Book Review: Ten Studies in Kashmir History and Politics

337 pp, ₹ 850; Indian Council for Social Science Research
337 pp, ₹ 850; Indian Council for Social Science Research

‘Ten Studies’ is a collection of essays, which gives an insight into the history and politics of Kashmir. Though the book is silent about their exact origin, the essays reflect the time period of the political landscape of Kashmir- from 1930s to the present. It talks of the genesis of the Kashmir problem, its ramifications, the UN debate on Kashmir and the issue of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). While the collection of essays attempts to present the readers some unknown facts on Kashmir, it also disputes some known positions about the events and people. The best part of the book is that it is based on Pandit’s first-hand experience of events and people of the post-1947 history of Kashmir. The detailed narratives culled from the archives in India and Europe and written sources from all parts of the world, including Pakistan add flavour to the content.

Case in point is the detailed account of the arrival of Muslims in the Valley. The author makes two significant points: The widely accepted conversion of Rinchan to the Muslim faith because of Bulbul Shah, and the details about Shah Mir’s royal ancestry and the dream that led him to Kashmir. However, these accounts are controversial, as they were made by the Farsi historians. He also disputes the thesis put forth by many historians that conversions of the Hindus to Muslims were spontaneous and not forced, by referring the manuscripts Baharistan-i-Shahi and Tohfat’ul Ahbab. He also cites the manuscripts of the Tohfatul Ahbab in the Valley, and the torn pages that contained vital information about it. Pandit also states that the work of Alistair Lamb and Victoria Schofield is heavily tilted in favour of Pakistani viewpoint on Kashmir.

The major strands in the history of Kashmir after 1947 that emerge from the essays are: a) the Partition of India, the tribal invasion of Pakistan, and the creation of PoK; b) Kashmir’s accession to India and the role of Sheikh Abdullah in the evolving crisis in Kashmir; and c) the rise of radical Islam and the ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits.   

The announcement of the Partition of the country by Lord Mountbatten in 1947 set into motion a flurry of activity, in which the local leaders and international powers became very active. The author explains how Maharaja Hari Singh’s delay in deciding about the accession of the state to India or Pakistan frustrated the Pakistani leaders, who also felt threatened by Sheikh’s hobnobbing with the leaders of the Congress party. As a result, they engineered a rebellion against the Maharaja in Poonch. With the help of the Muslim Conference leaders and disbanded Muslim soldiers of the British Indian Army, they set up the Azad Kashmir Government in Muzaffarabad, planned and executed a raid on Kashmir to take it by force.

The author also provides a detailed account of how the raid called ‘Operation Gulmarg’ was organised by the Pakistani military and operated by the lashkars, and how they succeeded in their plans because of the complicity of the local Muslims. The raiders captured the bridge linking Muzaffarabad with Abbottabad in quick time because the Muslim Guard Platoon of Jammu and Kashmir Infantry deserted and joined the tribesman, affecting thousands of non-Muslims there. They were killed, their homes looted, and their women raped and kidnapped.  

When the raiders entered Baramulla on October 27, the DC Chowdhury Faizullah welcomed them and the local Muslims helped them move around, locating Hindu and Sikh houses for loot and plunder, and also gave them a list of prominent Pandits, who were shot dead by them. He also provides vital information about their three-day halt in Baramulla, the complex military manoeuvre of the Indian Army, which pushed back the enemy, and the circumstances in which the ceasefire was announced on December 31, 1948. 

The announcement changed a part of Kashmir into PoK. The author traces the changes that have taken place there and shows how closely they have been connected with the changes in Pakistani leadership. In spite of its democratic exterior, the region is under the control of the Pakistani Army and the ISI, and used mainly for running terror camps that are meant for creating problems in Kashmir.

The author also dwells on how the Maharaja begged Nehru for accepting his plea for the accession of the state to India and how he did not relent till he released Abdullah from jail.

Pandit also talks in detail the Maharaja’s plea for military help from India to help him fight the raiders. He reveals that the British army generals expressed their inability to send troops at a short notice and Mountbatten remained visibly indifferent to Maharaja’s pleadings. The then home minister Sardar Patel’s timely intervention saved Kashmir, because he ordered Gen Carriapa to send troops to Srinagar.

The book has dedicated few chapters to the now infamous Nehru’s decision to take Kashmir to the UN. It says, since a part of the state remained with Pakistan because of the ceasefire, Nehru took the matter to the UN. The Security Council in its Resolution of 1948 recommended that Pakistan withdraw its troops and hold a plebiscite, though the Maharajah had set no such condition. Mountbatten personally went to meet Jinnah and requested him to withdraw troops, but he refused.

KN Pandita documents the Kashmir case in the UN, analysing all the debates and resolutions, and shows how the Anglo-American block leaned heavily in favour of Pakistan helping Islamabad to change the very nature of the case putting the aggression in Kashmir to a matter on India-Pakistan. This was despite the fact that one of the fact finding missions had confirmed Pakistan’s aggression and the presence of three brigades of Pakistani Army in PoK.

Though Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession without any preconditions, Nehru’s faith in Abdullah made it problematic. The problems multiplied after Pakistan’s raid and India’s complaint against Pakistan in the United Nations. Abdullah went to the UN as part of the Indian delegation and was emboldened to think differently about his position after he saw that the Anglo-American block was visibly anti-India. In a way, this proved a crucial moment for Abdullah to move ahead with his plans, which the author has sketched in detail.

