For 67 years (1752-1819 AD) the Afghans ruled over Kashmir and ensured it was the darkest period of Islamic oppression. The reign of terror forced Hindus to migrate, convert to Islam or be ruthlessly killed. In the end, it’s said only 11 Pandit families survived in Kashmir.
Asad Khan was the worst of the oppressors. He would tie up Kashmiri Pandits in grass sacks and drown them in Dal Lake in pairs. For amusement, a jar of excreta was placed on a Pandit’s head and Muslims pelted the jar with stones till it broke and the Hindu was blinded with filth.
The Pandits who used to proudly display moustaches were forced to grow beards. They were forbidden from wearing Turbans, shoes or Tika (Tilaks) on their foreheads. Later Pandits wore exaggerated Tikas and overly long turbans in memory of the tyranny of Pathan times.
During the Afghan rule, ‘Jazia’, the poll tax imposed on Hindus was revived. During these days, any Muslim who met a Pandit would jump on his back and take a ride saying ”You are a Brahman and I will mount you”. This horrifying phrase still survives as a Kashmiri saying.
Atta Muhamad Khan and his army were sexual predators who used agents to hunt Brahman girls. So terrified were poor Hindus of their lust that they destroyed their daughter’s beauty by shaving off their heads, cutting off their noses or disfiguring them to escape from rape.
Kashmiri Pandit wedding customs bear testament to this cruel trauma. On the day of marriage, a male relative is decked out in the same fashion with the bridegroom who is known as the Pot maharaja, because at any point the Pathans could seize the bridegroom and kidnap the bride.
Asad Khan was succeeded by Madad Khan, who was even more brutal. He bound Hindus in cow leather sacks before drowning them to ensure their faith was violated. They were killed at the same Batta Mazar (Graveyard of Pandits) on Dal Lake where 37 Kg of Janeu were found.
No wonder the era of Afghan rule over Kashmir is known as a time of brutal tyranny motivated by Islamic fanaticism. Kashmiri Hindus had to suffer intolerable brutality and cruelty under the savage Pathans who thought no more of cutting off heads than of plucking a flower.
References: The Valley of Kashmir – Walter R. Lawrence, Oxford University Press, 1893
This article has been compiled from the tweet thread originally tweeted by सावित्री मुमुक्षु (@MumukshuSavitri) on July 7, 2022.