The Rise of Daulat Chak and th revival of Shi’ism in Kashmir
By: Dr. Ejaz Husain Malek
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
It was during this period, that another Chak warrior and noble; Malik Daulat Chak became prominent as a result of his brave resistance on the side of Kaji Chak against the Mughals. After Mirza Haidar was killed in 1550 AD, the nobles led by Idi Raina (also a Shi’i) installed Nazuk Shah on the throne of Kashmir. But, it was Idi Raina who ruled while Nazuk Shah only reigned. Since, during Mirza Haider’s rule Chaks were alienated, and were facing acute economic difficulties, Idi Raina rewarded them openhandedly. To Daulat Chak he assigned the Pargana of Divsar and to Ghazi Chak, the Pargana of Vihi. However, soon civil war erupted in Kashmir between sympathizers of Idi Raina, the Prime Minister of Nazuk Shah, and Daulat Chak for power and position, which for some time was laid to rest by the untiring efforts of Baba Khalil who was more concerned with the welfare of the flourishing Shi’i community than with parties and politics.
Towards the end of 1552, Idi Raina decided to overthrow Daulat Chak. However, Daulat Chak anticipating Idi Raina’s intentions, with the support of other Chak nobles imprisoned Hussain Magre and Sayyid Ibrahim, the supporters of Idi Raina, defeated him in the subsequent battles, himself becoming the governor (wazir) and administrative head of Kashmir in 1551. With this he also assumed the powers of choosing his sovereign, although titular. He deposed Nazuk Shah, the titular Sultan, and placed Ibrahim Shah, the son of Muhammad Shah, in his place. Nazuk Shah hopeless of regaining the throne left for the Punjab. Daulat Chak’s rise to power marks the beginning of the Chak ascendancy in the valley, which lasted for over thirty years.
Daulat Chak immediately commissioned the construction of a shrine for Shaikh Daniyal in the premises of Mir Iraqi’s Khanqah after relocating his remains from Chadurah, and got reconstructed the hospice of Mir Iraqi, which Mirza Haider had destroyed. He endowed (madad i ma‘ash) few villages for the maintenance of the family and descendants of Mir Iraqi and also provided stipends and scholarships to the attendants and devout inmates of the Shrine. Thus the hospice once again resumed its past glory and was frequented by the ‘people of forty’ (arba’in). He also built a mausoleum at Hasanabad wherein the remains of Baba Ali Najjar were interred. An endowment was created and his son Baba Hasan was made its trustee. Baba Hasan with Daulat Chak’s material support turned this area into gardens and it became popular as Hasanabad, meaning the place burgeoned by Hasan. Each of the sons of Baba Ali undertook the construction of houses and dwelling places at Hasanabad where the descendants, relatives and kinsmen of Baba Ali took up their residence.
The intolerance, which Mirza Haider had displayed towards the followers of Iraqi and Sayyid Ali Hamadani who were Shafi’i, was totally abandoned by Daulat Chak, creating a congenial atmosphere for the growth and development of people of all shades and persuasions. Baharistan says: “Another laudable achievement of Daulat Chak was to revive the Hamadani order and to give it a firm footing. He extended support and help to Baba Hasan to build a Khanqah and a house for the devotees who would retire therein during lent. He made untiring efforts to patronize and propagate Hamadaniyyeh order. He brought together the surviving dervishes and Sufis of this order living in different parts of the land, and made them recite prayers for forty days ('arba'in). He revived the customs and practices of the Hamadaniyyeh order and the Nur Bakhshiyyeh sect. He issued a proclamation throughout this land that all citizens and aliens were free to profess any faith they wished and that no one could either dictate or obstruct others in this matter.
While the above description brings about the liberal aspect of Daulat Chak, it also underline his political motive of being accepted as a patron, benevolent, openhanded administrator by people other than the Shi’ites. To garner the support of the Shi’is as also to strengthen Shi’ism, he took certain measures, which brought him in conflict with the Sunni scholars of the time. The author of the Baharistan spoke highly of his enthusiasm in patronizing and popularizing Shi’ism. He says: “Owing to the threats and intimidations from Mirza Haidar and the fears he aroused, none of the inhabitants of this land had the courage even to mention the names of the Innocent Imams. The mullahs of this land had misled and misguided them to such an extent that people never took the names of the Twelve Imams. The mullas had told them that it was a sin and sacrilege to do so. The citizens and the aliens in this land were ignorant of the names and the story of the innocent Imams, and the members of the lofty house of the Prophet to such an appalling extent that once when Husain Shah enquired of Qadi Habib in an assembly the names of Imams, he could name the Commander of the Faithful (Ali), Imam Hasan, Imam Husain and then he knew of no other name except that of Imam Ja'far-i Sadiq (the sixth Imam). He knew nothing of their lives and history, and of their exalted status. The entire assembly was taken aback by his ignorance and indifference. During the period of his government, Malik Daulat Chak issued an order that the homily (khutba) in the name of the Twelve Imams be read in the Jami' mosque. In this way this practice, observed during the lifetime of Amir Shamsu'd-Din 'Iraqi, was revived and followed in the Jami' mosque prayers and elsewhere. People began to ask for the history of the Innocent Imams.”
Thus from the very beginning of their association with Iraqi, the Chaks in their political and personal capacity patronized Shi’ism, at the same time allowed space for other sects and orders to flourish. While patronizing the religion Daulat Chak himself followed reinforced his image as a Shi’i Sultan, but this image never overshadowed his open mindedness for the religious sentiments of people subscribing to other schools of thought, for he new the importance of the mass support and particularly the support of powerful families for the survival of his own power. He suggested the revival of Twelver Shi’ism after Mirza Haider’s ruthless persecutions, but he meant revival for the Shi’ites, not for those unconcerned about Shi’ism or belonging to other religious schools. He attempted at fostering an atmosphere where he could appeal through his religiosity the Shi’ites of Kashmir and through his tolerance the non-Shi’ites. In both cases, he was more concerned about keeping intact his power and authority than projecting himself as a bigot Sultan, devoid of welfare understanding or unable to learn from his predecessors whose religious-intolerance caused their rapid downfall and created chaos in the realm in an atmosphere of well defined religious boundaries. His sense of religious toleration can he inferred from his regard for the Hindus in general and Hindu ascetics in particular. When during his times, Kashmir suffered from one of the worst earthquakes, Daulat Chak paid a visit to a Hindu ascetic and sought his advice on how to get rid of such a natural calamity. He even offered him village Tulmula as a rent-free land grant.
