Zainulabadin is mainly remembered in Kashmir as BUDSHAH (The great king). He ruled the country from 1418 to 1470. In spite of the lapse of nearly more than five hundred years, he is still loved for his good and noble deeds, and attempts made for the welfare of his state. Soon after his take over, the whole administrative machinery had virtually collapsed as a result of the narrow minded policy of his predecessors. So Zainulabadin was required to reconstruct from a scratch. It was indeed a hard task, but he accomplished it. Among countless notable things promotion of Agriculture, arts and crafts, of documents, construction of the irrigation canals across the length and breadth of the state, besides reforms in Administration and judiciary are quite laudable.
Owing to nonstop lawlessness, and insecure conditions which prevailed during the preceding reigns, the state was in turmoil. It was not uncommon for gangs to walk into villages at will, to rob, loot and walk away with no consequences. His main task was to stop all administrative evil, and get safety restored. Land revenue and Registration of Documents)….
A noteworthy contribution of Zaul-ul-abdain, the king ordered the registration of all important documents, as there was no practice of registering the documents. As a result of which forgery was common, and practice of tampering with revenue records were noticed. He once resolved a case of deceit and forgery on the merit of the case.
Case History…………… once a peasant named Lala Raja from Sopore village sold one of his ten plots of land to a neighbor. After the death of Lala Raja, the buyer under greed forged an entry into the sale deed to the effect that deceased had sold him all of plots, and violently took possession of rest of the plot. Shortly after this incident, Lala Raja's son appealed to the seemingly the transaction could not be challenged. Very wisely the king ordered to put the sale deed into a bucket of water. The insertion immediately got erased. Upon this the forger was given exemplary punishment. To prevent such fraudulent incidents once for all, the king ordered the registration of all revenue documents.
Two wives of a person were jealous of each other, and would often create ugly scenes. So much so, one of them killed one of her own children, and blamed the other lady of the heinous crime. The king threatened the accused of serious consequences but she was adamant on her innocence. Zainulabadin very wisely asked the lady, if you become naked and in presence of courtiers and men around, you are permitted to go home, that might be proof of your innocence but the lady replied, it is better to hang me than to act in this way.' The king summoned the complainant separately and repeated the same question to her. She immediately began to undress. Here the king stopped her and passed the verdict. Act is yours. Following intense interrogation she confessed the crime. Public Distribution system was made so efficient under kings supervision and guidance, that even under extreme famine there remained a proper supply of food grains from state granaries and government machinery informed the public of these prices, through beating of drum and in written on copper plates. Besides made mandatory for the trader's to sell grains at the prescribed rates.
All credit goes to Zainulabadin, to establish (Mahifiz Khanna) Land record's office at Sopore, after finding loopholes in land records. He put revenue agency and lawmakers to task of drafting revenue laws so that there was an end to malpractices in revenue department. He divided the country into many 'parganas' group of villages and bifurcated the Districts into subdivision. A new iron chain (Jareeb) for measurement of land was introduced. Very holding of the cultivator in each village was thus measured under proper settlement of the land and records were maintained on copper plates and deposited in Record room at village Sopore. So Zainulabadin was the first to take major land properly stored in state granaries. After fixing the land revenue judiciously, the task of collection of land revenue officials for the work done. At the same time officials were warned to be scrupulously honest while recovery of the land revenue was in operation. The king did his best to ease the sufferings of those farmers who had suffered because or repeated famines of 1462/63. Paddy became costlier than gold during this period. In view of this the king asked the government functionaries to provide free food to all and suspended that land revenue collection till the normal conditions got restored. He took into custody all black marketeers and hoarders and made them return their black money. So probably the first major settlement of the land in the Greater Kashmir was taken during Zainulabadins period, fallowed by Akbar the great, who visited Kashmir three times and made another settlement under the supervision of Todar Mul, who efficiently carried the job from village Pattan on the pattern of Zainulabadin, followed by another historical land settlement, by legendary Sir Walter Lawrence, settlement commissioner that look him six complete years to complete. Till date the blue print of which remains so perfect that even the best modern gadgets find no flaw in its accuracy. Unfortunately we are still struggling to complete the land settlement in our part of Kashmir past thirty years will all modern gadgets in place.
Undoubtedly Zainulabadin's period was golden period of Kashmir, and during his rule administration received full attention. Efficiency, justice and public welfare were the watch words of his administration. He will remain eternal leader and most loved leader of Greater Kashmir. Many his soul rest in peace.
(Nissar H. Gilani is former Assistant Commission Revenue Department)