The historiography of early Kashmir differs radically from that of any other area of India in that among the original sources for the period there survives a detailed chronicle, the Rajatarangini of Kalhana. If such documents existed in other parts of India, they have long since vanished, and they have not been quoted or mentioned by other writers.
Kalhana's work displays both the merits and the defects of the typical chronicler all over the ancient and medieval world. For periods well before his own day he relied on earlier documents, which transmitted a comparatively small amount of reliable data among much legendary material which is of little use to the historian. When, however, he comes down to a period nearer his own times he is on firmer ground, for, being the son of a minister of the crown, he had access to `inside information', and much of his treatment of this period must be based on the oral testimony of his father and other politicians of the older generation, as sell as on personal recollections. Indeed some of his descriptions give the impression of eye-witness accounts.
This precious source, unique in the history of Hindu India, is not the only one from the period. Kashmir under the Loharas was a great sore of Sanskrit culture, and numerous writers, chief of whom was the versatile Ksemendra, left literature of many types, ranging from philosophy to pornography. Unlike most other parts of India, however, Kashmir has few inscriptions from the early period, but their absence is more than compensated for by the rich literary heritage of the region.
The period of the Loharas was one of endemic tension between the damaras and the kings of the Valley of Kashmir, when revolts were frequent and the rulers, many of whom were dissolute and others of whom use tyrannical, could often scarcely preserve law and order in their own capital. Yet it was a period of vigorous intellectual life, when all the arts flourished, fine temples were built, and great literature was composed.
The work of Dr. Krishna Mohan, which I have the privilege of introducing, forms an important contribution to the study of the history of pre-Muslim Kashmir. She has carefully analysed the historical data in her abundant sources, and has produced a study which is more comprehensive and thorough than any work on the subject hitherto published. Her work brings the period vividly to light and is important not only for the history of Kashmir, but for that of the whole of India at the time. I commend it to all students of the period, and indeed to all intelligent readers who know and love the beautiful valley and its surrounding mountains, which, for all their remoteness, have contributed so much to the culture of the Sub-continent.
This work represents my thesis which was approved by the University of London in 1958 for the degree of Ph.D. with a report from the distinguished Board of Examiners that it was suitable for publication as submitted. It could not be sent to the press for so long on account of pressure of official duties as Principal of a college. The delay has, however, been utilized to bring it up-to-date as far as possible.
The work is an attempt at reconstruction of the early medival social history of Kashmir with special reference to the Loharas (A. D. 1003-1171). The advent of the Loharas on the scene of Kashmir history marks a big dynastic change when the throne was bequeathed in an undisputed succession by Queen Didda in A. D. 1003 to Samgramaraja, the son of her brother Udayaraja of Lohara, a locality in the valley now called Loharin belonging to the territory of Parnotsa). (modern Poonch).
It is shown that despite geographical isolation this hill kingdom held a unique position among the adjoining hill territories and maintained friendly relations with distant parts of India.
Kingship in Kashmir, the king's relations with the ministers, the criteria for their appointment to various portfolios, bureaucracy and the local government form an interesting field of study. These together with the administration of army, revenue and justice have been fully discussed and analysed keeping in view the theories of government as enunciated by the Indian law-givers, the local authors and the working of the institutions is actual practice.
An attempt has been made to determine whether the social stem in Kashmir may in any sense be termed as feudal. The position of the Damaras-the landed aristocracy and other elements of the system have been fully described and put forth before the readers in a proper perspective. The various sections of society, the position of women, the system of education and the literary developments, food and dress give a clear insight into the early medieval Kashmir society. It is also shown that Buddhists, Tantricism. saivism, Vaisnavism and other minor sects flourished in perfect toleration.
Much valuable material is given in the five appendices containing an analysis of Kalhana' s impartiality while narrating the history of Kashmir in his famous Rajatarangini, the position that he held in the state, the rare element of historiography in this remote part of India, the Kha4as-the race to which the Loharas belonged, and the Damaras or the landed aristocracy.
During the preparation of this work it has been my good fortune to have worked under the guidance of Professor A. L. Basham .w in USA at the University of New Mexico, in whom we find a unique combination of a scholar of the most exacting standards and firm convictions and a teacher most gentle and understanding. I she this opportunity of acknowledging my deep sense of respect and gratitude for his kind sympathy, steady encouragement and valuable suggestions throughout the course of my studies. I am further indebted to him for writing a fore-word for this book.
I must express my gratitude to Professor C. H. Philips (then Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies), for helping me in many ways during my studies. My thanks are due to Dr. P. Hardy for having very readily given much of his valuable time in translating with me the Persian manuscripts that I have utilized. I owe acknowledgments to Professor J. D. M. Derrett, Professor K. A. Ballhatchet, the late Mr. C. A. Rylands and Professor R. A. Oliver, who helped me with their valuable suggestions in their respective fields. For illustrations, I am indebted to Mr. Douglas Barrett, formerly of the Oriental Antiquities Department of the British Museum. Professor A. K. Narain, Benaras Hindu University and Professor R. S. Sharma, University of Delhi gave much friendly guidance to me during their stay in London. To Mr. A. C. Bhatia (former news editor of The Tribune, Chandigarh), I am indebted for valuable suggestions. I owe my gratitude to Professor Ved Kumari Ghai, University of Jammu and her husband Dr. Ram Pratap for their unstinted help. My thanks are due to my sister, Mrs. Sushila Bakshi, her husband. Lt. Gen. Z. C. Bakshi, PVSM, mvc, vrc, vsm, my nephew, Mr. Rajeev Bakshi and my niece, Neelam Mohan who assisted me in many ways during the course of publication of the book.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
Art & Culture (715)
Emperor & Queen (479)
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend