven sons. They were Mir Sayyid Zainu’l-‘Abidin, Mir Mua’zzam Khan, Mir Musa, Mir Sayyid Jalal, Mir Sayyid Shah, Mir Badshah, and Mir Sayyid Nasir. But none except the youngest among them ventured to take revenge on Raja Jasrath. Mir Sayyid Nasir, the youngest of his sons despite his youth, exhibited undaunted courage in avenging his father’s death. After procuring necessary weapons and provisions he marched towards the domain of the worthless infidels. The nobles advised him to carefully weigh the consequences of his adventure. All his six brethren came to see him and advised him to drop the idea of an expedition against that wicked group in that year. The courageous prince took their advice and the execution of his plan got deferred for the next seven years.


1. For details regarding these alliances, see Jonar. p. 77. The chieftains with whom matrimonial relations were established by Shah Mir were of Shankarpora (Pattan), Bhangila (Bengil), Bhringa (Bring), and other places. See Rajat. v, 156n., vii, 493 and Vol. II, p. 468.

2. Malik Haidar says she was a descendant of the Rajas of Hind [sic]. TMH MS. f. 32b. This, however, does not tell us anything about the ruling house to which she belonged.

3. Jonaraja says that Uden Dev was recalled to Kashmir by Sahmira. Jonar. St. 222.

4. Hasan gives his name as Pecheh Bhat, but it does not appear to be correct. THK. p. 167. Jonaraja mentions neiher of these names but his version of this seems to be correct when he says that it was Bhatta Bhiksana. Jonar. Stt. 274-75. When written in Arabic, the name Bhikhshana/ Bhikhna (Kashmiri) can be misread as Pecheh or Tejeh. Malik Haidar says that Tejeh Bhat was a foster-brother of Kotehren. See TMH. MS. f. 33a.

5. The Turk invaders were commanded by one Urdun. TMH. MS. f. 33a. Hasan writes that he entered into Kashmir via Hirpur pass in A.H. 732 (A.D. 1331). THK. p. 167.

6. Jonaraja writes that during the disturbances created by Accala the people found a protector in Sahmira. Jonar. St. 245.

7. He subdued the chieftains of Bohurupa (Biru) and Samala (Hamal). He burnt Vijayesa and Cakradhara (Tsakdar Udar), his stronghold. Jonar. Stt. 252-55. Udyanadeva rewarded Sahmira by granting him Kramrajya (Kamraj) and some other district in propriety rights to his sons Jyamisara (Jamshid) and Allesara (‘Ali Sher). See St. 225.

8. According to Jonaraja, his death was kept a secret by Queen kotadevi for four days. Jonar. St. 264.

9. Andarkot. For details see Rajat. iv, 506-11n.

10. Jonaraja writes that Sahmira assassinated Bhatta Bhiksana (and not Tejeh Bhat) who was one of his political rivals. See note 4 supra.

11. The author of the chronicle gives the impression that the marriage of Koteh Ren with Shah Mir lasted for some time. This is refuted by several prominent historians. Malik Haidar says that Koteh Ren rejected his marriage proposal because she did not want to marry her subordinate. But because she had been defeated by him, she committed suicide by driving a dagger into her belly. TMH. MS. f. 34a. Hasan gives the same story, but with a slight difference in detail. According to him she was compelled by circumstances to agree to his proposal. On the day of their marriage she clad herself in gorgeous robes; but stabbed herself by ripping open her bowels, and said to Shah Mir, “This is my acceptance.” THK. p. 169. Jonaraja, however, denies that they were married. He says that Saimira shared her bed for one night and then put her in prison. Jonar, Stt. 305306.

12. One of the significant acts of Shah Mir, which is important from the historical point of view, was his discarding the hitherto prevailing Saptrishi calendar in Kashmir and replacing it by the new Kashmiri calendar, which he invented himself, beginning with the date of accession of Rinchan in A.D. 725 A.D. 1324. It continued upto the beginning of Mughal rule. THK. p. 169 .

l3. Avantipora. According to Hasan, Zenapora. THK. p 170.

14. Hasan says that he suffered a defeat because his chief vizier Sirraju’d-Din betrayed him and joined ‘Alau’d-Din. THK. p. 170. This is confirmed by Jonaraja who says that Sayyaraja (Sirraj) was promised a reward and position by Allesera (‘Ali Sher). Jonar. p. 83.

15. This name does not occur in TMH. Jonaraja gives two names, Udayashri and Chandradarmara and the third man was a groom. J. C. Dutt, (tr.) p. 36.

16. This is confirmed by Malik Haidar. TMH. MS. f. 34b. But Hasan categorically states that she was Lala ‘Arifa. THK. p. 171. Janaraja writes that a circle of yoginis appeared from the forest of Vakpushta. The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr J. C. Dutt Delhi, 1986, pp. 35-36.

17. Jonaraja states that he erected two palaces, one at Jayapidapora, and the other at Rinchanpora Buddhger). Jonar. p. 84.

18. The date of his death is stated in the chronogram ‘makanash ferdows’. THK. p. 171.

19. In Malik Haidar’s work he is called Uchal [sic] Chand, the son of Ravan Chand. This Malik Uchal [sic] settled in Chadura where he built a fort, and thereafter his house was called Chaduri. He died while fighting in Laghman near Kabul. His dead body was brought to Chadura and buried there. TMH. MS. f. 36b.

20. This sentence indicates that Jonaraja’s Rajatarangini was one of the sources for our chronicler as far as the history of early Shah Mirs is concerned. Also see Jonar. p. 85.

21. Hasan has computed their number at five lakh soldiers and fifty thousand cavalrymen. The command of the troops was put in the hands of Sayyid Hasan Bahadur, the son of Sayyid Taju’d-Din, a cousin of Amir-i-Kabir Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani. THK. p. 172.

22. Lamghan in Hasan. p. 172.

23. Candra, Sura and Laula were the three Damara generals of the Sultan. Jonar. Stt. 370, 402.

24. Hasan corroborates this statement. See note 21 supra.

25. Satadru (Sutlej) in Jonar. p. 88. For further details of his conquests, see Jonar. p. 85.

26. Truce was concluded on the initiative of Amir Kabir Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani. The Amir proposed the marriage of three daughters of Feroz Shah with the relatives of Sultan Shihabu’d-Din. The eldest daughter was married to Hasan Khan, the second one to Sultan Qutbu’d-Din, and the third one to Sayyid Hasan Bahadur. THK. p, 173. Hasan further says that the Amir came to Kashmir while Shihabu’d-Din was fighting with Feroz Shah. It can be gleaned from Hasan that Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani first came to Kashmir and then went to Ferozpur to bring about conciliation between Shihabu’d-Din and Feroz Shah.

27. For details concerning the countries or towns he conquered, see Jonar. p. 185.

28. Now called Shahampur. The locality comprised sixty thousand houses besides one thousand military camps. THK. p. 174.

29. Its foundation existed even in Hasan’s days. See THK. p. 174.

30. A fort was built by Ujani Raina for himself at Chadura which continued to be in the control of his descendants till the times of Malik Haidar Chadura. See TMH. MS. f. 36

31. Present-day Bejbehara. For details see Rajat . Vol . II, p. 463.

32. Malik Haiddar says that he brought many people within the fold of Islamic faith. TMH. MS. f. 36b.

33. He was buried in the locality of Baldimar; a tomb over his grave was built by Pratap Singh, a Dogra official under the rule of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. See THK. p. 175. For Baldimar, the ancient Baladhyamatha, see Rajat. Vol. II, p. 448.

34. Hasan gives his name as Hindal. THK. p. 175.

35. According to Hasan, Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani visited Kashmir for the second time in A.H. 781 /A.D. 1379. THK. p. 175. Malik Haidar says that Mir Sayyid visited Kashmir during the reign of Sultan Qutbu’d-Din. TMH. MS. f. 37a

36. This event has not been reported by Malik Haidar.

37. This indicates that they were his Hindu wives. The name of Sultan Qutbu’d-Din’s wife who gave birth to Sikandar was Subhatta. Jonar. p. 92.

38. This story is not found in THK.

39. Ladda Margesa in Jonar. St. 617. By birth he was a non-Brahman Hindu of a high caste. Jonar. St. 617. Sn.

40. This perhaps may be the beginning of the tradition of ‘Alamdars in Kashmir.

41. A MS copy of the work exists in the State Research Library, Srinagar, under Cat. No. 658.

42. He was buried in Langarhatta mohalla in Srinagar. THK. p . 176.

43. His mother, as Jonaraja has rightly pointed out, was a Hindu. See note 37 supra.

44. It is interesting to note that he came to Kashmir along with three thousand disciples. THK. p. 178.

45. Hasan makes no mention of this work.

46. Jonaraja says that it was owing to his political sagacity (and not because of his religious canviction) that Sultan Sikandar showed respect to the Sayyid. See Jonar. St. 574.

47. Also see Jonar. Stt. 575 and 591. Hasan has given revealing details about Sultan Sikandar’s attempts to do so by destroying Hindu temples some of which were Martandesvara near Matan, three at Parihasapura, Maha Shri, and Tarapitha [sic] temples in Iskandarpora, Srinagar. For details see THK. pp. 178-80.

48. For details of forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam and their massacre in case they refused to be converted, see THK; pp. 178-80. One significant detail is that three kharwars (one kharwar is approximately equal to eighty kilograms) of Hindu ceremonial thread (zunnar) were burnt by Sultan Sikandar.

49. The Sayyid’s marriage to Suha Bhatta’s daughter Baria is confirmed from THK. p. 178; Tarikh-i Sayyid ‘Ali, MS. f. 44 and Fatahat-i-Kubrawiyyeh, MS. f. 157a.

50. The story of persecution of Hindus by Sultaan Sikardar is vividly recorded by Jonaraja in Stt. 657-669. Also see Stt. 597, 601-2, 606 and TMH. MS. f. 44a.

51. Jonaraja’s statement that the elephants were presented by Timur out of fear of Sultan Sikandar is difficult to accept. See Jonar. St. 562. Hasan’s version is that Timur was pleased to be informed at Attock that Sultan Sikandar of Kashmir accepted him as his overlord and would strike coins and read the khutba in his name. THK. p. 182.

52. A tune in classical Iranian music.

53. Such as ‘Iraq, Khurusan, Transoxiana (Mawara’-anNahr), etc. THK. p. 177.


54. It is not clear from the text whether Tanvir was a work other than Faraiz-i-Sirraji or a part of its title.

55. Iskandarpora was laid out on the debris of the destroyed temples of Hindus. In the neighbourhood of the royal palace in Iskandarpora, the Sultan destroyed the temple of Maha Shri which had been built by Pravarasena and another one built by Tarapida. The material from these was used for constructing a Jami’ mosque in the middle of the city. See THK. p. 180.

56. Present-day Khanqah-i-Mu’alla locality in Srinagar.

57. This sentence and the preceding one is all that the author says about himself in the present work.

58. Originally called Sarikaparvata. See Rajat. iii, 349 and vol. II, p. 146.

59. Leather-coat was not a part of the dress of Kashmiris during the Hindu period. Perhaps it was introduced in Kashmir after the Central Asian practice. See my Kashmir Shawl, Srinagar, 1984.

60. The name given by Hasan is Muhammad Amin and not Mir Veys. See p. 198.

61. Another saintly person of the same name was invited by Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin to Kashmir. See THK. p. 195.

62. Present-day Nowhatta.

63. Sultan Sikandar ravaged and looted the temple of Vijayesvara. See Tohfat. MS. f. 138b.

64. Present-day Mazari-i-Salatin on the right bank of Jhelum near Zaina Kadal in Srinagar.

65. One trak is approximately equal to five kilograms.

66. These holy shrines are at Najaf and Kerbala in’Iraq and Meshhad and Qom in Iran.

67. Now a district of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Tajikistan.

68. His family name was Mir Khan and he ascended the throne in A.H 201/A.D. 1417. THK. p. 185.

69. On the left bank of Jhelum in Srinagar. It continues to be known by the same name.

70. Parts of Nowshehra area are now under Pakistani-occupied Kashmir.

71. South of Pir Pantsal range.

72. Jasrath Khan Ghakkar had escaped from Timur’s captivity in Samarqand and had established his authority over Panjab. Shahi Khan (Zainu’l-‘Abidin) had been given the throne of Kashmir when Sultan ‘Ali decided to proceed on a pilgrimage to Mecca. But on reaching Jammu his father-inlaw, Raja of Jammu, dissuaded him from abdicating the throne. On his instance and with his material help, Sultan ‘Ali changed his mind and returned to Kashmir via Pakhli to resume kingship. His brother Shahi Khan resisted him, but was defeated and fled to Panjab where Jasrat Khan Ghakkar (Raja Jasrat of the text) gave him shelter. Together they raised a large army, and in the second battle fought between Sultan ‘Ali and his brother Shahi Khan, the former was defeated and fell a prisoner in the hands of Jasrat Khan. The victorious Zainu’l-‘Abidin marched on to Kashmir where he was warmly received by the people. THK. pp. 187-88. Jonaraja says that Raja of Madra (Jammu) Billa Deva was slain in a battle against Jasrath Khukhura who had become his enemy because he had disclosed his place of hiding to the troops of Sayyid Mu’izzu’d-Din Mubarak Shah (A.D 14211434) of Dehli. See Eliot’s History, Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shah IV, pp. 56-59; Jonar. Stt. 711-16.

73. Probably it was somewhere near present Kathua. Hasan says that after suffering defeat in the battle at Uri, Zainu’l’Abidin fled to Sialkot. THK . p. 188.

74. Malik Doom Chndura, a local commander of Sultan ‘Ali’s troops and a descendant of the house of Chandas, also fell in this battle. He was succeeded by his son Malik Avtar. TMH. MS. f. 39a.

75. Jasrot should not be confused with Jasrath. Jasrot is the name of a place.




The late Sultan Sikander was succeeded by his eldest son Sultan ‘Ali in A.H. 817 (A.D. 1414).[1] It has already been said that his reign lasted eight years and some months. In the year A.H. 826 (A.D. 1422), he proceeded on a pilgrimage to Mecca[2] and entrusted his kingdom, government and property to his son Zainu’1-‘Abidin. The later ascended the throne of Kashmir in the same year, and his reign lasted fifty-two years.

Expedition against Jasrath

During his reign Mir Sayyid Nasir re-equipped himself with arms and supplies to confront Raja (of?) Jasrot. He paid no heed to the entreaties of his brothers, dear ones and elders to desist from the contemplated expedition and was inspired by the verse which says: ‘In the hand of God, the conductor of affairs, have we left the result of our actions; let us see what His grace will be.” Setting aside their advice, he told his relatives that the year appeared to be auspicious for his victory. Since, with the grace of God Almighty, all the necessary means were available to him, he was disposed to translate his desire into action. In accordance with the dictum that ‘whenever God wishes a certain thing to be done, necessary means appear’, it was likely that victory would be theirs, and that group of wicked persons would become their prisoner. The aforesaid group [of wellwishers] found that the Sayyid was not prepared to change his decision. Hence they were left with no alternative but to remain silent and leave the consequences of his actions to God Almighty. They returned to their residence. In short, the abovementioned Mir Sayyid very humbly embarked on this expedition and uttered the verses:

[ verses ]

In a fit of anger, he (Sayyid Nasir) burnt the dwellings of the inhabitants of Jaricha, and then turned towards Jesrath. Sayyid Qasim[3] says that apart from his own troops, five thousand more soldiers of his old acquaintance, who were armed to the teeth and owed allegiance to Mir Nasir Baihaqi, preferring death to life, marched from Jaricha to seek revenge on Raja [ of ? ] Jasrot [sic]. They passed through dangerous stages [of the journey] and at last were face to face with the troops of the Raja. A fierce battle ensued in which people in large numbers on both sides were killed. At last, with the help of God, the troops of Islam emerged victorious over the infidels, whose innumerable soldiers were killed on the battlefield and many were taken prisoner.

Relation with Sayyids

After destroying the Satan’s[4] party, he (Mir Sayyid Nasir) proceeded to Nowshehr (Hind) to visit the holy shrine of Miran Sayyid Hasan. When the news of the advent of the victorious troops of Mir Sayyid Nasir in Nowshehr (Hind) reached Sultan Zainu’l- ‘Abidin in Kashmir, he despatched experienced advisers to [meet] Miran Sayyid Nasir with the purpose of reviving cordial relations with Mir Sayyid Mahmud which had been established during the reign of Sultan Sikandar.

To strengthen and to stabilize his authority, he (Zainu’l’Abidin) invited him to a feast and duly fulfilled the obligations demanded of a host. Mir Sayyid Nasir had three sons, all brave and valiant. One of them, Mir Sayyid Ibrahim, attained martydom while fighting the infidels in the vicinity of the Doab; his grave is at Jaricha. With his death Ibrahim’s line came to an end. The second son, Miran Sayyid Mahmud, succeeded his father. At the time of leaving Nowsher (Hind)[5] for Kashmir, he bade his son proceed to Jaricha. Mir Mahmud remains buried at Jaricha and his descendants continue to live at that place. His third son was Mirak Sayyid Hasan who was taken by his father along with himself. Relying on Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s promises of friendship and cordiality, Nasir entered Kashmir by the Hirpur route at the head of a sizeable entourage. Then he settled in Kashmir.

Zainu’l-‘Abidin found that Mir Sayyid Nasir was gifted with excellent qualities of head and heart; he entrusted him with the administration of justice in those lands.[6] A dwelling-house situated somewhere between Bagh-i-Mir Veys and Nowshehr was provided to him. The Sultan strengthened his relations with this group to add to his prestige and power. The wisdom and sagacity of Mir Sayyid was wellknown among the learned men of Kashmir.

Nasir’s death

Finding that Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin held the Sayyid in high esteem, the materialistie people of that wretched country (Kashmir) conspired to put an end to his life, which was dedicated to public good, by putting poison into a pineapple, which was sent to him as a gift.

This foul deed was done by a wicked person. God grants special favours to His true and sincere devotees, and one among these is to elevate them to the heights of martyrdom at the last moments of their lives. [7] Despite his miraculous powers of anticipating dangers, Miran Sayyid ate the pine-apple. What appeared to be a fruit was in reality the fatal poison which went into his bowels, tearing them to shreds.

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin immediately went to see him at his place and came to know about what had happened. He asked Miran Sayyid about the ignoble wretch who had committed that crime, so that he might be brought to book. “He has snatched you away from us and we shall meet nowhere save in the next world.” said the Sultan. The Sayyid replied that he would, in no case, disclose the identity of the detestable culprit because torturing him would only work towards his [Sayyid’s] losing the lofty claim to martyrdom. It was enough that on the day of resurrection the sinner would be exposed to untold torture and the wrath of the Omnipotent. Mirak Sayyid Hasan, his son, pointedly insisted upon him to disclose the facts about the poisoning, but to no avail. He asked for a pen and an inkpot and wrote these couplets as a recommendation for his sons, and gave [the paper] to the Sultan

[ verses ]

Perceiving that the Sayyid’s illness had taken a serious turn, Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin felt greatly distressed and retired to his palace in a state of utter dejection. He continued to make constant enquiries about his health and was overpowered by grief to such an extent that he could not rest even for a moment in his bed. The Hatif (the invisible messenger) brought this word from the unknown to the ears of the pure:

[ verses ]

On wednesday, the twelfth of the month of Sh’aban, his condition became serious:

[ verses ]

On Thursday, the thirteenth of Sh’aban, A.H. 829 (A.D. 1522), he surrendered his soul to the messenger of death. The chronogram of this event has been recorded as follows:
khiradmand dana-i danish pazir
ze man baz pursid Tarikh-i Mir
dil-e danish anduz-e ulwi sarisht
bigufta buwad Sayyid ahl-e bihisht

His death was mourned by all, high and low, friend and foe.

[ verses ]

The burial [of the Sayyid] and the accompanying rites of a dead person were performed in accordance with the traditions laid down by the Prophet [of Islam].[8] The body was laid to rest in the neighbourhood of the graveyard of Shaykh Bahau’d-Din,[9] a lovely, alluring place of spiritual charm. To this day, the shrine continues to be a place of spiritual attraction for the devotees who visit it to seek the blessings of the departed [soul]. They offer prayers to seek fulfilment of their wishes and solutions to their difficulties. The shrine in that land is called Mazar-i-Sadat.

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin and his nobles and elderly people condoled the death of the Sayyid for three[10] days and also fulfilled mourning obligations demanded by the sad occasion. Divines, priests and scholarly persons were summoned to recite the Qur’anic verses round-the-clock. On the third day, he [the Sultan] served a sumptuous meal to them as well as to poor people. After visiting the graves [of the pious ones], he returned to his palace. Mirak Sayyid Hasan, the son of the deceased, and other kinsmen and relatives of the late Sayyid were then summoned by him to his palace, where he entrusted the office held by the late Sayyid to his son. The rest of his associates were rewarded with different favours.

Insurgents curbed

After Mirak Hasan assumed the office of his father, the foster-brothers [11] of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin, adopted a threatening stance in Nowshehr by showing defiance of and disregard for his authority. They began to put hurdles in the way of Sultan’s administrative officers in conducting their duties. Their insolent and base actions made him unhappy. It was generally believed by people in Kashmir that these very persons were instrumental in getting Sayyid Nasir poisoned. Thus the Sultan had sufficient reasons to be displeased with them. Placing a contingent of troops under Mirak Sayyid Hasan, the Sultan directed him to suppress the insurgents. Supported by the unbounded grace of God, Mirak Sayyid Hasan confronted them bravely. A grim battle ensued which resulted in the wholesale slaughter of those people.

[ verses ]

With the defeat of the enemy, Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s government in the lands of Kashmir became very strong and stable. People in those lands were delivered from the oppression and tyranny of the Sultan’s foster-brothers and their accomplices. They all submitted to the authority of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin and spent their days in peace and security and prayed for his long life.

Arts and crafts

Relieved of anxieties, Zainu’l-‘Abidin took up his residence at Nowshehr and ordered the construction of lofty mansions and imposing buildings in that locality.[12] Most of his generals and commanders were given houses in that area for residential purposes. Apart from these, some high ranking people among the Sayyids and the learned, like Sayyid Muhammed Madani, Mulla Parsa and others were also invited to live in that locality so that their association and company would be easily available [to him].[13]

After this victory, people in this land enjoyed peace and prosperity. The Sultan made full efforts towards the development and progress of his kingdom and extended encouragement to artists and craftsmen. As a result of these, a number of novel arts and crafts developed and became popular. Whenever a traveller came to this country, he was asked searching and pointed questions as to whether he was proficient in any art and craft. In case he was, a couple of clever and intelligent persons were told to learn these crafts from him. In this way many arts and crafts came into vogue.

During those days, no one in this land knew the art of paper-making and book-binding. This king of excellent parts despatched two intelligent and sharp-witted persons to Samarqand. Their families and children were provided with means of subsistence from the state exchequer, and they themselves received all the expenses of their journey and other incidental expenses during their travel to Samarqand. They stayed in that city for some years. One of them learnt the craft of paper-making and the other book-binding. After attaining perfection in their respective crafts, they returned to their native land where they popularized their newly-learnt crafts among people.[14]

Patron of learning

He (the Sultan) bestowed so many favours upon men of arts and learning that it is not possible to imagine that annything more could be done [about it].

During those days, the number of authentic and rare books in this country was very small. This patron of learning sent a variety of presents to the rulers of Fars, Khurasan and the governors of ‘Iraq and Sijistan, with the request that they arrange for him a collection of genuine and rare books. The number of books thus collected was so large that it cannot be described here. When the Sultan learnt from haji pilgrims that the original manuscript of Jarullah ‘Allama’s Kashshaf in his own hand was in the possession of the learned men of holy Mecca, he [immediately] summoned an excellent calligraphist and placing more than adequate funds at his disposal, despatched him to Mecca where he stayed for some years and succeeded in making for him a true copy of this work. After collecting and correcting his copies of the manuscript very carefully, he procured a certificate from the nobles and the elite of the ‘Mother of Cities’ to the effect that the scribe had copied from the original manuscript of Jarullah and had most carefully compared the two, making necessary corrections in his copy before carrying it with him to those lands. On seeing the manuscript, Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin once again bestowed upon the scribe gifts and robes of honour. The manuscript was put in the custody of the concerned office.[15] During the first uprising of Mirza Haider,[16] amidst loot and arson, this manuscript fell into the hands of Qadi Mirza Haidar [or the Qadi of Mirza Haidar ?].[17] The Qadi, realizing that it was a valuable prize, carried it to his native land.

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin showed considerable respect for men of learning and attainment; he also gave prizes and stipends to them. During his reign, many learned men of great repute flocked to his court from foreign lands (vilayat)[18] Maulana Mir Muhemmed Rumi and Maulana Ahmad Rumi, the two brothers with various attainments to their credit, arrived in this land [during this time]. They received lavish gifts and favours from the Sultan and ultimately settled here. On learning about Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s bounteous patronage to men of learning, a large number of them came to Kashmir; they were received and looked after with special care. [19]

Tolerant towards Infidels

Whereas the Sultan showed considerable favour and regard to the Muslim nobles and their learned men, he also undertook the re-construction of the monuments of the infidels and the communities of the polytheists. He popularized the practices of the infidels and the heretics and the customs of idol-worshippers and the people ignorant of faith. All those temples and idol-houses af the infidels, which had been destroyed totally in the reign of Sultan Sikandar, may God bless his soul, were re-built and re-habilitated by him.[20] Most of the unbelievers and polytheists, who had fled to the lands of Jammu and Kishtwar because of the overwhelming strength of Islam, were induced by him to return to Kashmir.[21] The sacred books of the infidels and the writings of the polytheists which had been taken out of this country were brought back, and thus the learning of the unbelievers and the customs of the polytheists were revived by him.[22] He helped the community of the misled idolators to prosper. In every village and town, blasphemous customs connected with spring or temples were revived. He ordered that in every town and locality, celebration of special feasts and festivals by the infidels be revived in accordance with the customs prevalent in the past. He himself attended many of these festivities[23] and distributed gifts among dancers, stage actors, musicians and women singers so that all people, high and low, found themselves happy and satisfied with him.

Security of boundaries

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin provided effcient and orderly administration during his reign and ensured safety and security of the boundaries of Kashmir from encroachments and forcible territorial occupation by foreigners. He extended the territorial limits of his domain to acquire some arable land in distant Tibet at a place called Li Shi and turn it into a private farm.

On the side of India, all the territories conquered by Sultan Shihabu’d-Din on the other side of Bahlul Pora waters, the Salt Range and the boundaries of Swadgir were put in the control of Sultan of India. Whatever fell on this side [of the geographical boundary] remained under the control of the Sultans of Kashmir.[24] Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin made secure and guarded these boundaries of his domain. These territories yielded tribute to the Sultan. If any ruler dared to launch an attack on these frontiers, he would despatch his commanders and generals at the head of a formidable force to ensure the security of his territory from such attacks. Sometimes he came out in person to command his troops.

Tibetan operation

Once, during his reign, an uprising took place in those regions, in which the ruler of Kashghar attempted to occupy Tibet and Balti. Sultan Zainu1-‘Abidin summoned his nobles and chiefs and a strong force of twenty thousand horsemen and a hundred thousand footmen was raised in the pargana of Lar. These troops were put under local commanders: Muhammad Magray, Malik Mas’ud Thakkur,[25] who was a descendant from the line of Chandas, Helmat Raina, and Ahmad Raina. Among the non-locals, Mirak Sayyid Hasan also shared the command with them. [Along with these] the Sultan marched on to Tibet. Although Kashgharian soldiers outnumbered their Kashmiri counterparts, yet the latter exhibited singular courage and valour. A fierce and bloody battle took place at Yashya[26] [sic], a place in Tibet. At this juncture, under the pressure of the enemy the Kashmiri soldiers began to show signs of fatigue and slackness. But that valient chief of the Sayyids of Baihaq-Mirak Sayyid Hasan[27]-exhibiting the traditional valour of the Hashimites[28] advanced to confront the Turki saldiers.

[ verses ]

Turkish troops made a desperate attack. A day’s relentless fighting wore both the sides down and, by nightfall, they retired to their respective camps. Next day, at sunrise, the commanders and the stalwarts of the realm of Kashmir, taking inspiration from the unique valour which Mirak Sayyid Hasan had exhibited on the previous day, struck so fiercely and slew the Turks so ruthlessly that the very sun in its high sphere sang [their] praises.

[ verses ]

A large number of soldiers was slain on either side. “When Gad wills, a few shall overpower many”, so goes the saying. The happy news of the victory of Kashmiri troops spread among the people and was conveyed to Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin. He returned to Kashmir in triumph from the Tibetan ranges and continued to rule over his realm in peace and security.

Works of public utility

During, the times of the aforesaid Sultan, the people of these parts as well as of those falling under his suzerainty witnessed prosperous days and security of life and property; for, the Sultan paid full attention to the dispensation of justice and general welfare of his subjects. During his times, food and other eatables were so abundant and corn and cereals so cheap as they had been never before. Wholehearted efforts were made by the Sultan towards the promotion of works of public utility and other construction activities which led to the prosperity of the country. Many villages and hamlets and stretches of land which had been devastated and rendered fallow and stood in ruins on account of the ravages of Zulchu were rehabilitated and reclaimed. Some of these are Zainpora, Zainakot, Zainadab, and Zainagir. Wherever land was reclaimed for cultivation and habitation, he ordered the construction of a spacious mansion or an attractive rest-house. He desired that the land at Zainagir be reclaimed and made arable. For this purpose he got the old Pohru canal blocked by huge stones. Its water was thus brought to the lands of Zainagir which enabled the villagers to cultivate paddy. Income raised from the taxes and revenues of those lands was given to men of learning, eminence and piety, for their maintenance. Thus it was endowed in their name. [In Zainagir] he ordered the construction of a magnificent palace. When it was completed, he also ordered that a garden with shady and fruit-bearing trees be laid around it.

Pandav Chak destroyed

In those days there lived one Pandeh (Pandav) Chak, a descendant of Lankar Chak,[30] and head of the clan of Chaks. He conferred with his relatives and associates that in case Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin stationed himself in Kamaraj,[31] it would result in forced labour for their tribe. Men would be forced to do manual labour including carrying of loads and luggage.[33] On the eve of the Sultan’s arrival in the town, no workers except carpenters, masons, and artisans were present. Pandeh Chak took with him a group of his kinsmen and set that place on fire [where the Sultan had decided to stay in Kamaraj]. After destroying all the buildings, he withdrew to the mountains of Trehgam,[33] but despatched his womenfolk to Drav.[34] When the news was conveyed to the Sultan, he sent a large contingent of his soldiers who burnt the houses belonging to Pandeh Chak at Trehgam. Pandeh Chak fled to Drav. Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin got the palace re-built but only to be burnt by Pandeh Chak and his men once again, when they seized a suitable opportunity to return from Drav. Again Pandeh Chak retired to Drav. Later on Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin tried to win the people of Drav by offering gifts and extending many favours to them. In this way he brought them under his submission. They captured Pandeh Chak along with members of his family and kinsfolk, young as well as old, and then handed them over to the Sultan, who issued orders of execution [sic] of Pandeh Chak and also of such of his sons and relatives who were capable of fighting or resisting him. Their children and womenfolk were banished to a village called Kavarel [35] [sic] and situated on the other extreme of Kashmir. They took up permanent dwelling there. After some time, their infants came of age and cultivated acquaintance with local people. Their neighbours treated them with compassion and affection. At last the clan of the Nayaks which had been enjoying superior position in that locality entered into matrimonial relations with the Chaks. Most of the other leading families of the area also established matrimonial alliances with them.

Of their line-a son of Pandeh Chak-was one Husain Chak whom God blessed with nine or ten sons. The clan of the Chaks of Trehgam increased and multiplied through the progeny of this Husain Chak and their tribe broke off into various branches.[33] We shall deal with them at their proper place in this work.

The legend of Wular

Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin had zest for raising buildings and mansions at places which commanded scenic beauty and had attractive surroundings. Lakes, full of clean and transparent waters, like of Dal, Bumeh [sic] and Wular were filled with stones and earth [at particular spots] to create artificial islands on which splendid buildings were erected. Such a big artificial island was developed in the Wular lake on which a mansion, a mosque and some houses were erected; it was given the name of Lank.

It is said that in ancient times there was no water at the present site of the lake and a big town[37] with dense popution flourished there. The ruler of this city was called Sudarshan. The inhabitants of the city indulged in various kinds of immoral and corrupt acts and the king and his courtiers perpetrated cruelty and oppression [ on people ].

In the city there lived a pious and God-fearing potter; he was unhappy with the rest of the people for their corrupt and impious acts. One night he saw a soothsayer in his dream who bade him to exhort his compatriots to desist from all acts of impiety and ignominy, failing which their land would get submerged under a sheet of water. When the potter conveyed this to the people, they did not give any credence to him; they called him a mad man and dismissed his words as nonsense. The following night the potter received afflatus directing him to roll his belongings [that very night] and abandon the city because an impending deluge was to wipe it out entirely. Till midday he made a public announcement of this imminent danger, but no one paid heed to him. Shortly after the afternoon prayers, he collected his belongings and fled to Kamaraj. The following dawn he glanced back from the hill-tops[38] far across the city-and found it submerged. He found no traces of its buildings.

In that city there was a big idol-house and a lofty temple.[39] The idol-house also got submerged under water. Since Zainu’l-‘Abidin desired to raise an artificial island in the lake on which the lank could be created, he ordered the boatmen and the divers to locate a spot of minimum depth in the Wular over which it could be raised without much labour. All of them suggested the spot where the massive buildings had stood previously. They said that when the water receded to its lowest level in winter, the stones of the temple would become visible through the crystelline waters of the lake. Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin took a boat and personally examined the spot. He ordered the divers to make an attempt at finding anything [of the relics] inside the temple in the water. The divers plunged into the lake and with utmost care made their way into the temple, wherefrom they pulled out two bronze idols. The Sultan then selected the very site for developing an island.[40]

Prior to that, this Sultan had got a boat built for use in the Wular lake after the design of boats found in Gujerat. A master architect, Duroodgiri by name, had been called from Gujerat and he supervised the construction of the boat[41] in which the Sultan used to make pleasure trips whenever he so desired. The boat moved with the help of sails. For developing the artificial island, lank, he ordered that the boat be brought to stand exactly over the site of the submerged temple. It was then filled with stones and sunk into the lake. Then more stones were dropped around it. This was followed by boatloads of loose earth and stones till the island came up. It was brought to a level higher than that of the water, so that the structure raised on it was made secure against floods and storms. The shape of this island is somewhat like a rectangle, with its length extending from east to west and — yards respectively and — yards from north to south.

The Sultan ordered that two buildings be constructed on that island; one, a palace with its ground floor made of stone, and the upper two storeys of brick and timber; the other, a mosque raised solidly in the middle of the island. One of the poets of those days found the year of construction of lank in the chronogram Khurram-Abad. The verse ergraved on the top fore-part of the mosque is:
ta Zain-i abad andar an jashn kunad
paiwasteh chu tarikh-i khudash Khurram bad.

The Sultan got mulberry and fruit trees planted and flowers of different hues cultivated on the island. In fact, an attractive place with an airy mansion was raised in the middle of the lake. A picnic spot of such beauty is not to be found in the whole of Kashmir.

It has been seen that some of the rulers who attained power and authority ordered the pulling down of some ancient buildings. They raised new structures on these sites to be ascribed to them. But the palace and the mosque of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin [ in the Wular lake ] cannot suffer such an alteration.

Pohru canal

After the construction of the lank and the raising of structures on it, the Sultan paid attention towards the reclamation of land at Zainagir and also towards the digging of the Pohru canal, as is evident from the chronograms about these two projects. The date of creating the lank has been derived from the chronogram Khurram-Abad and that of Pohru Canal from Jay-e Khurram.

Men of learning

There flourished a large number of famous saints during the reign of this Sultan, such as Shaykh Bahau’d-Din Kashmiri, Shaykh Sultan Kubra, Shaykh Nuru’d-Din,[42] Maulana Othman Majzoob, Shaykh Zainu’d-Din Rishi, Mir Veys Majzoob, Maulana Nuru’d-Din, Mir Sayyid Madani, and Sayyid Hasan Bilad-Rum. Some of them lived from the times of Sultan Sikandar, the Iconoclast, to the times of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin; some appeared and became known only during his ( Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s ) days. Apart from them, a fairly large number of men of erudition and eminence also lived at that time: for instance, Mulla Muhammad Rumi, Mulla Ahmad Rumi [of whom mention has already been made], Qadl Sayyid ‘Ali Shirazi, Qadi Jalal,[43] Maulana Kabir, Sayyid Muhammad Luristani, and Sayyid Muhammad Sistani. By and large, his courtiers and the men of learning of his times were of cheerful disposition, experts in the art of versification, and subtle in their discourses. These included Maulana Ahmad Kashmiri, Maulana Naderi, Maulana Ziyai? Maulana Fathi and several others whose artistry can be found in their delightful verses. The Sultan himself was adept at writing verses and possessed a poetic sensibility. He adopted Qutb as his pen-name and has left behind a Diwan of his verses. Here is a verse from his composition: [44]
ay begird-e sham’-i
vaz lab-i shirin-i tu shorist dar har khanehi ?

In short, he was a ruler who did his utmost for the progress and prosperity of his subjects; who took keen interest in the re-habilitation and building up of the state; whose benevolence and munificence prompted artists and craftsmen to gain excellence in their skills . [ When ] the Jame’ Mosque in the city caught fire during his reign, he ordered the re-building of its western structures so that Friday congregations and prayers were not suspended. The front portion of the mosque remained charred. The ceiling as well as the roof had been completely burnt and except for the bare walls nothing remained. The mosque continued to be in this condition till the times of the government and ministry of Malik Musa Raina [ and ] Ibrahim Magray. During the ministry of Malik Musa Raina, Malik Ibrahim Magray undertook the task of re-construction of the three sides of the mosque, making use of timber and pillars and other material brought from Kitch-hama and Kamaraj and [ in ? ] it is, indeed, a big achievement of Ibrahim Magray.

Revival of idolatory

The only conspicuous defect and an over-all drawback of Zainu’l-‘Abidin was that idolatory and heresy, which had been stamped out in the reign of Sultan Sikandar the Iconoclast – God bless his soul- and of which there had remained no traces in the lands of Kashmir, were revived by him. The customs and practices of the polytheists and the heretics received fresh impetus and were given renewed currency. He ordered that particular days of festivity be celebrated in every town and village, in which innumerable vices and corrupt practices were let loose. In more than one way, these had a deletarious influence on the sharia’ and Islam brought by the Prophet. The community of infidels and heretics called him the Great King[ 45] because they flourished under his rule and he was known by the name throughout his kingdom.

With the passage of time, the customs of the Hindus [46] and the infidels and their corrupt and immoral practices attained such popularity that even the ‘ulenza, the learned, the Sayyids and Qadis of this land began to observe them without exhibiting even the slightest repugnance for them. There was none to forbid them to do so. It resulted in a gradual weakning of Islam and a decay in its cannons and postulates; idol-worship and corrupt and immoral practices thrived. It was only after the arrival of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad Iraqi and through the instrumentality of his generous acts and excellent efforts that those unholy practices were eradicated. Islamic religion and injunctions of the sharia’ of the Holy Prophet were revitalized under the dispensations of that spiritual guide. Some of these events will be recorded at their proper place.


Thus ruled Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin over the kingdom of Kashmir and enforced laws through its length and breadth. His reign lasted fifty-two years. Unable to protect his dear life from the claws of the angel of death, he passed away in A.H. 878 (A.D. 1473). This, according to the calendar of the people of Kashmir, was [46] Vivat 12. He was buried by the side of his father Sultan Sikandar, God’s peace and forgiveness be on him.[47]

[ verses ]

Haidar Shah

After the death of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin, his son Haidar Shah succeeded him on the aforesaid date. He did not live long, and, after reigning for about two years, died in A.H. 880 (A.D. 1475). [48]

Hasan Shah

Thus, in the aforesaid year, which according to Kashmiri calendar is 48 Vivat, he was succeeded by his son Sultan Hasan Shah.[49] During the tenure of his kingship, the Sultan gave himself up to carnal pleasures. Nearly twelve hundred Indian singers [50] of both sexes were inducted into his service. Apart from them, Kashmiri musicians, singers, cymbal-beaters, etc. were also in the employ of his household. During the entire period of his reign, he never came out [of his palace] to lead his troops, though, of course, he did despatch his chiefs and commanders to lead them. The commander of his army was Malik Ahmad Itoo. Sehej Raina, a descendant of the Chandals, and Ahmad Magray of the clan of Magrays [51] were among his high-ranking officials.

Expedition to Sialkot

Upto his times, the inhabitants of Bahlool Pore and its adjacent areas paid taxes and tributes to the officials of Kashmir and subjected themselves to their authority. One of his (Hasan Shah’s) officers, Tazi Bhat had proceeded to Bahlool Pora with a contingent of troops to collect taxes and tributes. The governor of Lahore and Panjab at this time was one Tatar Khan. He had moved his soldiers to a certain place for military exercises and the troops [ stationed ] at Sialkot and its suburbs joined him for the said purpose. Thus [at the time of Tazi Bhat’s arrival] in Sialkot and its adjoining areas only the peasants, artisans, and petty shop-keepers could be found. Tazi Bhat launched an attack on Sialkot and subjected the people to loot and plunder, causing ruin and devastation. When Tatar Khan returned to Lahore and came to his dwelling place, he was told about the devastation suffered by his country. Forthwith, he turned towards Kashmir at the head of his army. However, no strenuous efforts were needed at that time to occupy Kashmir for the reason that the Sultan, the nobles, the commoners, as well as the soldiers were given to sloth and had become addicted to bkang (canavis sativa) and other kinds of narcotics. In the past the kings of Kashmir had enjoyed fame and reputation in the lands of India, and the territories from the ridges of Kajdari mountains and the off-sides of the borders at Gagren, was lost by the Sultans of Kashmir and passed into the control of [the kings] of India, still, the revenues from the peripheral areas of the domain of Kashmir from Kajdari and Gagren [sic] to this side amounted to twelve crores [?] and one thousand horses [sic] annually . [52]

After this (Tatar Khan’s invasion), the commanders and the chiefs of Kashmir adopted an attitude of bellicosity towards one another and took to mutual feuds and in-fighting. This naturally crippled their capacity to re-capture the out-flanking areas of Kashmir. They could not ensure the security of the country; the result was that those territories were lost by the rulers of Kashmir. Thus, except for bare midlands. nothing remained under the sway of the authorities in Kashmir. Indeed, when friends begin to oppose and confront one another, the enemy enjoys the fruit of their conflicts to his heart’s content.

Shams ‘Iraqi arrives

In the times of Hasan Shah, Mir Shamsu’d-Din[53] – the pioneer among the enquirers of truth-blessed these lands for the first time with his auspicious footsteps.[54] He had brought an affectionate letter of greetings for Sultan Hasan Shah from Sultan Husayn Mirza [55] in which the latter had honoured him by addressing him (Sultan Hasan) as his ‘illustrious son.’ Apart from that he had sent Sultan Hasan a fur-coat of Kesh from his personal wardrobe.[56] Being addressed as his ‘illustrious son’ and supplemented by the presents sent by him, the ruler of Khurasan certainly added to the honour and prestige of the kings of those lands (Kashmir).

After the death of Hasan Shah, Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi got detained in Kashmir for about eight years on account of chaos and confusion which prevailed there.[57] It was during the reign of Sultan Fath Shah that he was permitted to leave and presents were offered to him. His second visit [to Kashmir] came off after a lapse of twelve years,[58] during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Shah.

Hasan Shah’s death

During the time of the same Sultan Hasan Shah, Shaykh Shihabu’d-Din Hindi, accompanied by his daughter, paid a visit to this land. He announced that at Medina, by the side of the grave of the Holy Prophet, he had been told in a dream that his daughter would be the future wife of Sultan Hasan Shah of Kashmir. He further made it public that he had come from Medina only to give his daughter in marriage to the Sultan.

This Shaykh Shihabu’d-Din was a learned man who came to Kashmir in the middle of autumn. Sultan Hasan put off the marriage ceremony for a couple of months to allow them rest after a long and arduous journey. When the spring set in, he wanted the marraige to be solemnized. But the inevitable dispensation brought him his message of death before the contemplated marriage could take place, and he joined the world of the dead. Sultan Hasan Shah reigned for twelve years and five days[59] and in the year 89 – corresponding to the sixth Vivat, l0th in Kashmiri calendar- he breathed his last. He was laid to rest by the side of his father and his ancestors. In the same year, his son, Sultan Muhammad Shah, ascended the throne at the early age of seven.

[ verses ]

Muhammad Shah under guardianship

At that time, the authority and control of the government rested in the hands of Sayyids of Baihaq. The foremost leader of this group was Mirak Sayyid Hasan, the son of Mir Sayyid Nasir. He wielded authority over other high officials [sic] in major administrative matters; he considered Kashmiri chiefs and commanders as not a bit higher than his servants and attendants. He had it proclaimed that in the management of public affairs, he would not outstrip the limits of the sharia’, and that negligence in its observance [ by people] would not be tolerated. He further said that he would not take for himself a single penny exacted under oppression, and promised to abide strictly by the commands of the holy Book while dealing with the matters of state. “Justice is a provost who adorns the state: a ray that removes darkness and brings light.” [60] Mirak Sayyid Hasan put into practice what he said; he meted out justice to the oppressed and gave them solace.

[ verses ]


[Such an] enforcement of religious law was resented by the miscreants and the wicked who feared him. Since Kashmiri chiefs were ignorant of the [superior] quality of administration based on the Muhammadan law, they found it difficult to get adjusted to the authority of Mirak Sayyid Hasan.[61] Hence they looked for pretexts to put an end to his life. The scheme they devised was to deploy three hundred well-equipped irregular warriors [62] in the royal place at night. When Mirak Sayyid Hasan would come to his chamber where he used to dispense justice after offering morning prayers, the troops would rush from their hiding places, and put him to the sword. The conspiracy was kept a top secret.

It has been written in Kashmiri (i.e. Sanskrit) [63] that on that particular night, while Mir Sayyid Hasan lay asleep as usual, he had a dream in which he saw his father Mir Sayyid Nasir informing him that since his enemies had joined hands in a vicious conspiracy of murdering him, it was advisable that he should not come out of his house next day nor should he ride his horse. But after rising from sleep he ignored to seek an interpretation of the dream, [64] and proceeded to his office chamber. Despite vehement entreaties made by his well-wishers and sincers friends not to come out of his house on that day, he came out, and regarded the previous night’s dream as the work of an evil spirit.

[ verses ]

Mirak Sayyid Hasan arrived in his office chamber without any hesitation. The murderers rushed out of their hiding place and made a sudden attack on him and his nephews. He had with him his bow and arrow. Forthwith he struck an arrow into the breast of one of his assailants with such force that, piercing his breast, it embeded into another man’s side, killing both of them.

They [the Sayyid and his assailants] came so near to each other that there was hardly any chance for anybody to use an arrow or a lance. With swords and daggers, clubs and other weapons Mirak Sayyid Hasan and his nephews got entangled in fight with their opponents. It led to many killings in which Mirak Sayyid Hasan and fourteen of his brethren and nephews attained martyrdom. The date of his death has been found in the chronogram:
tarikh-i faut-i u ze khirad just murshidi
dana-i aql goft ki Mirak shahid shud.

Revenge and fighting

Of Mirak Hasan’s party only one servant, wounded and badly-mauled and drenched in blood, could manage to force his escape through an aquaduct in the fort of Nowshehr. He carried himself to Mir Muhammad, the son of Mirak Hasan, and told him of the tragedy [that had befallen Mirak Sayyid Hasan]. In spite of the fact that Mir Muhammad had not even crossed the seventeenth year of his age, he was not frightened by this overhelmingly tragic event. He told his blood-brother, Mir Sayyid Hashim, that if they did not fight the enemy then and there, the result would be death to their supporters.

[ verses ]

He added that unless they fought their enemy, unless the valiant on either side were slain in battle, and unless streams of blood flowed between the royal palace and the fields their score with the chiefs of Kashmir would not be settled [65]

[ verses ]

This suggestion was liked by the entrie body of seniors on their side. A force of three thousand troops, armed to the teeth, was raised and, relying on God’s grace, mounted their horses, and headed towards the fort of Nowshehr. When Kashmiri nobles came to know of their [enemy’s] ability to strike, they blocked the gates of the fort and deployed archers and catapulters all around it. They armed themselves and stood guard at different gates.

Sayyids win

People, high and low, climbed on roofs and house-tops to have a view of the mighty battle which was being fought between soldiers [fighting] on foot and on horse-back. Mir Muhammad, along with his soldiers, engaged the enemy in front of the gate where the royal band played at regular intervals. Amir Sayyid Hashim and his warriors took position near the gate from which water flowed down. Both the brothers told their men in loud words that the onlookers expected them to fight like brave and valiant soldiers. Emotionally charged, the warriors were galvanized into heroic action and they fell upon the enemy like lions on their prey. With divine assistance, they put those wretched people to utter rout with a single onslaught. Many Kashmiri warriors were slain, and the rest, realizing that resistance was futile, left from the gate opening towards the Phak pargana. They destroyed the bridges over the river running through the city, and assembled at Zaldagar[66] maidan and sought reinforcement and help from the people of that locality.

Raising the lofty banner of victory, Mir Muhammad arrived at the spot where his father lay slain. He saw the tragic scene of his father’s dead body and those of his relatives lying in dust and blood, like the martyrs of Kerbala.

[ verses ]

Despite the overwhelming strength and power of the Sayyids, the situation slipped out of their control for some time, with the result that there appeared signs of slackness on their part. However, Mir Muhammad was able to recover the dead body of his father from the heap of dust and laid it to rest in his ancestral graveyard. In despair he expressed his thoughts as are embodied in these verses:

[ verses ][67]

Thereafter they challenged the Kashmiris in loud words, accompanied by the shrill sound of the clarion and the beat of the drum. Fully equipped horsemen rallied round the Sayyids in group after group on their side of the river. They kept themselves in full readiness for an attack. But finding that crossing the river without boats and platforms [68] was difficult for the horsemen, he (Mir Muhammad) decided to encamp on the specious Idgah grounds with his soldiers and attendants. He ordered that all treasures of the governors of Kashmir be taken out of the fort at Nowshehr. Not troubling his officials to blacken their fingures by counting gold and silver coins one by one, he signalled them with his arrow that these be distributed among his soldiers in shieldfuls and skirtfuls, by way of prize-money and incentive to fight the enemy.


Mirak Sayyid Hasan’s murder gave rise to serious confusion and chaos among Kashmiri chiefs and commanders. The local people as well as the aliens (mawali) living in the land were also faced with a similar situation of chaos and disorder. However, the wise and the sagacious opined that since it was not possible to put an end to the prevailing turmoil without resorting to brute force and a policy of repression, it would be better to send a delegation comprising the learned, the noble and the pious to Mir Muhammad for exploring means of putting an end to the prevailing state of anarchy. The members of the delegation were told to use such soft and appeasing words as would make a definite impact on him. They were to use friendly words and give wise counsel which could bring about conciliation. They were to plead that to err is human and that they were only human beings.

[ verses ]

After agreeing to this, the delegation proceeded on its mission to see Mir Muhammad. First, it offered condolence to him on the death [of Mirak Hasan] and presented him with gifts. Then it conveyed to him the deep regret of the nobles for their acts of omission:

[ verses ]

They went on to say that they (nobles) found themselves at a loss to understand why they did things in haste, and therefore, reproached themselves for not having shown caution and ccnsideration.

[ verses ]

The delegation impressed upon him that if the government [of the land] did not pass into the hands of a capable elderly person, there was a danger that a large number of people would fall victims to revenge and reprisals. Already innocent persons like the pious and elderly Mir Veys had been murdered because of such a state of anarchy. They further told him that because of this magnificent buildings and prestigious localities had also been destroyed.

[ verses ]

Truce concluded

In short, senior members of the mission succeeded in conducting negotiations with poise and affability to pave the way for conciliation. Negotiations for truce stretched over a period of two days and conditions were laid down, and by slow degress Mir Muhammad was brought round to agree to the promotion of peace. Kashmiri nobles felt obliged [to them] for success in their mission. Mir Muhammad, therefore, returned with his troops and entourage to India via Hirpur route. [69]

[ verses ]

After the peace treaty was concluded, the reins of power and administrative authority during Muhammad Shah’s reign rested in the hands of Jahangir (Ahmad) Magray.[70] Mir Sayyid Muhammad joined Sultan Fath Shah, the son of Adham Khan, and the grandson of Sultan Zainu’l-Abidin, at Nowshehr in India. [71]

Saif Dar

Before this event, Malik Saif Dar had fled to that (Hirpur) mountain region. After three years, Fath Shah and Mir Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi brought him to Kashmir along with them. They (Fath Shah and Mir Sayyid Muhammad) together became the governing authority of the domain of Kashmir. Since Mir Sayyid Baihaqi was a blood relation of Sultan Muhammad Shah, he joined hands with him after some time; and, after raising troops, regained control over the state of Kashmir. Sultan Fath Shah was again forced to flee to India. In the sixty-fourth year of Kashmiri calendar, Jehangir Magray breathed his last.[72] Once again, Sutan Fath Shah and Malik Saif Dar succeeded in establishing their control over the domain of Kashmir.

In this adventure, Malik Musa Raina and Serang [73] [sic] Raina- the offspring of the clan of Chandas [74] – joined Malik Saif Dar and Fath Shah.

Shams Chak

Malik Shams Chak of the clan of Chaks was among the nobles of the land (of Kashmir). He was the son of Helmat Chak. Their tribe hailed from the regions of Gilgit and had settled down in the town of Kupwara.[75] Their kinship with the Chaks of Trehgam had become very distant and there was only mutual rancour and hostility between them. At first, Shams Chak was in the service of the above-mentioned Mir Sayyid Muhammad. But as the two were not able to pull on together, Shams, later on, entered the service of Malik Nowroz Itoo, the son of Ahmad Itoo. Before long, he was able to establish his fame as a brave and valorous person. Intrepid by nature, Shams Chak had displayed exceptional feats of bravery in many battles. Later on, he wielded full authority during the days of Malik Saif Dar.

Husain Chak, the son of Pandav Chak, dwelt in the village of Kawarel [sic]. He gave his daughter in marriage to Shams Chak[76] and with that [alliance] the long-estranged kinship between them was revived. A few of Husain Chak’s progeny joined Shams Chak as his soldiers. Since bravery, heroism, and martial spirit were in the blood of the Chak tribe, Malik Shams Chak was able to acquire an authoritative and powerful position through his people.

After some time, Sultan Fath Shah wished to deprive Malik Saif Dar of his power and authority. To achieve this, he aligned with himself a faction of the chiefs and nobles, such as Shams Chak, Malik Musa Raina, and Serang [sic] Raina, destroyed bridges over the river in the city, rose in opposition against Saif Dar, and created conditions of strife. After some days, Fath Shah and his men crossed the river towards the lower section of the city. The opposing troops then clashed in Ramlench [sic] village. After a hard-fought battle, Malik Saif Dar was killed in the 72nd year of Kashmiri calendar. On Fath Shah’s side, Malik Serang [sic] Raina was slain on the battlefield. After emerging victorious in the battle, Fath Shah entrusted the ministry and administrative authority to Shams Chak. But as in the past, owing to mutual rancour, Mir Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi and Shams Chak could not get along smoothly. Two and a half years later, the two openly confronted each other near the khanqah of Baba Bulbul in the heart of the city. This has already been recorded in [earlier] narratives.

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Shams withdraws

Finding himself hard pressed in the battle, Shams Chak proceeded towards Zaldagar by crossing the river over the bridge lying at the far end of Baba Bulbul’s Lashkar/Langar [sic]. He waited there for some time. Malik Kaji Chak, following him close at his heels, reached the head of the bridge. He found that the humpshaped bridge, built with a view to facilitating the movement of lofty and loaded boats along the river, had been dismantled. Its wooden planks had wide gaps in them and one could not imagine even a horse to cross the bridge by leaping over them. But Malik Kaji Chak besides being a veteran horseman was also a man of extraordinary – heroic spirit. He whipped his horse fiercely and made it leap in one jump onto the roving platform. He cast a mocking glance at the enemy who came close at his heels, and joined the troops of Malik Shams Chak. A few horsemen-associates of Malik Shams Chak-followed the above-mentioned Kaji Chak and arrived at the bridge-head. In trying to follow the example of Kaji Chak, they made their horses to leap onto the platform, but failing to do so, fell into the river and got drowned.

Shams retaliates

Confusion and disorder in the rank and file of his army forced Shams Chak to turn towards Kamaraj, and the crown and sceptre, the kingdom and fortune passed into the hands of Muhammad Shah. For the second time, administrative and judicial control [over Kashmir] came to rest in the hands of Mir Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi. Muhammad Shah aligned himself with Mir Sayyid Muhammad, Musa Raina, Ibrahim Magray and other sirdars, and headed towards the district of Kamaraj to see that Malik Shams Chak was totally destroyed. As he reached the village of Trehgam, Malik Shams Chak fled towards Drav.[77] Muhammad Shah and Mir Sayyid Muhammad jointly destroyed the whole of that area by burning houses and localities. Thereafter, they returned to the town of Soipore (Sopor) where they- encamped by the river bank overlooking Kamaraj. On learning of their withdrawal, Shams Chak reappeared from Drav [78] and proceeded towards Trehgam along with his senior army officers like Malik Bahram Dar, Malik Uthman and Dati [sic] Malik, and the host of Dangars with whom he held consultations. The opinion of the vetarans was that since the main body of their force consisted of nobles and chiefs and the number of soldiers and footmen was inadequate, it would not be advisable to deploy them in an open combat and, therefore, a night-assault wauld be the most appropriate strategy. This plan of Shams Chak’s remained a secret for the troops of Muhammad Shah.[79]

Battle of Sopor

Malik Musa Raina took up his dwelling there along with his sons and relatives whose number was not large. Malik Shams Chak arrived in the town of Sopor in the early hours of the day. When Malik Musa Raina learnt of his arrival, he assembled his men and gave him a tough fight. Most of Shams Chak’s men indulged in acts of vandalism and plunder. With the help of a contingent of brave warriors, he launched an assault on the troops of Malik Musa Raina. A large-scale and bloody battle ensued between the opposing troops leading to the slaughter of a large number of men on either side. Malik Kaji Chak displayed such extraordinary feats of bravery that even heroes and warlords, like the legendry Rustam and Sam, would have felicitated him in laudable terms. He sustained so many wounds [80] on his face and all over his body that all the persons known and unknown to him in that group felt that there was no hope of his survival. Some of his near-ones carried him off the battlefield for dressing his wounds and giving him medical treatment. Since it was the Will of God that he should hold the reins of the government of this country as also be the recipient of happiness in this world and the world hereafter. God’s all-pervading grace restored him almost to a new life through his rapid recovery and return to health .

After a great fight, Malik Shams Chak once again returned to Trehgam and thence to Nowshehr in India where he joined Fath Shah. Muhammad Shah and Mir Sayyid Muhammad triumphently entered the city and later on, combining themselves with Malik Musa Raina, occupied the domain of Kashmir.

Shams ‘Iraqi’s second visit

[During] those very days, Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi was on his second visit to the land of Kashmir.[81] Malik Musa Raina became his ardent follower and accepted his faith.[82] But he could not get on well with Mir Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi, and not before long they came to loggerheads [over some is ues],[83] as a result of which Shams Iraqi proceeded on his travels to Tibet. For this reason, Malik Musa Raina became dissatisfied, rather disgusted, with [his services to and companionship of] Mir Sayyid Baihaqi, and strengthened his relations with Ibrahim Magray and Hajji Padar.

[ verses ]

Fath Shah VS Muhammad Shah

He then established liaison with Fath Shah and Shams Chak who were at Nowshehr in India [at that time], and through an exchange of letters with them, he prepared the ground for a renewal of their old bonds of friendship. Trusting in his promises and letters, they left the mountainous regions of India to come to Kashmir. On reaching Hirpur, they were joined by Malik Musa Raina, Ibrahim Magray. and Hajji Padar along with a large number of their associates. On the other side, Sultan Muhammad Shah and Mir Sayyid ~Muhammad Baihaqi collected all-available troops to give them a tough fight. The two armies faced each other at Zatni Kuji[84] [sic]. The troops of Fath Shah outnumbered those of Muhammad Shah, but the latter’s army included a brave leader like Muhammad Baihaqi, a lion-hearted warrior, a veteran of many a grim and bloody battle, in which he had surpassed everybody in feats of bravery, and had won many victories by his sheer heroic spirit. On this occasion he inspired the sons of war-lords and the chiefs of his troops by infusing in them a spirit of heroism and manliness. The battle that was fought on this day was so terrifying, that the like of it had never been heard of by people in this land.

