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By Shriya Katoch

Kashmir, often called paradise on Earth, has a very rich and diverse history with rulers from different different religions ruling over the land and influencing its culture .


In the 1st half of the millennium Kashmir was the epicentre for the growth of Kashmiri Shaivism. In the latter half did Islam alter the course of Kashmiri culture. The rise of Islam in Kashmir took place between the 13th to 15th century. From influence of Hindusim, and Islam making inroads, a new phenomenon emerged what is called Modern Kashmir Sufi Mysticism.
According to folklore the name Kashmir actually means ” desiccated land ” , and it is believed that the valley of Kashmir once was a deep lake. Legend has it that the lake was drained by great rishi Kashyapa , son of Brahma , by cutting a way between the hills . When Kashmir had been drained Kashyapa asked the Brahman’s to set base there.

On October 16, 1586, Mughal army invaded the kingdom of Kashmir and overthrew Kashmir’s last ruler Yaqub Shah Chak . Mughals ruled Kashmir for 167 long years, with the help of 35 governors under rulers ranging from Akbar through Aurangzeb up to Ahmad Shah independent ruler.

Maharaja Hari Singh was the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir. He was a Hindu king ruling over a Muslim majority ( because of the forceful conversions that mughals before him had subjected the population too). He ascended over the throne in 1925 . He did not discriminate between his Muslim and Hindu subjects unlike his Mughal counterparts. He gave importance to meritocracy and appointed a lot of Muslims in his court.

The Muslim and Hindu population have coexisted in peace for centuries , however throughout history there has been some rulers that have subjected Hindu minorities to cruelties and carried out forceful conversions. The forceful dislocation in 1990 of the Kashmiri Pandit community draws from this secessionist behaviour. The Kashmiri Pandit community have been dislocated from their millennia old home .made refugees in their own homeland all because Islamic radicals wanted to make Kashmir an all Muslim state.

Due to this extremist agenda Kashmiri Pandits still live in refugee camps for the past 26 years in inhumane conditions.

The history of Kashmir has been splattered in bloodshed with people from different religions struggling to coexist. Ethnic cleansing has marred their past , but Kashmir still lives on.

You may also like to read another article published at NewsGarm on the similar theme: http://www.newsgram.com/plight-of-kashmiri-pandits/

Shriya Katoch multitasks as an Engineering student,an avid reader,a guitar player and a death note fan. Twitter: @katochshriya538


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