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Which Ruler is Known as “Akbar of Kashmir”?

Kashmir, often referred to as the “Paradise on Earth,” is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, attracting countless tourists annually from both India and abroad. However, Kashmir’s significance is not limited to its natural beauty; it also holds a rich historical legacy. One of the most prominent figures in this history is Zain-ul-Abidin, who is often referred to as the “Akbar of Kashmir.” This article delves into the life and contributions of Zain-ul-Abidin, explaining why he earned this distinguished title.

Kashmir – The Paradise on Earth

Kashmir’s stunning valleys, picturesque scenes, and cold, snowy winters make it a top destination for nature lovers and tourists. The region’s natural allure is so profound that it is famously known as the “Paradise on Earth.” Every winter, the snowfall enhances its beauty, drawing a large number of visitors who come to witness its enchanting charm.

Who was Zain-ul-Abidin?

Zain-ul-Abidin was the eighth Sultan of Kashmir, ruling from 1420 to 1470. He belonged to the Shah Mir dynasty, which was established by Shah Mir in 1339, making Shah Mir the first Muslim ruler of Kashmir. Zain-ul-Abidin succeeded his brother Sikandar Shah, known for his harsh policies towards Kashmiri Pandits and Hindu temples.

Why is Zain-ul-Abidin called the Akbar of Kashmir?

Zain-ul-Abidin is compared to the Mughal Emperor Akbar due to his inclusive and progressive policies that promoted religious tolerance and cultural development, much like Akbar’s rule in the larger Indian subcontinent. Here are the key reasons why Zain-ul-Abidin is revered as the “Akbar of Kashmir“:

Religious Tolerance and Social Reforms

 Zain-ul-Abidin reversed many of his predecessor’s harsh policies. While Sikandar Shah had exiled Kashmiri Pandits and destroyed several Hindu temples, Zain-ul-Abidin restored these temples and encouraged the Pandits to return to the valley. He abolished the jizya tax, which was imposed on non-Muslims, and banned cow slaughter, a practice offensive to Hindus.

Promotion of Literature and Culture

Under Zain-ul-Abidin’s reign, Kashmir saw a significant cultural and literary renaissance. He was a patron of arts and learning, fostering the growth of literature and music. Zain-ul-Abidin himself was knowledgeable in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Persian, and Kashmiri languages. He commissioned the continuation of the historical chronicle “Rajatarangini” by the Sanskrit scholar Jonaraja.

Administrative Reforms and Governance

Zain-ul-Abidin appointed Hindus to important positions within his administration, showcasing his commitment to inclusive governance. His policies promoted unity and harmony among different religious communities in Kashmir. This era of peace and prosperity under his rule is a testament to his effective leadership and vision.

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