[ verses ]

The fame of his (Baihaqi’s) extraordinary bravery and imposing personality had reached the ears of the people of these lands much earlier. Therefore they did not dare to confront him. In these circumstances, Fath Shah addressed Shams Chak in these words: “O you veteran of many a battle and valiant and famous among the distinguished warriors ! Spur on your charger and, with the Herculian strength of your frame, sever the heads of our opponents on the battlefield and avenge the death of your kindred.”[85] But the aforesaid Shams Chak did not move [towards the enemy] and told him that though they had a satisfactorily large number of foot-soldiers and cavalry forces in their camp, they did not have sufficient number of light-footed soldiers who were needed for a swift attack on the enemy.[86] To this Fath Shah answered: “What fears does a lion have of a whole pack of foxen?” “If the enemy chose to launch a massive attack on our flanks with only two or three thousand of its intrepid warriors, fighting in harmony as they do, there is no doubt that they will put the very centre of our army to utter rout in no time, ” said Shams Chak. With these words, he rejected the emotionally-charged appeal of Fath Shah. As it had already become dark, he avoided fighting and with the blow of trumpets, both sides retired to rest [for the night].

[ verses ]

With the rise of the sun, Shams Chak, Musa Raina, Hajji Padar, and their soldiers assembled like ants and locusts to fight the enemy.

[ verses ]

Decisive battle

On the other side, Mir Muhammad also made promises of special honours, robes of honour, and high posts and other favours to his warriors. Reposing full faith in God and detaching himself from the world and what lics in it, he surrendered to the will of God and moved towards the centre of Fath Shah’s army.

[ verses ]

On they marched to the battlefield. A deafening tumult of war cries together with feverish commotion was raised in the camp of Fath Shah.. A great battle was fought from dawn till midday in which warriors on either side displayed feats of valour. The centre of Fath Shah’s army could no longer withstand the attack of the enemy. He was compelled to link the right flank of his troops with the left and once again gave a concerted fight to Mir Sayyid Muhammad. The last attack of Mir Sayyid’s soldiers could have given him final victory; his sword spat fire of revenge;

[ verses ]

he spurred his horse and dashed against the enemy’s centre. But it so chanced that on that ground there was an abandoned well, the top of which was covered with rubbish, but was hollow from inside. During his charge, his horse’s leg was caught in the hole. Many of his foot-soldiers rushed to the top of the well:

[ verses ]

When the enemy saw this, it took advantage of the opportunity, and made a lightening attack on them:

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Death toll

A group of [the enemy’s] wicked persons encircled him (Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi) and made repeated attacks to throw off the soldiers who surrounded him. Beholding that the enemy had encircled them and that a breakthrough had almost become impossible, though no doubt his men had been fighting with all their courage and determination and not at all afraid of death that hovered over their heads, all that Muhammad Shah could do in such circumstances was to pray for their deliverance. He himself was forced to flee towards Nowshehr in India. The date of his (Mir Sayyid’s) death has been found in the chronogram:
kard tarikh-i wafatash chu khiradmand su’al
guft pir-i khiradmand kin sazawar-i behisht.

This event is very well-known in Kashmiri (i.e. Sanskrit) history.[87] It took place in the eighty-first year of Ashushat 9. In this encounter one thousand seven hundred and nineteen of Mir Sayyid Muhammad’s associates, kinsmen and attendants lost their lives, besides the Mir himself. This number included a thousand and two hundred troops who wore saffron-coloured stockings. The tradition in those days was that none but the brave were entitled to wear such saffron-coloured stockings. The dead bodies of Mir Sayyid Muhammad and his kinsmen recovered from the battlefield, which was littered with slaughtered bodies, were buried in their ancestral graveyards. Down to this day, their graves are visited by the needy and the suppliant. Thus Sultan Fath Shah’s power over the kingdom of Kashmir was confirmed and with that began the second tenure of Malik Sams Chak’s ministry.

Destruction of mansions

Mir Sayyid Muhammad was survived by three minor sons, who were brought up in the house of Bahram Dar at Soybug. They were Mir Sayyid Murtaza, Mir Sayyid Ibrahim and Mir Sayyid Ya’qub. The eldest one, Mir Murtaza, got killed when he was hurled down a mountain on his way to Tibet. Sayyid Ibrahim Khan remained a prisoner of the governor of Tibet for a period of two years and six months. It was only after the army of Kashghar got disrupted that he was freed from prison, by the grace of God and without incurring the obligation of any human being, and then returned to Nowshehr in India to rejoin Muhammad Shah. Further details about him will appear at their proper place in this chronicle. Mir Sayyid because of being a minor,[88] continued to live in the main city, unhurt [ by the enemy].

Out of deep-seated malice towards Mir Sayyid Muhammad, Sultan Fath Shah totally destroyed his mansions. These magnificent mansions had been recently completed after several years of labour. Their dormitories and parlours were decorated with wall paintings of exquisite grace and workmanship and the figures drawn were indicative of the artist’s unique novelty. This lent them a distinctive place in the buildings of those times. The ceilings and towers were loftier than what one could imagine and let in fresh air and light plentifully. A notable feature of these mansions was that these were swept clean by silvery-bosomed slender damsels, holding in their soft and delicate hands fly-whiskers of blue horse’s tail with handles set in gold. These mansions were totally destroyed, so-much-so that peasants brought their ruins under plough in which they sowed cottonseed. On seeing such cataclysmic changes in these palaces, the minstrels of those lands made it a theme for their Kashmiri [i e. Sanskrit ?] songs which they sang to the accompaniment of the rhythmic beat of their feet and cymbals. They sang these songs in such doleful voices that sensitive listeners were reminded of the grandeur and magnificence of the lord of those mansions and were moved to tears. These memories broke them down. The verses they composed and sang were: [89]
shinav in qisseh andar mulk-i Kashmir
na az man az zaban-i kudak-o pir
nishasteh ba hazaran hur-o ghilman
ba khubi har yaki mah-i jehangir
ze uqtas-i du rang-i bahr-i jarub
na kardandi kanizan hich taqsir.

‘Iraqi’s reaction

After this event, the news of killing of Mir Muhammad was brought to Mir Shamsu’d-Din by one of his disciples, who told him that the enemy who had driven him out of Kashmir and forced him to turn to Tibet, had been overpowered and killed by his followers. The messenger had hoped that Mir Shamsu’d-Din would feel happy over it. But as he was a believer in the Oneness of God[90] and a person who surrendered to His Will,[91] he ordered that the messenger be lashed. Himself he felt greatly sad like a bereaved person mourned the death of Mir Sayyid, and kept chanting this verse:
unni z guzasht azin gazargah
an kist kih naguzrad azin rah

He felt sorry that the gracious and benevolent (Sayyid Mul!ammad) should have been levelled with the dust. Tears rolled down his face and he offered a prayer for the salvation of the soul of the dead person. He prayed for the welfare of his children and also wished well for all the inhabitants of the locality where the late Mir Muhammad lived. Through the good wishes of Mir Shamsu’d-Din, that locality was rehabilitated and became prosperous within a few years.

Shams Chak murdered

In the early spring of the same year, 12th Veshast [sic] a terrible earthquake was recorded in Kashmir. For [a period of] four months after this, Malik Shams Chak held the reins of the government of Kashmir. After that, Malik Musa Raina and Ibrahlm Magray, in connivance with Fath Shah, imprisoned and chained him (Shams Chak) and later on killed him. He was held responsible for the murder of Malik Saif Dar, for the destruction of the riches of the Dangars, and for having concentrated power in his own hands. For these reasons, Malik Musa Raina gave orders to Bahram Dar and Dati [sic] Malik to put an end to the life of Shams Chak. Shortly after offering evening prayers, they led a party towards the prison to undertake the task. One of the legs of Shams Chak was in clains. He understood that they had come to take his life and he had no weapons with him except a small knife. With it, he attacked his adversaries, and within the prison walls, he killed thirty persons, besides wounding many more. He repeated his attack several times till that party found itself helpless, and nobody had the courage to strike him with a sword. With a small knife and with stones and brickbats, he held his assailants at bay. None of them, in spite of being equipped with swords and axes, could muster courage to go near him. At last his assailants shot a volley of arrows at him from a distance and killed him and his son on the eighty-first of Kashmiri calandar.[92]

[ verses ]

Musa Raina

After the murder af Shams Chak and his son, the office of the Chief Vizier and the administrative authority of Kashmir was entrusted to Malik Musa-Raina [93] in A.H. 907 (A.D. 1501). In agreement and collaboration with Malik Ibrahim Magray, he took control of the domain of Kashmir and undertook its governance. He felt that in certain matters he was being opposed by the group of Dangars.[94] He suspected their designs of fomenting trouble and disorder in the state; [thereforel , he drove them away towards the mountains of India. Malik Musa held the reins of administration for about nine years, during which period the enforcement of Islamic laws and religious tenets of the Prophet reached the highest point. Under the guidance of the righteous Amir (Shams)[95] Shaykh Muhammad ‘Iraqi, the pure religion of Muhammad and the prosperity of the Muslim community reached the highest pinnacle [of attainment]. Malik Musa Raina supported and advanced the mission of Mir Shams ‘Iraqi.

Persecution of Hindus

[It may be recorded] that the temples of idol-worshippers, which had been destroyed and razed to the ground by the religious-minded and justice-loving Sultan Sikandar- God bless his grave and bless him-had been rebuilt and rehabilitated by Zainu’l ‘Abidin. He had permitted idolators and polytheists to revive the practices of infidelity and they had propagated heresy (kufr) and false religion (din-i batil). With the support of some more kings,[96] the infidels had flourished day after day. But with the support and authority of Malik Musa Raina, Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad undertook a wholesale destruction of all those idol-houses [97] as well as the total ruination of the very foundation of infidelity and disbelief. On the site of every idol-house he destroyed, he ordered the construction of a mosque for offering prayers after the Islamic manner. The idolatory and heresy which had existed prior to his coming to this place were effectively replaced by his preaching and propagation of Islamic laws and practices. He brought honour to all the infidels and heretics (zandiqa) of Kashmir by admitting them to the Islamic faith and bestowed upon them many kinds of rewards and benefactions. It is publicly known as well as emphatically related that during his life-time, with the virtuous efforts and elaborate arrangements made by the fortunate Malik Musa Raina, twenty-four thousand families of staunch infidels and stubborn heretics were ennobled by being converted to the Islamic faith. [99] It is difficult to compute the number of people who had hitherto indulged in corrupt practices of a wrong (false) faith and dissent and were put on the right track under the proper guidance of Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi .[99]

In fact the transmitter of (God’s) grace (Mir Shams ‘Iraqi) conferred favours upon the righteous Malik Musa Raina and gave him blessings which enabled him to fulfill that cherished task. Indeed, fortunate is one who has been able to become the recipient of such special consideration at the hands of a highly venerable and elderly person like him (Amir Shamsu’d-Din). After Sultan Sikandar-God’s peace be upon him-no one among the Muslims who wielded authority over this country rendered as much service to Islam by its propagation and advancement as Malik Musa Raina did. Nobody was able to make as organized an effort as he did towards the advancement and furtherence of the Muhammadan religion.


l. Sikandar died in A.H. 816/A.D. 1413. See p. 59 supra. But the chronogram Faut-i-Sikandar recorded by Hasan puts the date as A.H. 820 /A.D. 1417. THK p. 185.

2. There could have been more than one reason for taking this decision: (a) Sultan-‘Ali did not feel happy with sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi (p. 59 supra); (b) He had lost ‘both the Tibets’ to the ruler of Kashghar whose troops had made an incursion into those regions. ( THK. p. 186 ); (c) His younger brother Shahi Khan (Zainu’l-‘Abidin) had become very popular with the people of Kashmir, a fact proved by later events. Ibid; (d) Baihaqi Sayyids had become very powerful and interfered in the affairs of the state. pp. 44. 48-51, supra. The fact that his Hindu father-in-law, Raja of Jammu, dissuaded him from abdicating the throne and going an a pilgrimage to Mecca indicates that it was his political and military weakness and not his intense religiosity which forced him to leave his kingdom. The works of his poet-laureate, Mulla Naderi, which reportedly contain details of the events of his reign, are lost to us. See TMH. MS. f. 39a. However, Jonaraja says that the authority of the government was given to Shahi Khan out of affection, and other considerations. See St. 691. In fact, the title Zainu’l-‘Abidin was also conferred upon him by ‘Ali Shah, who was given jewels and horses by Shahi Khan presumably to enable him to meet the expenses of outfit and transport for going to Mecca. Ibid. Stt. 707, 709.

3. It has not been possible to identify who Sayyid Qasim was. Perhaps he was one of the chroniclers from whom the author has borrowed some details.

4. Infidels or Hindu Raja Jasrath

5. It shows that Nowshehr in Jammu region was not included in the kingdom of Kashmir then. But the Baihaqi Sayyids had made the town their stronghold. According to Shrivara Nasir was the chief of Bahurupa. See R. C. Dutt (tr.) Delhi, 1986, pp. 184-185.

6. The suggestion is that this portion of the chronicle was written by the author outside Kashmir. Shrivara writes that the king was married to one Vodha Khatun of Sayyid family. The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. R. C. Dutt, p. 157 Mir Hasan’s daughter was married to Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s grandson. Ibid, pp. 184-85.

7. Martyrdom has a special significance in Shia’ faith.

8. This is a significant sentence in the sense that there are slight variations in the death-rites of Shia’s and Sunnis. A Sunni author would not need to insert “with the tradition . . . ”

9. In the present locality of Nowshehr in Srinagar.

10. The custom of mourning the death of a person for three days was also prevalent among the Muslims of Central Asia at that time.

11. Hasan says they were Goorchis (Goorchivar), and had concentrated at Nowshehr. See THK. p. 191.

12. The Sultan built in that locality a twelve-storeyed pleasure-house, which had fifty rooms in each storey. Each of its rooms was large enough to accommodate five hundred persons. The mansion was a unique piece of architecture. In histories it is famous as Zooneh Deb, but was popularly known as Razdan in those days which means the royal palace. THK. p. 191.

13. The tutor of the Sultan, Maulana Kabir, who later on became Shaykhu’l-Islam, was also given a dwelling place in that locality. The Sultan also ordered the building of a madrasah for him in the neighbourhcod of his house. THK. p. 195.

14. Malik Haidar says that paper-makers and book-binders were brought by the Sultan and they were provided with stipends. TMH. MS. f. 41a. Hasan says that the Sultan sent some intelligent and clever persons to different lands to learn the crafts of their people to bring these to Kashmir. Book-binders, paper-makers, carpet-weavers, pen-case makers, stone masons, seal-engravers and bolt-makers were brought from Samarqand. THK. p. 198. Shrivara’s reference to Kashmir woollen fabric called Soha (Shawl ?) is confusing. See R. C. Dutt’s translation, ed. 1986, p. 151.

15. Hasan writes that some works on Hadith were brought from the holy place and constantly studied, but he makes no mention of this parlicular work. Ibid.

16. A H. 947/A.D. 1540.

17. The text is not clear.

18. Meaning Khurasan, Central Asia (Mawara’-a’n-Nahr) and other adjoining Islamic regions.

19. Hasan mentions these names: Maulana Kabir, Mulla Ahmad Kashmiri, Mulla Parsa, Mulla Muhammad, Qadi Hamidu’d-Din, Maulana Naderi, Maulana Ziyai, and Mulla Nadim. THK p. l95.

20. One such temple was that of Jyesthwara in the vici nity of present-day Srinagar. THK. p. 197. For Zainu’l ‘Abidin’s tolerance towards the ‘infidels and the polythe ists’, see Jonar. Stt 824-25, 879, 898-99, and Srivara, i. 5, 46 and 53. It is recorded in Tohfatu’1-Ahbab that he built an alms-house for Yogis on the Dal lake which gave name to the locality of Jogi Lankar (now caled Zooj Lankar or Zooj Lank) in present-day Srinagar. See Tohfat. MS. f. 134b.

21. Hasan says that apart from inducing those Hindus to return to Kashmir who had fled under Sultan Sikandar’s persecution, Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin aslo induced many Brah mans from India to settle in this land. THK. p. 197.

22. Copies of Vedas and Shastras were procured from India and got translated into Parsian. Many Arabic and Persian 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 a sequel to Kalhana’s chronicle which is the chronicle of events from the times of Jayasimha to his day. THK. p. 197.

23. Jonaraja tells us that the Sultan paid a visit to the Hindu sacred site of Amaresvara (Amarnath) . See Jonar, (Bombay Ed.), p. 1233 et seq. Another shrine of the same name is present-day Amburher near Srinagar. See Rajat. vii, 183, 185 and Vol. II, p. 409.

24. The truce following the Sultan’s fierce battle with the monarch of Dehli, across the river Sutlej made him the master of the area upto Sirhind, as had been provided in the treaty with sultan Shihabu’d-Din. THK. p. 192.

25. See Jonar. St. 716, 3n.

26. Its location in the regions of Tibet is given variously. Shi Zi in THK. p. 181; Sheh Zi in TMH, MS. f. 41a, and Saya in Jonar. St. 834.

27. Malik .Haidar makes no mention of Sayyid Hasan; instead he writes that exceptional bravery was shown by Malik Avtar, Malik Helmat and Malik Ahmad, who were later granted additional jagirs by the Sultan. See TMH. MS. f. 41a.

28. The chronicler seems to establish the Baihaqi Sayyids as the descendants of the Hashimi line which is the line of the Prophet of Islam.

29. The word ‘Chak’ as it figures in the translation should have been spelt as ‘Chakk’ because when it occurs in the verses in the text, it demands a shadd on the letter K. However, its Sanskrit etymology ( Cakra ) does not warrant the doubling of the letter k; hence Chak in the translation.

30. Lankar Chak (Alamkarcakra) was a Damara leader. For details see Rajat. viii, 2482-83. He had sought Raja Suhdev’s assistance and had settled in the village of Trehgam. See THK. p. 217.

31. For Kamaraj (Kramarajya), see Rajat. Vol. II, p. 436. In fact the Sultan occasionally rested at the health resort of Zenagir in Kamaraj were he had laid out spacious and attractive gardens, nearly two miles long. See THK. p. 193.

32. This suggests that forced labour (begar) existed during the reign of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin.

33. Now in district Kupwara, Also see The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. R. C. Dutt, New Delhi, 1986, p. l02 et. seq.

34. A tract of land on river Kishen Ganga. See Rajat. viii. 2709 and ii, 282.

35. Heril, perhaps in pargana Votur. THK. p. 194. For its ancient geography, see Rajat. Vol. II, Note 26, p. 485 et seq.

36. Apart from the Chaks of Trehgam, Hasan speaks of the Chaks of Gilgit originating from the ancestor of Helmat Chak. This tribe settled at Kupwara later on. Pandav Chak and his descendants, Husain Chak and Kaji Chak accepted Shia’ faith by following Shams ‘Iraqi, but the Chaks of Gilgit adhered to Sunni faith and were of Hanafi sect. Hasan also writes that he had heard his father saying that one of the Trehgam branch of Chaks came to Sardar A’zam Khan. He donned a Tartar cap (kulah-i-tatri), were Uzbek boots and was so tall that he lifted the Sardar from the howdah and placed him on the ground. See THK. pp. 217-18.

37. Sanadatnagar in TMH. MS. f. 39b.

38. The hill-top is known as Kraleh Sanger even to this day. Ibid.

39. It had been built by Raja Sandhimat. See THK. p. 194. Also see Rajat. ii, 132.

40. Hasan calls it Zenadab. THK. p. 194. There is no mention of the existence of a temple and its bronze images in Jonaraja. See Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. R. C. Dutt, New Delhi, 1986, pp. 90-92.

41. The boat was made on the pattern of a ship. See TMH. MS. f. 40a.

42. Called Rishi in Hasan. See THK. p. 199.

43. Qadr Jamal came from India and stayed in the khanqah of Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani. People used to seek solutions to their religious problems from him and also got their letters written by him. The Sultan invited him to his court after he got a letter from him. Later he was made the Qadi of the city of Srinagar. See TMH. MS. f. 40b.

44. Hasan has given five verses of the ghazal. See THK p. 207.

45. BudShah in Hasan. See THK. p. 206. Hindu writers raised him to the status of god Vishnu. See Jonar. Stt. 935, 973.

46. The word Hindu (and not kafir) is used here for the first time in the chronicle.

47. His reign lasted fifty-two years. TMH. MS. f. 41b. According to Hasan, he died at the age of sixty-nine. Malik Haidar closes the chapter on Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin with the verse
agar sad sal mani dar yaki ruz
bebayad raft azin kakh-i dilafruz

Shrivara’s detailed account of agonising last days of his life stands in contrast to the author’s sudden closing of the chapter. See J. C. Dutt (tr.) Delhi, 1986, pp. 165-67.

48. It is curious that the author has dismissed Haidar Shah in one sentence. Malik Haidar, too, has devoted hardly one sentence to this king. But Hasan gives him more space, alluding to the court intrigues resulting from Haidar Shah’s indulgence in carnal pleasures, his soft policy towards Hindus, and his damaging of the mosques. See THK. p. 208. It is to be noted that Shrivara has given us the account of the rebellion of Adam Khan, the eldest son of Zainu’l-‘Abidin and his banishment from the kingdom. Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. J. C. Dutt, New Delhi 1986, pp. l24 et seq.

49. His queen, Hayat Khatun, the daughter of Sayyid Hasan ibn Sayyid Nasir Baihaqi bore him two sons, Muhammad Khan and Husain Khan. The former was brought up by the wife of Malik Tazi Bhat (who later on became the commander of Hasan Shah’s troops), and the latter by Malik Ahmad Itoo, the chief vizier of Hasan ‘Shah. THK. p . 208 seq .

50. This is corroborated by Malik Haidar and Hasan. See TMH. MS. f. 42a and THK. p. 210. For more details see The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, tr. J. C. Dutt, pp. 231-32.

51. Malik Haidar does not menion Ahmad Magray, only Malik Sehej, Malik Avtar, Malik Ahmad Itoo and Taz Bhat are mentioned. See TMH. MS. f. 42a.

52. Text not clear. Hasan says that the Sultan continued to receive 12 lakh rupees in cash and a thousand horses by way of presents from foreign countries. See THK. pp. 210-11.

53. For detailed account of his being a Sayyid, a descendant of the line of Imam Musa Kazim, the Seventh Imam according to the ithna ‘ashriyya faction of the Shia’, the reader may see the amusing ‘Introduction’ of Bahristan-i Shahi edited by Akbar Haidari (Kashmir, 1982). p. 28. et seq. See also Tohfat. passim. In Shuka’s Chronicle he is recorded as Merashesha. The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, (tr.) J. C. Dutt, Delhi, 1986, p. 339 et seq.

54. ‘Iraqi’s first visit to Kashmir was in A.H. 882 / A .D. 1477. Bahrastan-i-Shahi, ed. Akbar Haidari, p. 38.

55. Hasan writes that Sultan Husain Mirza, the governor of Khurasan suspected Iraqi’s intentions, and therefore, expelled him from his country. On the basis of his previous contacts, he once again came to Kashmir after a period of twelve years. THK. p. 220.

56. See Tohfatul-Ahbab, MS. ff. 6-8.

57. In Kashmir he became a disciple of Baba Isma’il, and secretly prompted Baba ‘Ah Najjar to accept Shia’ faith. See THK. p. 211.

58. In A.H. 902 /A.D. 1496.

59. TMH. MS. f. 42a. Shrivara records the years as 60. See Rajat of Jonaraja J. C. Dutt (tr.) Delhi, 1986, p. 265. The subtle hint is that he was poisoned by the Sayyids.

60. The sentence has been borrowed from Lawayeh of Jami. But Shrivara gives a very disappointing account of the administration of the Sayyids. See Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, (tr.) J. C. Dutt. Delhi. 1986. pp. 252-253, and 260-61.

61. Apostasy among the Muslims had increased considerably in Kashmir during the reign of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin. Stores of re-conversion to Islamic faith have been vividly told in Tohfatu’l-Ahbab, MS. (transcript) ff. 6-8. See also T.HK. p. 207.

62. nim jarrar in the text.

63. This indicates that the history of Kashmir of this period written in Sanskrit also existed and was made use of by the chronicler through a translator or an interpreter. These could be the histories written by Srivara and Suka. Srivara clearly mentions about Mir Hasan’s dream. See J. C. Dutt’s translation, p. 270.

64. This was common during the Hindu period and several examples can be found in Rajatarangini.

65. It is clear that the attack on Mirak Hasan was politically motivated and had little to do with this strict enforcement of the laws of shariat, see p. 95 Supra. The Kashmiri nobles were against the Baihaqi Sayyids because they were still considered as outsiders. However, from the sentence that follows in the text, it appears that Kashmiri commanders were divided on the issue of loyalty to the Sayyids. Hasan says that since the Sultan was still a minor, the Baihaqi Sayyids had concentrated power in their hands and did not allow any other person to exercise authority: they made it even difficult to meet the Sultan. This made the Kashmiri nobles join hands with Raja of Jammu who had earliar fled to Kashmir for fear of Tatar Khan Lodhi, and then they put Sayyid Hasan to death along with his thirty other associates. THK. p. 212.

66. The locality near Sayyid Mansur mosque in Srinagar, which bears the same name to this day.

bi ru-i tu zindeh mi tawan bud wali
in zindaqi az hazar murdan batar ast.

(It is possible to live without seeing your face, but that life is worse than a thousand deaths.)

68. The first boat-bridge ( Navsetu ) on the Vitasta was built as early as the 6th century A.D. by Pravarasena II of Gonanda dynasty at some distance from Maksikasvamin (present-day Maisuma). See Rajat. iii. 354n.

69. The old Surapura. For its geography and remains, see Rajat. p. 394. Note II.

70. Jehangir Magray, who stayed at Lohar Kot fort, did not agree to support the Sayyids. THK. p. 213. In Shrivara’s chronicle he is referred as Margapati. J. C. Dutt. tr. p. 320. et seq.

71. After remaining away from Kashmir, Fath Shah went to Rajauri to re-capture his ancestoral kingdom. Several groups of Kashmiri nobles went to meet him, and he won them over by giving them rewards. But Jehangir Magray was not among them, in fact, he resisted and repulsed Fath Shah’ s troops when they tried to re-enter Kashmir. For more details see THK. pp. 215. et seq. Also see Srivara’s hisrory, tr. J. C. Dutt. pp. 270 et al.

72. Hasan says that before his death he was forced to flee to the mountains. THK. p. 215.

73. Hasan calls him Sarhanq Raina. THK. p. 215. Now the word sarhanq in Persian means an army officer of the rank of a colonel. He is Shringararajanaka of Shrivara’s chronicle Tr. J. C. Dutt. p. 313.

74. Malik Haidar includes another general Malik Nusrat Chadura among the descendants of the Chandas of Chadura. See TMH MS. f. 42b. All the three shared power with Saif Dar.

75. The Chaks of Trehgam (originally of Gilgit) have to be distinguished from another family, of Chaks of Dardu. Lankar Chak (Alamkarcakra) was the founder of the house of Barshal in Dardu. Pandav Chak, Husan Chak and Kaji Chak were the descendants of this line, and they had been admitted to Shia’ faith by Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi. See THK. p. 217.

76. The descendants of Shams Chak were the followers of Hanafi school. They were Sunnis. Ibid.

77. Hasan says that Shams fled to Dardu. See THK. p. 219.

78. Karnav in Hasan. Ibid.

79. Hasan says that Muhammad Shah and Sayyid Muhammad had come to know of their plan of a night-assault, Ibid.

83. Fifty wounds, besides a cut on his ear. Ibid.

81. See note 55 supra.

82. For a fuller account of the numerous presents, such as orchards, gardens, ornaments, costumes, horses, jewellary, gold, etc. given by Malik Musa Raina to Mir Shamsu’dDin ‘Iraqi, see Tohfatu’I-Ahbab. MS. (trans). ff. 35-7. These were utilized by the Mir for the construction of a khanqah at Zadibal. The date of its completion can be found in the chronogram kashf-i-ummatin which is A.H. 902/A.D. 1496. See THK. p. 220.

83. Tohfatu’l-Ahbab gives full details about the differences between the two which made Shams ‘Iraqi to leave Kashmir for Tibet. These are of political and personal nature. The political differences were over Shams ‘Iraqi’s unwanted and high-handed interference in Mir Sayyid Muhammad’s administration, and is illustrated in ‘Iraqi’s brutal treatment of Mantji, a state revenue officer. The personal differences were over ‘Iraqi’s refusal to give his daughter Bibi Agha in marriage to him. For more details, see Toufat. MS. (trans). ff. 62-3 and 69-70. Hasan’s version is that ‘Iraqi was expelled by Sayyid Muhammad because he did not like his activities. See THK. p. 220.

84. Zatni Kuji (?) on Khampore ridge. See THK. p. 220.

85. Kindred refers to those relatives of Sayyid Muhammad who had been slain in the battle of Sopor.

86. Text is not clear.

87. The allusion is probably to the historical records of Srivara or Suka.

88. Hasan is of the view that as a child he hid himself in the house of his foster-mother. See THK. p. 221.

89. Nine verses in all have been recorded. The chronicler says that the verses were sung in Kashmiri language (‘be zaban-i Kashmiri’). This has to be differentiated from the phrase ‘be galam-i Kashmiri’, which we have translated as ‘Sanskrit language in Sarada script.’

90. muwahhid.

91. mujibu’d-da’wat

92. Hasan says that he governed for four months. THK. p. 223.

93. A descendant of the line of Raja of Nagarkot. TMH. MS. f 44b. Could he be the Somachandra of Shuka’s Chronicle. See J. C. Dutt’s translation p. 339.

94. For Damaras (Dangars), see Rajat . Vol . II. p. 304 et seq.

95. The fuller version is: Shamsu’l-haqq wa’d-din. That is ‘the sun of truth and faith.’

96. This might be an allusion to Muhammad Shah.

97. As many as eighteen big temples of Hindus in the city of Srinagar and in the rural areas of the valley were destroyed under the instructions of Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi and Malik Musa Raina. For details see Toufat. MS. (trans). ff. 155-212.

98. The ennobling conversion of infidels to Islamic faith has been described in THK and Tohfat in this manner. Hasan says that twenty-four thousand Hindu families were converted to ‘Iraqi’s faith (of Shia’ism) by force and compulsion (qahran wa jabran). THK. p. 223. It is recorded in Tohfat, that on the instance of Shamsu’d-Din’Iraqi Musa Raina had issued orders that everyday 1,500 to 2,000 infidels be brought to the doorstep of Mir Shamsu’d-Din by his followers. They would remove their sacred thread (zunnar), administer kelima to them, circumcise them and make them eat beef. See Toufat. MS. (trans). f. 157. For a graphic description of forcible circumcision on Idgah grounds, see the same work ff. 190-91.

99. Since the reign of Sultan Sikandar, no ruler in Kashmir worked as much for the propagation of Islamic faith as Malik Musa. TMH. MS. f. 45a. Hasan says that he repressed Sunni nobles also. Some of them were expelled to evoke fear among people. THK. p. 223.


Silver sasnu of the Kashmir Sultan Shams al-Din Shah II (ruled 1537-38)

With the murder of Malik Shams Chak, the clan of Chaks fell on evil days and suffered a decline. Their disintegration touched such a low ebb that Malik Kaji Chak, Seh Chak and Serang (Sarhang ?) Chak were forced to join the service of ‘Ali Raina, son of Malik Musa Raina. For some time they served as his footmen.

[ verses ]

When Malik Musa Raina planned to despatch his son Malik ‘Ali to Tibet at the head of a contingent, equipment for the expedition was provided by soldiers who had the ability to pay. The Chaks were so poor that they could not pay for the required equipment for these troops; they came to Mir Shamsu’d-Din to request him for financial assistance. They had also brought along with them Serang (Sarhang ?) Chak, the son of Malik Shams Chak, thinking that he would grant them their request because of him. When they came to Mir Shams ‘Iraqi in a group of about five or six persons, they did not expect to get more than a gold coin each which, they had thought, would suffice them for paving the Tibetbound troops.

Kaji Chak patronized

Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi granted them assistance in kind to the tune of a hundred traks [1] of rice and fifty traks of flour and two lakhs of pool (money) in cash. He affectionately asked that Malik Kaji Chak, the prince with a clipped ear, be brought to his presence. [2] Malik Kaji Chak had suffered a clipped ear in the course of Malik Shams Chak’s nightassault in the battle of Sopor. Mir Shams called Kaji Chak to his presence and told him that the Omnipotent would give unto his command the government of that country; that he should adopt the path of justice and keep in mind the welfare of his people. He was also told to give his full attention to the propagation of Islam. [3]

Kaji Chak feared that these words might be carried to Malik Musa Raina. In confusion, he bowed his head before Mir Shams in reverence, and told him: “I take an oath upon my honour that I shall strictly abide by your dictates. Should God Almighty choose me to wield authority, I shall neither deviate from your directive nor disregard your wishes. ” Thereupon, Mir Shams ‘Iraqi lifted his big turban from his head and put it on the head of Kaji Chak, telling him that he had bestowed upon him the crown of power and government which would soon be his.

After some time, the offspring of Ibrahim Magray, whom wealth and influence had made so strong that they aspired to gain control over the government of that land, aligned themselves with some chiefs of that time, and, with the concurrence of Fath Shah, planned to destroy Malik Musa Raina. In A.H. 916 (A.D. 1510), corresponding to 89th year of Kashmiri calendar, they destroyed the bridges over the river in the city and began fighting and killing in the vicinity of the royal quarters (Daru’l-Amareh).[4] Malik Musa Raina took position at Zaldagar, but finding that his friends and associates had completely gone back over their old promises and commitments, and had become openly hostile and taken to perfidy, he thought it advisable to flee and therefore abandoned the battlefield after a couple of days.[5]

Musa killed

Malik Uthman, Dati Malik and some members of the group of Dangars, who had hitherto remained scattered over the Indian mountains, were taken into confidence by the Magrays by establishing communication and rapport with them. They marched on to Kashmir and arrived at Hirpur. In view of this, Malik Musa Raina thought it inadvisable to flee via Hirpur. The other routes were either via Tserehhar or Shamaz [sic]. But by preordination, fate and divine decree, he fell from a horse during this flight and joined the ever-lasting world.[6]

Dangars dominate

The ministry and authority [of this land] passed into the hands of Ibrahim Magray, but this did not last beyond forty days. Shortly after, the group of Dangars whose assistance they (Magrays) had sought in winning this victory, overpowered them and took quick steps to install themselves in power and in a position of command. They succeeded in winning over most of the sirdars and rose against Malik Ibrahim Magray, who was, ultimately, overpowered and destroyed. They declared their authority over this land and the ministry passed into the hands of Malik Uthman. They decided to imprison some of the chiefs of those times in order to consolidate their authority and leadership. Two months later, Malik Kaji Chak, Jehangir Padar, and Gaday Malik joined hands with Fath Shah. In the court chamber (Daru’l-Amarah), Dati Malik and Ghazi Khan, who were dispensing justice, were murdered with dagger and knife [knives].[7] At that moment Malik Uthman was in the company of Fath Shah in his private apartment; he was detained and put in chains.

Fath Shah returns

Malik Jehangir Padar [now] declared his authority over the land. A month later, Malik Ibrahim raised a body of crack soldiers, equipped with effective weapons, and headed towards Kashmir. Some of the contemporary chiefs joined him. Because of this Malik Jahangir Padar and Fath Shah thought it advisable to leave the country.[8] When they had reached Hirpur, Ibrahim Magray despatched somebody to bring back Fath Shah; Jahangir Pader and the other members of the party of Chaks continued their onward march to India.

Ibrahim Magray installed Fath Shah on the throne. Malik Kaji [Sic][9] Uthman was released from prison and he joined the Magrays. For the second time the office of the Chief Vizir passed into the hands of Malik Ibrahim Magray. At that time news was brought to Fath Shah from Nowshehr in India that Muhammad Shah had left his troops behind and had proceeded towards Maldayal [sic] mountains. He also learnt that, except Ibrahlm Khan,[10] whose mention has already been made, there was none close at hand with their families and relatives. This news intensified Fath Shah’s hatred for that house; he hastened to arrange a strong force and ordered it to march towards those lands forthwith.

Fath Shah repulsed

The family members and close relatives of Muhammad Shah learnt of the movement of the troops [of Fath Shah], but they found no possibility of escaping from that place. Sayyid Ibrahim Khan unsheathed his sword and set out to meet Fath Shah. A fierce encounter took place at the village of Ghazi Kot. The brave warriors of Fath Shah realised that it was not possible to gain victory through the strategy they had adopted; and, therefore, dismissing all hopes, turned back towards the capital. Sayyid Ibrahim Baihaqi gave them a hot pursuit and all those on whom he could lay his hands were slain. Then he and his party returned to Nowshehr in India.

[ verses ]

After that day, he strengthened his power and authority, and owing to the power and influence that he wielded, he dominated over the rest of the nobles. Details concerning this will be given at their proper place.[11]

Muhammad Shah reacts

A messenger brought full details of these developments to Muhammad Shah. He was told how Sayyid Ibrahim Khan heroically fought the foe and defended the locality in Nowshehr to prevent Fath Shah from entering that town and how a number of Fath Shah’s soldiers were slain in the battle. He reacted happily to this and gave fatherly affection[l2] and special favours to the state officials and chiefs of Kashmir.

Uthman’s second ministry

During the year following this event, Malik Uthman and Malik Shankar Raina joined together to oppose Malik Ibrahlm Magray and managed to secure the support of Fath Shah in this. They succeeded in imprisoning Ibrahlm’s two sons, Malik Abdal and Malik Feroz. Malik Ibrahim lelt for Poonch. With that Malik Uthman became the Chief Vizir for the second time. Malik Shankar Raina and his group gave him full support. [l3] Five months later, Ibrahim Magray in combination with a group of Chaks and Padars, who were scattered over Indian lands, proclamed Muhammad Shah as king, and entered into Kashmir via Baramulla, and encamped at Sopor. On the other side, Malik Uthman and Malik Shankar Raina took Fath Shah along with them and with a fairly large force at their command encamped by the bank of the lake (or river ?) outside the range of their arrows. At that time a musket or a gun was unknown in Kashmir.

‘Iraqi warned

It so happened that Mir Ahdi, the son-in-law of Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi, deserted Malik Uthman and joined the troops of Magrays. At this, Malik Uthman held out threats to Amir Shamsu’d-Din that “with God’s grace the victory will be ours and on reaching the city (of Srinagar) the first thing for me to do would be to burn you alive and then enter the city.” Mir Shams developed deep hatred for him.

Fighting in Sopor

Shortly afterwards, Uthman realized that on account of the obstruction posed by the river, it would not be possible for him to make any headway. Proud of his bravery and valour, he left behind Fath Shah and Malik Shankar Raina with their troops to confront the enemy and took the Khuihama route to make a surprise attack on them from the rear. On the other side, Lohar Magray and Regi Chak, accompanied by innumerable troops, sealed off his way by occupying the top of Bosangari[14] hillock. When Uthman reached near them, he made a valorous attack and succeeded in defeating and repulsing them. The defeated troops somehow managed to rejoin their main force. Malik Uthman halted at the top of Bosangari for the night. The news of his occupation of Bosangari and the defeat of the troops of Magrays reached the city. When Mulla Muhammad Ganai, the tutor of Fath Shah, came to Amir Shams-u’d-Din ‘Iraqi, he asked him the latest news about his [15] Fath Shah. The tutor told him that the top of Bosangari had been captured, the enemy defeated, and that the victorious troops were at the hillock. Mir Shams tald him that even if he would move up to the top of the sky, God Almighty would hurl him down upon earth and not grant him freedom to oppress the helpless (faqirs).[16]

Malik ‘Ali’s treachery

During those days there lived a very shrewd and intelligent man, Malik ‘Ali by name, in the group of Malik Kaji Chak. He sensed that Malik Uthman was in a strong position to overpower them in the battle that would be fought the following day. By nightfall he came to the bank of the lake and loudly announced like this: “I am Malik ‘Ali, the son of Mulla Husain — (illeg.). A couple of trusted men among the closest courtiers of Fath Shah may come here as I want to speak to them about something important.” When Fath Shah heard it, he ordered two or three of his trusted courtiers to proceed to the bank of the lake. Malik ‘Ali spoke these words to them in a subdued tone: “I have had the honour of being a ward of your king. It was his benevolence which lifted me high from nowhere. I want to show my goodwill towards him. Let it be known to you that Malik Uthman has been slain and his entire army has been crushed and dispersed by the troops of Kaji Chak. They have drawn a plan to ferry the troops across the lake tomorrow morning and capture Fath Shah and hand him over to Muhammad Shah. I beseech you a hundred times that this very night Fath Shah should move away to Poonch by Havel [sic] route,[17] otherwise he will be captured. Since I have enjoyed the patronage of that houseÑhaving been brought up in itÑI cannot help showing good-will towards it.”

This story was carried to Fath Shah by persons nearest to him. He decided to set out the same night towards India via Havel taking with him a few of his belongings and leaving behind the rest. Malik ‘Ali succeeded in wrecking their (Fath Shah’s) army through his intelligence and his skill for contrivance.

[ verses ]

Next day, Malik Uthman learnt that the treacherous act of Malik ‘Ali had led to the destruction of the troops of Fath Shah and Shankar Raina. He was left with no alternative but to retrace his steps from Bosangari and withdraw to the city. By nightfall, he arrived at the banks of the waters of Lar[l8] which he managed to cross and then halted there for the night. At sunrise, he resumed his night towards the village[l9] — (illeg.). Malik Ibrahim Magray was unrelanting in his pursuit, ultimately, he captured him at Neev and put him in prison. Later on, he was put to death in that prison, and the fury of the flames of dervishes’ anger took a concrete shape.[20] The chronogram denoting the year of his (Uthman’s) death is the word tarkash.[21]

Muhammad Shah’s third term

Thus Muhammad Shah wrested the throne for himself, and for the third time, the high office of the Chief Vizir went to Malik Ibrahim Magray. [22] The rule of Muhmmad Shah and the ministry of Ibrahim Magray lasted nine months.

Fath Shah’s third term

After the expiry of nine months, Fath Shah turned from India towards Kashmir, but before entering it, he despatched his son Habib Khan to Mongehnar [sic]. Malik Jehangir Padar fled from Pir [sic] [23] to join him (Fath Shah). When Fath entered into Kashmir, most of its people rallied to his side. Malik Kaji Chak also joined him along with his troops. Muhammand Shah, Ibrahim Khan, Mir Muhammad Baihaqi and Ibrahim Magray fled to India, leaving the domain of Kashmir to Fath Shah. For the second time, the administrative authority of Kashmir passed into the hands of Jehangir Padar. Apart from the state-owned lands, Kashmir was now divided into three zones allotted each to Jehangir Padar, Malik Shanker Raina and Malik Kaji Chak.

Muhammad Shah defeated

The spring breeze from the pious breath of dervishes[24] blew in the vernal garden (of Kashmir), and the fruit-yielding tree of the rule of Chaks began to grow. A year later, Malik Ibrahim Magray brought Muhammad Shah along with him to Kashmir. At Brengil [sic] a fierce battle took place between them [the troops of Muhammad Shah and Fath Shah] in which Ibrahim Magray and his two sons[26] were slain; Muhamrnad Shah fled towards Poonch.


Two years after this event, Muhammad Shah went to Sultan Sikander Shah[27] for help; he treated him with regards and courtesies befitting a king and also placed at his disposal a large force for his assistanoe.[28] With army, he reached Rajver and encamped at Danora[29] grounds. Malik Jehangir Padar and Malik Shankar Raina despatched a number of messengers, one after the other, to him, and through them conveyed to Muhammad Shah their promises of loyal submission and unconditional obedience. They repeatedly sent him letters[30] in which they expressed their allegiance and submission to him. They declared that his orders and directives would become articles of faith for them.[31] Malik Kajl Chak and Shankar Raina and Nusrat Raina separated from Fath Shah and returned to the fort of Tarsh [sic]. Malik Jehangir Padar joined hands with Fath Shah and fighting broke out between the two sides. In the fight, he (Fath Shah) suffered reverses and fled towards the mountains. This news was brought to Muhammad Shah who expressed his full appreciation of their loyalty and since submission.

It was Muhammad Shah’s considered opinion that stationing of such a large and foreign army in those lands would lead to its spoliation and desolation. Thirty thousand cavalrymen accompanied him; he sent back some of them from Danora, but some more were left behind at Rajver (Rajouri) and Danora. He picked only two thousand horsemen for his entry into Kashmir. Malik Kaji Chak and Malik Nusrat Raina[32] preceded Muhammad Shah in order to welcome him on his arrival in Kashmir.

On arrival in Kashmir, he (Muhammad Shah) found it proper to elevate Malik Kaji Chak as the Chief Vizir of this land to the exclusion of the rest. Consequently, Malik Kaji Chak became a minister and the administrative head of the land. Malik Shankar Raina was detained.[33] The Indian army contingents were persuaded to return home. In order to make a formal show of compliance to Sultan Sikandar, Muhammad Shah accompanied the returning troops in person upto Nowshehr and then bade them farewell. Winter had already set in and behind them lay mountains freshly covered with snow, making the passage difficult for them. Muhammad Shah was thus left with no alternative but to pass the winter at Nowshehr in India.[34]

Kaji Chak’s victory

Taking advantage of a long winter and bitter cold, Malik Lohar Magray and Malik Nusrat Raina together raised troops and led insurrections defying the authority of Malik Kaji Chak in the fort at Nawgam. At this time Malik Jehangir Padar emerged from Kohistan (Indian mountains) and joined Malik Kaji Chak. Malik Lohar Magray and Malik Nusrat Raina now realized that an open and direct fight with the adversary would not be a judicious step, and, therefore, resolved to make a night-assault on them. Taking the enemy by surprise would perhaps yield them success. But before leaving the fort of Nowgam, Kaji Chak had received information about their impending move, and consequently he had taken all precautionary measures to foil their attempt by keeping his troops in full readiness. With the war-cries raised by the assaulting troops and the deafening tumult over the battlefield, the troops of Kaji Chak rushed out of their camps and quarters to cross swords with the enemy. On the grounds of Zaldagar, a grim and bloody battle was fought, in which many brave soldiers and warriors were wounded or killed on either side. Malik Nusrat Raina lay among the slain. Malik Kaji Chak himself received wounds in that battle and also lost one of the fingers of his right hand. On seeing that most of his associates had been either killed or wounded, Lohar Magray was forced to flee.

Thus with the blessings of God the Benevo]ent, the flower of victory and triumph blossomed in the rose gardan of the clan of Chaks. The pious breath blown by Hazrat Amir Shamsu’d-Din had brought fragrance to their clan.

When the bitter winter came to an end and the sun reappeared with its full lustre, Muhammad Shah and Sayyid Ibrahim moved into Kashmir along with their army. With the good wishes and to the pleasure of Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi, Malik Kaji Chak occupied the ministry and held the administrative authority of the kingdom. During the whole period for which he held the reins of the government, he was always guided by Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi’s instructions, directives, and commands. It was during this regime that Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi ordered Malik Kaji Chak to reconstruct the khanqah of Amir (Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani). At this time Fath Shah reigned over Kashmir. On the day they were laying out the plan of the structure of the khanqah, an altercation took place between Amir Shamsu’d-Din and Fath Shah with the result that, a few days later Fath Shah was deposed and expelled from the country. Muhammad Shah was recalled and put on the throne. Fath Shah never came back to Kashmir afterwards. Malik Shankar Raina, too, was languishing in the Indian mountains at that time. In A.H. 925 (A.D. 1519). both Fath Shah and Shankar Raina died somewhere in the mountains of India.[35]

In the year — when Muhammad Shah was the king and Kaji Chak his vizir, the khanqah of Hazrat Hamadaniyyeh caught fire.

Massacre of infidels

One of the big tasks completed by him and one of the major commands of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi carried out by him was the massacre of infidels and polytheists of this land. It happened like this.

During the government of Malik Musa Raina, all the depraved heretics of this land had been converted to Islam. [But] with the help of some of the chiefs of this land, some of them had reverted to the customs of the infidels and polytheists. These apostates had resumed idolatory. Some of the infidels related that during the hours of offering prayers and worshipping of idols, they would place a copy of the holy Qur’an under their haunches to make a seat to sit upon. Thus idol-worshipping proceeded even while they sat on the divine book. When the news and details of these doing were brought to Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi, he summoned Malik Kaji Chak to him. Accompanied by Malik ‘Ali and Khwaja Ahmad, his two counsellors and administrators, Malik Kaji Chak presented himself before the venerable Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi, who declared to them: “This community of Idolators has, after embracing and submitting to the Islamic faith, now gone back to difiance 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 deferance 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.[36] 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.

Padar’s revolt

In the year A.H. 926 (A.D. 1519), Kaji Chak placed a large force under the command of his son Mas’ud Chak and sent him to capture Jehangir Padar.[37] But Malik Jehangir received the information of Malik Mas’ud’s move in advance. He fled towards Kamaraj[38] where he aligned himself with Gaday Malik and the people of — (illeg). In A.H. 927 (A.D. 1520), Malik Abdal, Lohar Magray and Malik ‘Idi Raina[39] rallied round Iskandar Khan, the son of Fath Shah, and captured the fort of Nagam to lead an insurrection against Malik Kaji Chak. Jehangir Padar and Gaday Malik also appeared from Kamaraj and Drav to join hands with Iskandar Khan. They reached the pargana of Lar where Kaji Chak had despatched his son Mas’ud Chak to offer resistance to them and himself came out to confront Iskandar Khan. He went a little ahead of his son Mas’ud Chak and took position near Shihabu’d-Din Pora, where he got engaged in a fight with Gaday Malik. In the battle that ensued,[40] Gaday Malik was slain by Malik Daulat, and Mas’ud Chak fought Jehangir Padar. By chance an arrow struck Mas’ud Chak in his eye; he fell from his horse in front of Jehangir Padar and was killed.

After killing Malik Gaday, Malik Daulat proceeded towards Lar thinking that he had emerged victorious. Both the parties [which fought each other] headed onwards in a happy and joyous mood towards Lar and did not know about the losses they had suffered.

On reaching Shihabu’d-Din Pora, Malik Daulat’s party came to know of the death of Malik Mas’ud: On the other hand, on reaching Krehmu, the troops of Jehangir Padar learnt of the killing of Malik Gaday. Malik Daulat then crossed the lake[41] at Shihabu’d-Din Pora and joined Ibrahim Khan and Malik Tazi Chak both of whom had come to extend their support to Malik Mas’ud. They carried with them Malik Husain Raina, son of Serang (Sarhang ?) Raina, as their captive, and put him to death before heading towards the city. Jehangir Husain also set out for the city by the Lar route with the intention of crossing the lake and joining Iskandar Khan. But several attempts of his to cross the lake at a place of his choice were foiled by Ibrahim Khan, Malik Tazi Chak and Malik Daulat, all of whom had control of the opposite bank. A few days later, Iskandar Khan and his associates decided to withdraw towards India after ceasing hostilities.[42] Malik Jehangir Padar followed suit. In this way Malik Kaji Chak rose to the heights of glory. He bestowed special favours and choicest benefactions upon Malik Daulat. He placed the office, the jagir, the harem and the establishment and household of Malik Masu’d Chak under his complete control.

In A.H. 930 (A.D. 1523), Malik ‘Ali, Malik Abdal, Malik Lohar Magray and Malik Regi raised the banner of revolt,[43] and with the cooperation of the Magrays, Muhammad Shah and Nowroz Chak left the city and proceeded towards Lar.[44] Finding that most of the people in the city had broken their promises and revoked their commitments and come out in open opposition, Malik Kaji Chak picked up his associates and followers and, with necessary equipment and supplies, left for the Indian mountains. The party stationed itself at Nowsher in India where it camped for some time.

Mughals repulsed

At this time two of Babur Padshah’s generals, namely Kuchak Beg and Shaykh ‘Ali Beg, moved towards Nowshehr with a strong contingent of Turki soldiers with the intention of conquering Kashmir. But he (Malik Kajl Chak) collected the sturdy men of the mountains and of neighbouring areas,[45] and stationed them on the top of Kajdari mountain to block the routes. Tazi Chak and Ghazi Khan[46] had moved their contingents a little ahead of Malik Kaji Chak, and got involved in a skirmish with the Mughals. This was followed by a battle between them, in which Tazi Chak succeeded in killing a couple of Mughal soldiers. Ghazi Khan struck his lance at a Mughal soldier which sent him reeling down from his horse. The soldier rolled down the slope and collided with another Mughal horseman who also came hurtling down, and both of them got killed there and then. Ghazi Khan was hardly seventeen or eighteen years old at this time. He achieved fame for having killed two Mughal soldiers with a single thrust of his lance.[47]

Kaji Chak returns

At last the Turki and the Mughal[48] troops were defeated and the hardy men of the mountains put a large number of them to the sword down the farthest extremities of the mountains. A few months later, Malik Kaji Chak arrested Iskandar Khan because he had been responsible for inviting the Mughal army. Iskandar’s arrest by Kaji Chak prompted Muhammad Shah to revive old bonds of affection and unity with Kaji Chak and to forget their mutual rancour and animosity. Through letters he assured him of his friendship and cooperation and requested him to return to Kashmir. Thereupon Malik Kaji Chak came to Kashmir along with Iskander Khan. He was ultimately handed over to Muhammad Shah, who got his eyes gouged out.[49] In collusion with Malik ‘Ali, a group of Magrays rose in revolt against the army [of Muhammad Shah] in the village of Kichhama,[50] which led to hostilities between them. Muhammad Shah, Malik Kaji Chak and Sayyid Ibrahim Khan Baihaqi proceeded to fight them. The Magrays were ultimately defeated, their soldiers took to their heels and Malik ‘Ali fell a prisoner in the hands of Malik Kaji Chak.

Ibrahim Shah

A few months later, Malik ‘Ali, a prisoner in the house of Malik Tazi Chak, managed his escape to India. A little later, Malik Kaji Chak deposed Muhammad Shah and interned him in the perilous mountain-village called Lud along with his soldiers. Ibrahim Shah[51] was installed on the throne in place of his father and Kaji Chak now committed himself to serving and bringing him up. Malik ‘Ali and Malik Regi Chak thought that the time was ripe for action, and, therefore, collected a large number of Magrays at Nowshehr.

Magray’s seek Babur’s help

After arriving at a decision through consulations with them, Malik Abdal Magray went to Babur Padshah to seek his help, who received him with full courtesy bestowing such special favours upon him as befitted the dignity and status of monarchs; he also issued cammands to Shaykh ‘Ali Beg and Muhammad Khan[52] to help him. Forthwith they proceeded towards Kashmir. In A.H. 935 (A.D. 1528), the group of Magrays, in collaboration with Malik ‘Ali and Regi Chak and with the assistance of Babur’s troops[53] entered into Kashmir via Havel [54] [sic]. Malik Kaji Chak learnt about their advancing columns and, therefore, marched out to meet them. They confronted each other at village Nangil in Bengil pargana. Malik Tazi Chak the backbone of their force, took the lead and attacked the enemy. As God willed it, he suffered defeat and disaster, and death tighteneld its unrelenting grip on him. This was followed by a direct encounter between Malik Kaji Chak and the Turki troops.

Kaji Chak’s bravery

The Mughal troops included a warrior, a veteran of many grim and bloody battles, and renowned in his days as the bravest of the brave. He had sustained many wounds and had won many laurels on the battlefield. From the first day of the movement of Mughal troops from Agra until the time they reached Kashmir, he had been making repeated enquiries about Kaji Chak. During the battle he sought the help of his friends to identify Kaji Chak for him. He announced that he wanted to fight that brave man to find out how much daring and courage he possessed. His challenging words had reached Kaji Chak before the actual fighting had broken out. At the moment when Kaji Chak’s troops were suffering reverses, this gallant Mughal warrior came closer to the troops of Malik Kaji Chak and said in loud words: “Who among you is Kaji Chak ? Where is he ? I want to fight him. Let him come out and let us try who is braver of the two?”

[ verses ]

~On hearing these challenging words of the Mughal warrior, he turned back from his retreating troops and slowly moved towards him. The latter too spurred his horse and came closer to Malik Kaji Chak. He attempted a lightening blow of his sword on Malik Kaji Chak’s head. The Malik lifted his shield to protect his head and face; with great alacrity he dodged the blow aimed at his head. Then making an offensive pass, he struck his lance at the chest of the Mughal warrior with such force that, in spite of his being clad in a coat of mail, it pierced [the warrior’s chest] and came out from his back about a span, and with that he lifted him from his saddle and hurled him down on the ground, uttering in Kashmiri language [55] “This is the very Kaji Chak you had been looking for from Agra to Kashmir to take your life.” After uttering these words, Kaji Chak turned towards the city. The Mughal troops came to the wounded warrior. With a slender breath of life in him, he warned them that one who ventured to pursue that man (Kaji Chak) would certainly endanger his life because a fight with him would only be suicidal. The Turki soldiers looked at the condition of their fallen warrior and also at the wounds he had sustained, and gave up their attempt of pursuing Kaji Chak, though, of course, they continued with their onward march at an easy pace.

Daulat Chak’s heroism

In this battle, Malik Daulat Chak first wielded his sword to fight the enemy, but when it broke, he pulled his heavy mace out of its holder. When a Turki soldier confronted him, he struck a blow of his mace on his head which sent the soldier reeling on the ground. But in the process, the mace slipped from Malik Daulat Chak!s hand. A Mughal warrior saw that he was without a weapon and took the opportunity of striking at him with a sword, but with alacrity Malik Daulat held back the assailant’s striking hand and then wrested the sword from his grip. Since his right hand was wounded in the scuffel, he held the sword in his left hand and dealt a severe blow to the Mughal warrior. However, it did not prove fatal. As Malik Daulat had sustained many wounds in that battle, he made his way into the house of a soldier and closed the door from inside.

In this battle a number of Kaji Chak’s veteran soldiers and famous warriors like Malik Tazi Chak, Malik Serang (Sarhang) Chak and Malik Suh Chak[56] were slain along with their followers, near ones and subordinates who had braved many a misfortune with them. In the same battle, the group of Baihaqi Sayyids, under the leadership of Sayyid Ibrahim Khan, retraced their steps among the fleeing troops of Kaji Chak and made a second daring attack on the enemy. In the encounter he (Sayyid Ibrahim) excelled as a brave warrior. With a stroke of his lance, he struck down Baba Beg –(illeg) from his horse.

[ verses ]

Sayyid Ibrahim’s imprisonment

These assaults caused harassment in the rank and file of the enemy, who in desperation rained arrows on him (Sayyid Ibrahim Khan). Not being able to withstand the volley of enemy’s arrows, his horse sank into the dust of the battlefield. Mir Sayyid Ibrahim fell a prisoner into the hands of the enemy.[57]

After the Turki troops captured Malik Daulat and Ghazi KhanÑthe veterans and celebrities of the Kashmir armyÑ Malik Kaji Chak, along with a handful of his associates, succeeded in disentangling himself from the battle and turning towards the mountain range called Kakru (Ghakru).[58]

Malik Daulat’s escape

When Ibrahim Khan and Malik Daulat Chak were being escorted to the city as captives, Malik Daulat, despite a number of wounds on his body, jumped to the bank from a boat after the evening prayers had been offered, and went to a nearby lake. His guards deployed forty to fifty boats all around the lake and searched for him till midnight. Malik Daulat Chak had hidden himself in the waters of that lake by taking cover under large leaves of waterlily, keeping only his head out of water so that he could breathe. When the search for him proved futile, the boats withdrew after midnight. Thereupon Malik Daulat came out of the lake and ran for safety. Ibrahim continued to be their prisoner.

