In modern geopolitical era, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism in this single state, has made Kashmir a center of warfare rather than cultural advancement
Kashmir has been celebrated in legend, mythology, history and poetry for ages. The very word Kashmir, till not long ago would evoke the mental image of a land of peace, beauty, harmony and learning. This is what makes its trials and travails today much more agonising.
Throughout ancient times, the breathtakingly beautiful Valley of Kashmir has stood for peaceful contemplation, intellectual advancement and religious diversity coexisting in an atmosphere of tolerance for the most part. In the modern geopolitical era, this same diversity, evident from the blend of Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism in this single state, has made it a center of warfare rather than cultural advancement.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir especially the valley of Kashmir is generally known as “peer-vaer” that is the land of pirs, as right from the ancient times Kashmir was inhabited by the Hindu Rishis and munnis, and they had nothing to do with the Islamic mysticism or tasawwuf.
However, the establishment of Islam in Kashmir in the 14th century was due the efforts of the first Turkistani Sufi Sayyid Abdur Rahman alias Bulbul Shah. This is another important shrine in Khanqah-i-Moa’lla, Srinagar which has great historical and spiritual value.
Mir Syed Ali Hamadani, many historians say, played a significant role in spreading Islam and spirituality in Kashmir. Historians agree that Mir Ali Hamadani— Persian Sufi of Kubrawi order, also known as Shah-i-Hamadan — visited Kashmir on three different occasions between 774-785 A.H (roughly 1373-1384). He moved to Kashmir along with his 700 followers referred to as Saadat. This prominent Muslim scholar and Sufi was born in Hamadan and buried in Khatlan.
There are also some shrines named after Sufis and Islamic scholars who have never visited Kashmir in a physical sense. One such shrine is built in the memory and respect of Sheikh Syed Abdul QadirJeelani, also known as ‘Gous-e-Azam’ and ‘Dastgeer Sahib’ by Kashmiris.
Makhdoom Sheikh Hamzah, a Sufi Muslim saint, was born to Baba Usman Raina in Tujar Shareef, a village in Kashmir, in 1494.
As a great scholar and mystic, Sheikh Hamzah immensely contributed in spreading religious and spiritual knowledge. He continued preaching in Srinagar and the city outskirts. Sheikh Hamzah, a hereditary landlord, is also said to have donated land and other property in social service.
Among the saints and mystics was the famous ‘Lai Ded or Lalleshwari.’ She adoped the life of the Sanyasini or the ascetic early in life. She was driven to this course partly by the inhuman treatment meted out to her by her in-laws. She gave up her secluded life and became a wandering preacher.
People both Hindus and Muslims remember by heart her Vakyas. She pronounced these teachings in the language of the people. She taught the Yoga Philosophy and Saivism and laid the foundation exemplify the synthesis of culture for which Kashmir has always been known.
She gave message to the world which is common to all religions, and philosophies. Her religious philosophy has the best elements of Vaishnavism, Saivism and Sufism. She advised her followers to follow the ideas of love and service to humanity, remaining indifferent to praise or censure.
Now while keeping the historical perspective of Kashmir into being, the valley of saints in present day context has gyrated into barbarity. Few months back a dreadful unseen incident took place in Bandipora, wherein a juvenile, toddler of three years’ of age was despoiled, a vile and horrid act beyond condemnation, the irony was some local people manipulated the facts to save the felon which led to outburst protests on streets and these protests reminded administration of action thereof.
Here the point worth mentionable is that if the felon, accused, monster is minor but he despoiled a three years kid with all his senses intact, then why the analogy of projecting him a minor to evade the sin.
A sin is a sin, and must be retailed with severity under the ambit of law to put halt in future around such grave incidents. Here a sharia law could have delivered justice in a go but we have curtailed ourselves from enforcing the same. The other grave incident took place just the other day, a young girl in general was despoiled, it seems the inflation of this mischievous infection is growing quotidian.
Apart of this unfortunate and highly condemnable incident we also witnessed the Kathua ill-fated incident where a minor was brutality maimed, abducted and murder in Rasana village near Kathua and then all ill efforts were made to protect the felons, we could not garner any substantial results because as a society we have marginalized and discriminated ourselves.
As a society we need to really think, a need to roll down our heads and introspect in a serious fashion, otherwise we are leading our “peer vaer” into more shambles and shamelessness.
Author is a Research Scholar, Deakin University, Australia