HISTORY OF INDIA
THE KINGDOM OF KASHMIR
ISLAM was introduced into Kashmir at the beginning of the fourteenth century of the Christian era by Shah Mirza, an adventurer from Swat, who in 1315 entered the service of Sinha Deva, a chieftain who had established his authority in the valley of Kashmir. Sinha Deva was overthrown and slain by Rainchan, a Tibetan who also was in his service and is said to have accepted Islam, probably at the suggestion of Shah Mirza, whom he made his minister, entrusting him with the education of his children. On Rainchan's death Udayana Deva, a scion of the old royal house, who had found an asylum in Kishtwar during the ursurpation, returned to the valley, married Kota Devi, Rainchan's widow, and ascended the throne. He died after a reign of fifteen years, and his widow called upon Shah Mirza to place upon the throne her son, but the minister, during his long tenure of office, had formed a faction of his own, and was no longer content with the second place in the state.
The circumstances in which he obtained the first are variously related. According to one account he proposed marriage to the widowed queen, who committed suicide rather than submit to the alliance, but the more probable story is that on Shah Mirza's hesitating to obey her command she assembled her forces, attacked him, and was defeated. Shah Mirza, then forcibly married her, and before she had been his wife for twenty-four hours imprisoned her and ascended the throne in 1346, under the title of Shamsuddin Shah.
The new king used wisely and beneficently the power which he had thus acquired. The Hindu kings had been atrocious tyrants, whose avowed policy had been to leave their subjects nothing beyond a bare subsistence. He ruled on more liberal principles, abolished the arbitrary taxes and the cruel methods of extorting them, and fixed the state's share of the produce of the land at one-sixth. He was obliged, however, during his short reign, to suppress a rebellion of the Lon tribe of Kishtwar. He died, after a reign of three years, in 1349, leaving four sons, Jamshid, Ali Sher, Shirashamak, and Hindal, the eldest of whom succeeded him, but reigned for no more than a year, being dethroned in 1350 by his next brother, Ali Sher, who ascended the throne under the title of Alauddin.
Alauddin with a confidence rare among oriental rulers, made his next brother, Shirashamak, his minister, and seems to have had no reason to repent his choice. The events of his reign, which are very briefly chronicled, included a severe famine, a conspiracy which was frustrated, and the promulgation of a law, said to have been effectual, depriving women of light character of any share in the property left by their husbands.
Alauddin died in 13591, and was succeeded by his brother, Shirashamak, who assumed the title of Shihabuddin, which was probably his real name, for that by which he was known before his accession means 'the little milk-drinker', and was probably a childish nickname.
Shihabuddin has left a reputation both as an administrator and as a warrior. He founded two towns and caused landed estates to be carefully demarcated, to prevent encroachments on the crown lands. At the beginning of his reign he led an army to the borders of Sind, and defeated the Jam on the banks of the Indus. Returning thence, he gained a victory over the Afghans at Peshawar, and marched through Afghanistan to the borders of the Hindu Kush, but was compelled to abandon his enterprise, whatever its object may have been, by the difficulties which he encountered in attempting to cross that range. Returning to India he established a cantonment in the plains, on the banks of the Sutlej, where he met, in 1361, the raja of Nagarkot (Kangra), returning from a raid on the dominions of Firuz Tughluq of Delhi. The raja, who is said to have conciliated Shihabuddin with a liberal share of his spoil, suffered for his temerity, and received no assistance from Shihabuddin, who returned to Kashmir.
For reasons which have not been recorded Shihabuddin disinherited and banished to Delhi his two sons, Hasan Khan and Ali Khan, and designated as his heir his brother Hindal, who succeeded him, under the title of Qutbuddin, on his death in 1378. A rebellion of some of his predecessor's officers obliged him to send an expedition, which was successful, for the recovery of the fortress of Lokarkot.
Qutbuddin was for a long time childless and, recalling from Delhi his nephew Hasan Khan, made him his heir, but Hasan's impatience exceeded his gratitude, and he conspired with a Hindu courtier against his patron. The plot was discovered, and Hasan and his accomplice fled to Loharkot, but were seized by the landholders of that district and surrendered to Qutbuddin, who put the Hindu to death and imprisoned his nephew, of whom no more is heard.
Sikandar the Iconoclast
Two sons were born to Qutbuddin in his later years, Sikandar, known before his accession as Sakar or Sankar, and Haibat Khan.
Qutbuddin died in 1394 and his widow, Sura, placed Sikandar on the throne and to secure his undisputed retention of it put to death her daughter and her son-in-law. It was probably at her instigation that Rai Madari, a Hindu courtier, poisoned Sikandar's brother, Haibat Khan, but this act incensed the young king, who called the Hindu to account for it. Rai Madari, in order to escape an embarrassing inquiry, sought and obtained leave to lead an expedition into Little Tibet. He was successful, and, having occupied that country, rebelled. Sikandar marched against him, defeated and captured him, and threw him into prison, where he committed suicide by taking poison.
