Persecution of Muslims in the Sikh Empire (1799—1849)

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Shah-i-Hamdan in Sringar.

Persecution Under Ranjit Singh:— The state of Kashmir was conquered by the Mughals between 1586—1588, and who's rule was popular.[1] Akbar the Great visited the state on three occasions (1588, 1592, and 1597)[1] and even his son Jahangir, and later still Shah Jahan, would also honour this new found tradition. In 1599 during the construction of the Nagar Fort, Akbar even refused to use forced labour, and insisted on paying his workers a fair wage from his treasury.[1] However in 1820 the demographically Muslim Kashmir state was occupied by the tyrant, and Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh (1780—1839), under who's regime non-Sikhs were widely persecuted; eating beef was banned and the repair of non-Sikh religious buildings was forbidden.[1] The Sikhs later lost Kashmir in 1846; a mere twenty-six years after their invasion.[1] Pakistani historian Istiaq Ahmed once erroneously claimed that Singh "provided the most tolerant and benevolent rule" in Kashmir.[2] This has been contradicted by evidence discovered from other historians such as Barbara Brower and Barbara Rose Johnston.[3] Sikhs for example were the first "bigoted rulers" who introduced forced labour into Kashmir, who also banned "muezzins call to prayer, closing many mosques, making cow slaughter punishable by death" and "nearly" destroyed "the Shah-i-Hamdan mosque".[3] Singh also "razed mosques and built Gurdwaras in their place" and buried the Quran in their doorways.[4] Prior to Singh's persecution, independent Sikh bands, known as "misals", terrorized Muslims in the Punjab, who had "developed a number of institutions enabling them to wage a dispersed and yet united war" between 1761—1772.[5]

Khalistan:— The concept of Khalistan and Sikh militancy also possesses some potential for threatening the state of Muslims in the Punjab. The concept of a Sikh homeland encompasses lands and territories inside and around India, as well as Pakistani territory.[6] This also includes all other Punjabi speaking areas,[6] despite the fact that such a proposition would make the Sikhs a minority in their own country (since the majority of Punjabis are Muslim).[n. 1] Significantly Pakistani Punjab contains many Sikh holy and historical sites, and even when the Sikhs did have their own "Khalistan", in the form of the empire of the Sikh tyrant,[7][8][9] Ranjit Singh, Muslims were treated horrendously and with much inequality, along with other non-Sikhs.[10] Such examples can be seen from the use of slave labour (forced labour[3]) and matters which concerned murder (for example if a Sikh murdered a Muslim, a fine of 16—20 rupees was to be charged on the Sikh, of which only 2 rupees (10%—12.5%) went to the family of the Muslim victim, and if Hindu four rupees (20%—25%) would be paid to the Hindu relatives, with the rest going to the Sikh state; in essence under Sikh laws Hindus were worth twice more than a Muslim).[10] Also, under Sikh law, Punjabis (90% of whom were Muslim[11]) were taxed 90% of their earnings (but even this was considered too little).[10] Despite this, as late as 2001 Sikhs sent letters to Muslims asking for their "support", citing "200,000" Sikhs had been killed by India since 1984, and 75,000 Muslims in Kashmir since 1988.[12] This inequality amongst an actual religious Sikh state is perhaps one reason why Pakistan did not support the Khalistan Sikh movement fully during the 1980s.

Pakistan Kashmir.
Shah-i-Hamdan in Sringar.

Persecution Under Ranjit Singh:— The state of Kashmir was conquered by the Mughals between 1586—1588, and who's rule was popular.[1] Akbar the Great visited the state on three occasions (1588, 1592, and 1597)[1] and even his son Jahangir, and later still Shah Jahan, would also honour this new found tradition.

In 1599 during the construction of the Nagar Fort, Akbar even refused to use forced labour, and insisted on paying his workers a fair wage from his treasury.[1]

However in 1820 the demographically Muslim Kashmir state was occupied by the tyrant, and Sikh ruler, Ranjit Singh (1780—1839), under who's regime non-Sikhs were widely persecuted; eating beef was banned and the repair of non-Sikh religious buildings was forbidden.[1]

The Sikhs later lost Kashmir in 1846; a mere twenty-six years after their invasion.[1] Pakistani historian Istiaq Ahmed once erroneously claimed that Singh "provided the most tolerant and benevolent rule" in Kashmir.[2] This has been contradicted by evidence discovered from other historians such as Barbara Brower and Barbara Rose Johnston.[3]

Sikhs for example were the first "bigoted rulers" who introduced forced labour into Kashmir, who also banned "muezzins call to prayer, closing many mosques, making cow slaughter punishable by death" and "nearly" destroyed "the Shah-i-Hamdan mosque".[3] Singh also "razed mosques and built Gurdwaras in their place" and buried the Quran in their doorways.[4]

Prior to Singh's persecution, independent Sikh bands, known as "misals", terrorized Muslims in the Punjab, who had "developed a number of institutions enabling them to wage a dispersed and yet united war" between 1761—1772.[5]

Pakistan Kashmir.