Because of the influence of the Pandits, who organised a movement in Lahore in the 1920s for a democratic rule in the state, Abdullah changed the Muslim Conference into National Conference and established links with the Congress leaders. He continued hobnobbing with Pakistani leaders to join them on his terms, but Jinnah did not accept them. Abdullah banished Premnath Bazaz and Kanhayalal Kaul from Kashmir because they had pleaded for an independent Kashmir. Before leaving for the UN, he entered into an understanding with Chaudhari Abbas to work on the possibility of a new arrangement. His meetings with Adlai Stevenson made him dream of becoming the head of an independent Kashmir. Because of his evasions and open threats to secede from the Indian union, he was arrested in 1953. With the help of his associate Beg, he let the Plebiscite Front consolidate its hold in the Valley.

The most stunning revelation made by the author is that after his release and visit to Pakistan, Abdullah told the intelligence chief of Pakistan in Mecca in 1965 that he would not like to go back to India but stay in Sinkiang (Xinjiang) and urge the Kashmiris to rise in revolt to support Operation Gibraltar,’ but Ayub Khan did not accept his help. The Operation met with failure in the Valley. After Pakistan launched ‘Operation Topac’ in 1970, in which it lost its eastern wing, Abdullah and Indira Gandhi signed an accord in 1975, a move, which didn’t go well with Mir Qasim. In the election of 1977, the NC openly supported the secessionists- rock salt, green kerchiefs, khan dress were visible signs of this new bonhomie between the NC and the Jamaatees.

The Jamaat infiltrated the different cadres of the government, including the police. Jhelum Valley Medical College set up with Saudi help turned into a den for money laundering. The staff was found involved in crimes. Sheikh’s speeches in 1979 and 1982 acquired a palpable communal tinge. He changed the Hindu names of 2,500 villages into new Muslim ones. In his autobiography, he called the Hindus ‘mukhbir’, which was used as an excuse by the terrorists for their selective killings.

The legacy of Abdullah was carried forward by G M Shah and Farooq Abdullah. People were encouraged to acquire guns. Literature was imported from the other side of the border to inflame passions. Abdu’r Rahim, the NC MLA, circulated a pamphlet in which he wrote of a conspiracy to change the Muslims into a minority. Ladakh was divided into two districts. A ring of Muslim colonies was set up around Jammu. In Shah’s time, two battalions of police were recruited from among the Jamaatees. The NC contributed liberally to the process of alienation of Kashmiris from the ‘Indian national mainstream and Kashmiriyaat acquired a sectarian Muslim identity.

More than 300 madrasas became centres of indoctrination. Allahwale gave a new twist to Islam in Kashmir by purging it of its indigenous links. They organised conferences and had a clout even in the central government. Jamiat-e Tulaba organised conferences asking for the implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions, and voicing slogans like ‘Islam, Quran, Jihad, and victory’. Everything collapsed in 1990. Since then, there has been a steady erosion of the secular base in the Valley.

The significance of the book lies in the fact that the author traces post-independence phase in Kashmir in a larger perspective of the changing contours of the Muslim polity in Kashmir. He argues how the upper classes in Kashmir, who were economically-rich, contributed money and effort to align themselves with the masses, who had been subjected to the growing influence of indoctrination in mosques and madrasas.

This growing menace led to the eviction of Pandits from the Valley in 1990.  Tracing its roots, the author vividly describes how the Pandits were killed by the militants in a highly charged atmosphere of fear and menace, which was compounded by the virtual absence of governance in the Valley. Threats to them became endemic; they were issued from mosques, printed in newspapers published in the Valley, and sent through notices pasted on the doors of their houses. Their exodus was ascribed to the governor of the state, a myth that was circulated in the Valley and by the political parties in the country.

The author has provided evidence from different sections of the UN documents to show how the exiled Pandits eminently qualified for the status of the IDPs, which would have entitled them to get help from the UN, but the callous governments in the state and at the centre did not let that happen. So, they were made to suffer in refugee camps, in the sweltering heat of the plains, and back home their properties were vandalized. Their return to their homes was used as a slogan by political parties at the time of elections.

With hard hitting statements, starting from the preface, where the author says, “Unscrupulous stakeholders have used unfair means to influence the views and perceptions of historians. In the process, true and hard facts of Kashmir history have been a casualty” (12), the book provides enough armour to the readers to debate.

‘Ten Studies’ is a must read for all the citizens of the country, so that they can understand how the so-called mainstream political parties and the forces of disruption in the Valley worked in tandem to create a totally non-secular polity in Kashmir and wreaked havoc with human lives for their petty gains.


  1. Today, for an average Pakistani, Kashmir is an unfinished dream of Jinnah. For an average Indian, Kashmir is an inalienable part of the Indian Union. For many westerners, Kashmir is the most dangerous place in the world, and for a Kashmiri – it is home.

    The K word, as it is known in the South Asian diplomatic circles, is the favorite whipping horse of the keyboard warriors on both sides of the Radcliffe line (Me too, guilty as charged). A newer entrant to this online war of righteousness are the Kashmiris themselves.

    Most of us, firing ridicule, allegations and taunts at each other, only have a partial perspective of the history of Kashmir – which we obviously experience through a colored prism of our own nationality, religion and at times political preferences.

    The 7 Wrongs of Kashmir.

    The short history of Kashmir’s tragedy is as follows – Really, really long time ago, a bunch of folks settle down in the beautiful valley of Kashmir. It is a nice place, and they grow in number. They are ruled by a series of kings for 4444 years, becoming a centre for both Hinduism and Buddhism. Kashmiris spread Buddhism in Tibet, Afghanistan, Parts of ancient China and Shaivism in Southern India.

    Then, Islam arrives in Kashmir, initially in the form of refugees from Swat and Sufi Mystics from Central Asia – The Sufis co-germinate with the Kashmiri Shaivism to give birth to the Rishi order and Kashmiriyat – Kashmir reaches the peak of its political power during the Karkota Dynasty.

