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E-ISSN No : 2454-9916 | Volume: 3 | Issue: 5 | May 2017 





KASHMIR'S CONTACT WITH CENTRAL ASIA DURING 
MUGHAL PERIOD (1586-1753.A.D) 








Dr. Syed Damsaz Ali Andrabi ' | Dr. Mohd Yousuf Bhat” 


' College Teacher : History, Department of Higher Education, J & K. 
* Assistant Professor, Political Science, Department of Higher Education, J & K. 





ABSTRACT 


The Mughal occupation of Kashmir on 1586,opened new ways of developments. Immediately after its annexation it was merged with Subha Kabul of Mughals. Anew 
type of administration was introduced comprised of subedars, diwans, qazis etc. With the end of political isolation the valley was thrown open to rest of the world, 
which in turn developed the economy of people. Road communications resulted in multiple of changes. Complete freedom and liberal patronage was provided by 
tulers to skilled workers for the development of industries. The two progressive industries of the time were Shawl and Silk weaving. Newer designs in the art and 
architecture were introduced for the first time in valley. Plantation of Chinars was boosted by them. Gardens with attractive terraces were built at different places. The 
people from far off areas were attracted to valley to see the beautiful tourist spots. Contacts with other areas resulted in cultural changes. Forced labour was abolished 
and people began to work with interest. All people were satisfied with the new governing class. Different castes of Central Asian origin got settled in valley. 


KEYWORDS: Economy, Education, Development, New art, Contacts, Industry etc. 


INTRODUCTION: 

Kashmir's contact with Central Asia date back to remote past and cover several 
aspect of human relationship; social,economic,historical, cultural, and intellec- 
tual. These contacts developed over the years due to the frequent movement of 
men, material and thought between the two regions. Not withstanding geograph- 
ical hazards, dynastic upheavals, political convulsions, vagaries of nature, lim- 
ited means of communication and transport etc., such contacts thrived uninter- 
ruptedly to the great benefit of the humans across the borders. Being multifac- 
eted, these contacts were varied in nature, time and space.’ 


A variety of transmission channels sustained such contacts and in that the role of 
a network of branch routes of the Grand silk route, few criss —crossing the valley, 
can not be underestimated. Incidentally, Kashmir was the junction, where all the 
ancient trade routes converged; one of them was Barmulla/Gandhara route 
which was traversed by many missionaries and travelers like Hieun-Tsang and 
Fahien. Similarly the route via Baltistan, Gilgit and Chitral was no less impor- 
tant. The route across Zojila to Leh and then onwards to Lhasa and Yarkand was 
functional till recent past’.The historical travel accounts of Hieun-Tsang, 
Kalhana, Marcopolo, Sayyid Ali, Mirza Haider Dughlat, Haider Malik 
Chadoora, Narian Koul Aajiz, Muhammad Azam, Saadullah Shahabadi,Nath 
Pandit, Diwan Kripa Ram, Gh. Nabi Khanyari, Hassan Shah Khoihami and for- 
eign travelers like, Father Xavier,George Forester, H.G.Bellew, Moorcoft, 
E,F,Knight and Yonghusband etc.,provide a good deal of information on the 
topography and usefulness of these routes from early times. It was along these 
routes that Kashmir came in the network of great Mughals and became part of 
Kabul Subha. 


