KASHMIR, AND JAMMU
Sankara Varman was avaricious and profligate. He plundered Pataspiir
in order to raise the fame of his own town, now "known as Pattan.
There were signs of decay, and the last of the strong Hindu rulers
was queen Didda (950-1003). Then followed the Lohara dynasty.
Central authority was weakened, the country was a prey to civil war
and violence, and the Damaras, skilled in burning, plundering; and
fighting, harassed the valley. The last of this line was Jaya Simha,
or S'imha Deva (1128) ; and in his reign the Tartar, Khan Dalcha,
invaded Kashmir, and after great slaughter set fire to Srinagar, He
subsequently perished in the passes on his retreat from Kashmir, over
taken by snow. Ram Chand, the commander-in-chief of the Kashmir
army, had meanwhile kept up some semblance 'of authority in the
valley, and had routed the Gaddis from K´shtwar. With Ram Chand
were two soldiers of fortune, Rainchan Shah from Tibet and Shah
Mirza from Swat.
Rainchan Shah quarrelled with Ram Chand, and with the assistance
of the Ladakhis attacked and killed him. He married Ku:ta Rani,
the daughter of Ram Chand, and embracing Islam became the first
Muhammadan king of Kashmir, but died after a short reign of two
and a half years. At this juncture Udayanadeva appeared, who was
the brother of Raja Simha Devva and had fled to Kishtwar. He
married the widow, Kuta Ran!, and reigned for fifteen years. On his
death. Kuta Rani assumed power for a short time, and committed
suicide rather than marry Shah Mirza, who now declared himself king.
He was the first of the line known as Salatin-i-Kashmir, and took the
name of Shams-ud-din. In r394 Sultan Sikandar, known for his fierce
zeal as Butshikan or `iconoclast,' was king of Kashmir. He was
a gloomy fanatic, and destroyed nearly all the grand buildings and
temples of his Hindu predecessors. To the people he offered death,
conversion, or exile. Many fled; many were converted to Islam ;
many were killed, and it is said that Sikandar burnt seven maunds
of sacred threads worn by the murdered BrÓlimans- By the end of
his reign all Hindu inhabitants of the valley, except the BrÔhnians,
had probably adopted Islam.
In 1420 Zain-ul-abidin succeeded. He was wise, virtuous, and
frugal, and very tolerant to the Brahmans. 'He 'remitted the poll-tax.
on Hindus, encouraged the Brahmans to learn Persian, repaired some
of the Hindu temples, and revived Hindu learning. Hitherto in
Kashmir Sanskrit had been written in Sarada, an older sister of the
Devanagari character. The introduction of Persian, as the official
language, divided the Brahmans into three subdivisions: the Karkuns,
who entered official life; the Bachabatts, who discharged the function
of the priesthood ; and the Pandits, who devoted themselves to
Sanskrit learning. Towards the end-. of this good and useful reign the