History of Kashmir

History of Kashmir
According to folk etymology, the name "Kashmir" means "desiccated land" (from the Sanskrit : Ka = water and shimeera = desiccate). In the Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the mid-12th century, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake.

According to Hindu mythology, the lake was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla ( Varaha-mula ). When Kashmir had been drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmans to settle there. This is still the local tradition, and in the existing physical condition of the country, we may see some ground for the story which has taken this form. The name of Kashyapa is by history and tradition connected with the draining of the lake, and the chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley was called Kashyapa-pura, which has been identified with Kaspapyros of Hecataeus (apud Stephanus of Byzantium) and Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44).

Kashmir is also believed to be the country meant by Ptolemy's Kaspeiria.

Cashmere is an archaic spelling of Kashmir, and in some countries it is still spelled this way.
Pre-historic times:

Regarding pre-historic times, Dr. Sunil Chandra Ray writes: "Pre-historic explorations have discovered the occurence of quaternary Glacial cycles in the valley. The chief Geological formation of the ice-age here are the lacustrine deposits called the "Karewas", which overlay the terminal moraines of the first Glaciation and are comprised of two groups, Lower and Upper, differentiated by the moraines of the second Glaciation.

The fossil remains of Elphas-hysudrious obtained in the lower 'Karewas' point to lower "Pleistocene age", writes De Teera. The neolithic culture is indicated by the discovery of ground and polished stone axes, hoes, pestle, and bone implements at the well-known menhir-site of Burzahom, ten miles east of Srinagar. Burazahoma is famous as one of the only two megalithic sites in the extreme north-west of Indian sub-continent.

We do not exactly know the Cultural horizon of the Burazahoma megalithic, nor the Purpose for which they were erected, but the indications are, they were put in places towards the end of the neolithic period at that site, between 400 to 300 B. C."

In 1960, Archaeological Department of the Govt. of India began systematic excavation at this site. Near about the silt bed, pits have been discovered in sections, indicating a settlement of early Pit dwellers whose date has tentatively been fixed at 3000 B.C. This is perhaps the only known find of such a settlement in India. It is possible that more valuable data would be found, when extensive surface diggings are completed.
Hindu Rule:

Kalhan has started the history of Kashmir just before the great Mahabharat war, and the first King mentioned by him is Gonanda I, whose initial year of reign he places in 653 Kali-era, thetraditional date of the coronation of King Yudhistira, the eldest brother of the Pandvas. Gonanda was killed in a battle along with his son in India, and at the time ofthe commencement of the Mahabharat war, Gonanda II was ruling Kashmir. After his death, the great historion informs that the record of 35 kings who ruled the valley could not be traced by him, because of the destruction ofthe record. However a modern scholar Peer Zada Hassan has given a brief record of these Kingsfrom a Persian work composed during the time of Sultan Zainul-Abdeen ( 1420-70 ). The author ofthis work Mulla Ahmad had been able to obtain the names of these kings from an earlier Sanskrit work " Ratnakar ". The great Mauryan emperor Ashoka is recorded to have ruled Kashmir, and Kalhan rightly mentions that the king was a follower of Buddhism. Ashoka founded the old city of Srinagar called now as "Pandrethan ", ( Puranadhisthan ) and also build many vihars and temples and repaired the old shrine. At Vijeshwari (modern Bijbehra), he built a Shiva Temple, thus winning the heart of the local population, who were mostlyworshippers of Lord Shiva. It was Majjhantika, a celebrated Buddhistmissionary who was deputed to Kashmir and Urvasa to preach the faith of Buddha in those territories. Hien-Tsang mentions the arrival of 500 monks to Kashmir, and Ashoka making a gift of the valley to Sangha. Many Buddhist scholars, missionaries, and intellectuals permanently settled in the valley. Naturally, in course of time, many people embraced Buddhism here. According to local tradition, like Lord Shri Krishna, Lord Buddha is also supposed to have visited Kashmir. Writes Sir Charles Elliot in a book called 'Hinduism and Buddhism': "For some two centuries after Gautam's death, we have little information as to the geographical extension of his doctrine, but some of the sanskrit versions of the " Vinaya ", represent him visiting Mathura, north-west India and Kashmir. After the death of Ashoka, his son Jaluka ascended the throne of Kashmir, and the latter was succeeded by his son King Damodar II. Jaluka was a great king who cleared the valley of oppressing 'Malechas', ( foreign unclean tribes). King Damodar lives in our memory even at present, for the Srinagar Air-port is located at Damodar I Karewa ', where the king is supposed to have lived in a big palace and, where again, he was transformedinto a snake by the curse of a Brahmin. The scholars also, acceptthe theory that the valley for over two hundred years was ruled by Indo-Greek Kings before the start of " Turushka " ( Kushan ) rule in the state. Cunningham records a large find of silver coins of Azes ( and Azilies ) (coins of Indo-Scythians) on the banks of Vitasta (river Jhelum) in the hills between Varahmulla and Jhelum. The contact with the Greeks is responsible for the beautiful architectural, and sculptural style of old Kashmir temples, and the coinage of later Kashmir Kings hasalso been influenced by this contact. Kalhan's account of Turushka Kings,indicates without any doubt the Kushan occupation of the Valley. The three kings mentioned by him are Huska, Juska, and Kanishka, each of themis credited with the foundation of a town, christened after their respective names : Hushkapura, Jushkapura and Kanishkapura.