    After the fall of the Karkota and Lohar dynasty – the local folks see 3 rounds of religious persecution and forced conversion from Hinduism to Islam – especially under Sikandar Butshikan (Shah Mir Dynasty), Aurangzeb Alamgir (Mughal Dynasty) and Abdul Khan (Durrani Dynasty), which turn Kashmir into a Muslim majority area by around 1400 AD.

    Then the same local folks, who had converted to Islam because of persecution – are now persecuted again for 2 more rounds, this time for being Muslims – First by the Sikh Rulers, and then by the Dogra Kings.

    After the Dogras, India and Pakistan take over and we see the 6th round of persecution in Kashmir – this time the culprits are Kashmiris themselves. Those who had converted to Islam and were now in majority – persecute those who hadn’t converted like them – the unique triad of oppression is finally complete.

    What’s going on right now is the 7th round of persecution which is the most secular so far, since Kashmiris of every religious identity feels victimised this time – There are fingers pointed everywhere and the jury is still out.

    We are all guilty of justifying one wrong with another. We have all been oppressed – we’ve all been oppressors.

    And thus, without further ado, for all us oppressors out here, here’s presenting the detailed timeline, of the History of Kashmir. Use it – Abuse it – Do what you like 🙂

    CHAPTER 1: The beginning and the start of an end.

    The first 4444 years

    3120–16 BC: Gonanda I, cousin of Jarasandha, king of Magadh rules over Kashmir. His reign lasts for 17 years and is assassinated by Balabhadra, the brother of Krishna.

    3103 BC: Damodara Dynasty, consisting of Damodara I, his wife, Yashovanti and Son Damodara II rule over Kashmir for 80 years. Damodara I is killed by Krishna. Damodara II is assassinated by Parikshit, grandson of Arjuna of Mahabharat fame and the ruler of Hastinapur. Damodara II’s Prime Minister Harnadeva, a relative of Parikshit, takes over as the King of Kashmir.

    3083 BC: King Harnadeva starts the Pandava dynasty which rules over Kashmir for the next 1331 years.

    1752 BC: A reign of 8 successive and mostly unrelated rulers over Kashmir, which lasts for a total of 305 years. The Kings of Kashmir during this time are, Luv, Kush, Khagendra, Surendra, Godhara, Suvarna, Janaka, and finally Sachinara, who was Shakuni’s (of Mahabharat fame) great great grandson.

    1448 BC: Asoka or Dharmasoka of the Gonanda Dynasty takes over. He rules over Kashmir for 48 years. Asoka builds the grand city of Srinagar with ninety-six lakhs of houses, around the present day Dal Lake. The Gonanda dynasty rules till 272 BC, for a total of 1176 years and has a total of 35 kings. The last Gonanda king is Andha Yudhistira, who’s famous for having very small eyes.

    0500 BC: Kashmir was ruled by the monarchy of excellent horsemen, the Kambojas. Their capital was the city of Rajapura, which later became Rajouri. The same people, went on to create the Kamboja-Pala dynasty of Bengal in 10th and 11th century. They though aren’t mentioned in Rajatarangini Volumes and there is a debate among historians about the exact date and duration of their rule.

    0376 BC: The Shankaracharya temple of Srinagar is repaired by Gonanda King, Gopaditya. Point to note, Pandit Anand Kaul, the original temple was built by a Kashmiri Sovereign Sandiman, who reigned between 2629 to 2564 BC (cannot be verified). The temple was rechristened to its present name only after Shankaracharya visited around 9th Century AD. Also to note here, Sikandar Butshikan left this temple unharmed during his reign.

    0326 BC: King Abhisara, the sovereign of Poonch, Rajauri and Nowshera comes in contact of Alexander the Great during these times as per the Greek historians.

    0304 BC: Kashmir becomes a part of the Mauryan Empire under the Gonanda Kings, who accept the sovereignty of Chandragupta. Buddhism is introduced into the valley in a big way during this period. He is clearly a Junior sovereign to the Gonanda Kings.

    0272 BC: The Pratapaditya Dynasty takes over Kashmir. Rules till 80 BC, or 192 years. The Dynasty starts with King Pratapaditya, who is a relative of King Vikramaditya of Ujjain (The father of the Vikram Samvat calendar in India), and ends with King Sandhimati.

    0080 BC: Over the next 207 years, Kashmir is ruled by 10 Kings, starting from Meghavahana and ending with Lakshmana in 127–131 AD.

    0001 AD: Kashmir has by now become one of the most important centres of Hinduism and Buddhism with countless stupas, mathas and temples built around the valley.

    0127 AD: Kashmir is conquered by Kanishka I, and becomes a part of the Kushan Dynasty empire. A staunch Buddhist, Kanishka holds the 4th Buddhist council of his empire in Kashmir. It was during this very council, that Buddhism was divided into two sects, the Hinayana and the Mahayana.

    0400 AD: Around this time, Kashmiri Buddhist Missionaries started spreading Buddhism in Tibet and China. There was a regular stream of Tibetan and Chinese pilgrims during this time, visiting Kashmir. Buddhist Monk Kumārajīva, who influenced the Chinese emperor Yao Xing, during this period, and translated the Lotus Sutra and the Diamond Sutra among others, was also of Kashmiri Origin.

    0520 AD: Around this time, Kashmir was ruled by Mihirakula, a central asian conqueror for a short period, before getting defeated by Yashodharman in Malwa.

    0570 AD: Muḥammad ibn `Abdullāh, Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is born in Mecca in present day Saudi Arabia.

    When Kashmiris Rules over UP & Bihar

    0625 AD: The Karkota Empire of Kashmir was established by King Durlabhvardhana. The Empire ruled over Kashmir for 260 years and captured part of Central Asia, Afghanistan and Punjab, becoming the first Kashmiri Kingdom to have influence beyond the Himalayas. They had their capital in modern day Paraspore (Parihaspur) in Kashmir and were the financiers of the spectacular Martanda Surya Temple.

