Thursday, 26 June 2014

Kashmir during Pashtun rule (1752-1819)

Ahmad Shah Abdali received an invitation from the leaders of Kashmir to rid the kingdom of cruel governors of the decadent Mughal emperors, and bring it directly under his rule. He sent a strong force of Afghans under his lieutenant Ishk Aqasi on this mission, who after overcoming stiff resistance put up by the Mughal forces in Kashmir, annexed the territory to the expanding kingdom of Abdali.' Even during the most difficult times of Afghan rule, poverty and starvation did not exist in Kashmir. People were healthy and ate well. In the early years, there was much hygiene and
History of the Muslims of Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent, 1707-1806 - Abdur Rashid

Afghan architecture in Kashmir

While the Mughals built gardens across Kashmir, the Afghans built fortresses and erected some buildings as well. The most famous fortress and complex, Sher Garhi Palace, built in 1772 by the Afghan governor, Jawan Sher Khan, was later used by all their successors, including the present Indian occupied Kashmir government. Amir Khan Jawan Sher built the Amiran Kadal, the bridge which stands at the entrance of Srinagar, and constructed the palace of the Shergarhi. A canal linking the dal lake with anchar lake was also built in his time.
(The Valley of Kashmir by Walter Lawrence
1895). The Valley of Kashmir - Sir Walter Roper Lawrence

Sher Garhi Palace, 1907

Trade and Commerce during Afghan period

In Kashmere are seen merchants and commercial agents of most of the principal
cities of northern India, also of Tartary, Persia and Turkey, who at the same time
advance their fortunes and enjoy the pleasures of a fine climate
(A Journey from Bengal to England by George Forster 1786)
A Journey from Bengal to England: Through the Northern Part of India ... - George Forster

Writing Paper of Kashmir during Afghan rule, 1783.
George foster, writing in 1782, says that the kahmiris fabricated the best writing paper of the east”. The kashmiri paper possessed the quality that once the ink had been washed off , it could again be used for writing.
Kashmir Under the Sultans - Mohibbul Hasan

Flourishing of shawl industry during Afghan rule
It was during Mughal rule, the Shawl industry first assumed an enormous international standing and increased output. It was during Afghan Muslim rule the Shawl industry in addition to other commodities and trades received newer customers still in the form of Iran, Turkistan and Russia as well as Afghanistan. Kashmiris as well as merchants from abroad could meet and trade with one another without being worried most of their profit would go to the state. In later Sikh and Hindu rule, in respect to the Shawl industry alone, foreign merchants largely traded not with Kashmiri shawl weavers but the State. By the 1900s, the Shawl industry in Kashmir was dead

During the close of 18th century, when Kashmir was under the afghans, the shawl industry thrived, with the market even extending even as far as turkey. In 1796 kashmiri shawl reached the hands of napoleon. His wife Josephine was immensely pleased and she set a new trend in fashion among women not only in paris but also in Europe and England. By 1800 AD the shawl trade between Kashmir and west was well established.
Arts and Crafts, Jammu and Kashmir: Land, People, Culture - D. N. Saraf

With the establishment of Afghan reign in Kashmir valley in 1753, the
shawl industry received a boast. It was during this period the Kashmiri shawls
were in demand in iran, Afghanistan and Russia. During sikh rule , the condition of silk weavers was not so good, because the heavy imposition of tax by the government. With the arrival of maharaja gulab singh 1846, conditions for the artisans and and of the shawl industry worsed. The impoded annual tax levied by maharaja on each shawl weaver was Rs.47.8.
Paintings and Lifestyles of Jammu Region: From 17th to 19th Century A.D. - Raj Kumar

During the mughal and Afghan rule, the shawl industries of Kashmir , were at their zenith and this factor contributed towards the growth of urban population in the valley.
Kashmir Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh - C. Baron V. Hugel, Annotated By D.C. Sharma

Kashmiri Pandits during Afghan rule
It was in the afghan period that kashmiri pandits attained proficiency in Persian and not began to form part of the administration of the land. One such kashmiri pandit poet, dayaram kachru (1747-1811), came from a family known for its scholarship in persian and Sanskrit and for service as civil officials to the afghans.
Languages of Belonging: Islam, Regional Identity, and the Making of Kashmir - Chitralekha Zutshi

Due to their education and integrity, Afghans used to appoint Pandits as
kardars, who were responsible for collecting 'agricultural tax' from the peasants on the behalf of the governor.
Kashmir: Its Aborigines and Their Exodus - Colonel Tej K Tikoo

George Forster also noted there was a toleration of religion during Afghan rule. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews pursued their occupations without molestation; When describing the Hindus of Kashmir, he continued-;Among the foreign nations who frequent this city (Kabul) the Hindus chiefly of Peshawar contribute more than any other to enrich it by a superior industry and knowledge of commerce; and they enjoy under the Afghan Government a liberty and protection little short of that experienced by the inhabitants of our Indian possessions. The benefits derived by a State from the residence of any class of people usually ensure to them a security of person and property, but the Hindus of Kabul are indebted I believe for special indulgence to one of their own sect, who controls the revenue of the Shah and stands high in favour;.
The people in general were described as; the Kashmiris are gay and lively people with strong propensities to pleasure.; This is hardly a description of people in severe oppression with nothing to look forward to and possessing no future.
(Bibliography A Journey from Bengal to England by George Forster 1786).

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