An insight into Kashmir history

M V Suresh

Name of Book : Kashmir Divine Connect & Sikh Rule

This book is an essential read, if you want to know the history of the magnificent land called KASHMIR.
The erudite author Commodore D S Sodhi, NM; seems to have extracted the nectar from a collection of hundred books. It is precise and incisive, and it flows smooth as Jhelum, the River that makes Kashmir the heaven on Earth. The contribution by the saints, the rishis, munis and the sufi saints has evolved into what is known as Kashmiryat. This has been assimilated, absorbed and painted with a unique brush by the creative author. The incredible trace of human evolution from 4500 BC and the carving on the rock of the Supernova HB-9. It is unbelievable, yet it is there propounded by renowned scientists, the sheer magnitude of the distant past is truly remarkable.
The author has succeeded in putting such complicated concepts with clarity and expressed it so succinctly that it reads like a fairy tale. The canvas so wide that hundreds of leaders down the centuries built and destroyed the virgin land. The names of those conquered, ruled and eventually decimated by invaders have been enunciated by the author with erudition and clarity.
The fascinating tale of Koh -I- Noor and Maharaja Ranjit Singh and how the shrewd Maharaja managed to acquire the fabulous Diamond has its own story, beautifully brought by the author. The death of Ahmed Shah in 1772 AD saw a series of battle for the throne. Shah Zamani’s brother Mahmud was dethroned, blinded and imprisoned. A common procedure adopted to eliminate the threat. Shah Shuja was arrested and imprisoned in Kashmir. His wife escaped with the treasure and sought refuge in Lahore.
The Begum promised to give Ranjit Singh the Koh – I – Noor, if he rescued her husband.Ranjit Singh sent a force of 12,000 along with forces of Fateh Khan who had sought help from Ranjit Singh. Sikh Forces rescued Shah Shuja and brought him to Lahore.
The promised Koh – I – Noor was not given. Ranjit Singh did not imprison or use force. He waited, the patience bore fruit. It was her husband Shah Shuja who handed the fabulous Diamond to Ranjit Singh on 1stJune 1813. An example of the shrewdness and sagacity of Ranjit Singh so elegantly executed. The great Diamond obtained without tear or bloodshed. Ranjit Singh was one of the greatest kings of Punjab. He was brilliant in military warfare yet benevolent to his subjects. They not only adored him, but also loved him. The sheer force of his personality made him a legend.
The book explicitly gives an insight into some important historical aspects of Kashmir. Kashmir’s Divine connect with various religious faiths followed as well as beliefs like mysticism, rishism, sufism have been well explained. The book also brings out the battles fought by Guru Gobind Singh. A great military commander and a Guru. It was Guru Gobind Singh who turned the sikhs into a formidable military force. Travel of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, first Sikh Guru in Kashmir and spread of Sikhism in Kashmir too have been well covered. The book giving a detailed account of the Sikh Rule also analyses various administrative issues and challenges experienced during Sikh rule.
The author has handled the sensitive aspect of kashmiriyat and composite culture with complete clarity and expressed his pain with regard to the present turmoil in the valley. Helpless, invoking the Divine Connect of Kashmir, he seems to convey the message that may be Divine intervention in bringing peace to the valley is the need of the hour.
The book is written with a passion, the author a true Sikh has made the teachings of his Sikh Gurus his strength. There is flair of originality in the rendition of a unique chapter in Indian History.
Commodore D S Sodhi’s book would become a treasure in any home.
(The author is a commodore)