In 1398 the Amir Timur, who was then at Delhi, and proposed to retire by the road which skirted the spurs of the Himalaya, sent his grandson Rustam and Mulamad Zainuddin as envoys to Sikandar. They were well received, and when they left Kashmir Sikandar sent with them as his envoy Maulana Nuruddin, and left Srinagar with the intention of waiting personally on the conqueror. The envoys reached Timur's camp in the neighborhood of Jammu on February 24, 1399, and the rapacious courtiers, without their master's knowledge, informed Nuruddin that Timur required from Kashmir 30,000 horses and 100,000 golden dirhams. The envoy returned to his master and informed him of this extravagant demand. Sikandar, whose gifts did not approach in value those required by the courtiers, turned back towards Srinagar, either in despair or with a view to collecting such offerings as might be acceptable, and Timur, who was expecting him, failed to understand the delay in his coming. The members of Nuruddin's mission who were still in the camp informed him of the demand and he was incensed by the rapacity of his courtiers, and sent Mulamad Zainuddin with the returning mission to request Sikandar to meet him on the Indus on March 25, without fear of being troubled by exorbitant demands. Sikandar again set out from Srinagar, but on reaching Baramula learnt that Timur had hurriedly left the Indian frontier for Samarqand, and returned to his capital.
Hitherto the Muslim kings of Kashmir had been careless of the religion of their subjects, and free from the persecuting spirit, but Sikandar amply atoned for the lukewarmness of his predecessors. He was devoted to the society of learned men of his own faith, whom his generosity attracted from Persia, Arabia, and Mesopotamia, and it was perhaps the exhortations of bigots of this class that aroused in him an iconoclastic zeal. He destroyed all the most famous Hindu temples in Kashmir, and the idols which they contained, converting the latter, when made of the precious metals, into money. His enthusiasm was kept alive by his minister, Sinha Bhat, a converted Brahman with all a convert's zeal for his new faith, who saw to it that his master's hostility extended to idolators as well as to idols. With many innocuous Hindu rites the barbarous practice of burning widows with their deceased husbands was prohibited, and finally the Hindus of Kashmir were offered the choice between Islam and exile. Of the numerous Brahmans some chose the latter, but many committed suicide rather than forsake either their faith or their homes. Others, less steadfast, accepted Islam, and the results of Sikandar's zeal are seen today in Kashmir, where there are no more than 524 Hindus in every 10,000 of the population. The ferocious bigot earned the title of Butshikan, or the Iconoclast.
He died in 1416, leaving three sons, Nur Khan, Shahi Khan, and Muhammad Khan, of whom the eldest succeeded him under the title of Ali Shah. The renegade Brahman, Sinha Bhat, retained his office until his death, and the persecution of Hindus was not relaxed. Shortly before the end of the reign Sinha Bhat died, and Ali Shah appointed his own brother, Shahi Khan, minister, and shortly afterwards desiring, in an access of religious zeal, to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, nominated him as regent and left Srinagar. He had not, however, left the country before his father-in-law, the raja of Jammu, and the raja of Rajaori succeeded in convincing him of the folly of leaving a kingdom which, after his absence in a far land, he could never expect to recover, and provided him with an army which expelled Shahi Khan and restored him to his throne.
Shahi Khan fled and took refuge with Jasrat, chief of the turbulent Khokar tribe, who had incurred the resentment of Timur by failing to keep his promise to aid him during his invasion of India and by plundering his baggage, and had been carried off to Samargand, whence he had escaped on Timur's death, which occurred on February 28, 1405.
Ali Shah marched against Jasrat and Shahi Khan, but foolishly exhausted his army by a forced march, and Jasrat, on being informed of its condition, suddenly attacked it in the hills near the Tattakuti Pass, and overwhelmed it. Ali Shah's fate is uncertain. According to one account he escaped, but as he is no more heard of it is more probable that, as is stated in other records, he was captured by Jasrat's troops.
Shahi Khan ascended the throne of Kashmir in June, 1420, under the title of Zainul Abidin, and was not unmindful of his benefactor, whose successes in the Punjab, which slipped from the feeble grasp of the Sayyid king of Delhi, were due in part to support received from Kashmir.
