Kashmir Problem Has Origin In Fall Of Buddhism

Dr. K. Jamanadas,

The Kashmir Problem

Kashmir problem is one which is consuming a lot lives, time, money and resources of Indians and Pakistanis since Independence. Various wars have been fought on the issue, but still there is no solution to it in sight. It is worth noting that the origin of the problem seems to be creation of two countries out of undivided India in 1947.

Majority population of Kashmir had already become Muslim long before Akbar anexed Kashmir to his Empire in 1557 A.D., and it became a Moghul summer holiday resort during reign of Jahangir and Shahjehan. Nadirshah conqurred and anexed it to his Afghan kingdom in 1639 A.D. After the Sikhs' tenth Guru Govindsingh's religious movement of Khalsa, a powerful Sikh dynasty was established by Ranjit Singh in Punjab. He conquered Kashmir in 1819 A.D., ending the Muslim rule there.

Hindus made Punjab a slave country

Ranjitsingh ruled Punjab for forty years. Whole of India, the Rajputs, Rohilas, Gorkhas, Marathas and Mughals all of them, one by one, surrendered to the British. But still Punjab remained independent till 28th March 1849. Ranjitsingh died on 27th June 1839, but the Sikhs kept on fighting against the British. The discredit of pushing Punjab into slavery falls on three Dogra brothers - Gulab Singh, Dhyansing and Suchetsingh. "With the greedy intention of establishing a Hindu Raj", these Dogra brothers - and specially Dhyansing killed Chetsingh Bajawa, who was running the administration for son of Ranjitsingh. Then they killed Naunihalsingh the son of Khadagsingh. They allowed Chandra Kaur, the widow of Khadagsingh to rule for a month and a half only, and then killed her. Afterwards they also killed Shersingh, the second son of Maharaja Ranjitsingh, and his son Pratapsingh. Dogras also killed Ajitsingh Sandhavaliya, a close relative of Chandrakaur. While the Sikhs were keeping up the fight with British and sacrificing their lives to save their homeland, for two months from 18th December 1845 to 10th February 1846, the Dogras were bargaining with the British. Ultimately Gulabsing Dogra, not only surrendered himself but made Deelipsingh, the last heir of Ranjitsingh to surrender on 29th March 1849. As a reward of this, the British sold him the province of Jammu and Kashmir for 2,50,000 pounds sterling, and returned the treasury of Suchetsingh. Thus the Punjab got slavery and the Dogras got the province of Jammu and Kashmir. [Bali L. R., "Hinduism - dharma ya kalank", (hindi), p.248]

Gulabsingh's son Ranveersingh succeded him in 1857, he anexed Gilgit province to Kashmir in 1885. His son Pratapsingh died in 1925 A.D. and Harisingh came on throne, who ruled till accession to Indian Union after the British left..

But the real origins of Kashmir problem are from the times when Kashmir population became Muslims. It is well known that Kashmir in ancient times was ruled by Buddhist and Brahmanic kings and its population was mostly non-Muslim. The story how it became Muslim is very interesting and also illuminating because it denotes the tendency of the propagators of varna supremacy in establishing caste system. Let us, therefore, trace the history of Kashmir.

Nagas in Pre-historical times

It is now well established that pre-Aryan Harrapan culture was a Naaga culture, and India was a Naagabhumi. It was during reign of sixth king of Naaga dynasty, king Ajatsatru, ruling Magadha, that the Buddha was born in 623 B.C. He also belonged to a Naaga kula. The matter is discussed by us in more detail elsewhere. Kashmir also was inhabited by Naagas, who later became Buddhists.

Naagas in Mahabharata

It is an accepted fact, that Mahabharata had minimum three revisions as per brahmanic scholars, along with Gita in it. As a matter of fact, scholars like Khare, an ardent student of Gita from Pune, has differentiated the verses of Gita of each of three authors, in his book, "The Quest of Gita". Western scholars like Kaegi believe that the epics continued to be interpolated upto 13th century and even to the beginning of current century.