    0724 AD: Lalitaditya Muktapida, the most powerful Kashmiri sovereign ever, started his 36 year long and prosperous reign. His was a time, when most of modern day UP, Uttarakhand and Bihar, paid taxes to a Kashmiri King. Just to give you an idea of his badassery, here is the map of his empire:

    0875 AD: The author of Shiva Sutra, Vasugupta was born. He went on to become one of the most influential Indian poets of Sanskrit. His book, laid the foundation of the monistic Shaiva system called Kashmir Shaivism.

    0850 AD: Shaivism Tradition or Trika School of Sanatana Dharma is born in Kashmir around this time, thanks to the teachings of Vasugupta. Trika refers to the 3 goddesses Parā, Parāparā and Aparā.

    0950 AD: Abhinavagupta was born in Kashmir, He was a famous philosopher, mystic, aesthetician, musician, poet, dramatist, theologian, and logician of Trika and Kaula, who renewed the Teachings of Vasugupta, his teachings influenced the Shaivism in Southern India. Kashmir Shaivism was adopted by the common masses of Kashmir during this period.

    0997 AD: Kashmir was ruled by Queen Didda – who had her maternal ancestry in the Hindu Shahi of Kabul, Afghanistan. She was the daughter of Simharāja, a smaller Lohara King. She married to the then king of Kashmir, Kshemgupta, and ruled after the death of the King since her son was very young to rule.

    1003 AD: Kashmir came into the hands of the Lohara Dynasty, which ruled over Kashmir for 317 years. The capital of the dynasty was in Loharkot Fort, which was unsuccessfully attacked twice by the Mahmood of Ghaznawi. The Last Ruler of this dynasty was King Suhadeva.

    Introduction to Sufism.

    1310 AD: Estimated year when sufi mystic, Hazrat Bulbul Shah of Iran entered Kashmir along with a few of his disciples. He had an impressive charisma and knowledge and was respected by Kashmiris of all faiths. He built a monastery in Kashmir.

    1313 AD: Shah Mir, an Irani Sunni Muslim refugee came to the Kashmir Valley from Swat, along with his family. He was one of the first muslims to set foot in the valley. He was tactful, able and was welcomed by the then King Suhadev of Kashmir, who later appointed him as one of his ministers.

    Shah Mir would go on to start the first muslim dynasty, that ruled over Kashmir for 20 generations and 222 years.

    CHAPTER 2: The first round of Kashmiri oppression.

    The Refugee King.

    1320 AD: A Ladakhi Buddhist Prince, Rinchen took the throne of Kashmir and Mystic Shaivite Yogini Poet, Lalleshwari or Lal Aarifa, or Lal Ded was born. She became the primary source of influence for Nund Rishi, Sheikh Noor-ud-din Wali – The Patron Saint of Kashmir.

    Rinchen unsuccessfully revolted against his uncle, the Sovereign of Ladakh, and had to flee to Kashmir. He was made a minister in the court of Raja Suhadeva, which also had Shah Mir, as a minister. Raja Suhadeva was later defeated by the Mongols and his Commander-in-Chief, Ramchandra took over the reigns, making Rinchen his chief administrator – Rinchen assassinated Ramchandra and became the king himself.

    Rinchen married slain Ramchandra’s widowed daughter, Kota Rani, made Shah Mir as his chief advisor. Rinchen wanted to convert to Hinduism, but was denied. He later converted to Islam along with 10,000 of his men (first major conversion in Kashmir) on the direction of Irani sufi mystic, Hazrat Bulbul Shah, also known as the Bulbul-e-Kashmir. Rinchen adopted the title of Sultan Sadruddin Shah.

    He built the first ever Mosque in Kashmir, on the ruins of a Buddhist temple (the Bud Masjid).

    1323 AD: Richen or Sultan Sadruddin Shah, succumbed to injuries during an attack by rebels. Kota Rani, his wife, decided to marry, Udayanadeva, the brother of Suhadeva. Though Udayanadeva became the King, it was Kota Rani who actually wielded the real power. She was known to be intelligent, shrewd, brave and a real badass.

    She built a canal to save Srinagar from frequent flooding, which is still functional and still bears her name – Kute Kol.

    During her (proxy) reign, Kashmir was attacked by a Mongol Army led by Achalla. While the attack made King Udayanadeva flee to Tibet, Kota Rani faced the attackers head on and killed Achalla, making the other attackers run away.

    She was finally dethroned, by her trusted lieutenant Shah Mir who organised an internal uprising against her. When she found herself helpless with Shah Mir offering a proposal of marriage, she stabbed herself to death in modern day Sambhal in Kashmir, clearing the path of the Shah Mir Dynasty which ruled Kashmir for 222 years.

    1334 AD: Approximate year, when sufi mystic, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani or Shah Hamdan entered Kashmir. Born in modern day Iran, he is attributed to have played a major role in the spread of Islam in Kashmir. He was one of the major influencers of Shaivite Mystic Lal Ded or Lalleshwari, who was just 6 years younger to him.

    222 years of the Shah Mir Dynasty & the rise of Islam

    1339 AD: Shah Mir, a descendant of persian immigrants of the Swat valley, and the Chief Advisor to the King Richen (Sultan Sadruddin Shah), took over the throne after the king succumbed to his injuries while fighting Mongols. He tried marrying Kota Rani, but she committed a suicide. Shah Mir thus became the first muslim ruler of Kashmir, starting the Shah Mir Dynasty. He ruled for 3 years and 5 months.

