Closer to Kabul than Gangetic
REVIEW BY PEEJI PARIMOO
It was a refreshing experience to go through the book by the distinguished Kashmiri scholar Prof. Fida Mohammad Hassnain which besides tracing the origins from a social and religious perspective also vividly draws a picture of the region from the environmental aspects.
The author has divided the book into two parts. The first part and probably the more important of the two, deals with the ancient history, heritage and geography of Kashmir. His attempt to draw such a vast picture into a small canvass sets an example in condensing the essence of a long and tortuous history into a short, precise and exceedingly interesting and readable account.
It renders the complicated anthropological and cultural relationship of ancient Kashmir with Gandhara, eastern Afghanistan in its proper perspective and makes a reader conscious of the fact that Kashmir was closer in more than one way to the geographical belt of Kabul- Kashmir than with that of Indo Gangetic plains. It is also interesting to learn that the earliest Sanskrit scholar refer to the land of Kashmira and its inhabitants, the Kashmiras was the Sanskrit grammarian, scholar Panini of Gandhara (Present day eastern Afghanistan).
Another factor established by anthropologists that the book highlights is of the first wave of migrants to Kashmir, preceding the Aryans, was that of Khaskhas from Mesopotamia. These people in all probability could have been the people extensively referred to as Nagas in ancient Kashmiri scriptures. These people, referred to as “Mediterranean people” by anthropologists are credited with having established a far advanced civilization as discovered in modern times and referred to as the Harappan civilization.
It is quite logical to believe that the resultant Kashmiri Shaivism has been a contribution or a derivation of this early civilization promoted by the Mesopotamian migrants who came to be called Nagas. Evidence of which the author rightly points out to the various artifacts like the trident and bull on terracotta tablets, discovered by archaeological excavations.
For the Shiv Bakhtas several translations and fables from the Shaivist literature make an interesting reading. The beauty of the original text seems to have been well preserved like we find in the following para,
“Shiva and Parvati are the first self revelation of the Absolute, the male being the personification of passive aspect, the female being the activating divine energy-Shakti or universal power. This divine energy can have any form, but in order to present it in a concrete form, the Kashmir Shaivism has made it more intelligible by presenting it in human form as Shiva and as Parvati.”
Some research papers have been quoted by the author which raise many questions. The chief amongst these is the contention that Homo erectus made its first appearance in Kashmir and migrated from here to other parts of the World. Though this is in sharp contrast to the generally accepted theory that human erectus originated from Africa and migrated thenceforth to other parts of the world. It is also propounded that possibly Kashmir is the original home of Aryans which confuses any reader having some fundamental knowledge about history of human civilization as generally believed so far.
Over looking these controversial issues raised by quotes from some research papers, the book makes a very interesting reading both for those interested in the cultural history of Kashmir and for those interested in Shaivism.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 11 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 12 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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