Kashmir : Our heritage | Edited by | Prof. K.L. Kalla | Part 5
Kashmir has contributed a lot to Pratyabhijna system of Kashmir Shaivism. It was originated by Somananda Utpaladeva Abhinava Gupta. (9th -12th AD). He must have been born by about beginning of the 12th Century at Parishaspora in Kashmir. In the chronicle, we come across a person named “Champaka” who is held in esteem by Kalhana Pandit. He is described as the lord of gate commander of frontier defences, in the later part of Harsha’s reign. Perhaps he was Kalhana’s father. Although, Nilmat Purana has furnished us with an account of the birth of Kashmir Valley, later the drainage of Sati-Sara, it is Kalhana who deserves credit for writing the history of this land with the available data, from the earliest to his date. This history deals not only with the history of monarchs but, also, with that of the people. It is no exaggeration to say that Kalhana was both a historian and a master “Kavi” “Rajtarangani“ is full of information regarding the conditions of ancient Kashmir . He had an observant eye and through training he had studied carefully the Vikram’s Kadevachirita, the historical
Kavya of the fellow country man, Bilhana, towards the last quarter of the 11th century. He had, also studied Bana’s “Harishacharita” and he had, also, knowledge of Mahabartha. Besides, he was a prominent “Kavi” of his time He makes a brief review of tall the earlier composition in the first Canto of Rajtarangani. Like a good historian he had made use of inscriptions and other antiquarian materials before writing the history. Mr. M.A. Stein first translated it in English.
Islam came to Kashmir in the 14th century. Kashmir became homeland of Sufism which contributed to the native Kashmir Philosophy and many new values, and the result was “Shaiva cum Sufi Doctrine”. This brought forth a rich heritage of humanism and universal brotherhood. (Refer to “Encylopedia of Islam, Religion and Ethics”, Vol 12 – “Suffism”, by A.J.Arberry). The Advent of Islam made such an impression especially in the North, that conversion did not extinct the prevailing culture, but offered good opportunities of intimate relations. The Muslims adopted ancient Hindu culture and gave in return some of their own to Hindus to adopt. There was a blending of cultures, which in no way destroyed the ancient culture , Sir J Marshall had observed, “ Seldom in the history of mankind has the spectacle been witnessed of two civilization, so vast and so strongly developed yet so radically dissimilar, as the Hindus and Muslims, meeting and mingling together”.
Folk dances and folklore received special attention and ancient works like “Katha Sagar” and “Brahat Katha” were translated in Persian and Turkish. The noble king Zain-ul-Abidin (The Badshah) also played a special role in embracing and upholding Kashmiri culture. The court historian, PT. Zona Raj has observed, “ The King, sitting on a lotus throne in the form of Ganesha, studied the ancient works of Rishis and visited with all the devotion all “tirthas” observing all Hindu customs. During the last few years of his life, the court physicians Shri Bhat read out to him verses from Panchastavi, written by Pandit Dharmacharya. The Kashmiri Pandits made a name in Persian prose and poetry. Modh. Azam Dedamari has given a full account of the Hindu and Muslim period and helped to create unity among all sections of people ie. Lal Ded, Shahzanandji (popularly known as Nund Reshi or Sheik Noor Din-Wali) Rupa Bhawani and great poet and writers like Raj Arzbed, Rasul Mir, Mohd Gami, Premanandji, Sahib Koul.
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”
Image Courtesy: Heritage India