    1377 AD: Nund Rishi or Sheikh Noor ud-Din Wali, the founder of the Rishi Order of Kashmiri sufi tradition was born in present day Kulgam district. According to the legend, on the 3rd day of his birth, Yogini Lalleshwari or Lal Ded, had suckled him milk, opening his fast since birth.

    He is known as the Patron Saint of Kashmir and the father of Kashmiriyat. He preached communal harmony, non-violence, vegetarianism and tolerance to the people.

    1389 AD: Sikandar Shah Mir better known as Sikandar Butshikan became the 6th Sultan of Kashmir. His reign of 24 years saw a blood soaked effort to convert the majority population of Kashmir, from Hinduism to Islam. By his order, many old Hindu and Buddhist temples were desecrated and burnt, Hindus were prohibited from praying, putting a tilak, sounding a temple bell, blowing of conch shell, celebrating festivals and even cremating their dead. A heavy Jizya tax was imposed on non muslims and they were treated as second class citizens. A large number of Hindus were forcibly converted during his reign. Many were forced to leave their homes and flee. The grand Martand Surya Temple was desecrated on his orders.

    By the end of his rule – Kashmir became a Muslim Majority state for the first time in History.

    The reign of Bud Shah, the wise

    1418 AD: The Bud Shah or Zain-ul-Abidin started his reign as the 8th Sultan of the Shah Mir Dynasty in Kashmir. Though he was a muslim ruler, he abolished the Jizya tax on the Hindu Majority of Kashmir, and banned cow slaughter. He was a scholar of Persian, Tibetan and Sanskrit, and ordered the translation of Mahabharata into Persian for the first time.

    He tried to call the Kashmiri Hindus back to the valley. He also invited artists and craftsmen from modern day Iran to train the locals in the art of Carpet Making, and Wood Carving among other things.

    1557 AD: Sultan Habib Shah, the 20th and final Sultan of the Shah Mir Dynasty, took over the throne.

    The Mughal Affair

    1586 AD: Mughal rule started in Kashmir with Akbar’s conquest of the Kashmir Valley. Zille Ilahi visited Kashmir himself in 1589. The Mughals were in love with Kashmir. They built many gardens and monuments across the valley.

    1658 AD: Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb came to power and took a special interest in Kashmir. The Jizya Tax, Persecution of Hindus and Mass conversions to Islam restarted. This became, what was later known as the 2nd Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus from the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits went to Guru Teg Bahadur for help. For more details, please read this: The story of Aurangzeb Alamgir and the Kashmiri Pandits.

    1698 AD: Aurangzeb found out about a rich Kashmiri trader by the name Nur-ud-Din Eshai, who had bought a relic (a strand of hair) belonging to prophet Muhammad from an ancestor, living in Bijapur. He ordered the seizing of the relic – which was sent to Ajmer Dargah, while Nur-ud-Din Eshai, was sent to the prison. By the time he came around to a realisation, that he had made a mistake, Noor-ud-Din had died in the prison.

    1700 AD: A repentant Aurangzeb arranged for the Body of Nur-ud-Din Eshai to be sent to Srinagar, along with the relic of Prophet Mohammad. Nur-Ud-Din’s daughter, Inayat Begam, became the first custodian of the relic, which was kept in a large and beautiful shrine on the banks of the Dal Lake – The Shrine came to be known as Hazratbal.

    This holy shrine, a few hundred years later, in 1963–67, saw the first ever Anti India demonstration in Kashmir. More details, later in the timeline.

    1753 AD: The Afghan Durranis started their rule over Kashmir when Abdul Khan Isk Aquasi, a general in Ahmed Shah Abdali’s army conquered Kashmir. This started the 3rd round of oppression against the Hindus in Kashmir, where, this time, many were turned into slaves by the Afghan rulers. The Durrani’s rule in Kashmir lasted for 69 years when they were routed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

    CHAPTER 3: The second round of Kashmiri oppression.

    The 75 lakhs of Gulab Singh Dogra

    1792 AD: Gulab Singh Dogra, an awesome fighter and the founder of the Dogra Dynasty was born.

    1819 AD: Maharaja Ranjit Singh started his rule over Kashmir. The Sikhs removed the oppressive Jizya Tax. Imposed death sentence for cow slaughter. Closed down the Jama Masjid in Srinagar and banned the Azaan in all mosques.

    1820 AD: Maharaja Ranjit Singh gave away the fief of Jammu to Kishore Singh Dogra, the father of 28 year old Gulab Singh Dogra in appreciation of Gulab’s fighting skills.

    1820 AD: Adding further to the family jewels, Gulab Singh Dogra captured Rajouri and Kishtwar into his fief as well. Gulab Singh also helped capture Ladakh and Baltistan for the Lahore Gaddi.

    1832 AD: Kashmir faced the first recorded famine in its history. The Taxed were halved, and loans were offered to farmers. Kashmir soon bounced back, becoming the 2nd largest source of revenues for the Lahore Gaddi.

    1839 AD: Maharaja Ranjit Singh died and the Lahore Gaddi became weaker.

    1842 AD: After a brief war between the Sikh forces of the Lahore Gaddi and the Chinese, both sign a treaty in September which gave away Aksai Chin to China, while the Sikhs retained Ladakh. This treaty was later inherited by the British and the status quo remained maintained till the Independence of India.

    1843 AD: One of the most famous Kashmiri Sufi Poets of the Qadiriyya silsila, Shams Faqir was born.

    1845 AD: The First Anglo Sikh War Started – Let’s just say, the Dogras, abstained from giving their 100% this time.

    1846 AD: Britishers defeated the Sikhs, demanded a repatriation of Rs. 1.5 Crores from the Sikh rulers, with an additional sum of Rs 60 Lakhs payable immediately, as reparations for the cost of the war. The Lahore Gaddi, paid Rs. 50 Lakhs in cash and ceded the territories of Hazara and Kashmir for a sum of 1 crore. The British further sold Kashmir to Gulab Singh Dogra, the Raja of Jammu, for a sum of Rs. 75 Lakhs as per the Treaty of Amritsar. This is how the Princely State of Jammu & Kashmir came together for the first time with Gulab Singh Dogra becoming the Raja of Jammu & Kashmir.

