History of Jammu and Kashmir

1707 to 1818 A.D.

Jammu: The hill states lying between the Indus and the Ravi fell into two political groups. The first Kashmir was ruled by Muslim chiefs and the second embraced Jammu. Of the 22 states in Jammu, eight were ruled by Muslims and the balance by Hindus.

Jammu had been under the rule of a Rajput dynasty since olden times. With the decline of the Mughal power, the Raja of Jammu stopped paying tribute to the Mughals. Jammu was under Ranjit Deo from 1750 to 1781. He helped Ahmad Shah Abdali conquer Kashmir in 1752 and 1762. During his reign, the city prospered and became an important center of trade. In about 1770, Ranjit Deo submitted to the Sikhs.

Kashmir: After Aurangzeb’s death, the decline of Mughal power did not affect Kashmir till Ahmad S. Abdali conquered it in 1752. The Afghans ruled it till 1819. As long as they got their annual tribute of Rs 20 lakhs a year, the Afghan king did not intefere in the administration. There were 28 governors during Afghan rule of which there was only one Hindu, Sukhjiwan.

In 1753, he was the first Hindu chief of Kashmir since 1320 i.e., in 433 years. He was a brave soldier, wise administrator, scholar and poet. His liberal and sympathetic outlook won the hearts of all. He fell out with Ahmad Shah Abdali who invaded Kashmir with the help of Ranjit Deo, the ruler of Jammu. Sukhjivan was captured, blinded and trampled to death by horses.

After this Afghan rule was a tale of atrocities. Sunni - Shia riots broke out in 1763-65. Mir Hazar Khan, in 1793 sewed up Hindu leaders in gunny bags and threw them in the Dal Lake to be drowned. Ata M. K. Alkozai forcibly seized pretty girls to satisfy his lust. Many parents were forced to shave the heads of their daughters rather than allow them to be molested and degraded. This forced many Pandit families to migrate to Rajauri, Poonch and Delhi. As a result of oppression, great unrest spread in the province. It was conquered by Maharaj Ranjit Singh in 1819.

1818 to 1905 A.D.

Jammu was conferred as a jagir to the family of Gulab Singh by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Among the three traitors in The First Sikh War was the Dogra Chief Gulab Singh. As a reward for siding with the British, he was given the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846 on payment of fifty lakhs rupees in cash.

The reign of Ranavira Singh (ascended in 1857) witnessed a great amount of enthuiasm for Sanskrit. Sivasankara compiled the Dharmasastra Digest, Vasudeva wrote the Chittapradipa, amongst others. The king appears as the sponsor of no less than thirty two branches of Sanskrit literature.

It can be seen how Kashmir has changed from a center of Buddhist - Sanskrit - Saivite learning to the orgy of violence that it has been for most of its last nearly seven hundred year history.

The next three articles are based on J&K's accession to India, what was the attitude of U.S. towards Kashmir at the time of India's independence and the unmasking of false truths.

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