The Kushan Kings also built many temples and Vihars. According to many scholars, Kanishka held the third great council of the Buddhist church at " Kundalvan ", (Harwan, near Shalimar garden) Hien Tsang has given the proceedings of this council. Nearly 500 Buddhist and Hindu scholars attended this conference, and a learned Kashmir Brahmin Vasumitra presided over its session. Some ofthe great Buddhist scholars, who took active part in this council were Ashvagosha, Nagarjuna, Vasubandu Sugamitra and Jinamitra. Hien-Tsang praises the intellectual calibre of the Kashmir scholars, and considered them as incomparable. The entire proceedings of the conference were inscribed on copper plates in Sanskrit, enclosed in stone boxes, deposited in a Vihar. Like famous Gilgit manuscripts, it is possible that these copper plates mav be unearthed in near future, and we would learn much about the rich cultural history of the valley. As a result of this conference, large number of Kashmiri intellectuals took to missionary work and hundreds of the wisest sons of the valley carried the torchof Indian civilisation and culture to many parts of central Asia, China, Tibet and other places. Dr. P. C. Bagchi, a noted Indologist and scholar of repute, writes in his excellent book ' India and China': " Kashmir takes the leadingpart in the transmission of Buddhist thought and traditions directly to Tibet, and China. The number of Buddhist scholars whowent to China from Kashmir is larger than that of those who went from other parts of India. Kashmir was the most flourishing centre of Buddhist learning in thisperiod. It was the centre of most powerful Buddhist sect of Northern India known as 'Sarvastivada'. A few of the most important Kashmir Missionaries were Kumarjiva, Yasa, Vima Laksha, Sanghbuti, Gautam Sangha, Buddviyasa, Buddhijiva, Gunavarman, Dharamputra and Shyama Bhata. After Kanishka, local weak rulers continued to govern the state, till we hear from Kalhan, the arrival of Mahir-Gul, the notorious Hun invader of our country. Kalhan correctly represents him as a savage cruel king, whose approach became known by the sight of thousands of vultures, crows and the like in the sky, eager to feed on those being massacred by his encircling army. While crossing Pir Panchal pass, the tyrant rolled down one hundred elephants from a mountain pass. The shrieks and the yells of the dying elephants greatly delighted this fiend. Till theadvent of Karkota dynasty (beginning of 8th Century) the Gonanda dynasty gave Kashmir only two notable rulers viz. Meghvahan and Pravansein. The former was a pious and a strong ruler with Buddhist leanings. He stopped killing of animals and birds throughout his Kingdom. In fact, he undertook conquest of many countries solely for the purpose of stopping animal slaughter. His chief queen Amrit Prabha built 'Amrit Bhawan' Viharfor foreign pilgrims and students who came to Kashmir in large numbers for learning. The next great King was Praversein II in whose time people enjoyed perfect peace and prosperity, He was a great conqueror who extended the boundaries of the state in all directions. He has madehis name immortal by founding the city of Praverseinpura (modern city of Srinagar), the summer capital of the state at present. Praversein ruled ably for 60 years and is supposed to have directly ascended to heaven while worshipping Lord Shiva in his temple 'Pravesha' now standing in ruins near Hari-Parbat fort. It was during the time of first king of Karkota dynasty, Durlabvardhan that the oreat Chinese pilgrim, Hien-Tsang visited Kashmir and entered the valley via Varahmulla where he found a huge stone gate. The entry of all outsiders, except the Hindus, was banned in the state then. Hien-Tsang was given a right royal reception by the people including the king. He stayed in Kashmir for nearly two years, studied Sanskrit and Hindu scriptures at the feet of learned men here.
It is the Karkota dynasty that has given Kashmir the greatest ruler Lalitaditya Muktapid ( 724- 761 A. D.). He is undoubtedly the Samudra Gupta of Kashmir. He was filled with an unquenchable thirst of world conquest. He invaded and conquered many countries in Asia and India. The Punjab, Kanuj, Tibet, Ladhak, Badakshan, Iran, Bihar, Gauda (Bengal) Kalinga (Orissa), South India, Gujarat, Malwa, Marwar and Sindh were all conquered by him. It was he, who finally broke the power of Arabs in Sindh. All these unbroken victories created a feeling of pride among the peoplehere and his victories came to be celebrated in a big way. Kalhan who wrote his famous chronicle (Rajatarangini) nearly four hundred years after the death of Lalitaditya, records that even in his time the victories of the great victor were being celebrated throughout the valley. Alberuni, who accompanied Mahmud Gaznavi in his Indian Campaigns, specifically mentions in his book ( Tahqiq-i-Hind ) that Kashmiris observed second of Chaitra, as theday of victory. Lalitaditya was equally a great builder and he built his capital near the sacred shrine of Khir-Bhawani, and gave it the name of Parihaspur (city of pleasure). Throughout the valley, he built very fine and massive temples, out of which the world famous sun temple (Martand) builton Mattan Karewa, reminds us about the granduer and splendour of the times when theirbuilder ruled the state. The extensive ruins of his capital city Parihaspur, speak of his activities in the field of art and architecture.After his death, it is mostly the weak rulers except his grand son Jayatida, who ruled the valley. Both Lalitaditya, and Jayatida weregreat patrons of learning and extended their partonage to Bhavabhuti, Vakpatrija, Udhata Bhata, Damodhar Gupta, Manoratha, Sankhdanta and Samadhimat etc. The history of Karkota dynasty after Jayatida is a sad story of decline. All the conquered territories regained their independence, and the sovereignty of the ruler of Kashmir came to be confined to Vitasta basin. The economic ruin was hastened by the extravagant habits of both the rulers and the ministers. In the words of Kalhan :" the ministers and the grandees carried-off the revenues of the country, feasted in mutal jealousy on the masterless kingdom, like wolves on a dead buffalo in a desert. " Inspite of all this the Karkota rule on the whole has been considered as the glorious and remarkable periods of ancient Kashmir. Laments Dr. P. C. Ray that " never before the Karkota period, had Kashmir performed such a feat, nor was she able to repeat it in future." It was round about in 855-56 A. D. that Karkota rule ended, and a new Utpal Dynasty assumed power in Kashmir. The most important ruler of this dynasty was Maharaja Avanti-verman. It was he, who recovered Kashmir from utter political and economic disorder. His reign witnessed a period of peace and consolidationand prosperity. It was during this time, that the valley rose to great heights in the realm of philosophy, artand letters. There was an outburst of literary activityon a grand scale, and eminent men Kallata Bhat sura, Ratnakar, Anandavardhana, Muktakana, Siva-Swamin, Rudrata and Mukula.Kalhan's mention of numerous temples built and towns founded by the King, and his ministers throws plenty of light on the prosperous condition of the period. The most important foundation of the King was his capital city of Avantipur, which he embellished with two temples: one dedicated to Shiva, and other to Vishnu. Both of them are in ruins now, but even then, they stand as the most imposing monuments of ancient Kashmir.
The reign of this King would not be complete without the mention of 'Suya', one of the greatest engineer Kashmir produced in ancient times. For centuries the people of the valley had been suffering from the recurring curse of famines and floods. Suya correctly assessed that these frequent calamities occured due to heavy rains and excessive water of Vitasta river which could not easily get out with swiftness, through a gorge near Varahmulla, as the compressed passage there had got blocked with silt and huge boulders. The people removed both the silt and stones when the great engineer threw plenty of gold and silver coins into the river at many places. Thousands of starving people immediately jumped into the flooded Vitasta and in order to find the coins, cleared the bed of the rocks and boulders which had choked up the passage.