Therefore, it is no wonder that Rhys Davids finds it difficult to assign particular verses to Mahabharata depicting state of affairs in seventh century B.C. at the time of rise of Buddha. [Rhys Davids, p. 214] He feels the changes made by priests were "because the priests found that ideas not current in their schools had so much weight with the people that they (the priests) could not longer afford to neglect them." The objects of priests in doing so were:

"...in the first place to insist on the supremacy of the brahmins, which had been so much endangered by the great popularity of the anti-priestly views of the Buddhists and others; and in the second place to show that the brahmins were in sympathy with, and had formally adopted, certain popular cults and beliefs highly esteemed by the people. In any case, there, in the poem, these cults and beliefs, absent from the Vedic literature, are found in full life and power. ..." [Rhys Davids, "Buddhist India", p. 214]

Mahabharata opens with a curse on Naagas

To start with, this epic poem opens, with a curse on the serpents. Poet uses the words so cleverly that, if carelessly read, the curse could appear to be on reptiles and not on human worshipers. But in reality it is a curse on the Naaga people. In Adi parva the word used is "Naaga" and in Vana parva, where Bhima gets in trouble with Nahusha in the form of a real serpent, it is "sarpa". [Fergusson, p. 47, fn.]

"the story of great sacrifice for the destruction of the serpents is so mixed up with historical and human action that it is evident at once that the ambiguity about the name is only seized upon by the Hindu poets as an excuse for introducing the super natural into an ordinary human transaction, ..." [Fergusson, p. 47]

Immediately after the introductory passages, the story Naaga races starts with two sisters Kadru and Vinata marrying Rishi Kashyapa. Kadru, the eldest, becomes mother of 1,000 Naagas, from whom originates the whole Naaga race. Important among the names of her decedents are Sesha, Vasuki, Airavata, Takshaka, Karkotaka, Kaaliya, Aila or Elaapatra, Nila, Anila, Nahusha and others. The younger sisters gives birth to garuda, who becomes a powerful enemy of Garuda race.

"When divested of all poetical garb and mythological rubbish", Ferguson believes that the heroes Mahabharata, "Lunar race" are of second horde of Aryan race comming to India, comming about 1000 years after purer "Solar race", their original seat traced near north of Peshawar, however, has shown all of Buddhistic sculptures of Bactrian influence. [Fergusson, p. 59]

They passed through Punjab and settled at Hastinapura. In the first transaction with Naagas, they burn the forest Khandava, for making place for a second capital and dislodge the Naagas there. The Naagas were protected by a Buddhist deity Indra. But attacked by Vedic god Agni, the brahmin poet depicts that all Naagas perished except their king Takshaka. [Fergusson, p. 60]

The relations with the Pandus and Naagas were most friendly as seen by Arjuna, marrying first Ulupi, the daughter of a Naaga king at the foot of Himalayas, near Hurdwar, and marrying Chitrangada, daughter of Chitravahana, the Naaga king of Manipur. By her, he had a son, Bhabra-vahana, who played a strange part subsequently, during Arjuna's Ashwamedha. From these and other minor particulars, Fergusson feels, "the author of Mahabharata wished to represent the Aryans of that day as cultivating friendly relations with the aborigines." [Fergusson, p. 60]

The quarrel between Aryans and Naagas started when Parikshit insulted a hermit by hanging a dead snake around his neck. Hermit's son invoked Takshaka, who is represented as king of Takshashila. Takshaka bit the king to death to avenge the insult. Janmejaya started the great sacrifice for destruction of the Naagas to avenge the assassination of his father. Thousands - myriads - had already perished when slaughter was stayed at the intervention of Astika, a Brahmin, though nephew of Vasuki, a Naaga king of east. [Fergusson, p. 60]

