KASHMIRI MUSLIM’S DIASPORA IN PUNJAB UNDER MAHARAJA RANJIT SINGH

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Dr. Robina Yasmin
Dr. Fakhar Bilal
Dr. Turab ul Hassan

Abstract

History of Kashmir is full of tales of terror and oppression. For centuries, despite change of rulers and reigns, sufferings of Kashmiris have continued unabated. Sikh rule under Maharaja Ranjit Singh is particularly, accused of persecution of Kashmiris. This persistent privation forced many Kashmiris to leave their homeland and settle in other areas of the Punjab during Sikh rule. Maharaja Ranjit Singh replaced eight governors one after the other, mainly on account of charges of persecuting Kashmiris however; neither miseries of Kashmiris halted nor their migration to other parts of Punjab. In addition to this ‘push’, establishment of factory of Kashmiri shawls and several residential colonies in Lahore and other parts of Punjab, also attracted lots of Kashmiris to Punjab where better prospects of employment, habitation and self-esteem existed. The current study therefore, would mainly focus on various ‘push and pull’ factors that forced Kashmiris to abandon their homes and settle in various parts of the Punjab during the Sikh rule. Additionally, the study will also explore, in the light of primary and secondary sources, the existing narrative against Maharaja Ranjit Singh for persecuting and forcing relocation of Kashmiris, and see if these allegations hold some ground or these are mere stereotypes and part of some larger conspiracy theory to divide the Muslims and the Sikh communities.

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