Daulat Chak was very friendly with both people and nobles. However, his decision to marry Ghazi Chak’s mother, the widow of his uncle, Kaji Chak infuriated the Chak nobles who resented this marriage and plotted conspiracy to overthrow him. Towards the end of 1555, when Daulat Chak had gone in a boat for shooting on the Dal Lake, Ghazi Chak made a sudden attack on his troops who were in Hasanabad, seized all the horses and set out in pursuit of Daulat Chak. But the latter escaped towards the hilly parts of the Phag Pargana. He was, however, seized by a shepherd and presented before Ghazi Chak, who had him blinded. Ghazi Chak now replaced Daulat Chak as the Prime Minister. On seizing power from Daulat Chak, he deposed Daulat’s protégé Sultan Ibrahim Shah and enthroned his brother Isma’il Shah, another son of Muhammad Shah. But when Isma’il died in 1557, he proclaimed his son Habib Shah, who his own nephew, as king. In 1561, however, under the pretext that Habib Shah was incompetent, Ghazi Chak with the consent of the nobles dethroned Habib and assumed the reigns of authority and laid the foundation of the Chak Sultanate.
The Chak Sultans and the growth of Shi’ism
In 1561 Ghazi Chak deposed Habib Shah, the last Shah Mir ruler, ascended the throne of Kashmir and assumed the title of Nasiru’d-Din Muhammad Ghazi Shah. He possessed all the qualities like vigilance, courage, physical strength, literary interest, and tenacity of purpose to establish a dynasty. His sense of justice can be inferred from an incident that had rare parallels in the history of Chaks. Once a servant of his favourite son, Haider Khan, while accompanying him on his way to Idgah, picked up some jujube from the stranger, without his permission. This behaviour reflected highhandedness of the state officials. Ghazi Chak who was also present at Idgah, had the hands of the servant chopped off. When the news reached Haider Khan, he became furious and declined to visit his father, the Sultan. Ghazi Shah felt hurt, and sent Haider’s uncle Muhammad Malik, to remonstrate with him. Haider got enraged and stabbed his uncle to death. Ghazi Shah, thereupon, caused Haider Shah to be hanged. His body was exhibited on the gibbet for eight days, and then thrown into the river. He was also feared for his sadistic sense and acts of cruelty. He was the first Sultan of Kashmir to have introduced the practice of blinding the political opponents and chopping off their limbs. Baharistan says that in acts of cruelty and oppression, in causing bloodshed and in gouging out eyes of his enemies, in inflicting physical tortures and in chopping off the limbs of human beings and in killing near and distant ones, no one has ever known or heard of a tyrant like him.
Ghazi Chak, says Pir Hassan, was a fearful enemy of those hostile to the Shi’ites of his kingdom. Shaikh Hamza Makhdum, a strong supporter of the Sunni sect waged an incessant ideological battle against the Shi’is during Ghazi Khan’s reign, and is said to have converted some Shi’is to the Sunni faith. His hostilities against the Shi’is aroused the enmity of Ghazi Chak. He ordered the Shaikh to leave the city, whereupon he went towards Pargana Beeru and returned only after the demise of Ghazi Chak. The Shaikh’s preceptors like Shaikh Fathu’llah were hostile towards the Shi’is. Later Shaikh Hamza came into contact with Sayyid Ahmad Kirmani, another inveterate enemy of the Shi’is. Rafiqi writes that he executed a Sufi named Shaikh Hamid Raina, quoting Pir Hassan. Shaikh Hamid was a political leader and one of the associates of Ghazi Chak’s archrival Shams Chak. He was not killed for being a Sunni or for any animosity against the Shi’is; he died in a battle fought between Ghazi Chak and his rivals at Hanjivera. He was one of the combatants, but on the opponent’s side. The earliest Persian source says that Sayyid Hamid Shahid had gone to village Hanjivera in Pargana Bangil along with some other Sayyids. It was there that a fierce battle was fought in which he was killed along with many other Sayyids. Pir Hassan says that Ghazi killed Sayyid Hamid Raina for being an accomplice in the revolt staged by Muhammad Raina. Fanatical religiosity of Ghazi Chak responsible for his death as claimed by Rafiqi is not substantiated by our sources. Pir Hassan mentions that Ghazi Chak poisoned to death Sayyid Kamal of Phag Pargana. However, A’zami writes that during the reign of Ghazi Chak, Sayyid Kamal a Sufi of Sunni sect died either a natural death or with poison laced sherbet. Comparing both references, it emerges that Hassan attempts to force bigotry upon Ghazi Chak not because of the latters intolerance, but for his biasness against the Chak Sultans. He directed Shaikh Hamza Makhdum to move out of the city, as a Sultan he understood his responsibility of maintaining peace and uprooting any instance of sectarianism for stability of the realm, because inciting religious sentiments for political interests or bigotry had called havoc upon both Shi’is and Sunnis during preceding regimes of the rulers like Mirza Haider. Shaikh Hamza’s indulgence in sectarian polemics made his presence in the city precarious for peace affecting public welfare; his activities in Pargana Beeru where he moved were never obstructed through official or any other interference. He was left free to preach according to his wish and will.
Ghazi Shah writes Mohibbul Hassan was a Shi’ite, but he allowed freedom of belief to people of all persuasions. The author of Nawadiru’l-Akhbar, Aba Rafi‘ud-Din Ahmad says that Ghazi Shah was intolerant, and because of this many Sunni chiefs like Nusrat Chak, Yusuf Chak, and Naji Malik proceeded to Kashghar and brought Qara Bahadur in order to overthrow him. But there is no reliable evidence to support the view that Kashmiri nobles ever went to Kashghar. Moreover, when Qara Bahadur was sent by Akbar to invade Kashmir, many Sunni nobles refused to help him and professed their loyalty to Ghazi Khan. Similarly, it is wrong to say that rebellions in Ghazi Chak’s reign were due to religious differences. Their main cause was scramble for power among the nobles. Neither from Haidar Malik’s account, Tohfatu’l Ahbab, nor from the Baharistan-i Shahi does it appear that Ghazi Shah was a fanatical Shi’i. It is mostly the viewpoint of later sources like Pir Hassan and A’zami, who were partial towards the Chaks. The Rafiqi’s argument that the above description is no proof with which to repudiate the claim of the sources, which accuse Ghazi Khan of being a fanatical Shi’i and that Sayyid Ali is an earlier source than Malik Haider and Baharistan ignores the fact that it is only the sources sympathetic to the Sunnis or whose authors professed Sunnism that accuse Ghazi Khan of fanaticism, all the other earlier sources provide no evidence whatsoever of any intolerance on the part of Ghazi Chak. Sayyid Ali being the earliest account mentions the killing of Sayyid Hamid Shahid in a political battle, it no where substantiates the argument that Ghazi Chak was a fanatical Shi’ite. It is not right to assess the nature of a king by a single incident that happened as a result of political rivalry and disregarding his welfare attitude, sense of justice and stout resistance to the enemies of his realm by combining one and all irrespective of religious affiliations.