Zainul Abidin may be regarded as the Akbar of Kashmir. He lacked the Mughul's natural genius, spirit of enterprise, and physical vigor, and his outlook was restricted to the comparatively narrow limits of his kingdom, but he possessed a stock of learning and accomplishments from which Akbar's youthful indolence had, to a great extent, excluded him, his views were more enlightened than the emperor's, and he practised a tolerance which Akbar only preached, and found it possible to restrain, without persecution, the bigotry of Muslim zealots. He was in all respects, save his love of learned society, the antithesis of his father, the Iconoclast, and in the one respect in which he most resembled him he most differed from him in admitting to his society learned Hindus and cultured Brahmans. His learning delighted his hearers, and his practical benevolence enriched his subjects and his country. He founded a city, bridged rivers, restored temples, and conveyed water for the irrigation of the land to nearly every village in the kingdom, employing in the execution of these public works the malefactors whom the ferocious penal laws of his predecessors would have put to death. Theft and highway robbery were diminished by the establishment of the principle of the responsibility of village communities for offences committed within their lands, and the authoritative determination of the prices of commodities, economically unsound though it was, tended, with other regulations framed with the same object, to prevent the hoarding of food supplies and imported goods.
The fierce intolerance of Sikandar had left in Kashmir no more than eleven families of Brahmans practising the ceremonies of their faith. The exiles were recalled by Zainul Abidin, and many of those who had feigned acceptance of Islam now renounced it and returned to the faith of their ancestors. The descendants of the few who remained in Kashmir and of the exiles who returned are still distinguished as Malmas and Banamas. All, on undertaking to follow the rules of life contained in their sacred books, were free to observe all the ordinances of their faith which had been prohibited, even to the immolation of widows, which a ruler so enlightened might well have excluded from his scheme of toleration. Prisoners undergoing sentences inflicted in former reigns were released, but disobedience to the milder laws of Zainul Abidin did not go unpunished. Alms was distributed in moderation to the deserving poor, and the jizya, or poll-tax on non-Muslims, was abolished. Accumulations of treasure in conquered territory were allotted to the troops as prize-money, and the inhabitants were assessed for taxes at the moderate rates which satisfied a king who was able to meet most of the expenses of the administration from the produce of the royal mines. The currency, which had been debased by the indiscriminate conversion into coin of idols composed of metal of varying degrees of fineness, was gradually rehabilitated, and the king's decrees, engraved on sheets of copper and terminating with imprecations on any of his descendants who should depart from them, were distributed to the principal towns of the kingdom.
Zainul Abidin was proficient in Persian, Hindi, and Tibetan, besides his own language, and was a munificent patron of learning poetry, music, and painting. He caused the Mahabharata and the Rajatarangini, the metrical history of the rajas of Kashmir, to be translated from Sanskrit into Persian, and several Arabic and Persian works to be translated into the Hindi language, and established Persian as the language of the court and of public offices. He shared Akbar's scruples with regard to the taking of life, forbade hunting, and abstained entirely from flesh during the month of Ramadan; and in other relations of life his morals were unquestionably superior to Akbar's, for he was faithful throughout his life to one wife, and never even allowed his eyes to rest on another woman. In other respects he was no precisian, and singers, dancers, musicians, acrobats, tumblers, and rope-dancers amused his lighter moments. A skilled manufacturer of fireworks, whose knowledge of explosives was not entirely devoted to the arts of peace, is mentioned as having introduced firearms into Kashmir.
The enlightened monarch maintained a friendly correspondence with several contemporary rulers. Abu Said Shah, Babur's grandfather, who reigned in Khurasan from 1458 to 1468, Buhlul Lodi, who ascended the throne of Delhi in 1451, Jahan Shah of Azarbaijan and Gilan, Sultan Mahmud Begarha of Gujarat, the Burji Mamluks of Egypt, the Sharif of Mecca, the Muslim Jam Nizamuddin of Sind, and the Tonwar raja of Gwalior, between whom and the king of Kashmir love of music formed a bond, were among those with whom he exchanged letters and complimentary gifts.
Early in his reign Zainul Abidin associated with himself in the government, and even designated as his heir, his younger brother Muhammad, but Muhammad predeceased him, and though the king admitted his son Haidar Khan to the confidential position which his father had held the birth of three sons of his own excluded his nephew from the succession. These were Adam Khan, Haji Khan, and Bahram Khan, three headstrong young men whose strife embittered his declining years. Haji Khan, his father's favourite, was the least unworthy of the throne, and Bahram employed himself chiefly in fomenting dissensions between his two elder brothers.
Adam Khan recovered Baltistan, or Little Tibet, and Haji Khan the fort and district of Loharkot, both of which provinces had revolted. Adam Khan returned first to the capital, and, as the brothers were clearly seeking an opportunity to measure their strength against each other, his father detained him at Srinagar. Haji Khan then returned from Loharkot with the object of attacking both his father and his brother, who marched from the capital to meet him. He was defeated, and fled to Bhimbar, where the main road from the plains of the Punjab enters the Kashmir mountains, and Zainul Abidin celebrated his victory with a ferocity foreign to his character by massacring his prisoners and erecting a column of their heads.
