Kashmir : Our heritage | Edited by | Prof. K.L. Kalla | Part 5

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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