Sikandar Butshikan

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Martand Sun Temple

Sikandar Shah Miri better known as Sikandar Butshikan ("Sikandar the Iconoclast"), was the sixth sultan of the Shah Miri dynasty of Kashmir. He ruled the kingdom from 1389 to 1413 and is remembered for his strenuous efforts to convert the Hindus of Kashmir to Islam. These efforts included Jihad, destruction of numerous old temples, prohibition of Hindu rites, rituals and festivals and even the wearing of clothes in the Hindu style. He is known as "Butcher Of Kashmir" and among the most hated figures in India.

Quotes[edit]

  • In these days he promoted a bramin, by name Seeva Dew Bhut, to the office of prime minister, who embracing the Mahomedan faith, became such a persecutor of Hindoos that he induced Sikundur to issue orders proscribing the residence of any other than Mahomedans in Kashmeer; and he required that no man should wear the mark on his forehead, or any woman be permitted to burn with her husband's corpse. Lastly, he insisted on all golden and silver images being broken and melted down, and the metal coined into money. Many of the bramins, rather than abandon their religion or their country, poisoned themselves; some emigrated from their native homes, while a few escaped the evil of banishment by becoming Mahomedans. After the emigration of the bramins, Sikundur ordered all the temples in Kashmeer to be thrown down; among which was one dedicated to Maha Dew, in the district of Punjhuzara, which they were unable to destroy, in consequence of its foundation being below the surface of the neighbouring water. But the temple dedicated to Jug Dew was levelled with the ground; and on digging into its foundation the earth emitted volumes of fire and smoke which the infidels declared to be the emblem of the wrath of the Deity; but Sikundur, who witnessed the phenomenon, did not desist till the building was entirely razed to the ground, and its foundations dug up....
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. III p.268-69
  • In another place in Kashmeer was a temple built by Raja Bulnat, the destruction of which was attended with a remarkable incident. After it had been levelled, and the people were employed in digging the foundation, a copper-plate was discovered, on which was the following inscription : —
    “ Raja Bulnat, having built this temple, was
    “ desirous of ascertaining from his astrologers
    “ how long it would last, and was informed by
    “ them, that after eleven hundred years, a king
    “ named Sikundur would destroy it, as well as the
    “ other temples in Kaslimeer.”
    The King was surprised, though vexed, that the Hindoo prophet should have predicted the truth, and declared, if they had placed the plate against the wall, he would have preserved the temple to belie the prophet. Having broken all the images in Kashmeer, he acquired the title of the Iconoclast, “Destroyer of Idols.”
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. III p.268-69
  • Firishta' attributes to Sikandar the demolition of all the Kashmirian temples save one, which was dedicated to Mahadeva, and which only escaped ' in consequence of its foundation being below the surface of the neighbouring water.'. (...) He most likely gave orders that they should all be overturned ; and I have no doubt that many of the principal temples were thrown down during his reign. For instance, the tomb of his own Queen in Srinagur is built upon the foundation, and with the materials of a Hindu temple ; likewise the wall which surrounds the tomb of his son Zeinu-1 Abidin was once the inclosure of a Hindu temple ; and lastly the entrance of a masjid in Nowa-Shehra of Srinagur, which, according to its inscription, was built during the reign of his son Zeinu-1 Abidin, is formed of two fluted pillars of a Hindu peristyle. These instances prove that at least three different temples in the capital alone must have been overthrown either by Sikandar or by one of his predecessors. But as the demolition of idol-temples is not attributed to any one of the earlier kings, we may safely ascribe the destruction of the three above mentioned to Sikandar himself."
    • Elliot, H. M. (Henry Miers), Sir; Ed. John Dowson (1871). The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period. London : Trübner & Co. Vol VI. Appendix, Note A. ON THE EARLY USE OF GUNPOWDER IN INDIA.
  • "He [Sikander] prohibited all types of frugal games. Nobody dared commit acts which were prohibited by the Sharia. The Sultan was constantly busy in annihilating Hindus and destroyed most of the temples.
    • Haidar Malik Chadurah: Tarikh-i-Kashmir; edited and translated into English by Razia Bano, Delhi, 1991, p. 55.)
  • "Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam and were massacred in case they refused to be converted'," (...)"And Sikandarpora (a city laid out by Sultan Sikandar) was laid out on the debris of the destroyed temples of the Hindus. In the neighbourhood of the royal palaces in Sikandarpora, the Sultan destroyed the temples of Maha-Shri built by Praversena and another by Tarapida. The material from these was used for constructing a 'Jami' mosque in the middle of the city."
    • Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir
  • During the reign of Sultan Sikandar, Mir Sayyid Muhammad, son of Mir Sayyid Hamadani came here, and removed the rust of ignorance and infidelity and the evils, by his preaching and guidance. He wrote an epistle for Sultan Sikandar on tasawwuf Sultan Sikandar became his follower. He prohibited all types of frugal games. Nobody dared commit acts which were prohibited by the Shariat The Sultan was constantly busy in annihilating the infidels and destroyed most of the temples.
    • Tarikh-Kashmir, edited and translated into English by Razia Bano, Delhi, 1991, p. 55.
  • He strived to destroy the idols of the infidels. He demolished the famous temple of Mahadeva at Bahrare. The temple was dug out from its foundations and the hole (that remained) reached the water level. Another temple at Jagdar was also demolish. Raja Alamadat had got a big temple constructed at Sinpur. (...) The temple was destroyed [by Sikander].