Suya, then raised stone embankments, and adopted other protective measures. Many canals were dug-out to increase the irrigational facilities. The result of all these measures was, that a great increase of land became available for cultivation. The production of paddy increased and the price of one Khirwar (nearly two mounds) came down to 36 Dinars from 200 Dinars.

Suya's memory is still preserved to this day, by the town Sayapur (Sopore) founded by him at the point where river Vitasta, since his regulation leaves the basin of Mahapadomsar (Wouler lake).

Avantivarman died in a temple on the Dal Lake, when a fatal disease caught him, and in the words of Kalhan, " listening to the end to the song of the Lord (Bhagvatgeeta) and thinking of the residence of Vishnu (Vaikuntha) he cast off his earthly life with a cheerful mind. " (June 883)

Avantivarman was succeeded by his son Shankarvarman, but then the decline of Utpal dynasty set in. In the time of King Yasakara (939-48) a 'Math' (hospice) was built for the students of India, who came to Kashmir for study and meditation. It clearly reveals intimate cultural contact between the valley, and plains of India in the 10th century. In 950, Khemgupta ascended the throne of Kashmir, a man of mediocre ability who married princess Didda, daughter of the ruler of Lohara (Poonch) and grand daughter of the Shahi king of Kabul. After the eclipse of Utpala dynasty, Lohara dynasty ruled Kashmir till the end of the Hindu rule in Kashmir (1339). Queen Didda was the de-facto ruler of the state, as she was very dominating and exercised immense influence over her husband. She built many temples and monasteries and one of these was reserved for people of Madyadesha and Lata (U. P., Bihar and Central India).

In 980 A.D. Didda ascended the throne after the death of her husband. Before her, two other queens had ruled Kashmir namely Yashovati and Sugandha. Didda was a very unscrupulous, and wilful lady and led a very immoral life. But inspite of these drawbacks, she was an able ruler, who firmly ruled the valley. She died in 1003 A. D. and left the throne of Kashmir to her family in undisputed succession. As her children had died young, she transmitted the crown to Sangramraj, son of her brother Udairaj, the ruler of Lohara (Poonch). It was during her time, that Mahmud Gaznavi twice tried to capture the valley but the fort at Lohara, remarkable for its height and strength proved impregnable. The Sultan was obliged to abandon the conquest.

