KASHMIR: THE CROWN OF INDIA
Kashmir's Contribution to Indian Culture
by Dr. ( Mrs. ) Bimla K. Munshi
Some scholars in the Centre of Central Asian Studies of Kashmir University are probing in the direction of establishing the thesis that First man appeared in the Kashmir Valley. This has reference also to the Burzahom excavation and the remains of the so called pit-dwellers found there. All scientists agree that the earliest Homo Erectus named as Ramapithecus Panjabicus appeared in the Northern parts of India situated just south of Kashmir. In my opinion, all these facts point to the inescapable conclusion that Kashmir is the original home of the Aryans and that Aryan and Vedic Culture spread out to other parts of the country from Kashmir Valley itself. We should not forget that there was a time when Gandhar Pradesh ( present Afganistan and N. W. F. P. of Pakistan ) included Kashmir also. There are certain symbols and sacred things of Hinduism which were and are, found in Kashmir only. I mean to say that Kashmir Valley is the only place where all of them are found. Some of them are: Srichakra Fish (Sacred as Matsyavatora and worshipped here even now ) Lotus ( connected with Brahma, Vishnu and Lakshmi ) Bhoorjva ( Bhoj-Patra on which ancient scriptures were etched ), Devadaru Tree, Kesar, Kustoori, Snow, The Snow white God Shiv (Him-Rund-Endu-Karpur-Varna ), Mountains, Water, Nag and Sarp, (not only in Humun form ), Som ( it is being proved now that it was found in the mountains of Kashmir towards Sharada teerth ), Kesar Dhatura ( Used in Shiv Worship) and Kasturi these all have an essential place in our ancient traditions and also in present religious rituals.
The boat of Manu, when it was floundering in the floods of the Khand-Pralaya had found its final resting ground at a place called Manoravsarpan, which is situated in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Manu was the Adi Purush from whom sprang the modern human race and Kashmir was the place where the first human of the present civilisation originated.
The seals of the Sindh-Valley Civilisation have been deciphered and it has now been proved that they contain the picture of the Aryan God Shiv in Makhanasan Mudra. Foreign scholars have been trying to squeeze the Vedic, Ramayan and Mahabharat periods between 1500 B.C., (when Sindh Valley Civilisation was destroyed) to 600 B. C., to prove that the movement of Aryans had been from the west to the east, the time of Buddha ( 600 B. C. ) a historically confirmed fact. If the Sindh Valley civilisation is a vedic civilisation and/or it was destroyed earlier than 1500 B. C. then the movement of Aryans will be proved to have been from the East (from India ) to the west ( to Iran and other parts of Europe ). The creation of Vedas, their reduction into writing and the spread of their oral tradition, the spread of Aryan Culture to the eastern parts of India, the time-lag between the Vedic and Ramayana period, the Ramayan and Mahabharat periods, the Mahabharat and Buddha periods and the gradual evolution (or degeneration) of the Vedic language into Sanskrit, and of Sanskrit into Pali could not have taken place during only 900 years ( between 1500 B. C. to 600 B. C. ). Thus, when it has been proved that the Sindh Valley Civilisation is post Vedic ( not pre-vedic as some foreign scholars have been trying to project ), the movement of the Aryans had surely been from the east to the west and their original home was Kashmir. It is a different matter that more than 80% of the people of the Aryan stock in Asia are now muslims and they inhabit the areas of Kashmir, Pakistan, Afganistan and Iran.
There is another point of importance. The Jews who migrated from the city of Or to their present country of Israel in about 4000 B. C. have a mention of this movement in their scriptures but nowhere in the Vedas is a mention that the Aryan had come from anywhere outside India.
The Kashmiri language which is the only Apabhransha ( degenerate form ) of the Vedic language ( not of Sanskrit ) also proves that the original home of the Aryans was this sacred valley of Kashmir of noble traditions.
This is a very big subject to discuss, hence I am only listing below the other factors which prove that Kashmir has contributed to Indian culture more than any other ' Pradesh ' of the Country:
1) There is a tradition that Bhagwan Ramchandra had come to Kashmir in search of Devi Sita.
2) Lord Krishna himself had come to Kashmir to put on throne the widow ( Yashomati ) of the Kashmiri King defeated by him. There are hints in the Mahabharata that the forces of the King of Kashmir had taken part in great Indian war though they were on the side of the Kauravas, and that Takshak (Nag), who belonged to Kashmir later killed Raja Parikshit.
3 ) During the Buddhist period, Kashmir was a great centre of Buddhism and it was from Kashmir that this faith spread ( through Khotan) to China, Mangolia, Japan and Turkey (from where it was eliminated later). The last Buddhist Congress during the times of Kanishka was held in Kashmir.
4 ) Pantni the great grammarian of Sanskrit was also from Kashmir. Gandharadesh ( present Afganistan) and Kashmir were part of the same region in olden times.
5 ) It is a well known fact that even today the old Vedic rituals of marriages and Yajnas are followed only by the Brahmans of Kerala, Kashmir and Karnatak.
6) When Jagatguru Shankaracharya eliminated the impossible religion of Buddhism from India he came to Kashmir also. The Shankaracharya temple still stands as a monument of his visit.
7) After Takshila and Nalanda, the Centre of Sanskrit studies shifted to the Sanskrit University Brajbihara in Kashmir, which was, along with its huge library, later destroyed by Sikander Butshikhan.
8 ) A majority of the major poets and scholars of Sanskrit of India were Kashmiris: - Kalidas, Kshirswamin, Kalhan, Bilhan, Mammat, Anand Vardhan, Vaman, Kshemendra, Abhinav Gupta, Rojanak Shitianth and others. The first historically viable book of history in Sanskrit is Rajtarangini.
9) The Kashmiri Shaivism and Tantra Schools are also distinct contributions to the ethos of India. Even Vamachar is sort of a contribution of Kashmir to Indian rituals.
Thus Kashmir has been the home of Vedic Culture and religion, Buddhist faith, Sanskrit scholarship, Shaivism, Islam, Sufism ( Kashmiri Sufism is a little different from the Sufism which developed in other parts of the country ) and Sikhism.
Strategically also the contribution and importance of Kashmir after partition of the country has been of a notable nature. It seems certain that this importance of Kashmir in its modern political context will remain alive as long as India and Pakistan survive as separate nations.