The valley of Kashmir is a blessed valley because of its indescribable beauty – its lakes, rivers, rivulets, lush and rolling landscape, verdant hills and its backdrop of high snow-covered Himalayan ranges. “There is such a lyric charm about it with its softness, its gentleness and its dreamlike quality that it is difficult to believe that such place exists in this mundane world. Its other blessing is its rich and prefect climate. Here all the persons are well marked. The third blessing of the Valley are its people – they appear to be the product of environment.” Foreign influences have penetrated into the Valley from time to time, but they came more by way trade to find peaceful means. The old silk route to Central Asia passed through this valley, and this helped in the introduction of new ideas and fresh cultural elements from the Central Asia.
The main religion of the valley in former times was Buddhism and various form of Hinduism. Most probably, Buddhism entered into Central Asia from this Valley. For a long time two religions lived side by side and these not only reacted with each other, but also, evolved identical forms of religions practice. Islam was introduced here through the gentle persuasion of Sufi saints, and by and by it got identified with the ruling classes.
In other to study ancient society of Kashmir, one must depend on Kalhan’s “Rajatarangini” and ‘Neelmata Purana”. The latter ‘is an interesting study of economic life, including means of recreation such as music, dancing, theatrical performances and sports, arts and crafts, dresses and ornaments, cosmetics, food and drinks, domesticated animals, culture and trade, festivals and religious practices, philosophy and languages. These two books can safely be depended upon as the source of the history of ancient Kashmir. There was a system of recording history even in very ancient times, but it was very different from the system that was introduced in later times. The modern system had its origin in Greece”.
Throughout the history, the Kashmiris seem to have been interested in culture pursuits. Many ancient scholars appeared to have risen on the literary firmament of Kashmir to make lasting contributions of knowledge and culture. Sir George Grierson in his “Linguistic Survey of India”, VOL., II writes “ for upwards to 200 years, Kashmir has been the home of Sanskrit learning and from this small valley have issued master pieces of history, poetry, romance, fable and philosophy. Kashmiris are proud of the literary glories of their land. For centuries, it was the home of greatest Sanskrit scholars, and at least, one great Indian religion, Saivism, has found some its most eloquent teachers on the banks of the Vitasta. Some of the greatest Sanskrit scholars were born and wrote in the valley.
About the editor
Professor Dr. Krishan Lal Kalla (Pandit) has to his credit several books such as “Lalla Rookh, Glorious Heritage”, “Eminent Personalities of Kashmir” among his other works. A Gold Medalist Professor Kalla was associated with University of Jammu & Kashmir and Higher Education Department of vaious Colleges of the Jammu & Kashmir State. He also did research on Indo-logical topics at Sharada Peeth Reseach Institution, Karan Nagar, Srinagar under Dr. R.K. Kaw.
Information Courtesy: Gulshan Books. From the pages of “Kashmir Heritage”
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