Hussain Shah (1563-70): First Shi’i-Sunni Riot in the History of Kashmir
Husain Shah, the brother of Sultan Ghazi Chak succeeded him and assumed the throne in 1563. Hassan calls him a just Sultan whose subjects spoke high of his welfare activities and people friendly administration. His reign is popular for the freedom enjoyed by the Hindus and the patronage offered by the ruler for the promotion of the Hindu religion. Suka’s portrayal of the role of Sultan Husain Shah Chak in the celebrations of Naureh, and Sripanchmi festivities, and the complete freedom with which the Hindus performed their rituals including drink and dance is interesting, although the Chaks were the murids (followers) of Mir Shamsu'd-Din Iraqi who strongly abhorred these practices: When all the people had met at Sarikastana and the king had arrived at the hill of that place, he held a great festival Naureh on that day appointed to celebrate the season of spring. The people besmeared themselves with saffron, aloes, camphor and sandalwood paste on that day and looked beautiful. The king fixed a mark so high that it could not be easily seen, and then he gave elephant, horse, and wealth to his servants who succeeded in shooting it. Again on the day of Sripanchmi, the king saw the people collect on the hill of Jayastharudra. Some held bouquets tastefully made of beautiful flowers to their noses; some were intoxicated and became uneasy when women, strangers to them, smiled; some drank wine and adorned their persons with flowers; thus all the people amused themselves on the Sripanchmi day and then dispersed themselves. Many a times the king witnessed the dances of beautiful women, and looked at their youthful beauties and heard their songs, and gave them clothes of gold and of silver.
Sultan Husain Shah is also known for having divided his week to attend special business on special days. And while he used to spend Fridays with the ‘ulama’, he kept Saturdays exclusively for discussions with the Hindu and Buddhist priests.
It was during his reign in 1568 that the first Shi’i-Sunni riot erupted in Kashmir involving a zealous Shi’i and an ardent Sunni. Almost all the contemporary Persian chroniclers of Kashmir and Mughal court provide the details of this riot with minor variations. However, Baharistan-i Shahi gives more detailed description of this incident. It mentions that during Husain Shah’s reign, a person popularly known, as Yusuf Inder once happened to meet Qazi Habib on a roadside. The Qazi was notorious for his malice towards the members of the house of the Prophet: he hurled abuses on the adherents of Rafizi faith (Shi’is) and spat at Yusuf Mir Inder, who retaliated by meting out the same treatment to him, though somewhat recklessly. The Qazi lashed him with his whip on his head. Since Yusuf Inder happened to be a soldier by profession, his pride was touched and, drawing his sword, he inflicted one or two wounds upon the Qazi. Wounded and bleeding, the Qazi fell down from his horse and Yusuf Inder ran away. Ali Koka, the bigot that he was, sent many people in search of him so that he was arrested and brought back. Ali Koka and Dhuli Koka, thereupon, conspired to obtain permission from Husain Shah to the effect that the judgment of the Qazis and the dispensers of the Muhammadan religious law be enforced in regard to this matter. They got this when Husain Shah was under the effect of narcotics. Ali Koka and Dhuli Koka plotted to call in Qazi Musa, Mulla petcheh Ganai also called Mulla Firuz and Mulla Yusuf Almas and elicit from them a unanimous decree condemning Inder to death. Extreme brutality, which resulted from this bigoted action, was reflected in the execution. The flesh of his body was cut into pieces, which people carried as a gift for their womenfolk, and many people drank his blood as sherbet.
This execution engineered by Ali Koka and Dhuli Koka with the connivance of the Qazis and jurisconsults brought to surface the hidden calamity. The blood of a large number of Muslims was split and many people on either side lost their lives. Husain Shah was unaware of these happenings.
Shortly after the execution of Yusuf Inder, a group of Sunni divines sought a meeting with Qazi Zainu’d-Din and Mulla Reza, son of Mulla Salman Mufti, in which they offered to enter into a debate with the party of the Mullas who claimed to have issued the decree of Yusuf Inder’s execution in conformity with the provisions of the Islamic religion. They argued that no religion justified his execution and that in issuing a decree sentencing him to death, the Qazis and the theologians had only been prompted by the malice and bigotry. The sentence, they claimed, was unwarranted, and uncalled for, since the victim was alive.
Qazi Zainu’d-Din and Mulla Reza undertook the mission of calling at the private lodgings of the nobles, courtiers and distinguished persons of Husain Shah’s court one by one and placed before them the case of Yusuf Inder. These people brought the matter also to the notice of Husain Shah.
While the issue continued to be a subject of hot discussion, Mirza Muqim arrived in Kashmir as the envoy of Akbar. Husain Shah had a son, Ibrahim Khan, who died of some incurable disease in the meantime. He was told that he had to pay the heavy price of his son’s life for the bloodshed of innocent Yusuf Mir. In fact, Husain Shah repented over Yusuf’s killing and directed that the issue, which was being debated by the Mullas, be left to the judgment of Mirza Muqim, the messenger and envoy of Akbar. He would preside over the meetings of the mullas in which they would debate the issue. Among the persons present were Mulla Petcheh Ganai and Mulla Almas, the two mullas who were signatories to the decree of Yusuf Mir’s execution. The rest of the Qazis hid themselves. Qazi Zainu’d-Din and Mulla Reza put questions to Petcheh Ganai and Mulla Yusuf Almas in the presence of Mirza Muqim and a large number of learned and scholarly men, dignitaries, theologians and the elite of the city. The asked them the authority-book and religion- on the basis of which they had issued a verdict of Yusuf Mir’s execution. Their argument was that he had not inflicted more than two or three wounds by his sword upon Qazi Habib and although he did not die of those wounds and would not have died, they had issued the decree of his execution. They were told that if they had issued the said verdict in accordance with the postulates of the Hanafi sect, the books of the sect were available there, and if they had done it in accordance with the postulates of the Shafi’i faith, their books too, were at hand. It was now for them to cite the relevant authority and the sources that justified the death penalty on the innocent victim. They were further told that in the Islamic community and in the religion of the Prophet and among the jurisconsults (mujtahids) throughout the length and breadth of the Islamic world retribution for each wound inflicted and injury caused had been set forth in the books of each pedagogue and also on the handbook of each theologian. They were asked to explain as to under the sanction of which sect did they put that defenseless man into the hands of his executioners.
Both of them found themselves unable to furnish any reply, but pointed out that they had only carried out the orders of Husain Shah. They stated that Ali Koka had openly told them of Husain Shah’s intention of putting an end to Yusuf Mir’s life for political reasons and had insisted upon them to issue a decree to the effect. In this way, they contended, it was the king who got him executed for political reasons and they were not to be held responsible for the act.
But Husain Shah made a solemn declaration that he, for one, had absolutely no intention of putting Yusuf Mir to death and that he had left the case to the judgement and dispensation of the Qazis and the learned men of religion so that nobody would make an attempt to kill him.