Adam Khan now remained at Srinagar with his father for six years, participating largely in the administration of the kingdom. He slew many of the adherents of his fugitive brother and persecuted their families. At this period Kashmir suffered from a severe famine, and the king was obliged temporarily to reduce the land tax, in some districts to one-fourth and in others to one-seventh of its normal amount.
After the famine Adam Khan was entrusted with the government of the Kamraj district, but complaints of his rapacity and cruelty earned for him from his father a rebuke which provoked him to rebellion, and he assembled his troops and marched against his father. Zainul Abidin succeeded in recalling him to a sense of his duty, and permitted him to return to Kamraj, but recalled from exile at the same time Haji Khan. The news of his brother's recall again provoked Adam Khan to rebel, and he attacked and slew the governor of Sopur and occupied that city. His father marched against him and defeated him, but he remained encamped on the northern bank of the Jhelum, opposite to the royal camp, until he heard of Haji Khan's arrival at Baramula, when he fled to the Indus. Zainul Abidin and his second son returned to Srinagar, where Haji Khan atoned by faithful service for past disobedience and was rewarded by being designated heir to the throne.
Shortly after this time the king fell sick, and a faction persuaded Adam Khan to return to the capital, but his arrival at Srinagar was distasteful to his father, and he was ill received. Others, with better intent, endeavored to bring about a reconciliation between the two elder brothers, but the attempt was foiled by Bahram Khan, and Adam Khan retired to Qutbuddinpur, near the city.
As the old king grew weaker his counsellors, dreading a fratricidal war, begged him to abdicate in favor of one of his sons, but he rejected their advice, and the three princes remained under arms. It is needless to recite at length their intrigues. Hail Khan was supported by his brother Bahram, and by the majority of the nobles, and Adam Khan was obliged to leave Kashmir, so that when Zainul Abidin died, in November or December, 1470, Haji Khan ascended the throne without opposition as Haidar Shah.
With the death of Zainul Abidin the power of the royal line founded by Shah Mirza declined, and the later kings were mere puppets set up, pulled down, and set up again by factious and powerful nobles, who were supported by their clansmen. The most powerful and most turbulent of these tribes was the Chakk clan, who, even in the reign of Zainul Abidin, became such a menace to the public peace that he was obliged to expel them from the Kashmir valley, but under his feebler successors they returned, and, after exercising for a long time the power without the name of royalty, eventually usurped the throne.
Haidar Shah was a worthless and drunken wretch who entirely neglected public business and permitted his ministers to misgovern his people as they would. His indulgence of their misconduct was tempered by violent outbursts of wrath which alienated them from him, and his elder brother Adam Khan, learning of his unpopularity, returned towards Kashmir with a view to seizing the throne, but on reaching Jammu was discouraged by the news of the death of Hasan Kachhi and other nobles on whose support he had reckoned, and who had been put to death on the advice of a barber named Luli. He remained at Jammu, and, in assisting the raja to expel some invaders from his dominions, received a wound from the effects of which he died.
The nobles now conspired to raise to the throne Bahram Khan, Haidar Shah's younger brother, but Hasan Khan, his son, who had been raiding the Punjab, returned to maintain his claim to the throne, and when his father, in December, 1471, or January, 1472, slipped, in a drunken fit, on a polished floor, and died of the injuries which he received, Ahmad Aswad, one of the most powerful of the courtiers, caused him to be proclaimed king under the title of Hasan Shah.
Decline of the Royal Power
Bahram Khan and his son Yusuf Khan, who had intended to contest Hasan's claim to the throne, were deserted by their troops, and, leaving the valley of Kashmir, took refuge in the hills of Kama, to the west of Kamraj. Shortly afterwards a faction persuaded them to return, but they were defeated by Hasan Shah's army, and both were captured. Bahram was blinded and died within three days of the operation.
Ahmad Aswad, who had been entitled Malik Ahmad, acquired great influence over Hasan Shah, who, though less apathetic than his father, displayed little devotion to business. He sent an expedition under Malik Yari Bhat to co-operate with the troops of the raja of Jammu in ravaging the northern districts of the Punjab, where Tatar Khan Lodi represented the military oligarchy over which his cousin Buhlul presided at Delhi. The town of Sialkot was sacked, and Malik Yari Bhat returned with as much plunder as enabled him to form a faction of his own, and when Hasan Shah required tutors and guardians for his two young sons he confided Muhammad, the elder, to Malik Nauruz, son of Malik Ahmad, and Husain, the younger, to Yari Bhat. This impartiality encouraged both factions, and their passions rose to such a height that Malik Ahmad forfeited his master's favor by permitting his troops to become embroiled, in the royal presence, with those of his rival, and was thrown into prison, where he presently died.