With the Mughal occupation of Kashmir in October 14" 1586" the traditional 
links connecting Kashmir with Central Asia across the Karakoram in the east and 
the Pamirs in the west were kept intact. Together with these new routes along the 
Pir Panjal range were established to directly link Kashmir with the Punjab, 
Lahore, Kabul’ and Central Asia. With this, local ruling aristocracy was elimi- 
nated and their place was taken over by the Iranis, Turains, Khwarizamians who 
significantly contributed to Mughal nobility and army in Kashmir. During this 
period, the ruling elite comprising the subedars, naib-subedars, diwans, qazis, 
and etc. was mainly formed of the people of Central Asian descent. Though they 
constituted a reference group, they certainly left considerable bearing on Kash- 
mir society; its polity, art, architecture, language, dress, diet, customs, traditions, 
etc. It is true that the said rule registered a little bit of wastage and drain of 
resources from Kashmir. But at the sametime, it made significant contribution to 
Kashmir economy especially its textiles; Shawl’ and Silk weaving’ for the pro- 
motion of which, keeping other considerations apart, roads and rest houses’ were 
constructed on the way to India, Lahore and Central Asian* countries which had 
great economic consequeneces. The raw material for these textiles continued to 
be obtained from Central Asian neighborhood. Shawl-wool, an item of consider- 
able economic and commercial advantages to Kashmir, was imported from 
Ladakh and Tibet. So were cocoons for Silk weaving imported from Khotan and 
the Chinese Turkistan. However, both these commodities were exported to the 
principle cities of Northern India, Tataristan, Persia, Turkey and Central Asia. 
The material traditionally used for Kashmir Shawls was fleece derived from a 
Central Asian sport mountain goat (Capra hircus).Mostly all the material for 
Kashmiri Shawls was imported from Tibet or Central Asia and was not produced 


locally at that time. The fleece reaching Kashmir belonged to one of two distant 
grades. The best renowned and silkiness and warmth was known as "Asli Tus" 
and it was from this material that the most popular Shawl of Mughal fame was 
manufactured . However most of the material for Kashmiri Shawls came from 
Ladakh and western Tibet. However due to epidemics among goats in these 
areas, supply was derived from herds kept by nomadic Kirghiz tribes and 
imported through Yarkand and Khotan.During the time of Mughals several types 
of finished Shawls’ were manufactured, "Jamawar" was the best and finest in 
quality and make. Emperor Akbar called it by the name of "Parm-Narm" .Like 
ShawI cloth; the silken textiles occupied a coveted place in the nobility in and out- 
side Mughal India.Akber, 1555-1605.A.D,was very fond of Shawls and took 
pains in improving this industry and during his reign Shawls became very popu- 
lar .The Ain-i-Akbari records how Akbar improved the department of shawls 
and almost two thousand Shaw] industries were functional in valley of Kashmir 
during the time of Akbar. The price of Shawl ranged between rupees two hundred 
to twelve hundred each in those days.Several types of Shawls of finished nature 
were then manufactured by Kashmiri Shaw] workers. There seems to have been 
more excellency in the art with his positive support to artisans .He has realized 
the importance of Shawl work and its benefits to the local artisans as well as to 
government. The Shawl work can develop further contacts of valley to other 
parts of world. 


From the very beginning of Akbars time Kashmiri Shaw] became the coveted arti- 
cle of Mughal luxury and accordingly became the valuable item of royal harem. 
The Shawl industries progressed too much during his time, because of the liberal 
patronage that was received by the workers. Later Mughal rulers like, 
Jahangir,Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb were all extremely fond of Shawls and 
patronized the Shawl industry. They provided some sort of subsidy on Shawl 
weaving. As quoted by Bernier the ShawI industry will very soon change the eco- 
nomic status of people in valley of Kashmir. During Mughal period Shawl 
became the fashion of the day. In the days of Mughal emperors the art of Shawl 
weaving attained to such excellence that a Shawl of one and a half square yards 
could be twisted and passed through an ordinary finger ring. It is available today 
and is known as the "Ring Shawl of Kashmir""”. Thus during the Mughal rule not 
only contacts of Kashmir with Central Asia sustained uninterruptedly but many 
industries especially Shawl and Silk weaving developed considerably. 


The increasing demand also resulted in more production this shows the sign of 
mastery over the art. Because of more earnings the art became too much popular 
in valley. People from rural areas began to migrate to urban areas especially in the 
city of Srinagar. With the passage of time the art flourished towards the other 
areas of valley. People willingly opted the new profession from there inner 
recesses of their heart. Side by side with the development of Shawl industry the 
Silk industry also progressed too much under the proper care of Mughal rulers. 
The industry was usually one of the principle source of revenue to the Mughals 
and obviously got developed to a greater extent. Silk industry was boosted in 
Kashmir because of abundance of mulberry trees, suitable elevation and favour- 
able climate. According to standard sources of Mughal period like, Ain-i-Akbari 
of Abul Fazl and Tuzak-i-Jahangiri of Jahangir the Silk work increased the new 
avenues of income to Mughals. The work that was initiated by initiated by 
Mughals ultimately bore its results under Dogras. In the beginning of twentieth 
century it began to replace the Shaw] industry. Today it is the most reputed gov- 


