The Afghan Subedars have adopted a brutal and difficult mode of governance in Kashmir. Some proved harsh masters of subjects, while others were gentle and kind. There is no evidence that the Afghan Subedars held song and dance performances by either men or women in their palaces.

However, Ameer Khan Jawansher [1771-1776] was the most romantic character among them. He married a beautiful girl from the Shia community of Hanjis of Nandpora, Srinagar, which naturally made him be kind to them.

He used to have a good time with his wife & loved ones in Sona Lank, which he had rebuilt. Sipping cups of wine, he often entertained himself with dance and girls’ song performances at Sona Lank.

In Sikh times, Kashmiri dancers were called “nautch girls”, the title which was given to dancers from all over northern India, all over Punjab, towards the end of India’s Mughal rule . “Nautch” is derived from the Hindi word “nach” which means “dance consisting mainly of gesticulation with forward and backward shuffling motion” and “nach” is derived from the Sanskrit word “nritya”, through Prakrit “nachcha”.

In 1835, Vigne was with the Sikh Governor, Kernel Mihan Singh[1834-1841] in the gardens of Shalimar. Sikh Subedar taking the country spirit listened to the nautch-girls who played the nautch in front of him with the company of musicians singing and playing their violins. A troupe of dancers and singers has always been a striking feature of the river procession of the Sikh Governor, Diwan Krippa Ram [1827-1831 AD].

The nautch girls also performed in Shalimar Garden, Shergadhi Palace in front of Sikh governors, courtiers and English dignitaries. About the Kashmiri dancers and singers, Hugel who was the royal guest of Ranjit Singh and who was in Kashmir in September 1835 writes that throughout northern India the girls were called “Nauch girls”, sometimes “Kanchanis ” and more politely “Nachwali”. » dancers.

They were under government surveillance. This was the condition of these dancers all over India. They weren’t much better than slaves. He adds about the Kashmiri dancers: “These poor creatures are doomed to a hard fate; they are not allowed to sing or dance without permission, and if they get it, a government officer always accompanies them, who seizes whatever they receive. When I dismissed the troupe, they demanded one hundred rupees for the evening performance”.

Nautch performances by nautch girls from Punjab were a permanent feature of the Lahore court on the occasion of Hindu-Sikh festivals, other royal functions and celebrations. Kashmiri dancers also performed nautch at the Sikh Darbar in Lahore. Hugel named two of them as “Heloise” & “Kaira” who were the prettiest in the troupe with ornaments decorating them. He watched the nautch performances of nautch girls from Punjab and Kashmir.