The site of the Naaga sacrifice of Janmejaya is said to be Kurukshetra, but it is more probable that the site is in Orrisa, at Agrahaut. Here the tradition of Mahabharata is preserved by images of kings, who could not be present on the occasion. And the serpent worship is still prevalent in the region. [Fergusson, p. 61]

Naaga Rajas in Kashmir

Kashmir has always been considered as "Naag bhumi". Ferguson mentions that a century before Christ, king Damodara, as per Raj Tarangani, was converted into a snake because he offended some brahmin, and also mentions many Naaga kings. [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 45] When Huen Tsang entered the valley in 632 A.D. during the reign of Baladitya, Buddhism was flourishing, though the King was against Buddhism. He repeats the usual story of valley being a lake in the past, but adds that fifty years after the Nirvana of the Buddha, a disciple of Ananda, converted the Naaga Raja, who quitted the tank, built 500 monasteries, and invited bhikkus to dwell in them. [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 46]

Buddhism in Ashokan period

Wherever Buddhism spread, it always spread by persuation and never by force. Kashmir was no exception. Ferguson has observed:

"No war was ever waged by Buddhists, ... No faith was ever so essentially propagated by persuation as that of Buddha, and though the Buddhists were too frequently persecuted even to destruction, there is no instance on record of any attempt to spread their faith by force in any quarter of globe." [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p.63]

Kashmir was in Ashoka's empire. A bhikku, named Majjhantiko, was sent to Kashmir and Gandhara by Ashoka after Third Sangiti (Council) in 253 B.C. Aravaalo, the Naaga king ruling there, tried to terrify the bhikku, but was ultimately converted to Buddhism. [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 47]

The first people to get converted were the Naaga tribe of Kashmir out of 14 tribes there. That is the reason why Naaga is a suffix of many places in Kashmir, such as Anant Naaga, Sheshanaaga, Neelanaaga, Naagabal, Kokaranaaga, Sukhanaaga etc. [Gayakwad Vijay, "kashmiratil buddha dharma cha itihas", (marathi), Publ. by author, Ulhasnagar, 1990., p. six] It was Ashoka, who established the city of Srinagar, says Rajtarangini. His son Jalouk became king of Kashmir, who built "Krutyakama vihara". Kashmir was under King Milinda, who had discussions of "Milind- pannaha", 12 yojanas away from Kashmir valley. Two Kushana kings, Hushka and Jushka also ruled in Kashmir, before Kanishka. [ibid. p.53]

Time of Naagaarjuna and Kanishka

Naagaarjuna was the ruling spirit behind the Fourth Buddhist Council held under Kanishaka, though Vasumitra was the President, at Kundanvana near Srinagar. Mahayana started after this Council. Cannon was compiled in Mahavibhasha. It is said:

"the words uttered by the Sakya Muni during his life time, had been heard and noted down by the Naagas, and have kept them to themselves in their own abode, till such time as mankind would become worthy to receive them. Naagaarjuna gave out that he had received these documents from the Naagas and was commissioned to proclaim them to the world. ..." [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p. 65]

The cannon was engraved on copper plates, some of which having 300 verses have been found lately. First Buddha image was made in Kanishka's reign in Kashmir. Coins of Kanishka have image of standing Buddha with the words "Boddo" on the obverse. [Vijay Gayakwad, p.seven]

The Naaga and Buddhist influence persisted till Moghul times as Abdul Fazal tells us in "Ayeene Akbari", that during reign of Akbar (1556-1605), there were temples in Kashmir, 45 of Shiva, 65 of Vishnu, 3 of Brahma, 22 of Durga, but 700 of the Naagas, in active worship. All this is confirmed by the architecture of the valley. [Fergusson, "Tree and Serpent Worship", p.47]

Christ in Kashmir

There is a vast body of evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ came to India at the age of 14 years or so, lived in India and learned tenets of Buddhism from Bhikkus in India, returned back home at the age of 32, preached in his home country for about three years and was crucufied, survived the crucification and came back to Kashmir and died in Kashmir at ripe old age. His grave is shown to be present in Kashmir. [See for details: "Jesus Lived in India"]