Mughal troops leave

The victorious group triumphantly entered the city. The domain of Kashmir was divided into four parts, which they shared among themselves. Muhammad Shah was recalled from the mountains and was installed on the throne. The authority of the government and the ministry was given to Malik Abdal. With the setting in of autumn, Shaykh ‘Ali Beg and his Turki troops were permitted to proceed towards India. Malik ‘Ali accompanied them upto Nowshehr in India, where he bade them farewell and returned to Kashmir. Four persons who divided Kashmir among themselves and rapaciously appropriated their respective portions were Malik Abdal, Malik Lohar Magray, Malik Regi Chak of Kupwara and Malik ‘Ali.[59]

In A.H. 938 (A.D. 1531), corresponding to the 17th of Kashmiri calendar, Mirza Kamran planned to occupy Kashmir.[60] He stationed himself at Nowshehr in India, but sent a strong force of well-equipped three thousand horsemen under the command of Mahram Beg[6l] and Shaykh ‘Ali Beg with instructions to march on to Kashmir. Kashmiri nobles were left with no time to obstruct them in the mountains and to engage them in sporadic fighting in narrow passes leading into Kashmir. In this way the Turki troops entered into Kashmir unopposed and unhindered and camped in the city. Kashmiri chiefs assembled in the fort at Tsereh Vudar. Malik Kaji Chak emerged from Kakru (Ghakru) mountains and along with his sons and allies joined the Kashmiri chiefs. Mahram Beg conveyed the date of the event in the undermentioned verses to Kamran Mirza in Nowshehr (Hindustan)[62]
chu kardam fath-e nim-e u’be tarikh
khirad gufta kih fath-e nim-e firdaws

The news of victory contained in the despatch delighted Kamran Mirza and, having been freed from all anxieties, he left for Lahore.

Kashmiri nobles assembled in large numbers at the village of Athwajan[63] and took position on mountain heights. Mahram Beg and his troops crossed the river and engaged them in that village. In the battle that ensued a large number of soldiers on either side was slain. As God willed it, the Mughal faced reverses and, withdrawing from Nowshehr, turned towards the western quarter of the city where they had set up their headquarters. Kashmiri troops appeared on the heights of Koh-i-Suleyman and came down slowly towards the east of the city to establish their camp.[64] There was sporadic fighting with the Mughals for some time. At last, Mahram Beg got sick of this and entered into negotiations with Kashmiri chiefs and made firm promises of peace and conciliation to tkem.[65]

Kaji Chak and Mahram Beg meet

All the nobles [of Kashmir] assembled in the khanqah of Amir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani. Malik Kaji Chak took a boat which had been tied with ropes. From the side of the Turks, Mahram Beg also took a boat of the same kind, and both the boats were rowed simultaneously to reach the midstream. As the boats drew close, Malik Kaji Chak leapt into Mahram Beg’s boat and sat beside him. Mahram Beg was greatly delighted and felt obliged to Kaji Chak for this extraordinary gesture. They talked and deliberated for nearly an hour and then, taking each other’s leave, rowed back to their respective camps. On rejoining his party of Kashmiri nobles, Malik Kaji Chak was asked by them why he had left his boat and gone to Mahram Beg’s boat. His answer was that he felt convinced that Mahram Beg was incapable of doing him any harm because he was not as agile and clever as he himself was. This prompted him to move into his boat without entertaining any fears, he added.

A few days later, he arranged presents for Kamran Mirza and bade farewell to Turki troops, who left Kashmir via Baramulla. Malik Daulat Chak and Jehangir Magray accompanied them up to Pakhli.

It had been decided [by Kajl Chak and Mahram Beg] that Muhammad Shah would be given the state lands of Kashmir as his jagirs. Out of these a jagir was allowed to Sayyid Ibrahim Khan for his maintenance.[66] They divided Kashmir into five zones. Kaji Chak set up his headquarters at Zenehpore. Another zone and the ministry went to Abdal Magray with his headquarters at Bengil.[67] Malik Regi Chak stationed himself at Kamaraj. The fourth share went to Malik ‘Ali who occasionally shifted between the parganas of Ular and the village Tursh [sic]. They stuck to this arrangement for about a year.

Haidar Dughlat’s invasion

In the year A.H. 939 (A.D. 1532), Sultan Sayyid Khan[68] came to Tibet from Kashghar. It took him some time in subjugating and plundering those areas. Meanwhile the passes leading to Kashghar got blocked. He was, therefore, forced to spend the winter in Tibet. But as Tibet did not have provisions sufficient to meet the requirements of his troops, he decided that his son Iskandar Sultan and some senior commanders proceed to Kashmir with an army under the overall command of Mirza Haidar.[69] They took the Lar route and reached the outskirts of Kashmir. In the pargana of Lar, Kashmiri commanders suffered serious reverses at their hands, and withdrew to the fort of Hanjeek.[70] Mirza Haidar encamped at Nowshehr and finding that the fort of Hanjeek was strong, they turned towards Maraj, where they burnt the whole city and fanned out in the entire pargana. Wherever the Turki troops halted, Kashmiri nobles also staioned themselves close to them, and pursued them with their groups. The Mughal troops indulged in large-scale killing, loot and plunder of household goods, property and other materials. They took children and womenfolk as captives to be enslaved. Unscrupulous and extremely irreligious as they were, they converted the Islamic city (of Srinagar) into enemy’s country (daru’l-harb), and considered the shedding of the blood of Muslims as lawful as ‘sucking milk from one’s mother’s breast.'[71] The Qadi, the learned, the jurisconsults and scholars left their homes and took shelter on the island of lank.[72] Muslim nobles, officials and chiefs approached the Qadi, the eminent doctors of religious learning, the jurisconsults and also the Sayyids for their opinion on the outrage perpetrated by the Turki hordes. They asked them as to what, according to the tenets of Islam, would be the position of a Muslim and a faithful who got killed in fighting on the side of Kashmiris and also what the Muslim law said about those of the persons who were killed on the side of the Mughals. A unanimous decree issued by the learned, the divine, the jurisconsults observed that according to the doctors of religion and [Shia’] theology, those killed on the side of Kashmiris, high or low, were to be considered as martyrs and the oppressed. [They further said that] the powerful and the overbearing who subjugate and dominate Islamic lands and subject its Muslim men and materials to wholesale rapine and plunder are usurpers according to Islamic ecclesiastical authorities and prelates. According to the religion of Muhammad their killing was not merely permissible, but necessary. It had a legal sanction and was considered an act of virtue.

Kashmiri nobles carried these decrees in their hands and bravely searched for them [the Turks] from place to place till that winter came to an end. In early spring, Kashmiri troops and Mughal soldiers clashed in the neighbourhood of the barren lands of Babul.[73] Both sides used weapons like bows and arrows in the battle that followed. Loud war cries were raised by warriors on either side and the tumult of the striking swords virtually extinguished the life-breath of the young and the old.

[ verses ]

Kashmiri troops, who were commanded by Malik ‘Ali, came into direct confrontation with Turki soldiers, and a big battle followed. The Mughal troops, commanded by Baba Siragh Mirza and numbering about five hundred, were all armed and clad in coats of mail. Realizing that much blood would be shed in the course of fighting, Malik Ali produced the decree which had been obtained from the divines and learned men and, showing it to the people, implored them to stand witness to the fact that it was on the basis of this decree that he had taken up arms against Mughal troops.[74] Putting the decree under his armpit, Malik ‘Ali spoke the opening words of the Islamic prayer ‘In the name of Allah, the Compassionate the Merciful.’ After this, the son of Malik Musa Raina, Malik Shaykh ‘Ali Bhat, and many other brave warriors attacked the Turks. They exhibited feats of singular courage and extraordinary valour on the battlefield and inflicted severe wounds on Mughal soldiers; the heads of many of them were cut off. A brave Kashmiri soldier struck such a deep wound on the horse of Beg [sic] Siragh Mirza that the charger was forced to gallop back to the ‘background.’ Siragh Mirza took another horse and turned to flee. Beholding that the centre of their army had started cracking, Dayam ‘Ali Beg from the right flank and Mirza Haidar from the left flank of their army, dashed out, each with about a thousand soldiers, and attacked with a total strength of two thousand strong. This was met by Malik ‘Ali, Malik Husain Raina, son of Musa and Malik Shaykh ‘Ali Bhat. Kashmiri commanders and soldiers fought with great determination and displayed their excellent fighting qualities. However, since God Almighty’s grace did not favour them, their efforts were of no avail. Despite the rare courage and prowess shown by Malik Husain Raina, son of Musa Raina, Malik Shaykh ‘Ali Bhat, and the rest of the warriors, they could not defy what was predestined; and, therefore, fell in the battlefield. Since they were the senior commanders and the backbone of their army and fell as martyrs, their soldiers turned their back on the battlefield. About a thousand and five hundred soldiers were slain in the Lidar valley through which flows the Khovurpora[75] stream. The rest of the commanders and their troops fled the field. Malik Kaji Chak together with a party of his sons and soldiers ascended the heights near Babul slopes. Ibrahim Khan continued to resist his opponents bravely. He carried in his hand a fire-spitting sword, and excited his charger so as to make furious dashes all over the battlefield and struck blow after blow to the enemy on the battlefield.

[ verses ]


When the opponents saw that the troops of Ibrahim Khan, whose sword spat fire, had met with defeat and that he was fighting single-handed, they encircled him. But when Ibrahim Khan saw that Kashmiri troops had been defeated and had withdrawn to the barren lands of Babul, he pierced the encircling troops of the enemy and joined Malik Chak’s soldiers. The rest of the defeated soldiers also assembled at the above-mentioned heights. They held on to that elevated spot for some days till their ranks were reinforced by the defeated and dispersed soldiers in the neighbouring areas. Once again, they took up arms against the Mughals to avenge their earlier defeat.

At this time, Mirza Haidar sent [76] to Sultan Sa’eed Khan, then encamping in Tibet, a despatch stating that on the 4th of Sha’ban, a fierce battle had been fought with Kashmiri army on the slopes of Babul in which a large number of troops were involved. God had blessed his triumphant army with victory. The date of this victory was found by a Qadi [ or by Qadi ] in the army of Sultan Sa’eed in the epithet roz-i cheharum az mah-i Sha-ban (the fourth day of the month of Sha’ban). He incorporated the chronogram in a verse which he composed and despatched to him: [77]

[ verses ]

But Mirza Haidar regretted that though it was he who had composed the phrase, he had not computed the date which it yielded.

In spite of the defeat inflicted on them [ Kashmiris ] Malik Kaji Chak and all of the remaining Kashmiri commanders still ventured to harass and to create obstacles for the Turki and the Mughal soldiers. Wherever the Mughals encamped, Kashmiri commanders contrived to lay in ambush close by. The helplessness of their army was intensified by a rupture in the relations between Mirza Haidar and Dayam Ali Beg. The latter proposed truce and cessation of hostilities with Kashmiri commanders to which Mirza Haidar agreed reluctantly.

Muhammad Shah’s niece [78] was given in marriage to Iskandar Khan and presents and gifts were sent to Sa’eed Khan. With this they chose to withdraw by the same route in Lar which they had taken [for entering into] Kashmir.[79]


By the time autumn set in, Kashmir was liberated from the presence and also the ravages of the Mughals. Despite the lateness of the season, farmers and peasants cultivated their fields but because of the onset of winter, crops could not ripen and corn fields were damaged. Consequently in the 41 st year, corresponding to the 10th year of Kashmiri calendar, [80] Kashmir suffered a severe famine, the like of which had not been witnessed by anybody in the land. Whosoever among the inhabitants of this country escaped the sword and slaughter by the Mughals found himself locked in a grim battle with starvation. Many young and old people of this land perished in the famine. A kharwar[81] of grain was not available even for a thousand tankas.


Let it not remain unknown that after the Mughal troops quit Kashmir, her chiefs and nobles compromised to forge unity among themselves and pledged to set aside dissensions and rancour that had bedevilled their relations in the past. They now promised to respect their mutual pledges of solidarity.

Malik Kaji Chak took up his abode in Kamaraj pargana; Malik Lohar Chak dwelt in the pargana of Bengil and Malik Abdal Magray moved between the city and the parganas. This arrengement lasted a few years.

Muhammad Shah died in the year A.H. 944 /A.D. 1537, after reigning for nearly fifty-one years. In the aforesaid year, his son Sultan Shams Shah ascended the throne, but his reign did not last for more than a year, and he was succeeded to the throne by his brother Isma’il Shah in A.H. 945 (A.D. 1538).[82]

Kaji Chak’s activities

In the preceding year (i.e., A.H. 944/A.D. 1537), Malik Kaji Chak had aligned some of the chiefs with himself and entered the city despite resistance and opposition from the Magrays, who along with Malik Regi Chak had assembled at Baramulla. Malik Kaji Chak also moved along with his troops out of the city and confronted them there. A few days later, Malik Daulat and Malik Zetu [sic] Chak,[83] who had deserted Malik Abdal Magray, were summoned by Malik Kaji Chak. Truce was concluded with the Magrays and Kaji Chak returned to the city. But those of the chiefs who had formerly combined with him once again joined the Magrays. Finding that they were hostile, Kaji Chak came out of the city and along with a large group left for the Indian mountains[84] to pass the winter there.[85] With the advent of spring, he requested the Sultang[86] for full reinforcements.

In the same spring, Malik Regi Chak set out for Jammu via Banihal with the purpose of marrying the daughter of Raja of Jammu. Malik Kaji Chak took advantage of this and with the manpower he had received [from the Ghakkars] entered into Kashmir. The Magrays combined a large group of Malik Regi Chak’s men, the nobles of Chadura and Doona [sic] with their own soldiers, and garrisoned in the town of Sopor. Malik Kaji Chak camped at the village Kesu to give them a fight. A month later, Malik Regi Chak returned from Jammu, entered the city [of Srinagar] and rose in opposition to Malik Kaji Chak.

Now Malik Kaji Chak found that he had been sandwiched between two formidable enemiesÑnumerous troops of the Magrays and Kashmiri chiefs on one side, and Malik Regi Chak on the otherÑand as both of them were ready to crush him, he thought it prudent to consult with Ibrahim Khan, Malik Daulat, his nobles and his sons. Their opinion was that he should proceed to deal with Regi Chak, and that Malik Ibhrahim Khan accompanied by Malik Daulat and a group of his nobles should offer resistance to the Magrays. Malik Kaji Chak asked Ibrahim Khan as to what strategy he had [drawn] in case he was forced to fight a battle with the outnumbering troops of the Magrays. To this he replied that since he was fully convinced of his bravery, he would wield his sword over the heads of his enemies in such a manner that their heads would roll on the ground.

[ verses ]

Battle for the city

Greatly delighted and encouraged by the reply of Ibrahim Khan, Malik Kaji Chak went ahead with his plan; and, shortly after evening prayers, he came out to deal with Regi Chak, leaving the result of his venture to God. By nightfall, Regi Chak came to know that Malik Kaji Chak had moved his whole force against him, He drew away from Idgah to the locality of ‘Alau’d-Din Pora for a fight by about afternoon [of the next day]. Malik Kaji Chak entered the city by Nowshehr route. On reaching near Alau’d-Din Pora he deployed a strong contingent of his troops under commanders like Dervish Thakkur Malik Ñ- (illeg) and Khwaja Ibrahim on the Gankhan passage to stop the adadvance of Malik Regi Chak. Himself he headed towards Kalashpora with another strong contingent and took up a position in the khanqah of Kajdarar (Gojehwar). He sent his son Muhammad Chak and his soldiers to engage Ragi Chak, who bad demolished the Kalashpora bund, rendering the passage impassable. Malik Kaji Chak despatched Hamza Nayak [sic] and Naji Nayak from the Maisumeh [sic] route. At first Malik Regi Chak proceeded to confront them, but when people spread the rumour that Sayyid Ibrahim Khan, Malik Daulat Chak and Zetu Chak were on their way to the city, which they planned to enter from their side, he did not think it proper to go ahead with his plan of attacking them and, therefore, retraced his steps. During the time he was crossing and re-crossing, the troops of Malik Regi Chak and the Jammu soldiers stationed at the Gankhan passage had been badly mauled . Malik Kaji Chak’ s foot-soldiers had pressed them hard so as to demoralise them and to force them to take to their heels. The troops of Kaji Chak were followed by cavalrymen who reached near the khanqah of Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani. When Malik Regi Chak heard the names of Ibrahim Khan, Malik Daulat Chak, and Zetu Chak, he chose to withdraw. In the neighbourhood of the khanqah, he had an encounter with Dervish Thakkur and killed him. Near the gate of the khanqah, he also smote Khwaja Ibrahim to death. The rest of his enemies dispersed and hid themselves in the nearby lanes and private houses. Thus Regi Chak came closer to the Gankhan passage. His enquiries revealed to him that Malik Kaji Chak was heading towards Kalashpora. Thereupon, he retraced his steps and made for Kalashpora. On reaching the site where the bund had been demolished, he found that Muhammad Chak, son of Malik Kaji Chak, had taken up position there. He threatened him and made him go back, so that he did not become a victim of his adversary’s sword. News was brought to Malik Kaji Chak that Regi was heading towards the same approach; he mounted his horse and moved on to Kalashpora mosque and waited in the compound of Nuni Ganai mosque for his enemy. On reaching the site of the broken bund, he learnt that Hamza Nayak was approaching from Monjehdar [locality]. Thus the earlier information about Ibrahim Khan and Malik Daulat proved to be a lie. He then thought it advisable to face them and turning back adopted the same path. Face to face with them, Malik Hamza Nayak fled to a private house, but Malik Naji Nayak was captured and brought before him. Regi Chak reproached him severely, and let him go. Himself he took the Phak route and fled to Lar. But Malik Kaji Chak struck and crushed him and then moved towards Kinsu [sic]. He spent the night at Barthana grounds.

Kaji returns to Sopor

At Sopor, the Magrays learnt of Malik Kaji Chak’s movement. Early in the morning they repaired the bridges a little below Sopor which they had destroyed and crossed the river to fight against Sayyid Ibrahim Khan, Malik Daulat Chak and Ghazi Khan. The numerical strength of the troops of Baihaqi Sayyids and Chaks was small in comparison with that of the Magrays. Some of the army commanders suggested [to Sayyid Ibrahim Khan] to destroy the bridges and move away to let the water separate them (from the enemy). Ibrahim Khan and Daulat Chak were too brave to accept this ignominous suggestion. They argued that their retreat would result in defeat and dismemberment of their own troops. Hence they decided to fight with full courage and bravery and stood with rock-like firmness on the battlefield. Like roaring lions, Malik Kaji Chak’s soldiers fell upon their adversaries, “When God wills, the lesser in number shall overpower the larger in number,” so goes the saying and they emerged victorious. In this battle, Malik Mas’ud Chak, the brother of Malik Regi Chak, was slain by Sayyid Yaqub Baihaqi, son of Mir Sayyid Muhammad. The rest of the Magray group suffered defeat and fled towards India. The Sayyids of Baihaqi made such desparate and severe atacks on their enemies in the course of this battle, as would elicit eloquent praise from the bravest of all times. This event occured in A.H. 945 (A.D. 1538), corresponding to the 14th year of Kashmiri calendar.

Kaji Chak’s administration

After this victory, the domain of Kashmir was divided into three parts: Isma’il Shah and Kaji Chak received one share each and the third went to Mirza Sayyid Ibrahim Khan. For nearly two and a half years, Malik Kaji Chak was the undisputed sovereign authority and administrative head of this land. This was the time when Islamic religion and the customs of this faith reached the heights of glory. In fact, it was he who virtually issued royal commands in this country, because Isma’il Shah was his son-in-law and he remained only a titular king; his authority was limited to the striking of coins and reading of khutba in his name. Malik Kaji Chak held absolute power during those times.

Most of the tribal chiefs and clan leaders who were seditious and bred strife, or revolted against him, would be thrown into prison, but none of them was sentenced to death. After some time, he would grant them pardon and re-confer upon them their jagirs. Though he did sense that they had malicious designs on his life, his large-heartedness reduced these to insignificance, and he never ordered any one of them to be put to the sword. His sons and descendants, who today boast of their independent and autocratic rule, are in truth reaping the fruits of his generosity and benevolence, whether they know it or not.

Haidar again

Let it not remain unrevealed that consequent upon their defeat at Kinsu [sic] the Magrays fled to the India mountains where Malik Regi Chak joined them after some time. Humayun Padshah was defeated at Agra around the same time, and he withdrew to Lahore. Sher Shah had ascended the throne of India. Malik Abdal and Malik Regi Chak sent their sons / descendants to [the court at] Lahore. Through the help of Khwaja Haji, they managed to secure the support of Mirza Haidar who at that time was in the service of Humayun in India, and they came to Kashmir.[87] Leading their troops, Malik Kaji Chak and Sayyid Ibrahim then proceeded along the Hirpur route to make an exit without any fighting.

On 21 Rajab, A.H. 94, (21 October 1540), corresponding to the 16th year of Kashmiri calendar, the Magrays, assisted by the Mughal troops,[88] entered into Kashmir via Tsereh-Har. Malik Kaji Chak continued his march along Hirpur route together with his sons, troops and equippage.[89] Mirza Haidar extended remarkable courtesy to Kashmiri nobles. The domain was divided into three parts; one was given to Mirza Haidar, the second to Abdal Magray along with administrative authority and ministry, and the third to Malik Regi Chak.

This arrangement continued till the end of winter. In early spring on the new year’s day of Kashmiris’, Abdal MagrayÑin accordance with the Qur’anic saying that all that has life must taste of deathÑpassed to the everlasting world. Mirza Haidar elevated Malik Husain Magray, Malik Abdal Magray’s eldest son, to his late father’s office and jagir without diminishing it.

Kaji meets Sher Shah

From the Indian mountains, Malik Kaji Chak went to Sher Shah for assistance.[90] The latter showed him full courtesy and due regard and saw the scars and wounds all over his body. He made him remove his head gear, and saw the the marks of healing wounds on his head and asked him whether all those wounds had been sustained by him in a single battle or in many ( in Kashmir ) . Malik Kaji Chak told him that the wounds had been sustained in not one but many battles. Sher Shah, thereupon, caressed him profusely and conferred upon him the title of Khan-i-Khanan. He left it to his choice to call for as much of assistance as he desired.

Trusting the promises and the letters of agreement which had come to him from Kashmiri nobles, Kaji Chak brought along with him Husain Sherwani and Lal Khan[91] from among the nobles of Sher Shah’s court and also a handful of his troops.[92] He made his entry into Kashmir through Hirpur when the passes opened [after winter]. Mirza Haidar sent Khwaja Hajji and Ibrahim Khan to Regi Chak at –(illeg) and persuaded him with conciliatory words to join him. He agreed to do so and Mirza Haidar left his family, womenfolk and children at Andarkol [sic].[93]

Kaji Chak defeated

The two armies took their respective positions at Wothnar. Intermittent skirmishes and sporadic fighting between them continued for nearly a month, after which fighting had to be suspended owing to heavy rains and floods. Both the armies withdrew from the scene of operations. Malik Kaji Chak camped at Girdar [sic] and Malik Regi Chak and Mirza Haidar at Kohtar (Kothar ?). A royal battle was fought near Wahthore.” [94] Mulla Husain Khatib has recorded the year of this battle in the chronogram fath-e muqarrar (Repeat victory) which corresponds to the year 49.[95] Malik Nowroz was slain and Kaji Chak’s army suffered defeat and disaster. Malik Kaji Chak, Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan, Malik Daulat Chak and a number of their army commanders fled to India by the Hirpur route.

Mirzo Haidar visits Jadibal

After the victory was won by Mirza Haidar, Malik Regi Chak took leave of him and left for Kamaraj for rest and relaxation. Had he chosen to assume administrative authority and be the minister, Mirza Haidar would have complied with his orders and agreed to his policies. He would not have disregarded his wishes. Mirza Haidar’s obedience and submissiveness to Regi Chak may well be estimated from the following anecdote.

Shah Sayyid Ahmad Majzub paid a visit to the domain of Kashmir. Regi Chak declared that since Shah Ahmad Noor Bakhshi had arrived in Jadibal rest house, he would like to pay him a visit. He asked for the opinion of Malik Haidar who readily agreed with him, adding that he himself would like to accompany him. He then suggested that since it was the mid hour of the day and they would be obliged to stay with the saint for some time, the warm weather could prove oppressive for him; and that, therefore, it would be advisable to choose late afternoon hour for this visit. Till then they could retire to their respective places for an afternoon siesta. Malik Regi Chak returned to his house to have rest and sleep and did not wake up before the late afternoon praying hour. But Mirza Haidar offered the late afternoon prayer and sent somebody to Malik Regi Chak bidding him to get ready for meeting Shah Sayyid Ahmad Noor Bakhshi. Regi Chak woke up and began offering prayers. But before he could finish, Mirza Haidar rode into his house. Then they both procceded to Jadibal. On reaching near the tomb of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi, Mirza Haidar entered the mausoleum (rowza) with perfect humility and submmission. First, he stood on the footsteps of the grave, offered prayers far the dead, and then facing towards qibla, sat in mausoleum and called for a reciter to read out portions from the Qur’an. He summoned one Khwaja Isma’il who had come from India after having acquired grace and elegance in the art of recitation. Mirza Haidar sat close to the grave of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Iraqi and read out the chapter Ayatu’l-kursi. It was followed by a second prayer for the departed one; and finally, with humility and modesty, he left the tomb. All the people known or unknown to him, who observed the deportment of Mirza Haidar, expressed their surprise and said that the faithful and the followers of this place should learn the manner and procedures of veneration and courtesy from him. This was followed by a meeting with Shah Ahmad in the upper story of the khanqah. In the course of his conversation with Shah Ahmad, Mirza Haidar expressed his strong belief and faith in the noble order of Noor Bakhshiyyeh [sect]. Then, in his address to the sufis of Jadibal he offered them pieces of advice. Malik Regi Chak was annoyed at this and told him angrily that they had not come there for offering sermons. Malik Haidar noticed his displeasure and put an abrupt end to his sermon, and shifted to some other topic. Then, bidding good bye to the Shah, he walked the whole distance of the compound upto the outgoing flight of stairs by retracing his steps backward without showing his back to the saint (as a mark of extreme respect). Then he came down the stairs, went round the interior and the exterior of the khanqah, had a look at the stony floor of its compound and praised Amir Shams ‘Iraqi for his great deeds. [96]

Malik Haidar did all this just to please Malik Regi Chak. In fact, in his heart he bore malice and enmity against that order (Noor Bakhshiyyeh), of which he gave a proof when the opportunity came.

Regi Chak escapes

On finding that Regi Chak paid scant or no attention to his commands and accorded no respect to his authority, he (Haidar) began to search for wavs and means of destroying him in the following year. He aligned Malik ‘Idi Raina and Husain Magray with himself and, through the good offices of Khwaja Hajji, fostered an accord with them.[97] Then he proceeded towards Kamaraj with the aim of capturing Malik Regi Chak, who, however fled to India via the Karnav route. Settling temporarily at Poonch, he established and strengthened bonds of cooperation and amity with Malik Kaji Chak. Malik Haidar plundered and destroyed Regi Chak’s buildings and mansions in Kamaraj, and then returned to Andarkol [sic] in the city.

Shaykh Daniyal

While Mirza Haidar was conducting operations in Kamaraj, Shaykh Daniyal,[98] on learning about the arrival of Shah Sayyid Ahmad Noor Bakhshi [in Kashmir], moved from Tibet to Kashmir. On arriving in the village Karaj[99] [sic] he learnt of Regi Chak’s disaster. Per necessity, he halted at Drang where he left his equipment and proceeded towards Mirza Haidar’s camp. He came to the camp of Malik’Idi Raina who received him with respect and honour, The Malik avoiding committing any lapse in ex-ending support and favour to the Shaykh, but at last, he withdrew his support. When Malik Haidar found that ‘Idi Raina no more supported him, he ventured to take the step which led to the Shaykh’s martyrdom.[100]

It has already been said that Regi Chak had suffered a defeat and had withdrawn to Poonch where, in the following year,[101] he joined hands with Kaji Chak and entered into Kashmir via Havel, encamping in Goori Marg range.[101] Mirza Haidar took with him a contingent of Mughal and Kashmiri soldiers and encircled them. After some time, the Turkish soldiers made a night-assault on them in which Malik Kaji Chak, Regi Chak and Mir Sayyid Ibrahim again suffered a defeat and were forced to retreat towards the Indian mountains.

After the Goori Marg victory, Mirza Haidar strengthened his bonds of unity with Malik ‘Idi Raina and Husain Magray. In spite of Mirza Haider’s managing to capture power and authority of government, Nazuk Shah continued to be the titular king. For some time, coins – dinar – continued to be struck in his name; Mirza Haidar could not strike the coins in his name.

Kaji Chak dies

In the year A.H. 951 (A.D. 1544), 23rd of Jumada alUkhra, Malik Kaji Chak died of fever at a place near Dana Kala (Gala) in India.[l03] The date of his death was found in the phrase faut-e sardar. With the passing away of this intrepid commander, who, in truth, may be called the king of the clan of Chaks, disanity and ccnfusion spread in his tribe and community.

Mirza Haidar now let loose oppression which sprang from his fanaticism. He did not conceal his enmity towards the lovers of the house of Prophet and the adherents of ‘Ali, the saint of God (waliu’llah). His rabid fanaticism and deepseated malice touched such proportions that he issued an order to destroy the holy khanqah of Mir Shamsu’d-Din’ ‘Iraqi and started killing Muslims and the faithful.[l04] On the 8th of Zil Dhu’l-Hijja, A.H. 955 (A.D. 1548), Hazrat Rishi [105] was martyred.

Shaykh Daniyal’s execution

In A.H. 956 (A.D. 1549), he (Mirza Haidar) left for Tibet where he arrested Shaykh Daniyal and brought him back as his captive; for nearly a year, he was enchained in prison and subjected to physical torture. A sum of one thousand five hundred gold coins (ashrafis) was also exacted from him. In order to put an end to the reproaches and accusations of Abdu’r-Rashid Khan, he (Mirza Haidar) decided to put an end to his (Daniyal’s) life. He summoned Shaykh Fathu’llah to his presence and told him to fabricate false witnesses and the proofs against Shaykh Daniyal. That ungodly ( Khuhuda na tars ) fellow made strenuous efforts and bribed for this purpose some corrupt and wicked people, whose decrees in matters of religion were hardly tenable and whose moral dispensations were hardly popular. Some of the persons were induced to depose that he announced rafz (abandoning of faith), and showed disrespect to men of faith. Some other vouched for the honesty and irreproachable conduct of the witnesses. Thus under the decrees of the Qadis of the time, namely Qadi Habib, Qadi Ibrahim and Qadi Abdu’l-Ghaffur, he was martyred on 24th of Safar, A.H. 957 (A.D. 1550). Some of his associates found the date of this event in the phrase dasht-i Kerbala. In the darkness of the night, a devotee of the innocent martyr hid his severed head at some unknown place and, on the next day, another devotee removed his body in a boat and buried it at some other place. After the murder of Mirza Haidar, the severed head and body of Shaykh Daniyal were put together and reburied in the shrine of Amir Shamsu’d-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi.[106] It is strange that Mirza Haidar should have considered it in the interest of the state to put him to death. During the days when his death sentence was under consideration, Mulla ‘Abdullah made an attempt to dissuade Mirza Haidar from committing such an act, but Haidar told him that the beheading of the Shaykh was justified in the interests of the state and its integrity and for the security of his government. He further told him that accusations and defamation levelled by Rashid Khan against him could be silenced only by putting him to death.

Muhammad Kot besieged

In truth, the murder of that innocent man was the cause of the downfall of Mirza Haidar and the destruction of his regime. [107] Shortly afterwards, there sprang in his mind a desire to send a oontingent of Mughal troops to Muhammad Kot.[l08] For this purpose, Qara Bahadur Mirza[109] was given a contingent of about one thousand Mughal and Kashmiri soldiers[110] and by the end of the month of Ramadan in the aforesaid year, he marched towards Muhammad Kot via Baramulla.[111] Malik ‘Idi Raina joined hands with Nazuk Shah and Khwaja Hajji (Banday), and managed to win the cooperation of the brothers and followers of Husain Magray; the strategy was to find a narrow and steep passage where he would lie in ambush, and strike at the Mughal troops and destroy them. [112] On reaching Muhammad Kot, they found that its passes and difficult paths were highly suited to their purpose. On the 13th of Shawwal, in the aforesaid year.[113] all the Kashmiri commanders and their rank and file took positions atop the mountain heights. Some of the princes were provided with additional reinforcements from the local highlanders and were deputed to seal the passes leading to the valley.

Kashmiris strike

In the early hours of one particular morning, groups of fearless warriors and veterans of battlefields swooped upon the Mughal soldiers and made a fierce attack, and both sides got engaged in fighting. The warriors on either side exhibited feats of remarkable bravery, especially in the use of arrows and muskets (tufak)[114] The Mughal soldiers continued their strike and displayed their bravery in fighting the Kashmiris but were compelled to flee towards Bahrel.[115] This marked the beginning of the end of Mughal rule in Kashmir. For nearly one farsakh (three miles), the Kashmiris chased the fleeing Mughal soldiers, inflicting heavy casualties upon them. Kashmiri commanders gave up the chase after a distance of one farsakh but Keecham Khan, along with his highland soldiers (Khahan I Khasas), pursued the Mughals right up to Bahrel, hoping that he would be able to capture horses and other equipment of the fleeing Mughals.

Qara Bahadur defeated

On reaching Bahrel, the fleeing Mughal troops sought refuge in its fort, which Keecham Khan along with the Khahis[116] found it difficult to besiege; hence he conveyed to ‘Idi Raina and the Kashmiri nobles that four to five hundred fully armed Mughal warriors had reached Bahrel and had arrived at their destination in safety. If they ( ‘Idi Raina and his troops) headed towards Poonch, the Mughal soldiers would be left with no alternative but to take the road to Kashmir and rejoin Mirza Haidar.

Malik ‘Idi Raina was about to leave Muhammad Kot for Poonch when this news was brought to him. Thus the entire Kashmir army felt perturbed and discomfited by the thought that should that group [of the Mughals] succeed in rejoining Mirza Haidar, the prospect would be too disturbing for them. However, they took a decision as a result of which Shams Malik and Naji Malik Muhammad Khan and Husain Magray and the sons of Khwaja Hajji, each with his respective contingent, agreed to proceed to Bahral.[117] Malik ‘Idi Raina, along with other commanders and troops, headed towards Poonch. The fort at Bahral in which the Mughal soldiers had taken refuge was besieged. Finding that the Kashmiri army, assisted by the Khahis, had swollen in number, the Mughal commanders, namely, Qara Bahadur, Qutb Ali Koka and Muhammad Nazar became disheartened and decided to initiate negotiations with the Kashmiris, but some of their commanders like Sayyid Mirza, Mirza Ali Koka, Daulat Koka, Qutb Ali Diwana and others did not agree to this. They argued that for many years the Kashmiris had been drawing up plans of annihilating them and had now united to achieve this purpose. Since they were determined to spill their blood, their conciliatory talk would not make them kind towards them. They proposed that those of the Mughal soldiers who had been gifted with bravery, might accompany them on their way to the land of Ghakkars, and those who were timid and cowardly might choose to go with Qara Bahadur. Next morning, Qara Bahadur took a group of Mughal soldiers with him to contact the Kashmiris to enter into negotiations with them. They had just reached the camp of Kashmiri army when the hosts of Khahis and Kashmiri foot-soldiers fell upon them, plundered their equipment and possessions and started killing them.

While the Mughal troops [of Qara Bahadur] were under an attack, Sayyid Mirza took with him a group of soldiers, came out of the fort and brandishing their swords marched towards the land of Ghakkars. While the other Mughal contingent was being routed [by the Kashmiris], they fled about a mile away and the Kashmiris were not able to pursue them. No doubt a body of highlanders (Khuhis) was sent in their pursuit, but it could reach nowhere close to them. The result was hat the group succeeded in arriving in safety at Adam Sultan from where it dispersed [in different directions].

Kashmiri troops slew some of the Mughal soldiers, took others as prisoners, and headed towards Poonch. On joining the troops of Malik ‘Idi Raina the commanders held consultations, whereupon it was agreed that three persons among the captives, namely Qara Bahadur, Qutb ‘Ali Koka and Muhammad Nazar be detained. They amputated the hands of the rest of the Mughal soldiers who numbered about sixty. As a result of this action, some of these soldiers succumbed to wounds at Poonch and some others got scattered in the adjoining areas.

Malik ‘Idi Raina proceeded to Kashmir via the Hirpur route and managed to seek the goodwill and cooperation of Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan and Ghazi Khan. He despatched messengers to Malik Daulat Chak entreating him to come over from Nowshehr. Himself he entered the valley from Hirpur. A day later, Malik Daulat Chak also arrived. [In this way] very large number of Kashmiri soldiers gathered to initiate deliberations about finding the ways and means of forcing entry into the city.

Mirza Haidar killed

Mirza Haidar also held consultations with his advisers and aids at that time. A Mughal contingent was left behind at Andarkol (Andarkot) to guard his womenfolk.[118] With a force of about a thousand horsemen, besides a number of Kashmiri soldiers, he proceeded to face the Kashmiri army. Let it not remain unknown that, since the wheel of destiny had started moving against Mirza Haidar and the stars promised no favour to him, his troops, in whatever part of Kashmir they were suffered severe reverses and were routed. Mulla Qasim and Mulla Baqi were among his senior and high-ranking commanders who had been holding Tibet under their control. At a time when winter was at its peak, the people of Tibet rose unitedly to put Mulla Qasim and a large number of his troops to the sword.[119] Mulla Baqi fled to Kashmir and joined Mirza Haidar when the latter was about to leave Andarkol. The news of the revolt of the Tibetans was in no way less than an insult added to injury. Mulla ‘Abdullah, Samarqandi, another prominent person of a high rank and a Mughal noble of Mirza Haidar, who had been assigned the task of capturing Pakhli lands also met with defeat. On learning about the reverses that befell the Mughals at Muhammad Kot, he lost heart, and withdrew towards Kashmir. On reaching Baramulla, he fell in the hands of a few ungodly[l20] men and was murdered. Mirza Haidar reached the city and learnt of his death, which added to his grief:

[ verses ]

Despite these depressing reverses and disconcerting debacles, Mirza Haidar was steadily drawing nearer and nearer to a battle with the Kashmiris. He encamped at the village of Wahthore.[121] Kashmiri army also came closer to Mirza Haidar’s troops; with its headquarters at Khampore,[122] it clung to the stronghold of Mahnor.[123] Mirza Haidar held consultations with such of his commanders and seniors as were of proven ability and judgement regarding military tactics in fighting Kashmiris. Their considered opinion was to launch a night-assault to take the enemy by surprise.[124] On the very night the Kashmiri troops made a halt in the fort, Mirza Haidar picked a well-equipped body of seven to eight hundred soldiers for this purpose. They made a forward dash till they reached the foot of the fort and then halted for a while. Not more than thirty horsemen, including Mirza Haidar, ascended the hill and, even out of this handful of Mughal troops, only seven or eight could stand by the side of Mirza Haidar, who, without loss of time, engaged himself in close fighting and killing. As God willed it, the same night – 8th of Dhu’l-Qa’da, A.H. 957 (A.D. 1550), Mirza Haidar sustained a fatal blow of lance from Kamal Dooni and was killed. [125] The entire Mughal contingent fled towards Andarkol.

Habib Khan’s incursion

Mirza Haidar held the reins of the government of Kashmir for ten years. After his disappearance from the scene, Malik ‘Idi Raina assumed power in the same year and installed Nazuk Shah on the throne as the Sultan of Kashmir at Qasr-i Sultan. However, it was practically he who ruled the country. During his times Habib Khan Niyazi in alignment with his brave brethren, emerged from the mountains of Jammu with the intention of conquering Kashmir.[l26] Malik Daulat Chak received this information and forthwith assembled his commanders and Khwaja Hajji and marched towards Banihal to resist him. But both Malik ‘Idi Raina and Hussain Magray deliberately slackened their pace. Malik Daulat wasted no time and, moving at full speed, took position at the top of Kakarniku [sic]. They could see bonfires in each other’s camps.

Malik Daulat Chak deployed his troops on two sides to force a baltle on the enemy. Next day, from morning till the commencement of afternoon prayers, fierce fighting took place between them. Although in bravery and valour [the forces of Niyazi] had no parallel in the entire kingdom of India, yet, under the dictates of destiny, they gave up all hope of their survival. Even though they were but a handful of people, they fought against an overwhelming majority of nearly ten thousand Kashmiri troops, including their highland allies from early morning till the afternoon. At last they were unnerved by the wounds inflicted on them by a relentless shower of arrows and musket shots in the battle. Except two of their men, all of them were slain. Kashmiri commanders carried to Malik Daulat Chak the severed heads of Habib Khan, Sa’eed Khan, and Shahbaz Khan. [127] In return, Daulat Chak sent these to Salim Shah in India. Then a letter and report were to be drafted and sent to Salim Shah, he (Daulat Chak) did not take Shams Chak and Naji Malik into confidence, who had been his associates before they joined Malik ‘Idi Raina. Their earlier jealousy and malice were intensified by this. The clan of the Chaks became haughty and tyrannical by this victory and they now aspired to gain control over the kingdom of Kashmir. On entering the valley, they held a conferance with Malik ‘Idi Raina, in the pargana of Vernag. Husain Magray had not yet arrived on the scene when Malik Raina came down and began to draw plans for destroying the Chaks.

‘Idi defeated

He, thereupon, combined with himself the militant people of Kupwara, the Magrays, the Baihaqi Sayyids, and all the people who were men of substance and influence. In the month of Ramadan, A.H. 958 (A.D. 1551), he launched his scheme of destroying the Chak power. One night Shams Malik, Naji Malik and Khwaja Hajji, in alliance with Bahram Chak and Yusuf Chak,[128] took with themselves a group of the members of their clan and destroyed the bridges in the city. Malik Daulat Chak and Ghazi Khan offered resistance and succeeded in capturing Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan and Husain Magray. The rest ot the group escaped to join Malik Idi Raina. After a few days, Fath Malik, Nasi [sic] Malik and Yusuf Chak combined to confront Daulat Chak. A day later, Malik Daulat crossed the lake and headed towards them. Malik ‘Idi Raina was defeated[l29] and fled from the battlefield. He hid himself in the Shumeh Nag[130] jungle where he was taken ill and later brought to the city. He died a few days later.

Assessment of Mirza Haidar

Behold the perfidy of the treacherous world that the ungodly Mirza Haidar should have, under the pretext of expediency, let the onus of Shaykh Daniyal’s murder[l31] fall on him, given bribes to false witnesses, made Mulla Fathu’llah to commit perjury and martyred Shaykh Daniyal. Wilfully, he made himself responsible for shedding the blood of that respected and innocent man so that the material world and its comforts might endure with him. After the martyrdom of Shaykh Daniyal, he did not survive for more than nine months. Similarly, Malik ‘Idi Raina strovs to spill the blood of the Mughals with the sole intention of holding sway over the kingdom of Kashmir for some time, but he did not survive for more than a year, after the death of the Mirza:

[ verses ]

In short, after Malik ‘Idi Raina, Malik Daulat Chak became the governor and administrative head of this country in the year A.H. 958 (A.D. 1551). He was kind to Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan: he set him free, and in order to strengthen his own position as head of the government, he entered into a matrimonial alliance with him.

Daulat Chak’s achievements

During the period of his administration, this noble Malik did certain things such as the construction of two holy shrines which shall certainly win him good name in this world and salvation in the next. One of these is that in spite of sharing the realm of Kashmir with ‘Idi Raina, he allowed the bier of Shaykh Daniyal to be brought into the city. As it reached near the city, word was sent around in advance so that the faithful and the davout came out to receive it. At this time, Malik Daulat happened to be at Idgah with Malik Idi Raina and Ghazi Khan. On learning about the news of the bier Malik ‘Idi Raina got up and left for his house in disgust. Fearing the opposition and enmity of Malik ‘Idi Raina, Ghazi Khan rose in opposition to Malik Daulat and left for his residence. Malik Daulat Chak summoned all his courage and came out of the ‘Idgah to proceed to the site where the coffin had been lowered. He took a boat and was rowed down the river in the city to receive the bier . The dead body [ of Shaykh Daniyal ] was buried in the graveyard of his illustrious father ;[132] the place became a shrine for the devotees and the faithful.

Another work of Daulat Chak worth mentioning is that he rebuilt the khanqah of Amir Shamsud-Din Muhammad ‘Iraqi which Mirza Haidar Gorkan had fully destroyed because of his bigotry. By completing the reconstruction of the holy shrine in A.H. 959 (A.D. 1551)[152], he helped in its restoration to prosperity. Out of the old endowments he earmarked a few villages for the maintenance of the children and descendants of Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi. He gave stipends and scholarships to the attendants and devout inmates of the shrine. Thus that holy khanqah resumed once again its previous prosperity and was frequented by the ‘People of Forty,’ (arba’in).[l33] It was also marked by a revival of Islamic laws and fundamental modes of worship by the believers and by the chanting of special Friday prayers and holding of congregations and all other formalities of ‘repetitive prayers.’ On account of Mirza Haidar’s total reiection of Noor Bakhshiyyeh and Hamadaniyyeh orders, he effaced their traces in the length and breadth of this country. For eight years, none of the citizens or aliens in this land could even bring to his lips the name of these orders. Owing to his fierce bigotry, people could not even speak of the faith they professed. He forbade the inhabitants of this land to profess the Shafi’i faith. He issued orders to all the subjects in the state to adopt Hanafi faith and proclaimed that all the religions and beliefs other than that of Hanafi faith be discarded and done away with.

Another laudable achievement of Daulat Chak was to revive the Hamadani[134] order and to give it a firm footing. He extended support and help to Baba Hasan to build a Khanqah and a house for the devotees who would retire therein during lent. He made untiring efforts to patronize and propagate Hamadaniyyeh order. He brought together the surviving dervishes and sufis of this order living in different parts of the land, and made them recite prayers for forty days (‘arba’in). He revived the customs and practices of the Hamadaniyyeh order and the Noor Bakhshiyyeh sect. He issued a writ throughout this land that all citizens and aliens were free to profess any faith they wished and that no one could either dictate or obstruct others in this matter.

Baba Hasan had visited many attractive places, and selected Hasan Abad for his burial and for raising a tomb. The fortunate Malik bought lands and gardens in the aforesaid locality by making cash payment out of his private funds to their owners. [135] The coffin of Hazrat Baba was brought to the locality and he was buried there. Malik Daulat issued orders for the repair and development of those places. The grounds were levelled and the site beautified to make it attractive and endearing to pilgrims and lovers of the faith. He ordered the construction of a spacious and lofty khanqah. Each of the sons of Hazrat Baba undertook the constructicn of houses and dwelling places at Hasan Abad where the descendants, relatives, and the kinsmen of the Baba took up their residence. This was another laudable achievement of Malik Daulat Chak.

Owing to the threats and intimidations from Mirza Haidar and the fears he aroused, none of the inhabitants of this land had the courage even to mention the names of the Innocent Imams. The mullas of this land had misled and misguided them to such an extent that people never took the names of the Twelve Imams.[136] The mullas had told them that it was a sin and sacrilege to do so. The citizens and the aliens in this land were ignorant of the names and the story of the innocent Imams, and the members of the lofty house of the Prophet to such an appalling extent that once when Husain Shah enquired of Qadi Habib in an assembly the names of Imams, he could name the Commander of the Faithful (Ali), Imam Hasan, Imam Husain and then he knew of no other name except that of Imam Ja’far-i Sadiq. He knew nothing of their lives and history, and of their exalted status. The entire assembly was taken aback by his ignorance and indifference.

During the period of his government, Malik Daulat Chak issued an order that the homily (khutba) in the name of the Twelve Imams be read in the Jami’ mosque.[l37] In this way this practice, observed during the life-time of Amir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi, was revived and followed in the Jami’ mosque prayers and elsewhere. People began to ask for the history of the Innocent Imams. It is fervently hoped that the rewards for such noble deeds and actions will become the instruments of salvation for that man of excellent qualities.

Ismai’l Shah

It may also be mentioned that up to the time of the government of Daulat Chak, Sultan Nazuk Shah continued to be the king of this country in accordance with the prevailing practice of kingship and Sultanate. But during the times of the said Malik he was deposed and forced to go to the Indian mountains. In his place, Isma’il Shah was installed on the throne.

Malik Daulat Chak’s government did not last beyond four years during which he and Ghazi Khan came into conflict with each other several times. However, they resolved their differences through conciliation. After four years, some of his uncles and near or distant relatives joined hands to cause estrangement between Malik Daulat Chak and Ghazi Khan. They instigated Husain Malik, the brother of Daulat Chak, to capture him on the first of the month of Dhu’l-Hijja, A.H. 962 (A.D. 1554) on the lake of Phak.[l38] When once Malik Daulat Chak went for a shikar, he learnt about the ill-intentions of his rivals ;[139] he left the boat and went up the Phak mountains. Ghazi Khan despatched his troops to all parts of the domain in search of him and finally captured him.[140] The group of people responsible for creating disorder in the state dinned into the ear of Husain Chak that Ghazi Khan was disposed to let Malik Daulat live safely. Two days later, he was misled into gouging out the eyes of Malik Daulat Chak. How tragic that such a goodnatured person should have been tortured in a manner that he was virtually put on the road to death!

[ Subsequent to this event ] Sayyid Ibrahim Khan was deprived of his servants and establishment and his son Mir Sayyid Mubarak Khan was installed in his position.


1. One trak is approximately five kilograms.

2. This gesture reflected his wisdom to win over people to strengthen his religious mission. Shuka gives his name as Kanchana Chakresha or Kacha Chakra and says that he was an incarnation of Indra and Vishnu. See J. C. Dutt (tr.) pp. 347-48, 351.

3. Perhaps Chaks alone could restore order in the country at that time.

4. It was located at Iskandarpora. See THK. p. 224.

5. Hasan says that the nobles and commanders of the time became his adversaries because of his religion. See THK. p. 224.

6. Hasan describes his death in this manner: During his flight, he reached the village of Rawalpora where his neck got entangled in the branches of a vine. He fell from his horse, and as he frantically tried to disentangle himself, the horse gave him a nasty kick on his head which broke his skull and scattered his brains on the ground. THK. p.224.

7. According to Malik Haidar, many leading Dangars were also killed in this rebellion.See TMH. MS. f. 45b.

8. Hasan says that they had been overpowared and therefore were forced to flee to India. THK p 225. But Malik Haidar says that Fath Shah stopped at Hirpur. See TMH MS. f 45b.

9. The text is incorrect. Malik Uthman was in prison.

10. Hasan says that he was the son of Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi. THK. p. 225.

11. This sentence can be interpreted in more than one way.

12. Muhammad Shah conferred upon Sayyid Ibrahim the title of Khan for his bravery. See THK. p. 226.

13. Hasan says that Shankar Raina was made commander of the army. THK. p. 226.

14. The hillock on the right bank of Wular lake, and situated between Khuihama and Zenagir.

15. This is obviously a sarcastic reference.

16. Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi called his followers dervishes, sufis and faqirs. See Tohfat MS. passim

17. In Hasan it is Tos Maidan. See THK. p. 227.

18. Probably the Anchar lake.

19. This could be Akhal. See THK. p. 227.

20. By dervish, the author probably means Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi.

21. The year is A.H. 920/A.D. 1514.

22. Hasan writes that Ibrahim Magray did not at all trust the promises and pledges of Kashmiri nobles. He considered Muhammad Shah and Fath Shah like pawns on a chessboard, and handled them as he liked. See THK. p. 228.

23. It could probably be Par. Hassan writes that Jehangir Padar deserted Muhammad Shah and joined Habib Khan. THK. p. 229. This is also corroborated by Malik Haidar, TMH. MS. f. 46a.

24. These are the followers of Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi and members of the Nurbakhshiyyeh order.

25. Pargana Bengil. See THK. p. 229.

26. They were Malik Feroz and Malik Abdal. THK. p. 229.

27. The Lodhi ruler of India. See also TIIK. p. 230.

28. Malik Haidar and Hasan estimate the number around thirty thossand soldiers. See TMH. MS. f. 46b and THK. p. 230.

29. Hasan’s version is Wathora plains in Rajor which is not correct. See THK. p. 230.

30. Malik Haidar says that letters of submission to Muhammad Shah were also sent by Kaji Chak, Malik Serang (Sarhang) and Malik Nusrat Chadura. See TMH MS. f. 46b.

31. On receiving these reassuring letters of support, Muhammad Shah sent back the Indian troops. See TMH. f. 40b.

32. Malik Shankar Chadura and not Malik Nusrat Chadura. See TMH. MS. f 47a.

33. Malik Haidar says that under some pretext he was detained at Nowshehr. See TMH. MS. f. 47a.

34. Hasan has recorded a tragic happening connected with the severity of that particular winter. Nearly ten thousand Pandits met with their death while going to Harmukat Ganga to immerse the ashes of their dead. At the top of Mahalesheh Marg mountain, they rose at midnight and following a call from the invisible moved along a wrong track which led to steep precipice named Heprudan [sic] from which they fell down one after another and were killed. The dead included men. women and children. The date of this event has been recorded in this chronogram:
az bayaban kashideh sar tarikh
ghull gufta tabahi-e Panditan.

which yields the year A.H. 925/A.D.1519. THK. p. 230.

35. Hasan says that Fath Shah died in A.H. 925/A.D. 1519, somewhere in Nowshehra mountains and the cap of ‘Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani which had remained in the possession of the Sultans from the times of Qutbu’d-Din was buried with the dead body of Fath. The year of this event was found in the chronogram Fath Shah fana (A.H. 925) A.D. 151. See THK. p. 232.

36. Tenth 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 Shiryya a twiceborn had planted —–as it were the creeper of his karma. On the approach of winter —— it was watered by the good Brahmana Shri Nirmmalakantha. Then at the time of the mlechcha oppression, Kanthabhatta and others held a council and was able to avert the disgrace which such oppression beget. Khujjamerahmada, on the other hand, by devoting his life to the service of Kacha Chakra and by giving him wealth, induced him, who was alarmed at the work of Nirmmalakantha and others, to give him permission to act against them; and actuated by the mlechchas, caused them to be murdered. ~ ~ ~ O Brahmanas where in this Kaliyuga are your Brahmanical spirit and practice ? It was for want of these that the sorrowful and affrighted Nirmmalakantha and others were killed. The oppression of the Mausulas which began in the time of the Saidas (Sayyids) was made prominent by Somachandra (Musa Raina -translator’s inference) and was perfected by Kaka (Kacha) Chakra.” The Rajatangini of Jonaraja, tr. J. C. Dutt, Delhi, 1986. pp. 353-54.

37. At Pampore. See THK. p. 232.

38. Both Hasan and Malik Haidar say that it was Dardu. See THK p.232 and TMH.MS f 47b 39.Malik ‘Idi Chadura. TMH. MS. f. 47b.

40. Hasan says that it was fought at Shihabu’d-Din Pora. THK. p. 233.

41. Throughout the text ab is used for lake or pond and nahr or nahr-i-shahr for the river Jhelum.

42. Hasan says that he sued for peace and then withdrew to Panjab. See THK. p. 233. Malik Haidar says that Iskandar Khan and his allies concluded truce with Kaji Chak. See TMH MS. f 48a.

43. Hasan says that it happened in Tsereh-Vudar fortress. The reason for their revolt was the autocratic style of Kaji Chak’s administration. He did not care even for Sultan Muhammad Shah. See THK. p. 233.

44. It is not clear what compelled them to leave the city and go to Lar. It could possibly be due to their initial reverses.

45. It is significant that instead of befriending the generals of Babur, he decided to resist them. One cannot be sure whether he did it out of political expediency or because of his feeling of belonging to a local polity. The latter seems to be more probable because it is a fact that the Chaks though of non-Kashmiri origin identified themselves with the Kashmiris. It is also significant that the attitude of Chaks towards the Kashmiris is different from that of the Baihaqi Sayyids. The latter, according to the present chronicler, looked upon the Kashmiris as their servants. No such thing has been said about the Chaks. Shrivara says, “…they (Sayyids) regarded the people of Kashmir scarcely even as grass”. The Rajatarangini of Jonaraja, (tr.) .T. C. Dutt, Delhi, 1986, p. 252.

46. Hasan’s version is that Kaji Chak sent only two sons: Ghazi Khan and Husain Khan. See THK. p. 234. Malik Haidar’s version is that he sent Husain Khan and two other persons. See TMH. MS. f. 48b.

47. Hasan does not mention this exploit of Ghazi Khan. He narrates the following story about Husain Khan: He forced his way into the tent of Shaykh ‘Ali Beg and dealt three successive strokes of his sword at him. The first stroke was warded off by ‘Ali Beg by shielding himself with a cushion, which, however, was cut into two; the second by shielding himself with a metallic tray, and when the third stroke was about to be delivered, ‘Ali Beg hid himself under a bedstead and begged for his life. See THK. p. 234.

48. The combination of the Turki and Mughal perhaps implies the soldiers speaking Turkish and Chaghatai languages.

49. Hasan says that he died a few days later and was buried at Zaldagar. THK. p. 234.

50. The site of ancient Krtyasrama Vihara. See Rajat . i. 147n.

51. Hasan says that Ibrahim Shah was the son of Kaj Chak’s sister. See THK. p. 235.

52. Neither Hasan nor Haidar Malik has mentioned the name of Hasan Khan.

53. Hasan puts their number at twenty thousand. See THK. p. 235, but Narayan Koul Ajiz says that they were only eight thousand. THK. MS. f.

54. Juel (?). This place could not be identified. Its correct version could not be established.

55. The author’s use of the word ‘Kashmiri’ at this place does not mean Sanskrit language as stated earlier. There is historical evidence to prove that by this time colloquial Kashmiri language was in use.

56. Onc more name in the list of Kaji Chak’s fallen warriors is of Masihi [sic] Chak. See THK. p. 236.

57. According to Hasan he and his allies, Ghazi Chak and Daulat Chak were put in chains. THK. p. 236.

58. Hasan says that they fled to the land of Ghakhars. p. 236.

59. The statement is corroborated by Malik Haidar. , See THK. MS. f. 49b.

60. The immediate reason of Kamran’s incursion into Kashmir is not known. Hasan says that since Kashmir had no powerful governing authority, the neighbouring rulers coveted the land. THK. p. 237.

61. Mahram Beg Tashliqi and Shaykh Ali Beg Uzbek. See THK. p. 237.

be hukm-i padshahi kez harimash
be fahm asan shawad tafhim-i ferdaws
sofar kardam be su-i mulk-i Kashmir
kih az khubi dihad ta’lim-i ferdaws
chu kardam fath-e nim-e u be tarikh
khirad gufta kih fath-e nim-e ferdaws.

fath-e nim-e ferdaws yields A.H. 938 /A.D. 1531.

63. Southern quarter of Srinagar between Pampora and Batwara.

64. Hasan locates it at present-day Gupkar. See THK. p. 238. For more details see Rajat. ii, 290 and 454.

65. He sued for safety. See TMH. f. 50a

66. Hasan says that Lohar Magray was also one of the shareholders and his headquarters were at Bengil. See THK. p. 239.

67. At Kichhama not Bengil. See THK. p. 239.

68. Sa’id Khan in TMH MS. f. 50a and THK. p. 239.

69. Hasan says that he was a nephew (sister’s son) of Sultan Sayyid (Sa’id ?) Khan. THK. p. 240. The number of Mirza Haidar’s troops has been estimated at fourteen thousand soldiers and seven thousand horses. Describing the chaos caused by the Kashgharian troops in Kashmir, Hasan writes that people fled their homes and hid in caves and remote gorges. Men of learning and scholarship and of respectable status retired to the island of Lank in Wular lake. The nobles shut themselves up in the fortress of Hanjeek. See THK. p. 240.

70. Malik Haidar says that they hid themselves in the fort at Tsereh Vudar. See TMH. MS. f .50a.

71. It is interesting to note that the Turki soldiers are considered by the author as irreligious though Islam had made a footing in Central Asia ( Kashghar, Khotan etc.) much earlier than in Kashmir. The epithet ‘Islamic City’ for Srinagar has been used for the first time in this chronicle.

72. The island was raised bv Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin . See pp. 71-72 Supra.

73. Near the present-day town of Matan. The town was built by Raja Ram Dev. The plains of Kabul and Bagh-iSuleyman figured in an encomlum which the Qadi of Kashghar composed in praise of their victory in Kashmir. It runs as this:
kez maqdamash shud sarsabz-o khurram
sehra-i Babul Baghi Suleyman.

See THK pp. 178 and 242.

74. It seems necessary to point out why the Kashmiri commanders were forced to invoke the teachings and traditions of Islam because it is unusual that decrees had to be obtained from men learned in Islamic theology for purposes of fighting. The possible reason is that Turks were of Sunni faith whereas most of the Kashmiri nobles professed Shia’ faith. In order to win over the Sunnis of Kashmir and register their support in fighting the Turks, the Kashmiri commanders felt it necessary to get the decrees issued which justified their fighting and killing Turki (Muslim) soldiers.

75. For its ancient history, see Rajat. ii, 465.

76. ‘and’ (wa) in the text.