From 1089 to 1101 A. D., King Harsha ruled Kashmir. Versed in many languages, a good poet, lover of music and art, he started his rule in a remarkable way, and became famous in northern India.His court was a centre of luxury and splendour. He introduced new fashions in dress and ornaments. His ministers were gorgeously dressed, wore earrings and head dresses, previously reserved for the members of ruling families only. But strangely enough, Harsha's career became a record of follies and misdeeds. The people also suffered from famine, and plague as well, and a considerable section of people became victims of these calamities. A confusion followed these misfortunes, leading to a general rising of the people under two royal princes Uccalia and Succalla. Harsha along with his son Bhoja were murdered, and the Kashmir throne passed into the hands of two princes respectively. Both the princes met the fate of Harsha and when our great historian Kalhan completed his 'Rajatarangini' in 1149 - 50 King Jaisimha, the last great ruler of theHindu times was ruling the state.
Jaisimha's (1128-55) early days were critical, because of the preceeding civil wars and political unrest. Still the new ruler was ableto maintain his firm rule for 27 years in comparative safety. The King repaired and restored many temples and shrines, and numerous other pious foundations were also made during his reign. The people after a long time heaved a sigh of relief.From 1155 - 1339, the Kashmir rulers remained busy only in intrigues, debauchery, and mutualquarrels. These incessant feuds, civil wars, risings and upheavals greatly weakened Hindu domination of Kashmir. The valley soon fell a prey to Mongol and Turkish raiders, free booters and foreign adventurers. Quite naturally, the boundaries of the Kingdom got shrunk, and were reduced to the peoper valley only. The Kabul valley Proutonsa (Poonch), Pajapuri (Rajauri) Kangra, Jammu, Kisthwar and Ladhak, one after the other threw-off their allegiance to the rulers of Kashmir. In the beginning of 14th century a ferocious Mongol, Dulucha invaded the valley through its northern side Zojila Pass, with an army of 60,000 men. Like Taimur in the Punjab and Delhi, Dulucha carried sword and fire, destroyed towns and villages and slaughtered thousands. His savage attack practically ended the Hindu rule in Kashmir. A weak and worthless man Raja Sahadev was the ruler then. It was during his reign that three adventurers, Shah Mir from Swat ( Tribal) territory on the borders of Afganistan, Rinchin from Ladhak, and Lankar Chak from Dard territory near Gilgit came to Kashmir, and played a notable rolein subsequentive political history of the valley. All the three men were granted Jagirs by the King. Rinchin for 3 years became the ruler of Kashmir, Shah Mir was thefirst rular of Shah Miri-dynasty, and the decendants of Lankar Chak established Chak rule in the Kashmir. The last Hindu ruler of Kashmir was Udyan Dev. It was his chief Queen Kota Rani, who practically governed the state. She was a very brave lady, shrewd and an able ruler. Though she tried her best to save her Kingdom, odds were too heavy for her. The valley was again invaded by a Mongal and Turk invader Achalla, but the Queen defeated him, and drove away all the foreign troops. In the confusion Rinchin, the Ladhaki prince, whom the Hindu religious leaders of the time refused to admit into their fold, organised aninternal rising and seized the throne. Before his death, he embraced Islam. Finally another rising was led by Shah Mir, who defeated the queen at Jayapur (modern Sumbal). The defeat upset her and seeing the indifference of the Hindu grandees and general public, she stabbed herself to death, because Shah Mir wanted to marry her. Herdeath in 1339 paved the way tor the establishment of Muslim rule in Kashmir.

Muslim Period

After the death of Queen Kota, Shah Mir ascended the throne under the name of Sultan Shamas-ud-din, and his dynasty ruled the state for 222 years. This period is one of the most important in the annals of Kashmir, in as much as Islam was firmly established here. The Shah-Miri dynasty has given us only two rulers, who are worthy of mention. One is Sultan Shihabud-din, and the second is the great Sultan Zain-ul-Abdin. The former ascended the throne in 1354, and continued to rule till 1373. He was full of energy, and vigour and he was able to establish his sway over the neighbouring countries. His army mainly consisted of Damras, Lavans and the hill tribes of Poonch, Rajapuri and Kishtwar. The important commanders who served under him were both Hindus and Muslims, such as Chandra-Damra, Laula Damara, Shura, Syed Hassan and Abdul Raina. His two important Hindu ministers were Kota Bhat and Udyashri. At the begining of his reign, he led an army to Sindh and defeated its ruler. While returning he defeated Afgans near Peshawar and then he conquered Kabul, Gazni, Qandhar, Pakhali, Swat and Multan. He invaded Badakshan, and then marched towards Dardistan and Gilgit, which he easily conquered. Then he marched towards Bulochistan and Ladhak. The ruler of Kashgar (central Asia) came with a huge army and Shah-u-din whose army was numerically inferior, inflicted a crushing defeat and the Kashgararmy was almost wiped out. This led to the annexation of Laddhak and Bultistan, which were claimed by the Kashgar ruler. It is also said that the ruler or Kashmir marched towards Delhi, and on the way conquered Kangra, and then the army of Feroz Shah Tughlaq opposed him on the banks of Sutluj.

Since the battle between the rulers of the Delhi and Kashmir was indecisive, peace was concluded and it was agreed that all the territory from Sirhind to Kashmir was to belong to the Kashmir ruler. Shah-ud-din was not only a great conqueror but also an able administrator, and he governed his kingdom with firmness and justice. He was tolerant ruler and treated his Hindu subjects generously. It is reported that owing to prolonged campaigns he needed money, and his ministers asked him to loot the temples, but he stoutly opposed the proposal, and to quote Jonaraj, he is reported to have said in anger: "Past generation have set-up images to obtain fame, and earn merit, and you propose to demolish them. Some have obtained renown by setting up images of gods, others by worshipping them, some by maintaining them, and you propose demolishing them. How great is the enormity of such a deed ".

The king founded a new town which he called Shihab-ud-din-pora, known now as Shadipur. He is also said to have erected many mosques and monasteries. Shihab-ud-din can rightly be called the Lalitaditya of medieval Kashmir. During his time Kashmir armies marched to distant lands, and our victorious banners were unfurled on many forts of foreign countries. Thus this great ruler raised Kashmir to great eminence, and power.

The next ruler was Sultan Qutab-ud-din, and in whose time the only important event worth mentioning is the arrival of said Ali Hamdani, who was the most remarkable personality of the then muslim world. At the time of his third visit he got with himself 700 Syeds from Hamdan, who were being out to torture by Timur, ruler of Persia. These syeds established their centres of missonery activities in different parts of the valley. In 1389, Qutab-ud-din died, and he was succeeded by his eldest son Sultan-Sikandar. It was in the time of this Sultan, that the political atmosphere of the state was vitiated. Whereas all former rulers had followed a policy of religious toleration, the new Sultan like Aurangazeb was a man of puritan temperament. He banned all gay celebrations and would not listen to music even. He imposed Jizia upon Hindus and stopped them touse tilak on their fore-heads. Writes M. Hassan: "In their misplaced zeal for their faith, Sikandar and his minister Saif-ud-din (who was originally a Hindu) were also responsible for the destruction of images and temples ."

