Tuesday, August 19, 2008

History of Jammu and Kashmir

Someone said that merger was not a bad idea because 300 years of history could not be undone by 61 years of enmity. The reference here is Kashmiri Muslims wanting a merger with Pakistan and India's 61 year long enmity with Pakistan.
If I was blessed with powers of divine intervention I would in the first place undo the partition of 1947. Or if the partition had to take place all the Muslims should have moved to Pakistan and the Hindus to Hindustan. But who am I to say that.
Also I have a sneaking suspicion that the bond with the land is sometimes a stronger bond than the bond we have with religion.
Today if I am asked to give up my home in Jammu because as a Dogra Hindu I need to move to India while the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir merges with Pakistan. Can I do that easily?
Mental institutions in Jammu have older Kashmiri Pandits who have gone insane after 1989. They lost their sanity after being driven away from their homes, apple orchards, their temples, the land of their forefathers.Many died in Jammu in the migration camps because they could not acclimatize to the higher temperatures of the plain.So many Kashmiri Pandits stopped being secular after 1989. The younger generations of Kashmiri Pandits struggle to maintain a facade of secularism if they try at all that is because they have seen their grandparents and parents suffer. They carry with them pictures of their ransacked and deserted homes.

How far in history do we have to go to prove our rightful claim to the land.


According to the oldest extant book on Kashmir, " Nilmat Puran ", in the Satisar lived a demon called Jalod Bowa, who tortured and devoured the people, who lived near mountain slopes. Hearing the suffering of the people, a great saint of our country, Kashyap by name, came to the rescue of the people here. After performing penance for a long time, the saint was blessed, and he was able to cut the mountain near Varahmulla, which blocked the water of the lake from flowing into the plains below. The lake was drained, the land appeared, and the demon was killed. The saint encouraged people from India to settle in the valley. The people named the valley as Kashyap-Mar and Kashyap-Pura. The name Kashmir also implies land desicated from water: "ka" (the water ) and shimeera (to desicate). The ancient Greeks called it "Kasperia" and the Chinese pilgrim Hien-Tsang who visited the valley around 631 A. D. called it KaShi-Mi-Lo ". In modern times the people of Kashmir have shortened it into "Kasheer" in their tongue.


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, the traditional 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 of the commencement of the Mahabharat war, Gonanda II was ruling Kashmir.The sanskrit work 'Ratnakar' also mentions the kings after Gonanda I.Ashoka too ruled kashmir and his grandson Damodar was a very popular king . The Srinagar airport was named after him Damodar e karwa. Kashmir was also ruled by Indi grek kings followed by Kushan rule. Then there waS the Karkota rule followed by Utpal dynasty. Lohara dynasty ruled Kashmir till the end of the HIndu rule(1339).

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 Moghuls remained in power here, from 1587 to 1752.

AFGHAN RULE: 1752 - 1819
Kashmir remained a dependency of Kabul rulers till 1819, roughly a period of 67 years.

SIKH RULE: 1819-46

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 mountainous 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.

It was on 26th Jan. 1957 that the Kashmir Constiuent Assembly ended the hereditary rule of the Hindu monarchy in the state exactly after one hundred and ten years of its establishment. The Partition in 1947 on communal lines meant disaster for the region. Pakistan sent its guerrilla fighters who especially targeted the Hindus. Pakistan wanted to grab Kashmir, even though its ruler in the terms of Independance Act, had acceded to India, and signed the instrument of Accession as required under the said Act. The main burden of Pakistan invasion had to be borne by the Hindus of the districts of Muzzafarbad, Baramulla, Poonch, Rajuari, Mirpur, Bhimber, Kotli, Skardu, Gilgit and Ladakh. Thousands of people became the victims and lost their lives for no fault of theirs, and property worth crores accumulated for decades was lost just within a weeks time. Major demographic changes occured and the migration of Hindus from Muslim majority areas in the region which support Pakistan has been an ongoing process.

Who then decides whose land is it anyway?


rupa said...

J&K ki history pheli bar padi hai. Very nicely wriiten Manu. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Glad I landed here. Very Informative post. I am Dogra, but seriously I was not knowing this much. Thank You!

Chrysalis said...

Thanks neilina

I appreciate your comments. It really means a lot to me. Do keep reading.