77. See note 73 supra.

78. Hasan says daughter. THK. p. 242.

79. The date of this event in Hasan is 10th of Har, the 14th year of Kashmiri calendar. THK. p. 242.

80. A.H. 941/A.D. 1534. THK. p. 243.

81. One kharwar is approximately eighty kilograms.

82. He was the second son of Muhammad Shah and son-inlaw of Kaji Chak. THK. p. 244.

83. Zenu/Zeti ?

84. Ghakkar mountains. See THK. p. 244.

85. Ibid.

86. Identified as Adam Khan Ghakkar. See THK. p. 244n.

87. Hasan writes that through Mirza Haidar and Khwaja Hajji Banday they conveyed to Humayun Padshah the details regarding the domination of the followers of Shams Iraqi and propagation of Shia’ faith in Kashmir and submitted a copy of Ahwat written by Shams ‘Iraqi. They requested for reform (islah) in religion and also for troops. THK. p. 248. Malik Haidar writes that Malik Abdal Magray and Malik Regi Chak brought Mirza Haidar Kashghari from the court of Humayun. TMH. MS. f. 52b.

88. Hasan writes that Mirza Hindal and other nobles advised Humayun against deciding to proceed to Kashmir. However, on the instance of the Kashmiri nobles and of his own wish, Mirza Haidar took leave of Humayun and with a contingent of four hundred troops proceeded to help the Magrays. See THK. p. 249 and Mirza Haidar’s Tarikh-iRashidi, p. 479.

89. The author makes no allusion to any fighting between the troops of Kaji Chak and Mirza Haidar. Perhaps it is because Malik Haidar says, “he had no strength for resistance.” See TMH. MS. f. 52b and THK. p. 249.

90. Hasan says that Kaji Chak gave him his niece, the daughter of Sultan Muhammad Shah, in marriage, but there is no mention of this either in the history of Malik Haidar or of Mirza Haidar Dughlat. See THK. p. 250.

91. Hasan says that it was Adil Khan. THK. p. 250.

92. It is five thousand soldiers in Hasan. THK p 250.

93. Should be Andarkot, the well-known fort of Hindu period in the village of the same name at the site of ancient Jayapur. See Rajat. iv. 506-11n.

94. Zalsu in TMH. MS. f. 53a.

95. Malik Haidar writes that in this battle Malik Muhammad Naji Chadura shot an arrow at Mirza Haidar’s horse which wounded the animal seriously and Mirza Haidar had to abandon it and take another horse. See TMH. MS. f. 53a.

96. This story does not figure in the histories of Hasan and Malik Haidar Chadura.

97. Mirza Haidar succeeded in winning the support of Malik Muhammad Naji through the latter’s relative named ‘Idi Raina. See TMH. MS. f. 53b.

98. The son of Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi. THK. p. 255.

99. It could not even be Kamaraj because Kamaraj was a pargana and not a village.

100. There are conflicting versions about Shaykh Daniyal’s movement from Tibet to Kashmir. Malik Haidar says that initially he had fled to Tibet because he feared Haidar. Later Haidar gave him a promise and brought him to this place. But soon after arriving in Kashmir, Haidar went back on his word and he was put to the sword. Hasan’s version is that Daniyal propagated his faith in Askardu. Mirza Haidar brought him to this place after reproaching him severely and put him in prison for one year. Later, on the strength of a few witnesses, Daniyal was charged with cursing the companions of the Prophet (sabh-i suhabah-ikabir bar u thabit kard). Qadi Ibrahim and Qadi ‘Abdul Ghaffur issued a decree against him and he was put to the sword. See TMH. MS. f. 54a and THK. p. 255.

101. A.H. 951 (A.D. 1544) in THK. p. 252.

102. Present-day Gulmarg.

103. Thana in Rajouri in THK. p. 252.

104. The details about the plunder and persecution of Shias destruction of their houses, burning of the khanqah and desecration of the grave of Mir Shamsu’d-Din Iraqi, see THK. p. 254.

105. Shangli Rishl, a disciple of Baba Ali Najjar. Another notable person executed was Sufi Dawud. Another person named Mir Ali was expelled from Kashmir. See TMH. MS. f. 54a

106. See note 100 supra.

107. Hasan writes that the execution of Daniyal by Mirza Haidar created a sense of insecurity among the people and Shias, in particular, became more active in opposing him. See TMK. p. 255. Malik Haidar records the story of one Baba Ali to prove Mirzai Haidar’s partiality. He says that such acts incurred him the hatred of Kashmiri commanders. They began to conspire to put him to death. See TMH. MS. f 54b.

108. In the district of Poonch between the towns of Poonch and Kotli See Gazetteer, p. 267.

109. A nephew of Mirza Haidar. See THK. p. 256.

110. Hasan’s break up of the soldiers is 1000 Mughals and 1500 Kashmiris. THK. p. 256.

111. Hasan writes that almost everybody induced him to undertake this campaign. Malik Haidar writes that he sent ‘Idi Raina towards the Indian mountains. See THK. p. 256 and TMH. MS. f. 54b.

112. When Mirza Haidar was informed about it, he retorted by saying that the Mughals in no way lagged behind the Kashmiris in intrigues and fomenting trouble. The news of the betrayal was conveyed to him by Hasan Magray through his brother Ali Magray. See THK. p. 256.

113. A.H. 957/A.D 1550.

114. Tufang in Persian means a musket.

115. See THK. p. 257.

116. See Rajat vii, 1271 and 1278. Hasan calls them Ghakhars. See THF;. p. 258.

117. ‘Idi Raina deputed five hundred soldiers under the command of Shams Chak and Naji Malik to besiege the fort. However Hasan does not comment on the strategy adopted by Kashmiri commanders to trap the Mughal troops. See THK. p. 257.

118. Hasan writes that while Haidar camped at Zaldagar, Fath Shah, with a strong force of three thousand soldiers proceeded to Andarkot where he set Mirza Haidar’s house on fire. As a retaliatory measure Mirza Haidar’s supporters burnt Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin’s buildings in Sopor. The houses of ‘Idi Raina and Nowroz Chak were also set on fire in the city. However, Mirza Haidar did not approve of such acts. See THK. p. 258.

119. Many of his associates were put to the sword along with him. THK. p. 259.

120. Khuda na tars in the text.

121. Zaldagar in THK. p. 258.

122. See Rajat. i, 168n.

123. Probably present Mahanor.

124. Mirza Haidar halted at Ompora. See TMH. MS. f. 55a.

125. Historians have given contradictory statements about Mirza Haidar’s end. He was struck by an arrow: killed by an accident; murdered by a butcher with an axe . See THK. p. 260 and TMH. MS. f. 55b. Hasan also writes that Daulat Chak, Ghazi Chak and others wanted to throw the dead body of Mirza Haidar to dogs, but Sayyid Muhammad Baihaqi, Husain Magray, and some more people of Sunni faith lifted the dead body five days after he was murdered and buried it in the Mazar-i-Salatin on the left side of the grave of Sultan Zainu’l-‘Abidin.

The chronogram inscribed on the tombstone is as this:
Shah-i Gurkan Mirza Haidar akhir
be mulk-i shahadat zadeh kus-i shahi
qaza-e ilahi chunin bud tarikh
shudeh bahr-i waslash qaza-i ilahi

Malik Haidar writes that in spite of the misdeeds of Mirza Haidar, the Kashmiri commanders magnanimously handed over his family members to Qara Bahadur and gave them a courteous send-off to Kashghar. See TMH. MS. f. 55b.

126. Hasan says that he was deputed by Salim Shah with a strong force to conquer Kashmir. THK. p. 263. The name given in Tabaqat-i-Akbari is Islam Shah, p. 620.

127. Among the slain was Azam Humayun, the wife of Haibat Khan Niyazi. Tabaqat-i-Akbari. p. 620.

128. The Chaks of Kupwara professed Sunni faith. See THK. p. 265.

129. Hasan exaggeratingly computes the number of the dead in thousands. THK. p. 266.

130. In pargana Votar. THK. p . 266.

131. For the story of Shiekh Daniyal see note 100 supra.

132. Hasan writes that after the execution of Shaykh Daniyal, his dead body was buried at a place called Shoonsh Mar. The popular legend is that Shoonsh Mar existed somewhere near present Chadura. Later on the body was buried in the graveyard of Mir Shams ‘Iraqi. See THK. p. 267.

133. Fortieth day after the martyrdom of Imam Husain, observed by the Shia’ community. To make the devotees recite from the scripture for forty days without break and ending with the fortieth day of Imam Husain’s martyrdom is called ba arba in nishandan.

134. The sufl / dervish order of which Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani was the founder.

135. Hasan writes that developed as well as undeveloped lands around the locality were forcibly taken away from their owners and given as a gift to Hasan Baba. This contradicts the statement of the chronicler. See THK. p. 268.

136. Hasan writes that Daulat Chak oppressed the Hindus and the people of Sunni faith and forced them to give up their religion. THK. p. 268.

137. It is corroborated by Hasan. See THK. p. 268.

138. Probably Manasbal lake.

1399. The immediate reason for difference, between Daulat Clnak and his rivals was that through deceit and cunning Daulat Chak contrived his marriage with the second wife of Kaji Chak, who also happened to be the mother of Ghazi Khan, Husain Khan and Ali Khan. This infuriated Ghazi Khan and others. THK. p. 269.

140. He was captured by a shepherd who recognized him because of his immense corpulence. Malik Haidar has recorded two interesting stories about Daulat Chak’s physical strength. When he went to Sher Shah Suri for help, he demonstrated to him that he could stop an elephant from moving by holding it by its tail. Another story is that during the construction of a house, a log of wood, twenty yards in length and a yard thick slipped from the hands of the labourers who were hauling it. The Malik held the big log with only one hand and placed the other on the earth to support himself. Under the weight of the log, his hand deepend upto the forearm into the earth . See TMH. M S. f. 57b.



Ghazi Shah

Ghazi Khan became the ruler of this domain in the aforesaid year (A.D. 1554). In early spring the same group of his near and distant people whose mission was only to perpetrate mischief, disorder and bloodshed, once again entered into an alliance to put an end to the lives of Ghazi Khan and Malik Husain and to become the masters of this land. But they were not destined to succeed in their mission and Ghazi Khan learnt of their intentions. He summoned Nusrat Khan, Yusuf Chak, son of Regi Chak, and Shankar Malik to his presence, and told them that he had learnt of [their] conspiracy. He spoke to them in soft tone so that their kinsmen would not unite with them. He detained them at his house for the night. Next morning, Nusrat Chak’s brethren and their associates destroyed the bridges in the city, took defensive positions in a certain quarter [of the city], and rose in opposition against him. Ghazi Khan came out to meet them. He crossed the river by boats and inflicted a crushing defeat upon them. Nusrat Chak’s brothers and some of their accomplices were slain in the battle and he himself was taken prisoner. A short while later, Yusuf Chak, the son of Regi Chak, was captured and enchained in prison.


(see also

Some time later, a group of people, comprising Shankar Chak, Bahram Chak and others raised a band of their soldiers and offered stubborn resistance to Ghazi Khan in the town of Soipor (Sopor). Ghazi Khan struck hard at them and put them to rout. Bahram Chak was brought as a captive from Khuihama and was beheaded. Although an attempt was made to gouge out the eyes of Yusuf Chak, yet, by God’s supreme will, his eyes remained intact.[1] After some days he escaped from the prison and went to India. His brother, Ibrahim Chak was also put to the sword. In combination with his brothers, Malik Husain Chak and Ali Chak, he (Ghazi Khan) converted the domain of Kashmir into a veritable fortress.

Mughal menace

During his rule, Ghazi Khan demonstrated qualities of courage and manliness in crushing the army of the Mughals which had been joined by a section of Kashmiri soldiers and had attacked him. Stories of his bravery and extraordinary heroism spread in the domain of India. Here is one of these.

Shah Abu’l-‘Ma’ali [2] aspired to conquer India and, therefore, adopted a policy of confrontation with Jalalu’d-Din Akbar and Bairam Khan. A large number of Kashmiri nobles aligned themselves with him and brought him into Kashmir via the Baramulla route[3] to head towards the city (Srinagar). A large number of Kashmiris, in small and large groups, joined the army of Abu’l-Ma’ali. Ghazi Khan had with him only two of his brothers, his sons and a handful of kinsmen. Nusrat Chak was brought on the battlefield in chains. At this time, Ghazi Khan adopted a soft conciliatory attitude towards Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan. He also established matrimonial relations with him.[4] Thus, after appeasing Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan, he proceeded to meet his foe. A confrontation between the two armies took place at Hanjiverah.[5] Ghazi Khan demonstrated remarkable bravery and overpowered and destroyed the enemy. In this battle, Nasi Chak and Husi Chak, the sons of Zaiti Chak, and a considerable number of Kashmiri warriors fell on the battlefield; the Mughals also suffered numerous casualties.[6] The slaving of a large number of Mughal soldiers bred a feeling of fear in their hearts which remained there for many years. Shams Raina, the son of ‘Idi Raina, was captured in a forest and put to the sword.[7] Thus commenced the period of Ghazi Khan’s independent and autocratic government over Kashmir; he distributed presents to his soldiers.

Second encounter

Some years later, Khwaja Hajjl, Naji Malik and Nusrat Chak united together, took Qara Bahadur and a contingent of Mughal sordiers with them, and entered into Kashmir via the Nowshehr route. [8] Ghazi Khan, accompanied by his brothers, Mir Sayyid Ibrahim Khan and their troops praceeded to face them via the Hirpur route. His troops occupied the posts over the mountains from Bahram Gala to Soel [sic]. At this time Fath Chak and Lohar Chak were in the mountains of Poonch. They held consultations with their advisers and did not go over to the Mughal troops but joined Ghazi Khan. Nusrat Chak also happened to be in India at that time.[9] He sent a message to Ghaazi Khan informing him of his intention of joining him[10] and not the Mughals. This discouraged the Mughal army. Not feeling itself strong enough to proceed further, it decided to halt at Rajouri under these circumstances. Ghazi Khan attacked them and a big battle followed. The Mughal army consisted of brave and dauntless soldiers like Kuchak Bahadur and several others. From dawn to early afternoon, there was heavy fighting in which many people on both sides were slain. In late afternoon the Mughals suffered a defeat and they lost a large number of their warriors on the battlefield. With great difficulty, their commanders managed to escape to India. Victorious Ghazi Khan and his brothers entered into Kashmir along with their troops.[11]

These two wars with the Mughals are among the notable events in Ghazi Khan’s career. Otherwise his record is inglorious. In acts of cruelty and oppression in causing bloodshed and in gouging out eyes of his enemies, in inflicting physical tortures and in chopping off the limbs of human beings and in killing near and distant ones, no one has ever known or heard of a tyrant like him. It must also be mentioned that during the days of Ghazi Khan, as long as Sultan Isma’il Shah lived, he was a Sultan only in name, living in the palaces of the former (Sultan’s). After his death, Ghazi Khan installed his nephew Habib Shah on the throne in his place. Finding that Habib Shah was not even worth the name of the office to which he had been elevated, Ghazi Khan aspired to adopt this title, ascend the throne, and assume the status of an independcnt ruler.[12] Consequently he held consultations with his counsellors and advisers and formally ascended the throne in the year A.H. 960 (A.D. 1552)

It was Ghazi Khan who first established a kingship for the tribe of Chaks. Two hundred and eight years after Sultan Shamsu’d-Din, the kingdom of Kashmir passed from the hands of his descendants into those of the descendants of Lankar Chak.

Husain Shah

Ghazi Khan reigned for a period of nine years. After he was inflicted with leprosy which made him blind, he abdicated in favour of his blood brother Husain Shah. But some of the courtiers and nobles made him to repent over his decision of abdicating the throne so much so that he thought of taking back the reins of power from him.[l3] This resulted in a quarrel between the two; Husain Shah aligned some of the nobles with himself and took by force the reins of the state. Ghazi Chak was deposed and interned in his house.

At the beginning of his reign Husain Shah adopted a just and benevolent policy towards his subjects so much so that aliens and natives of this land considered him Nowsherwan the Just[14] in comparison to the tyrant Ghazi Khan. On finding him a benign and just ruler, some of the poets [of the time] produced a chronogram of his accession to the throne as Khusraw-i-‘Adil (the Just King).

Fath Khwaja’s revolt

Some time later, those of the miscreants who had been responsible for creating enmity and discord between Ghazi Shah and Malik Daulat and had escaped reprisals at the hands of the former, joined hands to work towards the decline and fall of Husain Shah. However, Husain Shah came to know their nefarious designs and reprimanded some of them. He ordered that the eyes of Allamad Khan, son of of Ghazi Shah. and Muhammad Khan, son of Abdal Magray, be gouged out. A short while after, owing to the provocations of some wicked persons whose habit was to foment trouble, Fath Khwaja,[15] a protege of Husain Shah and titled Khan Zaman, was made to fear Husain Shah. Hence out of fear to his life he aligned with himself some Kashmiri chiefs, like Fath Malik, sons of Zaiti Malik, Shams Duni.[16] Haidar Khan, son of Ibrahim Khan, and others, and waited for a suitable opportunity to kill some of his opponents. [17] It came his way on a day when Husain Shah had gone on shikar[l8] and Khan Zaman and his opponents were in the secretariat.[19] Khan Zaman took time by the forelock and made a sudden attack on them. The followers of Husain Shah found themselves trapped in the royal house. Fath Chak and Bahadur Khan opened several passages and entered the mansion of Husain Shah. But it did not please God Almighty to crown them with success and both were slain on the spot. Khan Zaman and Shams Duni suffered reverses and fled, but their pursuers captured and brought them back. Husain Shah ordered amputation of their limbs. Now Mubarez Khan assumed authority, though, not much later, his religious bigotry made him to invent excuses to get rid of Husain Shah.[20] The Sultan came to know of his foul intentions, and therefore, got him arrested and his hands and feet were cut off. Lohar Malik also met with a similar fate, and Nusrat Chak, who had already been under arrest, was deprived of his eyesight by a royal command on the same day. This group which had acted treacherously with Ghazi Khan in arresting and blinding Malik Daulat Chak, met with the same fate which they had meted out to others. So did it please God Almighty and thus was proved the axiom “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

After some time, Looli Malik was dismissed as chief Vizir and divested of his authority. He was succeeded by Ali Koka. On account of his sectarian bigotry,[21] he was not disposed favourably towards the beneficiaries of the Shia’faith (muhibban) and the aliens.[22]

Yuuf Inder’s episode

During his times there lived a person popularly known as Yusuf Inder'[23] who once happened to meet Qadi Habib on a roadside. The Qadi was notorious for his malice towards the members of the house of the Prophet: he hurled abuses on the adherents of Rafidi faith and spat at Yusuf Mir Inder, who retaliated by meting out the same treatment to him, though somewhat recklessly. The Qadi lashed him with his whip on his head. Since Yusuf Mir Inder happened to be a soldier by profession, his (soldier’s) pride was touched and, drawing his sword, he inflicted one or two wounds upon the Qadi. Wounded and bleeding, the Qadi fell down from his horse and Yusuf Mir Inder ran away. ‘Ali Koka, the bigot that he was, sent many people in search of him so that he was caught and brought back. ‘Ali Koka and Dati,[24] thereupon, conspired to obtain permission from Husain Shah to the effect that the judgement of the Qadis and the dispensers of Muhammadan religious law be enforced in regard to this matter. They got this when Husain Shah was under the effect of drink and narcotics.[25] ‘Ali Koka and Dati Koka plotted to call in Qadi Musa, Mulla Petcheh [sic] Ganai and Mulla Yusuf Almas and elicit from them a unanimous decree condemning Inder to death. Extreme brutality which resulted from this bigotted action was reflected in his execution.[26] The flesh of his body was cut into pieces which people carried as a gift for their womenfolk, and many people drank his blood as sherbet.

This execution engineered by ‘Ali Koka and Dati Koka with the connivance of the Qadis and jurisconsults brought to surface the hidden calamity. The blood of a large number of Muslims was spilt and many people on either side lost their lives.[27] Husain Shah was unaware of these harpenings.

Shortly after the execution of that poor man (Yusuf Inder), a group of Sunni divines sought a meeting with Qadi Zen and Mulla Reza, son of Mulla Salman Mufti, in which they offered to enter into a debate with the party of the mullas who claimed to have issued the decree of Yusuf Mir Inder’s execution in conformity with the provisions of Islamic religion. They argued that no religion justified his execution and that in issuing a decree sentencing him to death the Qadis and the theologians had only been prompted by malice and bigotry. The sentence, they claimed, was unwarranted and uncalled-for.

Qadi Zen and Mulla Reza then undertcok the mission of calling at the private lodgings of the nobles, courtiers, and distinguished persons of Husain Shah’s court one by one and placed before them the case of Mir Inder. These people brought the matter also to the notice of Husain Shah.

Akbar’s envoy to Kashmir

While the issue continued to be a subject of hot discussion, Mirzaa Muqim arrived in these lands as the envoy of Jalalu’d-Din Akbar Badshah. Husain Shah had a son, Ibrahim Khan by name, who had unparalleled physical beauty and charm; he had also attained excellence in the skills of archery, horsemanship and soldiery. He died because of some incurable disease.[28] Husain Shah was told that he had to pay the heavy price of his son’s life for the bloodshed of innocent Yusuf Mir. In fact, Husain Shah repented over Yusuf’s killing and directed that the issue which was being debated by the mullas, be left to the judgement of Mirza Muqim, the messenger and envoy of Jalalu’d-Din Akbar Badshah. He would preside over the meeting of the mullas in which they would debate the issue. Among the persons present were Mulla Petcheh Ganai and Mulla Almas, the two mullas who were signatories to the decree of Yusuf Mir’s execution. The rest of the Qadi’s hid themselves. Qadi Zen and Mulla Reza put questions to Petcheh Ganai and Mulla Yusuf Almas in the presence of Mirza Muqim and a large number of learned and scholarly men, dignitaries, theologians and the elite of the city. They asked them the authority book and religionÑon the basis of which they had issued a verdict of Yusuf Mir’s execution. Their argument was that he had not inflicted more than two or three wounds by his sword upon Qadi Habib and although he did not die of those wounds and would not have died, they had issued the decree of his execution. They were told that if they had issued the said verdict in accordance with the postulates of the Hanafi sect, the books of the sect were available there, and if they had done it in accordance with the postulates of Shafi’i faith, their books, too, were at hand. It was now for them to cite the relevent authority and the source that justified the death penalty on the innocent victim. They were further told that in the Islamic community and in the religion of the Prophet and among the jurisconsults ( mujtahids ) throughout the length and breadth of the Islamic world restribution for each wound inflicted and injury caused had been set forth in the books of each padagogue and also on the handbook of each theologian. They were asked to explain as to under the sanction of which sect did they put that defenceless man into the hands of his executioners.

Both of them found themselves unable to furnish any reply, but pointed out that they had only carried out the orders of Husain Shah. They stated that ‘Ali Koka had openly told them of Hasain Shah’s intention of putting an end to Yusuf Mir Inder’s life for political reasons and had insisted upon them to issue a decree to the effect. In this way, they contended, it was the King who got him executed for political reasons and they were not to be held responsible for the act.

But Husain Shah made a solemn declaration that he, for one, had absolutely no intention of putting Yusuf to death and that he had left the case to the judgement and dispensation of the Qadis and the learned men of religion so that nobody would make an attempt to kill him.


When this statement of Husain Shah was announced in the assembly, both the mullas were struck dumb and had nothing to say. The ‘ulema of sunnat and Jama’at present in the assembly unanimously agreed to issue a decree in conformity with the creed of Imam Shafi’i.

It is said that the ruler of this domain, the sitting Qadi and the executed person, all professed the creed of Imam Shafi’i. The mullas of sunnat and the jama’at were shown the letters with royal signets and they declared the decree as sound. The decree pronounced that both the mullas on account of having issued false judgement and unjustifiable order [of execution] regarding the shedding of an innocent person’s blood, should suffer retribution endorsing the aforesaid decree Qadi Abdu’l-Ghaffur of Hanafi faith and Qadi Zenu’d-Din of Shafi’i faith announced the verdict of retribution.[29] On the basis of this verdict of the Qadis and the learned men of theology, Husain Shah permitted the handing over of the two Mullas to the next of kin of the late Yusuf Mir, who completed the retribution. The rest of the mullas emigrated to parts of India and Lahore. Some of them however succeeded in resuming their original offices, but only after the intercession for and advocacy of some of the nobles, governors and their former patrons, ‘Ali Koka, and Dati Koka, the main accomplices in the conspiracy not still satisfied with enormous bloodshed caused by them, kept lying low and waited for a suitable opportunity when they could forment trouble once again.

Envoy returns

After some time, Husain Shah attended to the arrangements concerning the gifts to be sent to Jalalu’d-Dln Akbar Badshah. He then permitted Mirza Muqim to return along with Ya’qub Mir as his (Husain Shah’s) envoy.[30] .’Ali Koka and Dati Koka, seizing the opportunity, sought the permission of Husain Shah to send Khwaja Hajjl Gani, a prominent and trusted man of theirs, with the party of Mirza Muqim and Ya’qub Mir under the pretext that he would look to the needs of the party on its way and also give them presents at Lahore. But close at their heels, they sent a party of wicked persons of this country, with despatches and gifts to (Mulla) ‘Abdulla, Shaykh ‘Abdu’n-Nabi, and a number of Qadis and Mulla’s – all ot whom were rabid bigots. They also entreated and implored them to give false witness and to leave no stone unturned in getting rid of them[31] (Mirza Muqim and Ya’qub Mir).

Muqim’s fate

Mulla ‘Abdullah headed a delegation of mullas to Agra the purpose being the one already mentioned. He sought a meeting with Jalalu’d-Din Akbar and having briefed the false witnesses, got Mirza Muqim and Mirza Ya’qub executed. The flames of disturbance and turmoil [following this event] leapt so high that Mir Sayyid Sibi [sic], in spite of being a true descendant of the line of Husaini Sayyids, was engulfed in it and martyred. [32]

Mullas punished

At last when, because of his mature understanding, Jalalu’d-Din Badshah could see through the subversive activities of Mulla ‘Abdullah and the disruptive role of the other mullas, he ordered their expulsion from the kingdom of India. Some of them were ordered to be beheaded. Mulla ‘Abdullah was banished to Gujerat and all the troublemongers and miscreants were exiled. In this way the Indian lands and Gujerat were totally freed from the malevolence of the miscreants and malefactors. The country was restored to prosperity and plenty through the dispensation of justice and by initiating works of public welfare. People and communities of different faiths and professions; of difflerent religions; worshippers of idols and followers of Islamic faith and its teachings; people of all ranks, high and low, lived cordially and even extended cooperation and support to one another. No one would become a cause of hindrance to the other nor would anyone have the courage and audacity to object to or assail the religion and faith of others.[33]

‘Ali Shah revolts

‘Ali Koka and Dati did not rest satisfied with (this) trouble and disturbances they had caused. After some time, H.usain Shah suffered a stroke of paralysis. Through craftiness and cunning, ‘Ali and Dati Koka made Husain Shah agree to detain and put in chains his brother ‘Ali Shah, his virtuous son Yusuf and also his close and intimate associate, the warrior Sayyid Mubarak Khan. They planned to install one of the children of Husain Shah on the throne so that they would share between themselves the Government and authority of the domain of Kashmir with the consent of Naji Malik.

Some courtiers of Husain Shah informed ‘Ali Shah about this; fearing their cunning, he moved between Maraj and Kamaraj under the pretext of shikar and sight-seeing. A few days later, on the advice and promptings of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan, he left the city under the pretext of shikar and encamped in the town of Sopor. As a matter of political expediency, however, Miran Sayyid Mubarak himself negotiated an accord with Ali’ Khan, Ibeh Shah and Luli Malik Lavand. Then he sent Muhammad Bhat to take them out [of the city]. Taking leave of Husain Shah, he himself headed towards Sopor. But ‘Ali Koka got wind of it and deputed a couple of his trusted men to seek ‘Ali Khan and bring him to his lodging where he wanted to imprison him. ‘Ali Khan left his house and showed great courage in heading towards Sopor. ‘Ali Koka’s men brought back the news to him of ‘Ali Khan’s move towards Sopor upon which he sent a large number of troops in his pursuit. ‘Ali Khan and his companions were overtaken, but his brother Daulat Chak, with a handful of his people, offered resistance and by sheer toughness of spirit succeeded in repulsing them. In this encounter a fair number of people on either side including Daulat Chak sustained wounds. ‘Ali Khan succeeded in reaching Sopor along with his men. On the same day, Ibeh Shah ran away from shikar and came to ‘Ali Shah. After a few days, Abdal Khan, who was in the mountains of Poonch, learnt of these developments and wasted no time in joining ‘Ali Shah. Luli Malik also escaped from the city along with his sons and associates via the Shihabu’d-Din Pora route and established contact with ‘Ali Shah. When ‘Ali Shah’s troops increased in number, he left Sopor and marched to the city. That day he halted at the village of Fath Yari.

On the other side, after holding consultations among themselves. ‘Ali Koka, Dati and Nali Malik agreed to make a night assault on ‘Ali Shah, hoping that taking him by surprise would yield the desired result. The aforesaid Dati Koka lost no time in conveying the news of this strategy to ‘Ali Shah at the village of Fath Yari. He summoned Daud Bhat Paloo [sic], an employee of Mirza Sayyid Mubarak Khan, and told him about it:

[ verses ]

Along with his troops, Daud Bhat waited for the enemy at Hanjivereh. The enemy made a night-assault on the army of Ali Shah and he forthwith sent this information to ‘Ali Shah [who was in the rear] and engaged himself in a fierce battle with his opponents. Many warriors were wounded on either side. Husain Shah’s troops could make no headway; they succeeded only in killing a few of Sayyid Mubarak Khan’s soldiers with their arrows and then announced a retreat to rejoin their army:

[ verses ]

Early in the morning ‘Ali Shah made Sayyid Mubarak Khan the commander of his troops and turned towards the city, halting at the village of Zenakot.

‘Ali Koka subdued

On the other side, Naji Malik, ‘Ali koka and some prominent people of this land made an assessment of the fighting that had taken place recently, and came to the conclusion that if the whole lot of their choicest soldiers could not cope just with Da’ud Bhat, how could they expect them to be able to fight and subdue the veteran commanders and stalwarts of ‘Ali Shah’s army. Thinking over this situation, they conceded that none but ‘Ali Shah deserved to be the rightful successor to the throne. After careful consideration and taking a practical view of the situation, they sent the royal crown and the fly-whisker (qutas) to ‘Ali Shah through Baba Khalilu’llah the “exponent of divine light and the fountain of divine secrets.” Apprehending possible disruption in the army, and also oppressed by their own doubts, the sons of Naji Malik and Daulat Khan and some of the army commanders of this land defected to Sayyid Mubarak Khan and sought refuge in his house.

‘Ali Shah

In A.H. 978 (A.D. 1570), Husain Shah was deposed[34] and ‘Ali Shah succeeded him to the throne. He had already won over Sayyid Mubarak Khan to his side during the times of Ghazi Shah and, through promises and an understanding with him, he worked towards the strengthening and consolidation of his position as ruler. To fulfil his promises and also with a view to consolidating his position soon after succeeding to the throne, he left the entire administrative authority of the state in the hands of the aforesaid Sayyid and, besides, gave his daughter in marriage to his son Shah Abu’l-Mu’ali. Thus ‘Ali Shah stood steadfast by his commitments and promises.

As already mentioned the sons of Naji Malik and Daulat Khan and others had sought refuge in the house of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan. Although ‘Ali Shah nursed sinister malice against them, yet in deference to the wishes of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan, he desisted from causing any embarrassment to the Sayyid. On the contrary, he extended his favours to him. In order to substantiate this, the writer feels prompted to recount a few stories to show in what high esteem ‘Ali Shah held the Sayyid.

In the beginning of his ( ‘Ali Shah’s ) reign, all the kith and kin of Husain Shah conspired with the counsellors and advisers of ‘Ali ‘Shah to gouge out the eyes of Husain Shah and imprison him. The aforesaid Sayyid Mubarak Khan came to know of their intentions. He implored ‘Ali Shah to be kind to Husain Shah and to abandon that idea. He conceded that during Husain Shah’s rule over the lands of Kashmir, there had been a decline in its prosperity and although even with much strenuous effort it would not be possible to restore it to its prosperity, yet he should take pity on him.

[ verses ]

‘Ali Shah acts discreetly

This considered and welcome opinion was liked by ‘Ali Shah, with the result that he refrained from gouging out his eyes and putting him in prison. Not only that, he even began to show compassion for Husain Shah, a gesture which gave him a new lease of life. He was allowed to retain such of his treasures as were already in his possession and also the staff he had in his employ, and was permitted to take up his dwelling at Zenapore.

[ verses ]

After a lapse of a year and some days, Husain Shah died in the aforesaid village.

[ verses ]

The cruel spheres do not let honest souls enjoy even a moment of rest in this desolate abode. This example of ‘Ai Shah’s magnanimity and the administrative prudence of Sayyid Mubarak Khan shall be remembered in this country down to the day of judgement.

Here is another anecdote in this context. Two years after the occurrence of the event mentioned above, ‘Ali Khan, the son of Nawroz Chak, made pledges and promises to the nobles of his clan to stage opposition to ‘Ali Shah and wrest for themselves the governorship and revenue authority of this country. But the government authorities came to know of their intention, which they conveyed to ‘Ali Shah. They told him that “thousands of eyes of the opponents continued to be wide awake day and night in support of ‘Ali Khan.” The matter was thus put before him in an exaggerated manner because they wanted ‘Ali Shah to issue an order of ‘Ali Khan’s execution. The above-named Sayyid came to know of it. Through soft and subtle methods, he at once undertook to dissuade the Sultan from issuing such an order. ‘Ali Khan was relieved of his ministry and sent back to his native place in Kamaraj.

But ‘Ali Khan was not a person to rest contented. Ungratefully forgetting ‘Ali Shah’s kindness and Sayyid Mubarak Khan’s intercession in his behalf, he escaped to Lahore in search of help from Hasan Quli Khan. The miscreants in ‘Ali Shah’s kingdom seized this opportunity of throwing their lot with the rebel ‘Ali Khan. The story of the rebels was related to ‘Ali Shah in the presence of Sayyid Mubarak Khan; and news came in the meanwhile from the city of Lahore that ‘Ali Khan had not been able to get along with Hasan Quli Khan[35] on account of the latter’s arrogance and, consequently, had left his services. He was reported to have fled to Muhammad Kot mountains. Thereupon Ali Shah’s troops marched on to Muhammad kot, besieged him and brought him as a captive before ‘Ali Shah

[ verses ]

For some time he remained interned in the house of the landlord of Chatr (gatr?). A year and some months later, the above-mentioned Sayyid pleaded on his behalf with ‘Ali Shah and succeeded in making him to forget his spite against ‘Ali Khan. He got him released from prison-chains and a hundred dinars[36] of pure gold were gifted away to him.

[ verses ]

Thus did the above-mentioned Sayyid graciously answer the prayer of the supplicants as long as he had the power and authority of the government in his hands.

Yet another story runs like this. Ibeh Shah, the son of Ghazi Shah, often aspired to gain power and authority of this country. He would, therefore, criticise and find fault with Yusuf Shah. When Yusuf Shah came to know of this, he walked straight into his chamber, held him by his shirt collar, and had him killed by the stroke of a sword of his attendant. Then he set out for Sopor followed by most of the nobles of this land. This marked the signs of disintegration in ‘Ali Shah’s rule.

Abdal Khan told Sayyid Mubarak Khan that he had assured Ibeh Shah by swearing in the name of God that he would plead his case before ‘Ali Shah, and see that he remained unhurt. Ibeh Shah had trusted him to the time of his murder, but as things were, his life was put to an end.

[ verses ]

Abdal Khan overemphasized the incident and ‘Ali Shah provided him with troops to exterminate the unruly elements. ‘Ali Shah warned him not to break his promise, as otherwise he would come to harm.

The above-mentioned Mubarak Khan, without paying much heed to ‘Ali Shah, told Abdal Khan that “by faithful adherence to your pledges and by your life-giving breath, you cannot revive [ Ibeh Shah ] to life. Hence, whatever good you had intended for him, better offer that to his heirs.” In the course of these happenings, the above-mentioned Sayyid wrote an admonishing letter to Yusuf Shah on receipt of which he abandoned his intention of fighting his adversaries and returned to the city. This sort of explosive situation could certainly not have been brought under control by an indiscriminate use of brute force and bloodshed by the recalcitrant warriors of this land. It was a single stroke of an auspicious pen that averted an impending calamity of great magnitude and put ‘Ali Shah in grateful obligation to Sayyid Mubarak Khan.

[ verses ]

There is one more story of ‘Ali Shah’s magnanimity and Sayyid Mubarak Khan’s intercession with him. Chroniclers and historians have mentioned that during the reign of ‘Ali Shah, Shams Dooni and Muhammad Maraj, two of the nobles of this land, entered into collusion with some chieftains of Kashmir, with the intention of fomenting trouble and discord in ‘Ali Shah’s kingdom. Their activities were regularly reported by authorities to the staff officers at the royal court. When ‘Ali Shah was apprised of this, he forthwith despatched a select armed contingent to apprehend the miscreants and insurgents. But the latter received advance information of this and sought refuge in the house of Sayyid Mubarak Khan. This was also brought to the notice of ‘Ali Shah. In order to show due regard to the Sayyid, which would result in the strengthening and consilidation of his rule, ‘Ali Shah condescended to pardon their misdeeds. However, Yusuf Shah, after ascending the throne, did not agree to Sayyid Mubarak’s such intercessions and his support [to the people] in the manner in which ‘Ali Shah did. The result was that it led to such a chaos and confusion as could not be set right to this day. God willing, the details of these events will be recorded at their proper place.

Mir Badla

The above-mentioned Sayyid was a follower of Mir Badla Rizvi, a person of spiritual and temporal eminence, who died in the early hours of Friday at the time for offering namaz. It was under the influence of his association and teachings that Sayyid Mubarak regularly attended the congregational prayers and visited the graves and tombs of saints and dervishes whose lone attachment is with God. Further notice of him shall be recorded in this book.

[ verses ]

‘Ali Shah’s character

‘Ali Shah abolished all brutal punishments like gouging out of eyes, wanton killings, and amputation of limbs of human beings, which had been in vogue during the days of earlier Sultans. Instead, he provided even-handed justice to his subjects and was compassionate towards them. He lost no opportunity in being equitable and kind to them. He extended his patronage to all sections and groups of nobles and officials, in order to help them regain their previous positions. His reign lasted nine years.[37] In his public dealings he strictly adhered to godliness; performed duties and obligations; refrained from what was forbidden and vile; observed the mandates of the Prophet of Islam by conforming to what was allowed and disallowed in his religion.[38]

[ verses ]

His death

During his reign, ‘Ali Shah regularly played the game of polo (chowgan) on the Idgah maidan on mornings and late afternoons. It so happened that Baba Khalilu’llah, who had the power of knowing the unknown, insistently solicited ‘Ali Shah to stop participating in future in the game of polo. But as God willed it, in the year A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578), the angel of death suddenly brought him the message there on the very polo-ground where his nobles and his whole retinue were attending upon him. In order to hit the ball, the king bent his body which pressed his belly against the pommel and ripped open his intestines. His heart began to sink and he forthwith retired to his palace where he reached in the early hours of the morning, and then died.

[ verses ]

Abdal vs Yusuf Shah

When Abdal Khan learnt of the death of his brother ‘Ali Shah, he galvanized his troops into action to capture kingship and government of this country. In order to achieve this objective, he decided to fight Yusuf Khan with full might and main in the locality of Nowhatta. When Yusuf Khan came to know of these developments, he held consultations with the commanders and counsellors of his late father[39] to drive out this menace. But nobody could provide a remedy for this and the two adversaries, like pawns being manouvered on a chess-board, found themselves locked in a stalemate. This situation was reported to Sayyid Mubarak Khan. He activised a group of soldiers and his sons and proceeded towards the palace of Ali Shah. Simultaneously he deliberated with Yusuf Khan over the possibility of reconciliation with Abdal Khan and, outlining the conditions of an accord, he sent word to Abdal Khan through Baba Khalilu’llah, one of the Kashmiri Shaykhs.[40] Abdal Khan had not forgotten that, in spite of his intervention, Ibeh Shah had been tragically murdered by Yusuf Khan and, therefore, he did not trust his word and deed. Consequently, he considered Baba Khalilu’llah’s entreaties and admonitions no more than an exercise in futility. The result was that their mutual jealousy and acrimony deepened and they appeared to be on the verge of fighting each other. In short, Baba Khalilu’llah failed in his mission of preventing the impending disorder. But once again at the behest of Yusuf Khan, Sayyid Mubarak Khan proceeded to meet Abdal Khan in person along with Baba Khalilu’llah and Muhammand Bhat. He brought home to him the facts that “the royal robes fitted well on the body of no man other than Yusuf Shah for he was the heir to ‘Ali Shah in letter and spirit and that ‘Ali Shah had always shown his singular favour and affection for him.” The Sayyid told him that Yusuf’s authority had an edge over his (Abdal’s) command; he also told him to desist from taking any precipitate action, and take the counsel of well-meaning friends as something highly helpful in the situation in which he was placed . He emphasised to him the need for reestablishing cooperation and goodwill with Yusuf Shah and of ceasing hostilities. The Sayyid invited his whole-hearted attention to these counsels and warned him that if he did not pay heed to his advice, he would have to face dire consequences.

[ verses ]

Sayyid Mubarak’s role

Abdal Khan was in no mood to heed the advice of the abovementioned Sayyid, and then followed what was inevitable. Abdal did not act with wisdom and far-sightedness. and Sayyid Mubarak Khan returned to Yusuf Shah.[41] Having noticed Abdal Khan’s intransigence and obstinacy, some prominent persons of the land spoke of him critically, and wanted to induce Sayyid Mubarak Khan to an open confrontation with him. They insisted that he should take quick action. But wise people gifted with far-sightedness, clear and piercing intelligence, first try for peace, which is a good beginning. As long as issues can be settled amicably through negotiations and peaceful means, they desist from the use of brute force and do not take recourse to active fighting.

[ verses ]

The decisive battle

Sayyid Mubarak Khan was infuriated by Abdal’s attitude to Abdal Khan to adopt the path of peace and friendship, but again he turned it down which added to his animosity [towards him].

[ verses ]

Sayyid Mubarak Khan was infuriated by Abdal’s attitude. He forthwith undertook to see that Yusuf Shah assumed the royal robes. He put the crown on his head after the manner of powerful kings: drew the fly-whisker (qutas) on his head, and unfolded the royal parasol over his head. At the same time, he made a firm resolve to fight Abdal Khan and, in vindication of this pledge, he recruited a brigade of local warriors, and placed them under the command of Muhammad Khan, son of Husi Chak to serve as vanguard to Yusuf’s army. Himself, he commanded a contingent of crack soldiers, including his sons, and took the central position in the formation of troops. He marched towards Abdal Khan’s camp to the beat of war drums.

[ verses ]

After putting Yusuf Shah’s troops in their proper position, he put them behind his own for support and strength. But before Yusuf’s contingents could join him, Muhammad Khan, leading Yusuf’s force, came under enemy attack. Shams Chak, son of Daulat Chak, Mir Muhammad, son of ‘Idi Raina, Mir Hasan, son of Naji Malik, and the rest of their group launched a fierce attack on his (Muhammad Khan’s) troops and mauled them, after which they turned towards the Sayyid’s troops.

Abdal defeated

The first to make a gallant counter-attack on them were Sayyid Jalal Khan and Sayyid Abul-Mu’ali, the two sons of the aforesaid Sayyid Mubarak Khan. In the fierce battle that followed both sides exhibited feats of extraordinary valour. Nusrat Chak, son of Shams Chak, was slain by Jalal Khan on the battlefield.

[ verses ]

Shah Abu’l-Mu’ali made a swift attack on Shams Chak, who, after sustaining wounds on his hands rejoined his troops. Mulla Muhammad Amin found the date of this event in the chronogram awwalan Shah bar sar-i saf zad.[42]

Abdal Khan saw the signs of disruption and disorder in his army, but continued to offer tough resistance to Sayyid Mubarak. In the course of fighting he received a wound from an arrow shot at him by Abu’l-Mu’ali. Then he came in confrontation with Sayyid Husain Khan who lost no time in wielding his sword and killing him.

[ verses ]

On finding his father slain, Habib Khan left the battlefield, but Sayyid Jalalu’d-Din riding a swift horse, gave him a hot pursuit in the hope of inflicting a wound on him. The fleeing Habib Khan turned round and shot an arrow at him, which, after piercing his coat of mail went deep into his heart. He died instantaneously on his horse.

The clan of the Baihaqi Sayyids displayed such remarkable feats of heroism in this battle that the war veterans of this land eulogised them and their ancestors in very eloquent words.

[ verses ]

Yusuf Shah had not, so far, arrived on the scene. Beating the drums or victory, the victorious Sayyid Mubarak Khan marched off the field and joined him half way. They heartily exchanged felicitations on their success and thanked God for upholding unity among friends.

[ verses ]

Abdal’s dead body

The Sayyid then proceeded to his private quarters and Yusuf Shah to the battlefield, where he saw the dead body of Abdal Khan lying in a pool of blood. Nobody was permitted to give it a burial. Yusuf Shah then retired to his palace .

At this time Qadi Musa dispensed justice in the country in accordance with the Islamic law. Without seeking the permission of Yusuf Shah, but working with the sole purpose of pleasing God, he courageously went to the battlefield and removed the dead body of Abdal Khan from dust and blood to the graveyard of his ancestors. Since it happened to be a day of sporadic fighting and skirmishes, he did not get time to carry out the task of burying the dead. Early next morning, Sayyid Mubarak Khan got the dead body of his son, who had been slain on the previous day, buried with full rites in the burial ground of his ancestors. Then he rejoined Yusuf Shah for deliberations over state affairs. Yusuf Shah, too, carried the dead body of his father, the late ‘Ali Shah, to his ancestoral burial ground.


1. Hasan does not confirm that he did not become blind. See THK. p. 274.

2. According to Hasan he was a Sayyid from Kashghar and an adopted son of Humayun. See THK. p. 274.

3. Hasan’s version is that it was through cunning that he succeeded in bringing him to the town of Pattan along with his troops. See THK. p. 275.

4. Ghazi Khan’s daughter was given in marriage to Ibrahim’s nephew. Ibid.

5. About three kilometers from Pattan on road to Srinagar.

6. Malik Haidar computes the number of the slain at four thousand TMH MS. f. 57b.

7. Hasan says that Shams Raina was captured because he had helped the Mughals in leaving Kashmir. See THK p. 276.

8. Qara Bahadur had five to six thousand troops with him and about two to three thousand Kashmiri soldiers also joined him. TMH. MS f 59b.

9. In the outskirts of Lahore. THK. p. 278.

10. Ghazi Khan stationed his troops at Lohar Kot. TMH. MS. f. 59b.

11. Ghazi Khan had promised to pay the Doombs one gold coin as a prize for each severed Mughal head. The Doombs performed the duties of sentries or border scouts. In fact it was they who put the Mughals to rout and Kashmiri regular troops were not deployed. See TMH MS. f. 60a. They brought seven thousand severed heads of Mughal soldiers to Ghazi Khan. See TNK. MS. f. 64.

12. The story of Habib Khan’s deposition is described by Malik Haidar like this. Once he behaved in his court in such a manner that the nobles present at that occasion were put to great embarrassment. ‘Ali Khan, the younger brother of Ghazi Khan, took it as an offence and declared that Habib Khan was misfit as a Sultan. He lifted the crown from his head and put it on the head of Ghazi Khan and made him sit on the throne. See TMH MS. f. 58b.

13. Malik Haidar makes no mention of Ghazi Khan’s attempting to change his previous decision.

14. Nowsherwan-i ‘Adil, the famous Sasanian king of Iran, who reigned in the 6/7 century. But Hasan writes that in his zeal for propagating Shia’ faith and custom, he oppressed the Sunnis and the Hindus. Although he showed regard to the ‘ulema of Hanafi school in their service to religion, it is also a fact that he engineered the killing of a number of men of Sunni faith. See THK. p. 283.

15. Malik Haidar says that he was a grocer but received favours from Husain Khan and was given the title Khan Zaman by him. He aligned some of the commanders with himself and tried to stage a revolt. See TMH. MS. f. 61b. It appears that soon after Husain Shah’s accession to the throne, there started a rivalry for power between his Chief Vizir Malik Muhammad Naji and Fath Khwaja (Khan Zaman). This Khan Zaman and Bahadur Khan were the associates of the ‘lord of the border’ (marzban). See THK. p. 281. Marzban (Marz=border+ban=keeper, appears to be the Persian equivalent of Sanskrit dvarnayaka or dvarpati (Lord of the Gate). Regarding his title and functions, see Rajat. v, 214 et seq.

16. Shams Dubi in THK. p. 281.

17. The author does not mention the name of Muhammad Naji as an opponent of Khan Zaman.

18. At a place called Wothnar. See THK. p. 281

19. Daru’l-Amareh.

20. The inference is that Mabarez Khan did not subscribe to Shia’ faith.

21. He professed Sunni faith. See THK p. 282.

22. The two words in the text are muhibban and mawaliyan. Perhaps the allusion is to the followers of the Imams and of ‘Ali.

23. Yusuf Muno in Waga’at-i-Kashmir. p. 91. Hasan writes that this Yusuf Inder was in the entourage of Mirza Muqim, the Shia’. See THK. p. 283.

24. They were Shias. See THK. p. 284.

25. Hasan contradicts this and writes that the orders of the Sultan were obtained when he was holding the public court (Diwam-i-‘amm) See THK. p. 284.

26. Hasan says that he was killed by a mob. Ibid.

27. It apparently seems to be a Sunni-Shia’ riot.

28. Probably small-pox. See THK. p. 284.

29. The descendants of Yusuf stated that as he was practising swordsmanship outside the mosque, he inadvertantly struck a blow which wounded the Qadi in his hand. Hasan further writes that on the particular day on which the two muftis were ordered to be beheaded, most of the people of the city [sic] had gone on an excursion to the Dal lake. The city had almost become empty and Husain Shah seized the opportunity of getting them executed. THK. p. 286. The executioner was Fath Khan Chak. See Ferishta, History. p . 364.

30. Hasan writes that after the martyrdom of those two elderly persons, Muqim Khan hastened his departure from Kashmir. By agreeing to comply with royal orders, Husain Chak ‘threw round his neck the collar of servility,’ and along with many excellent presents, sent his daughter through Muqim Khan for Akbar to marry. THK, p. 286.

31. From this and the preceding sentence it appears that Khwaja Hajji’s mission was to mould the opinion of some prominent men of religion, such as Mulla ‘Abdullah and Shaykh ‘Adbu’n-Nabi and others so that the matter could be brought to the notice of Akbar.

32. It may be inferred from these sentences that after the execution of Mir Muqim and Ya’qub Mir, Shia’-Sunni riot, erupted there.

33. Malik Haidar makes no mention of Yusuf Mir Inder’s episode and its aftermath and Hasan makes no mention of Akbar’s reprisals on mullas.

34. Both Malik Haidar and Hasan write that he spent his remaining days of life at Zenapore. TMH. MS. f. 62a and THK. p. 288.

35. Husain Quli Khan Turkman was the governor of Panjab. See THK. p. 291 n.

36. For dinar see Rajat. Vol. II. p. 308 et seq.

37. He ascended the throne in A.H. 978/A.D. 1570.

38. Hasan records that he used to present himself before Shaykh Makhdum Hamza (Sultanu’l-Arifin. d. A.D. 1566) and the saint Hardi Baba Rishi. Three couplets from an encomium called qaside lamiyyeh composed by the famous poet and saint Baba Da’uld-Khaki in praise of ‘Ali Shah have been included by Hasan in his history. See THK. pp. 288-89.

39. The dead body of Sultan ‘Ali Shah was temporarily buried in the compound of Jami’-Masjid. See THK. p. 294.

40. Sayyid Mub’arak Khan had tried to resolve the deadlock through the mediation of Muhammad Chak, Baba Khalil and some more nobles, but the effort yieded no result. See THK. p. 294.

41. Malik Haidar gives a different version of the struggle for power between Yusuf Khan and Abdal Khan. When the news of Yusuf Khan’s taking over the reins of the government reached his uncle Abdal Khan, everybody suggested to him that he (Abdal) should put up resistance. But he did not agree to do so and said that Yusuf Khan was like his child, and in his old age he did not have the physical strength to bear the strain of fighting. He said that he was prepared to accept him as the new ruler. He then sent a few persons to Yusuf Khan directing them to join the funeral procession of the late Sultan. He even prepared himself to join it. But his eldest son Habib Khan dissuaded him from doing so. It was then resolved that they should draft an agreement and then proceed to the house of Yusuf Khan. When the news of the contemplated agreement reached Yusuf Khan, he did make promises and commitments to them. But malicious people played mischief and Yusuf Khan deferred giving funeral to his dead father. On the same day, he initiated fighting with Abdal Khan. In the battle which was fought in the locality of Nowhatta, Abdal Khan was slain by Sayyid Mubarak. TMH. MS. ff. 64b-65a. For more details see Tabaqat-i-Akbari. p 629 and Tarikh-i-Firishta, Vol. II, p. 365.

42. A.H. 987/A.D. 1579.



Sayyid Mubarak retires

Yusuf Shah formally ascended the throne in the year A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578):

[ verses ]

With his accession, the office of the Chief Vizir passed on to Muhammad Bhat. Sayyid Mubarak Khan now found himself preoccupied by thoughts of the transience of human life and the need for humility on the part of man. Holding his sons by their hands, he brought them to Yusuf Shah in the presence of the elders of this land, and said to him: “All the three sons of mine solemnly declare their allegiance to you and promise to fulfill all the pre-requisites of faithful subordination to you.” He reiterated that he had decided to spend the rest of his life in seclusion and retirement, meditating all the time. He said, “It is too well-known that for a long time I have been seized by this desire but the late ‘Ali Shah always dissuaded me from taking a step in that direction and, in deference to his wishes, this could not, in fact, materialize. ” Yusuf Shah heard these words and nodded in agreement, At this, Miran Sayyid Mubrak felt overjoyed. But he did not cease to pay occasional visits to Yusuf Shah.

Abdal’s revolt

During the reign of Yusuf Shah, when Muhammad Bhat had been in office for a little over two months, Abdal Bhat, a rival to the high office of the Chief Vizir, finding himself disappointed, adopted a hostile attitude towards Yusuf Shah. He tried to align with himself disgruntled sections of the people of the land; and, through guile and craft, secured their assistance for realizing his plans. Finding that Sayyid Mubarak Khan rarely went to Yusuf Shah, he concluded that it was an indication of some great confusion in the country.[1] By using false and sinister words, he frightened most of the people like ‘Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, and Shams Chak, son of Naji Chak. In spite of the fact that they were near relatives of Yusuf, he managed to align them with himself.

Abdal Bhat chose a certain night for raising the banner of revolt, and destroyed the bridges over the river in the city, and on the 16th of Rabi’u’th-Thani, A.H. 986 (A.D. 1578), he sought shelter in the house of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan. Showing profound regards and respect to him, he told him submissively that the Sayyid should not disappoint the supplicants by refusing to grant their request. They declared that bad times had forced them to seek redress of their grievances at the doors of the benign and generous Sayyid.

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The situation caused the Sayyid embarrassment; for a moment he could not decide what course of action he should adopt. But, in conformity with his previous attitude of dissuading ‘Ali Shah from inflicting brutal punishments, he undertook to intercede for this group also and forthwith rode to meet Yusuf Shah.[2] But on his way he was told that this group, out of dread and fear of Yusuf’s soldiers, had hewed down the bridges over the river in the city and had, thus, precipitated trouble for Yusuf Shah. As the crossing of the river was rendered impossible by the hewed and destroyed bridges, the Sayyid was forced to retrace his steps. He came to the Idgah mosque and summoned Baba Khalilu’llah to his presence to entrust him the mission of intercession lor this group with Yusuf Chak. Through him, he sent a verbal message to Yusuf Shah, entreating him to follow the policy of his father in upholding his (Sayyid’s) intercession for the repenting insurgents. He expressed his faith in Yusuf’s laudable qualities of character and recommended that he overlook the acts of omission and commission of people, both high and low, of this land. He advised him to patronize them and thus work for the return of peace and tranquility in the kingdom. But, despite Baba Khalil’s forceful, persuasive and eloquent representation of their case with the intention of diffusing the tense situation, the counsellors and advisers of the Sultan did not pay heed to his words. On the contrary, they said that the culprits be brought before Ynsuf Shah with their hands and feet put in fetters. They further threatened that anybody promising support to them or showing a partisan attitude towards them would only land himself in the throes of death and destruction.

Sayyid Mubarak confronts

Baba Khalilu’llah was disappointed for having failed in carrying out the mission entrusted to him by Sayyid Mubarak Khan. He was directed to go back, and close at his heels was despatched Muhammad Khan, son of Husi Chak, an acknowledged veteran of Yusuf’s army, for fighting Sayyid Mubarak Khan. His troops repaired the bridges over the river in the city near the langar of Baba Bulbul; and crossing the river along with his troops and the ancillary staff, Yusuf Shah reached the Idgah maidan to fight Sayyid Mubarak Khan. It now became clear to the Sayyid that they [Yusuf and his advisers] had abandoned the path of peace and compromise and had taken recourse to confrontation and fighting. Hence, without losing time, he came out with his small force to fight the large army of Yusuf Shah. But, before the actual fighting, he, once again, as on previous occasions, offered to negotiate and intercede on behalf of that (Abdal’s) group. But Yusuf Shah’s commanders did not listen to him. They thought it an easy task to wipe out a handful of their opponents by making use of arrows, muskot fire, and fire-missiles; thus they thought of strengthening and consolidating the position of Yusuf Shah.

As against this, the aforesaid Sayyid, proud of his inherent traits of bravery and manliness, got involved in a fight with a large number of his opponents. Historians have given an account of this battle in prose as well as in verse.

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Battle at Idgah

Being very close to each other the two armies found it impracticable to use arrows and lances. Consequently, they used their swords and daggers and got locked up in a hand to hand fight. In the course of fighting, Muhammad Khan, a peerless warrior of this land, fell from his horse, but quickly got back into the saddle and continued to fight bravely and was slain.

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In the battle, Malik Mir Qasim, the youthful son of Najl Malik, fought gallantly but was slain. ‘Ali Malik, an accomplice of Abdal Bhat and the cause of turmoil and destruction of Yusuf Shah’s regime, received a blow fram the sword of Mir Muhammad, son of Naji Malik which sliced off one of his nostrils and he fell down from his horse.

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At the instance of Lohar Chak, son of Shankar Chak, he got a second cut on the same wound which caused his death after a few days. Another recognised Kashmiri warrior, Ibrahim Ganai, was slain on the battlefield by a stroke from the sword of Sayyid Husain Khan. Most of the soldiers of Yusuf’s army sustained many deep wounds at the hands of the sons of the above-mentioned Sayyid. At last, finding themselves hard-pressed, they retreated by crossing the Nawakadal bridge and then rejoined Yusuf Shah at Zaldagar maidan. Some of his soldiers joined Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan’s camp and the opponents of Yusuf Shah. It led to a large scale disorder and disruption in Yusuf Shah’s domain.

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Yusuf’s tactics

On account of these developments, Yusuf Shah reproached his counsellors and advisers, accusing them of their short-sightedness and poor intelligence. He stressed that if they had heeded to the recommendations of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and acted upon them as they did in the past, they would not have seen this day of defeat and misery.

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Perceiving that Yusuf Shah had been overtaken by defeat and dejection, his opponents went to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan and suggested to him that he should forthwith move towards Yusuf Shah and deny him a chance of withdrawing from the battlefield unhurt so that he does not become a cause of further chaos and confusion.

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For the good of the land this was sound advice but being a devotedly God-fearing man, he turned it down, and told them: “Only dogs fight over wretched morsels; it does not behove friends to fight over material possessions.”

Mulla Hasan’s negotiations

The Sayyid thus turned down the suggestion of chasing Yusuf Shah, saying that they had not to forget that he was the descendant of ‘Ali Shah. Yusuf Shah came to know of it and, because of his helplessness, adopted an attitude of friendship and conciliation. He deputed Mulla Hasan Asward, the tutor of the late ‘Ali Shah, on a mission to apprise Sayyid Mubarak Khan of the circumstances which had led to the present crisis. Mulla Hasan, in turn, communicated to the Sayyid all that Yusuf had desired of him to report regarding the condoning of his past acts of omission. The Sayyid listened to the Mulla with full attention and told him that unlike in the past nobody was prepared to take his counsel then; and the result was chaos and disorder of great magnitude. If the ugly exchange of insults and counter-insults had not taken place, he would have called on Yusuf Shah that very moment, revealed the facts to him, and reinstalled him on the throne. But as the disturbances were on the increase, it would be advisable that the aforesaid Shah retired to some mountain place in Kashmir, the climate of which would suit him. He should live there for sometime with all his treasures and equippage. God willing, he would be recalled after some time and re-installed on the throne of his kingdom.