Almost all the muslim chroniclers speak of the wholesale destruction of Hindu shrines including the 'Martand' Temple, and forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam. Thousands of Hindus fled to India to save their religion and holy books, and also to escape the wrath of the Sultan.

Shahi-Khan or Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, ascended the throne in 1420 A. D. and ruled upto 1470 A. D. nearly for half a century.
His accession to the throne, proved tobe the return of a bright and warm day after a cold and a chilly night. In the words of Pandit Anand Kaul: "possessed of a broad and tolerant outlook, with adesire to benefit mankind, he ruled with such equity, and justiceand did so much to improve the material prosperity of the people, that one can not fail to admire him, his benevolent rule demands special homage in as much as he lived in a period when he had no worthy and enlightened contemporary to emulate. In the world around him, he could have little to help him. He was a potentate encouraged to be tyrannical and selfish by tradition, and especially by the examples of his father, Sultan Sikander. Zain-ul-Abidin was deservedly surnamed Budshah or the great King. In spite of 5 centuries having rolled by since he ruled, his name is still remembered with genuine reverence and gratitude. Take the name of Budshah before a Kashmiri, and at once with a happy countenance he will rhyme it with Pad-Shah ". Writes another modern historian M. Hassan : " of all the Sultans who sat on the throne of Kashmir, Zainulabidin was undoubtedly the greatest. He ushered in a period of nearly half a century of peace, prosperity, and benevolent rule for his people. He introduced many arts and crafts for which Kashmir has become famous ever since. He promoted learning, music and painting and made Kashmir the centre of great culture. He won the loyality and affection of his subjects who called him Budshah or the great king, a name by which he is remembered even to day by the people of Kashmir. He acquired a halo in popular imagination which still surrounds his name inspite of the lapse of nearly 500 years." Zain-ul Abidin organized a huge army, and with its help he reconquered the Punjab, Western Tibet, Ladhak and Balti region, Kulu and Ohind ( Hazara ). The Sultan also maintained cordial andfriendly relations with rulers of other countries. The Sheriff of Macca and the Kings of Jilan and Egypt sent him presents. The Maharaja of Gwalior, hearing that the Sultan was interested in Music,sent him valuable works on Indian music. There was also an exchange of embassies and gifts between the great Sultan and the rulers of Sindh, Bengal, Tibet, Gujrat, Malwa and Delhi. The Sultan improved the tone of administration which had rudely been shaken. He appointed talented persons in high administrative posts, irrespective of caste or creed. The Sultan had ahigh sense of justice and no one who committed a crime was spared, however close he was to throne. Many grandees who were favourites of the king, were severly punished when found guilty. The king took keen interestin agriculture and like Lalitaditya and Avantivarman, many canals were dug out in all parts of the Kingdom. Jonraj and Shriva have given details of these canals in their valuable books. Owing to these irrigation works, the draining of marshes and reclamation of large areas for cultivation, Kashmir became self-sufficient in food, and rice was cheap. One of the most outstanding features of his administration wasthe just and liberal treatment of the Hindus, who were not only allowed complete freedom of worship, but the Sultan recalled allthose who had fled to India in thetime of his father. He allowed those Hindus who had forcibly been converted, to return to their former religion. The Sultan banned cow slaughter and permitted the repair and rebuilding of the temples at government expenses. He grantedlands to learned Brahmins, endowed temples and for Hindu pilgrims visiting holy places in the valley he opened a royal kitchen atRainawari known even now as Jogi Lanker. Jiziya was almost abolished and the Sultan participated in Hindu festivals andentertained Brahmins and Sadhuson auspicious days. Some of his important Hindu ministers were the famous physician Shri Bhat, Tilakacharya, Simha Bhat, Ruppa Bhat, Karupar Bhat and Shrivara. At the same time Sultan was a great patron of men of letters such as Syed Mohammud Rumi, Syed Ahmad Rumi, Quazi Syed Ali Shirazi, Qazi Jamal and Maulana Kabir to mention only a few. The Sultan had also established a translation department where important works were translated from Sanskrit into Persian and Arabic. The Sultan opened schoolsand hostels for the students. It is for encouragement of arts and crafts that Kashmir will be permanently indebted to the Sultan.
In the Hindu times, the valley was equally famous for its arts and crafts but these had greatly suffered in the chaos which lasted for over two hundred years. The Sultan invited competant teachers from countries to Kashmir, so that they could train people here. Among many industries introduced by him, we can mention carpet, paper machine, paper making, silkrearing, shawls, manufacture of gun powder etc. Kashmir became so famous for beautiful designs on silks and shawls that our state acquired an unrivalled fame in Asia. Even after a century when Babar's cousin Mirza Haider Daulghat invaded Kashmir, he wrote in Tarikhi-Reshidi: "In Kashmir one meets with all these arts and crats which are in most cities uncommon, such as stone polishing, stone cutting, bottle making window cutting, gold beating etc. In the whole Maver-ul-Nahir ( Khorasan ) except in Samarkand, and Bokhara, these are nowhere to be met with, while in Kashmir they are in abundance. This is all due to Zain-ul-Abidin." The Sultan was a great builder. He founded the newcity called Nowshedar ( a part of the city now. ) He adorned it with splendid houses for his officers, courtiers and learned men. He built a palace of 12 storeys in it, each containing 50 rooms, halls and corridors. It was surmounted by a golden dome, and its spacious halls were lined with glass. Besides Nowshader, the Sultan founded the town of Zainapur, Zainakut and Zainagir. Similarly he built the first wooden bridge at Srinagar known even now as Zainakadal. In 1470 A. D. the Sultan died and for a long time his death was mourned by the people. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin's death sounded the death knell of Shah-Miri dynasty. It met the samefate that the Lohara dynasty had met after the death of Jaisimha in 1156. The only important event that took place before the establishment of Chak dynasty was the invasion of Mirza Haider Dughlat who attacked Kashmir from Zogila pass in 1533. Soon hewas able to establish his ascendancy in the valley. The Moghul, like Dulchu earlier, killed, looted and plundered the people, and made women and children their slaves. The Sultan of Kashmir,Nazuk Shah, became almost a puppet in his hands. Moghuls were appointed on high posts everywhere, and the Jagirs of Kashmir Noblemen were confiscated. For more than a decade Mirza was the virtual ruler of the valley and he gave peace and orderly Government to the country. He encouraged Kashmir Art and Crafts, and trade and commerce once again thrived in the valley. The last Shahmiri ruler, Sultan Habib Shah, a weakling wasdeposed by his commander, and nobles raised on throne Gazi Chak,a prominent military General of the time. He was the direct descendant of Lankar Chak who had come to Kashmir towards theclose of Hindu rule. The Chak rule began in Kashmir in 1561 and lasted till 1587, when Akbar, the great Moghul Emperor conquered Kashmir.
Moghul Period