When this statement of Husain Shah was announced in the assembly, both the mullas were struck dumb and had nothing to say. The Ulema of Sunnat and Jama’at present in the assembly unanimously agreed to issue a decree in conformity with the creed of Imam Shafi’i. The mullas of Sunnat and the Jama’at were shown the letters with royal signets and they declared the decree as sound. The decree pronounced that both the mullas on account of having issued false judgement and unjustifiable order [of execution] regarding the shedding of an innocent person’s blood should suffer retribution. Enforcing the aforesaid decree Qazi Abdu’l Ghaffur of Hanafi faith and Qazi Zainu’d-Din of Shafi’i faith announced the verdict of retribution. On the basis of this verdict of the Qazis and the learned men of theology, Husain Shah permitted the handing over of the two mullas to the next of kin of the late Yusuf Mir, who completed the retribution. The rest of the mullas emigrated to parts of India and Lahore. Some of them, however, succeeded in resuming their original offices, but only after the intercession and advocacy of some of the nobles, governors and their former patrons. Ali Koka, and Dhuli Koka, the main accomplices in the conspiracy, not still satisfied with enormous bloodshed caused by them, kept lying low and waited for a suitable opportunity when they could stir up trouble once again.
After some time, Husain Shah attended to the arrangements concerning the gifts to be sent to Akbar. He then permitted Mirza Muqim to return along with his envoy Yaqub Mir, the son of Shi’i divine Baba Ali Najjar. Ali Koka and Dati Koka, seizing the opportunity, sought the permission of Husain Shah to send Khawaja Haji Ganai, a prominent and trusted man of theirs, with the party of Mirza Muqim and Yaqub Mir under the pretext that he would look to the needs of the party on its way and also give them presents at Lahore. But close at their heels, they sent a party of wicked persons of this country, with dispatches and gifts to Makhdumu’l-Mulk Mulla Abdullah Sultanpuri, Shaykh Abdu’n-Nabi, and a number of Qazis and mullas- all of whom were rabid bigots. They also entreated and implored them to give false witness and to leave no stone unturned in getting rid of Mirza Muqim and Yaqub Mir.
Mulla Abdullah Sultanpuri headed a delegation of mullas to Agra, the purpose being the one already mentioned. He sought a meeting with Akbar and having briefed the false witnesses, got Mirza Muqim and Mirza Yaqub executed. Mirza Muqim was Akbar’s subject but the execution of Husain Shah’s envoy grossly violated the contemporary diplomatic traditions. The flames of disturbance and turmoil [following this incident] leapt so high that Mir Sayyid Sibi, in spite of being a true descendant of the line of Husaini Sayyids, was engulfed in it and martyred. Badauni mentions that when Mirza Muqim and Mir Yaqub, the wakil (ambassador) of Husain Shah brought the daughter and other gifts to Akbar’s court, Qazi Habib’s story was related to the Emperor. Consequently these two persons upon the verdict of Shaikh Abdu’n-Nabi and other Ulama “were brought to the just punishment of their wicked deeds in the plain of Fathpur.”
The emperor declined betrothal with Husain Shah’s daughter and ordered her return to Kashmir. After some time Husain Shah suffered a stroke of paralysis. His rule lasted for eight years. He was according to Pir Hassan in terms of public welfare the best king of the Chak dynasty. His rule though efficient and strong, witnessed justice and prosperity so much so that his subjects called him Nushirvan-i Adil after the great Sassanid Emperor of Persia. He attended to their complaints, protected them from robbers and rapacious officials, and endeavoured to promote peace and stability. His distribution of money among the poor and the needy every day after morning prayers reflects his openhandedness. Malik Haider comparing him with most generous monarchs narrates that one day the king asked the people who where after wealth, ‘is there anything in the world that has an everlasting value. They replied “no.” He replied that is not true. In fact, good name and the giving of alms and philanthropy are everlasting till the end of the time.’ Although a Shi’ite, he equally patronized the practice of the Hanafite School of Islam, and appointed Sayyid Habib, a Sunni jurist from Khwarizm, as Qazi of the city and Preacher of the Jami Masjid. A’zami says that although a Shi’ite, all the positions concerning religious affairs were occupied by people of Sunni persuasion during his reign. He was also very liberal towards his non-Muslim subjects. He was a man of cultured tastes. He was fond of music, penned verses in Persian and enjoyed the company of artists and scholars.
In 1570, Ali Shah (1570-78) with the blessings of Shi’i divine Baba Khalil’ullah and the support of Sayyid Mubarak Bayhaqi deposed Husain Shah and succeeded him to the throne of Kashmir. However, he displayed kind-heartedness by permitting his predecessor to retain some of his treasure and staff for residence at Zenapore. Ali Shah would solicit Baba Khalil’ullah’s opinion not only in all-important political decisions, but also for activities concerning his personal life. It was this association, which prompted Baba Khalil’ullah’s concern to advice Ali Shah not to participate in the game of polo (chowgan), which finally resulted in a fatal injury that caused his death. At the same time Baba Khalil’ullah exercised, through his spiritual reputation, considerable influence upon the formulation and implementation of state laws, moulding the nature of the state as a welfare and subject friendly one.
Ali Shah’s popularity in the outset of his reign as a just sovereign rested on his reforms to the harsh, inhumane Penal laws. In this direction, the counsel of both Baba Khalil’ullah and Sayyid Mubarak influenced him. He did away all atrocious punishments like gouging eyes, wanton killings, and amputation of limbs of human beings, which had been in vogue during the days of earlier Sultans. Instead, he provided even-handed justice to his subjects and was compassionate towards them. He lost no opportunity in being equitable and kind to them. In his public dealings he strictly adhered to godliness; performed duties and obligations; refrained from what was forbidden and vile; observed the mandates of the Prophet of Islam by conforming to what was allowed and disallowed in his religion. Mulla Ahmad Kashmiri, impressed by his devotion towards the House of the Prophet, and as a farsighted, and just king wrote: Murtaza who hails from a noble dynasty; He is like a sun, which rises from the Prophet himself In another quatrain, the poet in these words expresses his generosity: Even a king like Parvez; Ultimately leaves the world empty handed; Go and ask, what did Kisra eat; He collected treasures and gave it away to others; Even he conquered countries and gave it away to others.
Ali Shah, to consolidate his position as a liberal monarch, appointed Sayyid Mubarak Bayhaqi, a Sunni as his prime minister and entered into matrimonial relationship with Bayhaqi’s by offering the hand of his daughter to Sayyid Abdu’l Ma’ali, Sayyid Mubarak’s son. Sayyid Mubarak, shrewd and intelligent, associated himself with Mir Badla Rizvi, a Shi’i divine with spiritual and temporal eminence. Well aware about Ali Shah’s religiosity and his devotion towards Shi’ism, Mubarak played right card to consolidate his position by projecting himself as equally liberal as the king.