Yusuf dethroned

It may be recalled that, on account of a breakdown in the administration during the days of Yusuf Shah,[3] Haidar Chak moved in from Kamara; and entered the services of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan after the above-mentioned battle was over. In the course of deliberations between the Sayyid and Yusuf’s envoy, named Mulla Hasan, Haidar Chak addressed the Mulla in uncivil words. Taking cue from the Sayyid, the Mulla reacted with harsh words, saying that the illustrious king had a hundred thousand footmen like him to run errands and it hardly behoved a man of his diminutive stature to speak contemptuously of him.

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Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan ignored them, and sent Baba Khalilu’llah, Miran Sayyid Barkhordar, and Mulla Hasan to Yusuf Shah to convey to him permission to leave. Yusuf Shah sent his royal belongings to the house of ‘Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak,[4] through the brave and capable Naji Malik he proceeded to the mountains of Nayaks,[5] a site for which he had a liking.

The stalemate

This course of action was hardly agreeable to Yusuf’s opponents, and the efforts of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan to reestablish law and order in the state earned him nothing but their malice. All of them together with ‘Ali Khan and Abdal Bhat retired with pomp from the locality of Idgah to their respective places. Showing due courtesy to them the Sayyid retired to his place.

Mubarak declines crown

Miran Sayyid was too self-abnegating to be tempted by wordly things and, as such, the throne of this land remained unoccupied for some time for want of an incumbent. Ali Khan, the eldest of brothers, saw that Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan did not covet worldly possessions and, therefore, resolved to seize the authority of this land for himself. He felt encouraged by the support of his brothers and associates and felt haughty by the riches left by Yusuf Shah in his trust. For three successive days he remained confined to his house and did not call on Miran Sayyid Mubarak. The counsellors, the secretaries and the sons of Miran Sayyid came to him (Miran Sayyid) one by one and talked to him about the nature of the situation that prevailed. They told him that even a single minute of kingship was a boon and that royal robes befitted the body of none but he.

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They declared that he was the finest of the clan of noble Sayyids and the most illustrious of the elderly persons of that house. The Sayyid declined to oblige and told them that he was not interested and if they wanted him to be their friend he should be left alone. He further told them that they could entrust this important responsibility to anyone they liked.

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After saying these words, he came out of his private chamber and sat in the audience-hall.[6] He then distributed the crown and the royal parasol which had been artistically decorated and studded with precious jewels among his soldiers and spiritualists.[7] In this way, he caused searing pain to peop]e with material ambitions.

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Mubarak assumes power

In the year A.H. 988 (A.D. 1580), the reins of authority of this realm passed into the hands of that illustrious Sayyid. But he detested and, therefore, denied himself the display of pomp and glory. He freed the minds of the people of this land from fear of oppression and tyranny and opened the doors of equitable justice and compassion for one and all . [8] Years after this event, Kashmiri nobles and commanders received encouragement from Yusuf Shah,[9] and developed rancour and malice against Mubarak Shah. They joined hands and on the second Sha’ban of the aforesaid year[10] recalled Yusuf Shah from the mountains.

Yusuf returns

Yusuf was brought to Barthal ranges,[11] and was joined by a large number of soldiers, villagers, horsemen, footmen and highlanders. On the other side, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah also started necessary preparations to keep his troops in readiness and moved on to the village Sast[l2] [sic] wherefrom he sent a message to Yusuf Shah.[l3] It said that since life was uncertain, he was sure that a mutual dialogue would be in the interests of peace and would lead to a solution to the crisis. “Let all fears be given up to help the beginning of a dialogue,” it said. The message was conveyed to Yusuf Shah through one Da’ud Mir. Yusuf Shah trusted the words of Sayyid Mubarak Shah and despatched two of his sons, Mirza Ya’qub and Mirza Ibrahim, to him along with Da’ud Mir and Mulla Hasan Aswad. He was also inclined to hold a meeting with him.

Meanwhile, Abdal Bhat learnt about these negotiations. He sent word to Yusuf Shah and his commanders imploring them not to trust Sayyid Mubarak Khan and not to be duped into a meeting with him. He also added that [Abdal Bhat and his party] had rectified their past lapses on their own and would henceforth strive their every nerve to achieve whatever aims and objectives he had. At last through flattery and cunning, he (Abdal) succeeded in aligning with himself a majority of nobles, commanders and soldiers of the realm of Kashmir and thus imagined himself to have been elevated to some superior position. In this way started the the rivalry and ill-will between them.[l4]

The clash

Abdal Bhat’s words eventually destroyed Yusuf Shah’s power of right thinking. His counsellors and advisers showed contemptuous indifference to Da’ud Mir, the emissary, and spoke to him harshly:

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The emissary informed Miran Sayyid Muhammad how badly he had been treated and what harsh and uncivil words were spoken to him [by the advisers of Yusuf Shah]. He further told him that they thought of nothing but fighting him. The aforesaid Sayyid, infused with a sense of valour and heroism, so pre-eminently needed in a warrior, set up a royal pageant and swiftly crossed mountains and plains with such facility as if he was moving through gardens, and engaged himself in fighting with his adversary. In this battle some enemy warriors of considerable renown like Geda Beg Turkman and Bolar Khan Afghan[15] were slain on the battlefield.

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Shanki Mlr Chadura and others were taken prisoner and brought before the Sayyid with their hands and feet in chains. All the houses of Naji Raina in the village of Barthal were set on fire and got reduced to ashes.

Yusuf Shah, preferring death to a dishonourable life, took position on the steep mountain summit of Bartal along with a handful of his associates.[16]

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Mubarak relents

Sayyid Miran was moved by this, and out of compassion, he adopted a patronizing attitude towards Yusuf Shah’s staff. He put a stop to the attempts of his soldiers and field commanders to take revenge against Yusuf Shah. On the aforesaid day, along with his soldiers, he entered into the city triumphantly. It almost looked like a pageant.

‘Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, held himself back for sometime in the countryside on the pretext of shikar and did not join Yusuf Shah. He explained his conduct to Sayyid Mubarak and returned to the city.

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Before doing so, he divulged to Abdal Bhat all that had transpired between him and Yusuf Shah and also the words of love and friendship which he had spoken to him out of expediency. Although Abdal was revolted by his words, he gave no expression to his feelings and kept it a secret.

During this time, Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah was taken ill. Abdal Bhat looked upon the Sayyid’s temporary illness as a serious set-back to his plans. Forthwith he came to see him and pursuaded him to imprison ‘Ali Khan for some time because, according to him, ‘Ali Khan had once again taken to subversive activities. He also told him that it was necessary because of his failing health . Abdal Bhat pleaded that ‘Ali Khan could be set free after the disturbances had subsided and he was restored to health.

‘Ali Khan trapped

Having discussed the proposed course of action with the advisers of Sayyid Mubarak so as to get it ratified by him, he went to ‘Ali Khan and through deceit and cunning sent him to the presence of Sayyid Mubarak with pomp and show. Himself he returned to his lodging with the hope that on seeing the physical infirmity of the Sayyid, ‘Ali Khan might be tempted to rise in revolt against him. ‘Ali Khan dismounted from his horse and proceeded towards Miran Sayyid. Da’ud Mir Piloo (Biloo ?), one of the veteran warriors of the Sayyid took him by hand and led him straight to the prison-house. Most of his military officers and commanders, like Shams Dooni and Daulat Khan, became confused and sought refuge in the house of Miran Sayyid Husain Khan. Shams Chak, ‘Alam Sher Khan and others came as supplicants to the house of Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Mu’ali and offered to keep themselves at his disposal.

Abdal’s trick

Abdal Bhat combined in himself the twin qualities of shrewdness and villainy. He told Lohar Chak and the top leaders of the tribe of Chaks that in that matter Miran Sayyid had acted independently and had never sought his advice. He cautioned them that a similar treatment could be meted out to them as well. This caused serious anxiety among the advisers and counsellors of Yusuf Shah, with the result that each of them took steps to ensure his own safety. They sent letters to Yusuf Shah in which they apparently appealed for unity with him, but these in fact carried the seeds of discord. They promised to him that even at the cost of their lives, they would try to achieve and fulfil whatever objective was set before them. They assured him that they would make a public announcement of the relevant facts when the time was ripe. At that time he was to move to the city swiftly without hesitation.

On the 15th of Sha’ban in the aforesaid year, Abdal Bhat gave out the false story that Yusuf Shah had entered into the city. This rumour spread among the commoners as well as the soldiers. He got a soldier attired in royal robes and decorated with other regal appendages so that he looked like Yusuf Shah. An imposing pavilion was also set up and the imposter was brought to take the royal seat. The soldiers and the civilians believed that Yusuf Shah had returned to the city.[11] At the same time they also came to know of the physical infirmity of the Sayyid. Hence many people joined Abdal Bhat in groups.

Mubarrak reacts

Miran Sayyid learnt about the situation and, early in the morning, despite his physical infirmity, moved on to Idgah maidan along with his troops and battle equipment to fight his opponents. He despatched the garrulous and sweet-tongued Muhammad Padar as his messenger to Abdal Bhat, conveying to him that it behoved the valiant to display whatever feats of valour they laid claim to on the battlefield. He had come on the Idgah maidan to challenge him. Like a good warrior he should trust his words, cross the river in the city, and move his horsemen to the Idgah maidan. Alternatively, he should give him a gentleman’s promise to let his soldiers cross the river and take up their position at Zaldagar. They would prove their strength on the battlefield and whomsoever God blesses with victory, shall occupy the seat of governance of this realm.

The message touched the sense of honour of Kashmiri commanders who resolved to give a tough fight to the Sayyid; and, consequently, moved on to the river bank. Apart from possessing considerable experience in fighting, Abdal Bhat was as wise as he was brave. Many a time had he been a witness to the bravery of the aforesaid Sayyid on the battlefield and, besides, had also heard stories of his dauntless courage. Therefore, in tthe context of the impending situation, he hela consultations with his field commanders and issued strict instructions to them not to move from their positions. He cautioned them that a fight with that group would affect them adversely and nobody could save his life unless he fled from the battlefield.

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“It is only prudent that our numerical strength should not make us complacent nor should we feel overconfident about our bravery. It would be sheer stupidity to decide upon a fight for revenge without taking cognizance of the realities af the situation. Certainly, duplicity and craft shall have to be employed to deal with the situation.” he observed.[18]

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Abdal’s cunning

After taking stock of things, Abdal Bhat thought of resorting to guile to further his objective, although he was not very sure whether his villainy would succeed. He immediately summoned to his presence Baba Khalilu’llah, in whose august presence he sent a messenger to Yusuf Shah with a letter stating that the nobles and commanders of Kashmir had concluded a solemn agreement and resolved to act upon one another’s friendly advice according to which they meant to offer to him the power and authority of the government of this land. As such he was to make no delay in coming. A verbal message was also sent to him which conveyed ‘Ali Khan’s agreement to what they had stated in their letter. At that time ‘Ali Khan was a prisoner in the hands of the representatives of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah.

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Abdal Bhat drew the plans in the presence of Baba Khalilu’llah and Miran Sayyid Barkhordar. He employed whatever craft he could and sent a message to Miran Sayyid Mubarak at Idgah: “Sayyid Mubarak Khan should not consider today’s event as a mere happening. Since ‘Ali Khan has been detained by your agents without reason, the people have become apprehensive. They destroyed the bridges over the river in the city to secure themselves against danger. In fact, this group requests your protection and does not want to confront you.”

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An action which was inherently dangerous did not take place and a calamity which could have caused chaos had been averted. The message ran further: “Inglorious is the person who rakes up trouble and disorder or takes recourse to fighting and hostility when a possibility of solving the issue through peaceful means and negatiations is not lacking. It has been our considered opinion that Yusuf Shah should be recalled and a conference be held with your officials at the khanqah of Baba Khalil’llah in honest faith with a view to laying down necessary conditions of agreement. Yusuf Shah should be re-installed on his throne and all the chiefs and commanders should be allowed to resume authority and control over their respective frontiers and divisions as per the practice in the past. In this way chaos and disorder shall he stamped out and order restored. You may come to the khanqah of Baba Khalil along with ‘Ali Khan to put seal on the proposed agreement.”

Mir Sayyid trapped

The aforesaid Sayyid acted upon their suggestion and got ‘Ali Khan’s fetters removed. ‘Ali Khan consulted his son Yusuf Khan about Abdal Bhat’s action. His opinion was that it would not be practicable to implement the suggestion unless Miran Sayyid was restored to his health and strength. He said that if they visited the camp of the enemy in his state of physical infirmity, they might be taken captives. His opinion was that prudence demanded that since the sons and counsellors of Miran Sayyid were disturbed by his physical weakness and that there was virtually no dispute or cause for dispute between them [‘Ali Khan and his son], rather as the Sayyids were sorry for their faults, they should not take the risk of going to the camp of the enemy and allow themselves to be overpowered by them

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Trusting the friendly overtures of Abdal Bhat and not paying heed to the right suggestion of his son and not thoroughly considering these words to be of an interested person, ‘Ali Khan left the battlefield and walked the distance from Idgah and arrived at the khanqah of Baba Khalilu’llah. The aforesaid Sayyid, too, dismounted from his horse and, because of his weak health, reclined against the wall of the khanqah. His sons and soldiers saw that crowds of people had begun to assemble around them. Hence they dispersed and retired to safe place. Only two of his sons, namely Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Mu’ali and Ibrahim Khan, kept him company.

Delegation under Haidar Chak

Most of his (Sayyid Mubarak Khan’s) kinsmen and near ones, confused and embarrassed as they were, joined Yusuf Shah at the village called Pantehchuk.[19] Thus the plan of Abdal Bhat succeeded:

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He immediately sent Haidar Chak along with a team of seniors to Sayyid Mubarak Khan. They found that the lion of the battlefields had lost his power and strength on account of his illness, and had now taken to meditation and telling of beads. ‘Ali Khan was granted permission to return to his house. TO Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan he showed due courtesy and regard and sat with him in the boat that brought him to his lodging. Bt there is a saying that what is ordained cannot be changed:

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That very moment ‘Ali Khan, along with his son, was dragged out of his house, brought to the house of Lohar Chak, and finally put in chains. His son Yusuf Khan, on witnessing the turn of events, could have said after the poet:

(On my dear, much did I entreat ye not to go to a place where ye be caught. Ye did go and then happened what I had feared.)[20]

After his event Abdal Bhat felt sory for having acted unfairly and for having broken his promise. He sent his son to Yusuf Khan post-haste to tell him that the situation was such that his coming would bring harm to him and could even aggravate the situation further. He advised him to turn back:

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This news forced Yusuf Shah to think, but for a while he was overtaken by confusion. At last he returned to his old place.[21] There he spent a few days and then established liaison with the cousins of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah and proceeded to the court of Akbar Padshah at Agra to seek assistance.

Lohar Chak

In the aforesaid year,[22] Abdal Bhat, with the support and consent of the commanders of this land, installed Lohar Chak, son of Shankar Chak, on the throne of Kashmir. But in effect, he concentrated all power in his own hands and reduced Lohar Chak to the position of a nominal king. Except for reading the homily ( khutba ) and the striking of coins in his name, Lohar Chak had no authority whatsoever.

Some of the notable persons of this land, such as Habib Khan, son of Abdal Khan, who loved Yusuf Shah’s company, broke away from Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah and joined hands with Abdal Bhat.[23] But this shift of loyalty caused them much anxiety, because Abdal Bhat dealt with them in an arbitrary and autocratic manner. He either put them in prison or held out threats to them, but did not take the extreme step of liquidating them or putting them to the sword. In fact, later on, he was not really unfavourably disposed towards them.

For one year, he (Abdal Bhat) ruled over the people of this land in a manner already mentioned.[24] In course of time most of the people of this land, including soldiers and horsemen, ran away to join Yusuf Shah whenever an opportunity came their way. These, for instance, included men like Shams Chak and ‘Alam Sher Khan.

Akbar and Yusuf Shah

A year after the assumption of reins of kingship, Akbar showed royal favour to Yusuf Shah by offering him two mistresses.[25] He entrusted the mission of conquering Kashmir to Mirza Yusuf Khan and Raja Man Singh.[26] The victorious imperial army reached the capital city of Lahore. Yusuf Shah, along with his troops, proceeded towards Bahlool Pore to know about the commanders of that land and also to meet his sons . [27] These reports were brought to Abdal Bhat and his commanders who lost no time in despatching their secret messengers with letters to Yusuf Shah, the contents of which were couched in soft words. They wrote to him that he should be careful about the developments which had taken place and know that the imperial troops might behave in a different manner after they had occupied the land.

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In his letter Abdal Bkat told him to trust his words and promises and not hold him responsible for whatever faults there were in the past. He suggested to him that he should leave the imperial troops and return to this country without entertaining any fears.[28]

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Yusuf deserts

Ensnared by false promises and trusting the deceptive overtures of that group of people, Yusuf Shah turned towards Rajouri mountain range from Bahlool Pora.[29] He left his family and children in the fort at Parot [sic] and himself descended on the village Verinag situated at the foot of Kashmir mountains.

The news of Yusuf Shah’s escape was received by Akbar with disapproval. He felt displeased and criticised Raja Man Singh and Yusuf Khan. Yusuf Shah stationed himself at Verinag and in this way Abdal Bhat created trouble for himself. In order to ensure security and safety of Hirpur pass, Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah sent a contingent of troops with commanders such as Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, and others. But this group of soldiers took advantage of the opportunity and joined Yusuf Shah at the aforesaid village. Mir Hasan Chaduru (Chadura) and Shams Dooni also joined Yusuf Shah along with their troops. Everyday footmen and horsemen of this land ran away and joined Yusuf Shah’s army, whenever they got an opportunity to do so.

Abdal Bhat broke his pledges and promises and made preparations for a confrontation with Yusuf Shah and sealed all paths through which his troops could have forced their entry into the Valley:

[ verses ]

From Abdal Bhat’s actions Yusuf Shah could follow that he ( Abdal ) would try to seek the support of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah for himself through flattery and guile. He, therefore, sent a secret messenger with a letter to Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah reminding him that Abdal Bhat was trying to make overtures to him for no purpose other than that of soliciting his support to strengthen his own position and for his selfish interests. As such, he requested him to oblige him (Yusuf Shah) by not extending his support to Abdal Bhat. Yusuf Shah conveyed to him that he had left the fruition of his enterprise to God Almighty and the blessings of the respected Sayyid. He was sure that any adventure undertaken by Abdal Bhat without the tactical advice of the Sayyid was bound to fail.

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Yusuf Shah strikes

The message from Yusuf Shah fully confirmed Miran Sayyid’s own assessment of the situation and he found himself disposed to agree with him. Thus sings the bard: [30]

A heart finds its way to a reciprocating heart under the dome of the sky. Love begets love and enmity begets enmity.

Thus Miran Sayyid responded to the message of Yusuf Shah. Expressing his approval of Yusuf Shah’s onward march [to the city], he bade farewell to his messenger. Miran Sayyid’s encouraging reply brought joy and exultation to Yusuf Shah. Without loss of time, he mounted his horse and, making a dash from the aforesaid village, took the Tsereh-har route, struck a devastating blow to the passholders of Abdal Bhat, and forced his entry into the town of Kashmir [Sopor].[31] Lohar Chak’s troops had been stationed at Sopor with the purpose of ensuring the security of those areas. But with God’s help, Yusuf Shah broke their might and occupied the town of Sopor and its surrounding areas. He stationed himself at that place and sent word to Abdal Bhat through a messenger that, relying on his promises and letters, he had left the imperial troops and encamped at Sopor. If Abdal was true to his word, he should immediately proceed to meet him and submit to him so that with his cooperation he would march on to occupy the seat of kingship.

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Abdal’s overtures

To this message Abdal Bhat reacted with cool-headed diplomacy of giving false assurances to the messenger and bidding him return to his master. For the purpose of strengthening Lohar Shah’s regime, Abdal Bhat released Miran Sayyid Mub.lrak Shlah and ‘Ali Khan from prison and tried to win them over by soft words. Although this action increased the prestige of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah, yet, fully conscious of the fact that the glib-tongued Abdal Bhat’s words were nonsense, he preferred to remain tight-lipped and sought to engage himself in meditation in the prayerhouse to the last day of his life.

[ verses ]

Miran Sayyid Mubarak prayed and meditated devoutedly and this shall receive further notice shortly.

Ya’qub trapped

‘Ali Khan, acting in concert with Lohar Shah and Abdal Bhat, raised the banner of opposition against Yusuf Shah to further his interests. In this way they determined to destroy Yusuf Shah.

[ verses ]

They also incited Ya’qub Shah, the son of Yusuf Shah, to adopt a bellicose stance towards his father and force an armed confrontation with him. On finding that ‘Ali Khan, Mirza Ya’qub and others had united to rise against Yusuf Shah, Abdal Bhat regretted the promises and commitments he had made for him. He then marched out of the city and headed towards Sopor where he finally took position on the bank of the river. For some days, they were engaged in sporadic fighting, shooting a casual arrow or firing a stray musket. What prevented the sides from a major conflict was the river and their inability to cross it. After holding consultations of tactical nature with ‘Ali Khan, Abdal Bhat placed a force of two thousand strong and well-equipped horsemen under the command of Haidar Chak to proceed via Kiyamah[32] [sic] route for engaging Yusuf Shah’s troops. On the same day, he deployed his brother, ‘Ali Bhat, an the adventure of crossing the river at Sopor and, in this way, he played the role of a fox and lion.[33] Through Baba Khalil he advised Yusuf Shah purporting that “this humble servant had been the beneficiary of ‘Ali Shah, and it was his magnanimity which had elevated him from the dust. It, therefore, was incumbant upon him not to conceal from him whatever nefarious designs or plans were being drawn to create anarchy and confusion in the state. He meant to report that some of the nobles and commanders of his arm conspired to desert him when the fighting would be in full swing and join the ranks of Lohar Shah’s troops. Lohar Shah had drawn a plan to cross the river in the early hours of the morning along with the entire body of his soldiers and camp followers and give him a tough fight. Again, Haidar Chak, at the head of two thousand troops, all armed to the teeth, had already taken position at the village Buyeh Sangari[34] and he was poised to launch an attack from the rear. So he was warned in strict confidence that that very night he should hasten towards Poonch, failing which, he would only help his enemy to become their prisoner.[35]

[ verses ]

To these veiled threats and intimidation, conveyed through Baba Khalilu’llah, Yusuf Shah sent a versified reply:

[ verses ]

Abdal Bhat received this reply but, emboldened by superior numerical strength of his troops in comparison to those of Yusuf, he made a cool and calculated assessment and chose to send no reply. Permitting Baba Khalilu’llah to return to the city, he kept himself in readiness for a battle with Yusuf Shah:

[ verses ]

The battle

In the early hours of the following morning, Yusuf Shah cleared his way a little downwards the town of Sopor.[37] and, riding a swift horse crossed over to the other bank. He deploved his troops in accordance with the plan he had drawn in advance. A contingent of foot soldiers was deployed on the right flank and some of his fire-spitting machines on the left. With this arrangement, he made an advance to meet his adversary. Lohar Shah was informed of this tactical move of Yusuf’s troops. Consequently, he placed Abdal Bhat in charge of the vanguard of his grand army and made a direct onslaught on the enemy. The two warring armies stood with an eye-ball to eye-ball stance, and it was Ahda1 Bhat who struck first. With a single stroke of his dragon-piercing lance, Yusuf Shah relieved Abdal Bhat of his life.

[ verses ]

The date of his death on the battlefield has been recorded in the chronogram nagahan shir darideh dimnak. Then followed the lightening attacks from Yusuf Shah and his veteran commanders like Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, Shams Chak, son of Daulat Chak, Mir Hasan, son of Naji Malik, ‘Alam Sher Khan, Shams Dooni, Sayyid Saif Khan Baihaqi and his brothers, each of whom had won the rightful title of the battle hero. Unable to withstand their attacks, Lohar Shah abandoned the royal parasol on the battlefield and fled for his life.

[ verses ]

Habib Khan, son of Abdal Khan, whom Abdal Bhat had, prior to Yusuf Shah’s attack, thrown into the prison and was found on the battlefield groaning under heavy and painful chains, was released.

By sheer bravery and courage, Yusuf Shah proceeded triumphantly towards the city. His advance caused confusion in the ranks of Haidar Chak’s army, and soldiers began to desert him. Haidar Chak was also forced to flee virtually bare-footed, along with a handful of his followers, through Tsereh-har pass.


1. The relationship between Yusuf Shah and Sayyid Mubarak Shah is somewhat intriguing. At the time of Yusuf Shah’s accession to the throne of Kashmir, the Sayyid affirms his and his sons’ loyalty to him. After some time, however, the Sayyid, who had nearly given up his earthly ambitions, becomes instrumental in dislodging him from the throne. Therefore the nature of the relationship between them needs a thorough investigation.

2. Hasan says that the Sayyid declined to intervene directly in the matter because he considered it harmful to his own interests. Instead, he sent Buba Khalil to Yusuf Shah to pursuade him to take recourse lo reconciliation with the insurgents. See THK p. 299.

3. Malik Haidar also alludes to a breakdown in the administration of the state during the first term of Yusuf Shah’s reign, which lasted for forty days. See TMH. MS. f. 65b.

4. Haasan says that he sent his crown to Sayyid Mubarak Khan through Baba Khalilu’llah. THK. p. 300. According to Malik Haidar, it was sent through Malik Muhammad Naji. TMH. MS. f. 66b. In another MS. of Malik Haidar’s history, it is recorded that the crown and the royal parasol were sent to the Sayyid through Malik Muhammad Naji and Qadi Musa. TMH. MS(A) f. 68.

5. Malik Haidar says that he went to the Indian mountains. TMH. MS. f. 66b.

6. Hasan writes that about an hour after he was crowned he retired to his private room, lifted the crown from his head, placed it in front of him and said. “Oh my inauspicious self, verily this royal crown is of no worth. Do not be proud because on the day of death, the head will lay on vile dust. The crown, which may be worn for a few days only, is in truth a burden.” THK. p. 301.

7. Hasan states that the Sayyid put on ordinary clothes and began attending to the affairs of the state. THK. p. 301.

8. Hasan says that he abolished oppressive and tyrannical practices whilch had become rampant during the reign of the Chaks. Ibid.

9. This statement is not corroborated either by Hasan or by Malik Haidar. In fact, the latter writes that it was not Yusuf Shah who encouraged them, but they who made overtures to him. The reason was that during his short reign of fifteen days the Sayyid treated the commanders badly and was tyrannical even to the common people. In this way the author’s statement that he was just and compassionate towords people is repudiated by him. This too calls for further investigation. See TMH. MS. f. 67a.

10. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.

11. In the pargana of Vesu in TMH. MS. f. 67a.

12. Sindh in THK. p. 302.

13. A written message was sent which began with this Persian couplet:
Shaha faqr-o fana az ma wa mulk-o azz-o jah az tu
kih dunya ra wofai nist khwah az ma wa khwah az tu.

THK. p. 302.

14. The contents of the letter which have been put in the form of verse in the present text have also been used by Hasan in his history, with some variations. Hasan has only three verses as against eight in the present text, and even in those three there are two or three variations. Since the verses are a part of a message which must have been recorded earlier, it seems likely that the source for both the historians is the same.

15. Bolar Khan Timur in THK. p. 303.

16. According to Malik Haidar a group of soldiers who had hitherto committed themselves to Yusuf Khan, betrayed him, which forced him to return to the Indian mountains without hazarding a battle with his opponents. TMH. MS. f. 67a.

17. The strange story of the imposter does not figure either in Hasan or in Malik Haidar.

18. Hasan criticizes him for his reluctance to have a straight fight with the Sayyid. See THK. p. 305.

19. Between the present-day Batwara and Pampore near Srinagar.


guftam ay dil maraw anja kih giriftar shawi
‘agebat rafti-o ham guft-i manat pish amad

21. Hasan writes that Yusuf Khan reached Pattan at that time. See THK. p. 306. But the actual place where he had camped has not been mentioned.

22. A.H. 988/A.D. 1580.

23. Malik Haidar says that they were fed up with the bad temperament of Sayyid Mubarak Khan. TMH. MS. 67a.

24. Historians have recorded that Lohar Chak meted out just and kind treatment to the people. There was a good harvest during his reign and paddy was available at cheap rates. See TMH. MS. f. 67b, and THK. pp. 306-7.

25. According to Hasan, Yusuf Shah stayed at the Imperial Court for eleven months. THK. p. 307.

26. For details about their mission see Ma’athiru’l-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 314-21.

27. From Malik Haidar’s Tarikh it appears that Yusuf Shah was given very small military help by Akbar. Muhammad Bhat the former Chief Vizir of Yusuf Shah proceeded to Lahore leaving behind at Bahlool Pora about a thousand soldiers (MS. f. 68a). In Lahore and some other parts of Panjab, he managed to raise a force of about four thousand soldiers. He also raised a huge loan from the business community of Lahore. See THK. p. 309. Also see Wagaat-iKashmir, Muhammad Azam Dedemari. p. 95.

28. For more details about Abdal Bhat’s communication to Yusuf Shah, see THK. pp. 308-9.

29. Rai Bahadur, the Zamindar of Rajouri, joined hands with Yusuf Khan and he made Rai the foremost commander of his army. See TMH. MS. f. 68a.


dil ra ba dil rahist darin gonbad-e spehr
az su-i kineh kineh-o az su-i mehr mehr.

31. baldah-e Kashmir means the town of Kashmir or Sopor as against shahr-i Kashmir meaning the city of Kashmir or Srinagar.

32. Khulhama in THK. p. 310.

33. Allusion is to Kalileh wa Dimneh.

34. Present Baba Shakuru’d-Din hill-top between Khuihama and Sopor where Raja Prahlad had built the Prateswara temple. It was called Bosangeri. The other name of the hillock given in Kashmirian histories is Sherehkot. See THK. p. 34.

35. Malik Haidar does not give this story; instead he says it was Shams Dooni, one of his commanders, who suggested to him that since he had a smaller number of troops at his disposal, he should retire to Poonch via Gurimarg (Gulmarg) route, but the suggestion was turned down by Malik Muhammad Hasan. See TMH. MS. f. 68b.

36. This versified reply figures in the history of Hasan also, confirming the earlier guess that the two historians had a common source. See THK. p . 311.

37. He crossed the river near Delina shortly after midnight under candlelight. See THK. p. 312.




Muhammad Bhat’s ministry

Yusuf Shah ascended the throne for the second time[1] in A.H. 988 (A.D. 1580), entrusting Muhammad Bhat with the power and position of the Chief Vizir of his domain. This Muhammad Bhat was a sagacious and clear-headed man, an excellent conversationalist and was gifted with a sweet and persuasive tongue; he could enliven his companions with his brilliant wit and devastating repartees. He was bounteous towards the poor and the destitute:

[ verses ]

[At this time] five thousand soldiers, who had fled the battlefield at Sopor and had sought refuge in the city of Kashmir [Srinagar], were still at large and had not surrendered to Yusuf Shah. Muhammad Mir put it wittily saying that perhaps five thousand absconding cavalrymen could still invite them to a battle-feast. Yusuf Shah replied by saying that he was God’s grace for the virtuous and the pure, but God’s scourge for the wicked and the seditious. He declared that he combined in himself wrath and compassion, poison and elixir.

[ verse ]

Lohar’s failure

Wise men say that the affairs of the world hinge on statesmanship: it functions as a provost marshal in this material world. For want of statesmanship, important affairs of the world can end disastrously. If disciplinary laws are non-existent, affairs of this world will end in disaster. Without censure and without necessary reprimand, there will be disruption in the world. No country can exist without a proper system of justice; and yet it will not look like one without statesmanship.[2] Muhammad Bhat said that prudence demanded that spies be pressed into service to seek the fleeing soldiers from their houses or wherever they were hiding and to bring them to book. Secret agents were sent to several places. Lohar Shah was found hiding in the basement of the house of Qadi, and Muhammad Khan was found in the house Miran Sayyid Barkhordar. Both were brought to the presence of Yusuf Shah.

Opponents crushed

Husi Chak had always boasted of his bravery and valour on the battlefield, and people in these lands begun to give credence to his boastful words. But he was so badly mauled by Yusuf Shah on the battlefield that he could not even manage his escape either to India or to Tibet, though he had sufficient time at his disposal. He abandoned his horse and hid himself in the barn of Chamshi Mamosa [sic]. Husi Bhat, the brother of Muhammad Bhat, found him and brought him to the presence of Yusuf Shah. Finding that he (Husi Chak) was unable to answer him because of his nervousness, Yusuf Shah was reminded of this verse:

A complete man is one who speaks not, but acts, One who speaks and acts is but half a man.

He who speaks not and acts not is but a woman And half the woman is one who speaks but does not act.

Petseh Ganai, a ring leader of the trouble-mongers of this land, had sought refuge in the house of Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah. He was dragged out and brought before Yusuf Shah who interrogated him. Driven by his innate vulgarity, this person, who lacked sense, made indiscreet and vain utterances in the presence of Yusuf Shah. But the latter exhibited self-control, and did not take any retaliatory action to censure him. One by one, the remaining troops and villagers, who were among the fleeing group, were brought out from their hiding places to Yusuf’s presence. They were brought together and he addressed them in person. He enumerated their failings one after another, as thus:

“First, by taking recourse to animosity and defiance, you totally ignored the path of peace and conciliation and made no secret of your disloyalty to me. You deserted me and joined hands with Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah with the sole purpose of raising the banner of revolt. You involved the Sayyid in your treason. Secondly, that elderly Sayyid had bestowed benefactions upon you, but you proved ungrateful to him by indulging in acts of subterfuge and sabotage. You recalled me from the village of Bartal but subsequently went back on your commitment, putting me in an embarrassing situation. Then you aligned yourselves with Lohar Shah and connived at his accession to the throne. Thirdly, when I sought the help of the imperial army to re-conquer Kashmir, you sent me flattering letters holding out solemn promises that henceforth you would neither back out nor defy nor disregard my authority. Relying on these promises, I left the imperial army and came to this domain. But then, feigning ignorance, you forgot the promises you had made. Not only that, you arrayed troops against me. Fourthly, my father was kind and generous to you. From the depths of lowliness he lifted you to the heights of manliness, and I, in my own turn, extended the same liberal treatment to you. In fact, I added something to enhance your prestige. But you proved your ingratitude by instigating rebellion against me. You have, thus, willfully transgressed the tenets of the religion of Muhammad and flouted the conventions of the Hanafi sect, and, not acted in accordance with the Qur’anic commands – be obedient to God, to the Prophet and to those who command authority over you.[3] You pressed yourselves into the company of rebels. Therefore, killing you and depriving you of your property will be in conformity with the sanctions of religion.”

On hearing these words of Yusuf Shah, Abdal Bhat almost lost his speech. Yusuf Shah got the eyes of Lohar Shah, his brother Muhammad Khan and Husi Chak[4] gouged out and they were, thus, deprived of their eyesight. Petseh Ganai, Fath Khan Jand [sic] and Husain Kokeh were punished by amputation of their limbs. Yusuf Lund, Ali Khan Sirigama [sic] and ‘Ali Bhat, the brother of Abdal Bhat, were ordered to pay a certain amount of money as indemnity usually imposed on prisoners of war. ‘Ali Khan, Nawroz Chak and his son Yusuf Khan, were spared their lives, but were put in prison. The rest of the soldiers and the villagers were pardoned and were reinstated in their jagirs as of old.

Conciliation with Miran Sayyid

After dealing with the situation in a manner described above, Yusuf Shah decided to call on Miran Sayyid Mubarak. In order to strengthen his regime, he concluded matrimonial alliance with that house by giving his daughter in marriage to Miran Sayyid’s grandson. After this, he ruled without any worry and anxiety. There was a revival of his cordial and affectionate relations with Miran Sayyid’s house and frequent visits to the Sayyid’s house strengthened these bonds. He also occasionally invited Miran Sayyid to his palace.

Yusuf’s personality

Yusuf Shah was gifted with a beautiful and graceful body and disposition. He was well versed in music and Hindi, Kashmiri and Persian poetry. His compositions were popular with the lovers of music. His Hindi, Kashmiri and Persian verses were well-known in Hindustan and Kashmir and often quoted by the erudite and the poets. Of his Persian compositions, we quote one verse in this chronicle.[5] He spent most of his time in physical and sensuous enjoyments; he amused himself with sport, gave himself up to the tune of the lute and dulcimer after the true spirit of the verse:[6]

Enjoy yourself because in just a twinkling of the eye. The autumn is about to arrive and the spring about to go.

Uprising suppressed

Some of the prominent nobles of this land, Shamsi Chak, ‘Alam Sher Khan, Sayyid Saif Khan and Muhammad Lung found that Yusuf Shah, on account of his excessive carelessness had been grossly neglecting state affairs. As such, they firmly resolved to create disorder in the state afresh. On knowing this, Yusuf Shah got all the four persons arrested and imprisoned. The event brought this verse to his lips: [7]

‘I am seized of the serious thought of how to extend my patronage to him, but he is seized of the thought of uprooting me.’

Sometime later, Saif Khan and Muhammad Lung were released, but Shamsi Chak and ‘Alam Sher Khan continued to languish in prison. Habib Khan was filled with fear and apprehension and he broke his promises and commitments, and fled to Udreseh mountains from where he began to foment trouble. [8] After two or three months, Haidar Chak, who returned from India,[9] joined him. Shamsi Chak, with the abetment of Haidar Malik, a blood relation of his, led a revolt against Yusuf Shah in the fort of Bulur which was situated on the borders of Kamaraj. Yusuf Shah’s troops laid a siege to the fort and overpowered him by sheer numerical strength. Shamsi was captured and brought before him. Although he was related to the children of Yusuf Shah, and on that basis pleaded with him for his acquittal, his pleadings were of no avail because he was the ring-leader of the group of seditionists. “To expect faithfulness from a king is like expecting fruit from a cypress tree.”

Haidar Chak’s uprising

However, some time later, Yusuf Khan, son of ‘Ali Khan and Nawroz Chak, who have already figured in the pages of this chronicle, escaped from the house of Lohar [sic], where they had been interned, and joined the forces of Habib Khan. A large number of the sons of nobles of of this land assembled and deliberated over the ways and means of destroying the authority of Yusuf Shah. They approached the governor of Greater Tibet for assistance. The governor named Bamaldi, a man of commanding personality, was sovereign and powerful, with innumerable troops under his command. He placed four to five thousand soldiers of his at their disposal and for their assistance; all fully equipped with such arms and equipment as are required in a battle.

Yusuf Shah came to know of the troops and materials given by the ruler of Tibet [to the Kashmiri nobles]. Consequently, he also sent his troops as well as private combatants of this land, all equipped with necessary arms, to face them. Habib Khan, Haidar Chak, and Yusuf khan got the news that Yusuf Chak’s columns were advancing. It caused them great confusion. Their forces were torn by internal conflicts and mutual jealousy. This disturbing situation disheartened the reinforcing columns from Tibet who decided upon retracing their steps without getting involved in a battle.

Haidar Chak was defeated and he fled towards Kathwar (Kishtwar) but Habid Khan’s routes of escape were blocked and he was forced to turn towards the city where he hid himself, and even in that state, he continued his disruptive activities.

[ verses ]

After several days of search and enquiry, about ten rebellious nobles were captured around the village of Sonwar and brought before Yusuf Shah. Yusuf Khan, son of ‘Ali Khan, was captured along with his brothers in the pargana of Bring. Yusuf Shah punished them so that the disorder created by them was remedied:

[ verses ]

Habib Khan’s eyes were gouged out and Yusuf Khan, son of ‘Ali Khan, and his brothers were punished with amputation of limbs. ‘Ali Khan, son of Nawroz Chak, was a pious and God-loving man, alive to the duties and obligations of the material and spiritual world. When he lost his eyes in the manner mentioned above – a matter of divine ordination – he stood up the next moment to offer prayers in thankfulness to God the Needless, uttering the quatrain:

[ verses ]

Muhammad Bhat’s conduct

Thereafter, the office of the Chief Vizir of Yusuf Shah remained with Muhammad Bhat. He was obsessed by his enmity towards Shamsi Dooni, and time and again instigated Yusuf Shah to seek revenge against him on one pretext or the other. But, because of Yusuf Shah’s innate good disposition, he did not listen to his interested words and did not take any vindictive step against Shams Dooni. The disgruntled Muhammad Bhat thus became malicious towards Yusuf Shah, and eventually, joined hands with Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah. They worked in collusion to find an opportunity to put an end to his life. But it did not materialize because of their inability to make the sons of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah agree to this. Under these circumstances, Yusuf Khan grew apprehensive and, along with some of his soldiers, fled in the darkness of the night to Udrasah[10] mountains. Leading his troops, Yusuf Shah, along with the sons of Miran Sayyid, gave him a hot pursuit right upto the above-mentioned mountains. During their pursuit, there was an encounter between them in which Husi Bhat, the brother of the above-mentioned Muhammad Bhat, was wounded and his troops were overpowered. They were forced to withdraw to the summits of the mountains, where they were surrounded by Yusuf Shah. Muhammad Mir [sic] was taken prisoner. Some of his soldiers sustained wounds, but managed to join Haidar Chak. Others got scattered over those areas in a miserable plight. Haidar Chak felt strengthened on account of an increase in his troops.

Ya’qub’s defiance

After these events, Mirza Ya’qub, being immature and also having come under the vicious influence of a group of miscreants, felt dissatisfied in the service of his illustrious father. With the connivance of Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, he escaped to Kathwal mountains. After a few days, Yusuf Shah despatched one Mulla Hasan Aswad as his emissary to his son. Using mild and persuasive words and tact, he exhorted Ya’qub to return to his father and show him due respect:

[ verses ]

Haidar Chak escapes

Frightened of Yusuf Shah’s wrath, Ibeh Khan went to Haidar Chak. After this event, Shamsi Chak, who had been imprisoned when Yusuf Shah ascended the throne, contrived his escape and joined Haidar Chak at Kathwal. Finding that Yusuf Shah’s position had become vulnerable, the trouble-mongers took to subversive disorderly acts wherever they could. In order to prevent people from establishing rapport with Haidar Chak and also for reasons of security, Yusuf Shah deputed Sher ‘Ali Bhat and Naji Raina to encamp at Kenal [sic] (Konehbal ?). But these commanders abandoned themselves to negligence, forgot the enemy and whiled away a few days at that place. Haidar Chak found that they were completely negligent and, taking advantage of the opportunity, brought his troops out of Kathwal and moving with great speed, launched a night-assault on them:

[ verses ]

Sher ‘Ali Bhat and his soldiers displayed feats of valour, but he was slain by Shamsi Chak; Naji Raina was captured by Haidar Chak and brought to the village of Daksum. Most of the troops of Yusuf Shah joined Haidar Chak.

Haidar Chak defeated

Under these circumstances, Yusuf Shah was compelled to come out of the city. The vanguard of his army got engaged in a battle with Haidar Chak, Shamsi Chak, Ibeh Khan and others at the aforesaid village. But since his opponents had established strongholds in the narrow mountain gorges, many of Yusuf Shah’s soldiers were wounded and, as such, forced to retrace their steps and rejoin the main body of the force advancing from the rear. But the sons of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah, namely Shah Abu’l-Mu’ali, Ibrahim Khan and others, held on to their positions extending support to Mirza Ya’qub so that he did not join the fleeing troops and return to his father. Holding on fast to their position, their fifteen or sixteen warriors fought heroically against a large number of their opponents. Some of the fleeing soldiers carried baseless and disturbing rumours about Mirza Ya’qub and the sons of Miran Sayyid to Yusuf Shah which distressed and disheartened him so much that he suspended his advance for a few days and ordered a halt to his troops and camp followers. But then Miran Sayyid Husain Khan, the son of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Khan, prompted him to resume the onward march, and he reached the battlefield. Before Yusuf Shah’s arrival, Haidar Chak and his troops had come out of narrow mountain gorges, and a fierce battle took place between him and the sons of Sayyid Miran. Like an immovable mountain the valiant Sayyids stuck to their positions and did not budge even an inch from there.

[ verses ]

As God willed it, Haidar Chak found himself in a depressing situation, dismounted from his horse and ran away to hide himself in a mountain gorge. The Sayyids raised high the banner of their victory and chased the fleeing enemy whose soldiers fell victims to their lashing swords.

Meanwhile, Yusuf Shah arrived with his army on the actual scene of the battle and witnessed the gallantry and bravery of the Sayyids. He eulogised Miran Sayyid Abu’lMu’ali in loud terms. On the recommendation of the aforesaid Sayyid, he honoured most of his soldiers with befitting rewards and robes of honour. Then he returned to the capital of Kashmir.

Sometime later, Shamsi Chak, Ibeh Khan and others felt pangs of conscience in Haidar Chak’s company and, therefore, tried to establish links with Yusuf Shah to renew their old bonds of friendship.

[ verses ]

Mughals appear

Haidar Chak, Yusuf Lund, and ‘Ali Khan Surigama descended from the Kathwal mountains and headed towards the capital city of Lahore where they joined the services of Raja Man Singh.

It has already been recorded in the pages of this chronicle that, on account of Yusuf Shah’s violations of his pledges and his dilatory tactics in connection with his services to Raja Man Singh, the Raja had become displeased with him. This situation was further aggravated because his opponents joined Raja Man Singh.[11] The only person with whom he shared the ‘secret'[12] and in whom he confided was Khwaja Qasim, son of Khwaja Haidar and a grandson of Khwaja Hajji. He told him that “it was far removed from prudence and wisdom to feel secure against a cunning enemy.”

[ verses ]

He, therefore, did not want that Haidar Chak should get a chance of going to Raja Man Singh and further his aims.

Yusuf’s overtures

Khwaja Qasim appreciated Yusuf Shah’s approach. With exquisite presents and choicest gifts for the Raja and his senior commanders, and accompanied by Khwaja Ghani; Kabuli, he [Qasim] presented himself before the Raja at Lahore. He waited until a suitable opportunity came his way to speak to the Raja and his senior officers in a manner which maligned Haidar Chak. The bard sings: “Listen not to the selfish; should you do so, you will only repent.”[13]

Not being convinced that Khwaja Qasim was not acting without some interest, the Raja did not listen to his account. Instead, his effort of maligning Haidar Chak only strengthened his (Man Singh’s ) favourable opinion of Haidar Chak.[14] Having been convinced that he could make no headway and that his mission had met with utter failure, Khwaja Qasim sought the permission of Raja Man Singh to leave his court.

Ya’qub assesses situation

Khwaja Qasim reported the words of Man Singh to Yusuf Shah but with distortions and suggesting that his words could be taken as an indirect expression of support. Thereupon, Yusuf Shah conferred the title of Mirza upon him and invested him with the authority of administering this domain. [15]

[ verses ]

Mirza Ya’qub, the son of Yusuf Shah, was a man gifted with wisdom, sagacity, prudence, and understanding. He found that this man (Qasim) crossed the limits of discretion in handling the affairs of the state and took recourse to flattering Yusuf Shah and giving him false reports to further his selfish interests. He marked that Qasim did not speak what was in the interests of the state. Therefore Ya’qub protested against Mirza Qasim’s assertions and even reproached him in such a way that Mirza Qasim felt offended. The two of them, therefore, became estranged.

Ya’qub at Imperial Court

Meanwhile, the aforesaid Raja despatched one of the trusted officials of his court namely Timur Beg,[l6] as his emissary to Yusuf Shah. By combining threats with favours, he expressed the purpose of his mission. Mirza Qasim considered Timur Beg’s visit a good opportunity for getting rid of Ya’qub. He, therefore, impressed upon Yusuf Shah that it would be highly desirable to send Ya’qub to the imperial court along with Timur Beg. Yusuf Shah accepted this selfish suggestion and, without caution and consideration, despatched Mirza Ya’qub to the capital city of Lahore[17] along with the emissary.[18]

On arrival at the court of the aforesaid Raja, Mirza Ya’qub duly observed the decorum and protocol of the court, and was then brought to the presence of the Emperor. He had been at the imperial court for only a short time when, as God willed, the news of the death of Mirza Hakim, the governor of Kabul reached the court. His Majesty, therefore, marched towards the lands of Kabulistan[19] with the intention of conquering it. At each station during this march where His Majesty halted, he asked Mirza Ya’qub to summon his father Yusuf Shah. Ya’qub sent despatches to his father from every halting station stating the course of events in the imperial camp. But on account of the villainy and wickedness of the aforesaid Khwaja, he did not act with farsightedness and paid no attention to the letters of his son. Disappointed by his father’s failure to appear at the royal court, Mirza Ya’qub felt the overwhelming weight of His Majesty’s insistence and also the tear and gravity of the consequences of a defiant attitude. Keeping all these facts in view, he sought permission,[20] and from the village Bahlool ( Pore) he marched out post-haste so that within a short time of three days and three nights, he brought himself to the presence of his venerable father.[21] But once again Khwaja Qasim’s inimical attitude towards him got revived:

[ verses ]

Mughal expedition

Before Ya’qub rejoined his father, two envoys from Akbar, namely, Hakim ‘Ali [22] and Saleh ‘Aqil, had been sent to Yusuf Shah advising him to present himself at the imperial court. They were still on their way, when Ya’qub fled [23] and came to his father. On account of this, the letter drafted by Yusuf Shah in the capital and sent to Akbar, containing expressions of regret, was not entertained by him. In this way, Mirza Ya’qub’s [24] detestable behaviour was almost a repetition of the defiant attitude adopted previously by his father; it intensified his Majesty’s anger and wrath.[25] Twenty-two nobles of the imperial court, such as Shahrukh Mirza and Shah Quli, under the command of Raja Bhagwan Das, were entrusted with the task of conquering Kashmir. As the imperial troops were crossing Panbeh [sic] Drang,[26] [Yusuf Shah] released Muhammad Bhat, whose mention has already been made in this chronicle, from prison and assigned him the task of guarding the city as well as his household. ‘Alam Sher Khan, who too had been put in prison at the time of Yusuf’s accession, was released to keep him company:

[ verses ]

At last, accompanied by top-ranking commanders and known fighters,[27] Yusuf Shah left the city and, in order to confront the imperial army, adopted a tortuous route and arrived at Gawarmeet. The very next morning of their encamping at the above-mentioned place, some of Yusuf Shah’s troops got engaged in an encounter with the imperial soldiers, a large number of whom was slain on the battlefield and their severed heads brought to him.[28]

Negotiations begin

Keeping in view the saying, “Have consultations on matters,” Yusuf Shah held consultations with Mirza Qasim, who held the administrative authority over the domain. Their consultations pertained to the strategy to be adopted in putting an end to the menace of the Mughal incursion. Realizing that conciliation was the best course available under the given circumstances, Mirza Qasim told him in secret that, since sustained resistance to the imperial troops was virtually impossible, the wise course would be to initiate negotiations. He further suggested to him that by making Raja Bhagwan Das their patron they could use his good office for gaining access to the imperial court. Acting on the saying that “The affairs of the world progress through means and not through merit,” some headway could be made in putting things in order with the help of the aforesaid mediator.

As a result of this thinking, Mirza Qasim proceeded to the court of Raja Bhagwan Das and, after impressing upon him his sincerity of purpose, asked him what favours and considerations would be received by them if Yusuf Shah was brought to join his service. In order to see that his mission was crowned with success, the aforesaid Raja agreed to enter into an understanding with Mirza Qasim upon the conditions laid down by him. He (Raja) assured him of his adhering to his commitments by invoking his qualities of manliness; and, after putting the agreement in black and white, handed it over to him to be delivered to Yusuf Shah.[29] It was planned that Yusuf Shah would join the Raja without delay and without consulting his sons:

[ verses ]

Yusuf’s plight

Misled by him [Mirza Qasim], Yusuf Shah set out on his horse under the pretext of inspecting the advance columns of his army. Escorted by four to five horsemen, Yusuf Shah, after arriving at his advance post, bade farewell to his kingdom and legality and turned his horse towards the camp of the above named Raja. His counsellors, chiefs and sons tried their utmost to dissuade him from taking this risk, but to no avail.

Ya’qub enthroned

Thus, without either taking sound counsel from an adviser or giving cool and considerate thought to the matter himself, Yusuf Shah took ‘the’ disastrous decision. Kashmiri nobles and commanders, especially the sons of Mir Sayyid Mubarak Shah, found it in the interest of the general public of that land that Mirza Ya’qub should assume the reins of the kingdom in place of his father and resolved to ensure the security of their country. Hence, on the following day, Ya’qub Shah was installed on the throne of his father with the consent of Shamsi Chak, ‘Alam Sher Khan and Shamsi Dooni. This development led to their hostility and confrontation with the imperial troops.

Mughal invasion

With the purpose of safeguarding Khawora route, Baba Talib Isfahani [30] encamped there along with his contingent of troops. The only obstruction between them and the imperial army was the river at Panbeh Drang. The sagacious and mildly-disposed ‘master’ suggested to the imperial troops that they should construct a strong bridge over the river so that they can cross to the other side and occupy the territories there with considerable ease. Usta Lolo, a person known for his art of flattery in that land, was the ‘master’ who put forth this suggestion. A strong and functional bridge was built over the river and most of the soldiers in the Mughal garrison, under the command of Shahrukh Mirza Badakhshi, crossed it one by one and landed on the opposite bank.

Mughals under pressure

With this development the villagers and brave landlords [of Kashmir] were seized by fear of these brave soldiers; they withdrew but could not decide on any course of action. It so happened that one of the zamindars took courage and engaged a Mughal warrior in a fight and, with a single arrow-shot, he put an end to his life. He then snatched the fallen warrior’s arms and robes under which he had concealed a scrip full of gold fastened to his loins. His clothes were colourfully rich. The booty whetted the appetite of Kashmiri soldiers for material gains and they fell upon the Mughal soldiers who had crossed the bridge one by one. They slew them on the spot and plundered their belongings.[31] After concluding this operation, they hewed down the bridge, rendering it unserviceable. Thereafter, they effected a total blockade of the imperial garrison which made them face acute scarcity of food grains and other provisions. The prices of these commodities soared so high that further increase was almost unimaginable:

[ verses ]

Skirmishes between the two sides continued under such hard conditions. The situation was further aggravated by natural calamities; rain and snow, in addition to the extremely frightful scarcity of provisions, brought the imperial army to the brink of disaster. It was compelled to despatch ‘Ali Akbar Shah as an emissary to Mirza Ya’qub Shah,[32] appealing to him for immediate cessation of hostilities. The envoy stated that striking of coins and reading of khutba would continue to be in the name of His Majesty in exactly the same manner as was done hitherto.[33] The emissary added that Yusuf Shah would bring his son Ya’qub to the presence of His Majesty. Although Mirza Qasim prevented Yusuf Shah from standing surety for Ya’qub, his fatherly affection induced him to make the commitment. A letter of guarantee was drafted and passed on the Raja Bhagwan Das.

Bhagwan Das’ discomfiture

From the village of Bolyas, Raja Bhagwan Das carried him along to the capital city of Lahore. Marching in triumph and pageantry, Raja Bhagwan Das headed towards the court of his Majesty with Yusuf Shah.[34] Although Yusuf Shah showed utmost sincerity and faithfulness when he was brought to the imperial court, yet luck as well as the promises of Raja Bhagwan Das both deserted him; he remained in prison for two years and six months.[35] On noticing that his promise had been broken, Raja Bhagwan Das, under the dictates of his sense of honour, which is the distinctive quality of that race, drew his sharp-edged dagger from his belt and thrust it into his belly, which brought out his entrails in a lump. But the hour of death had not yet arrived for the Raja: he recovered from the wound and was soon up and about.

‘Ali Dar’s rebellion

As already stated, Ya’qub Shah ascended the throne of Kashmir in the year A.H. 994 (A.D. 1585-86). This has been found in the chronogram Zillu’llah. The office of the Chief Vizir was assumed by ‘Ali Dar. He was an amiable man but incapacitated by addiction to narcotics, and was unable to distinguish right from wrong or truth from falsehood, so much so that having conferred a certain pargana upon some jagirdar one morning, he re-allotted the same to another in the evening. When the two allottees staked claims to the same jagir and the matter was brought to his notice, he, forgetting his earlier orders, observed that the land in question was state-owned and had not been allotted to anybody as a jagir. This state of mal-administration increased chaos and confusion, bickering and troubles, in the state day by day.

Under these circumstances, Ya’qub Shah considered it prudent to assign to Miran Sayyid Husain Khan and Shams Dooni the task of ensuring the defence of the city of Kashmir. Himself, he proceeded along with the royal entourage to the village of Halehvaleh [sic] for solemnizing the marriage of his adopted son. He returned to the city after the marriage was performed. On reaching the village of Achwal,[36] he came to know that ‘Ali Dar had been contemplating rebellion, and had managed to win over to his side some notable leaders like Shamsi Chak, ‘Alam Sher Khan, Mir Hasan Chadura and others to overpower him during his move to the capital. But their attempts were foiled by the outnumbering and powerful troops of the Sultan.

The frustrated rebels headed towards Sayyid Husain Khan and Shamsi Dooni to seek their cooperation either by coercion or by persuasion. But Ya’qub Shah came to know of this and forthwith set free one Muhammad Mir who had been thrown into prison at the time of his accession to the throne. Together with him, he headed towards the city of Kashmir (Srinagar) and entered into it a little before his opponents could. Minutes later, ‘Ali Dar, along with his accomplices, appeared in the village of Zaldagar after destroying the bridges over the river in the city. On the other side, Ya’qub Shah took position on the Idgah maidan.

Battle of Sopor

Ya’qub Shah was greatly fond of ‘Ali Dar and ‘Ali Dar in turn relied whole-heartedly on his friendship. On that basis ‘Ali Dar hastened to see him at Idgah, where he made certain suggestions to Ya’qub Shah which he thought suited his purpose. But the counsellors and advisers of Ya’qub Shah did not approve them and ‘Ali Dar returned disappointed and crestfallen. He then sought the assistance of his associates and, in order to strengthen his own position, proceeded towards Sopor. He left ‘Alam Sher Khan on this side of Sopor called Mala Pora and himself encamped in the town proper along with his troops. After seven days and nights, he crossed the river at Mala Pora and was engaged in a fierce battle with ‘Alam Sher Khan. The fighting was so fierce that, but for the timely help and protection given to him by friends and colleagues, ‘Alam Sher would have been killed. With great difficulty they managed to bring him from the battlefield to a safer place and rowed him across the river to join Shamsi Chak at Sopor:

[ verses ]

Sopor captured

After capturing the town of Sopor, the commanders and nobles of Ya’qub Shah entered the bazaar where fierce fighting took place with the soldiers of Shamsi Chak, who were ultimately overpowered. Since the bridge was very narrow in its width, and the number of fleeing troops was large, in the melee that followed some of the soldiers fell into the river and some others managed to cross over in safety.

Maintaining his presence of mind, Shamsi Chak left the town along with his soldiers and headed towards the city. Ya’qub Shah sent Abu’l-Ma’ali, the son of Miran Sayyid, in his pursuit and himself, together with Yusuf Khan, Ibeh Khan and Sayyid Husain Khan made a lightening dash from Sopor and arrived in the city before Shamsi Chak could be there. On learning about this development, he, ‘Alam Sher Khan and their allies did not think it advisable to enter the city. Harassed by the enemy’s pursuit, ‘Alam Sher Khan, in confusion, separated himself from Shamsi Chak and took to Kitchama mountains. Mir Hasan Chadura escaped to Shamhal village and ‘Ali Dar sought refuge with the landlords of Bartal.[37]

Deserted by his associates, Shamsi Chak was compelled by circumstances to hide himself in the shrine of Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi. His associates and soldiers left him in the lurch:

[ verses ]

On being informed about the latest position, Ya’qub Shah rode to the shrine, captured Shamsi Chak, and put him in the custody of Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan.

No doubt Shamsi Chak was a shrewd and resourceful man, but when the pre-ordained misfortune befell him, his innate sagacity was overshadowed by the veil of imprudence and his intelligence deserted him. He abandoned his horse and took refuge in the house of the inmates of the shrine.