Guptas and Hunas Times

During Imperial Guptas, Kashmir remained as before. It was not conqurred by Samudragupta and did not form a part of Gupta Empire. The White Hunas attacked India but were repulsed back by Skandgupta. Tormana and Mihirkula are considered to be Hunas. Tormana, a wise stateman, revived the lost fortune of Hunas and established vast empire in short time. He was tollerant in religious affairs. His son Mihirkula succeeded in 515 A.D. and ruled from Sakala. He later grew hostile to Buddhism and ordered destruction of "all bhikkus through five Indies, overthrow Law of Buddha and leave nothing remaining". He was defeated by Yashodharman as per Mandsore inscription. Huen Tsang narrets how Gupta King Baladitya defeated and captured Mihirkula but let him go on intercession of his mother. Mihirkula obtained asylum in Kashmir and later usurped the throne of Kashmir. He persecuted Buddhists all over, and also invaded Sri Lanka to avenge the assumed insult, as his queen was wearing a garment from Ceylone having foot mark of Buddha, on her bosom. He died around 550 or thereafter, and with him was lost Huna power. Hunas lasted for a short time but destroyed unity of India breaking it into many states and later remenents of Hunas were converted by Brahmins as Rajputs to fight against the Buddhists. The present author believes that untouchability started around this time, as Buddhist became very weak after tyrany of Hunas. As is well known, Dr. Ambedkar assigns the time of 200 to 600 A.D. for this event.

Times of Harshavardhana

We saw Huen Tsang visiting the region in Harshavardhana's time around 632 A.D., when Buddhism flourished there. Whether Kashmir directly formed a part of Harsha's empire is debatable and Dr. R. K. Mookerji thinks it was a dependency of Harsha and feels that Kashmir had acknowledged suzernity of Harshavardhana as Harsha compelled the King of Kashmir to part with a relic of Buddha. [Mahajan, "Ancient India", p. 532]

Later Kings

After Mihirkula, a powerful dynasty took over Kashmir and Lalitaditya Muktapida of Karkota dynasty was its prominent ruler around 724 A.D. He defeated Yashovarman of Kanouj. Jaypida or Vinayadittya was his grandson who had many conquests. His court was graced by many scholars. A conspiracy of Brahmanas brought about his end. Avantivarman of Utpala dynasty (855-883 A.D.) was a famous king for patronage to literature and public works. Shankarvarman (883-902 A.D.) was man of war and plundered temples. [Mahajan, "Ancient India", p. 550]

After this dynasty came to end, Yashakara ruled, who built monastry for students comming from Aryadesha to Kashmir. His designing minister Parvagupta persuaded him to abdicate in favour of Sangramdeva. Yashkara went to monastry where he was poisoned and Parvagupta captured the throne by killing Sangramdeva. Parvagupta's son Kshemagupta married Didda, a daughter of King of Lohara. She acted as a Regent for her child king Abhimanyu after death of her husband, and ruled with a strong hand. When Abhimanyu died leaving three sons, all three were eliminated one by one, by Didda, who ascended the throne in 980 A.D. Appointment of Tunga, a former herdsman, as her Prime Minister displeased the Brahmins, who brought in a son of her brother from Lohara to help them against Tunga. But queen Didda bribed the Brahmins heavily and won them back. She died in 1003 A.D. in old age and throne went to Sangramraja, a son of her brother, from Lohara, thus starting a First Lohara Dynasty. [D. C. Ganguli, "Age of Imperial Kanauj", p. 120]