The Moghuls remained in power here, from 1587 to 1752, and in this period undoubtedly the people enjoyed peace and orderly Govt. There were some rapacious officers, but on the complaint of the people the Moghul rulers immediately removed them. It wasin 1579 that illuminated Moghul emperor Akbar visited Kashmir. About eighty thousand Kashmiris were entertained by Akbar at Id-Gah. During his reign Raja Todar Mal, the great Finance and Revenue Minister, made revenue settlement of the valley, which in its broad features forms the basis of the present revenue settlement in the valley. Akbar built a new town near Hariparbat and called it Nagar-Magar and built the massive wall around the hill. The great emperor visited the valley three times, and with him, came a large number of Moghul grandees, noblemen and army generals. The fame of the valley spread throughout the country and a very large number of people started to visit the valley. But actually it was in the time of Jahangir that the beauty of the state attracted thousands of visitors to the happy valley. The great emperor visited the State thirteen times. The Moghul rulers never came alone, but were always accompanied by hundredst of Nobles, Amirs and Umras, Princes and Army Generals. Jahangir came virtually, under the spell of the scenic beauty of the place, and wherever he found a hill coming down gently to a spring or a grove of majestic Chinar trees or a beautiful lake, he utilised the place for planting a pleasure garden. Shalimar and Nishat gardens on the banks of Dal Lake, would keep Jahangir's love for natural beauty ever fresh in our memory. He laid gardens at Achabal and Verinag. Perhaps no other ruler has ever paid so much tribute to the beauty of Kashmir as Jahangir did.

Shah Jahan also visited the happy valley a number of times and he too was accompanied by a large number of nobles. Owing to the long peaceful rule of the three Moghul Kings, hundreds of people now began to come to Kashmir to find mental peace, to regain their health or attain spiritual salvation. Shah Jahan laid the garden of Chashmashai and also built a portion of Shalimar. The Moghul Governor Ali Marden Khan also laid out a number of gardens. Aurangzeb visited Kashmir only once in 1665. An interesting account of the emperor's journey to the valley has been given by a French traveller Francis Bernier who accompanied the Emperor. The traveller gives a favourable impression of the people in his book. "The Kashmiris are celebrated for wit. In poetry and sciences they are not inferior to Persians. They are also active and industrious. The workmanship, and beauty of their Palkies, bed steads, ink stand, axes, spoons and various other things are quite remarkable, and articles of their manufacture are in use in every part of India. They perfectly understand the art of varnishing, and are eminently skilful in closely imitating the beautiful veins of a certain wood, by inlaying with gold threads so delicately wrought, that never saw anything more elegant or perfect. But what may be considered peculiar to Kashmir and the staple commodity, that which particularly promotes the trade of the country, and fills it with wealth, is the prodigious quantity of shawls which they manufacture, and which gives occupation to her children."

Aurangezeb's reign was a signal for revolts and rebellions in several parts of the country. In distant parts of the empire commenced an era of lawlessness, anarchy and disorder. Many states became independent under their subedhars who founded new independent states. A reign of disorder also started in Kashmir. The Moghul Governors began to loot and plunder the people, and at the same time ruthlessly started a policy of religious bigotry and fanaticism. There was absolute chaos in northern India after the invasion of Nadir Shah of Persia. The people of Kashmir could no longer tolerate the misrule of Moghul satraps, and accordingly when Ahmad Shah Abdali of Kabul was at Lahore in 1752, two Kashmir nobleman Mir Muquim Kant and Khwaj'a Zahir Didmari, waited upon him at Lahore, and disgracefully requested him to bring Kashmir under his control.