[ verses ]

Qadi Musa executed

After the rebellion was quelled and order was restored in the state, the office of the Chief Vizir was assigned to Muhammad Bhat. Out of malice and ill-will, some people had been alleging that it was Qadi Musa who had caused a rupture in the otherwise cordial relations between Shamsi Chak and Ya’qub Shah. It was further alleged that at the time of the Mughal incursion into Kashmir, headed by Raja Bhagwan Das, Yusuf Shah had requested Kashmiri chiefs to collect arms and equipment [to resist the alien troops], but the Qadi had obstructed the supply of these necessary materials. The fact was that the Qadi was popular and wielded considerable influence among the people.[38] The reason for his popularity was that he had brought to completion the roofing of the Jame’ mosque in Kashmir in one year, which Kashmiri nobles had failed to do. But even in matters of religion and the sect to which he belonged, such malicious things about him were given publicity as were unimaginable in a person of his standing. In this way the malevolent strove every nerve to see the Qadi executed and he was ultimately put to the sword. It goes without saying that had that group of calumniators, with all the power at their disposal, chosen to intercede for him, as the sons of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah had done earlier, to save him from the impending fate, their good record would have remained imprinted in the history of the world to the day of the last judgment: [39]


This event caused considerable unrest and agitation among the nobles and the local people of Kashmir, and almost wrecked the very foundation of Ya’qub Shah’s regime.[40]

Under the damaging influence of Mulla Hasan Aswad and others, he dismissed the wise and sagacious Muhammad Bhat from the ministry and threw him into prison. This act deepened the crisis within the country. The high post of the Chief Vizir passed into the hands of the incompetent Nazuk Bhat. He was neither wise nor shrewd and could not resolve the crisis caused by the killing of the Qadi. He scarcely had any knowledge of the plight of ordinary people. Eventually the soldiers of several regions got dissatisfied with their patrons and were compelled by circumstances to desert them:

[ verses ]

Qasim Khan’s expedition

Faced with the disorder which prevailed in that land, the nobles and men of consequence in those days reported the matter in full detail at the imperial court.[41] His Imperial Majesty honoured a group of warriors by giving them royal robes and gifts and they became a part of the large army raised and despatched for the conquest of Kashmir under the command of Qasim Khan Mir Bahr, and also included several high-ranking warriors who were entrusted with responsible jobs. Shaykh Ya’qub, “the perfect in visage and in method” and Haidar Chak were also given permission and directed to accompany Qasim Khan Mir Bahr as his guides from station to station on his way to Kashmir. They were given directions to show consideration and favour to all people who came across their way so that they were not scared or coerced into abandoning their hearths and homes.

When this news was brought to Ya’qub Shah, he placed the city under the command of Nazuk Bhat’s brother and himself came out of it. Sayyid Saif Khan Baihaqi [42] procured robes, horses, and equipment from Nazuk Bhat’s brother[43] and joined ‘Alam Sher Khan at the village of Kitchama.[44] Both of them joined hands and, with the intention of restoring order, turned towards the city.

On reaching Hirpur, Ya’qub Shah took the precautionary measure of deploying commanders like Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, Ibrahim Khan, son of Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah, and others to ensure the safety of Kenchil [sic] route, before the expected arrival of imperial troops.

Some of the soldiers of Ya’qub Shah found that there was disunity in his camp; therefore, they joined together and, after arresting Fath ‘Ali known by the title Nowrang Khan, proceeded towards the imperial army. Bahram Nayak, Isma’il Nayak and Shanki Charlu, who had been sent to safeguard the Kenehil [sic] route joined the imperial army. The position of the defectors could best be explained by the idiom, “between the devil and the deep sea.”

Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, and Ibrahim Khan, son of Miran Sayyid, retraced their steps and joined Ya’qub Shah. Frustration overwhelmed Ya’qub Shah and his troops were in disarray at this critical juncture. At last, Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’lMa’ali thought it expedient to release Shamsi Chak and Muhammad Bhat from prison.[45] He proposed fresh agreements and understanding with them and also suggested necessary reforms in Ya’qub Shah’s army by upgrading the ranks of soldiers. The proposal was well received and highly appreciated by Ya’qub Shah. Some of his nobles, who had been recently admitted to superior social rank, outwardly endorsed his decision of releasing the two detenues, but, in truth, they were not happy about it. They misled Ya’qub Shah by advising him to proceed towards Chitar [sic] mountains early next morning without further delay or deliberation:

[ verses ]

Driven by circumstances the commanders and soldiers of his army got an opportunity to run away in different directions.

Sarfi’s mission

A report stating that utter confusion prevailed in the army of Ya’qub Shah was brought to the Emperor. He despatched to that land Shaykh Ya’qub “the perfect in visage and method,”[46] Mir Sibi and Shanki Jarariyeh (Charareh ?) Kashmiri with a strong force to bring relief and comfort to people in those lands.[47] They were directed to promulgate in the length and breadth of that realm the orders and ordinances of His Majesty’s deputies.

On reaching the locality of Hastiwanj,[48] the Mughal contingent was attacked by a large group of local troops, who inflicted a number of casualties on them. Mir Sibi was wounded and both Shaykh Ya’qub and Shanker Jarariyeh [sic] were captured and were not subjected to torture or harsh treatment, for the reason that the former was a man of learning and the latter a blood relation of Hasan Chak [sic]. They were pardoned and set free:

[ verses ]

Meanwhile Shamsi Chak managed to unite with himself veterans such as Sayyid Hasan Khan Baihaqi, Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, ‘Alam Sher Khan, Muhammad Bhat and almost all the soldiers who had left Ya’qub’s service and had been scattered all over the land. They took position atop Kunandehbal [49] hills and soon got engaged in skirmishes with the imperial troops:

[ verses ]

Muhammad Chak, son of Naji [sic] Chak, was a renowned warrior of Kashmir. Like a brave soldier, he took the lead and displayed feats of valour on the battlefield. He got locked in a duel with a soldier of the opposing side; they held each other fast by the belt. Then Ghakkar soldier, Jalal Khan by name, came on galloping to the pit where the two warriors were struggling to overpower each other. This horseman put an end to the life of Muhammad Chak. The event made Zafar Khan Nayak’s blood boil; he made a lightening move and charged at the adversary of Muhammad Chak in the manner of a brave and valiant soldier. But he fell a victim to the musket shot of Qanbar ‘Ali, the attendant of Mirza Hakim. At that time this Qanbar ‘Ali was enlisted in the staff of the imperial artillery. This is how Zafar Khan met with his death. Despite their best efforts, Kashmiri commanders and nobles met with defeat and ran helter skelter.

Mughal Victory

The triumphant and victorious Mughal troops occupied the Hastiwanj hill. In A.H. 994 (A.D. 1585), Nawwab Qasim Khan entered the city at the head of his victorious army. Haidar was suspected of fomenting trouble and, therefore, was thrown into prison. Citizens, soldiers, as well as the general masses of Kashmir assessed the situation, and expressed regret and repentance over their base deeds and acts of perfidy towards earlier (Mughal) officials. Out of fear and dread, they withdrew into obscurity.

The news of Haidar Chak’s arrest was brought to Ya’qub Shah. Without loss of time, he set out along with his troops from Kashmir in full pageantry and encamped at Tserehwani. He rallied round him all those militant people who had hitherto been in a state of disarray and disunity, and provoked them to rise and fight the Mughals.

When this frightful news reached Qasim Khan, he deputed Mubarak Khan Ghakkar along with some of his reputed warriors to support him. When this contingent was on its way to Ya’qub’s camp, the counsellors and the advisers of Ya’qub Shah’s army decided that before the arrival of the enemy on the scene they should launch a night assault on Qasim Khan in the city itself. They hoped that this strategy would yield satisfactory results.

Acting on this decision, Ya’qub’s soldiers made a night assault on Qasim Khan:

[ verses ]

In the course of the assault, his opponents had taken a firm resolve to see him killed. Therefore they did not appear at their appointed places [during the night-assault]. The reason was that all of them were unhappy with his rule.

After analysing the course of events Ya’qub Shah came to a definite conclusion that friendship of the people could not be relied upon; the love of fellow beings was unsteady. In a state of helplessness he sealed his lips and withdrew silently from the locality of Zaldagar to Tsereh-Wudar:

[ verses ]

The bravest of the Baihaqi Sayyids, Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali, fearlessly came to the appointed place and made awe-inspiring assaults on the enemy, setting on fire the gateway of the mansion of Yusuf Shah, presently under the occupation of Qasim Khan and his numerous troops. Some of the factional leaders like Mir Hasan Charu (Chadura ?), depending on and confident of the remarkable bravery and indomitable courage of Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali, cooperated with one another and launched powerful attacks in the fashion of war veterans and disallowed the opponents any advantage of closing in. Meanwhile Haidar Chak, who had been put into prison by Qasim Khan’s orders was hastily executed.

[ verses ]

Abu’l-Ma’ali attacks

When the dark night turned into a kind of bright day by the leaping flames of fire, crowds of people rushed out from every lane and street and, laying their hands on sticks, stones, brickbats, etc., attacked and wounded the Mughal soldiers. Royal treasure which remained in the custody of ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq Mamuri had been deposited in the same place. Kashmiri soldiers assisted by the above-mentioned Miran Sayyid rushed forth to plunder it. A fierce and bloody battle took place between the Mughals and the above-mentioned Amir. Qasim Khan saw the extraordinary and remarkable valour of Kashmiri warriors and retired temporarily to a more secure place by the lake side, and did not extend help and assistance to Mir ‘Abdu’r-Razzaq Mamuri. He beheld that leader of the redoubtable Sayyids (Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali), whose Hashimite descent needs no introduction, as a man of incredible valour, who stood like a solid rock on the battle field, and led a fierce fight against the Mughal troops. A large number of soldiers on either side was wounded and badly mauled.

Meanwhile the people of this land learnt that Payandeh Qazzaq, a warrior of the imperial camp, had raised a contingent of soldiers to reinforce the group guarding the treasury. Learning of their arrival, the Kashmiri soldiers suspended their attack on Mir Abdu’r-Razzaq, and turned to fight the supporting contingent. Payandeh Qazzaq was a renowned and experienced warrior, and obviously it was no mean task to face him on the field of action:

[ verses ]

No warrior of this land could muster courage to come out on the pit to challenge him; however, ‘Ali Mir Bilaw [sic] took the lead in this. Issuing forth from his ranks he struck a blow with his sword at the Mughal warrior. But that brave man, displaying his manly power and courage, dodged the thrust. Then on the point of his lance he lifted ‘Ali Mir up from his saddle and hurled him on the ground. People who witnessed the alacrity and bravery of this warrior loudly warned that none should hazard a combat with him, for heroes like Rustam and Sam would be amazed at the sight of his might and skill.

Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali too witnessed his bravery and valour. Without any hesitation and taking it as a challenge to his sense of honour, he began his attack on him. Soldiers and onlookers watched the two warriors in action, Payandeh Qazzaq took the lead and struck a terrible blow of his lance at the Sayyid. But with God’s help, he successfully dodged the thrust. In return, he dealt him a deadly blow of his sharp-edged sword, which sent him down reeling on the heap of dust, putting an end to his life.

Abu’l-Ma’ali withdraws

Payandeh Qazzaq’s warriors witnessed the bravery of the Sayyid and, therefore, avoiding a battle, withdrew to the main body of their troops. [Later on] the imperial troops came out like ants and locusts to attack the Kashmiri soldiers. About seventy to eighty soldiers encircled Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali and wanted to capture him alive. He brought his horse into quick action and managed to scare them away by shooting arrows at them:

[ verses ]

Had the warriors of this land also come out and engaged the enemy with as much intrepidity as the Baihaqi Sayyids did, God would have certainly rewarded them with victory. But as the saying goes, “the master-key to the treasures of climes lies in God’s own coffers; none has ever opened it with the sheer force of arms” Since God’s will was not in their favour, they were not rewarded with victory.

Qasim Khan’s plans

After this event, Nawwab Qasim Khan assigned Mubarak Khan Ghakkar the duty of dealing with Shamsi Chak, Sayyid Husain Khan Baihaqi and Shamsi Dooni who were in the town of Sopor. Mubarak Khan’s troops came out of the city and halted at the village Denwari, where Shamsi Chak, in cooperation with Sayyid Husain Khan Baihaqi, Shamsi Dooni and others made a night-assault on them. The result was a battle in which many people got killed. But, because they had no divine help, they suffered a defeat and withdrew to the town of Sopor. On account of bitter cold, they chose to retire to Karnav mountains.

Ya’qub Shah, along with his brethren, proceeded to Kathwar (Kishtwar) ranges and Miran Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali left for Ludov in the Nayak ranges. On account of severe cold, the rest of the local soldiers found shelter in the house of the landlords of this country and did not enter the services of the imperial army.

Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, and Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, joined the imperial army after obtaining some firm commitment from Nawwab Qasim Khan. After they joined, Nawwab Qasim Khan confiscated such of the jagirs as had been in possession of the Kashmiri soldiers. Consequently, the soldiers of this land felt dispirited and, taking advantage of winter, they deserted the imperial army and dispersed in different quarters.

After the winter was over, Nawwab Qasim Khan considered it expedient to send Miran Sayyid Mubarak Shah, Baba Khalilu’llah, and Baba Mehdi, Husain Shah, son of Yusuf Khan, to the imperial capital along with Khanjar Beg. Sayyid Mubarak Shah had totally renounced worldly affairs and gone into seclusion for meditation and prayers. Baba Khalilu’llah and Baba Mehdi were saintly persons unique in their qualities of celibacy and resignation to the Divine Will, and Husain Shah held the title Khan-i-thahi. The purpose in sending them to the capital was to put an end to disruption and chaos in this land, for all times to come.

Decisive battle

The party escorted by Khanjar Beg appeared in the presence of His Imperial Majesty at a time when the winter also came to an end. The Kashmiri soldiers, who had hitherto been lying low, came out of their hideouts and resumed hostilities against the imperial troops. Ya’qub Shah, together with his brother, Mirza Ibrahim and Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, and the zamindars of Bring and Chitar [sic] issued forth from Katwar and encamped at the village of Dagwan.[50] Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali, Ibrahim Khan, Naji Raina, the Zamindar Bartal, along with his sons, Bahram Nayak and Ahmad Nayak, Zamindars of Nagam(a), Yusuf Shee. Zamindar of Kother,[51] and others came out of Ludov and in the ranges of Naji Rainas[52] [sic], set up their headquarters at Ghazi Nari. Shamsi Chak, in alliance with Shamsi Dooni, the Zamindar of Kamaraj, descended from Karnav mountains and they established their stronghold in the Kamaraj mountains.

When this frightening news reached Nawwab Qasim Khan, he deputed Jalal Khan Ghakkar and Mubarak Khan Ghakkar to fight Miran Sayyid and Shamsi Chak, respectively. Himself he came out of the city and arrayed his troops near the village of Ghasu. In the battle fought between Yaqub Shah and the Mughals, Mirzada ‘Ali Khan,[53] along with many other soldiers of the imperial army, fell slain in the battlefield.[54]

Observing the turn of the tide, Nawwab Qasim Khan resorted to dilatory tactics and returned to the city. He then recalled Jalal Khan and Mubarak Khan Ghakkar from their posts to reinforce his troops and strengthen his position.

Ya’qub Shah moved from Ghasu[55] [sic] and appeared on the Suleyman mountain. He despatched Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, to meet and bring Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali to his presence. Miran Sayyid’s joining Ya’qub Shah added to his prestige and strength and he felt glorified. Shamsi Chak and Shamsi Dooni, both of whom had hitherto declined to show allegiance to Ya’qub Shah, were also drawn to make overtures to him when they heard that a compromise had been reached between him and Miran Sayyid Abu’lMa’ali. They crossed the river and camped at the village Hanjeek.

Qasim confronted

When Nawwab Qasim saw that Kashmiri troops were gathering in large numbers, he took all necessary measures to ensure the security of the fort [56] [there]. Each day witnessed renewed fighting between the Kashmiri soldiers and the Mughals which continued for two and a half months.[57]

The aforesaid Nawwab ultimately realized that the signs of slackness and weariness in the imperial army had become fairly visible. He was compelled by circumstances to send through his emissary a message to the imperial court that he was faced with a situation of hardships and shortages of provisions. On receiving this report, His Imperial Majesty sought the counsel of senior government officials for providing relief to his troops in Kashmir. Their unanimous opinion was that suppression of the uprising in Kashmir could be possible only through the instrumentality of Sayyid Mubarak Shah.

Mubarak dies

His Imperial Majesty extended royal favours to the aforesaid Sayyid and ordered that he should proceed to Kashmir in the company of Mirza Yusuf Khan and others and see to it that the insurgents in Kashmir were subdued. His Imperial Majesty showed extraordinary interest in this mission and insisted on Miram Sayyid to undertake it, but he indicated his reluctance to do so on one pretext or the other. This earned him the displeasure of His Majesty who then ordered that he should proceed to Bengal to join Shahbaz Khan Kambu. A year later when this Shahbaz Khan returned to pay a courtesy call at the Imperial Court and reached Ferozabad, the call from the unknown to return came to Miran Sayyid and he had no alternative but to respond. The chronogram containing the date of his death has been recorded in these verses:

[ verses ]

He was survived by three sons, namely, Miran Sayyid Husain Khan, Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali and Miran Sayyid Ibrahim Khan. A mention of them has already been made in the earlier pages and, God willing, more about them shall follow.

Qasim Khan liquidated

When Miran Sayyid refused to accept the assignment of His Majesty, Nawwab Qasim Khan became arrogant and high-handed towards Kashmiri commanders. This news was brought to His Majesty, who deputed Mirza Yusuf Khan to govern Kashmir with the help of Baba Khaliu’llah and Muhammad Bhat. Muhammad Bhat was a handsome person who was gifted with a noble disposition and a suave manner. People in those lands considered his appearance on the scene as nothing short of a boon. Through his efforts Lohar Chak, son of Bahram Chak, and Isma’il Nayak joined Yusuf Khan while he was still on his way. The imperial troops entered the city without facing any resistance.


On learning of this development Ya’qub Shah, accompanied by Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali, Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, and others moved to set up his headquarters in Kathwar mountains, while Shamsi Chak, assisted by Shamsi Dooni and others, encamped in Poonch.

In the year A.H. 995 (A.D. 1586/87), Mirza Yusuf Khan occupied the seat of authority of this country, and with that Nawwab Qasim Khan was forced to proceed towards the imperial court along with some Kashmiri commanders, such as ‘Alam Sher Khan.

The sagacious Muhammad Mir ( ?) Bhat soothed and encouraged the rank and file of the Kashmiri troops by providing each one of them with a jagir commensurate with his rank. In this way, he brought them under his control and subordination, and induced them to take up arms against Ya’qub Shah and Miran Sayyid to an unimaginable extent.

Shamsi Chak’s insurgence

With the onset of spring, Shamsi Chak and Shamsi Doon, came out of their dwelling places and began to fan the flames of chaos and disorder in Kashmir. Mirza Yusuf Khan, taking notice of these developments, despatched Muhammad Bhat and Sayyid Bahau’d-Din and Kashmiri troops to deal with them. The aforesaid Sayyid marched his troops to the village of Nasu [sic] in Biru pargana. But Shamsi Chak and Shamsi Dooni took the initiative and, exhibiting remarkable bravery, made a night-assault on them in which Kashmiri soldiers [of Muhammad Bhat] suffered severe reverses. On coming close to the tent of Mir Sayyid Bahau’d-Din, one of the brothers of the Sayyid dashed out of his tent barefooted and with his sword struck a blow on his enemy’s horse, but only to slit the reins. The rider was rendered powerless but the horse in a bid to return to its stable bore him away from that dangerous pit to the contiguous lands of Poonch. In this battle Kashmiri soldiers indulged in a large scale killing of each other. Shamsi Chak’s troops withdrew to Poonch.

Muhammad Bhat becomes vain

Muhammad Mir (?) Bhat came to Mirza Sayyid Yusuf Khan along with the imperial troops. [ The sentence after this is incomplete in the text and has not been translated. ] On his advice, Mirza Sayyid Yusuf Khan honoured each Kashmiri soldier with a befitting reward and induced them to fight against Ya’qub Shah.

Finding that the strategy of putting Shamsi Chak’s soldiers to rout had worked well, Muhammad Mir (?) Bhat lost his head and began to make boastful claims. Ya’qub Shah and Miran Sayyid Abu’l-Ma’ali came to know of Muhammad Mir (?) Bhat’s vain utterances. It challenged their sense of honour and, dashing forth from Kathwar mountains, they encamped at the village of Panjyari (Penzyari) in Dachhanpara pargana. Mirza Yusuf Khan received the news of their movement. He directed Muhammad Bhat and Hajji Mirak, a renowned noble of his army, to lead a strong and well-equipped force to confront the enemy. A large number of horses was placed at their disposal; in addition to this, robes of honour and substantial amounts of cash were also given to them.

Muhammad Bhat, accompanied by Hajji Mirak, took to guile and treachery and sent them conciliatory messages, completely disregarding his previous acquaintance with them. He hoped to take them unawares and, using all the means at his disposal, tried to make them his captives:

[ verses ]

Some of the warriors [ of Ya’qub Shah ] were taken in by his soft and conciliatory words and could not decide whether to join him or not. But Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’lMa’ali could read the writing on the wall. However, he responded to his overtures in an equally soft tone, using the sweetest of phrases. At the same time, he held consultations about how the impending serious threat could be warded off. His aids and commanders unanimously agreed to trust his authority, after the true spirit of the verse that “what you deem right is also right for us.”.[58]

Fighting breaks out

It was Miran Sayyid’s considered opinion that a night halt was certainly fraught with the danger of their being made prisoners the next morning. He, therefore, resolved to trust in Providence and make a quick assault on the enemy:

[ verses ]

“Should the adventure succeed, our objective will be realized. If it does not, the story of our bravery will get imprinted on the book of the world.”

Accepting this advice, Ya’qub Shah and his group of soldiers numbering nearly five hundred girded their loins and made a charge on the imperial army. On coming closer, they stopped for a while to assess the enemy’s strength. By late afternoon, when about one-fourth of the day still left, they clashed with the vanguard of the imperial army led by Muhammad Mir. In this fighting they displayed feats of extraordinary bravery. Their attack was so fierce that Muhammad Mir got unnerved and ran away from the battlefield along with his soldiers and joined the imperial army. In the course of fighting, Miran Sayyid Ibrahim Khan was wounded and fell from his horse. This incident diverted the attention of some of the commanders away from the battle for some time. But the sudden appearance of clouds on the sky which brought torrential rains as had never been witnessed before, led to suspension in fighting. Soldiers on either side retired to their camps or lodgings. Muhammad Bhat levelled accusations against his troops and criticised them, and waited at his camp for two days.

Acting upon the silly advice of some incompetent persons Ya’qub Shah moved away from his present position towards the pargana of Ular, with the purpose of raising troops. In the course of this shift in tactics, some of his soldiers, perhaps out of fear of the imperial army, deserted him and defected to Muhammad Mir. The remaining soldiers crossed the Lank Nay and arrived in the vicinity of the pargana of Ular at the village Naristan to camp on the heights of the lofty mountain [of Naristan].

Abu’l-Ma’ali captured

As against this, Muhammad Bhat, commanding a very large number of troops, took position on the slopes of the mountain of Naristan. Fighting broke out in the early hours of the morning. Since the number of the imperial troops was very large and Ya’qub Shah had only a handful of troops at his disposal, it became obvious to him that resistance was futile as well as impossible. Ya’qub Shah, Mirza Ibrahim and Ibeh Khan managed to draw themselves away from that deadly place by their superb feats of archery and proceeded towards the mountains of Kathwar. Miran Sayyid Abu’lMa’ali held on obdurately to his position alone, with a small number of his men, fighting with their back to the wall.

The imperial troops on noticing that there were not many soldiers with Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali, issued forth in groups from the top and the slopes of that mountain. Their strategy was to block the pathways. They gave them a hot pursuit up to the village Tsrar and people came out in multitudes and surrounded Miran Sayyid. At last he was made a captive and brought before Mirza Yusuf Khan. Although on that day also he was unmistakably valorous and heroic, yet, since fate was not in his favour, he could not escape to a safe place:

[ verses ]

Abul’-Ma’ali treated well

The aforesaid Miran Sayyid held a distinguished place among the warriors of this land because of his remarkable bravery and heroism. Besides, he was gifted with the qualities of honesty and integrity. Consequently, Mirza Yusuf Khan considered the matter of his captivity as one of singular importance. He fully observed the established norms of respect and courtesy and, as a mark of due consideration to his dignity, took off his gorgeous gown – a gift from the Emperor – and put it on the shoulders of Miran Sayyid. Mirza Yusuf Khan took care that not even the slightest reference was made to the events which had occurred before this. A lodge was reserved for his dwelling.

Treatment of Kashmiri Commanders

Shamsi Chak and Shamsi Dooni came to know of these developments. They approached Sayyid Bahau’d-Din for rapproachment and disposal of their cases. The Sayyid, gifted with prudence as he was, assuaged their fears by extending firm promises of his effective intervention in their case. In the course of his talk with Mirza Yusuf Khan, he expressly mentioned to him the well-known principle of diplomacy that a formidable enemy should be won over by stratagem and his enmity neutralized by munificence:

[ verses ]

His clear suggestion to him was that Shamsi Chak and Shamsi Dooni be treated ordially so that they could be assured of their safety and security; it would result in their agreeing to enter the imperial service by presenting themselves before Mirza Yusuf.

Mirza Yusuf took his advice and promised to act in full conformity with it. Consequently, after securing fresh and reaffirmed commitments from him, Sayyid Bahau’d-Din brought them to the presence of Mirza Yusuf Khan who, in turn, granted them funds, provided them with horses and, in the company of Sayyid Bahau’d-Din, sent them out of their native land to the presence of His Majesty:

[ verses ]

His Majesty was disposed to deal leniently with them and treat them with kindness because they were foreigners. He allowed to each of them a rank (mansab) commensurate with his status. As a result of the insinuations [of some malicious persons] and summons from Prince Salim, Ibeh Khan son of Abdal Khan, a close associate of Ya’qub Shah, was made to part company with him. He came to Kashmir for a meeting with Mirza Yusuf Khan and then brought himself to the presence of Prince Salim.[59]

Subsequent to these events, Mirza Yusuf Khan despatched Sayyid Husain Khan Baihaqi, ‘Ali Dar, Lohar Chak, son of Daulat Chak, Shamsi Chak, son of Lohar Chak, Isma’il Dooni, and others to the imperial capital as prisoners under military escort. His Majesty bestowed upon each a rank commensurate with his status. Some of them were granted higher ranks, while others had to rest content with the ahadi rank.

Yusuf Khan’s malice

Soon after, Bahram Nayak, along with his sons, was poisoned. Saif Khan Baihaqi, ‘Ali Khan of Dachhinpora, Ibrahim called Ibeh Shetan, the brother of Haidar Chak, were deprived of their eyesight under various pretexts. Lohar Chak Qurchi was sentenced to death.

Mirza Yusuf Khan was greatly fascinated by the scenic beauty and invigorating climate of Kashmir. As a result, he began to implicate the nobles of that land in false and fabricated cases, and in this way found pretests to do away with a few of them every day.[60]

When the affairs of the lands of Kashmir came to be shaped in accordance with the predetermined policy of the administration and a report analysing this situation was submitted to the Emperor,[6l] the latter decided to make pleasure trip to Kashmir by way of tamasha. This land was honoured by the royal visit.[62] Ya’qub Shah, who was living in peace, pleasure and happiness along with his family at Kathwar, without being disturbed by malicious persons, desired to enter the service of His Majesty. He was able to do so through the good offices of Mirza Yusuf Khan, after making him agree to certain commitments and conditions and then came to the presence of the Emperor.

Mirza Yusuf’s intrigue

After this, the Emperor proceeded to Kabul and ordered Mirza Yusuf Khan to accompany him, leaving behind his brother Shah Baqer in his place. Usta Lolo, who was notorious for his villainy, was prompted by Mirza Yusuf Khan to encourage Shah Baqer to place Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’lMa’ali, ‘Alam Sher Khan, Lohar Chak and several others under detention till the return of Mirza Yusuf Khan from Kabul, with the purpose of foiling attempts at creating disorder and disruption in the state:

[ verses ]

Acting upon the counsel of that depraved person, he got the above-mentioned persons imprisoned. A despatch was sent to the Emperor stating that Miran Sayyid Abu’l-Ma’ali ‘Alam Sher Khan, Lohar Chak, Bahadur Khan and others were a source of disorder in Kashmir and in order to deal effectively with the menace, it would be judicious to ask Mirza Yusuf Khan to assume [rather resume the governing authority of these lands as early as possible, otherwise Kashmir would be lost to the empire. On receiving this report, His Majesty forthwith permitted Mirza Yusuf Khan to leave the imperial headquarters. Yusuf Khan found development conducive to his larger interests and headed towards Kashmir in great hurry. Shortly after arriving in Kashmir, he released Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ah from prison on the security furnished by Muhammad Mir, and sent him away to join the service of Raja Man Singh. ‘Alam Sher Khan, Lohar Chak, Bahadur Khan, and others were sent to the Imperial Court.[63]

Usta Lolo’s perfidy

Since most of the Kashmiri commanders were scattered and banished from the land, disorder and insurgence were eliminated totally. Therefore, Muhammad Mir could not enjoy the confidence and respect of Mirza Yusuf as he did earlier. In particular the garrulous and glib-tongued Usta Lolo, the prominent businessman of that land, because of his innate wickedness and his habit of fault-finding and selfishness, succeeded in vitiating Mirza Yusuf Khan’s impression about him:

[ verses ]

It was through this art of flattery and sycophancy that he made himself known to the Emperor who afterwards summoned him to his presence. His Majesty made detailed enquiries about all the happenings in Kashmir from him. In response to them, Usta Lolo told him the stories of (Kashmir’s) past, present and future[64] (?) kings in the form of a narrative, which made a good impression on the Emperor. Consequently, Usta Lolo’s prestige and stature increased day by day, so much so that the title Nadiru’l-‘Asr meaning “the rarity of the age” was conferred upon him. Out of their innate nobility, Mirza Ya’qub Khan and Muhammad Mir had confided in that base and malicious person. Taking him as one of their friends “the veil of duality between them had been lifted.” Thinking that his knowledge of their affairs could help him in eliciting special favours from the Emperor, he reported to him about their affairs as well as true and false accounts of Mirza Yusuf Khan’s excesses in such an effective manner that His Majesty got annoyed with Mirza Yusuf:

[ verses ]

(Keeping company with a base person is like carrying a venomous snake under your arm)

Prudence and sagacity demand that we act upon this principle so that we are safe against the treachery of a foe in a friend’s garb.

Muhammad Mir summoned

In the course of these events, Shah Mirza, the son of Mir Badla, left for heavenly abode. His miraculous spiritual powers were known to people in these lands. He enjoyed full confidence of Mirza Yusuf Khan and had been very close to him. He did everything possible to gain the friendship and affection of Muhammad Mir. His death has been recorded in the chronogram Shah Mirza maqbul-i dargah-i-ilah.

Baba Khalil, who had acted as a surety to Muhammad Mir, too abandoned the prison house of this world. The chronogram Khalilu’l-Rahman gives the date of his death. These events led to a decline in the prestige of Muhammad Mir. Usta Lolo, the arch sycophant of his day, realized the extent of disintegration which Baba Khalil’s death was likely to cause to the government of Mir Muhammad. He secretly reported to the Emperor that it was Baba Khalilu’llah who had exercised a restraining influence over Muhammad Mir in his efforts to foment trouble in Kashmir. Now that Baba Khalil was dead, Muhammad Mir was likely to create disturbances. It would, therefore, be in the fitness of things and in the interests of the state that Muhammad Mir was summoned to the imperial court so that the chances of his instigating trouble in the country were eliminated.

In this way Muhammad Mir was summoned to the imperial court. Some time later, he worked in league with Mirza Yusuf Khan to incite Ibeh Shah, Lohar Chak, brother of Shamsi Chak, and Husain Wulu (Dulu ?) to proceed to Kashmir, for the purpose of creating trouble and work towards disruption of law and order and to spread discord among various sections of people in such a way that they would clash with one another. He thought that such a situation would lead the Emperor to recall Yusuf Khan and enable himself to assume their earlier positions of administering the realm of Kashmir. This group of foolish people acted upon their prompting and left for Kashmir.

Tables turned

They came to the house of ‘Ali Raina, the landlord of Bartal. This ‘Ali Raina behaved without any sense of gratitude; acted without generosity, and considerateness; ignored the obligations of kinship and loyalty, and took recourse to wickedness. He handed them over to the agents of Mirza Yusuf Khan. They begged for their release saying that they had come in these lands under the instructions of Mirza Yusuf Khan, but their entreaties were of no avail. On the contrary, their explanation recoiled on them, because the agents took these words to be an attempt at defaming Mirza Yusuf Khan. Thereupon, without the slightest hesitation and without wasting time, [they ordered that] their heads be severed from their bodies:

[ verses ]

On his way to Lahore, ‘Ali Raina, as a consequence of this wicked deed, was afflicted with some malignant disease and died an ignoble death so much so that no one undertook to give him a burial


Muhammad Mir’s intrigue

Thus Muhammad Mir’s expectations about the outcome of his intrigue were frustrated. As a result of this, he resumed his activities of creating disruption in Kashmir. He sent Yusuf Khan Kashmiri to those lands to serve the aforesaid purpose so that the Emperor would be constrained to send them back to govern Kashmir. This was the plan they drew up secretly. Accordingly, Yusuf Khan set out from the capital city of Lahore towards Kashmir, but the powerful stars of the Emperor forced him to retrace his steps.[66] This news was conveyed to the Emperor but, as he was disposed kindly towards his subjects, he overlooked his crime and did not punish him. Ya’qub Shah was also implicated in this matter. But, because His Majesty had entered into some agreement with him and made some commitments, Ya’qub Shah continued to be at the imperial court.[67] However, escorted by Hasain Beg Turkman, he was brought to the presence of Raja Man Singh to join his father Yusuf Shah.

Hasan Beg’s narrow escape

In this way, instigated by some base and unwise people and with the consent of his brother, Ya’qub Shah, Mirza Ibrahim took advantage of the opportunity and dealt a blow with his sword on the head of Hasan Beg Turkman. Hasan Beg was a man of genial disposition and fair in his intentions. With God’s protection, not even a hair of his head was touched: his alert soldiers sprang at Mirza Ibrahim and slew him on the spot:

[ verses ]

This incident made Ya’qub Shah immensely dejected. He was overwhelmed by despondency and repented sorely over what had came to pass. Hasan Beg took notice of his condition and was moved to compassion. Securing him from any reprisals or hostile action against him on the way. Hasan Beg brought him safely to Jonapur. But before releasing him from detention, he obtained a surety from Yusuf Shah [of his safe conduct]. Later on he was sent to enter the services of Raja Man Singh at Rohtas.

Yusuf Shah’s character

While these things were happening, let us have a look at Yusuf Shah. He was gifted with qualities of generosity and charitableness to such an extent that whatever in the shape of cash, kind, gold, robes, ornaments, etc. caught his eye, he gifted it away lavishly and unhesitatingly. Those who were not aware of his innate generosity, attributed it to his mental derangement. After the conquest of Orissa on Tuesday, the sixth of the month of Dhu’l-Hijja, he took ill shortly after sunrise and, on Wednesday, on the fourteenth day of the same month in the year A.H. 1000 (A.D. 1591), when about three quarters of night had passed, he surrendered his soul to God:

[ verses ]

The dead body of Yusuf Shah was removed by Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali from Jagarnath – a town abounding in icons and idols – with such elaborate ceremonies as would befit magnificent kings and masters of equipage and large retinues. The entire journey was covered in two months and, on each day, alms and charities, food and sherbet were given to the poor and the destitute. On Sunday, the 23rd of the month of Rabiu’l-Awwal, in the late afternoon his mortal remains were buried in the pargana of Bisnak [68] in Bihar. A spacious garden was laid out adjoining his grave and a deep well lined with baked bricks was also dug near it. The date of his death has been found in the chronogram Yusuf Shah mord faryad.

Ya’qub poisoned

When Yusuf Shah left this transient world for the everlasting abode, Raja Man Singh bestowed great attention upon his son, Ya’qub Shah. He conferred upon him the jagir and the rank of his late father. This arrangement continued for more than a year, after that His Imperial Majesty summoned Raja Man Singh to his august presence. On the eve of his departure to the imperial court – the meeting place of the choicest of men of the day – two persons of criminal disposition who still bore on their foreheads the dark marks of servitude to Yusuf Shah, hatched a conspiracy against Ya’qub Shah. They made a submission to Raja Man Singh that leaving Yaqub Shah in that part of the country with freedom of movement amounted to letting a bird out of the cage or a falcon out of one’s clutches. They suggested to him that Yaqub Shah should at least be interned so that he was rendered incapable of returning to his native land and hunt birds there:

[ verses ]

Raja Man Singh was alarmed by this possibility and detained Ya’qub Shah in the fort of Rohtas. Some time later, Raja Man Singh was permitted to leave the imperial court for Rohtas. Meanwhile the afore-mentioned detestable and accursed persons once again conspired to put an end to the life of Ya’qub Shah. They made Qasim Khan an accomplice in their crime, who had been known as an illegitimate son of Yusuf Shah. As a punishment for his hideous deeds in the past, (Qasim Khan) had served a year’s term of imprisonment under the orders of the Emperor. It was Raja Man Singh who had interceded for him at that time and secured the orders of his release from prison. The truth is that he was the offspring of a butcher. As he was depraved and inherently wicked, Qasim Khan took the initiative to realize his objective and waited for a suitable opportunity.

On the eve of Raja Man Singh’s arrival in the fort of Rohtas, the two malicious persons accompanied his troops in those regions. Ya’qub Shah sought the permission of the Raja to proceed on a pleasure trip to his jagir and the town of Bhera. Out of courtesy he dropped at Qasim Khan’s residence to take his leave. The treacherous villain, taking advantage of this opportunity, offered him a few betel leaves, one of which concealed deadly poison. Offering of a betel leaf was in accordance with the custom prevailing among the people in those lands. With his sinful hands, Qasim Khan selected this very poisonous leaf for him and, simulating affection, kinship and special regard, he made him accept it. After accepting the betel leaf, Ya’qub Shah took leave of his murderer and returned to his lodging. Soon after he could feel the effect of poison spreading in his body. A few days later, on reaching the town of Bhera, the colour of his face changed to deep blue. On the eighth day of Muharram, A.H. 1001 (A.D. 1592), he breathed his last:

[ verses ]

On learning of this tragic event, Raja Man Singh despatched Qasim Khan to those regions with the purpose of informing and consoling the survivors of the bereaved family. Man Singh was under the impression that Qasim Khan, being the next of kin, and one of the members of the bereaved family, would be the proper person to be entrusted with this missions. But this ungodly ( Khuda na- tars) fellow joined hands with some abominable wretches to hatch more conspiracies. He subjected Ya’qub Shah’s offspring to harassment and victimization in many ways. Household effects, property, gold and ornaments, all that was left with his legitimate queen was seized and taken possession of by him. There was none at the court of Raja Man Singh who gave any attention to their grievances.

The death of a noble father and his illustrious son was a tragedy of great magnitude for their compatriots. Eventually Miran Sayyid Shah ‘Abu’l-Ma’ali, who was their kinsman, besides also having affectionate relationship with the household, brought the dead body of Ya’qub Shah to the pargana of Bisnak to be buried by the side of his father. Let benign God forgive his sins.

Murderer’s fate

Subsequent to these events, and after a lapse of about three or four years, that rascal of a man fell a victim to the wrath of the Wrathful (God) and two carbuncles, horrible to look at, appeared in his armpit and in his anus. On account of acute pain he could not move about for nearly l year. Though he applied ointment to the ulcers, it seemed as if some invisible power made the medicine ineffective; and, in fact, made the sores more putrid. Out of repentance he spoke before everybody, high and low, all that he had done and made no attempt to conceal his feelings of regret and sorrow. The disease, finally, proved fatal. At present he remains buried at the village of Tanda in the province of Bengal:

[ verses ]

Ya’qub’s death-scene

It has been said that prior to his death by poisoning, Ya’qub Shah once suffered amebic dysentery because of his excessive use of narcotics like opium. The Indian physicians took no interest in curing him of this disease. They neither touched his body, nor went anywhere near his bed. But, despite that Ya’qub Shah did not let despondency overpower him. He emphatically declared that his departing hour had not come. “It will be the Friday of Muharram, the day of martyrdom of Husain, the son of ‘Ali. At that time none of my true and affectionate friends should shed tears or lament my death. They should rejoice just as a friend rejoices on meeting his friend, because there goes the saying that “death is the bridge that links a friend with a friend.”

After he was poisoned, Ya’qub Shah found that the symptoms of death had begun to appear and with that he lost hope of his recovery, which led his friends and dear ones to utter loud cries of distress and agony. But he slightly blinked and held his tongue between his teeth – obviously in alarm and to express his disapproval of the lamenting and sobbing going on around him: he even spoke loudly against it. Then he closed his eyes once again. Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali quickly placed his one hand on his face and the other on his chin and managed to release his tongue from his closed jaw. He poured a few drops of sherbet down his throat. With that “the bird of his soul winged away from the cage of his body and made its lasting nest on the branches of the lote-tree (sadreh) in Paradise.”

[ verses ]

Kashmiri nobility breaks

Briefly speaking, the sagacious Muhammad Mir, who bore Ya’qub Shah’s unlimited affection was subjected to much harassment by the cunning Usta Lolo and Firaq Kashmiri. Unable to withstand these shocks, he soon followed Ya’qub Shah to the other world.

[ verses ]

Thus the nobles of Kashmir were completely wiped out. The aforesaid Usta Lolo made a submission to His Majesty that Kashmir could provide large revenue to the imperial treasury. If a revenue officer were appointed by His Majesty to make proper assessment, the possibilities of an increase in revenue could be reported to him. This resulted in the deputation of Hasan bin Shaykh’Umari and Qadi ‘Ali. the renowned revenue experts in the cadre of the imperial government, to Kashmir. According to the instructions from the imperial court, they came to Kashmir where they formulated their own system of levy and collection of revenue which were in the interests of the governing machine.[69] They harassed and oppressed the people in many ways. Eventually the people were forced to join Mirza Yadgar, the brother of Mirza Yusuf Khan, and give a tough fight to Hasain Beg Shaykh ‘Umari, who was routed and overpowered, and he suddenly found himself cut off from his friends and supporters. Bare-footed and without a headgear, he wended his way through narrow and tortuous paths till he reached in the presence of Raja Rajpal. Qadi ‘Ali was slain in the vicinity of Kamelna [sic] fort and Mirza Yadgar was installed in the seat of government of that land.

Yadgar killed

The news of these detestable actions reached the Emperor who, followed by his victorious legions, set out to conquer that country. When Mirza Yadgar came to know of this, he marched out of the city of Kashmir (Srinagar) and, after ensuring the security of Konehbal route, took up his position in the village Hirpur. But suddenly, under some divine dispensation, as also under the good fortune of the king, Ibrahim Khan Ghakkar and Saro Beg Turkman, two employees of Yusuf Khan and presently in Mirza Yadgar’s combat forces, found an opportunity, during the hours they were keeping watch, to assassinate Mirza Yadgar. On account of the resultant chaos, most of his field commanders, like Mir Muhammad, Bahadur Malik, son of Idi Raina, and many others ran away in confusion in different directions. The army of that land could no longer remain united and the soldiers were reduced to such a state of demoralisation that, in order to earn their livelihood they had to approach the jagirdars for service.

Mutch Bhavan episode

Muhibb ‘Ali was one of the officials of Yusuf Khan who had been assigned military duties in the pargana of Dachhanpara and Khovurpara. He had made solemn promises and commitments to a group of local soldiers who had entered his service; he brought them collectively to Mutch Bhavan [70] spring under the pretext of recording their identity, and then put them all to the sword. In this way the blood of Musalmans was shed like the gushing waters of Mutch Bhavan spring. This is how he (Muhibb ‘Ali) invited perpetual torture in the world hereafter in return for petty gains of the base material world.

Lohar Chak killed

After this event, Qasim Khan Namgi [sic], on the advice of some local people, extended many promises and pledges of renewed friendship to Lohar Chak and his brothers and sons, and making them forget their sins and faults, brought them to his presence from Drav [sic] and then, ignoring his pledges and promises, had the whole group assassinated in the town of Sopor:

[ verses ]

After this event, Husain Chak, son of Shamsi Chak of Kupwara, in collusion with some people of the borders of Kashmir killed Jalil Beg. But later, through the treachery of Mulla Jamil Beg who gave him a false sense of security, he was lured into entering the service of Yusuf Khan. Thus, without apprehending danger, Lohar Chak entered his service. He even forgot what Muhibb ‘Ali did (at Mutch Bhavan) and entertained no fears in his mind. At last, Mulla Jamil found his opportunity, and in the village of Regipora “levelled his enemies to dust.” Prior to it, Husi Chak had died in an accident: he fell from his horse in the course of shikar and then never rose again.

Chaks vanquished

Shamsi Chak, son of Daulat Chak, died in the province of the Deccan and his grave is at Burhanpore. His sons, Husain Chak and Zafar Khan, became sorely distressed and were almost out of their mind on account of the circumstances in which their kinsmen perished one after the other. And since they had been pining for the bracing climate of Kashmir, they left Hindustan and came to dwell in the highlands of Kamaraj and Maraj where they lived by lifting cattle and plundering the crops of local peasants.

Tibetan involvement

After the death of Emperor (Akbar), the crown passed on to Jehangir Padshah. Ibeh Khan, son of Husain Khan, son of Ibeh Shah, Husain Chak, Zafar Khan and several others, in collusion with the governor of Tibet, whom they had persuaded to give them military assistance, raised a banner of rebellion against the imperial forces in the pargana of Lar, which continued for two months. By then the governor of Tibet found that they were disunited which made him change his mind. Besides he also found them overtaken by sloth, and he retreated to Tibet.[71]

The group involved in the insurrection continued to be defiant at Sherkot,[72] flirting with the idea of carving out an independent province for themselves. They became vain and indulged in rapacious activities, such as looting and plundering houses, property cattle and belongings of the peasants, and squandered their ill-gotten wealth in orgies of drink and dissipation. This resulted in a famine and dearness in that part of the land to an unimaginable extent. These people became totally indifferent to the presence of the imperial troops in their neighbourhood. Thus unmindful of the realities of the situation, they perpetrated acts of brigandage to their hearts’ content.

‘Ali Khan’s fate

The imperial troops had been biding time. When the opportunity came their way they rushed out of Sopor and attacked them on a dark night while they lay in deep slumber. Many of them were slain and their severed heads were sent to Kashmir [Srinagar] in a boat where they were piled up like a minaret to serve a warning to other insurgents.

Later on ‘Ali Khan, son of Husain Khan, sent Ibeh Shah and Husain Chak towards the borders of Kamaraj on the principle that “two swords cannot be accommodated in one scabbard.” Husain Chak thought it expedient to adopt a conciliatory attitude towards ‘Ali Khan for he could read the writing on the wall. Proud of his bravery, ‘Ali Khan, along with a body of … (illeg) called on Husain Chak to bid him farewell. But Husain Chak seized the opportunity and slew the whole group of soldiers accompanying him. ‘Ali Khan was taken prisoner and handed over to the imperial troops. But as he was being carried there, the Imaghats [73] came to know of the incident and put an end to his life in the village of Denwari. In order to chastise the Imaghats, Zafar Khan sent a contingent of foot soldiers and horsemen there and made a night-assault on them in the pargana of Adwan, leading to fighting and killing between them in the village of Door. A large number of Kashmiri soldiers on the side of Zafar Khan perished and he himself sustained wounds which forced him to abandon fighting and flee towards the jungle in the pargana of Biru.

Jehangir’s governors

This event was followed by the death of Muhammad Quli, the Governor of Kashmir, who had endeared himself to the people of that land. He was succeeded by ‘Ali Akbar Shahi [74] whose appointment was made under the orders of Jehangir Padishah. In the beginning, he took recourse to flattery, deception, and cunning and, through the instrumentality of Qadi Saleh, extended many promises and pledges to Zafar Khan, but with no sincere intentions. He told him that Muhammad Quli and his former officials had committed acts of maltreatment and rascality on the basis of religion. “But since I am a staunch Sunni and you too are one, God forbid that even the slightest act of ill-will prejudicial to your interests should occur from my side,” he said. In confirmation of this statement he swore by the name of venerable Four Friends [75] as well as the Companions of the Prophet of Islam.

Thus, through deception and perfidy, he brought that group of people to his presence, and got them arrested with the connivance of Mulla Jamil Beg. This was followed by a policy of mass punishment in the city. All those people who came across their way – soldiers, landowners, artisans, weavers, and others – from dawn to noon were butchered. Ten days later, Zafar Khan and seventeen young nobles were released from prison and handed over to Hatem Khan the landlord, who, in turn, despatched them to the other world. At the time of his death, Zafar Khan repeated the content of the verses:

[ verses ]

Habib Khan, son of Husain Khan, was killed by Husain Nayak. Yusuf Chak was placed in the custody of Ya’qub Shah only to perish after suffering a number of privations and tortures. Ali Khan, son of Yusuf Khan got Nowroz Chak killed by the son of Hatem Khan.

Chaks liquidated

In short, all those seven budding youngsters who had yet to taste the fruits of life in the garden of this treacherous world, were totally uprooted by its pestilential gusts. They [the kinsfolk of Chaks] were humiliated and deprived of their name and identity, and forced to live a vagrant life in the streets and lanes of the locality of Rainawari. No one was even permitted to bury them [ when dead ]. However, the inhabitants of the locality, in order to avoid the stench of their putrid corpses, removed them to a potter’s kiln in the neighbourhood, and concealed them under mud and dust. The spheres mourned the tragic end of hose people by shedding tears in the shape of torrential rain and by giving out loud laments of lashing thunderbolts, so-much-so that it appeared like the clarion sound of Israfil calling the dead to rise:

Sher Afghan [76]

Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, was one of the warriors of that land. On the eve of Jehangir Padishah’s accession to the throne, he proceeded to his jagir at Burdwan under orders of the Emperor. A brave man, Sher Afghan by name, was a former jagirdar now living in comfort at that place. Qutbu’d-Di Khan, the Governor of the province of Bengal, had, as a sequel to his disagreement with and jealously towards that gallant man, reported to the Emperor that all the people in Bengal except Sher Afghan have submitted to the authority of His Majesty. Whatever orders there were from His Majesty about him [Sher Afghan ] would be carried out by him unhesitatingly. Forthwith orders were issued by the Emperor that Sher Afghan’s head be severed from his body and sent to the imperial court. On receiving these orders, Qutubu’d-Din proceeded to confront that brave man along with a contingent of two thousand soldiers. In spite of suspecting danger to his life, he [Sher Afghan] came out of his fort along with seventy or eighty horsemen to receive the governor formally. He had hardly come close to them when he understood the suspicious movement of Qutubu’d-Din’s troops and was convinced that their only intention was to kill him. Meanwhile the mahaut of Qutbu’d-Din manoeuvred his exasperated elephant in such a manner that Sher Afghan’s horse took fright and got out of control. Consequently Sher Afghan was forced to be on guard. He addressed Qutbu’d-Din in these words: “You commander of the Khans, what do you mean by this move ?” The aforesaid evaded a direct reply. Thereupon Sher Afghan’s companions spoke to him reproachfully in the Turkish language: “If there is anything of manliness and bravery left in you, what other occasion would you seek to put these to test?” On hearing these words, the brave man mustered heroic strength and made an assault on Sher Afghan. But with the first stroke of his sword, Sher Afghan chopped off his arm from his shoulder. The next stroke pierced his belly letting his entrails drop down in a lump. Thus ended the life of Qutbu’d-Din.

The next man who advanced to cross swords with him was Haidar Malik Chadura. He too sustained a wound in that battle and looked round to run for his life. Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal Khan, saw what was happening; he summoned his manliness and spurred his horse towards the pit. The two warriors came close to one another. On account of the presence of elephants on the battlefield, the horses of both the warriors found it rather difficult to stick to their positions. They were compelled to dismount and began fighting each other. Ibeh Khan, son of Abdal, took the lead and inflicted a blow on Sher Afghan’s face, cutting open half of his skull. But that valiant warrior, mustering whatever life and strength was left in him, made a counter-attack in which he embedded his sword like a spike in the belly of Ibeh Khan resulting in his instantaneous death. But Sher Afghan too died at the same time. The grave of Ibeh Khan is to be found beside the tomb of Bahram Saqqa in the village of Burdwan.

Yusuf Khan’s fate

Five to six months later, Yusuf Khan, son of Husain Shah, once mounted a she-elephant and proceeded on a stag hunt in Salim Abad area. But as God willed it, all of a sudden a wild and detestable buffalo appeared almost from nowhere on that hunting ground and made a violent charge on the elephant which, while fleeing, hurtled down its rider in the dense forest. He became a game for the brute and was killed.

In short, the nobles of this land could not be rescued either by friends or by luck from the whirlpool of death in India, and the sun of their career went down westward, far away in the horizon of oblivion:

[ verses ]

A few incidents pertaining to the commanders of that land, such as Husain Khan, son of Yusuf Shah, and others have not been recorded for being unwieldy for this brief account.

Aspersions on Governors

In short, such odious deeds resulted from Mirza ‘Ali Akbar Shahi’s ill-advised statesmanship in this land that a group of supplicants, seeking redress of their grievances, were forced to recount these to the courtiers of Jehangir. The Emperor became displeased and objected [to his misdeeds]. Mirza ‘Ali Akbar Shahi was dismissed as Governor of that land and the office passed on to Nawwab Qalij Khan. The administration of the State of Kashmir was entrusted to Haidar Malik Chadura and he was given freedom to run its affairs as he desired fit, so that people in Kashmir were meted out justice and equity under imperial rule. They were thus liberated from the onslaughts of their oppressors.

Haidar Malik eulogised

Haidar Malik took special care for the development and progress of these lands. He turned his attention to the economy of the country in a way that eatables like food grains, pulses, etc., were made available to the rich and the poor in plenty. The title of Chaghatai was conferred on him. He undertook the onerous task of ensuring public welfare and providing efficient administration to common people as well as the nobles of the land:

[ verses ]

In the course of these events, Raja Man Singh did on the seventh of Jumada al-Ukhra in the year [sic]. The chronogram commemorating the event of his death runs as this —

Abu’l- Ma’ali’s assignment

Miran Sayyid Abu’l-Ma’ali was in the service of Raja Man Singh for twenty-four years during the reign of Akbar. During this period he exhibited extraordinary feats of bravery, which is an inherent trait in the noble clan of Hashimites. He took active part in numerous battles fought against the enemies of His Imperial Majesty, from which he always emerged victorious with the grace of God. He lived his days in comport and pleasure enjoying trust and respect [of the Emperor] to a remarkable extent. After the death of Akbar, he, along with Haidar Malik, came to present himself before Emperor Jehangir.

Through his perceptive genius, Jehangir Padishah found in Miran Sayyid Shah Abu’l-Ma’ali merit and ability, bravery and dauntlessness and, therefore, extended to him special royal favours by conferring a high rank on him. He was allowed a jagir along with Sayyid Ibrahim Khan in the sirkar of Sindh and was permitted to proceed thither.[77]

Miran Sayyid, himself a man of parts, conducted himself towards the learned men of Thatta in such a commendable way that they loved him more than their own selves. They considered his arrival in that land as nothing short of a providential boon and a blessing. The date of his arrival in the sirkar of Thatta has been found in the chronogram ‘abr-i rahmat amad nagehan’.

[ verses ]

The chronogram recording the date of completion of this chronicle is ‘Nameh-e Shahan-i Kashmir’.


1. Hasan writes that people of all ranks and positions in the city of Srinagar came out to receive Yusuf Shah at Barthana. Mulla Muhammad Amin Mustaghni found this apt verse of Hafiz by way of an augury:
Yusuf-e gamgashteh baz ayad ba kan on gham makhor
kulbeh-e ehzan shavad ruzi gulistan gham ma khor

Speaking about the second tenure of Yusuf Shah’s regime, Hasan writes that he strove very hard to eradicate corrupt practices [in matters of religion] (bid’at) which had taken root in earlier days. He paid visits to the graves of the saints and derived benefit from the company of the elderly Shaykhs. Once he visited Baba Hardi Reshi barefooted. THK. p. 315. Commenting on the same subject, Malik Haidar writes that unjust taxes imposed on some sections of people, were abolished by him. Corvee (begar) exacted from people by forcing them to proceed on journey without receiving remuneration was also abolished. Taxes on fruit-bearing trees and on craftsmen were also abolished. See TMH. MS. f. 72b.

2. This theme has been borrowed from Jami’s Lawayeh.

atiu’llah wa atiu’rrasul wa ulu’l amr minkum.

4. Husi Chak was captured in the pargana of Bengil, and Muhammad Khan in Baramulla by a thanedar. TMH. MS. f. 71b

dil-e pur dard-i man jann basan-e ghuncheh pur khun ast
chih berahmi na pursidi kih ahwal-e dilat chun ast


ba avsh kush kih ta chesh mizani barham
khazanat mi rasad-o nawbahar mi guzarad

man dar andesheh kih chun saveh kunam bar sar-i u
u dar an gham kih chisan mikanad az bonyadam

8. To Punjab in THK. p. 315.

9. After Yusuf Shah’s victory at Sopor, Haidar Chak escaped to Tibet. Later he appeared in Kishtwar and often fought against the local thanedars. After four years of wandering, he went to the Indian plains and appealed to Raja Ram Singh of Lahore for assistance. The Raja showed him respect and consideration and granted him a jagir in Nowshehra. See TMH MS. f. 72a.

10. Present Vutrus. See Rajat. vii. 1254; Vol. II, p. 467.

11. Raja Man Singh was displeased with Yusuf Shah for leaving his court without seeking formal permission from him. See THK. p. 318.

12. The chronicler does not tell us anything about the secret understanding that was between Yusuf Shah and Man Singh; there is a definite hint to the effect that there must have been some agreement between the two which Yusuf Shah appears to have violated. This points to a guess that perhaps the chronicler is deliberately withholding some information. By and large, he adopts the method of telling us about such secret deals and compacts, but never spells the terms of agreement.


kih gar kar bandi pashiman shavi
kih gar kar bandi pashiman shavi

14. Hasan says that the administration of Nowshehra and Bhimber was entrusted to him. See THK. p. 318.

15. Khwaa Qasim continued flattering Yusuf Shah. At one stage the latter got annoyed with him for flattering him and reprimanded him a number of times. See TMH. p. 318.

16. Malik Haidar writes that the names of Akbar’s emissaries to Yusuf Shah were Mirza Tahir and Saleh’Aqil. The contents of the letter they brought him from the Emperor were: “If you are relieved of the anxiety caused by the enemy, and if the domain has been occupied, you should present yourself at the imperial court.” See TMH. MS. f. 72b. But Hasan gives the extract from the letter as follows: Royal patronage and attention were given to you because the signs of sincerity and truthfulness were imprinted on your face. Since the time of your departure to Kashmir, no report about the affairs of the State has been sent to the concerned at the imperial court. Now that it appears that the insurgents have been subdued, it is desired that the report in question containing the facts be sent without any delay.” See THK. p. 319.

17. Fatehpore in THK. p. 319.

18. Malik Haidar says that Haidar Khan, the third son of Yusuf Shah and not Ya’qub Khan, the eldest son, was sent to Akbar’s court. The cowardly decision caused anguish to Kashmiri nobles and commanders who were reminded of the contents of the letter salvaged from the debris of Parihasapora after it was burnt by Mir Shamsu’d-Din ‘Iraqi. It said that after a lapse of one thousand and five hundred years, a man from ‘Iraq would destroy that idol-house …. During the reign of the Chaks, Kashmir would pass into the hands of the Chaghatai rulers. See TMH. MS. ff. 73-74.

19. The ancient name of Afghanistan.

20. Whether Ya’qub got the permission to leave Bahlool Pora is not clear, because subsequent details reveal that he had fled without seeking formal permission. See note 23 infra.

21. Yusuf Shah was exceedingly annoyed with the unbecoming behaviour of Ya’qub, and, in fact, wanted to get him arrested, but the nobles interceded for him. See THK. pp. 319-20.

22. Mirza Tahir in TMH. MS. f. 72b.

23. Here is a contradiction. Elsewhere the author says that Ya’qub left the imperial court after seeking due permission. Regarding Ya’qub’s flight from the imperial court, see also Akbar-Nama, Vol. III, p. 469.