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Research Paper 


ernment controlled industry and means of livelihood of many people belonging 
to valley and about four thousand workers were employed in the industry. Nowa- 
days called as Silk factory at Srinagar is the largest industry of its kind in valley. 
No other industry is endowed with such facilities as the Silk factory of Srinagar 
Kashmir. 


The conspicuous contribution by the Mughals to the architectural wealth of Kash- 
mir lies in large number of buildings, forts and gardens. The Mughal style as rep- 
resented by buildings in Kashmir is practically the same as that of the buildings at 
the Delhi and Agra, with the little difference that marble has not been employed 
in Kashmir buildings on account of difficulties of transport. The earliest Mughal 
building in Srinagar is the outer wall round the Hariparbat fort which was built by 
Akbar in, 1596, A. D.'"The lower part of the fort know as Nagar Nagar. For the 
construction of the fort Akbar has to import large number of masons from out- 
side. The art of masonry in valley seems to have been died long before the decline 
of Hindu rule in fourteenth century. For its construction the forced labour was 
abolished by Akbar and people began to work with interest. Even some Kashmiri 
stone workers learnt the art of making new designs. Later on the fort was repaired 
by Afghan governor Atta Mohammad Khan, 1807-13.A.D. During the period fre- 
quent contacts also developed and newer designs in the art were introduced by 
the Mughals to boost the economy of Kashmir through construction and planta- 
tion of gardens at different places of valley. 


Jahangir, 1605-1627.A.D,built the popular Shalimar garden in, 1620,A. D, and 
laid out large baradari” in it a new design probably unknown before its comple- 
tion. The summer house of Jahangir at Verinag garden is now a heap of ruin. The 
baradari at Achabal’’ is still in existence. The "Garam hamam" bath of Jahangir in 
Achabal garden is still in existence. This was introduced by Mirza Haider 
Dughlat in Kashmir. The Mughal emperor Jahangir extended the plantation of 
Chinars"’ and planned systematically the Char-Chinari (four Chinars) in Dal lake 
Srinagar. 


The Pather Masjid or Shahi Masjid built by Nur Jahan in, 1622. A. D,presents a 
peculiar feature of Mughal stone architecture. The pluits of Masjid is surmounted 
by a lotus leaf coping Masjid having nine arches including the huge central 
arched portico. As quoted by G. M. D. Sofi "the arched openings are enclosed in 
shallow decorative cusped arches which in their turn are enclosed in rectangular 
frames. The horizontal construction of these arches is un-paralled. The half 
attached bed post columns in the two outer angles of the jambs of the entrance are 
noteworthy. Really its construction has opened the new fields and challenges for 
local artisans and as compared to other wooden Mosques the architecture of 
Pather Masjid has remained un-matched. After the death of Jahangir some con- 
structions of Shahjahan become very famous throughout India. He is also known 
as the king of architecture. 


Shahjahan, 1627-1658.A.D,built a pavilion in Chashmai- Shahi garden. This gar- 
den was laid out by Ali Mardan Khan in, 1632, AD, emerging from the slopes of 
the Zabarwan hill. The waters of spring are known for their cool and rejuvenating 
qualities. The garden is arranged on three ascending terraces. The total area of the 
rectangular garden is approximately, 1.73 acres with a width of, 70.83 meters and 
length of, 122.8 meters. The distinguishing feature of this garden is its very high 
terraces and its gateway of Mughal character. Nishat garden by Asif Khan in 
1634, A. D. Achabal garden by Jahan- Ara daughter of Shahjahan in, 1640, A. D. 
Besides these remarkable architectural designs there were some other 
popularties of Shahjahans time constructed by his son Dara Shuokh. 