The mother of the two young princes was a Sayyid, and the king, after the death of Malik Ahmad, selected her father as his minister. The Sayyids became, for a time, all powerful in the state, Malik Yari Bhat was imprisoned and many other nobles fled from the valley of Kashmir. Among these was Jahangir, chief of the Maku clan, who established himself in the fortress of Loharkot.
In 1489 Hasan Shah, whose constitution had been enfeebled by debauchery, died, and the Sayyid faction raised to the throne his elder son, Muhammad, in whose name they ruled the kingdom, but their arrogance so exasperated the other nobles that they chose as their candidate for the throne Fath Khan, the son of Hasan's uncle, Adam Khan, and succeeded, before the child Muhammad had occupied the throne for a year, in establishing Fath Shah. Muhammad was relegated to the women's quarters in the palace, where he was well treated.
The history of Kashmir for the next half century is no more than a record of the strife of turbulent nobles, each with a puppet king, the least important actor on the stage, to place on the throne. Their intrigues and conflicts are of little interest.
One solitary event during this period is worthy of record. This was the appearance in Kashmir, during the first reign of Fath Shah (1489-1497) of a preacher from Talish, on the shores of the Caspian, named Shamsuddin, who described himself as a disciple of Sayyid Muhammad Nur Bakhsh of Khurasan, and preached a strange medley of doctrines. He named his sect Nur Bakhsh (Enlightening), after his master, but its tenets resembled in no way any doctrines ever taught by Sayyid Muhammad. Shamsuddin professed to be an orthodox Sunni, like the majority of the inhabitants of the valley of Kashmir, but the doctrines set forth in his theological work entitled Ahwatah, or 'most comprehensive', are described as a mass of infidelity and heresy, conforming neither to the Sunni nor to the Shiah creed. He insisted on the duty of cursing the first three orthodox Caliphs and the prophet's wife, Ayishah, a distinctively Shiah practice which strikes at the root of Sunni orthodoxy and accentuates the chief difference between the sects. He differed from the Shiahs in regarding Sayyid Muhammad Nur Bakhsh as the promised Mandi, who was to appear in the last days and establish Islam throughout the world, and taught much else which was irreconcilable with the doctrines of any known sect of Islam.
Mirza Haidar the Mughul, who conquered Kashmir in 1541, found the sect strongly represented at Srinagar, and, obtaining a copy of the Ahwatah, sent it to the leading Sunni doctors of the law in India, who authoritatively pronounced it to be heretical. Armed with this decision Mirza Haidar went about to extirpate the heresy. 'Many of the people of Kashmir', he writes, 'who were strongly attached to this apostasy, I brought back, whether they would or no, to the true faith, and many I slew. A number took refuge in Sufiism, but are no true Sufis, having nothing but the name. Such are a handful of dualists, in league with a handful of atheists to lead men astray, with no regard to what is lawful and what is unlawful, placing piety and purity in night watches and abstinence from food, but eating and taking without discrimination what they find; gluttonous and avaricious, pretending to interpret dreams, to work miracles, and to predict the future'. Orthodoxy was safe in Mirza Haidar's hands.
The enthronement of Fath Shah was a blow to the Sayyids, but within the next few years the chiefs of the popular party quarrelled among themselves, and in 1497 Muhammad Shah, now about sixteen years of age, was restored by Ibrahim Makari, whom he made his minister, designating Iskandar Khan, the elder son of Fath Shah, as his heir; but in 1498 Fath Shah regained the throne, only to be expelled again in 1499, when he escaped to the plains of India, where he died.
Rise of the Chakk Tribe
Muhammad Shah was the first to raise a number of the Chakk tribe to high office, by appointing as his minister Malik Kaji Chakk, with whose assistance he retained the throne, on this occasion, until 1526. The Makaris and other clans resented the domination of the Chakks, and made more than one attempt to raise Iskandar Khan to the throne, but the pretender fell into the hands of his cousin Muhammad, who blinded him. This action offended Kaji Chakk, who deposed Muhammad, and raised to the throne his elder son, Ibrahim I.
Abdal Makari fled into the Punjab after the failure of the last attempt to raise Iskandar to the throne, and there found Nazuk, the second son of Fath Shah, with whom, after obtaining some help from Babur's officers in the Punjab, he returned to Kashmir. Malik Kaji Chakk and Ibrahim I met him at Naushahra (Nowshera), and were utterly defeated. Kaji Chakk fled to Srinagar, and thence into the mountains, but Ibrahim appears to have been slain, for he is no more heard of. He reigned for no more than eight months and a few days.
