Zainul Abidin (1420-1470):
Zainul Abidin is one of the very few rulers who ruled for about 50 years and remained very popular.
On account of his liberal religious policy, promotion of learning, and interest in art and architecture he can be called the fore-runner of Akbar. He also look several steps for the welfare of his subjects.
Liberal religious policy:
He withdrew all the orders issued by Sikander Shah which in any manner were against the Hindus. He brought back to Kashmir all the Hindus who had left on account of the repressive policy of Sikander Shah. Those who wanted to revert to Hinduism were given freedom to do so. They were restored their grants, libraries and temples.
He abolished ‘Jizya’ and forbade cow slaughter.
He appointed Hindus on high posts in administration.
He established matrimonial relations with the Hindus. Two of his queens were the daughters of a Hindu ruler of Jammu.
Zainul paid great attention to the economic development of his state. He encouraged the development of several crafts such as gold-heating, polishing and stone-cutting etc. He also fostered the art of shawl-making, musket making and the art of manufacturing fire works. He sent two skilled persons to Samarquand to learn the art of paper making and book-binding. He took several steps to provide employment to large number of people.
Development of agriculture:
He issued instructions to revenue officials to be liberal and honest in dealing with the peasants. He dug canals to provide irrigation facilities. He gave grants of grain and fodder to the people during natural calamities like famine. He got the entire land measured and kept records of all farms.
Control over market:
He lessened the burden of taxation of the people and carried out currency reforms. He fixed the price of commodities and established control over the market. He made essential for the traders to sell grain at the fixed price.
Development of literature:
The Sultan was well-versed in Persian, Kashmiri, Sanskrit and Tibetan. He was a great poet. He gave patronage to scholars. Several Arabic and Persian works were translated into local languages. The Mahabharata and Rajtarangini were translated into Persian.
Love for music:
He loved music. The ruler of Gwalior sent him two rare music books in Sanskrit.
Friendly relations with foreign rulers:
He maintained cordial relations with the rulers of Mecca, Egypt and Khorasan etc. He was also on good terms with the rulers of Delhi, Gujarat and Gwalior etc.