Dara Shuokh was not only a remarkable writer but equally was the well wisher of 
the people. Dara built the big garden of Chinars at Bijbehara Anantnag 
in,1646,A.D,popularly known by the name of BadShahi Bagh at Bijbehara. 
Chinar leaves have played an important role in arts and crafts of valley of Kash- 
mir. In paper Machie and Walnut works the painting of Chinars are beautifully 
decorated. In all parts of valley of Kashmir our Shrines, Temples, Tirthas and 
Churches are decorated by planting these trees. It is a sacred act and at present the 
number of Chinar trees in valley is approximately more than forty thousand. 
Efforts should be taken to preserve the traditional Chinar trees otherwise within a 
short period of time the same will disappear. The Mughal rulers beautified not 
only the gardens but also the valley as well. 


The Mosque of Mulla Shah and the intellectual School of Sufis were constructed 
by Prince Dara Shuokh for his religious tutor Mulla Shah Badakshani to develop 
the educational system of valley. The Mosque was constructed in, 1649.A.D,and 
is situated a little away up the hill of Kohi Maran below the Shrine of Makhdum 
Sahib. Being the first Mosque of its kind which was having the attached library 
and Garam Hamama for winters. It is built of beautiful grey lime stone. The stone 
lotus finial over the pulpit is the only example of its kind surviving in valley of 
Kashmir. The external decorations are the rectangular panels enclosing cusped 
arches. At the end of, 1660,A.D, Mulla Shah abandoned all and moved to Lahore 
and left the world in 1660,A.D,and lies buried near the tomb of Miyan Mir 
Lahori. 


The School of Sufis was constructed by Prince Dara Shuokh under the spiritual 
instructions of his religious master at Pari Mahal in Srinagar near Chasma Shahi 
garden on the slopes of Zabarwan Mountain in, 1650.A.D.It was built at the site 
ofa Buddhist monastery. Dara Shuokh named it after his wife Nadira Begum, sup- 


E-ISSN No : 2454-9916 | Volume: 3 | Issue: 5 | May 2017 


posed to be known by the name of Pari Begum. The School was the first of its 
kind in valley where besides religious education the knowledge other subjects 
was equally imparted to seekers free of cost. Side by side with religious educa- 
tion the knowledge of other branches like, astronomy, mathematics and science 
was equally imparted to the people. The learners were provided free food and 
other basic necessities. The most distinguished contribution of the School was 
that more and more stress was laid on the education of women. That it is obliga- 
tory upon husband to impart religious education to his wife and if he does not ful- 
fill it, the woman has every right to move towards a teacher without the permis- 
sion of her husband. As a result of these teachings the women education received 
great boost and impetus in the valley. Based on such teachings the school 
attracted the people at large to receive the education irrespective of faith. With 
the result the concept of unity developed among the people that resulted in the 
development of educational values within the society . 


The Shrine of Hazratbal was constructed by Shahjahan on the banks of Dal lake 
on the site of early Mughal garden known as Sadiq - Abad. The sanctity of 
Hazratbal Shrine is the Holy relic of last Prophet Mohammad (SAW) brought to 
valley by a rich Kashmiri merchant namely Khawaja Nuru'd-din Ishabari. The 
Prophetic hair (Mui-Mubarak) was brought to Bijapur by Syed Abdullah from 
Medina Arab in 1699,A.D,during the reign of Aurangzeb, 1658-1707.A.D, and 
the same was purchased by the Kashmiri Nuru'd-din Ishbari against the amount 
of one lakh rupees and exhibited it in the Shrine of Hazratbal to keep alive the reli- 
gious sentiments of people. At present the place is the source of inspiration for 
every Kashmiri. The ruling section is having the great regard for the sacred place. 
The maintenance and other necessary things related to it are made easily avail- 
able by them. 


