The Start Of A Dynasty: Sultan Shams-ud-din

Around the fourteenth century, Turkish travellers seeking employment were a common sight in Kashmir. Kings were glad to receive people with potential and often granted them both work and land. Such was the case of Shah Mir who was granted a village as jagir and a job by then king Suhadeva.

Due to his intelligence and tact, Shah Mir steadily climbed the ladder of power. He gained the new king Rinchana’s confidence and was appointed as his heir’s guardian.

After Rinchana, his queen Kota Rani became the effective ruler. Mir assisted her in battling Turk invaders and thus became popular with the locals. Using diplomacy, tactful alliances and morally ambiguous means of manipulation, Shah Mir became one of the most powerful ministers in the Queen’s court.Indeed, such was his influence that the Queen herself began to feel threatened. She appointed another candidate(Bhatta Bhiksana) as the prime minister, hoping he would be able keep Mir in check.This only served to enrage Mir. Bhiksana was conveniently killed. A proposal was placed before the Queen: to marry her minister and make him king or suffer the consequences in the face of a charging army.

Eventually, Shah Mir got what he wanted. He became the King and named himself Sultan Shams-ud-Din.

Shams-ud-din proved to be a capable ruler. He tried his best to improve the state of his kingdom. He kept feudal chiefs in control and protected peasants from exploitative officials.He abolished extra taxes and all oppressive laws.

The Sultan introduced a new era called the “Kashmiri era”. This calendar started from 720 AH and remained in use for quite some time.Shams-ud-din died in 1342 and was buried in Andarkot. His rule lasted a mere three years but the legacy he left behind lasted long. The Shah Miri dynasty ruled Kashmir for more than two centuries.

Source of information: “Kashmir Under The Sultans”, others.

Andleeb Bilal

Class X

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