    • Khwajah Nizamu'd-Din Ahmad bin Muhammad Muqim al-Harbi: Tabqat-i-Akbari translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973
  • On account of his extensive charities, scholars from Iraq, Khorasan and Mawaraun-Nahar started presenting themselves in his court and Islam was spread. He held in great regard Sayyid Muhammad who was a very great scholar of the time, and strived to destroy the idols and temples of the infidels. He got demolished the famous temple of Mahadeva at Bahrare. The temple was dug out from its foundations and the hole (that remained) reached the water level. Another temple at Jagdar was also demolished' Raja Alamadat had got a big temple constructed at Sinpur. He had come to know from astrologers that after 11 hundred years a king by the name of Sikandar would get the temple destroyed and the idol of Utarid, which was in it, broken. He got this [forecast] inscribed on a copper plate which was kept in a box and buried under the temple. The inscription came up when the temple was destroyed [by Sikandar]'.....The value of currency had come down, because Sultan Sikandar had got idols of gold, silver and copper broken and turned into coins.
    • Tabqat-i-Akhari, (also known as Tabqat-i-Akbar Shahi, Tabqat-i-Akbari, Tarikh-i-Nizami) by Khwajah Nizamud-Din Ahmad bin Muhammad Muqim al-Harbi, Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Uttar Taimur Kalina Bharata, Aligarh 1959, Vol. II. p. 515-17, In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What happened to them
  • Sikander burnt all books the same wise as fire burns hay. All the scintillating works faced destruction in the same manner that lotus flowers face with the onset of frosty winter."
    • Srivara, Zaina Rajtarangini
  • He burned six mounds (1 mound is 37 kilos) of sacred threads worn by Hindus after massacring them (Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir). He killed the Hindus who put a tilak-mark on their forehead ( Hasan, Tarikh-i-Kashmir). He burnt many of the books of the Hindus. Srivara wrote: "Sikander burnt all books the same wise as fire burns hay". Srivara also recorded: "All the scintillating works faced destruction in the same manner that lotus flowers face with the onset of frosty winter." (Srivara, Zaina Rajtarangini). Sikandar drowned many Hindus in the Dal Lake (Jonraj, Kings of Kashmir). According to some sources only eleven families of Brahmins were left in Kashmir due to Sikandar's policies.
    • Cambridge History of India, III, p.281
  • "Towards the fag end of his life, he (Sultan Sikandar) was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses, destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejbehara. He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of infidels,"
    • Bharistan-i-Shahi
  • "There was no city, no town, no village, no wood, where the temples of the gods were unbroken. When Sureshavari, varaha and others were broken, the world trembled, but not so the mind of the wicked king. He forgot his kingly duties and took delight day and night in breaking images."
    • Jonraj: Rajtarangini
  • Or take the case of Suhabhatta, the chief minister of Sikandar Butshikan of Kashmir (1389-1413 AD). Suhabhatta who had renounced his ancestral faith for Islam is known as Suha in the Rajataringini of Jonaraja. This historian of Kashmir records: “Instructed by mlechhas, (Suha) instigated the king to break down the images of Gods. The king forgot his kingly duties and took a delight day and night in breaking images… He broke the images of Martanda, Vishaya, Isana, Chakravarati and Tripuresvara… There was no city, no town, no village, no wood where Suha and the Turushka left the temples of Gods unbroken.
    • Jonraja, quoted in Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
  • Kashmir's conversion to Islam on a large scale also dates from the beginning of the fifteenth century....However, it was during the reign of Sikandar Butshikan (1394-1417), that the wind of Muslim proselytization blew the strongest. He invited from Persia, Arabia and Mesopotamia learned men of his own faith; his bigotry prompted him to destroy all the most famous temples in Kashmir - Martand, Vishya, Isna, Chakrabhrit, Tripeshwar, etc. Sikandar offered the Kashmiris the choice between Islam and death. Some Kashmiri Brahmans committed suicide, many left the land, many others embraced Islam, and a few began to live under Taqiya, that is, they professed Islam only outwardly. It is said that the fierce intolerance of Sikandar had left in Kashmir no more than eleven families of Brahmans. ...By the time of Akbar’s annexation of Kashmir (C.E. 1586) the valley had turned mainly Mohammadan. When Father Xavier and Brother Benedict went to Kashmir with Akbar this is what they learnt: “In antiquity this land was inhabited by the Moors, possibly a reference to Timur (contemporary of Sikandar the Iconoclast), and since then the majority of the people accept Islam.” When Kashmir was under Muslim rule for 500 years (1319-1819) Hindus were constantly tortured and forcibly converted.
    • K. S. Lal (1993). Indian Muslims: Who are they. New Delhi: Voice of India.
  • Mir Sayyid ‘Ali Hamadani (1314-1385) began to get Hindu temples demolished and the Hindus converted by reckless use of force throughout his sojourn in Kashmir... Thanks to the influence of Hamadani’s Sufi son Mir Muhammad (b. 1372), who stepped into his father’s shoes after the latter had left Kashmir after failing to pull on well with Qutb ad-Din, Sikandar (1389-1413), a liberal Sultan of Kashmir, turned into a ferocious Sultan for the Hindus and began to be known as Sikandar Butshikan (iconoclast), and his powerful Brahmana noble Suhabhatta embraced Islam under the name Sayf ad-Din and became a terror for the Brahmanas. Guided by the teachings of Mir Muhammad, Sikandar played havoc with the Hindus through Sayf ad-Din, destroyed their temples, undertook forcible conversions, and imposed Jizyah on them for the first time in Kashmir. Indeed, he out-Aurangzebed Aurangzeb in his Hindu-persecution-mania.
    • Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions (1990)

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