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Kalhana, Sarswat Brahmins

By  M.M. Munshi

I must congratulate you for bringing out the special September issue of your esteemed journal. Most of the articles are very interesting as well as informative. Further this letter has reference to two articles of the said issue “Dr. B.N. Sharga -the living Kalhan” by Kuldip Raina and “Saraswat Brahmins”. “With the spirit of let Truth prevail” I beg to point out that parts of the said articles are not factual.

Pt. Kalhana son of Campaka the illustrious minister of Harsa and other Kings of Kashmir) was the first indigenous historian of the Indian sub -continent to record history with true perspective. Prof. R.C. Majumdar formerly (i) Head of the Department of ancient history and culture, Nagpur University, (ii) Vice Chancellor and Prof. of History Dacca University, (iii) Honurary Head of the department of history, Bhartia Vidya Bhawan and general editor and part author of “History and culture of Indian People” has paid a glowing tribute to Kalhana for having set the tradition of art of compiling history in real perspective.

Kalhana has compiled the history of Kashmir in eight Tarangas (cantos) in Raj Tarangini (River of Kings) from the time of King Gonanda I regarded as  contemporary of Kurus and Pandvas to the almost of middle of 12th century A.D., a period of several thousand years.    Besides history his work reflects the culture, geography and other aspects of ancient Kashmir.

On the other hand Dr B.N. Sharga has compiled detailed family histories of well-known mostly Hindi-speaking Kashmiri Pandits whose ancestors had migrated from Kashmir to Indian Plains of Punjab, U.P. Rajasthan etc in eighteenth century. His painstaking researches revealed more than what their present day defendants knew themselves. But whenever Dr. Sharga has written political history of Kashmir ancient or of recent past, his writings betray the fact that he has mostly relied on heresay and not on authentic and trustworthy documents. His article “Trifurcation of J&K State” is one of the examples. The comments for the same have also been documented in your special issue of September 05 with the title “Distortion of Kashmir History”. Dr. Sharga about two years back advocated that Kashmiri Muslim families with surname DAR are converts to Islam from Kashmiri Pandits with the surname of DHAR. No historian of Kashmir or Kashmiri Pandits have accepted the idea to be factual. DARS are not converts from DHARS but Damars the feudal lords during the Hindu Rule.

Equating Dr. Sharga with Kalhana is like comparing Emperor Ashoka with a ruler of pre-independence princely state of Indian sub-continent.

In the same article it has been mentioned that certain Kashmiri Shia families settled in Lucknow trace their ancestry to Shah Hamdan (Syed Ali Hamdani) which seems to be their wish full thinking as Syed Ali Hamdani who started converting Hindus to Islam by persuasion was a Sunni and not a Shia. He lived in Kashmir for about 6 years and left Kashmir via Hazara but died on the way to Iran in 1384. His son Mohammad Ali Hamdani arrived in Kashmir in 1393 and spent 12 years in desecrating destroying, and damaging Hindu places of worship beyond repair tectonic  persecuting, converting Hindus to Islam by force in collaboration with Sikandar Butishikan before he departed from Kashmir in 1405. Shia sect was introduced into Kashmir by about 1484 by Shamas-ud-Din Iraqi and others.

According to the other article “Saraswat Brahmins” - editor Sarwat Brahmins are original inhabitants of Saraswati Valley in Kashmir does not stand scrutiny. Neither Saraswati flowed through Kashmir nor the area through which Sarawati River flowed formed part at any time of the domain of Kashmirian Kings. It has been proved beyond any doubt by historical, archaeological, geomorphological as well as geological evidences that River Sarasvati flowed through present day southern Punjab, Haryana, Bhawalpur (Pakistan), western Rajasthan, Eastern Sind (Pakistan), independent of Indus system and Gujrat before falling into Rann of Cutch which used to be an even inland sea about 1500 years back.

It drieded up in stages as its main feeders (i) Yamuna got diverted due to tectonic movements along NE extremity of Aravali axis occupying a tributary of Chambal joining the ganges system in Mahanbarata times and (ii) Satadru (Sutluj) also got diverted due to no moments and joined Vipasa (Beas) after invasions of Indus system of North India by Alexender.

The Saraswat Brahmins who derived their clan name from the mightly river by virtue of living along its banks migrated to other places like Kashmir, Punch, North west of undivided Punjab; Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra, Karnataka as far Kerala after the river dried up. It is highly improbable to believe that all the Saraswat Brahmins in the first instance migrated from Saraswati Valley enblock to Kashmir and subsequently spread to other parts of the Country.

However it is possible that Sarasvat Brahmins from Kashmir Valley migrated to other parts of the Country during late 14th and early 15th century when they were ruthless by perseueted by Sikander But Shikan, Syed Mohammad Hamdani and others.

It may not be out of place to mention here that in POK a tributary of Kishenganga River known as Sargan / Kankotri originating from hills near Chilas meets the Lattar slightly upstream opposite the confluence of Madhumati Stream near Sharda Temple has been referred in scriptures as Sarasvati. But the course of its valley is too narrow and steep to have supported a sizable settlement.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel



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