Let’s go back to the era of Sultan Sikandar known to the history as Butshikan, meaning, iconoclast. He was a religious fanatic, the like of whom would put any bigot to shame.
In 1394 Sultan Sikandar came to the throne and soon earned the nick name of Butshikan or Iconoclast, from the intense zeal he showed in destroying the grand old temples which the Hindu rajas had bequeathed to Kashmir.
He attracted learned Musalmans to his court, Hindu temples were felled to the ground, and for one year a large establishments was maintained for the demolition of the grand Martand temples . Having glutted his vengeance on Hindu temples Sikandar turned his attention to the people who had worshipped in them ,and he offered them three choices, Death, Conversion or Exile. Many fled, many were converted and many were killed, and it is said that though this monarch burnt “seven mounds‟ of sacred threads of murdered Brahamans.
It is pleasant to turn to the more enlightened reign of Zain-ul-Abidin, who succeeded to the throne of Kashmir. The result of his religious tolerance was the return of exiled Kashmiri Pandits.
HOW DID ZAIN-UL-ABIDIN BECOME BENEVOLENT TOWARDS KASHMIRI HINDUS ?
There was now practically only one caste, that of the Brahmans which represented Hinduism in Kashmir. It was from this time that Kashmiri Pandits were split into three divisions. Those that took to the use of Persian and entered in official life were known as the Karkun Brahmans, those who adopted the functions of priests were known as Bachbatt Pandits; while those who devoted themselves to Sanskrit learning formed the class known as the Pandits.
The ruthless and cruel regimes preceding his rule had compelled more than fifty percent of Hindu population to seek refugee outside Kashmir. It is he, who on the request of Sri Bhatta, his most favorite and life protector counselor, recalled them to their native abode.
The descendants of the Brahmans of Zainu-l-Abidin‟s time are the Pandits of today Thus the Kashmiri Pandit took his birth in his modern shape, though till then the name Kashmiri Pandit/Brahman was not coined to describe this community which was described as Bhatta.
Even now a Kashmiri Pandit at home describes himself as a Bhatta and it is by this name that he is described by others in Kashmir