Abdal Makari enthroned Nazuk Shah at Nowshera in 1527, and advanced on Srinagar, which he occupied. After dismissing his Mughul allies with handsome presents he sent to Loharkot for Muhammad Shah, and in 1529 enthroned him for the fourth time. Malik Kaji Chakk made an attempt to regain his supremacy, but was defeated and fled to the Indian plains. He returned shortly afterwards, and joined Abdal in defending their country against a force sent to invade it by Kamran Mirza, the second son of Babur. The Mughuls were defeated and retired into the Punjab.
Abdal Makari and Kaji Chakk again fought side by side in 1533, when a force sent by Sultan Said Khan of Kashghar and commanded by his son Sikandar Khan and Mirza Haidar invaded the Kashmir valley from the north, and by their ravages inflicted terrible misery on the inhabitants. The battle was indecisive, but the army of Kashmir fought so fiercely from morning until evening that the invaders were fain to make peace and withdraw from the country, relinquishing some of their plunder. Their departure was followed by a severe famine, during which large numbers died of hunger and many more fled the country.
Muhammad Shah died in 1534, having reigned four times, and was succeeded by his surviving son, Shamsuddin II, who died in June or July, 1540, when Nazuk Shah was restored.
In this year Mirza Haidar the Mughul again invaded Kashmir. He was with Humayun at Lahore, and obtained some assistance from him on promising, in the event of success, to govern Kashmir as his vassal. He had with him no more than 400 horse, but was joined by Abdal Makari and Zangi Chakk, who, having rebelled in Kamraj, had been defeated by Kaji Chakk. His allies engaged Kaji Chakk's attention by threatening a frontal attack while he marching by Punch, where the passes were undefended, turned the enemy's right flank and, on November 22, 1540, entered Srinagar unopposed.
Mirza Haidar, aided by Abdal Makari and Zangi Chakk, occupied himself with the administration of his easily won kingdom, while Kaji Chakk fled to Delhi and sought aid of Sher Shah, who placed at his disposal 5000 horse. He returned to Kashmir in 1541, but was defeated by Mirza Haidar and found an asylum in Baramgalla, where he was joined, in 1543, by his kinsman Zangi Chakk, who had become suspicious of Haidar's attitude towards him. An attempt to recover Srinagar was defeated in 1544, and they were compelled to return to Baramgalla, where, in 1545, Kaji Chakk and his son Muhammad died of fever. In the following year Zangi Chakk and his son Ghazi attacked a force under Haidar's officers, and both were killed. These opportune casualties among his enemies allowed Haidar leisure to receive with due honour a mission from Kashghar, his own country, and to lead into Kishtwar an expedition which was compelled to retreat after suffering heavy losses and accomplishing nothing. Expeditions to Rajaori and the region beyond Baltistan were more successful, and these districts were annexed in 1548.
In 1549 the Chakk tribe gave offence to Islam Shah Sur of Delhi by harbouring Haibat Khan and other Niyazi Afghans who had rebelled against him. They made their peace with Delhi, but attempted to utilise Haibat Khan as a counterpoise to Mirza Haidar in Kashmir. Mirza Haidar was strong enough to frustrate this design, but was obliged, in order to strengthen his position, to conciliate Islam Shah by a remittance of tribute.
Death of Mirza Haidar
The affectation of racial superiority by the Mughuls gave great offence to the natives of Kashmir, and in 1551 Haidar's officers at Baramula, where a mixed force proceeding to restore order in the eastern districts was encamped, warned him that the Kashmiri officers were meditating mischief Mirza, Haidar, though he received confirmation of their report from the Makaris, always his staunch allies, committed the fatal error of mistrusting his own officers, whom he accused of contentiousness. The force continued its march from Baramula, the Mughuls were surrounded in the mountains, eighty officers were slain, others were captured, and a few escaped to Baramgalla. The outrage was followed by a rising throughout the provinces, where Mughul officers were either slain or compelled to flee.
Mirza Haidar was now left with a handful of Mughuls at Srinagar, and to oppose the united forces of the Kashmir nobles, who were now returning from Baramula he hastily raised a force from the lower classes in the capital, who were neither well affected nor of any fighting value. With no more than a thousand men he marched from the city and attempted to counterbalance his moral and numerical inferiority by surprising the enemy in a night attack on his camp, but was slain in the darkness by some of his own men. The remnant of the Mughuls was pursued to the citadel of Srinagar, and after enduring a siege of three days was fain to purchase, by a timely surrender, a safe retreat from Kashmir.