    1857 AD: During the first war of Indian Independence, Raja Gulab Singh Dogra chose to side with the British and gave refuge to many britishers fleeing the rebels. He also provided troops to quell the Indian rebellion. Soon, Gulab Singh was succeeded to the Dogra throne by his son, Ranbir Singh Dogra who added the Hunza valley, Gilgit and Nagar to the Kingdom.

    1890 AD: The Kashmiris, who had converted from Hinduism to Islam for the fear of persecution, became persecuted for their religion again under the Dogra Kings. They faced heavy taxation and discrimination, leading to many deciding to leave Kashmir, and settle in Punjab.

    1907 AD: Swami Lakshman Joo or Lal Sahib, a mystic and scholar of Kashmir Shaivism or Trika was born in Srinagar.

    1925 AD: Raja Hari Singh Dogra, the grandson of Raja Ranbir Singh Dogra, and the alumni of Mayo College Ajmer, ascended to the throne of Kashmir. He made primary education compulsory and banned child marriages. He was friends with Kashmiri Leader Sheikh Abdullah and disliked Jawahar Lal, another Kashmiri, leading the Congress Party of India.

    1931 AD: A mass movement starts against the new Maharaja. The state forces nip the bud very quickly and with brute force.

    1934 AD: A set of reforms are introduced in response to the mass movement – Elections are held for a representative body of the Kashmiri People, called the Praja Sabha. Muslim Conference Party (Which is known as the National Conference Party today) won 14 of the 21 seats reserved for Muslims

    1941 AD: 71,667 Kashmiris join the British Indian Army to fight overseas in World War II. The recruitment exercise of the British Indian Army, has the blessings of the Maharaja.

    1944 AD: Muhammad Ali Jinnah visits Kashmir, tried to rally public support for Muslim Conference – a rival of National Conference.

    1946 AD: Sheikh Abdullah (Sher-e-Kashmir, father of Farooq Abdullah, grandfather of Omar Abdullah), the most popular Kashmiri leader of the time, starts the Quit Kashmir Movement against the Maharaja.

    13 June 1947 AD: At the Joint Defence Council meeting, Jinnah and Nehru disagree on the accession of princely states, Jinnah asserting that it was for the rulers to decide and Nehru insisting that it was for the people.

    11 July 1947 AD: Muhammad Ali Jinnah declares that if Kashmir opted for independence, Pakistan would have friendly relations with it. Liaquat Ali Khan endorses the position.

    1947 AD: India Gained Independence. Pakistan got independence as well. All princely states were free to either join one of the countries or remain independent. At this point in history, Jammu & Kashmir was a Muslim Majority state, with a Hindu sovereign – Kind of like an opposite of the super rich state of Hyderabad and Junagarh. The Maharaja of Kashmir, looking to remain independent, signs a standstill agreement with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, The Signing by Nehru remains pending. Hari Singh is hoping to buy some time.

    CHAPTER 4: An old bride and her new suitors.

    The Longest India-Pakistan War, 1947

    15th August 1947: Kashmir Signs the Standstill Agreement with Pakistan, promising not to attack and continue all the previous arrangements and help, till clarity is reached about the accession.

    9 September 1947: 3 weeks after signing the Standstill Agreement with Kashmir, Pakistan cuts off supplies of petrol, sugar, salt and kerosene and stops trade in timber, fruits, fur and carpets in violation of the agreement hoping to put some pressure on the Raja.

    1st October 1947: 45 days after signing the Standstill Agreement with Kashmir, Mohammad Ali Jinnah gives a call to the Tribes of Waziristan province, asking them to answer the holy call of liberating a muslim dominated region from the clutches of a non muslim usurper. About 20,000 attackers converge in Abbottabad. They are armed and divided into 10 batches, lead by “on-leave” Army officers from Pakistan.

    The Tribals wreck havoc in Kashmir. Raja’s forces are of no match. Within a few weeks, they reach the outskirts of Srinagar. The Raja Panics and writes to Lord Mountbatten, the governor General of India for help. Mountbatten suggests him to sign the instrument of accession before any help could arrive.

    26 October 1947, “Lieutenant-General His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO”, signed the instrument of accession, agreeing to accede to the dominion of India.

    27 October 1947: The Indian army enters the state to repel the invaders. Sheikh Abdullah (Sher-e-Kashmir, father of Farooq Abdullah, grandfather of Omar Abdullah) endorses the accession, National Conference Helps Indian Army fight against the Tribal Leaders. Raja Hari Singh appoints Sheikh Abdullah as head of the emergency administration.

    27 October 1947: Mohammad Ali Jinnah orders General Douglas Gracey to send Pakistani troops into Kashmir. Gracey declines pointing out the fact of Kashmir’s accession to India. Gracey had a ‘stand down order’ from the Supreme Commander Claude Auchinleck to the effect that, in the event of an inter-Dominion war, all the British officers in both the armies must stand down.

    1 November 1947: Skirmishes reduce in intensity. Winter is coming. There is a stalemate of sort in the war.

    20–21 October 1947 : Between 20,000 and 1 lakh Muslims are killed in what is later known as the Jammu Massacres. Lakhs migrate with their kith and kin to Sialkot in Punjab following the massacre. This was avenged sooner on the other side.

    20 November 1947: Lord Mountbatten suggests to Nehru, that he should go to the newly formed successor to the League of Nations, the UN for an international mediation, since India has a ‘solid and fool-proof’ case. His proposal is discussed in the Indian cabinet. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel expresses his displeasure.