Ali Shah exhibited his broad outlook and farsightedness by developing cordial relations with the leading Sunni divines of the time like Shaikh Hamza Makhdum and his two famous disciples Baba Da’ud Ganai and Baba Hardi Rishi, although Shaikh Hamza was bitterly antagonistic towards Shi’ites of Kashmir. He also had profound respect for Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi and Khawaja Muhammad Rafiq, the famous Sunni Ulema of the time. He exhibited profound statesmanship in extending warm reception to Qazi Sadru’d-Din and Mulla Ishqi, the envoys sent to his court by Akbar in 1578 ostensibly to propose marriage between Prince Salim and Husain Shah’s niece but in fact to explore the prospects of mounting an invasion over Kashmir. Ali Shah accepted Akbar’s suzerainty by dispatching his Wakil Muhammad Qasim with his niece and exquisite Kashmiri shawls, musk and saffron and had khutba recited and coins issued in the Emperor’s name. During his time an untimely snowfall destroyed crops everywhere in Kashmir. Ali Shah opened the gates of his treasury for one and all, so that what has been accumulated from people must return to them in times of need. When the imperial coffers turned empty, he directed his nobles to open up their treasures for in the prosperity of the people resides their glory. After ruling for nine years, Ali Shah died in 1578 while playing polo (chowgan), but before his demise, he nominated his son, Yusuf Shah Chak as his successor.
Yusuf Shah’s reig from the very beginning was bereft with court factionalism. The enmity and conspiracies of the Kashmiri leaders in conjunction with the Shi’i-Sunni hostilities prepared fitting conditions for Mughal conquest of Kashmir.
Sayyid Mubarak who helped Yusuf Shah sail through the war of succession with his uncle Abdal Chak, later deposed Yusuf after reigning for forty days. Mubarak, planned to reconcile differences between Yusuf and Abdal Chak, utilized the experience and influence of Baba Khalil’ullah, but failed to pacify court factionalism, resulting in the replacement of Yusuf Shah by Lohar Shah Chak (1579-80) whose reign witnessed agricultural abundance and low price of foodstuff in Kashmir. The character of Baba Khalil’ullah in the whole episode underlines the concern Baba had for the welfare of the fledgling Shi’i community whose political patrons were at loggerheads, for his acceptance to work as mediator between two hostile factions in order to restore the throne to the rightful heir reflects his interest in maintaining a structure, stable and strong, for the growth of the community he represented at the court. His failure to reconcile the differences between two Chak patrons caused him disappointment. From details of the hostility between Yusuf and Abdal Chak and the role of Sayyid Mubarak given by Haider Malik Chadurah, we can infer the malicious intentions Mubarak cultivated immediately after Ali Shah’s death. The author of Baharistan favouring Bayhaqi’s, places whole blame on Abdal Chak, but Haider Malik between the lines shifts the blame over Mubarak. He says that Abdal had no desire to take cudgels with Yusuf Shah but for his son Habib Khan who dissuaded him from doing so. In the ensuing battle, which was fought in the locality of Nowhatta, Sayyid Mubarak killed Abdal Chak. After killing the contender to the throne, Mubarak was free to pursue his ambition to replace Yusuf who in no measure was equal to Mubarak’s statesmanship and adventurism. He did in fact succeed in his plan by dethroning Yusuf, and enthroning himself, but could not materialize his ambition of remaining Sultan for long in a kingdom with shifting loyalties and bereft with political rivalries. Both Baharistan and Pir Hassan claim that during his reign he opened the doors of equitable justice and compassion for one and all; abolished oppressive and tyrannical practices which had become rampant during Chak regime. Further, Baharistan mentions that Kashmiri nobles and commanders received encouragement from Yusuf Shah and developed rancor and malice against Mubarak Shah. Neither Hassan nor Malik Haider substantiates this statement. In fact Haider writes that during Mubarak Bayhaqi’s short reign of two months, Yusuf shah lived in Rajauri. The nobles and chiefs of the country who were disappointed with the behaviour of Sayyid Mubarak wrote letters to Yusuf requesting his immediate return. The reason was that during his short reign, Sayyid Mubarak treated the commanders badly and was tyrannical even to the common people. Thus, the observation that he was just and compassionate towards people is contradicted both by Hassan himself and Malik Haider. To check Yusuf Shah’s ambitions and contain the Kashmiri nobles, Mubarak through Daud Mir addressed a letter written in diplomatic language to Yusuf Shah expressing his (Yusuf Shah’s) right to sovereignty and his willingness to meet him to sort out the differences. However, Yusuf Shah declined this offer and replied that you want to return trust with betrayal and fear of loss with need for help. Disappointed with his plan, Mubarak went on a rampage, killing Yusuf Shah’s sympathizers and burning their houses. This forced commander and nobles to invite Yusuf for the stability of the kingdom and for their own safety.
Yusuf Shah, finding himself in a vulnerable situation sought the protection of Raja Man Singh at Lahore. In January 1580 the Raja presented him to Akbar’s court at Agra. Akbar entrusted the mission of restoring throne of Kashmir to Yusuf Chak to Raja Man Singh and Mirza Yusuf Khan. Kashmiri nobles led by Abdal Bhat on receiving the reports of Yusuf Shah approaching Akbar for assistance, dispatched communication advising him not to involve foreign help which could have negative repercussions in the long run for the domestic affairs of Kashmir. However, Yusuf decided to abandon the Mughal support and regain the valley with his own troops. Akbar received the news of Yusuf Chak’s escape with disapproval. He felt displeased and censured Raja Man Singh and Yusuf Khan. In November 1580, Yusuf Shah crushed to defeat his rivals in the battle of Sopore and re-ascended the throne in the same year. Pir Hassan writes that after ascending the throne second time, Yusuf Shah endeavoured sincerely to eradicate corrupt practices (bid’at) that had intruded the religion of Islam during the earlier days. He regularly paid visits to the graves of the saints and derived benefits from the company of Shaikhs. He had high regard for Sufis and Rishis of both Sunni and Shi’ite sect. He used to visit Baba Hardi Rishi barefooted. He abolished Jeziya and other unjust taxes that were imposed on the non-Muslims. Corvee (begar) exacted from people by forcing them to proceed on journey without receiving remuneration was also done away. He prohibited cutting down of fruit bearing trees and killing of cows and did full justice to the army and the soldiers. Gifted with a beautiful and graceful demeanor and disposition, and well versed in music, Kashmiri and Persian poetry, Yusuf Shah was equally concerned with the welfare of his subjects and prosperity of his kingdom. Himself a Shi’i, he treated people of different persuasions on equal terms. His personal belief never determined his responsibilities as the patron of the realm. His prime minister Muhammad Bhat was a Sunni, although religion seldom determined the royal favor, as did loyalty and ability during his reign. His high regard for the Qazis and Ulema can be inferred from his treatment of Qazi Musa who had offered refuge to Yusuf Chak’s opponent Lohar Chak. After capturing the throne, Yusuf Shah started enquiring about whereabouts of Lohar Chak. He was informed that Lohar had hidden himself in the house of Qazi Musa, but of consideration and high regard for Shariat and its standard bearers, he did not send any stranger (namehram) in the house of Qazi. He ordered Khwaja Malik and Khwaja Sardar who were close acquaintances of Qazi to bring Lohar in his presence. Both Shi’ite and Sunni theological class flourished considerably during his reign.