Thus, late in 1551, ended ten years of Mughul rule in Kashmir, whose turbulent nobles were now free to resume their intrigues and quarrels. Nazuk Shah was seated, for the third time, on the throne, and the chiefs of the Chakk tribe extended their influence by judicious intermarriage with other tribes. An invasion by Haibat Khan, at the head of a force of Niyazi Afghans, was repelled, and the victory helped Daulat, now the most prominent Chakk, to acquire the supreme power in the state. In 1552 he deposed Nazuk Shah, who had reigned for no more than ten months, and enthroned his elder son, Ibrahim II, whose short reign of three years was marked by a victory over the Tibetans, who had invaded the kingdom, and by a great earthquake which changed the course of the Jhelum, as well as by a quarrel between Daulat Chakk and another chieftain of the same tribe, Ghazi Khan, son of Kaji Chakk.
Ghazi Khan, whose success secured for him the position which Daulat had held, deposed Ibrahim II in 1555, and placed on the throne his younger brother, Ismail Shah. The quarrels between chieftains of the Chakk tribe continued throughout his brief reign of two years and that of his son and successor, Habib Shah, who was raised to the throne on his father's death in 1557, but Ghazi Khan retained his supremacy and in 1558 crushed the serious rebellion of Yusuf Chakk, who was supported by Shah Abul Maali, recently escaped from Lahore, where he had been imprisoned by Akbar, and Kamal Khan the Gakhar. In 1559 Ghazi Khan executed his own son Haidar, who was conspiring against him and had murdered the agent whom he had sent to advise him to mend his ways; and in the following year crushed another serious rebellion supported by Mughuls and Gakhars from the Punjab.
In 1561 Ghazi Khan dethroned and imprisoned Habib Shah, and, finding that it was no longer necessary to veil his authority with the name of a puppet, ascended the throne under the title of Ghazi Shah.
The house of Shah Mirza had held the throne for 215 years, from 1346 to 1561, but his descendants since 1470 had exercised no authority in the state.
In 1562 Ghazi Shah sent his son Ahmad Khan in command of an expedition into Tibet. His advanced guard was defeated, and instead of pressing forward to its support he fled with the main body of his force—an act of cowardice which cost him a throne. Ghazi Shah set out in the following year to retrieve the disaster, but was obliged by his disease to return. He was a leper, who had already lost his fingers and on this expedition lost his sight. He learnt that disturbances were impending in the capital owing to the animosity of two factions, one of which supported the claim of his son, Ahmad, and the other that of his half-brother, Husain, to the throne. He returned at once to Srinagar and, being no longer physically fit to reign, abdicated in favor of his half-brother, who in 1563-64, ascended the throne as Nasiruddin Husain Shah.
Ghazi Shah could not at once abandon the habits formed during a long period of absolute power and so resented a measure taken by his brother to remedy an act of injustice committed by himself that he attempted to revoke his abdication, but found no support, and was obliged to retire into private life.
Husain's was a troubled reign. His elder brother, Shankar Chakk, twice rose in rebellion, but was defeated, and a powerful faction conspired to raise his nephew Ahmad to the throne, but he inveigled the conspirators into his palace and arrested them. Ahmad and two others were afterwards blinded, and Ghazi Shah's death is said to have been hastened by grief for his son.
In 1565 the minister, Khan Zaman Khan, fell into disgrace, and was urged by some of his supporters to seize the royal palace while the king was hunting, and to raise Ahmad, who had not yet been blinded, to the throne. Khan Zaman attacked the palace, but his son, Bahadur Khan, was slain by the king's servants while attempting to force an entry and he himself was captured and suffered death by impalement, his ears, nose, hands, and feet having first been amputated.
In 1568 a religious disturbance gave Akbar's envoy, Mirza Muqim, a pretext for interfering in the domestic affairs of the kingdom. Qazi Habib, a Sunni, was severely wounded with a sword by one Yusuf, a fanatical Shiah, who was seized and brought before the doctors of the law, who adjudged him worthy of death, despite the protests of his victim, who said that so long as he lived his assailant could not lawfully be put to death. Yusuf was stoned to death and Husain Shah replied to the protests of the Shiahs that he had but executed a sentence passed by the doctors of the law. Mirza Muqim, who was a Shiah, demanded the surrender of the wounded man and those who had pronounced the illegal sentence, but the latter defended themselves by asserting that they had passed no sentence of death, but had merely expressed the opinion that Yusuf might be executed in the interests of the public tranquility. Husain escaped the clamor of the contending sects by a river tour, and the jurists were delivered into the custody of Fath Khan Chakk, a Shiah, who, after treating them with great harshness, put them to death by Mirza Muqim's order, and caused their bodies to be dragged through the streets of the city.