History of Kashmir before Muslim Invasion

Kashmir was one of most vigourous centres of Buddhism and bhikkus from there used to go to China and Tibet and other parts of central Asia. After persecution of Buddhists in Tibet by Glan-dar-ma, it fell upon Kashmiri sramanas to reinstruct the masses there after a century. Many sramanas went to China in tenth and eleventh centuries and translated Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and also presented to the Emperor a branch of Bodhi tree from Gaya. Two big Buddha images installed in capital Parihaspura by previous kings were the objects of adoration for Buddhists even in eleventh century. These two images escaped destruction at the hands of king Harsha (1089-1101 A.D.), who was keen on destroying temple images, two centuries before Muslim rule was established, and had appointed special officers for the purpose designated as devotpaatana-nayaka or "perfect for destruction of gods", and who was labled by Kallahana as "that Turushka". [Struggle for Empire, p. 665]

But king Jayasimha (1128-1155 A.D.) broke down the images and burned the vihara of Arigon near Srinagara. Famous Jayendra vihara and Raja-vihara played important role in eleventh century, but the more important ones were Ratnagupta and Ratnarashmi vihars in 11th and 12th centuris, where large number of Mahayana scriptures were translated into Tibetan. But various Aacharyas of Tantrik Buddhism flourished in the valley of Kashmir. Also florished Kshemendra who depicted Buddha as avatara of Vishnu and hence his book was discarded as profane by Tibetian Lamas. Kashmir Buddhism also had a tremendous effect on both the Kashmir schools of Shaivism. [N. N. Das Gupta, "The Sruggle for Empire", p.419 ff.]

Islamic influence

Arab invasion in 712 A.D. of Sind, over king Dahir, hardly left any marks in India, but Ghaznavid invasion, three centuries later has left permenent scars. Various invasions took place and Sultanate was established in Delhi in 1206 A.D. In spite of opposition of orthodox Muslim religious heads and also of royal princes, the Sufi cult flourished. The Sufi cult, which should be given the credit of making many devotees from Hindus also, was founded by the saints. The founder of the cult is supposed to be Data Ganj Bakhsha of Lahore, who died in 1072 A.D. Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti of Ajmer, who came from Gazni in 1161 A.D., acknowlwdged his greatness. The followers of this cult were called Chishtis, who spread all over and included both muslims and hindus. Another school of Surhavardis was established, and one of them became famous for Hindus as Raja Bharaatri in Sind. Other groups also emerged. All these mystic saints spread all over India from Gujrath to Bengal and from Kashmir to Trichonapalli, in a short period and their disciples were both from Muslims and Hindus, specially of lower castes. [Sruggle for Empire, p.488 ff.] The masses, majority of whom were all Buddhists, by that time came to be called as "Hindus" by Muslims, and their leadership instead of of going to victor Muslims, went to Brahmins. They found solace in egalitarian teachings of these Sufis, which led to foundation of bhakti cult in India. The credit of converting Kashmir to Islam goes to one such saint fakir Bulbulshah.

Troubled times in Kashmir

Two Lohara Dynasties ruled Kashmir in eleventh century onwards. None of them were strong monarchs, there was internal fights and a kind of anarchy developed. Buddhism declined during first Lohar Dynasty. Poet Kshemendra describes that Buddhist nuns were adoring themselves.

Second Lohara dynasty (1101-1339 A.D.) tried to revive Buddhism to some extent. Some Viharas were built. Kalhana wrote "Rajtarangini" during this period. Bulher mentions of a Buddhist Bhikku known as Jinendra Buddha at Barahmulla in 12th century. [Vijay Gayakwad, p.59]