He had hardly consolidated his position amid intrigues and rebellions that Akbar’s emissary Timur Beg arrived at the end of 1581 calling upon him to submit an explanation for deserting the imperial court. Moreover he was urged to report to the Emperor in person. However, instead of personal attendance, Yusuf Shah dispatched his ablest son and heir apparent Yaqub Chak to the court of Akbar. After some time Yaqub Chak disappointed by his father’s failure to appear at the royal court, the overwhelming weight of His majesty’s insistence and also the fear and gravity of the consequences of a defiant attitude escaped the imperial court and returned back to Kashmir. He was followed by Emperor’s envoy Hakim Ali to Sultan Yusuf Shah with the message that any excuse on Yusuf’s part to present himself in person before the king would invite his wrath. Akbar therefore, entrusted twenty-two nobles of the imperial court like Shahrukh Mirza, Shah Quli, under the command of Raja Bhagwan Das with the task of conquering Kashmir. Yusuf’s nobles and commanders advised him to make earnest preparations to resist Akbar’s invasion. He wished to present himself before Akbar but the popular demand to resist Akbar’s invasion changed his decision. The Kashmiri leaders even warned him to replace him with his son Yaqub, were he to leave Kashmir. On 20 December 1585, the Mughal army marched towards Kashmir. The leading Sunni divine Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi of Kashmir, who was Akbar’s fast friend, acted as their guide. The Mughal army entered Kashmir through Pakhli route without meeting any formidable resistance. At Buliasa pass near Baramulla the Mughal army received serious setbacks at the hands of the Kashmiris. The disaster, which befell the Mughal army, is subtly alluded to in the letter sent by Raja Bhagwan Das to Yusuf Shah through Shapur Khan. The extract reproduced from the Akbarnama says: “However, even if the imperial troops have met with disaster as a result of the wrath of God Almighty, the great monarch will send back a hundred thousand troops and this land will be trampled under the feet of elephants. You ought to realize the consequences which your attitude will lead to.”
Yusuf Shah quite conscious of Imperial army’s strength, and the well being of his people, after weighing the contents of this letter set out on his horse under the pretext of inspecting the advance columns of his army. Accompanied by four to five horsemen, Yusuf Shah after arriving at his advance post near village Bolyas bade farewell to his kingdom and regality and turned his horse towards the camp of Raja Bhagwan Das thereby joining him in 1585. His counselors, chiefs and sons tried their utmost to dissuade him from taking this risk, but to no avail. Before that, an agreement was drafted and passed on to Raja Bhagwan Das. The Raja had laid down in the agreement that in case Yusuf Shah agreed to proceed to the imperial court along with him, he would be shown special favour and a robe of honour would be presented to him. He would also be assured of the governance of his kingdom and nothing would be reduced from his power and authority. These would remain the same as in the past. Yaqub continued to fight valiantly. At last Raja Bhagwan Das resorted to diplomacy and dispatched an emissary, Ali Akbar Shah to Yaqub Chak who had by now assumed the reigns of the kingdom, appealing him to cease hostilities and continue to strike coins and read Khutba in the name of His Majesty the same way as was done hitherto. He also promised his marriage with the daughter of Mubarak Khan Ghakkar, a noble of high position. Pir Hasan writes that this move was initiated on the behest of Yusuf Chak who was now in Raja’s custody. On 28 March 1586, at Attock the Raja presented Yusuf to Akbar who had reluctantly approved of his treaty with Yusuf. Akbar ordered his incarceration causing such a rude shock to Raja Bhagwan Das as to make him attempt to commit suicide to vindicate his honour, which Baharistan says was the distinctive quality of his race (Rajputs). While Bhagwan Das’s hurt feeling appears emotional, the imprisonment of Yusuf Shah clearly reflects Akbar’s intention of adding Kashmir to his large empire. Mohibbul Hasan says that Akbar had always considered Kashmir as part of the Mughal Empire. This was probably because Mirza Haider on behalf of Humayun had conquered it. Although Mirza Haider had been dethroned, the Mughal claim over the valley had never ceased. In 1560, Akbar assigned Qara Bahadur the responsibility to uproot Ghazi Chak whose injustices had been communicated to the Emperor. But Qara Bahadur failed to live up to Akbar’s expectations and his campaign ended in failure. Despite this, the Chak Sultans continued to remit intermittently as tribute expensive gifts to the Emperor, which he regarded as recognition of his suzerainty. Moreover, in 1580, Yusuf Shah, who had been forced to abdicate his throne, was provided refuge and military support to regain his throne; and although by his own efforts, the fact that Yusuf Shah’s enthronement was taken up through the intervention of imperial army provided sufficient justification for the Emperor to regard him as his vassal. But such as justification never occupied Yusuf Shah’s thought. Had that been the case, he would have attended Akbar after the latter summoned him many times in person. He was more concerned about continuing as a sovereign rather than a vassal, but he never undermined the imperial strength. Therefore, in order not to antagonize the Emperor, he had sent him valuable presents and his sons for his representation at the imperial court. Akbar was disappointed with this apathetic behaviour towards royal orders, but had he not been engaged with other affairs, he would have very early dispatched his army to conquer Kashmir. It was not until about 1585 that free from other political engagements, he began to pursue more active policy towards Kashmir. He was aware regarding internal disunity in Kashmir, which he could exploit to his own advantage as had been done by Mirza Haider Dughlat.
Our chroniclers without mentioning any influence or communication which might have persuaded Akbar of imprisoning Yusuf, proceed to emphasize the role, Yaqub Chak played after his father’s crossing over to the Mughal camp. Akbar might have considered it an impediment to reinstate Yusuf towards his plan of conquering Kashmir. Better than making him a vassal, the emperor thought of adding another feather in his expansionist crown, and the political conditions in Kashmir well served his thought. Both Bhagwan Das’s attempt to commit suicide and internment of Yusuf Chak show Akbar’s disregard for views contradicting his plans in this particular episode. This also repudiates the opinion that Akbar was influenced in his conquest of Kashmir by the counsel of Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi, who found in Yaqub Chak a religious bigot, imposing Shi’ism on one and all and considered Akbar as a liberating force capable of salvaging the kingdom of Kashmir from religious persecutions and sectarian conflict. This theme has been discussed in the following pages. After about two and a half years he was sent to Bihar with Bhagwan Das’s adopted son Raja Man Singh. A mansab of 500 sawar was assigned to him. In September 1592 he left this transient world for the everlasting abode and was laid to rest in the pargana Biswak in Patna Bihar.