The affair caused Husain Shah much anxiety and, believing that his hesitation to punish the doctors of the law would give offence to Akbar, he sent him, by Mirza Muqim, a daughter and many rich gifts, but Akbar was offended by his envoy's display of religious bigotry, and put him to death. It was reported in Kashmir that the emperor was sending back the princess, and this gross indignity so preyed upon the king's spirits as to increase the weakness and depression caused by an attack of dysentery from which he was already suffering. While he was in this feeble state of health his brother Ali Khan assembled his troops with the object of seizing the throne. Husain's conduct during the recent troubles had alienated most of his supporters, and he found himself deserted, and, surrendering the crown to his brother, retired to one of his villas, where he died three weeks later.
Ali Shah, who ascended the throne in 1569-70, was happier in his relations with Akbar than his brother had been. In 1578 he received two envoys, Maulana Ishqi and Qazi Sadruddin, whom he sent back to the imperial court with rich gifts and a report, gratifying to the emperor, that the khutba had been recited in Kashmir in his name. His reign of nearly nine years was troubled by the usual rebellions, and by one severe famine in 1576. He died in 1579 from the effects of an accident at polo similar to that which caused the death of Qutbuddin Aibak of Delhi, the high pommel of his saddle entering his belly, and was succeeded by his son, Yusuf Shah.
The early years of Yusuf's reign were even more than usually full of incident. He was immediately called upon to quell a serious rebellion headed by his uncle, Abdal Chakk, and had no sooner suppressed it than Mubarak Khan, a leading Sayyid, rose in rebellion and usurped the throne. A counter-rebellion displaced the Sayyid, who approached Yusuf and owned him as his sovereign, but the reconciliation came too late, for Lohar Chakk, Yusuf's cousin, seized the throne.
Yusuf left Kashmir, and on January 2, 1580, appeared before Akbar at Fathpur-Sikri, and sought his aid. In August he left the court armed with an order directing the imperial officers in the Punjab to assist him in regaining his throne. His allies were preparing to take the field when many of the leading nobles of Kashmir, dreading an invasion by an imperial army, sent him a message promising to restore him to his throne if he would return alone. He entered Kashmir and was met at Baramgalla by his supporters. Lohar Chakk was still able to place an army in the field and sent it to Baramgalla, but Yusuf, evading it, advanced by another road on Sopur, where he met Lohar Chakk and, on November 8, 1580, defeated and captured him, and regained his throne.
The remainder of the reign produced the usual crop of rebellions, but none so serious as those which had already been suppressed. His chief anxiety, henceforth, was the emperor. He was indebted to him for no material help, but he would not have regained his throne so easily, and might not have regained it at all, had it not been known that Akbar was prepared to aid him. The historians of the imperial court represent him, after his restoration, as Akbar's governor of Kashmir, invariably describing him as Yusuf Khan, and he doubtless made, as a suppliant, many promises of which no trustworthy record exists. His view was that as he had regained his throne without the aid of foreign troops he was still an independent sovereign, but he knew that this was not the view held at the imperial court, where he was expected to do homage in person for his kingdom. In 1581 Akbar, then halting at Jalalabad on his return from Kabul, sent Mir Tahir and Salih Divana as envoys to Kashmir, but Yusuf, after receiving the mission with extravagant respect, sent to court his son Haidar, who returned after a year. His failure to appear in person was still the subject of remark and in 1584 he sent his elder son, Yaqub, to represent him. Yaqub reported that Akbar intended to visit Kashmir, and Yusuf prepared, in fear and trembling, to receive him, but the visit was postponed, and he was called upon to receive nobody more important than two new envoys, Hakim Ali Gilani and Bahauddin.
Yaqub, believing his life to be in danger, fled from the imperial camp at Lahore, and Yusuf would have gone in person to do homage to Akbar, had he not been dissuaded by his nobles. He was treated as a recalcitrant vassal, and an army under raja Bhagwan Das invaded Kashmir. Yusuf held the passes against the invaders, and the raja, dreading a winter campaign in the hills and believing that formal submission would still satisfy his master, made peace on Yusuf's undertaking to appear at court. The promise was fulfilled on April 7, 1586, but Akbar refused to ratify the treaty which Bhagwan Das had made, and broke faith with Yusuf by detaining him as a prisoner. The raja, sensitive on a point of honor, committed suicide.
Yaqub remained in Kashmir, and though imperial officers were sent to assume charge of the administration of the province, attempted to maintain himself as regent, or rather as king, and carried on a guerrilla warfare for more than two years, but was finally induced to submit and appeared before Akbar, when he visited Kashmir, on August 8, 1589.
Akbar's treatment of Yusuf is one of the chief blots on his character. After a year's captivity the prisoner was released and received a fief in Bihar and the command of five hundred horse. The emperor is credited with the intention of promoting him, but he never rose above this humble rank, in which be was actively employed under Man Singh in 1592 in Bengal, Orissa, and Chota Nagpur.