Last king of second Lohara dynasty was Vantideva (1165-1172) After him people elected one Vuppadeva as King. One of his decendents was poisoned by his officer, and there were many rivals to the throne, who ruled from different parts of Srinagar. One Ramdeva came to throne in 1252 A.D., who adopted a brahmana Laxmandeva as as his son. Laxmandeva was killed by a Muslim ruler Kajjala in battle in 1286 A.D., after which complete anarchy broke out. One Simhadeva established authority but lost his life in a love intrigue, and his brother Suhadeva, who "showed abject cowardice all along", came to power in 1301 A.D. Dulucha, a comander of King of Kandahar overran Kashmir and left with a lot of Kashmirians as slaves. Rinchana, a Tibetian plundered the capital at the same time and assumed royal power, but died in 1323 A.D. His son Haidara was deposed by his officer Sahamera, who placed Udayandeva, a stooge, on throne and ultimately seized the throne in 1338 after death of Udayandeva, and ruled as Shams- ud-din. His successors ruled for a long time. [Struggle for Empire, p.102]

Sam-ud-din (1338-1355) reduced land revenue to one sixth and became popular, making many Muslims. Shahabuddin (1355-1374), who came on throne showed respect to Buddhism by declining to accept the advice of his Brahim minister Udayshree to melt the golden images of Buddha to strike coins. The Brahmin minister, it seems, even under such trying conditions had not forgotten his contempt of Buddhism. But later, Suhabhatta, another Brahmin minister of later king Sikandar (1390-1414), got all Buddha images melted. However, Suhabhatta himself got converted to Islam by Syed Md. Hamdani, assumed the name of Saifuddin, and surpassed the Maulavis in harrasing Buddhists. Later kings harrassed Hindus and Buddhists till Kashmir passed over to Akbar. [Vijay Gayakwad, p.61]

After Shamsudin, Islam became the state religion. After this, it did not take very long for the general masses of Kashmir, who were already smarting under Brahmanic tyranny of caste, to get converted into Islam. Bulbulshaha is said to have converted ten thousand people to Islam. [Vijay Gayakwad, p.125]

Another important religious saint was Syedali Hamadani, who was called "Ameer Kabir" i.e. Great Ameer, who is said to have converted 37,000 people. Born in 1314 in Iran, he was well learned, well travelled and visited Kashmir on three occasions. He is said to have come last time in 1383 A.D. as a refugee along with seven hundred other Seyds who were warmly welcomed by the then ruler Kutubuddin. Syedali insisted on Islamic culture and manners. Majarity of people had embraced Islam by the begining of 15th century, avers Setu Madhavrao Pagdi. All these conversions were mostly voluntary. [Vijay Gayakwad, p. 126]

Views of Kancha Ilaiah of Osmania University about spread of Islam are worth consideration. He observes:

"... Islam seems to have emerged more as a reaction to the Vedic inequality as an anti-caste social synthesiser. Brahmins of India not only appear to have been authors of "natural inequality" but were also the first propagandists of that theory on the globe. ... The birth of Islam, it appears to me, has taken place to establish a total civil societal homogenisation within the sphere of religion. It put the religious equality of the people who embraced it on much more solid foundations. This could have been one of the reasons why more and more SCAs (Shudras, Chandalas and Adivasis) embraced Islam in India in the second millennium. If Muslim rulers were to force the Indians to embrace Islam they would have easily changed this country into an Islamic one. Or had they forced all the BKVs (Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) to convert to Islam, their job would have been accomplished. But even in their eight hundred years of hegemonic rule, they did not do that. What attracted SCAs to Islam is its religious democratic culture - the culture of aa gale milna." ["Meantime", Jan. 11, 2000, p.38]

There are many scholars who try to depict Muslim rulers merely as tyrants converting Hindus to Islam by force. The point to understand is you can convert people forcibly, but you can not retain them forcibly. So Kancha Ilaiah's analysis of Islamic invasions appears to be more rational.