Khalistan:— The concept of Khalistan and Sikh militancy also possesses some potential for threatening the state of Muslims in the Punjab. The concept of a Sikh homeland encompasses lands and territories inside and around India, as well as Pakistani territory.[6] This also includes all other Punjabi speaking areas,[6] despite the fact that such a proposition would make the Sikhs a minority in their own country (since the majority of Punjabis are Muslim).[n. 2]

Significantly Pakistani Punjab contains many Sikh holy and historical sites, and even when the Sikhs did have their own "Khalistan", in the form of the empire of the Sikh tyrant,[7][8][13] Ranjit Singh, Muslims were treated horrendously and with much inequality, along with other non-Sikhs.[10]

Such examples can be seen from the use of slave labour (forced labour[3]) and matters which concerned murder (for example if a Sikh murdered a Muslim, a fine of 16—20 rupees was to be charged on the Sikh, of which only 2 rupees (10%—12.5%) went to the family of the Muslim victim, and if Hindu four rupees (20%—25%) would be paid to the Hindu relatives, with the rest going to the Sikh state; in essence under Sikh laws Hindus were worth twice more than a Muslim).[10]

Also, under Sikh law, Punjabis (90% of whom were Muslim[11]) were taxed 90% of their earnings (but even this was considered too little).[10]

Despite this, as late as 2001 Sikhs sent letters to Muslims asking for their "support", citing "200,000" Sikhs had been killed by India since 1984, and 75,000 Muslims in Kashmir since 1988.[12] This inequality amongst an actual religious Sikh state is perhaps one reason why Pakistan did not support the Khalistan Sikh movement fully during the 1980s.

Sources

Footnotes

  1. ^ Quote: "Consider the fact that some 100-120 million human beings can be classified as ethnic Punjabis...Eighty million Punjabis live mainly in Pakistan's western Punjab...30 million in India, mainly in Indian eastern Punjab...10 million are dispersed outside the Indian subcontinent."
    1. Ishtiaq Ahmed (May 24th, 2008). Punjabis Without Punjabi. Academy of the Punjab in North America. International The News. Retrieved September 14th, 2015.
  2. ^ Quote: "Consider the fact that some 100-120 million human beings can be classified as ethnic Punjabis...Eighty million Punjabis live mainly in Pakistan's western Punjab...30 million in India, mainly in Indian eastern Punjab...10 million are dispersed outside the Indian subcontinent."
    1. Ishtiaq Ahmed (May 24th, 2008). Punjabis Without Punjabi. Academy of the Punjab in North America. International The News. Retrieved September 14th, 2015.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ahmad Hasan Dani; Vadim Mikhaĭlovich Masson; Unesco (1 January 2003). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. UNESCO. pp. 317–319. ISBN 978-92-3-103876-1.
  2. ^ a b Ahmed, Istiaq (August 19, 2012). VIEW: The 'bloody' Punjab partition — V —Ishtiaq Ahmed. Daily Times. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Barbara Brower; Barbara Rose Johnston (2007). DISAPPEARING PEOPLES?: INDIGENOUS GROUPS AND ETHNIC MINORITIES IN SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA. Left Coast Press. p. 135. ISBN 978-1-59874-121-6.
  4. ^ a b The Sikh Review. Sikh Cultural Centre. 2005. p. 53.
  5. ^ a b Ahmad Hasan Dani; Vadim Mikhaĭlovich Masson; Unesco (1 January 2003). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast : from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. UNESCO. pp. 320. ISBN 978-92-3-103876-1.
  6. ^ a b c d Om Gupta (1 April 2006). Encyclopaedia of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. p. 1233. ISBN 978-81-8205-389-2.
  7. ^ a b J. C. French (1931). Himalayan Art. Neeraj Publishing House. p. 17.
  8. ^ a b Priscilla Hayter Napier (1 January 1990). I have Sind: Charles Napier in India, 1841-1844. M. Russell. p. 50.
  9. ^ Country Life. Country Life, Limited. 1980. p. 463.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Parmanand Parashar (1 January 2004). Kashmir The Paradise Of Asia. Sarup & Sons. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-81-7625-518-9.
  11. ^ a b Nyla Ali Khan (15 September 2010). Islam, Women, and Violence in Kashmir: Between India and Pakistan. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-230-11352-7
  12. ^ a b Kulwant Rai Gupta (2003). India-Pakistan Relations with Special Reference to Kashmir. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 334. ISBN 978-81-269-0271-2
  13. ^ Country Life. Country Life, Limited. 1980. p. 463.

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