    25 November 1947: Massacre of 20,000 Hindus and Sikhs takes place at a shelter at Mirpur in what is now Azad Kashmir. The day is remembered as the Mirpur day in Indian-administered Jammu.

    4 December 1947: The British Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army sanctions military involvement in the Kashmir war. One million rounds of ammunition and twelve volunteer officers are provided.

    28 December 1947: Lord Mountbatten writes to Nehru again, to convince him to ceasefire. British Prime Minister Attlee warns Nehru that opening a broader war would jeopardise India’s case in the UN.

    31 December 1947: India officially refers the Kashmir problem to the security council of the United Nations. Alexander Cadogan, the permanent representative of the UN files a report claiming that, “India was entitled to charge Pakistan as aggressor under Article 35 and to take measures for self-defence under Article 51, including “pursuing invaders into Pakistan”.

    15 January 1948: Both India and Pakistan present their case. India argues the case on the basis of legality. Pakistan in her argument accuses India of committing a genocide in Kashmir and capturing Junagarh. Pakistan calls for pulling back of both the Tribal fighters and the Indian forces out of Kashmir.

    30th January 1948: Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in Birla House, Delhi, by an extreme right wing Hindu ideologue. He died before any medical help could reach him. His death pulled Nehru and Patel together. Official mourning was declared both in India and Pakistan.

    21 April 1948: UN Security Council passes Resolution 47 calling for a three-step process for the resolution of the dispute: Pakistani withdrawal of its nationals, India to reduce its troops to minimum level, and arrangements for a plebiscite. Both India and Pakistan reject this resolution.

    13 August 1948: UNCIP adopts its first resolution on Kashmir, fine-tuning the April resolution of the Security Council to take into account objections by both India and Pakistan. Pakistan’s aggression is indirectly acknowledged by asking for its withdrawal as the first step. The resolution is accepted by India, but effectively rejected by Pakistan. The fighting continues. There are small gains on both sides. Both sides prepare for renewed war efforts, since – Winter is coming.

    11 September 1948: Jinnah died of TB, in the middle of the road, in oppressive heat, in a broken down ambulance, as Fatima Jinnah tried to discourage the flies bumbling over his head. Official mourning was declared both in India and Pakistan.

    13 September 1948: Under a swift military intervention, codenamed, Operation Polo, The Indian Army enters the Princely State of Hyderabad.

    1 November 1948: Zoji La pass is finally captured by India after months of fighting. Ladakh is now secure in Indian hands.

    15 November 1948: Drass sector is recaptured from the Pakistani forces after weeks of heavy fighting and loss of life on both sides.

    23 November 1948: Kargil is captured back from the Pakistani forces. This one’s special, because the terrain here is the most difficult and the Indian forces are neither acclimatised for such high altitude, nor do they have winter clothing.

    1 January 1949: A ceasefire is declared by both India and Pakistan. Indian forces till now had cleared most of the Kashmir valley, and Ladakh while successfully defending Jammu. There is no way for the Indian forces to reach Gilgit and Baltistan during the winters months. Everyone agrees to wait for the ‘snows’ to melt.

    5 January 1949: UNCIP (United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan) resolution states that the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through a free and impartial plebiscite. Both India and Pakistan agree in principle, but disagree with the steps. The biggest question at hand is the so called Azad Kashmir Army, which Pakistan insists, should not be withdrawn from the Kashmir that it controls.

    It was a stalemate.

    28 April 1949: Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, the 32 year old leader of pro-Pakistan Kashmiri resistance, who was recently declared as the President of Azad Kashmir by Pakistan, was made to sign the Karachi Agreement in secret. This agreement ceded control of Kashmir’s defence, foreign affairs along with a complete control over Gilgit-Baltistan as a Pakistani territory. This agreement only came to light in the 1990s.

    17 October 1949: The constituent assembly of India passed article 370 of the Indian constitution, ensuring a special status and internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir, with Indian jurisdiction in Kashmir limited to the three areas agreed in the Instrument of Accession, viz., defence, foreign affairs and communications.

    1951 AD: The election to the constituent assembly are announced in Kashmir. This constituent assembly is supposed to work as per Article 370 of the Indian constitution. 75 seats are allocated – 25 of them are left empty for the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

    The election is rigged – National Conference wins all 75 seats.

    1952 AD: Sheikh Abdullah, now the Prime Minister of Kashmir, flips. Declares that he favours independence and not accession to India. The same year, monarchy is officially abolished in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    1953 AD: Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, a leader of the Jan Sangh Party (Which later became BJP), dies in jail. He had been arrested for entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir for agitation against the special status given to the state.

    Sheikh Abdullah, the Prime Minister of J&K, who had been demanding for independence in public meetings, is also dismissed and put into the prison for Anti-India activities (Kashmir Conspiracy Case). Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed becomes the new Prime Minister of the state, who soon ratifies the accession of Kashmir to India in the state assembly.

    1954 AD: India and Pakistan create a bilateral commission, to organise the plebiscite in Kashmir within the next 6 months. This commision is broken later, when Pakistan and US sign a Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement – which Nehru sees as anti India.

    1956 AD: The J&K state assembly, adopts a resolution, declaring Kashmir as an integral part of India. India’s home minister, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant declares to the press during his visit to Kashmir that now, there is no need for a plebiscite in Kashmir.

    1957 AD: Elections to the first legislative assembly of Kashmir are held. National Conference wins 69 of the 75 seats. 47 seats are won unopposed. Allegations of cheating are levelled up again. No one cares. Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed continues as the PM of Kashmir.