24. There appears to be some confusion about which one of the three sons of Yusuf Shah was sent to Akbar’s court. Malik Haidar differs from the chronicler by saying that the first delegation was headed by Mirza Haidar Khan, the eldest son of Yusuf Shah. See TMH. MS. f. 73b.

25. Yusuf Shah received Hakim ‘Ali, the emissary of Akbar, with courtesy and was, in fact, inclined to present himself before the Emperor at Lahore. But he was dissuaded from doing so by his nobles. See THK. p. 320. Elaborating on this, Malik Haidar says that the nobles argued that even after a lapse of few centuries the effect of Zulchu’s incursion had not gone off completely. The Mughals could pose a greater threat to them. They added that by succumbing to the incursionists, they would risk the stigma of cowardice. For more details, see TMH. MS. f. 74b.

26. For Drang see Rajat. vii, 140M; Vol. II, p. 399. Hasan thinks that it was Kishanganga river which the Mughal troops had crossed. See THK. p. 322.

27. Hasan says that Yusuf Shah despatched Abu’l Ma’ali and Husain Chak via Khohvur route, and Shams Chak, Ya’qub Khan, Lohar Qurchi, Baba Talib Isfahani, Hasan Bhat, Hasan Malik Chadura and the feudal lords of Khakha and Buma clans together with a large force under their command to take up their position at Bulyasa. See THK. p 322.

28. The disaster which befell the Mughal army is subtly alluded to in the letter sent by Raja Bhagwan Das to Yusuf Shah through Shapur Khan. The extract reproduced from Akbar Nama says: However, even if the imperial troops have met with disaster as a result of the wrath of God Almighty, the great monarch will send back a hundred thousand troops and this land will be trampled under the feet of elephants. You ought to realise the consequences which your attitude will lead to. See THK. p. 324.

29. Hasan says that the Raja had laid down in the agreement that in case Yusuf Shah agreed to proceed to the imperial court along with him, he would be shown special favours and a robe of honour would be presented to him. He would also be assured of the governance of his kingdom and nothing would be reduced from his power and authority. These would remain the same as in the past. See THK. p. 324. However, Malik Haidar makes no mention of any commitment made by the Raja.

30. Malik Haidar states that Isfahani was not a Kashmiri. TMH. MS. f. 77a.

31. The plunderers were Khakhas (Khasas of Rajat.), See THK. p 325.

32. Hasan says that the Mughals initiated this move on the behest of Yusuf Shah. See THK. p. 325.

33. Hasan writes that Raja Bhagwan Das also arranged the marriage of Ya’qub Shah with the daughter of Mubarak Khan Khakhar (Ghakkar) See THK. p. 325.

34. Malik Haidar says that on reaching Pakhli, Yusuf Shah was put in chains till the Raja brought him to the presence of His Majesty. See TMH. MS. f. 77b.

35. From Attock, Yusuf Shah was sent to Lahore under the escort of Ram Das Kachhwaha and then he remained a prisoner of Raja Todar Mal for two years. Malik Haidar also states that afterwards when Raja Man Singh returned from Kabul, he interceded for him and succeeded in seeking his release from prison. See THK. p. 326, and TMH MS. f. 77b.

36. Present Achhabal in district Anantnag.

37. Naji Raina was the Zamindar of Bartal (Bal thal). See THK. p. 420.

38. Qadi Musa descended from Qadi Mir ‘Ali. His house was of the dispensers of justice in Kashmir since the days of Qadi Ibrahim.

39. Quoting Malik Haidar (TMH. MS f. 81a), and Muhummad ‘Azam (Waqat-e-Kashmir pp. 99-100), Hasan writes that the root cause of the tragedy was one Mulla ‘Aini who had persuaded Ya’qub Shah to get the sentence Ali waliu’llah incorporated in the Muslim call for prayer. But Qadi Musa, the upholder of Sunni tradition did not oblige him. He was, therefore, accused of collaborating with Shams Chak. He was martyred in the court and his dead body was tied to the tail of an elephant and dragged along the streets. As it reached near the door of his house, his mother covered it with a veil and thanked God for making him a martyr. At the end of the day there appeared a dreadful storm which brought hail and torrential rain of such an intensity that many pregnant women aborted and many children were killed by thunder. A thunderbolt which fell on the house of Ya’qub Khan paralysed the wife of Ali Dar and four women in the household. See THK. p 331.

40. Nobles such as Shams Chak, Malik Muhammad Hasan Chadura, and ‘Alisher Magray deserted Ya’qub Shah and proceeded towards the Indian mountains. However, they were dissuaded by Malik Muhammad Hasan from going onwards and turned back to Kashmir where, after seven days of sporadic fighting, Baba Khalil and Shaykh Hasan intervened to stop the fighting between the two groups. It was decided that the area beyond Sopor to the right bank of river Jhelum would be ceded to the nobles. However, the parties did not stick to the agreement, and Ya’qub marched at the head of a formidable force towards Sopor. His opponents did not feel that they were strong enough to resist him. See TMH. MS. f. 79b.

41. Among these were Haidar Chak and Shaykh Ya’qub. See TMH. MS. f. 79b. But Hasan gives the names Shaykh Ya’qub Sarfi and Baba Da’ud Khaki. See THK. p. 332.

42. Yusuf Khan Baihaqi in THK. p. 332.

43. Hasan’s revealing statement is that Baihaqi had to employ cunning and guile to get these things. See THK p. 333.

44. Present Kitshom, the site of ancient Krtyasrama Vihara, See Rajat. i, 147n.

45. Hasan writes that Ya’qub Shah’s action to release Shamsi Chak and Muhammad Bhat encouraged the masses to set on fire the khanqah at Zadibal, desecrate the grave of Shams ‘Iraqi and plunder the houses of the Shias. The destruction of the Shias continued for three days. See THK. p. 334.

46. majma’-e serat wa suluk

47. ‘Those areas’ refer to Kashmir. It appears that this portion of the chronicle was written by the author when he was outside Kashmir.

48. On Pir Pantsal route. See Rajat. i, 302n.

49 Keterbal/Kenzbal in TMH. MS. ff. 80a-81a and Kunehbal in THK. p. 334.

50. In pargana Ular. See THK. p. 419.

51. Gir in Hasan. The name of its Zamindar was Yusuf Shee. See THK. p. 419.

52. The mountain ranges of Naji Raina: this is not clear. Perhaps the name Nayak ranges also applies to the same mountain.

53. For more details see Ma’athiru’1-Umara, Vol. III, p. 258

54. This happened in A.D. 1586. THK p. 420n.

55. Gasu in Hasan. THK. p. 420.

56. For details see THK. pp. 420-21.

57. For details about Qasim Khan’s defeat by the Kashmiries, see TMH. MS. f. 83b and THK. pp. 422-23.

58. Salah-i ma hameh anast kan turast salah.

59. Hasan says that Ibeh Khan established contact with Prince Salim. He severed relations with Ya’qub Khan, and on the instance of Yusuf Khan proceeded to Delhi, where he became a courtier of Prince Salim. THK. p. 429.

60. Invariably the chronicler piles up details without providing linkages of any kind. In this case, it seems the possible link between the two sentences is that Yusuf Khan desired to continue staying on in Kashmir and, therefore, created conditions in which he could make himself look indispensable. That is why under various pretexts he started the policy of liquidating Kashmiri commanders.

61. In fact, Yusuf Khan had proceeded to the imperial court leaving behind his brother Baqir Khan in charge of Kashmir. His courtier, Usta Lolo Najjar made Baqir Khan apprehend an uprising and insurgency by the Kashmiri nobles, THK. p. 430.

62. It took place in A.D. 1587. For details regarding the route adopted by the royal entourage, repairs of bridges and hewing of boulders etc., see Akbar Nama, Vol. III, p. 537 et seq. Akbar’s arrival in Kashmir was an unprecedented pageant for Kashmiris who brought numerous presents to His Majesty.

63. Yusuf Khan Rizvi contrived to secure the orders of His Majesty to return to Kashmir.

64. This is quite an apparent error of logic.

65. makun ta tawani ba najins mel chu masti kih afi nihad dar baghal.

66. Also see THK. p. 436.

66. This sentence is rather evasive because as it is the stars of the Emperor could have no effect on him. The chronicler seems to suppress some vital information.

67. It has not been able to find out the terms of agreement between Akbar and Ya’qub Shah.

68. Present-day Biswak in Bihar.

69. Hasan writes that two revenue officers registered free lands as state-owned and decided to make cash payment of allowances to soldiers on account of fodder for their horses. This caused dissatisfaction to those who were in the habit of misappropriating state lands because they could not continue their corrupt practices. See THK. p. 436.

70. Ancient Matsya-Bhavan. See Akbar Nama Vol. III, p. 1084n.

71. For details, see Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. III, pp. 823-24.

72. Now Baba Shukuru’d-Din hill-top between Khuihama and Sopor. In ancient times, Raja Prahlad had built the Prateswara temple here. It was called Bosangari. See THK. p. 226.

73. Imaghan in pargana Aedwan. This pargana was rehabilitated by Raja Swarna (1245 Loukika) in which he ordered the digging of a canal called Sonehman. See THK p. 72 and 447.

74. For details see THK p. 450n, and Ma’athiru’l-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 355-57.

75. Four chosen companions of Prophet Muhammad, viz. Abu Bakar, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman and ‘Ali.

76. For more details about the story of Sher Aghan’s killing see Tuzak-i-Jehangiri, p. 55, TMH. MS. f. 95 and THK. pp. 462 et seq.

77. After the death of Raja Man Singh, Miran Sayyid came to Kashmir and was approached by many members of Chak clan. But ‘Etiqad Khan, the Mughal governor, sent him to His Majesty who ordered him to go to Sindh where he was provided a jagir of twenty-five thousand rupees. THK p. 481. This seems to be another example of Mughal diplomacy.

*** The End ***

Notification  about the translator :

Translated by Prof. Kashi Nath Pandita
Born in Baramulla in 1927, he obtained his M.A. in Persian from the Panjab University and Ph.D. in Iranian from Teheran University. He served for a long time as professor in the Persian Department and the Centre of Central Asian Studies at the Jammu and Kashmir University. He has authored several books including My Tajik Friends, Iran and Central Asia, and Baharistan-i-Shahi.

see also :



A Library of Classical Hindustani Music





1. The music of India — B. Chaitanya Deva — Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1981, p. 278. Discusses
2. The cooking of Music and other essays — Sheila Dhar — Permanent Black — 2001, p. 114. Discusses not to touch an instrument with feet, p.95,
3. Senia Gharana — Its contribution to Indian Classical Music — Sunita Dhar — Reliance Publishing House — 1989, p. 190. Discusses Tansen lineage (p. 55), his compositions.
4. The Evolution of Khayal — M. V. Dhond — Sangeet Natak Academy — Rabindra Bhawan, Firoze Shah Road, New Delhi 110001, p. 52. Discusses
5. Indian Music — Leela Floyd — Oxford University Press — 1980, p. 48. Discusses
6. The Music of Hindoostan — A. H. Fox Strangways, p. 364. Discusses
7. Ragas and Raginis — O. C. Gangoly — Nalanda Publications — 1935 (36 copies!), p. 224. Discusses
8. The Musical Heritage of India — M. R. Gautam — Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd — 1980, 2001 (Enlarged), p. 209. Discusses
9. The Story of Indian Music — Its growth and synthesis — O. Gosvami — Asia Publishing House — 1957, p. 332. Discusses Swarparda — tune given by strangers, Sohini — the chaste form of the word soni, which means beauty p. 80.
10. The Music of India — Reggy Holroyde — Prager Publishers, New York, p. 290. Discusses
11. Aspects of Indian Music — Publications Division — Ministry of Information and Broadcasting — Government of India, New Delhi, p. 103. Discusses an article by Antsher Lobo, titled ‘Multiple functions of vadi and Samvadi’ etc.
12. copy
13. Theory of Indian Music — Miss L. Issac, 1967 — Shyam Printers, p. 256. Discusses
14. The Ragas of North Indian Music — their structure and evolution — N. A. Jairazbhoy, p. 222. Discusses
15. copy
16. A Musical journey through India — Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy — BBC 1969, p. 62. Discusses many instruments like Banstaranga.
17. Introducing Indian Music — Baburao Joshi, Antsher Lobo — Foreword by Menuin, 1965, p. 64. Discusses
18. Understanding Indian Classical Music — G.N. Joshi — Taraporevala, Bombay, p. 46. Discusses
19. Music of India — William Jones and N. Augustus Willard — 1793, 1834, 1962, p. 114. Discusses
20. Understanding Indian Music — Baburao Joshi — Greenword Press, 1963, p. 102. Discusses Asawari pathoes, Adana heroism in p. 75
21. Listening to Hindustani Music — Chetan Karnani — Sargam books, 1976, p. 167. Discusses
22. The Ragas of North India — Walter Kaufmann — International Affairs Center, 1968, p. 625. Discusses few obscure ragas,
23. The Ragas of South India — Walter Kaufmann — International Affairs Center, 1976, p. 723. Discusses
24. Music and its study — Mobarak Hussain Khan — Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1988, p. 116. Discusses kut tan, in the end ardhamatra taan by Allauddin Khan
25. Indian Music — Problems and Prospects — B. V. Kesar, Bombay popular Prakashan, 1889/1967, p. 93. Discusses  Shastra and music,
26. Census of India 1971 — Series 1 India — Miscellaneous studies : Ethnomusicology — Tribal Music — The Music of Kinnaur, p. 60. Discusses
27. Royal Patronage to Indian Music — Gouri Kuppuswamy, M. Hariharan — Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, p. 225. Discusses
28. Notes and their places in Indian Music — Made simple — S. V. Leela — Bharathi Gana Nilayam — 1, Srinivasa Street, Madras 28, p. ~30. Discusses
29. Tones and inervals of Hindu Classical Music — Donald A. Lentz — University of Nebrasaka Studies, p. 25. Discusses
30. Contemporary Hindusthani Music as Discourse, Attitudes and Practice — Amelia Teresa Maciszewski, p. 511. Discusses
31. Some Indian Conceptions of Music — Mrs. Mand Mann, p. 65. Discusses
32. Ragas in Indian Classical Music — Anupam Mahajan — Gian Publishing House, p. 138. Discusses kut taan, p. 35 , attributes of Swara by Allauddin Khan
33. ?copy? Ragas in Hindustani Music — Conceptual aspects — Anupam Mahajan — . Discusses different aangas, Brindavani Sarang \cap Desh
34. Premature Genius in Tala(-Prastara) in Indian Music — Akella Mallikarjuna Sharma — Telegu University of Hyderabad, 1992, p. 237. Discusses
35. Discovering Indian Music — Raghava R. Menon — Somaiya Publications Pvt Ltd, p. 87. Discusses
36. Indian Music — The Magic of Raga — Raghava Menon — Somaiya Publications Pvt Ltd, p. 102. Discusses
37. The sound of Indian Music — A journey into Raga — Raghava R. Menon — Indian book company, p. 85. Discusses
38. A comparative study of Selected hindusthani Ragas — Patrick Moutal — Munshiram Manoharlal, p. 580. Discusses chalan of many raag,
39. *Indian Classical Music — Changing profiles — Bimal Mukherjee — West Bengal State Music Academy — 36 Anwar shah Road — Calcutta 700033, p. 239. Discusses anecdotes — Tilak kamod at p. 192, cried due to music p. 154, Nayak Baiju and Benaras Gharana lineage p. 15–16.
40. Sangeetha Laalithya Lahari (The waves of Elegance in Music) — Bangalore — S. Mukund — 1989, p. 299. Discusses Saama Veda, Natya Saastra, Gram-Murchana-Jati, Hindusthani music, Karnatic music, 72 scales (janaka raga), Katapayaadi sutram, 22 srutis, Hindusthani vs Karnatic, equivaent mela of thaats p. 7
41. Indian music — an introduction — D.P. Mukherjee, p. 67.
42. Theory of Harmonization of Indian Melody — Sanatan Mukherjee, p. ~30. Discusses the author could play violin and mouth-organ together, photo given
43. The science of music — K. Vasudeva Sastri, Research publications, Ellayammankoil street, Tanjore, p. 74.
44. A Rasika’s journey through Indian music — Rajeev Nair — Indialog publications pvt ltd, p. 402. Discusses Major gharanas, great musicians, instruments and instrumentalists.
45. Indian Music — History and Structure — Emmie Te Nijenhuis, 1974, p. 150.
46. In pensare musicale indiano — Paolo Pacciolla — BESA Editrice, p. 147.
47. The origin and development of Durupad and its bearing on instrumental music — E. S. Perera, K P Bagchi and company — Calcutta, New Delhi, 1994, p. 307. Discusses Dhrupad and Man Singh, Prabandha and epic period, Prabandha-git and pre-dhrupad period, Sapta-dhatu and Sadanga prabandhas, Baiju Bawra, Dhrupad and yoga, Tughluq period, Veena (Been), Rabab, bandishes (one obtained from BKRC, p. 290).
48. The illustrated companion to South Indian Classical Music — Ludwig Pesch — Oxford univ press, Delhi, 1999, p. 376.
49. The rags of Hindustan — Puna, Philharmonic society of Western India — 1918, p. 48. Discussess many compositions from people like Abdul Karim Khan
50. The rags of Hindustan Vol II— Puna, Philharmonic society of Western India — 1921, p. 99.
51. The rags of Hindustan Vol III— Puna, Philharmonic society of Western India — 1923, p. 25.
52. North Indian rhythms on the drum set — Ed Pias — Univ of Washington, 1996, p. 100
53. History of Indian Music — Bhavanrav A. Pingle — Sudil Gupta (India) Private Ltd, Calcuta 4, 1962, p. 124
54. The Music of India — H. A. Popley — Low price publications — Delhi 110052, 1921, 1990, p. 187.
55. The Music of India — Herbert A. Popley — 2nd edition — Y.M.C.A. Publishing house, 5 russell street, Calcutta, 1950, p. 184
56. A Historical study of Indian Music — Swami Prajnanananda, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1980, p. 412. Discussess jatis as described in Bharata’s Natya Sastra, Saptatantri-veena in the Buddhist caves of Pitalkhora, Aryan and Non-Aryan elements in Some Indian ragas, origin and development of Dhruvapada, Evolution of Khayal and itc developement.
57. A history of Indian Music — Vol 1 (ancient period) — Swami Prajnanananda — Ramakrishna Vedanta Math — 1963, p. 215.
58. A history of Indian Music — Vol 2 (Midieaval period and modern period) — Swami Prajnanananda — Ramakrishna Vedanta Math — 1963, p. 231
59. Music : Its form, function and value  — Swami Prajnanananda, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 1979, p. 181.
60. Glimpses of Indian music — Vani Bai Ram — Kitab Mahal Private ltd, p. 193. Discussess 25 hindusthani ragas name in karnatic, p. 101.   “Life spent without swimming in the blissful ocean of Musical knowledge is a burden to the earth”. Tyagaraja
61. The ragas of Karnatic Music — N. S. Ramachandran — University of Madras, 1938, p. 228.
62. Indian aesthetics — Music and Dance — Sri Venkateshwara University, 1966, p. 74.
63. Hindusthani Music — An outline of its physics and aesthetics — G. H. Ranade, 1951, p. 204.
64. Music in Maharashtra — G.H. Ranade, p. 58.
65. History of South Indian (carnatic) Music — From Vedic times to the Present — R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, 1972, p. 487. Discusses 2116 raga names in p. 345.
66. Sri Kiruti Mani Malai — Rangaramanuja, 1965, p. 740, in Tamil.
67. The Varnam (a special form of Karnatic Music) — Lalita Ramakrishna — Harman Publishing House, New Delhi 1991, p. 286
68. The Art and Science of Carnatic Music — Vidya Shankar — The music academy of Madras — 306, T.T.K. Road, Madras 600014, 1983, p. 216. Discusses Ragas and Mela-system, Clasification of Ragas, graha-bheda, Tala, bhava, Kalpana-sangita, srutis, fretting of Vina, Gamakas
69. A book in Tamil, 1965, p. 712. (probably Kritimanimalai by Rangaramanuja)
70. Another book in Tamil, p. 542
71. Another book in Tamil, p. 408
72. Music of Eastern India — Voccal Music in Bengali, Oriya, Assamese and Manipuri with special emphasis on Bengali — Sukumar Ray — Firma K. L. Mukhopadhyay — Calcutta, 1973, p. 164. very important p. 69-75.
73. The Music of India — 6000 BC to 1000AD — Vol 1 – Ram Avatar Vir – Pankaj Publications, Delhi 1986,  p. 280
74. The Music of India — 1001 AD to 1986 — vol 2 — Ram Avatar Vir — p. 256
75. History of Indian Music and Musicians — Ram Avatar Vir — 1987, p. 110. Discusses A photo of Dabir Khan
76. Musical Heritage of India — Lalita Rama Krishna — Shubhi Publications — New Delhi — 110035,  2003, p. 291.
77. Acoustical perspective on Raga-Rasa theory — Suvarnalata Rao — Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, 2000, p. 145.
78. The concept and Evolution of Raga in Hindusthani andf Karnatic msuic — Geetha Ravikumar — Bhavan’s book university, 2002, p. 184.
79. Aesthetics of North Indian classical Music — Bimalakanta Roychaudhuri — Imdadkhani school of Sitar — 88 Moore avenue, Calcutta 700040, first ed. 1993, p. 125.
80. *Indian Music in the past and present — A study of the present and a record of the past (together with Sir William Jones’ celebrated treatise in full, with 19 plates chiefly of instruments, music illustrations and a map) — Ethel Rosenthal, p. 220. {the first All-India music Conference, convenced in 19916 by H. H. the Maharaja Gaekwar of Baroda, inaugurated several projects of reform (p.88) …up to the end of 1925 four conferences had taken place (In December, 1927, an All-India Music conference was held in Madras). Widespread interest in music is being aroused amongst the intelligentsia of India, and it is to be hoped that the renaissance of Indian music will soon be a fait accompli. The second cnoference was held at Delhi in 1918, under the presidentship of H.H. the Nawab of Rampur (p. 80)
81. All you wanted to know about INDIAN MUSIC (Carnatic and Hindustani) but didn’t know whom to ask — Sakuntala Narasimhan — Veenapani Centre for Arts, Bangalore, 1999, p. 100.  Discusses srutis, their frequencies (p. 93)…. the 22 srutis within an octave are not equally spaces. Three kinds of eka-sruti intervals are identified — the purna ekasruti (256/243 or 90 cents), nyuna eka sruti (25/24 or 70 cents) and pramana eka sruti (81/80 or 22 cents)
82. History of Indian Music — Padma Bhusan P. Sambamoorthy, p. 262. Discusses historical concerts, anecdotes, very nice book, very useful to learn about Carnatic Music
83. Dhrupad — Tradition and Performance in Indian Music — Ritwik Sanyal and Richard Widdess — SOAS Musicilogy Series — Ashgate Publishing limited (.com), 2004, p. 395.DiscussesWhat is dhrupad, Historical Imergence of Dhrupad style, The four banis, The dagar Heritage (life of Behram Khan is described). Alap and tradition etc.
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85. Ragas and Raginis — Amiya Nath Sanyal — Orient Longman, 1959, p. 282. Discussess Many interesting theoritical concepts, for eg. Bhupali to Malkauns (p. 196)
86. Sangita-Ratnakara of Sarangadeva — Vol 1 — Treatment of Svara — English translation by Dr. R. K. Shringy, under the supervision of Dr. (Miss) Prem Lata Sharma, Motilal Banarasidass — Delhi Varanasi — Patna, 1978, p. 450.
87. Sangita Ratnakara of Sarangadeva — Sanskrit text and English translation with Comments and Notes — Chapters II-IV, English translation by Dr. R. K. Shringy, under the supervision of Dr. Prem Lata Sharma, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd, Vol II, 1989, p. 397.
88. The winged form — aesthetical essays pn hindustani rhythm — Sushil Kumar Saxena — Reader in Philosophy, University of Delhi — Sangeet Natak Academi — Rabindra Bhawan, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi, 1979, p. 170
89. Contributions of Saints and Seers to the Music of India — Vol 1 — Shantsheela Santhianathan — Kanishka Publishers, Distributors — New Delhi — 110002, 1996, p. 387.
90. Same —- Vol 2, 1996, p. 589
91. Indian concept of rhythm, Arun Kumar Sen, Kanishka Publishers, Distributors, 1994, p. 178
92. Power and delight : Wocal training in North Indian Classical Music — Stanley Arnold Scott (Wesleyan University ), May 1997, p. 550. Discusses Badal Khan taught Girijashankar Chakrabarty, Krishnachandra De, as well as Bhishmadev Chatterjee (from Raychoudhury, Bimalakanta, 1991, Bharatiya Sangeetkosh, Calcutta : Imdadkhani School of Sitar)
93. The catechism of Indian Music with songs — Mohindro Lall Seal, Honoratry member of the Managing committee, Bengal Music School, author of the “index of Kantha-Kaumudi” of 1877 and of “The Musical chart — 1885), Calcutta — 1893. (aupapattika tauryatrika (theoretical music), kriyasiddha siddha …
94. Music India — Dr. Manorma Sharma — A.P.H. Publishing corporation — 5, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi — 110002, 1999, p. 589.DiscussesTerminologies! of Concepts and Terms, Melodies — Ragas, Forms and Styles, Gems of Indian Music, Instruments, Rhythm – Tala, The language of Expression – Dance, Literature
95. Hindu Music and Rhythm — Vishnudass Shirali, Musical director of Uday Shankar and Company of Hindu Dancers and Musicians, p. 49
96. My music, My Life by Ravi Shankar, with an introduction by Yehudi Menuhin, Vikas Publishing house Pvt Ltd, 1969, p. 160.
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98. Sargam — An introduction to Indian Music — Vishnudass Shirali — Abhinav/ Marg Publications, 1977, p. 125. Discusses many old compositions from Sangit Darpana
99. Indian Music — Late Dr. Thakur Jaideva Singh — Edited by Prem Lata Sharma, Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta, Sangeet-Paridarshini Series-2, 1995, p. 536. Discussess musicians from 800 to 1900, from Baiju to all. (p. 152 — Krishnananda Vyasa has also collected a number of Baiju’s dhruvapada compositions in his Ragakalpadruma… invented a few ragas of which Gujari Todi and Bahaduri Todi are justly famous. Gujari Todi was invented to immortalize the memory of Mriganayani (na) gujari, the favourite queen of his earlier patron, Raja Mansingh of Gwalior, and Bahaduri Todi was composed in honour of his later patron, Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat.
100. Spiritual aspects of Indian Music — robert Leopold Simon — Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, 1984, p. 154
101. Invitation to Indian Music — Daljit Singh — Classicl Music Circle Ludhiana, p. 202.  Discusses Karim Khan was awarded Sanget Ratna at the Town Hall of Mysore on 20th December, 1929. (Saranga Deva (1210–1274), Sangeet Ratnakar)
102. An approach to the study of Indian Music — Purnima Sinha, India Publications, Calcutta, 1970, p. 119
103. Indian Series — Bh. A. Pingle — Sri Satguru Publications, a division of Indian books centre, Delhi, 1989, p. 341.
104. Dhrupada — A study of its origin, Historical Development, Structure and Present State, Indurama Srivastava, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi Varanasi Patna, 1980, p. 152.Discussessbiographical sketches of Past and Present Dhrupada singers among others
105. Studies in Indian Music and Allied arts  — in 5 volumes , Edited by De Leela Omchery, Mrs Deepti Omchery Bhalla, Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi 1990, p. 195, 232, 237, 149, 174. Discusses Music therapy (asta vakra) etc
106. Euphony — Indian Classical music — L. Subramaniam and Viji Subramaniam, Affiliated East-West Press Pvt Ltd, 1995, p. 190. Discusses Karnatic composers (p. 140)
107. Veena Dhanammal — The making of a Legend — Lakshmi Subramanian, Routledge, Taylor and Francis group, 2009, p. 111
108. Studies in Indian Music — T.V. Subba Rao — Asia Publishing house, 1962, p. 248. Discusses Many classic composers and compositions of Tyagaraja
109. Bharatiya Sangeet : RAGA NIDHI (Enclopedia of Indian Ragas). Vol 1 ABC (30 80 106), A comparative study of Hindustani and Karnatak Ragas — Subba Rao, 1956, p. 158.
110. RAGA NIDHI Vol 2, A comparative study of Hindustani and Karnatak Ragas — B. Subba Rao, auided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, published by The Music Academy, Madras, 115-E, Mowbray’s road, Madras — 14. 1964, p. 185. (D to J)
111. RAGA NIDHI Vol 3, A comparative study of Hindustani and Karnatak Ragas — B. Subba Rao, auided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, published by The Music Academy, Madras, 115-E, Mowbray’s road, Madras — 14. 1965, p. 262. (K to P)
112. RAGA NIDHI Vol 4, A comparative study of Hindustani and Karnatak Ragas — B. Subba Rao, auided by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, published by The Music Academy, Madras, 115-E, Mowbray’s road, Madras — 14. 1966, p. 303. (Q to Z)
113. Bharatiya Sangita Darshani — Indian Music — A profile — Kalluri Subba Rao, 1984, p. 80. Discusses Gamakas (p. 53)
114. Theory of Indian Music — Bishan Swarup — Swarup brothers, 7/A, Hamilon Road, Allahabad. 2nd and enlarged edition 1950, p. 238
115. the musical scales of the Hindus with remarks on the applicability of Harmony to Hindu Music by RAJAH COMM. SOURINDRO MOHUN TAGORE, Mus. Doc., Sangita-Nayaka, Calcutta, Bengal Academy of Music, 1884, p. 118.discusses Sampurna thaat ragas, Sharava thaat ragas, Orava that ragas
116. Six principal Ragas, witha brief review of Hindu Music by Sourindro Mohun Tagore, Neeraj Publishing house, delhi — 110052, 1st ed. 1877, reprinted 1982, p. 90. Discusses murchanas in Sharajagrama, Madhyamagrama with their names, contains some songs of Jayadeva
117. Nadopasana — Prof. S. K. Thyagarajan, with a foreword by P. Sambamoorthi, Sarada Publishing house, 248-G, New Dharapuram Road, Palni, S. India, p. 61.
118. Singing the praises divine : Music in the Hindu tradition — Selina Thielemann — A.P.H. Publishing corporation, 5, Ansari Road, Darya Ganj, New Delhi 110002, 200, p. 175.
119. Three monographs on Music — Antsher Lobo : The universal Basic scale of Unicentric Tonality , Indian Musical Ma-Grama of Bharata — World’s only Perfect scale; The Jain Data about Musical Instruments — Hiralal Kapadia, Indian Musicological Society, Jambu Bet, Dandia Bazar, Baroda, India, 1980, p. 151. Discussess Identity of the perfect scale, Misinterpretation of Bharata, New Bi-polar methods confirm bharata, Bi-cyclic method and compostie scale, Natya Shastra and the Algebraic Method, the acoustic and absolute system of Gramas, The bi-polar system of gramas, Shrutis and murchanas, The myth of the so-called standard scale, post-bharatan errors and misinterpretations.
120. To whom Dhrupad owes its renaissance —AGAR, about a 40 page book, with lineage in the first page.
121. The Mala-Raga-Malika of Maha-Vaidya-Natha Sivan — The adyar library, 1937, p. ~ 100. Nice book discussing Katapayadi etc
122. Music in India — The classical traditions — Bonnie C. Wade — Manohar, 1987, p. 252.
123. Aspects of India Music , A collection of Essays, edited by Sumati Mutatkar — Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, 1987, p. 135.DiscussesRabindrasangeet : Song compositions of Rabindranath Tagore etc.
124. Essays in Musicology — Edited by R. C. Mehta, Indian Musicology Society — Bombay and Baroda1983, p. 214.
125. Glimpses of Indian Music — Gowry Kuppuswamy, M. Hariharan — Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, 1982, p. 250. Discusses Carnatic music (only?)
126. A Miscellany in Indian Music — Alamelu Govindarajan — Tiruvanmiyur, Madras – 41, p. 66
127. The immortals of Indian Music — Edited by Leela Omchery, Deepti Omchery Bhalla — Gyan Publishing House, New Delhi — 110002, 1998, p. 240
128. Indian Music : A perspective — Gowry Kuppuswamy, M. Hariharan, Sundeep Prakashan, Delhi, 1980, p. 262.
129. The correct understanding of some of the Taaka Dasa Praanas — Prof. S. R> Janakiraman — Percussive Arts Centre (Reg.), 183, 8th cross, 2nd block, Jayanagar, Bangalore — 560011, 1988, p. 22.
130. Music research — perspective and prospects — reference Indian Music — edited by R. C. Mehta — Indian Musicology society, Bombay and Baroda, 1995, p. 92.
131. On music and musicians of Hindoostan — Ashok D. Ranade — New Delhi , Promilla and co., Publishers, 1984, p. 208.
132. Psychology of Laya — S. K. Ramachandra Rao — Percussive Arts Centre (Reg.), 183, 8th Cross, 2nd block, Jayanagar, Bangalore  560011, p. 12
133. Readings on Indian Music — Gowrie Kuppuswamy, M. Hariharan — College Book House, M. G. Road, Trivandrum, 1979, p. 239.
134. Readings on Music and Dance — edited by Gowri Kuppuswamy, M. Hariharan — 1979, B.R> Publishing Corporation, Delhi — 110052, p. 211.
135. Panels of the VIIth world sanskrit conference, vol. XI, The Traditional Indian Theory and Practice of Music and Dance — edited by Jonathan Katz, E.J. Brill — Leiden New York KOln, 1992, p. 230
136. Aesthetic anc scientific values in Carnatic Music — Lecture — Demonstrations by Vidya Shankar at the annual conferences of The Madras Music Academy — 1946—1996, p. 255
137. The evolution of Indian Classical Music (1200 — 1600 AD) — Nerja Bhatnagar — The publication scheme, Jaipur, India, 1997, p. 255
138. Dattilam — A compendium of Ancient Indian Music — Introduction, translation and commentary by E. Wiersma – Te Nijenhuis, Leiden – E.J. Brill — 1970, p. 477
139. Ghunyatu’l Munya — the earliest Persian work on Indian Classical Music — translation into English and Annotated by Shahab Sarmadee — Indian council of Historical research, New delhi in association with Northern book centre, New Delhi, 2003, p. 158.
140. A study of Dattilam — a treatise on the Sacred Music of Ancient India — Mukund Lath — Impex India, New Delhi, January, 1978, p. 472.
141. Indian Classical Music and Sikh Kirtan — Gobind Singh MAnsukhani — Oxford and IBH Publishing Co — New Delhi Bombay Calcutta, 1982, p. 164.
142. (Art and Culture Series) The form and Function of Music in Ancient India (A Historical Study) — vol two — Swami Prajnanananda — Ramakrishna Vedanta Math, 1990, p. 256. Discussess the characteristic of Rigveda and Samveda, Music in the introduction to Samveda, Music in the Rktantra, Music and the Samatantra or puspasutra, the pratisakhya of the sama-veda, music in the samatantra and the sama-vidhana-brahmana, music in the mantra-brahmana, music in the panchavimsa-brahmana, music in the Rk-pratisakhya, music in the taittiriya-pratisakhya,  music inthe sukla-yaju-pratisakhya, music in the siksas, music in the yajnavalkya-siksa, music in the mandukisiksha, music in the paniniya-siksa, the vedic music samaganas and their methods of playing, musical instruments in vedic and ancient India.
143. (The chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan series 32) Music — Dance and Musical instruments during the period of Nayakas (1673 — 1732) — Dr. K. Kusuma Bai — Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan, Varanasi — 221001, p. 196.
144. Hindustani Music in the 20th century by Wim Van Der Meer — 1980, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, p. 252.
145. The Ragas of Early Indian Music — Modes, melodies and musical notations from the Gupta period to c. 1250 — Richard Widdess — clarendon Press — Oxford, 1995, p. 429
146. Music, Dance and Drama in Andhra Pradesh — Report of the survey Conducted by Andhra Pradesh Sangeeta Nataka Akademi Hyderabad, December 1960, p. 357
147. The music of Bauls of Bengal — Charles Capwell — The kent state university press — 1986, p. 243.
148. Sailing on the sea of love — the music of the bauls of India (accompanied by CD) — Charles Capwell — Seagull books — New york London Calcutta, 2011,  p. 244.
149. Sastriya Sangita and Music Culture of Bengal through the Ages (Vol 1) — Chhaya Chatterjee — Sharada Publishing House — Delhi — 110035, 1996, p. 293. discusses Prachina yuga (prehistoric to 1200), Madhya yuga (medieval period (1200) to Muslim-era (1757)), adhuni yuga
150. Sastriya Sangita and Music Culture of Bengal through the Ages (Vol 2) — Chhaya Chatterjee — Sharada Publishing House — Delhi — 110035, 1996, p. 555. discussess musical styles of bengal (pachali, dhrupad, khayal, tappa etc)
151. Song of Goa — Mandos of Yearning — Jose Pereira and Micael Martins — Aryan books International, New Delhi, 2000, p. 234
152. Song of Goa, no. 2— Mandos of Yearning — Jose Pereira and Micael Martins — Aryan books International, New Delhi, 2003, p. 190
153. Mysore as a seat of Music — Dr. (Mrs.) M.B. Vedavalli — CBH Publications, 1992, p. 220. Discussess musical traditon of Mysore, Rulers of Mysore and their patronage, Royal Musicians, Court Vidwans of Mysore, Contribution to Musicology — theoretical works, Salient Features of Music of Mysore
154. AT THE CENTRE — Fifteen Musicians of Madhya Pradesh — Mohan Nadkarni — Ustad Allauddin Khan Sangeet Akademi — Lalit LKala Bhawan, Tagore MArg, Bhopal 42003, February 1982, p. 85. Discusses Alauddin Khan (the true acharya), Hafiz Ali Khan (the aristrocratic maestro), Rajab Ali Khan (the temperamental ustad), AmirKhan ( A phenomenon), Dagar bandhu (torch-bearers of “Dhrupad Gayaki”), Krishnarao Shankar Pandit (Doyen of Gwalior Gharana), Sharadchandra Arolkar (the pandit with a difference), Kumar Gandharva (the rebel genius), Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan (where tradition meets innovation), Amjad Ali Khan (the “avant grade” sarodiya), Budhaditya Mukherjee (the virtuoso to Watch), Malini Rajurkar (the eclectric vocaost), Ajay Pohankar (on the threshold), Om Prakash Chourasiya (the enterprising santoorist), Kiran Dehspande (Tala in his blood)
155. Maharashtra’s contribution to Music — Vamanrao Deshpande — Maharashtra information centre, New Delhi, January 1972, p. 83.
156. (chaukhambha Oriental research studies No 30) Manipuri Tala Prakasa — Darshana Jhaveri, Kalavati Devi, Chaukhambha Orientalia, 1990, p. 290
157. Thirty songs from the Panjab and Kashmir — Ratan Devi, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy — New edition, revised and enlarged — edited by Premlata Sharma, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi, 1994, p. 177.
158. Devi Amba’s Drum : Mina miracle chant and the ritual ostinato of spirit-possesion [performance in southern Rajasthan — David Roche, 1996, p. 372
159. The history of Tamil Music — Dr. Salem S. Jayalakshmi, University of MAdras, Chennai — 600 005, June, 2003, p. 235.
160. Tanjore as a seat of Music — Dr. S. Seetha (Proessor and Head of Indian Music, University of Madras),  University of Madras, 1981, p. 654.
161. The Music of Bengal — Essays in Contemporatry Perspective — Edited by Jayashri Banerjee, Indian Musicological Society, Baroda and Bombay, 1988, p. 130. Discusses
162. Echoes from Dharmasala — Music in the life of a tibetan Refugee Comunity — Keila Diehl — University of California Press, 2002, p. 312
163. Sufyana Musiqi — the classical music of Kashmir — Jozef M. Pacholczyk, 1996, p. 261. discusses Hindu period (3rd Century BC to 14th century AD), Islamic period (14th century AD until present) etc
164. A monograph on Kudumiyanmalai inscription on Music — Br V Premlatha, Madurai, 1986, p. 69.
165. Musical Heritage of Lucknow — Susheela Misra — Harman Publishing House, New Delhi, 1991, p. 170.
166. Music makers of the Bhatkhande college of Hindustani Music — Sudheela Misra — Sangeet Research Academy, Calcutta — 700040, 1985, p. 83
167. A critique of Hindustani Music and Music Education — S.S. Awasthi, Dhanpat Rai and Sons, Jullundur Delhi, p. 240.Discussesancient periods, Samvedic Music, Kauthuma school Gandharva Veda, Brahmanas, Sutras, Paniniya siksa, Rudradamarudbhava sutra, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Narada, Svati, visakhilacharya, bharata, Kasyapa, Sardula, Dattila, Utpalacharya, kohal, Matanga, Abhinavagupta, Haripal, JAyadeva, Sarangadeva, Medieval period, Sinha bhupala. Kallinatha, Lochana kavi, Ramamatya, Raja Man Singh Tomar, Pundarika Vitthala, Ragamala, Raga Manjari, to many things.
168. An introduction to Hindustani Music — Arati Chakravarty — Har-anand Publications pvt Ltd, 1999, p. 175.
169. Listening to Carnatic Music — B R C Iyengar, Savithri charitable trust, 1998, p. 140.
170. Hindustani Music — Ashok Da. Ranade — National book trust, India, 1959, p. 166.



On The Origins Of Kashmir



Five Millennia Old Culture & Literature of Kashmir
– Some Landmarks

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please bear with me; I am no scholar. I am simply a student of literature. Writing poetry is my hobby. My only qualification for delivering a lecture on the subject of culture and literature of Kashmir, before this learned audience, is that I am a Kashmiri. You may not, therefore, find any thing revealing or new in my talk but I assure you that you will get the fragrance of saffron and the soothing breeze of the valley, while I share my views with you. You may not be any wiser over what you already know but you will surely feel the bubbling life represented by the Lotus grown in the Dal Lake and elsewhere.

Culture Defined

It is in the fitness of things that today when the twenty-first century is knocking at our doors and when our beloved Kashmir is undergoing an unprecedented turmoil for more than a decade now, we should be sitting back and reflecting on the five millennia old culture and literature of Kashmir, the land of our birth. Before doing so let us first try to figure out what the word Culture connotes. According to Professor Terry Eagleton, ‘Culture, etymologically speaking, is a concept derived from nature. One of its original meanings is husbandry. At first the term denoted a material process, which was then metaphorically transposed to the affairs of the spirit. The Latin root for this word is ‘colere’, which can mean anything from cultivating and inhabiting to worshipping and protecting. But ‘colere’ also ends up via the ‘cultus’ as the religious term ‘cult’. The idea of culture signifies double refusal: of organic determinism and of the anatomy of spirit. It is a rebuff to both naturalism and idealism. The very word culture contains a tension between making and being made, rationality and spontaneity’. S.T.Coleridge says that ‘culture is what comes naturally, bred in the bone rather than conceived by the brain’. Raymond Williams is of the opinion that ‘culture is the organization of the production, the structure of the family, the structure of institutions which govern social relationships, the characteristic form through which members of the society communicate and a structure of feeling’. T.S.Eliot, on the other hand, has defined culture as ‘the way of life of a particular people living together in one place; that which makes life worth living; that which makes it a society – it includes Arts, Manners, Religion and Ideas.’ After the mid twentieth century culture has come to mean the affirmation of a specific identity – national, ethnic, regional rather than the transcendence of it. All these definitions make culture overlap civilization. In order to differentiate between the two, one could say that culture is the manner of our thinking and civilization the manner of our living. The former has a definite and telling effect on the latter and the two together give us our distinct identity. In effect culture of a society manifests itself in the form of its civilisation.

Ancient Hindu Period

If there is a single terminology that sums up the entire gamut of our culture as Kashmiris, it is the name ‘Ryeshi Vaer’ given to our land. ‘Ryeshi Vaer’ literally means a garden of sages. This land has produced an innumerable number of saints and savants, sages and Sufis, who have always stood for the durable human goods of truth, freedom, wisdom, humility, simplicity, compassion, contemplation, worship and the like. The common Kashmiri has adopted these qualities and infused them in his thinking and actions. If I borrow the idiom of Mary Pat Fisher I would say that the map of our Kashmir cannot be colour-coded as to its Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist identity; each of its parts is marbled with the colours and textures of the whole. We have had Buddhist view of life and cosmos thrive in this land for many many years in the past. We have had a distinct non-dualistic ideology called the ‘Trika’ Philosophy shape the metaphysical thinking of this land. We have had the Vedic rituals of the Sanatana Dharma as the basis of our very existence. There used to be an admixture of ‘Shakta’ and ‘Tantra’ in our way of worshipping and then, with the advent of Islam in fourteenth century we witnessed the rise of Sufi order in this land. All these in course of time got merged and produced a blend of culture, which is humanistic, pious and pure, yet very simple and straightforward. It has taught us to t urn from the fragmentary to the ‘total’, from the superficial to the profound, and from the mundane material to the spiritual. Religion has never been an obstacle to this unique culture. I am reminded of a Sufi, Mohd. Sheikh, who lived in our neighbourhood at Chattabal in down town Srinagar. He used to say that the religion is ‘Gaev gudom’, the rope with which we tie a cow lest it should stray into the fields and eat the crop. Once the cow knows that it has to eat only the grass and walk only along the periphery of the field, there is no need for the rope any more. Similarly a man needs the religion only so long as he does not develop wisdom to discriminate between right and wrong and reality and falsehood.

Professor Timothy Miller, a specialist in new religious movements, has rightly observed that, ‘Human culture is always evolving and reinventing its own past and present. There is no cultural vacuum from which anything truly new under the Sun could arise.’ We call our way of life ‘Sanatana Dharma’ or the eternal norms of Do’s and Don’ts of life. Our belief is that God, Universe and the Vedas are eternal and co-existent. Strict adherence to the prescribed norms ensures cosmic harmony, order in the society and the welfare of mankind. Due to this belief Hindus, the original inhabitants of this land, were neither interested in recording their history nor inclined to force their way of thinking on any one. The basic ideology has been twofold. One, ‘Ekam Sat Viprah bahudhah vadanti – the Truth is one and the learned describe it in many different ways’ and the second, ‘Aano bhadra kratavo yantu vishvatah – let noble and beneficial thoughts come to us from all sides of the world’. John Renard, Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University, USA has said about Sanatana Dharma, ‘I have been intrigued by the tradition’s flexibility – some call it ability to subsume every religious idea. The larger Hindu tradition represents an extra-ordinary rich gallery of imagery of the Divine. It has encouraged visual Arts to match the Verbal. There is complete religious tolerance and it is free of large scale proselytizing.’ This eternal way of life, this age-old culture of ours is said to be five millennia old on the basis of the Saptarishi Samvat adopted by us from time immemorial. Ours is perhaps the only almanac in the country, that gives this Samvat and the running year is 5076. It is a fact that the only recorded History in India, the ‘Raja Tarangini’ has been written by a Kashmirian, Kalhana. Yet ironically we do not have any record of our cultural heritage and historical events of the prior period and, therefore, we are unable to paint a correct picture of the life and faith of our ancestors who lived in this pious land. As in the rest of the country, we have to draw upon legends, fables and other types of literature, verbal or written, in order to visualize the picture of our ancient heritage. It is very significant that in the Indian tradition the two great epics, ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’ along with the ‘Puranas’ form the corpus of our history, from which we have to figure out what our past has been like. Kashmir also has its own ‘Purana’ called the ‘Nilamat Purana’, which throws some light on our heritage. This ‘Purana’ vouches for the fact that after the water was dried from the vast area of Sati Sar, sages were invited to settle in the valley and do their penance in the calm and peaceful environment of this sacred valley surrounded by the western Himalayan ranges. The aborigines, Nagas, Pishachas, shvapakas etc. were assimilated and as tribes became extinct in course of time. During this period the rituals and the injunctions of the Vedas only were followed. The inhabitants today in effect are, therefore, the progeny of the sages who settled here for penance and eventual emancipation with a sprinkling of immigrant population.

Buddhist Period

The fact that an important congregation of Buddhists was held in Kashmir, during the reign of the King Kanishka, shows that this ideology had found favour with the peace loving citizens of Kashmir in course of time. It is from here that the ideology travelled as far as Japan via Tibet and China. This ideology had Tantrik philosophy as its background and focussed on ‘Mantras’ or recitation, ‘Mudras’ or physical gestures and ‘Mandalas’ or meditation. The Sanskrit word for meditation, ‘Dhyana’ became ‘Gom’ in Tibet, got mixed with ‘Jen’ of China’s Confucius and eventually became ‘Zen’ of Japan. In Kashmir, however, a strong non-dualistic philosophy, called Kashmir Shaiva Darshan, drove out this ideology but not before it had left an indellible mark on our culture. There are a number of places, which are named after the ‘Bauddha Viharas’ and are called in local language as ‘Yar’. In Srinagar itself we have a locality named as ‘Bodager’ a corruption from ‘Buddha Giri’ or the Buddha’s hillock. These together with the non-violent passivity of Kashmiris and their life style imbued with the tenets of Buddhism stand testimony to the fact that this ideology had sway on our thinking for a long time. Buddhism accommodated itself to the local ideas while revaluing them by changing the spiritual centre of gravity. Tantra was given the meaning of extension and interpenetration. The eightfold path of this theology, right view, right aspiration, right speech, right behaviour, right livelihood, right effort, right thoughts and right contemplation permeated into the life of the common man.

Period of the Trika Philosophy

It appears that while the Buddhist thought did shape the lives of the inhabitants, it did not quench their thirst for knowing the reality nor did it satisfy their spiritual quest. The genius of Kashmir evolved its own version of non-dualistic philosophy, which was an improvement on the philosophy of Shankara in as much as it did not accept the creation to be an illusion. This philosophy branched into two, the ‘Spanda’ or the vibration system and the ‘Pratyabhijna’ or the cognition system. This unique school of thought espoused that the Divine, which is pure light, of His own free will and by His own inherent powers, appears in the form of His creation and this is nothing but a play of His own free will. The creation gives an indication of the mundane, the spiritual and the ethereal existence, whereas the Divine indicates the light in the form of knowledge and manifestation in the form of action. This was the knowledge aspect of the Kashmir culture then and the ritualistic aspect was governed by the Vedic injunctions. Of course these rituals also were modified to suit the local conditions. The ‘Sanskaras’ codified by Rishi Katyayana were in vogue in the rest of the country whereas in Kashmir those codified by Rishi Logaksha were implemented. It was the effect of this philosophy that spirituality and divinity was manifest in the life style of the common man. Although many Hindu holy places and temples were destroyed by Sikander But Shikan, who ruled from 1389 to 1413, yet the ruins of these temples at many places including that of Martand Temple stand testimony to the Sun worship also being prevalent here. There is a hill feature named as ‘Aeta gaej’ a corrupt form of Sanskrit ‘Aaditya Guha’ meaning the cave of the Sun. This corroborates the fact further.

Sufi Influence

Towards the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century Islam came to Kashmir. On the one hand the invaders came to conquer and rule the land and on the other hand this place attracted the Muslim Sufis also. These Sufis believed in ‘Khalwa’ or spiritual retreat and propagated going from the outer exoteric to the inner esoteric. This coincided with the prevailing tradition of ‘seeking to refine deeper realization of the Divine within one’s consciousness rather than engaging in critical theological discussions; realizing the possibilities of the soul in solitude and silence, and to transform the flashing and fading moments of vision into a steady light which could illumine the long years of life’. Thus came into existence a synthesized cultural framework that we proudly call ‘The Rishi Cult’. Glimpses of this blended culture could be seen in the day to day life of an ordinary Kashmiri. My father used to swear by ‘Dastagir Sahib’, a revered Muslim Sufi saint. Any Muslim passing by a Hindu shrine would bow in reverence and any Hindu passing by a Muslim holy place would fold his hands in obeisance. There are innumerable holy places and shrines where both Hindus and Muslims would go to offer prayers. Hindus and Muslims equally revered Lal Ded and Peer Pandit Padshah, and other Hindu sages. Both the communities likewise held Nunda Rishi, Bata Mol Sahib, Dastagir Sahib and other Muslim saints in high esteem. A Muslim lady, after washing her face at the river Vitasta called ‘Vyath’ in Kashmiri,

would join her palms and pray thus, ‘Afu Khodaya fazal kar, badas ta janas, Hyandis taMusalmanas – God shower your grace on good and bad people alike, both on Hindus and on Muslims.’ A Hindu woman, after pouring milk and water on the Shiva Lingam in the temple would pray thus: ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhenah sarve santu niramayah sarve bhadrani pashyantu ma kaschit dukh bhag bhavet – Let all be happy, free of worries. Let all be met with beneficial and pleasant things and let no body meet with grief and unhappiness’. Salutations would be offered to Muslim elders by the Hindu youngsters and to Hindu elders of the area by the Muslim youngsters whenever and wherever they met. In return they would receive blessings in abundance.

The Other Facets of Culture

To sum up we can safely say that the origin of the cultural stream of Kashmir is Vedic. It has absorbed the influences from Buddhism. It has been shaped by the Trika philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism and it has drawn from the Muslim Sufism and in turn influenced it deeply. The enormous literature that has been produced by the sages and savants of this land portrays a picture of ‘Jnana’ or Knowledge dressed in ‘Bhakti’ or Devotion. The message has all along been one of humanism, simple living, high thinking, altruism, contentment, purity and piety. The other facets of our culture are shrouded in mystery. Take the case of the Arts. The old Sanskrit and Sharada manuscripts are full of beautiful paintings and pictures of gods and goddesses. Picturesque flowers and petals are drawn on the margin of the pages and the text is written in beautiful hand in the centre. The colours used in drawing them have been made indigenously from natural material like leaves, herbs etc. They are so prepared and mixed that even the passage of time running into centuries has neither damaged nor faded them. The art is so prolific and profound that it indicates the existence of a well-developed system. Even today one can see samples of these paintings on the top of the horoscopes and on the margin of the manuscripts written on hand-made paper. The portraits and the figures are exquisite and amazing and a well-organised research will throw light on its origin and gradual development. No wonder that the artisans of Kashmir have made a name in embroidery, papier machie and the patterns woven on carpets. In modern times Kashmir has produced a good number of artists, who have experimented with traditional and modern techniques but have distinct styles of their own. Sarva Shri K.N.Dhar, Dina Nath Almast, Ghulam Rasool Santosh, P.N. Kachroo, Manohar Kaul, Bansi Parimoo and many other luminaries fall in this category.

Music is another area where very little is known of its past. Today we have almost identical marriage songs for Hindu and Muslim marriages. The difference is that whereas the Hindus sing them in ‘vilambit’ or elongated tune, the Muslims sing them in ‘Drut’ or fast tune. The effect of SamaVedic recitation is apparent from the former. If you listen to these songs from a distance you will mistake them for ‘Sama gana’. Kashmir has a tradition of very rich folk songs which depict the emotions, feelings and sensibilities of a common man as also troubles and tribulations faced by him from time to time. Floods and famines have been vividly described in these songs. Then we have a well-organized classical music called ‘Sufiana Kalam’ or the sayings of the Sufi saints. It has different ‘Ragas’ and usually the sayings of ‘Lal Ded’ the great poetess of Kashmiri language are sung in the beginning of each ‘Raga’. In recent times we have had many a great exponent of Sufiana Kalam, Mohd Abdullah Tibbetbaqual and Ghulam Mohd. Qalinbaf being among the prominent ones. The former told me once that all these ragas which are in vogue these days have been formalized by Arni Mal, another great poetess of Kashmiri language. I have also heard Ustaad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan state in one of his interviews on the All India Radio about the origin of Ragas that the ‘Rag Khammach’ has originated in Kashmir and was derived from the voice of a parrot. While the ‘Tumbakh Naer’ and the ‘Not’ or the pitcher form important instruments of the popular folk music ‘Chhakri’ – a chorus, the multi stringed ‘Santoor’ is the soul of the Sufiana Kalam. It is well known that Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma has successfully introduced Santoor into the film-music. Other musical instruments are also in vogue in Kashmir and a well-known name in Sitar recital is that of Pandit Shambhu Nath Sopori. Chhakri was given a new direction and lustre by the late Mohan Lal Aima.

As regards the festivals and the rituals, these are primarily religious in character and therefore, different in different religious groups. But there are some commonalties. Distribution of ‘Tahar’, the cooked yellow rice on festive occasions is common between Hindus and Muslims. Night long singing of hymns in praise of the Divine is another common feature. The annual ‘Urs’ or commemorative days of various saints are also celebrated jointly by all the ethnic groups with due reverence. The Hindus of the valley are called Kashmiri Pandits or ‘Bhattas’ meaning in Sanskrit the honoured one. The important festival that has become their identity is the celebration of Shiva Ratri in the month of February. Unlike elsewhere in the country, here the festivities are fortnight-long and this festival has the same importance for us as the Ganesh Puja has for Maharashtrians and the Durga Puja has for the Bengalis.

Not much is known about the tradition of dramas and dance of Kashmir. Many dramas have been written in Sanskrit. Obviously these must have been staged because Sanskrit plays have always been written for being staged on various festive occasions like the advent of the spring season. It is said that King Zainulabdin had patronized drama writing and theatre. He was himself fond of witnessing plays being staged and would encourage stage artists and actors. During his time, Yodh Bhat and Som Pandit had written some plays with serious themes. The existence of folk dance called ‘Banda Paether’ with a strong satirical accent and the melodious group dance called ‘Rouf’ as also ‘Veegya Natsun’ on the occasion of marriages and yajnopavit ceremonies, indicates that there must have been a very well knit dance tradition in the valley. A unique and well-developed dance pattern with rhythm and synchronized steps accompanied by lively music is prevalent in Ladakh. It is, therefore, certain that there must have been a dance system in vogue during the Buddhist period in the valley also, if not earlier. This is a matter for future researchers to remove the veil of ignorance from this facet of our culture.

Our Language

The inhabitants of Kashmir have a distinct language called ‘Kaeshur’ or Kashmiri. Although there are two different views about its origin, yet a dispassionate and scientific analysis will show that it has developed from the language of the Vedas. Thereafter the syntax, vocabulary and idiom of Sanskrit enriched it. During the Pathan and Mughal rule, when Persian became the court language, it adopted a number of Persian words. During the rule of the Sikhs, the language of the Punjab also influenced this language and later, with the adoption of Urdu as the official language by the Dogra rulers, it had to borrow from Urdu language as well as from English. There are references in various chronicles that during the Buddhist period some religious books were written in local Prakrit, which has to be Kashmiri but these books are extinct although their translations are available. The initial glimpse of this language is had from the verses written about the love life of the queen of Raja Jayapeed during 8th century and in the Sanskrit work, ‘Setu Bandh’ of King Praversen, who incidentally established Srinagar as the capital of the valley for the first time. This language was then referred to as ‘Sarva gochar Bhasha’ or the language of the masses. The Sanskrit writers used to write in this language side by side with Sanskrit. But a systematic literature in Kashmiri starts from ‘Mahanay Prakash’ written in thirteenth century by Shitikanth in the same Vakh form, which was used later by Lal Ded. Kashmiris had evolved a script of their own and this is called Sharada script. It largely follows the pattern of the Devanagari script in the matter of the alphabets and combination of vowel sounds with consonants and appears to have been developed from the old Brahmi script. Unfortunately this script did not get official recognition for obvious reasons and has gone in disuse. It may not be out of place that even Ghulam Mohd. Mehjoor, the eminent poet was in favour of retaining the Sharada script. The official script is based on Persian script with some modifications. Because of a large number of vowel sounds and shades in this language this script hardly meets the requirement. It is time that the alternative script based on Devanagari alphabets, with two or three modifications is also given recognition. It may be mentioned that such a script is currently used by all the publications and journals issued from Jammu and Delhi.


It is the rule of nature that a change in thinking results in the change in action, which in turn changes the environment. All these changes are reflected in the literature produced from time to time. The literature is the mirror of the culture and the civilization of a society. Kashmir was a seat of learning because of which it is called ‘Sharada Peetha’ or the seat of the Goddess of Learning. Just as the name ‘Ryeshi Vaer’ denotes the culture of this land, the name ‘Sharada Peeth’ indicates the greatness and vastness of the literature produced by the Kashmiris. Up to the time of Sultan Zainulabidin, known as ‘Badshah’, who ruled from 1420 to 1470, Sanskrit was the language of the elite. No wonder, therefore, that a galaxy of Sanskrit scholars hailed from Kashmir and their contribution to the Sanskrit literature is monumental.

