IJSRP, Volume 3, Issue 6, June 2013 Edition [ISSN 2250-3153]
Aijaz Hussain Malik
This paper is and endeavour to decipher the roots of conversion to Islam in Kashmir with an emphasis on the regressive state policies and Brahmanical Social domination, which pushed masses at times to the extremes of hunger, desperation and miseries in a society based on Varna ashram dharma, a scenario which the Sufi missionaries availed both by preaching an ideology wherein differences based on caste hierarchy, purity and pollution and riches mattered least, and by introducing new crafts thereby offering alternative means of production to the people seething under social and economic exploitation. . The second part, the hitherto untreated aspect of conversion attempts to underline the degraded and depraved social and economic condition of women as emerges from the contemporary sources particularly Rajatarangini in the period prior to the arrival of Sufi missionaries in Kashmir and the reformative initiatives undertaken by the Sufis after their arrival for restoring women to their rightful place in the society both by working in unison with the rulers to call for abolition of redundant, demeaning and obsolete social customs and traditions, and by spreading awareness among the womenfolk regarding their position in the society, thereby broadening the horizons of persuasive conversion and social base of Islam. The third part brings to highlight the Islamization by Sufis of neo-converts for whom departing from past legacy was more than difficult.