Yusuf Chak’s reign although bereft with political uprisings and revolts witnessed growth of Islam particularly Shi’ism and the popularity of Shi’ite rituals and festivals. The Shi’ite divine that emerges eminent during Yusuf Shah’s reign, Baba Khalil’ullah clearly shows the patronage Shi’ism and Shi’ite elite enjoyed during this time. His Khanqah at times turned into a place of political mediation, which reflects its popularity and importance for the nobles and commoners. When the Kashmiri nobles decide to recall Yusuf Shah, they choose the Khanqah of Baba Khalil’ullah to decide upon the issue. Every one concerned was invited to the hospice. This shows the reputation Baba Khalil enjoyed as a leading Shi’i divine of the times in the political circles of Kashmir. It also reflects the dominance of the Shi’ite nobility in the affairs of the Kashmir. Consequently, this environment of patronage and protection encouraged growth of Shi’ism for Shi’is felt out of harm’s way in the propagation of their rituals and festivals and the Shi’ite elite found fertile ground for growth and prosperity. A scenario emerged where Shi’ism after the fall of the Chaks was propagated, protected and nurtured by this elite, the scions of which were mainly the Agha family of Badgam who trace their descent to Mir Shamsu'd-Din Iraqi and the Ansari family of Srinagar who trace their descent to Sayyid Hussain Qumi.
Yusuf Shah’s betrayal of trust as a king and his subsequent incarceration paved way for the enthronement of his son Yaqub Shah in 1585. The imprisonment of Yusuf Shah by default invalidated the treaty Raja Bhagwan Das had agreed upon with him. Yaqub Shah made Ali Dar his prime minister, which added to the already prevalent chaos. Ali Dar was not the man who could rise up to the situation. His personal interests outweighed his public responsibilities. Shortly after assuming his office Ali Dar in connivance with Shams Chak revolted against Yaqub Shah.
The after effects of Qazi Musa’s Execution
After the rebellion was suppressed and order restored in the kingdom, Yaqub Shah appointed Muhammad Bhat, a Sunni as his prime minister. Before extinguishing the flames of rebellion completely, Yaqub Shah ignited the sentiments of Sunni dignitaries by ordering the execution of Qazi Musa. Baharistan writes that out of malice and ill will, some people had been alleging that it was Qazi Musa who had caused a rupture in the otherwise cordial relations between Shams Chak, son of Daulat Chak and Yaqub Shah. It was further alleged that at the time of the Mughal incursion into Kashmir, head by Raja Bhagwan Das, Yusuf Shah had requested Kashmiri chiefs to collect arms and equipment, but the Qazi had obstructed the supply of these necessary materials. It was also Qazi Musa who provided refuge to Lohar Chak after Yusuf Shah assumed throne second time. Adding to our understanding of this incident, Malik Haider cryptically writes: “The Sultan honoured Mulla Ayni with the title of Khan. This man, who was devoid of wisdom, set him on to destroy the “Protector of the Shariat” Qazi Musa, and insinuated him to discuss religion. Although he, “Protector of the Shariat” requested him by saying: “it was not befitting for the ruler to discuss religion and the community; and your noble ancestors have never done this before,” but he never accepted the advice and killed him.”
Malik Haider himself a Shi’i, uses the words “discussing the religion” instead of mentioning that Yaqub Shah intended to impose Shi’ism on the kingdom by forcing certain changes in the call for prayer through the approval of Qazi Musa’s who was the chief Qazi “Protector of the Shariat” during Yaqub Shah’s time which position Mulla Ayni was aspiring to hold since the enthronement of Yaqub. Qazi Musa reminded Sultan of the liberal legacy of his descendants and their concern for the welfare for the people, requesting him to desist from religious partiality, but his ill advisors like Mulla Ayni and his political inexperience prevailed causing him to disregard political expediency. One can infer from the reference the religious boundaries that had crystallized by this time. Quoting Malik Haider and A’zami, Pir Hasan writes that the root cause of the tragedy was Mulla Ayni who had persuaded Yaqub Shah to get the sentence Ali Waliu’llah incorporated in the call for prayer. But Qazi Musa, the upholder of Sunni tradition did not oblige him. He was, therefore, accused of making intrigues with Shams Chak, the Sultan’s rival and executed.
Yaqub Shah was quite aware about the popularity of Qazi Musa and his distaste for the rule of the Chaks. Qazi Musa had proved this during Yusuf Shah’s reign by sheltering his rival, Lohar Chak and his support for Shams Chak, the arch rival of Yaqub, provided better opportunity for Yaqub to remove him before he could support any other of his formidable rivals. The author of Waqi’at-i-Kashmir writes that, “No one can question the fact that Ali is Allah’s friend (wali). He is the king of walis. The Sunnis oppose it mainly because the Shi’ites have made it the very basis for the propagation of their faith. They are not satisfied merely by crying, “Ali is Allah’s friend” but are emboldened to take steps which are contrary to Sharia.” A’zami further says that Sultan Yaqub began to openly preach Shi’ism. He appointed Mulla Ayni as his chief missionary for the propagation of Shi’ism. Yaqub Shah’s main religious guides were Baba Khalil’ullah, Shaikh Hassan son of Shams al-Din Iraqi, Baba Talib Isfahani and Mulla Ayni. While Baharistan emphasis political rivalry as the reason for Qazi Musa’s execution, Malik Haider, Hassan and A’zami bring in the religious factor. Had Yaqub Shah been a bigot, he would have imposed Shi’ism by ordering inclusion of Ali is Allah’s friend in the call for prayer after Qazi Musa’s execution, but our sources are silent about any such measure. Instead, A’zami finding no clue of Yaqub Shah’s religious fanaticism invokes the usual accusation of bigotry, which no other source associates with Yaqub Shah. Had Yaqub executed Qazi Musa for winning over the Shi’ite theological class, or for any other religious purpose, Shi’ite leaders would not have expressed disgust at this uncalled action of the Sultan. Malik Haider’s expression “discuss religion” makes known that Yaqub used religion for political vengeance not for promoting Shi’ism. Had Yaqub any intention of discussing religious matters, he would have invited prominent religious divines of both the sects. His inviting Qazi Musa was intended to punish the sympathizers of his political opponents. Since, he could not have directly accused Qazi Musa for his involvement in the rebellion for his reputation as a Qazi, Mulla Ayni offered him the way to take vengeance by making religion an excuse to fulfill political purpose. Since, Qazi Musa was revered and respected both by Shi’is and Sunnis, his execution invited criticism from both. The incident caused considerable unrest and agitation among the nobles and the local people of Kashmir, and almost demolished the very foundation of Yaqub Shah’s regime. To control the situation, Baba Hassan suggested him to dismiss Muhammad Bhat his prime minister and appoint incompetent Nazuk Bhat. He however failed to resolve the crisis caused by Qazi Musa’s execution. Nobles such as Shams Chak, Malik Muhammad Hassan Chadurah, and Alam Sher Magre rebelled and headed towards Indian mountains (Kohistan-i Hind) with the intention of joining the service of emperor Akbar. However, dissuaded by Malik Muhammad Hassan, they returned back and planned to fight. Yaqub sent Baba Khalil and Shaikh Hassan to dissuade them from their rebellious intentions, but they declined to cooperate with him. After a week’s fighting, the two parties decided that the area beyond Sopore to the right bank of river Jhelum would be ceded to the rebels. They, therefore, left to get hold of their share. But on the way Shams Chak and Alam Sher Magre decided to put Baba Khalil and Shaikh Hassan, who were accompanying them, to death in revenge for Yaqub’s policy of intolerance towards the Sunnis, but in reality for their own political interests. But Hasan Malik intervened, and sent them back safely to Srinagar. When Yaqub heard that they had made an attempt on the lives of the Shi’ite divines, he was furious. At the head of a large force, he marched towards Sopore and defeated the rebels. Ali Dar took refuge in Barthal and Shams Chak hid himself in the hospice of Shams al-Din Iraqi. Shrewd and resourceful, Shams Chak well understood the sanctity of the hospice which was considered equal to Ka’aba by the devotees particularly of Shi’ite school of which Yaqub Shah was himself a follower, making any bloodshed in its premises strictly haram (illegal) as decrees the jurisprudence of all the four major schools of Islam regarding Ka’aba. On being informed about Shams Chak’s whereabouts, Yaqub Shah upholding the sanctity of the Khanqah, himself entered its premises with usual reverence, captured Shams Chak without creating ruckus and instead of ordering his execution put him in the custody of Ibeh Khan.
