Kashmir: The Saga Of Unparalleled Scenic Beauty
Agar Firdaus Bar Rue Zameen Ast, Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast, Hamin Ast—Jahangir
Kashmir has been a jewel in the crown of India and a place with unparalleled scenic beauty. Mahakavi Kalidas once wrote, “The place is more beautiful than Heaven and is the benefactor of supreme bliss and happiness. It seems to me that I am taking a bath in the lake of nectar here.” History of Kas’mira, gives us a sneak peek into the cultural history of Kashmir. The author of the book, Brigadier (Retd) Rattan Kaul was born in Srinagar and had his schooling from there. He joined Army and was commissioned in 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force). An HRD, Management and Defence Analyst, he has many books on military, history and plethora of articles on History, Defence Concepts and Kashmir centric papers to his credit.
This book is a result of his ten years research and writing effort, which covers many facets of Kashmir’s Aryans, Naga’s, Evolutuion, Rulers from Ancient times, Religious Era’s, Aberrations in Kalhan’s Rajtarangini and Goddesses of Kashmir. These are not the triumphs and travails of Aryan Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir, commonly reffered to as Bhatta or Kasmiri Pandit, but transition of Aryan Sarawat as a whole through millenniums of religious philosophies, search of identity, Gotra orientation, honorific’s; Bhatta and Pandit and selective surnames. This book intends to remind of Aryan roots, genesis of specific names and surnames, honorific, with details, to give insight into that era, before these pass into oblivion.
Divided into 10 chapters, this book is more informative than many other similar works of eminent authors as it contains almost everything documented about Kashmir from ancient times. This book is in two parts, covering the history of Kashmir Valley from the ancient times to the present in the first part and then it examines the philosophy and religious beliefs of the people. Starting from an account of the ancient rule, of Gonanda I the story goes through the period of Ashoka when religious conversions took place. The author quotes extensively from Kalhan’s Rajtarangini which was written in 11th century. The author traces the history of Kashmir through the Utpala, Gupta and Lohara dynasties and quotes from Somadeva’s Kathasaritasagar, a collection of various stories and legends. This is followed by accounts of the Moghuls, Afghans and Sikhs, and after this comes the Dogra rule period.
Lieutenant General (Retd) S K Sinha, Governor of Assam and Jammu and Kashmir, has written a foreword to the book. He has been associated with Kashmir right from 1947, when it suffered a brutal and barbaric invasion by Pakistan. History of Kas’mira is a composite compendium of all what we should know of Kashmir over the last over five millenniums, including events that shaped life in the beautiful valley of Sage Kashyap, land of Vitasta river and what Kalhan mentioned: “There even to this day drops of Sandal ointment offered by the Gods are to be seen at Nandikshetra, the residence of Shiva.” The industrious efforts made by Brigadier (Retd) Rattan Kaul, in writing this book, has resulted in bringing together information from various sources in an enjoyable and readable manner.
By Nilabh Krishna