Sanskrit Literature

The literature in Sanskrit of this land can be divided into two groups. The first group relates to the Kashmir Shaiva Darshan. The prominent authors in this group are Utpala Deva, Somananda, Vasu Gupta, Abhinav Gupta and Khema Raja. The scholarly works include Spanda Karika, Shiva Drishti, Shivastotravali, Parmartha Sara, Pratyabhjna Darshan, Tantra Sara, Malini Vijaya, Rudrayamal and the monumental work, Tantralok of Abhinava Gupta Acharya. A number of treatises and commentaries have been written on these works in order to bring to light the true purport of this unique philosophy. It is a matter of concern that there is no effort on the part of the state government to preserve and develop this important and world acclaimed school of philosophy. It has been preserved by individual effort of largely those individual scholars who are ‘Sadhakas’ or the disciples of Swami Lakkshman Joo. However, there is an ‘Abhinava Gupta’ centre at Lucknow established by Dr. Pandey where this philosophy is studied by young scholars. Dr. Baljinnath Pandita and Dr. Neelkanth Gurtoo as also late Dr. Dwivedi of Rajasthan University, Jaipur have edited and translated some of the selected works of Shaiva Acharyas.

The second group comprises books on subjects other than Philosophy. The most distinguished name in this group is that of Kalhana Pandit, the author of the famous ‘Raja Tarangini’, the only book of chronicle written in Sanskrit. This book gives an account of the Rulers and the events from the 8th century to the 12th century. It was later extended and supplemented by Jona Raja, Shrivara and Prajna Bhatta and brought up to date till the reign of Zainul-Ab-din. There are a number of books in Sanskrit written by Kashmiris on a variety of subjects like Linguistics, Aesthetics, Poetics, Sexology and the fiction. Mammtacharya is a great name because of his work, ‘Kavya Prakash’. It is said that the scholars would accept no work in Sanskrit unless it had the seal of approval from Kashmir. A very prominent poet brought his book to Mammata for approval after it had already gained recognition in the Sanskrit world. The Acharya said, “The book is very good but alas I wish you had brought it earlier. I have recently completed the chapter of my book on ‘Kavya doshani’ or the faults and flaws in poetry writing. I had to strive hard to find examples for different flaws but here in your work I could have got the examples for all the flaws at one place and it would have saved me a lot of effort.” Such was the scholarship of Kashmiri Sanskrit luminaries. ‘Dhvanyalok’ of ‘Anandavardhan’ added a new dimension to linguistics and poetics. Earlier the definition of a ‘Kavya’ was ‘Vakyam rasatmakam kavyam – any composition which gives tasteful pleasure is poetry’. With this work scholars were forced to change their opinion and define poetry as ‘Vakyam dhvanyatmakam kavyam – a piece of writing that gives a message by inference and suggestion is poetry.’ The scholars of Sanskrit from Kashmir had always something novel to say and propound. They were multi-disciplinary scholars and respected in the entire country as geniuses. Kshemendra, the author of ‘Kalavilasa’, was another great writer who dazzled scholars with his writings full of wit and satire. Then there were host of others including Bilhana, Kaiyata, Udbhatta, Hayata, Koka Pandit, Jagaddhara whose literary, philosophical, devotional and authoritative works have made them immortal in Sanskrit world. The eleventh century poet, Bilhana wrote ‘Vikramanka Deva Charitam’ in praise of the Karnataka king who honoured him. Manakha wrote ‘Shrikantha Charitam’ in 12th century. Bharata’s ‘Natya Shastra’ is an authoritative treatise on dramaturgy. During the reign of Badshah Bhatta Avatara wrote ‘Banasur Katha’ and ‘Zaina villas’ and Yodha Bhatta wrote ‘Zaina Prakash’. Another big name in Sanskrit literature from Kashmir is Gunadya, who wrote ‘Brihat-katha Manjari. It is felt that many of the stories from this book have been included in the great storybook, ‘Katha Sarit Sagar’. A Russian scholar of Sanskrit revealed during the World Sanskrit Conference at Varanasi in 1981 that the story of their famous ballet ‘Swan Lake’ also has been taken from this collection. There are modern scholars like Pandit Lakshmidhar Kalla, who have opined on the basis of the internal evidence that even Kalidasa hailed from Kashmir. However, let that be as it may.

Contribution to other Languages

When Persian replaced Sanskrit as the court language, the local Kashmiris faced a serious problem of learning the language in the shortest of time. It is said that by-lingual and tri-lingual verses were composed, committed to memory and thus an effort was made to learn the new language. Two samples will show the ingenuity of the people. (1) Roni lagani Zongla bastan, Natsun hao raqsidan ast, banda paether murdami raqas sonth amad bahar. – Tying the jingles is called ‘Zongla bastan’, dancing is called ‘Raqsidan’, male folk dance is ‘Murdami Raqas and the advent of spring is called Bahar amad. (2) The second is in the form of question and answer and runs thus: kuja budi, kahan tha, kati osukh? Dere tha, khana boodam, gari osus, Chi khordi, kya tse khyotho, kya khaya? Du nano, do rotiyan, tsochi jorah. The questions are in three languages about where the person was and what did he eat, and the answer also is in three languages that he was at his home and had eaten two loaves. In the absence of any authentic information with me I am unable to give an account of the prominent Persian scholars of Kashmir of the olden times. I would, however, make a mention of two very important names. The first is about a great poet Ghani, who lived during Aurangzeb’s time. He is reported to have declined the invitation of the king to visit his court. His habit was to close all the doors and windows when he was in and leave them ajar when he was out. His explanation was that the most precious item in his house was he himself. The inscription on his tombstone is ‘Chu Shama Manzile Ma ba Payi Ma’. It means that ‘like a burning candle my destination is under my very feet’. This shows that he was a spiritual poet, who was unconcerned with worldly affairs. The second name that I wish to mention is that of Pandit Bhawani Das Kachroo. He is known for his long poem ‘Bahar-I-taweel’ or a long meter. This poem is written in praise of the Divine and shows an extra ordinary control on Persian vocabulary that the poet had. His wife, Arnimal too was a great poetess of Kashmiri language in her own right. There are many devotional poems written in Persian with an admixture of Sanskrit. A great saint Krishna Kar has written in praise of Goddess Sharika in these words: ‘Avval tui aakhir tui, batin tui zahir tui, hazir tui nazir tui, Shri Sharika Devi namah. Man az tu nadi chakri man, pran az tu pranayami man, Dhyan az tu japa malayi man Shri Sharika devi namah.’

Kashmiris within and outside Kashmir have written in Urdu also. The well known names include Pandit Ratan Nath Sarshar, Pandit Brij Narayana Chakbast, who wrote Ramayana in Urdu, Pandit Daya Shankar Naseem, Pandit Dattatreya Kaifi, Pandit Anand Narayan Mula etc. More recently we have had poets and writers like Prem Nath Dar, Prem Nath Pardesi, Ghulam Rasul Nazki, Ali Mohd. Lone, Shorida Kashmiri, Dina Nath Mast, Pushkar Nath, and others who have made a rich contribution to literature both in prose and poetry. Writers have not lagged behind in Hindi either. Dr. Toshkhani, Ratan Lal Shant, Mohan Lal Nirash, Madhup, Dr. Agnishekhar, Khema Kaul, Dr. Krishna Razdan, Haleem, Maharaj Krishna Bharat and many eminent scholars have contributed both in prose and poetry. Their language is Hindi but the aspirations and feelings projected are those of Kashmiris. I have also given two books, “Main Samudra Hun’ and ‘Main Pyasa Hun’, both collections of my Hindi poems.

Kashmiri Literature

I am proud to say that my mother tongue is very rich in literature, particularly in poetry. The prominent forms in which poetry has been written have been taken from Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian and English. From Sanskrit we have adopted Vakh and Shruk or ‘Vakya and Shloka’ as also Vatsun or ‘Vachan’. Hindi has given us Geet and Urdu Ghazal, Qita, Nazm and Rubai. From English we have taken sonnet and free verse. Lal Ded and Nunda Rishi of the fourteenth century are two great names who have written mystic and spiritual quatrains. Our poetry starts systematically from Lal Ded whose Vakhs were first translated into Sanskrit by Bhaskaracharya and then into English and many other languages. These Vakhs are dipped in Shaiva philosophy and enjoin upon us to go inwards in order to attain the reality. ‘Gorun dopnam kunuy vatsun, nebra dopnam ander atsun – my preceptor advised me in nutshell to go from without to within’. Nunda Rishi wrote Shruk, which are replete with Sufi mysticism. He has praised Lal Ded in these words; ‘Tas Padman Porechi Lale, Yem gale amreth chyev, Shiv Tshorun thali thale, tyuth me var ditam Deevo – Lala of Padmanpura drank the nectar and perceived Shiva in everything. O God, give me a similar boon (so that I see the Divine in the similar way).’ These two poets are great names in our spiritual and mystic poetry. Whereas Lal Ded has propounded jnana and Shaiva philosophy in her Vakhs, Nunda Rishi has put forth the Sufi ideology in his Shrukhs. All the Kashmiris hold both in high esteem. During his itinerary, Nunda Rishi reached village Tsrar. He is reported to have spontaneously uttered these words there, rhyming with the name of the place, ‘Vola zuva yati prar – let me wait here till the last,’ and it is here that he left his mortal frame.

While this spiritual writing must have continued as a sub-stream, in the sixteenth century we suddenly see emergence of a new theme in the poetry of Zoon, later known as Habba Khatoon. She has sung songs of love, separation, and ill treatment at the hands of the in laws and other human feelings. The Kashmiri poetry thus came down from the spiritual heights to the mundane human level. Her lament was, ‘Varivyan saet vara chhasno chara kar myon malino ho – I am not at peace with my in-laws, would somebody come to my rescue from my father’s side?’ Arnimal further strengthens this human romantic and love poetry in 18th century. Her diction and selection of words and the musical meters used by her are exquisitely beautiful. She had profound knowledge of classical music and is believed to have rearranged the Ragas in use for the ‘Sufiana Kalam’. For the first time she uses what in Sanskrit are called ‘Shabda-alankaras’ or decoration of the words, like alliteration and internal rhyming. An example would show her master craftsmanship. ‘Matshi thap ditsnam nyandri hatsi matsi, matshi matsha-band sanith gom, vanta vyas vony kus kas patsi, vunyub karith gom – I was in deep slumber when he caught hold of my wrist. The gold wristband cut into the very flesh of my wrist. Friend! Tell me who is to be trusted in these circumstances. He has left me crust fallen’. Rupa Bhawani is another great name in the spiritual poetry. Her Vakhs are full of Shaiva philosophy and the language is sanskritized. She lived a hundred years in 17th century and is regarded as an incarnation of Goddess Sharika. There are a number of anecdotes about her interaction with Muslim Sufi saints. In one such encounter with ‘Shah Qalandar’ it is narrated that the two were on the opposite banks of a river. The Sufi called her, ‘Rupa (literally Silver) come over to my side, I shall make you Son (literally Gold). She replied, ‘Why don’t you come over so that I make you Mokhta (literally a pearl as also emancipated).

By this time the Persian influence had gone deep into our literature. Poets started writing ‘Masnavis’ or long fables in verse. The prominent poet of this period has been Mohmud Gami, who lived during 18th and 19th centuries. The Persian stories adopted by him included those of Laila Majnun, Yusuf Zulaikha, Shirin Khusro, etc. Yusuf Zulaikha, which has been translated in German language, is the most famous of his compositions. He no doubt introduced the Masnavi style but it reached its zenith at the hands of Maqbool Kralawari. This 19th century poet has written a monumental masnavi, ‘Gulrez’, which has become very popular with the masses. From here onwards three distinct streams of poetry continued to flow unabated, the Sufi mystic, the devotional and the romantic. There is a long list of Sufi poets, who espoused the cause of purity and piety as also mutual brotherhood between various religious groups. These included Rahman Dar, Shamas Faqir, Sochha kral, Nyama Sahib and a host of others. Their philosophy was monotheistic and they laid stress on ethical and moral values. Their poetry shows a deep influence of Advaita Philosophy. ‘Ognuy sapan to dognyar travo, pana nishi pan parzanavo lo – Trust in oneness and shun duality; try to know thy real self.’ ‘Ognuy soruy dognyar naba, haba yi chhui bahanay – Truth is one and there is no duality; all else is a fallacy.’ In the second stream of devotional poets the names of Prakash Ram, Krishna Razdan and Parmanand are prominent. While the first two wrote devotional poems called ‘Leela’ in praise of Shri Rama, the last named was a devout of Shri Krishna. ‘Aaras manz atsaevay, vigne zan natsaevay – Let us join the circle of dancers and dance like nymphs in ecstasy for Shri Krishna. Parmanand, who lived in 19th century, has written a memorable long poem wherein he has compared the human actions with tilling of the land right from ploughing up to the time of reaping the harvest. ‘Karma bhumikayi dizi dharmuk bal, santoshi byali bhavi aananda phal –your actions are the land where you must put in the fertilizer of righteousness. Sow the seed of contentment and you will reap the harvest of supreme bliss.’ Prakash Ram wrote the first Ramayana in Kashmiri and captioned it ‘Ram Avtar Tsaryet’. In the romantic stream of poetry, the next important poet has been Rasul Meer. He has written beautiful love poems in musical meters. His famous poem starts with these words, ‘Rinda posh maal gindne drayi lolo, shubi shabash chani pot tshayi lolo – My beloved has come out to play in an ecstatic mood, praise be to her shadow that follows her’. The description in the next line is noteworthy. ‘Raza hanziyani naaz kyah aenzini gardan, ya Illahi chashmi bad nishi rachhtan, kam kyah gatshi chani baargahi lolo – The gracious one has a neck like aswan. God! Save her from evil eye. By that your grace will be no poorer.’ Rasul Meer was the first poet who addressed his poems to a female beloved. The earlier poets had made a male their love, perhaps because they were pointing to the Divine and not the human.

Modern Period

The twentieth century is the period when the Kashmiri language made an all round progress. The three streams that were flowing continued and some new trends also developed. Master Zinda Kaul is a great name among the mystic poets of this period. His book ‘Sumran’ won him the Sahitya Academy award. His suggestive poems are par excellence. A short poem of his reads, ‘Tyamber pyayam me khaermanas, alava hyotun kanzael vanas, taer ti ma laej phaelnas, dil dodum jigar tatyom, krakh vaetsh zi naar ha – A spark fell on the haystack, the entire jungle caught fire. It didn’t take long to spread. My heart burnt and the liver heated up – shouts came from all sides, fire! Fire!’ He has described God in these words: ‘Kaem tam kar tamat bonah pot tshayi doorey dyuthmut, sanyev kanav tee buzmut, saenis dilas tee byuthmut – Someday somewhere somebody has seen His shadow from a distance. We have heard it with our ears and our heart is convinced of His existence.’ Ahad Zargar is another important poet of this stream who has written masterly poems on mysticism and spirituality. The immortal poet Mehjoor, who is called Wordsworth of Kashmiri language, has carried the romantic poetry to new heights. He was acclaimed by no less a personality than Rabindranath Tagore. The Hindi poet Devendra Satyarthi, collecting folk songs of different Indian languages was aghast to find that Mehjoor’s poems were being sung by peasants in the fields just like folk songs during his life time. He had this message for his fellow country men: ‘hyund chhu shakar dodh chhu muslim ahli deen, dodh ta shakar milanaeviv pana vaen – Hindus are like sugar and Muslims like milk, let us mix the two (to create a harmonious society)’. Another great name of this period is that of Abdul Ahad Azad. He did not live long but left an indelible mark on our literature. He was virtually the harbinger of the progressive poetry in Kashmiri. His long poem ‘Daryav’ or the river is a masterpiece. He has ridiculed romance in the face of poverty, want and hunger. ‘Madanvaro lagay paeree, ba no zara ashqa bemari. Tse saet gaetsh fursatha aasen, dilas gaetsh farhatha aasen, me gaemets nael naadari, ba no zara ashqa bemari – My love! Romance is not my cup of tea. It needs leisure and peace of mind. I have none and I am crestfallen due to my poverty. So no romance for me please’.

Post Independence period is a period of renaissance for an all round development of literature in Kashmiri. Kashmiri poets were influenced by the philosophy of Marx and the progressive literature of other languages, notably that of Urdu. While Allama Iqbal was the ideal for many, Faiz, Jaffri and other Urdu poets were heroes for others and they took a cue from their writings. Whereas most of the mystic poetry was full of obscure and suggestive idiom, the poetry of this new genre of poets was frank and forthright; sometimes sounding like slogans. In response to the Pakistani tribal raid, the writers formed Kashmir Cultural Front in defence of inter-ethnic harmony and as an affront to religious fanaticism. The literature created could not remain unaffected by the political and social uprising. Earlier in 1945 Mirza Arif had started a cultural organisation by the name of ‘Bazme adab’. Many enthusiastic writers got involved with this organization. Mirza Arif himself is a well-known name for his Kashmiri Rubaiyas, which are crisp and meaningful. The prominent poets of this new movement are Dina Nath Nadim, Rehman Rahi and Amin Kamil. Nadim revolutionized the entire face of poetry. He used pure Kashmiri diction, gave expression to the desire and aspiration of the common man and raised his voice strongly in defence of peace. He wrote operas and sonnets for the first time and his poems have been translated into many languages. One of his immortal poems against wars and strife is ‘Mya chham aash pagahaech, pagah sholi duniyah – I have full faith in tomorrow for tomorrow will bring new light to the entire world.’ He is the trendsetter of progressive and humanistic poetry in Kashmir. His operas, ‘Bomber ta Yambarzal’ ‘Neeki ta baedi’ etc are the milestones in our literature. Rahi is another Sahitya Academy awardee, whose ‘Nav rozi Saba’ shows the influence of Iqbal very clearly. He has also made a rich contribution to Kashmiri poetry. He sang, ‘Yaer mutsraev taer barnyan, Maer maend phyur mas malryan, vaer zahir vaets aaman ta lolo – The benefactor has thrown the doors open and filled wine into the big pitchers; It appears that the common man will get his share now.’ Kamil has written short stories and poetry both. His diction is rustic and meters musical. ‘Khot sorma sranjan tala razan bhav bahar aav – The price of the items of make-up for ladies and the ornaments have shot up, it appears the spring has arrived’. This period produced a galaxy of poets who contributed to the enrichment of our literature. Noor Mohd. Roshan, Arjun Dev Majboor, Ghulam Rasool Santosh, Moti Lal Saqi, Chaman Lal Chaman, Prem Nath Premi, Makhan Lal Bekas, Ghulam Nabi Firaq, Vasudev Reh, Ghulam Nabi Khayal were active within the valley and outside there were B.N.Kaul, Shambu Nath Bhatt Haleem and myself who wrote on a variety of subjects.

Prose writing also got a philip during this period and continues unabated to date. The master short story writers include Akhtar Mohiuddin, Som Nath Zutshi, Ali Mohd. Lone, Umesh, Bansi Nirdosh, Hriday Kaul Bharati, Deepak Kaul, Hari Krishna Kaul, Santosh and Kamil. They gave expression to the emotions and feelings of the common man and picturized the life of the inhabitants of the valley. Akhtar, Lone, Kamil and Hari Krishna have written novels also and given a lead in this direction. Radio Kashmir and later the Door Darshan Kendra at Srinagar provided an opportunity and thereby played an important role in encouraging these writers. The Academy of Arts and Culture has also been publishing the works of these artists and anthologies, which inspires other young writers to try their pen. Moti Lal Kyomu has been a pioneer in the field of drama and Pushkar Bhan in satirical radio plays. Hari Krishna Kaul is also a successful drama writer. There are a host of other writers whom I have not mentioned for fear of digressing from the central point. My apologies to them since I hold all of them in high esteem and recognize their contribution to the Kashmiri literature. I am trying to convey that our language is rich in literature. There have been some translations into other languages but it is not enough. Some of the names that come to one’s mind, who have done pioneering work in popularizing Kashmiri literature are Professors Jai Lal Kaul, Nand Lal Talib, T.N.Raina, P.N. Pushp, K.N. Dhar, B.N. Parimoo, MotiLal Saqi and R.K.Rehbar. There is a pressing need for translating the selected works from Kashmiri into other Indian and foreign languages so that the readers and scholars in the entire country will be acquainted with its depth and vastness. Kashmiri is the beloved mother tongue of all the Kashmiris irrespective of their creed or faith. Both the communities, the Hindus and the Muslims have produced poets, writers and artists of repute. It is, however, a pity that the language has not been receiving the official patronage that it deserves.

Post 1990 period has been a period of turmoil, which brought shame to the composite culture of the valley. The Hindus had to migrate to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country to escape the wrath of the foreign provoked and controlled militancy. During the last decade of their exile Kashmiri writers have authored a lot of literature. In this literature there is a lament of losing their hearth and homes, a craving to go back to their roots and pain and anguish at the way in which politics and narrow aggrandizement have cut at the very roots of their rich culture and shattered their proud tradition. The worst casualty have been the mutual trust, relationship and understanding between people of different faiths. Ladies and Gentlemen! May I, therefore, conclude by reciting this verse of mine:

    “Byeyi vaeth deenaek ta dharmaek fitnai,
    Byeyi gav byon alfas nish bey.
    Gotsh na yi ravun hasil kor yus,
    Dashi thaev thaev astanan manz.”

(Again we are witnessing conflict and confrontation in the name of religions. Again one is getting separated from the other. I am afraid we may not lose all that we had achieved after offering prayers repeatedly at the shrines and holy places.)

I am grateful to the R.P Memorial Foundation Society and the organizers of this meet for providing me this opportunity of sharing my views with all of you, on the rich tradition of the place of my birth. Thank You.


(Lecture delivered at RP Memorial Foundation Society on 16th December, 2000)
(courtey by T.N.Dhar ‘Kundan’  )

Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh


A Sufiyana Ceremony by

Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh and members

Synopsis of Soofyana Mosiqi
Soofyana Music is traditional Music of Kashmir to present this music .The Musicians sing the song and at the same time play an instrument, Bhands play this music on Surnaie and its own Musical Instruments i.e Saz-e-Kashmir ,Setaar , Santoor, Tabla and Dholke as per their tradition .

The tradition of this Music is day by day vanishing with the death of Ustads .Some of whom were the recipients of Sangeet Natak Akademi Awardee Winners .

Kashmir in ancient days had rich tradition of the arts of Music heart touching dance from the 8th to 15th centuries A.D there was construable development in the fine arts and Music .The Soofyana Music speaks probably like those the Greeks .

The Art of Music and dance had religious sanctity and royal patronage ,during the 10th to 11th centuries A.D Raja Lalta Detya was a patron of the Music /Dance while as the kings like Horsha and Jayasimha were Musicians and poets ,later in 1339 A.D during Muslim rule there was further impetus to the fine Arts and Music amongst the Muslim ruler Zain –Ul- abdin ( 15th Centaury) encouraged them rather tremoundly. To his court flicked expert Musicians ,dancers from Iran and Turan singers ,dance and Musicians of great standing from Yarkand ,Samarkand,Tashkand, Kabul, Panjab and Delhi used to attend annual festivals of these arts .Srivarah his court historian was a Muscian and a great lover of art.He reach the spectators and singers who know literature thetoric and phylosiphy and apriciate it merits young women proficient in Music processed sweet voice and with genuine ordour for song graced actors sang various songs to the dance tune and every kind of music and the sangstress utsawa who was even like cupid’s arrow charming to the eyes and proficient in dance both swift and slow entranced every body.

Later the Muslim kings like Ali Shah and Hassan Shah invited some Musicians from Karnatka who populerise

d a number of Karanatki raginis in the land.

With the advanced days this dance and music was changed through Soofyana music known as Hafiza Nagma ,But after some time the tradition Kashmir ignored totally the dance of these Hafiza , and the professional “Gharana dar” Musicians and singers have adjusted a young age of trained boys with long hairs as known as “ Bhand Nagma”.The Bhands have sang Soofyana Music on its own instruments mentioned above and the young boy ( Bhand Bacha) and one ustad was dancingon the Rythem of instruments and have given full action of the song poem to the viewers .The ten Soofyana Muqams enclosed will be performed classical and traditional with ‘Sur’ and ‘Talas’ accordingly.

Copyrigt © 2011 National Bhand Theatra.


IT IS now an almost silent string in the soul of a once singing people, who even till the 1980s woke daily to the rhythms of an ancient Persian music form. But SufianaMousiqee, the only classical form of Kashmir, is slowly stirring again. Young girls are learning the ancient form for the first time ever, even as families of earlier maestros turn their backs on their own tradition. Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh, 50, and a rare maestro, runs a one of- a-kind Sufiana school from his home outside Srinagar, in Kralpora. And he teaches anyone willing to learn, regardless of gender.

The first girl came to Sheikh in 2001, five years after he started teaching Sufiana. Shabnam had grown up listening to Sufiana music on radio, in her grandmother’s lap. “One day without telling anyone at home I came here. I liked it immensely and persuaded my family to let me learn Sufiana,” says Shabnam. “Without my grandmother’s help I wouldn’t get my family’s permission.” She brought along a few more girls including her cousins. Today Shabnam leads an all girls Sufiana ensemble of seven that has performed in many Indian cities and shared stage with the likes of Abida Parveen.

Shabnam is now an empanelled artist in All India Radio’s Kashmir station. She still cannot afford a Santoor of her own. Her ensemble includes Sami Jan, 20, the first Kashmiri female Sufiana tabla player. During the Dogra rule that lasted until the mid-20th century, Kashmiri women known as haafiza sang and danced in the royal court but never played any instruments used in Sufiana like Saz-i- Kashmir, santoor or tabla. That tradition had also died more than a century ago.

A Persian and central Asian connection that Kashmir has preserved for six centuries, Sufiana Mousiqee has now atrophied. The master practitioners are gone, the youth aren’t interested and the easy availability of light and film music has relegated sufiana to barely an echo.

But Sheikh, who was initiated into the Sufiana tradition by his maternal grandfather and maestro, Ghulam Mohammad Qaleenbaaf, wouldn’t let it die. “When my grandfather passed away, I felt the sufiana music in my soul and started practicing seriously,” says Sheikh, who did not let the initial discouragement from family and friends, dampen his passion for the music and the zeal to preserve it.

The Qaleenbaaf Memorial Sufiana Music Institute began with a single boy interested in the music, amid the chaotic and politically unstable 1990s. All that this sufiana institute has is Sheikh, his personal set of music instruments, and forty-odd students, girls and boys learning at his home, some for nine years. In summers, little children from schools around his Kralpora neighbourhood join him in bustling numbers. Sheikh teaches them all for free.

It hasn’t been easy. Unfriendly locals (“people are dying in Kashmir and you want children to learn sufiana music”) forced him to move four times and he’s had to “entertain soldiers” who came searching for militants disguised as music students.

But, Sufiana Mousiqee remains in the margins. Sheikh’s own children don’t want to learn it. “It’s not entertainment. It is like prayers, you cannot force it on anyone,” he says. His daughter serves tea while Shabnam practices with her guru.





Rediscovering Kashmir’s Forgotten Classical Music

Mohammad Yaqoob Sheikh places his santoor on a wooden stand and picks up a pair of finely carved wooden mallets or kalems. He holds them carefully between his index and middle fingers. A deep, gripping sound fills the room as he strikes the metal strings of his santoor with the mallets. It’s the kind of music that brims with life.
Sheikh stops, looks up and smiles. “Beautiful, isn’t it? The world just ceases to exist for a while,” says the 53-year-old top-grade Sufiana artist who works in Radio Kashmir. The sound of the hundred-stringed Kashmiri santoor is indeed very rich and distinctive. No doubt it is used as an accompaniment to Sufiyana Mausiqi, the soul-stirring music of Sufis.
Sufiyana Mausiqi is the classical music of Kashmir, the cradle of Sufism in South Asia. It is a choral, spiritual style of music in which a group of musicians sing and play various instruments simultaneously. A Sufiana ensemble comprises four to seven people and sometimes even more. A group leader sings the main lines of the song and usually plays either a santoor or a saz-i-Kashmir. The songs are a mixture of Persian and Kashmiri Sufi poems, the hymns of Sufi mystics. Though the language seems almost foreign sometimes and is hard to keep up with, it is the rich, sonorous voices of the singers and the beautiful pieces of music that keep listeners captivated until the performance ends.
A product of cultural intermingling, this form of music is believed to have come to Kashmir from Persia (Iran) around 500 years ago. The impact of Central Asia and particularly of Persia on Kashmir’s art and culture has always been evident in the cuisines, architecture and handicrafts of Kashmir. Likewise, Kashmiri music too has imbibed and retained many aspects of Persian music. Despite this influence, the Kashmiri Sufiyana Mausiqi is unique and not found anywhere else, according to Sheikh, who was initiated formally as a pupil at the Cultural Academy when he was about 15-year-old.
“I have travelled the world and participated in numerous events, but I have never felt that any other form of music is similar to ours. In fact, whenever I performed with English and Iranian artists, they told me how different and beautiful Kashmiri Sufiyana Mausiqi is,” he says. The difference, he adds, is not only in the structure of the instruments and the way they are played across the musical world, but also in certain words. “We say maqam(mode) but Indian classical musicians call the same thing a raga,” he says.
Some thirty-years ago, it would have been easy to find a performance of this ancient form of music in various festivals, cultural events and other mehfils. Now, Sheikh says, such performances are rare. Amidst growing popularity of folk and light music and more than a decade long insurgency in Kashmir, Sufiyana Mausiqi has gradually faded away from the social and cultural life of Kashmir.
Qazi Rafi, a top light-music singer who is very fond of Sufiyana Mausiqi, says that the widespread interest in Sufiyana Mausiqi is dying out due to a number of reasons. “There is no proper training being given to students. Also youngsters these days are not that fluent in Kashmiri, let alone Persian. These are the two major languages of Sufiyana Mausiqi,” he says. He feels that people tend to prefer light music more because Sufiyana Mausiqi is quite hard to learn and understand. It has many maqams and taalas. The easy availability of western and Bollywood music has also contributed to its decline, he says.
After years of neglect, only a few performers of this centuries-old music are left today. The old maestros have passed away and Sheikh puts the number of Sufiana artists in Kashmir’s radio station so low that “they can be counted on one’s fingers”. A small number of people now-a-days can play saz-i-Kashmir, a spiked fiddle, which is the Kashmiri rendition of the big Iranian Kemencheh and is played with a bow. Sheikh says that the recent all-girl rock band controversy too has been bad news for Sufiyana Mausiqi. “Many girls stopped playing after that. They were scared. It was very unfortunate,” he says.
Some things have already been lost forever. “Of the total 180 maqams, only around 40 maqams remain today,” informs Sheikh. The trance-like dancing called Hafiz Nagma that accompanies Sufiyana Mausiqi has also disappeared altogether. Legend has it that the female Hafiza dancers who performed in the royal court during the Dogra rule in Kashmir were banned when the Maharaja denounced their dance as disgraceful after he felt that it had ceased to be a spiritual form of dance.
Worried about this once-celebrated music that was vanishing, Sheikh opened his own music institute to provide free training to all those who shared his passion for music. The Qaleenbaaf Memorial Sufiana Music Institute was started in 1996 and has had students as young as 13 years old studying under the tutelage of Sheikh. They have been coming in great numbers too, even though it takes eight to nine long years to learn and master Sufiyana Mausiqi. While many of them have participated in various shows of All India Radio, Doordarshan, Sangeet Natak Academy, Cultural Academy etc, some others have gone on to become empanelled artists in the Kashmir station of AIR.
It all began in rented rooms where Sheikh first started giving music lessons to his students. Besides many young boys and girls, Sheikh’s classes also lured militants who demanded to know what he was up to and army men who came looking for the militants. “But once they had heard us play, they would calm down and let us be,” recalls Sheikh. “We were never bothered again.”
Today Sheikh’s students gather at his house in Kralpora, Budgam, a venue devoted to learning and preserving Kashmir’s Sufi music. Sheikh has built a separate hall in his house for his students where they can practice for as long as they want. And they don’t have to buy any instruments. Sheikh provides them with his own set. “It’s because these instruments are very expensive, each costing nearly Rs 20,000,” he says.
Besides santoor and saz-i-Kashmir, other music instruments used in Sufiyana Mausiqi are the Kashmiri sehtar, a long necked stringed instrument played with a wire plectrum called mezrab; the rabab, a short-necked lute, which when plucked produces a very thick sound and the Indian tabla, which is the only percussion instrument used in Sufiyana Mausiqi. Tabla, in fact, has replaced the wasul or dhokra, a two-sided drum that was used earlier and is now virtually extinct.
Sheikh has this entire collection of instruments lying in his hall, waiting to be held and played by anyone willing to learn. The hall also displays old, framed photographs of a young Sheikh and his troupe playing together in concerts around the world. One photograph shows Sheikh standing with the Indian santoor maestro Pandit Bhajan Sopori. In others, Sheikh is sitting and playing a santoor with his female students who are wearing bright colored pherans and performing on stage. Sheikh has collected so many photographs over the years that he has made two big albums out of them.
The gharanas of Sufiyana Mausiqi in Kashmir have inherited this music from their ancestors. It’s something that is passed down from one generation to the next. Sheikh began practicing when he was six-year-old, after watching and emulating his maternal grandfather, the legendary Ghulam Mohammad Qaleenbaaf who came from a non-musical family. But Sheikh’s own children are not interested in learning music. So he is teaching others, as many as he can. “My heart swells with pride when people tell me that I haven’t let my grandfather’s legacy die with him,” he says.
Sheikh feels that there is a lot that can be done to revive Sufiyana Mausiqi. “We can start by giving music classes in schools and colleges. Setting up small music schools in districts and offering scholarships to students would help a lot,” he says. “The government should organize concerts and provide a platform to students so that they can showcase their talent and encourage others to join as well.” In other Indian states, he says, students have good facilities of accommodation, training and even scholarships. “Their future is set before they even know it,” says Sheikh.
“We have been organizing programs and concerts in which prominent Sufiana artists participate. Recently, we had a music festival in SP College where Sufiyana Mausiqi was very well received. Peoples’ interest in it has diminished over the years but it won’t become extinct,” says Khalid Bashir Ahmad, Secretary, J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
Some other musicians from distinguished gharanas have also started giving music lessons to youngsters. They too, like Sheikh, are struggling to save something very precious to them from sinking into oblivion. “I will always be here and even if my class has one student,” he says, “I will still teach him.”

(Nausheen Naseer is Izhar Wani intern in GK)







Maqam (Station) and Haal (State)

The various stages of self-awareness on the Sufi path are known as ‘Maqamat’, or the ‘stations’, which are attainable through continuous spiritual practices and sincere efforts. However, ‘haal’ or ‘state’ can only happen by the Grace of God.

Rumi has described these stages poetically as: ‘Maqam’ is the (King’s) being alone with the bride while ‘haal’ is like unveiling of the beauteous bride.

To elaborate these stages further:

‘MAQAM’ represents a spiritual station, where the seeker finds him after sincerely treading the spiritual path for a while. With gradual polishing of the mirror of the heart through meditative exercises, he keeps on becoming aware of the spiritual subtleties behind the physical realm. With each breakthrough, he finds a new level of awareness. In this process, his previous level of awareness serves as the ‘Maqam’ where he becomes stationed till he moves on. Maqamat or Stations can also be perceived as the ascending rungs of the spiritual ladder. With continuous spiritual practices, a seeker ascends on this ladder. While moving from station to station, he may be touched by the special Grace or HAAL from time to time.

HAAL occurs spontaneously as a spiritual gift. While walking in the spiritual forest amidst pathways decorated with dancing trees and perfumed flowers, a soft cloud appears on the horizon, engulfs the seeker while quenching his spiritual thirst then moves on leaving him in a state of awe. In this state, a seeker neither expects what comes to him from the unseen world nor has the slightest idea about the nature of experience. He is simply taken over by an overwhelming compassionate power. It reflects a state, where a door opens out of nowhere and breeze from the garden of eternity surrounds the seeker and colours him with its perfume. A realm of ecstasy prevails due to unbearable display of beauty. This state of Hal comes and goes on its own. A seeker can never claim such a state due to its extraordinariness and his ordinariness. It always happens as a Grace.

Such stages are not some concrete milestones depicting progress on the Sufi path step by step rather reflects inner spiritual development. This is why; there exists no consensus among Sufis on the number and details of these stages.

La Musique Cachemirie

Srinagar Saraf Kadal on Marc Canal 1863


Srinagar Saraf Kadal on Marc Canal 1863


La Musique Cachemirie

La musique cachemirie est au carrefour de plusieurs zones d’influences importantes. Située dans la vallée du Cachemire, dont une partie est occupée par l’Inde, une autre par le Pakistan et une autre encore par la Chine, cette culture musicale bénéficie autant d’apports arabo-persan (maqâm) qu’indien (râga), mais aussi de l’Asie centrale. Cette dernière influence se retrouve tout autant dans les instruments employés que dans les échelles musicales utilisées (byzantine, majeure, mineure, mineure harmonique). La musique des régions proches telle le Ladakh ou le Jammu ne sera pas traitée ici.

La musique vocale occupe une place particulière dans cette région d’une part car au lieu d’être accompagnée par les instruments, c’est parfois elle qui les accompagne, et d’autre part car il y a une forme d’harmonie avec des reprises à la quinte ou à l’octave.

Il existe une importante diaspora cachemirie en Inde et ailleurs, ayant propagée avec elle sa musique.

Musique savante

Depuis des siècles, la musique hindoustanie du nord de l’Inde est jouée dans cette région septentrionale. La déesse Sharada (représentée jouant du santoor ou shattantrivînâ) de l’ancien Cachemire préside aux arts, à la musique et aux savoirs (comme Sarasvati). Des Pandits Cachemiris ont écrit dès le XIIe siècle, des traités musicologiques de première importance pour la musique indienne :

* Sarangadeva a écrit le Sangît Ratnakara
* Kalhana a écrit le Nilmatapurana et le Rajatarangini
* Abhinavagupta a écrit le commentaire Abhinavabharati sur le traité Nâtya-shâstra de Muni Bhârata.

Aujourd’hui encore, l’exécution d’un râga forme le cœur de la pratique musicale savante de la région. Toutefois on y trouve des variations locales dues notamment à l’influence afghane des naghmê. Jusqu’en 1956, la musique instrumentale était réservée aux sufiana kalam ou sufiana gayaki.

Le santoor y occupe une place de choix depuis des siècles ; il a connu au XXe siècle un regain d’intérêt grâce à des Cachemiris reconnus sur la scène internationale : Shivkumar Sharma, Bhajan Sopori et Tibbat Bakkal.

Musique religieuse

La musique islamique est désormais prédominante dans la région. Depuis le XVe siècle toutefois, le sûfyâna kâlam (ou sûfyâna mûsîqî) originaire d’Iran est une forme musicale soufie connue ici, réunissant un ensemble constitué d’un chœur hétérophone accompagné par santoor, d’un kashmiri saz ou d’un kashmiri setâr. Il existe deux types de performances : l’une hebdomadaire, durant deux heures, et l’autre à l’occasion des festivals islamiques, durant toute la nuit.

Elle sert également de musique savante dans les milieux urbains séculiers et intellectuel et persanophone (y compris des hindous). Elle se caractérise par l’usage de maqâmat et non de râgas, du moins dans la terminologie. Ceux-ci se caractérisent à la fois par leur agrégation en une suite musicale (avec shakl, nather, etc) ainsi que par leurs échelles musicales formant une cinquantaine de modes différents :

* ‘Araq
* Asavari (navroz-e-khara)
* ‘Ashiran
* Bahar (‘ushshaq)
* Bayate
* Behag (bihag, hijaz)
* Behbas
* Bhairavi (bharvi)
* Bilaval
* Buzurg
* Chargah (chahargah)
* Dhanasri
* Divgandhar (kanada)
* Gabri (hisar)
* Husayni (zarkash)
* Jangla (mukhalif)
* Jazvanti

* Jinjoti (manj, majiri)
* Kanada (divgandhar)
* Khamanch (khamanche, khamanch, kamanche, kamanj, asfahan, isfahan, safahan)
* Kochak (kalyan)
* Kuhi (mubaraqa’)
* Lalit
* Malhar (nihuft, mallar)
* Nat kalyan (avj)
* Nava
* Navroz-e-‘ajam
* Navroz-e-‘arab
* Nayriz
* Panjgah (rast-e-farsi)
* Paraj (nayriz-e-kabir)

* Purbi (zalab)
* Rahavi (bastanegar)
* Ramkali
* Rast (rast-e-kashmiri)
* Saba (navroz-e-saba)
* Sarang
* Segah
* Sendhuri
* Shahnaz (zengola)
* Suhani (nishaporak)
* Tilang (mahur)
* Todi (buzurg)
* Udasi (maghlub)
* ‘Uzzal (‘uzzal-e-farsi)
* Zaval (pahlavi, pahalvi)

La lecture du tableau indique une parfaite fusion entre les modes indiens et perses sans qu’il soit possible de dire qui a influencé ou amalgamé l’autre. En effet, bien des éléments indiquent une base islamique perse, mais bien d’autres montrent une base hindoue indienne… Les maqâmat sont en outre rythmés à l’aide du système du tâla indien; on dénombre 16 types de rythmes de 4 à 32 temps.

La danse hafiz naghma l’accompagne parfois avec des danseuses professionnelles. Les lîlas sont d’autres types de chants soufis pratiqués dans la région.

La musique hindoue est devenue très rare ; le henzae était chanté en sanskrit à l’occasion des festivals à partir du livre Panchastavi.

Le chant de femme vanvun est une prière de cérémonie (yagnopavit ou mekhal) hindoue utilisée dans la vie quotidienne hors du temple. C’est un rappel des dieux védiques à travers une coutume vestimentaire (le port d’une coiffe kalpush) lors des mariages par exemple. La technique de chant est similaire à celle utilisée lors des récitations védiques. Il en existe dix variantes : garnavaya (lors du lavage et lessivage), dapun (lors d’une invitation auspicieuse), manzirath (lors de la teinture au hénné), kroor (lors d’une décoration florale appliquée devant l’entrée de la maison), shran (lors d’un baptême initiatoire à l’eau et au lait), devgun ou varidan (lors de la salutation aux dieux avant les noces), agnikund ou yonya (lors d’offrande au feu sacré), yagnopavit ou tekya narivan (lors de l’initiation d’un adolescent à l’âge adulte par le moyen du cordon sacré et des marques sur le front), kalash lava (aspertion d’eau après l’adoration de Kalash).

Lors d’un mariage, le vanvun diffère légèrement puisque s’y ajoute : masmuchravun (libération de la cheveulure de la promise), manzirath (teinture à l’hénné), devgun et lagan (ou kanyadân).

Le vanvun est aussi un chant musulman qui diffère par son style et son échelle : il est plus rapide et est chanté debout en deux lignes responsoriales. On le chante lors des naissances, des circoncisions, des mariages, etc. Cette dernière cérémonie est constituée de : tomul-cchattun (lavage du riz), mehandirât (teinture d’hénné), masmucchravun (libération des cheveux de la promise) et yenivol (arrivée du fiancé et des invités).
Musique folklorique

La musique folklorique :

* Chants de femmes :
o Vîgya vacchan vient d’un terme védique sanskrit vishesh yog vacchan signifiant qu’il doit être chanté lors de rares occasions, notamment lors du yagnopavit ou du mariage. Ce rite tire son nom d’une pratique locale consistant à faire entrer le fiancé dans un cercle dessiné sur le sol d’une cour appelé vyug.
o Ruf ou row est une danse printanière exécutée par les femmes lors de célébrations. Elle dérive de la danse des abeilles.
o Hikat est une partie de râs ; c’est une danse de bâtons.
o Vân est un chant de deuil et de plainte exécuté par des pleureuses.
o Lalnavun ou lori est une berceuse basée sur vatsalaya râs.
* Chants de troubadours professionnels :
Joueur de saz-e-kashmir
o Bhande pâther (de bhâna, un drame satyrique ancien) est un groupe de chanteurs, musiciens, danceurs, acrobates, acteurs hindous convertis à l’Islam. Ils jouent des drames mythologiques en forme de monologue sur un mode (mukam) précis accompagnés de hautbois shehnai ou swarnai et des percussions dhol, nagara et thalij. Chaque bhand a son mode et son répertoire particulier avec une structure original composée de : salaam(« salut »), thurav, duitch, nav patti et salgah. La musique est très rythmique et le tambour dhol en est le cœur.
o Ladishah (de ladi, « rang ») est un chant satyrique sur la société. Il est chanté par des groupes de musiciens itinérants s’accompagnant au dhukar, un idiophone.
o Chhakar ou chhakri est un chant responsorial rapide avec instruments, propice à la danse. C’est un chant ancien accompagné de percussions, notamment les idiophones ghada, gâgar, chimta, matka et le tambour tumbaknâri, mais aussi parfois le luth rabâb et la vièle sarang. Les hommes exécutent une danse appelée back-kot (vatkat en sanskrit). C’est un chant apprécié des paysans et il intègre tout mariage et cérémonie yagnopavit.
o Bachhi naghma ou bachhi gyavun est un chant avec une « voix angélique » issu d’un métissage hindou (bachhi) et arabe (naghma). Il est exécuté par un groupe de musiciens accompagné du rabâb et du sarang. Les costumes rappellent ceux de la danse indienne kathak.
o Rishi macchar (du sanskrit rishimathar, « folie du sage ») ou rishi bechhun est un chant que les saints hindous exécutent lors de pèlerinages ou de visites aux temples. Ils peuvent aussi être chantés à la demande en guise de prédiction ou auspice.
o Dhamaly est une ancienne pratique religieuse consistant à sauter par dessus un feu sacré. Aujourd’hui, c’est une danse virile d’un groupe d’une vingtaine de personne tout de blanc habillées.
* Chants de paysans :
o Nande baeth ou naind gyavun (ninad gayan en sanskrit) est un chant de nature rythmique et joyeuse pour faciliter la tâche.

Musique nationaliste

Depuis la partition du pays et les tensions politiques, la musique a été utilisée à titre de vecteur de propagande hindoue par le développement de chants patriotique, nationaliste, héroïque, mythologique, etc. Depuis l’émergence d’une majorité de Musulmans dans la région, cette tradition à cessé, remplacée par des chants traditionnels islamiques.
Instruments de musique

Vents :

* Harmonium
* Nai
* Pi pi
* Shehnai
* Swarnai ou tulbarabir tulkarav
* Shankh

Cordes :

* Rabâb
* Santoor
* Sarang ou sarân
* Saz-e-kashmir
* Setâr
* Sitar

Percussions :

* Chimpta
* Dhol
* Dokra
* Dukkar
* Garâ ou gagar
* Khasya ou kos
* Nagara
* Nût ou noet
* Tablâ
* Thaliz
* Tumbaknâri
* Wasul

Srinagar-4th Bridge-Hari Prabat-19th-century

Srinagar-4th Bridge-Hari Prabat-19th-century


The Traditional Music of Kashmir

By Dr. Ramesh Kumar

Music, from times immemorial, has remained the most important medium of expression of human emotions. Kashmir, Mathura and Benaras, in the bygone times, were prominent centres for learning art. Due to ravages of time all the written evidence regarding the kind, type and form of music prevalent in Kashmir in the distant past has perished. We can only surmise about the notations and grammar of music which was prevalent that time. The task of preparing a comprehensive historiography on music of Kashmir has thus remained a difficult one.

However, some styles of music and singing e.g. temple Sangeet, Book CoverShiv Gayan and traditional folk music survived the upheavals and persisted to interest on account of their sentimental appeal and emotional attachment. These styles of music are continuing even now as a distinct genre and as a tradition of Kashmir. There are also stray references in old classics like Nilamatpurana, Rajatarangini etc.

‘The Traditional Music of Kashmir–in relation to Indian classical music’. by Prof. Sunita Dhar fills an important gap in preparing an authentic historiography of music of Kashmir. It is the first serious attempt to study the extant forms of music in a historical prospective. The advantage of being an ‘Insider’ has imparted a touch of originality to the work. Presently, Prof. Dhar is Dean of the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts at Delhi University. She has been trained by Padmabushan Pandit Debu Chandhuri.

Historical Overview :

In ancient Kashmir, as in other places, the temples used to be important places for learning music and singing. Dancing girls used to perform in these temples. The author makes a statement of fact when she remarks that during ancient period “one does not find any difference between the music, art and culture of Kashmir and that prevailing elsewhere in rest of India”.

There is archeological evidence, which points to the existence of singing and dancing in Kashmir. Tiles and some sculptures, excavated during Harwan excavations bear the pictures of dancing and singing persons and also of the ladies playing on the rhythmic instrument (drum). Another person is shown playing a Veena in an artistic pastime.

Nilamatpurana, a sixth century Mahatmya provides details about the festivals, in which musical concerts and dips in the river Vitasta and collective singing in the evenings featured.

Rajatarangini mentions about the royal patronage to music and about the art of music. It also talks about the musical instruments in this region in distant past. According to Pandit Kalhana, its author the folk musical instruments like earthern pots, brass vessels etc. were used by Kashmiri people from very early times. He mentions an instrument called “Hadukka”, which can be compared to a big pipe. The ancient musical instruments, used in Kashmir, had been more or less a reflection of Indian musical instruments in usage during that time.

King Harsa of Kashmir was an expert linguist and a poet too. He had a taste for music and composed songs. The king introduced Carnatak music to Kashmir. King Bhiksacara (1120-21 AD) himself played on musical instruments. He was fond of ‘Chhakri’, a form of choral singing, popular even to this day.

During the past millennium, Kashmir suffered heavily on account of external incursions and internal turmoil. Music and fine arts too suffered a blow in 11th and 12th century, when a Tartar adventurer, Dulacha invaded Kashmir. It led to anarchy and economic depression. Sultan Sikandar, ‘the Iconoclast, at the behest of his alien advisors banned all forms of music and dance. Kashmir was impoverished culturally. Srivara, a contemporary chronicler avers that the Sultan destroyed all the literature and material extant on the subject of music.

It was Kashmir’s good fortune that Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin ,who reversed all the policies of his father, ascended the throne. He and Sultan Hassan Shah revived the policy of royal patronage to music and fine arts. Srivara, an accomplished artist and a great musician was appointed Head of the department of Music. The great musician used to sing vernacular of Persian songs for the entertainment of the king. He and other talented musicians of Kashmir visited far south and other parts of India to interact with their counterparts.

Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin invited artists and musicians from Iran, Turan, Turkistan and Hindustan. He offered them good prospects and concessions to settle down in Kashmir. Avenues were also found for adopting and including various Ragas and Raginis of Indian music. Srivara himself writes that the singers from Karnataka sat gracefully before King Hassan Shah as if they represented the six tunes namely Kedara, Ganga, Gandhara, Desha, Bangala and Malva.

Sufiana Music :

The entry of Irani and Turanian musicians saw the emergence of a new form of music, which came to be known as Sufiana Mosiqui. This form of music has its style borrowed from Persian music and is played with musical instruments quite different from those used for Indian classical music and Kashmiri folk music. The author tells us too little about how this music evolved in the cultural clime of Kashmir. Is this a product of syncretic interaction between Kashmir’s own traditional music and Irani-Turanian music or simply a transplantation of Irani-Turanian music and the soil of Kashmir? When on listens to Tajik music, one can hardly find any difference.

Dr Sunita Dhar’s excellent monograph on the traditional forms of music and the musical instruments in vogue in Kashmir offers much to the casual reader as well as the serious scholar of Kashmir’s music.

The author divides the traditional music of Kashmir into four categories-songs sung by women folk, minstrel, farmers and religious songs.

Songs sung by women :

Vanvun, a prayer in the form of music has played a leading role in maintaining the continuity of our culture. Its subjects refer to the events of vedic period. It preserves our faith in spiritual and ancient beliefs. Vanvun, Veegya Vacchan, Hikat and Vaan are songs sung by women folk of Kashmir. The author divides Vanvun during ‘mekhal’ (Janev) and marriage ceremony into ten categories–Garnavaya (house leaning and washing), Dapun (personal invitation of guests for the approaching function), Manzirath (heena dye and night singing), Kroor (after a white wash flowery decoration at the main door), Shran (sitting on stool and dropping milk, curd and bathing), Devgun (welcome to vedic gods), Varidan (gifts to the relatives), Yonya (holy fire), Tekya Narivan (holy mark on the forehead and sacred thread tied around the wrist), Kalash Lava (after the worship of Kalash, sprinkling of water). Dr Dhar provides samples, along with meaning, on all these forms of Vanvun. She traces the vedic origin of such customs like wearing of Kalpusha-taranga by Kashmiri women, Zarkasaya, Veegya Vacchan. For example, in vedic period, when Goddess Sinnavali’s (one of the thirteen wives of Sage Kashyapa) marriage was performed, God Poosha had prepared a beautiful headguear to, decorate her head. This was called ‘Kapal-apush’ in Sanskrit. Lord Indra, beautifying it further, had wrapped a white strip of cloth around it. This custom is followed today by Kashmiris as a routine. ‘Kalpush’ in Kashmiri, is ‘Kapal-apush’ in Sanskrit. The white twinkling strip is ‘Tarang-Kor’ in Kashmiri. While putting on this head gear, ladies sing to bride.

‘Pooshan Thovnaya Sinnavali Devi

Cheh Koori Thovnaya mael maleh’

Meaning: Vedic God Pushan himself prepared ‘Kapal-apush’ and decorated it for the head of Sinnavali, but in your case, your father and mother have put it on your head.

‘Zarkasaya’ (mundan) has originated from Jatanishkasan in Sanskrit, i.e. removing hair and making the child bald. Devgun has originated from ‘devagaman’ in Sanskrit, which means the arrival of God. ‘Veegya Vacchan’ has originated from a vedic word, ‘vishesh yog vacchan‘, i.e. to be sung on a special occasion. In this vanvun, bridegroom or the boy whose ‘Yagneopavit is being performed stand on Vyug, a round shaped drawing designed with different colours.

‘Ruf’ an emotional type of folk dance is sung during spring. It is mentioned in Nilmatapurana. According to Prof. Dhar it might have originated from ‘dwarf dance’, of Vedic language. In Vedic language, it means a bee, which further developed as Ruf. Earlier, even Vaksh of Lalleshwari were sung in question-answer form in the ‘Ruf’.

“Hikat” is a form of ‘raas’. Reference to it is found in writings of Bhatt Avatar. Nund Rishi too was acquainted with it. This has originated from ‘hi-krit’, i.e. any piece of work done Joyfully.

‘Vaan’ singing is performed during occasions of grief. In olden days, an old professional singer, ‘Vangarinya’ in Kashmir used to visit on the day of the death. He would enquire about the names of the ancestors and family members etc. and sing till the tenth day.

Lalnavun is a type of folk song and is based on Vatsalaya Ras. During medieval times Muslims styled their Vanvun singing as different from Hindus. In Vanvun of Kashmiri Hindus a medium tone is used and there is no element of tribal music in it. In Muslim Vanvun fast tone is used. The quantity of Hindu Vanvun poetry is much more than that of Muslims. The latter divide themselves into two groups; one group sings a line, which is repeated by the other. They generally sing standing. A similar type of group singing is prevalent in Kumaon and Garhwal hills.

Songs sung by Minstrels :

Songs sung by minstrels, professionals include those sung by Chhakar singers, Bhands and Ladishah singers. The author traces ‘Bhand Paethar in history and provides a detailed account on how it is performed. ‘Ladishah’ is a satirical song, which reflects the society’s condition. According to Prof. Dhar ‘Ladi’ means a row or line-’Shah’ has been added after the advent of Muslim rule.

About Chhakari, the author says that it owes its origin to Rigvedic ‘Shaktri’. In Aryan culture, chorus singing after deva-yagya was a common practice. According to late Mohan Lal Aima, ‘mantrya mand’s ghada instrument originated ‘Chhakri’. Bachhi Nagma was previously known as ‘bacchi gyavun’. During Pathan rule nagma, an arabic word was added to it. The dress of a Bacchi Nagma performer matches that of a ‘Kathak’ dancer. References to this form of singing is found in Nilamat. Rishi Macchar is another type of singing, performed by minstrels. ‘Rishi Macchar’ is derived from vedic ‘Rishi + Mat+har i.e. insane i.e. intoxicated movements of the Rishis. These rishis were spiritually intoxicated and Rishi Machhar saints used to move in groups to collect alms. They would visit people and repeat those rhymes, which pertained to the morality of life. ‘Dhamaly’ means leaping and Jumping. This type of holy sport is also popular in UP. It is related with an exercise of saints, who jump over burning fire.

Naindai Gyavun are farmer’s folk songs. Naind is the changed form of the word ‘Ninad’ of Sanskrit. The word ‘gyavun’ also has originated from gayan of Sanskrit. Since these songs are sung in Chorus, these are also called ‘Naindan Chhakar’. Religious songs include leelas and its tradition continues to be strong even in exile.

Musical Instruments :

In the chapter on instruments used with the Traditional Music, the author goes back to the history, discusses the material these instruments are made of and also describes the technique of playing. Her observation is that the ancient musical instruments used in Kashmir “had been more or less a reflection of the Indian musical instruments in usage during that time”. She discusses at length these instruments e.g. Tumbaknari, Sarang (Sarangi) and Kashmiri Sarang, Gagar, Nagda, Dhola, Shankh, Swarnai, Khasya (Khos-cup), Thaluz, Rabab, Noet, Nai (Flute), Santoor, Saaz-i-Kashmir, Setar/Sehtar, Wasul/Dokra/Tabla.

In Iran Tumbaknari is called Tumbakh or Tunbak. In West Asia it is tumbal or tumbari. Gagar holds valuable place in the religious festivals of Kashmir. Shankh, the ‘sushirvadya’, one of the ancient instruments of India is associated with religious functions and has a vital role in ‘Leela’ singing. Atharva Veda and Bhagvad Gita carry references to it. Swarnai, a ‘sushir vadya’, holds the same place in Kashmir folk music as the Shahnai in the Indian music. This instrument has been mentioned in Nilamata Purana and Rajtarangini. This musical instrument is intimately related to marriages, festivals, shivratri, navreh, Id and other auspicious occasions.

Late Mohan Lal Aima did an intensive study of Noet playing and revived the art. References to Noet-playing are present in Nilamat and Rajatarangini. Delving into its origin, Prof. Dhar observes that in Kashmiri language, the original words ‘Kalash’ or ‘Ghat’ might have lost their existence and ‘Noet’ have gained popularity due to the fact that it was associated with ‘UV’ (nat). In due course of time, the word ‘nat Kalash’ might have lost ‘Kalash’ and become popular as ‘noet’.

In Kashmiri, Nai means flute. In Nilamat it finds mention as ‘Punya hved shabdin vansi venurvenaya sut magadh shabden tatha vandisvanenc’. Both Vansi and venu refer to ‘nai’.

Rabab and Sarang :

The author is not sure whether Rabab and Sarangi have indigenous origin or not. At one place she says these travelled to Kashmir from Persia, Afghanistan and Arabia, while at the other she quotes Ain-i-Akbari to suggest that Rabab was invented by Tansen. According to A.Lavience, Rabab existed during the times of King Ravana, when it was called as Ravanastram. Similarly, Maharaja Sarang Dev of Kashmir is said to be the inventor of Sarang. Prof Dhar believes Santoor too has a native origin. It used to be called Shat-tantri Veena. Some scholars believe that this instrument could be related to Sakta sect. Santoor is made of mulberry wood and is trapezoid in shape. According to Shakts, triangular is a symbol of desire, knowledge and action. Mulberry tree, is sacred to Kashmiris and is related to ‘Bhairov’. The extreme popularity of Santoor in our own times is attributed to such great artists-Tibet Bakal, Saaz Naivas Kaleem, Sheikh Abdul Aziz and Bhajan Sopori.

Saaz-i-Kashmir has originated in Kurdistan, Iran and is popular throughout Muslim world. In Iran it is called Kamancha. Sitar is said to be the product of fusion between Persian Tambura or ud (Shape) and Indian Veena (in principle). Others opine that Sitar evolved gradually from Tritantri Veena. Wasul or Dokra have gone out of use and replaced by Indian Tabla.

‘Hafiza Dancing’:

In the last chapter, the author has listed some famous songs along with their text and notation. The omission of ‘Hafiza dancing’ is a major shortcoming of this monograph. Infact in late nineteenth century, one of the main attractions for visitors was Hafiza, the nautch dancer. Many of these dancers stayed and worked in the Shalimar Gardens. The bungalow, lit by candles and lanterns, was used for performances and entertaining visitors. The women themselves usually lived in tents. Azeezie was one of the most popular Hafiza dancers in 1860′s and appears in Baker and Burke Catalogue. The author could have also attempted a review of life and works of outstanding Kashmiri musicians. ‘The Tradition Music of Kashmir’ has good readability, and is reasonably priced.