Muslims could have been, to some extent, themselves influenced by the Hindus, as seen by non-circumscision of some dignitaries. Dr. Ambedkar who considered Hindu Muslim relationship as a kind of caste discrimination, while commenting on inter caste marriage of grand daughter of Bhandarkar with a Muslim youth, observed that it is not always the bride side that is subdued. He quotes example of reformists who claim that they can not do certain reform as their wives do not approve of it. He also quotes the example of Moghul kings marrying Hindu women and observes that it could be said that the Moghul Emperors themselves observed Hindu manners, as right from liberal Akbar to orthodox Aurangjeb, no Moghul Emperor had undergone the circumcision. [Quoted from Bahishkrit Bharat by Raosahib Kasbe, "hindu muslim prashna..." p.36]

How Kashmir became Muslim country

But who was this Shahmera and how he became an officer in court of King Suhadeva? He was son of one Ratanju, whose details are given in an article by Santram. From the story, though he is said to have no religion or nationality, it seems he was a Buddhist as he was neither a Hindu nor a Muslim, and must have been considered of a low caste as he was not acceptable to the pundits of Kashmir as a ruler. The story runs as follows:

"In thirteenth century, a boy of tender age by name Ratanju came to Kashmir. Somehow, he got a place in the court of king Sahadeva and reached a high rank. He had neither any religion, nor any nationality of his own. Moulana Mohammed Kazam Muradabadi writes in his history book, that Ratanju had a great love for Hindu religion. He wanted to embrace it. But the Hindus were not ready to accept him in their society. He used to listen to story of Gita every day from the pundits.

"One day the pundit, while explaining him the meaning of verse 47 of chapter 18, told him that it is fearful to accept another man's better religion and one must not leave ones own religion though it had many disabilities. On this Ratanju asked, 'Can I not join your religion?' The pundit said 'Absolutely not'. Getting disappointed by this reply, Ratanju resolved to accept the religion of the person, whom so ever he will see first one in the morning. One muslim fakir, by name Bulbulshah, got to know the decision of Ratanju. Next morning he went to the palace of Ratanju. On seeing him Ratanju came down and asked him, 'Would you accept me in your religion?'

" 'The door of Islam is open to all human beings. A prominent political officer wishes to become my brother in religion (dharma bandhu). What could be more pleasing thing for me other than this', replied Bulbulshah. Ratanju became muslim. His son Shahamir usurped the throne and brought home forcibly the queen Kona, wife of king Sahadeva's son. But the queen committed suicide by stabbing herself. It is said, those pundits, who refused to become muslims, were put in gunny bags and drowned in river Jehlam by Ratanju and Shahamir. The place in Shrinagar where they were drowned, is famous even now by the name of 'watta mazaar'." [Santram, Sarita Mukta Reprint series, (Hindi) vol. 8, p.162.]

Thus we see that because the leaders of perpetuaters of inequality did not consider even the people of high ability who have gained prominence on account of their bravery and heroism, fit to become kings, unless they are born in higher caste.

Similar thing happened in Maharashtra in 17th century, when king Shivaji was refused by the brahmins of Maharashtra to be coronated as a king because of low caste. One shudders to think, what would have been the fate of India, had Shivaji met somebody like Bulbulshah that time.

Similar is the story of Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur in late 19th century, when he was insulted by the priest on account of caste, and his insult was accentuated by the so called 'national' lobby of the great "Lokamanya" from Poona supporting the cause of the priest against the Maharaja. Fortunately for the Hindus, Shahu did not turn to Islam or Christianity, he turned to Arya Samaj, which he thought, rather naively, was a remedy of ills of Brahmanism. He also strongly supported "Satya Shodhak" Movement started by Mahatma Jotirao Phule and also brought forward Dr. Ambedkar and presented him to the Dalits as their leader. The movement started by Shahu later gave rise to a powerful "Non- brahmin Party" which grew in prominence till early 30s when Gandhiji got it merged in Congress.

The above mentioned article of Sarita, mentions two more stories of religious leaders of Hindus refusing to accept meritorious lower caste people to Hinduism and give them equal status. Thus we see the refusal of a low caste prominent political personality like Ratanju by the Brahmins of Kashmir, led to propagation of Islam in Kashmir with all further complications, for which all further gernerations of Indians may thank the Pundits of Kashmir of those times.


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