    1959 AD: China Officially annexes Tibet, and declares it an integral part of China. Everyone in India suddenly realise, that Aksai Chin, shown in our maps, as a part of J&K, is not in our sovereign control. China starts building a road to connect Xinjiang in Northwestern China to Tibet. China is now building a road from the same Xinjiang province, to Gwadar in Balochistan under CPEC.

    1962 AD: Second round of elections are held for the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir state. National Conference wins 68 of the 74 seats.

    1963 AD: Pakistan signs an agreement with China, giving away the Northern areas, or the Trans-Karakoram Tract of Kashmir to China, JLT.

    Same year, On 27 December, the Holy Relic from Hazratbal Shrine is stolen around 2 am when the custodians of the shrine were sleeping. Around 50,000 locals carrying black flags demonstrated in front of the shrine. This is the first time when anti-India slogans were heard in Kashmir.

    The relic was recovered on 4 January 1964, but no information about the thieves was disclosed.

    1964 AD: Sheikh Abdullah is finally released from Prison for good, All Charges against him are dropped. This is an 11 year long – ‘non-continuous’ stint in jail that makes him a beloved of the people – The Sher-e-Kashmir. Article 356 and 357 are amended to change the post of Prime Minister into that of the Chief Minister.

    1965 AD: The ruling party in Kashmir, National Conference decides to dissolve itself, and merge in the Indian National Congress Party.

    The same year, an advisor tells Pakistani Dictator, General Aayub Khan, that there is an mass unrest in the Kashmir Valley and if he can send out some ‘help’ he can write him name in Pakistani history in golden letters as Fateh-e-Kashmir.

    He really likes the idea and orders the execution of Operation Gibraltar. Pakistani Troops enter the Kashmir Valley in Salwar Kameez – are identified by Locals and reported to the army – the ‘brilliant’ idea fails and gets nipped in the bud. This starts the India Pakistan War of 1965.

    India opens the war front outside Kashmir, entering Lahore and Sialkot. The return of the Indian troops from Lahore is celebrated as a Victory by the Spin doctors of the Pakistani National Narrative as (Youm-e-Difa) a successful day of defence (Obviously, had they not attacked first – there would have been no use of defending later).

    The Start of Kashmiri Militancy

    1966 AD: Both countries sign a ceasefire agreement in Tashkent, mediated by Russia. This is the first time, when Pakistan realises its martial impotency and decides to support guerrilla groups against India. Kashmiri separatists, Amanullah Khan and Maqbool Bhat form a Plebiscite Front with an armed wing called NLF, which later become JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) in the Pakistani held Kashmir. Maqbool Bhat is later arrested while he’s trying to enter Indian Kashmir. Amanullah Khan settles down in London.

    1971 AD: Pakistan implodes, giving birth to Bangladesh. Over 90,000 Pakistani Soldiers surrender. India and Pakistan sign the Shimla agreement – mutually agreeing to make Kashmir a bilateral dispute.

    1977 AD: 3rd Elections are held to the state assembly. They are considered to be the first free and fair elections in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah and his party wins a Majority.

    1982 AD: Sheikh Abdullah, the Sher-e-Kashmir, dies. His son, Farooq Abdullah becomes the new Chief Minister of J&K.

    1984 AD: Indian consul general in Indian consul general in Birmingham, UK Ravindra Mhatre is abducted and murdered by JKLF militants. India executes Maqbool Bhat. Amanullah Khan is asked to leave UK – he returns back to Pakistan. Pakistan’s ISI helps Amanullah start a more violent and radical version of the militant group – JKLF

    1987 AD: Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections take place in 1987. Most commentators agree that these elections were rigged and manipulated by the Central Government to favor candidates which were in line with the government of the day.

    1989 AD: The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ends. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia recognise the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Pakistan finally has a friendly Afghanistan and the ever elusive strategic depth along with a ready infrastructure to sponsor Jihad in Kashmir.

    1990 AD: Jagmohan, perhaps one of the most hated Indian in Kashmir valley is appointed as the governor of the state. CM Farooq Abdullah resigns, close to 100 local protesters are killed in firing. Lassa Kaul, director of Srinagar Doordarshan is killed by JKLF – the first major Kashmiri Pandit to be assassinated in the valley – What follows is the 7th forced exodus of Kashmiris – this time, orchestrated by the locals – those who had converted persecute those who hadn’t.

    While the Pandits leave en masse, about 10,000 young Kashmiris cross the LOC and get trained in the militant training camps run in Pakistan. Many come back and wreak havoc in Kashmir.

    The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act is passed in the Indian Parliament and with the recommendation from the state government, AFSPA is imposed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    1999 AD: Pakistan’s Chief of Army staff, along with a few flunkies, decide to extract a revenge of Siachen – in the winters, when the Indian troops vacate their posts in Kargil, they are take up by Pakistani soldiers in Salwar Kameez. Their only mistake – they forget to inform the Navy and the Airforce and fail to take a national consensus. They were hoping to bluff all the way to a negotiating table and perhaps maintain a status quo – what India does in response just takes their napkins away.

    Pakistan tries to bluff initially by calling the belligerents as Mujahideens, refusing to even take back the dead bodies – but later, under intense international pressure, accepts them as their own and is forces to execute a humiliating unilateral ceasefire.

    2001 AD: In October, the State Assembly in Srinagar is attacked by Militants – 36 are killed. Two months later, the Parliament of India is attacked.

    2003 AD: The Delhi Lahore Bus Service Resumes.

    2012 AD: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah declares that AFSPA is here to stay for a bit longer.

    2014 AD: Jammu and Kashmir Legislative elections take place with a record turn-out.

    2016 AD: Following the killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, an acclaimed terrorist from Hizbul Mujahideen, a wave of protests engulf the valley.

    5th August 2019 AD – Union Govt. abrogates Article 370 & 35A for good.

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