Kashmir was prosperous in mineral resources and fruits which got impetus in 
trade and made economy prosperous one. The Mughals if not built new canals, 
but they seem to have repaired the old ones. Their love for gardens and springs 
resulted incidentally in increasing the irrigation facilities for the cultivators. 
The Mughal rulers paid visits to valley which led to foundation of some cities and 
towns particularly by Akber, Jahanjir and Shahjahan’”. The period showed a dras- 
tic change in economic development, because the valley was thrown open not 
only to India but also to rest of the world which helped in developing trade rela- 
tions with foreign countries. New cities and towns came into being as celebrated 
urban centers with hectic and brisk trade and scholarly activity. In the train of 
these including contacts, Kashmiri society noticed a great deal of Central Asian 
influence on society, polity, economy, art, architecture, diet, dress, housing, cus- 
toms, traditions, beliefs, taboos, etc. During the reign of Jahangir and Shahjahan 
large number of famous poets came to Kashmir like Kalim of (Hamdan), Qudusi 
of (Mashad), Tughra of (Mashad), Mir Illahi of (Assad near Hamdan), and Fasihi 
of (Heerat). Their verses were often quoted by lexicographers. Some of the poets 
were having the Persian origin; but they loved Kashmir more than their own 
native land and they settled in the valley permanently. The presence of so many 
men of culture and learning contributed to the intellectual attainments of this 
country in literature and bells letters. Not surprising, therefore, to see a new 
brand of castes from across the Kashmir borders contributing to the social status 
of the valley.Infact, there are some particular areas which are known after the 
name of the Mughals in Kashmir, who on entering the valley, dispersed in differ- 
ent directions and settled in several cities, towns and villages. In the process, the 
emigrants radiated and absorbed mutual influence as a pre-condition for adapta- 
tion and settlement in the alien conditions”. 


CONCLUSION: 

Occupation of Kashmir by Mughals has really resulted in number of changes. 
With the end of political isolation the valley was thrown open to rest of the world, 
which developed trade and cultural relations with the foreign countries which 
had great economic consequences. With the result their was all-round change in 
the society. 


REFERENCES: 
1. Deambi Kaul, B.K., Kashmir and Central Asia, Srinagar, 1989, P.16. 
2. Abul Fazal, The Ain-i-Akbari, trans.vol. ii-iii, Delhi, 1989, PP.351-352. 


Deambi Kaul, B.K., Kashmir and Central Asia, Srinagar, 1989, PP.17-18- 
92. 


Kapur, M.L., The history and Culture of Kashmir, Jammu, 1992, P.264. 


4. Bamzai, P.N.K., Culture and political history of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1994, 
430. 


5. Shawl industry was already existing in valley during the time Zain ul- 
Abidin(1420-70) 


6. Sufi,G.M.D., Islamic Culture in Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, PP.210-211. 


7. Bamzai, P.N.K., Culture and political history of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1994, 
408-409. 


8. Sufi, G.M.D., Kashir being a history of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, Vol, II, 
P.520. 


9. According to M.Dauvergne the history of Kashmiri Shawls dates back to the 


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E-ISSN No : 2454-9916 | Volume : 3 | Issue: 5 | May 2017 


times of emperor Babur.The Mughal emperors wore on their turbans a jew- 
eled ornament known as Jigha.Many Andijani weavers were brought into 
India and Kashmir by the Mughal emperors, because they were the trained 
masters of the Jigha design. The Jigha design is still prevalent both in Kash- 
mir and Persia. This design was introduced during the time of Mughals both 
in Kashmir as well as in India. 


10. Lawrence, The Valley of Kashmir, P.376. 
11. Sufi, G.M.D., Islamic Culture in Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, P.211. 


12. Baradari having twelve doors is ordinarily a square or rectangular pavilion 
with three doorways on each of its four sides. It is generally a summer house 
in garden. 


13. Achabal is almost 10 Kms. from Anantnag town. 


Sufi, G.M.D., Kashir being a history of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, Vol, I, 
PP.515-520-530-532-533-540. 


14. Peer GH. Hasan, Tarikhi Hasan, P.160. 


15. Sufi, G.M.D., Kashir being a history of Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, Vol, I, 
P.252. 


16. Sufi, G.M.D., Islamic Culture in Kashmir, New Delhi, 1996, PP.218-19-20. 


17. Sinha Sachchidananda., Kashmir the playground of Asia, revised edition, 
Allahabad, 1943, PP.5-6. 


18. Deambi Kaul, B.K., Kashmir and Central Asia, Srinagar, 1989, P.113 


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