Not only nobles, religious leaders both Shi’i and Sunni were also disgusted by this action of Yaqub and the chaos in the kingdom. Shaikh Hamza Makhdum’s disciple Baba Da’ud Khaki who was highly respected by the Sunnis moved to Multan. Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi assured Emperor Akbar of the support of Kashmiri leaders in his conquest o Kashmir. Akbar ordered Mir Qasim khan Mir Bahr to invade Kashmir. Yaqub Sarfi again acted as a guide. Yaqub Shah could muster no force to defend Srinagar and therefore took shelter in Kishtwar. Some independence loving Kashmiri leaders like Husain Khan and Shams Ganai decided not to submit to the Mughals sent under Yaqub Sarfi and repulsed their advance near Hastiwanj, taking Yaqub Sarfi as prisoner. They were, however, unable to crush the Mughal onslaught under Mir Qasim, perceiving the futility of resistance they made overtures to Qasim Khan; and on being assured of personal safety, they submitted on December 9, 1586. They were sent to Lahore along with Baba Khalil, Baba Mehdi, and Sayyid Mubarak, who were suspected of inciting Kashmiris against the Mughals, and presented before the Emperor. Mir Qasim easily entered the capital.
The situation created chaos and confusion, leaving men at their own choice to plunder, kill, burn or whatever they wanted. Zafar Khan, eldest son of Shams Chak who was bigoted Sunni along with Sayyid Yusuf Bayhaqi and Alam Sher Khan, in the hope of gaining the throne himself, unleashed the Sunni bigotry. Mir Shams al-Din Iraqi’s Khanqah was burnt to ashes. Jadibal quarters were also burnt to ashes and the Shi’is were relentlessly persecuted. This arson and plunder of Shi’is continued for three consecutive days. The Mughal mopping up operation of the Kashmiri resistance was very slow. Yaqub and supporters mounted several effective raids but were unsuccessful. Akbar dispatched reinforcement under Yusuf Khan Rizvi along with Mulla Talib Isfahani, Baba Khalil and Muhammad Bhat, who were to act as guides and to win over the guardians of the passes. Yusuf Khan Rizvi left Lahore around the middle of 1588. At the end of June 1589 Akbar himself visited Srinagar and stayed in palaces. The imperial army took the quarters of Yusuf’s soldiers for their own residence. The Kashmiri military resistance was totally liquidated. Yaqub also surrendered and was sent to Rohtas in Bihar. After Yusuf’s death Man Singh transferred his jagir to Yaqub Shah but before he could take it up he was administered poison in betel leaf and died on 10 Muharram 1001/ 17 October 1592. He had predicted that he would die on the day of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom and had willed that none of his friends should cry for him. According to Abu’l Fazl he died on 14 Zu’l-Hijja 1001/ 11 September 1592 and was buried in Pargana Biswak near his father’s grave.
Mohibbul Hasan considers Yaqub Shah’s intolerance and harshness responsible for the treachery of Kashmiri chiefs and that of Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi who invited Akbar to invade Kashmir in 1586 in following terms: There shall be complete freedom of worship and no interference in religious affairs. There shall be no interference with the purchase and sale of commodities, and the rates of cereals. Kashmiris shall not be made slaves. Kashmiris shall not be oppressed, nor will they be required to do forced labour (begar). Those Kashmiri nobles who are a source of mischief shall not be associated with administration or the country.
However, Rafiqi argues that among modern scholars, Sufi and Hasan accept the version of A’zam and Hasan as correct, although no earlier source, either Mughal or Kashmiri mentions it. The Mughal conquest of Kashmir was not initiated by Shaikh Yaqub Sarfi, but formed a part of Akbar’s ambitious scheme of conquest. He himself evaluated the conditions and was not misled by the representations of Shaikh Yaqub, who underestimated the situation, nor was he discouraged by the argument of his nobles who advocated that the conquest of Kashmir was a difficult affair. The story of his entering into agreement with the Kashmiri nobles seems to be a later concoction. It is unlikely that Akbar would accept terms, for he knew his own strength sufficiently well. The agreement seems to have been forged to meet the exigencies of conquest so that the conqueror is portrayed as a benefactor who was approached by Kashmiri Sufis as a great relief, keeping in view the earlier Mughal unsuccessful attempts to conquer Kashmir and the circumstances in which Akbar in a disguised way of making peace, concluded treaty with Yusuf Shah, repudiated it and finally imprisoned him, although treacherously.
With the surrender of Yaqub Shah, the Chak rule concluded and with it ended the last independent Sultanate of Kashmir. The Mughal rule did not usher in the reconciliation of Sunni-Shia relations in Kashmir. In fact, it began with a severe Sunni-Shi’i riot in Kashmir in which the Khanqah of Iraqi was burnt. The spread and development of Shi’ism however continued for the efforts of the descendants of Mir Shamsu'd-Din Iraqi, and the Shi’ite elite, but not in a manner as witnessed during the Chak regime.