Afgan Rule : 1752 - 1819

Ahmad Shah, a free hooter of Nadir Shah gladly accepted this offer and immediately despatcheda strong and a powerful Afgan army under the command of Abdullah Khan lshik Aqasi, to occupy the valley. The Moghul satrap offered a strong resistance,but was defeated and the Afgan Governor planted the Afgan flag on the ramparts of Akbar's town at Nogar. The rule of Moghuls in Kasmir came to an end although itcontinued to exist in northern India, nominally upto 1857. Kashmir remained a dependency of Kabul rulers till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years. The Pathan rule is the darkest period in the history of our state. The rulers of Kabul were great despots, and they ruled all the parts of their kingdom ruthlessly and with an iron hand. The cornerstone of their policy was terror. Asmany as twenty eight Durrani Subedars governed Kashmir during these sixty seven years. The Kashmir nobleman had expected that Abdali would give them a good and a stable government, but the very first Afgan governor Abdullah Khan Aquasi, immediately after assuming powers started a reign of terror. People began to be looted and killed indiscriminately, and even the petty Afgan soliders began to amass wealth by the foulest possible means. Most of the well to do people of the valley were summoned by the Governor to his palace, and ordered to surrender all their wealth on pain of death. Their houses were completey sacked, and many people were put to sword. There was complete gloom and despair on every side. All the prosperity of the valley was gone, and the people could not even move on the streets, for fear of being robbed of even their scanty clothing. Each and everyday for a Kashmiri was a day of struggle and uncertainty. As ill luck would have it, only weak and worthless Amirs governed Kabul, after the death of Abdali. These Amirs would either be quickly deposed or assassinated. Naturally accession of every new Amir would mean appointment of a new Subedar in Kashmir. Hence every Governor expected his recallor dismissal at any time. This unertainty made these rapacious governors ruthless, and they squeezed every penny from the people mercilessly. It is true, that all sections of people suffered here during their time, but the chief vicitims of these fiends were the Hindus, Shias and Bombas of Jhelum valley. It is strange that during this dark period a Hindu also became a Governor here. His name was RajaSukh Jeevan Mal. It was only in his time that Kashmir heaved a sigh of relief. He was afterwards defeated and killed by Ahmad Shah. The Pathan rulers are now only rememberd for their brutalityand cruelity, and it is said of them that they thought no more of cutting off heads than plucking a flower.
Sikh Rule: 1819-46

At last the reign of terror broke the patience of the peace loving people, and a deputation of Kashmiris led by Pandit Birbal Dhar, and his son Pandit Rajakak Dhar, left for Lahore and fervently requested Maharaja Ranjit Singh to conquer Kashmir. Three prominent Muslims helped Pandit Birbal Dhar in his escape from the valley. They were Abdul Qadoos Gojwari, Mallick Zulfiqar and Malik Kamgar. In 1819, 30,000 soliders of Maharaja Ranjit Singh attacked Kashmir, defeated the Pathans, and the state became a part of Ranjit Singh's empire. On receipt of the news ,Maharaja Ranjit Singh bestowed honours in Dhar family and Lahore was illuminatedfor three days, Sikh rule lasted for only 27 years and during this period 10 Governors administersdthe country one after another, outof whom the last two were Muslims. In the beginning Sikh rule also proved to be oppressive." It must have been an intense relief ", writes Lawrence, " to all classes in Kashmir to see the downfall of the evil rule of Pathan,and to none was the relief greaterthan to the peasants who had been cruely fleeced by the rapacious sardars of Kabul. I do not mean to suggest that the Sikh rule was benign or good, but it was at any rate better that that of the Pathans. " The Sikh rule over Kashmir lasted only for a brief span of time, during which the rulers at Lahore were far too pre-occupied at home to pay any attention to the affairs of this outlying province of theirs. The misery of the people increased due to natural calamities as well, such as premature snow falls, which would destroy a ripe rice crop leading to famines. These famines were followed by diseases like cholera and plague, resulting in a heavy loss of life. Thousands of people migrated to India during these hard days, and no wonder the population of the valley came down to two lakhs from 8 lakhs. Mr. Ranel Tayler who visited Kashmir in 1846 writes about Kashmir, "The town presents a very miserable apperance. The houses made of wood are tumbling in every direction. The streets are filthy for want of drainage, none of the bazars looked wellfilled and prospseous and altogether my ride made me very unhappy ". Moorcraft who visited the valley in 1835 writes,"Everywhere the people were in most abject condition, not one sixteenth of the cultivable land is under cultivation, and the inhabitants are starving. They were in a condition of extreme weakness. Villages were half deserted and those who lived there were the semblance of extreme sickness. Villages were filthy and swarming with beggars.The rural folk on the whole were half naked and miserably emaciated and presented a ghastly picture of poverty and starvation ". Such was the general condition of the state when Maharaja Ranjit Singh died in 1830. His death was a signal for the mutiny of Sikh Army which become uncontrollable, and plunge entire Punjab into confusion and chaos.
Dogra Period : 1846 1957 

The two Anglo-Sikh wars led to the final extinction of Sikh soverignty in the Punjab and by virtue of the treaties of Lahore and Amritsar the British who had by now become undisputed masters of India, transferred and made over in perpetuity, the independent position to the Maharaja Gulab Singh and heirs male of his body, all the hilly and mountaneous country situated to the east of Indus, and west of Ravi river. In consideration of this transfer Maharaja Gulab Singh paid to the British government the sum of 75 lakhs of rupees. Maharaja Gulab Singh entered Srinagar on 9th November 1848 at 8 in the morning. The Dogra royal line traces its descent from the ancient Kshatriyas mentioned frequently in Mahabharata. The Dogra ruler claimed that they belong to the Surya Vanshi (sun born) race. Maharaja Gulab Singh was a man of great vigour, foresight and determination. He repressed opposition and crime with an iron hand and he was universaly feared and respected. He crushed gangs of organized plunderers, and murderers in the valley known as Galwans, and alsobroke the power of Bombas and Khokhas the inhabitants of Jhelumvalley region below Varamulla, who brought havoc to every home in the valley by following a policy of arson and plunder. Largenumber of forts were built in theirterritory which were garrisoned with troops. It was because of hisenergetic measures that the conditions of the people improved and after many years some confidence was inspired in the permanece of administration. The people got a spell of peace and order, after centuries of lawlessness. The greatest service of the first Dogra ruler is the foundation he laid of the modern Jammu and Kashmir State. It was Gulab Singh who conquered one by one different places and regions of the state, Jammu,. Poonch, Ram Nagar, Basoli, Bhahderwah, Kishtwar, Bhimbar, Rajauri, Sikardu, Kharmang, Kiris, Khaplu, Sheghar, Astor Gilgit, Chitral, Yasin, Hunza, Nagar, and Punial. In the words of K. M. Panikar an area of more than eighty thousand sq. miles including part of Tibet, as well as part of Pamier, besides the genuinely kingdoms of Jammu and Kashmir came into Maharaja Gulab Singh's possession. This area had never been effectively united under one ruler and much of it with of course, the exception of the valley of Kashmir had never known any settled govt. " Writes P.N. Bamzai : " Mahraja Gulab Singh is the only Indian ruler to have carved out a state during the 19thcentury out of the wreckage of the great kingdom of Sikhs. Moreover he is the only Indian ruler to have extended the frontiers of India to their natural boundary ." Even Dr. Soft who is not very kind in his comments writes about him: "Gulab Singh was unquestionably a remarkable figure in the history of Northern India during the first half of the 19th Century. He was a distinguished soldier and diplomat and knew the state craft of his own days exceedingly well." The Maharaja died in 1857 after a rule of 11 years, during which period he laid the foundation of a sound system of administration. He was succeeded by Maharaja Ranbir Singh who ruled from 1857 to 1885. It was in his time that the rule of law commenced inthe state. Almost all the laws, civil and criminal, which the British had introduced in India were with some modifications made applicable to the state. The various state departments were organised on the pattern of departments as these existed in British India. A slight attempt was also made to assess the amount of land revenue at a fixed amount. In 1885 Maharaja Sir Pratap Singhascended the throne and he ruledfor a period of 40 years. It is in the time of this Maharaja that the real modernisation of the state took place and several progressive reforms were carried through. Sir Walter Lawrence carried the first assessment of land revenue system in the state on scientific lines. The two mountain roads-Jhelum valley road and Banihal Cart road were built linking the state with the restof India. A scheme for drainage ofthe valley reclaiming waste-land and preventing floods by digging flood channels was put into operation. Construction of water reservior at Harwan and establishment of electric generating plant at Mohra was also undertaken during this period. Two colleges in the state besides large number of education institutions were also established by the order of the Maharaja. The administrative machinery was completely overhauled.
There was development in the means of communication and telegraphs, telephones and post offices were opened in many places. The isolation of Kashmir from the rest of the country was now a thing ofthe past, and large number of people, mostly europeans began to visit the valley. The fame of the valley, its climate and beauty spread in all parts of the world and it can truly be said that an eraof tourist traffic started in right earnest in the state. Many efforts were made by Englishmen to obtain the right of purchasing land here for building houses. This would have turned Kashmir into a British Colony. The Maharajastoutly refused to entertain the proposal, and this actually led to the construction of House Boats. After the death of Maharaja PratapSingh his nephew Maharaja Sir Hari Singh ascended the throne in1925. He continued to govern the state till 1950. During this period, large number of Indians and also foreigners came to enjoy the bracing climate of the valley. Gulmarg before independence almost looked like an English town during summer. The same was the case with Nagin Lake. Maharaja Hari Singh modernised the state and carried out a large number of reforms. It was in his time that the popular elements began to be associated with the Goverment. The most important thing that had far reaching consequences in the future history of the state was the birth of political parties and the growthof political consciousness in the state during this period. But even more important was the liberation of the country from the British Yoke in 1947, that ended all the traces of foreign domination, absolutism and autocracy in our country. It was on 26th Jan. 1957 that the Kashmir Constiuent Assembly ended the hereditary rule of the Hindu monarchy in the state exacly after one hundred and ten years of its establishment. The liberation of India, facilitated the establishment of responsible government in Jammu and Kashmir State, but the liberisation also brought the division of our country on religious and communal consideration. This division led to disatrous consequences plunging northern India into a sort of bloody civil war. The Pakistan Government invaded the state, and encouraged the Tribal people and other titanic hordes of medieval barbarism to carry loot, plunder, death and destruction into the hearths and homes of innocent Kashmiris in general and among Hindus in particular. Pakistan wanted to grab Kashmir, even though its ruler in the terms of Independance Act, had acceded toIndia, and signed the instrument of Accession as required under the said Act. The main burden of Pakistan invasion had to be borneby the Hindus of the districts of Muzzafarbad, Baramulla, Poonch, Rajuari, Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Skardu, Gilgit and Ladhak. Thousands of people became the victims and lost their lives for no fault of theirs, and property worthcrores accumulated for decades was lost just within a weeks time. This was the result of the mighty Congress Party with its host of gallant leaders bowing disgracefully before fanaticism, ' Two Nation Theory ', and its author Mr. Jinah. The Congress leaders accepted the partition of India, but totally ignored or could not perhaps realise its disastrous consequences. In short, the Hindus here have paid the penaltyrather heavily. Kashmir was attacked in 1965 and 1971 by Pakistan. In spite of these historical vicissitudes the popular government has been trying its level best to mitigate the sufferingof the people, thanks to the generous financial assistance of the Central Government.