Edited by: S.S.
Toshkhani and K. Warikoo
- Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation
published in India by
Peacock Lane, Shahpur Jat,
Delhi - 110049
is not merely a geo‑space, but is the geo-cultural matrix from which
thoughts and concept embedded in the depths of the consciousness of its people
have emanated, giving shape to their civilizational ethos. Kashmir has been a
mindscape or rather an ideogram representing cultural syndrome whose meanings
echoed far beyond its physical borders even in distant lands. The history of
Kashmiri Pandits has been synonymous for a large part with the deep core of
the values derived from this intimacy between man and nature.
texts repeatedly call it Kashmir Mandala, a name that encodes spatial and
temporal locus in terms of a sacred geography. The symbolism that that the
term signifies encompasses both the geographical meaning of a zone or a land
and a cosmic sphere car circle with the presiding deity occupying the central
spot. The mandala also symbolizes a sanctified cosmic, or an ideal city
according to Buddhist texts. The taxonomy of Kashmir Mandala has
geo‑political ramifications when one takes into consideration the
extended sphere and influence of the Valley outside its territorial frontiers.
Occupying a central place ill the wonder world of Himalayan culture, Kashmir
has contributed its serene vision and deep wisdom to the development of its
unique traditions. Prompted by historical factors and geographical location,
the people inhabiting this vast zone have been sharing with each other
religious beliefs and practices, ritual behaviour and moral attitudes,
artistic styles and architectural features, folklore and mythical legends
through centuries of cross‑regional exchanges and social interactions a
process in which the scholastic and artistic proclivities and activities of
Kashmiri Pandits have played a pervasive role. Ancient chroniclers have
repeatedly referred to the intimate historical and cultural links that existed
between Kashmir and Kangra, Chamba, Kullu and Spiti at one end and Taxila,
Gandhara and Kabul Valley at the other.
book presents an overarching study of the significant contributions made by
Kashmiri Pandits in core areas of Indian cultural and intellectual endeavours,
from aesthetics, poetics, dramaturgy, historiography, linguistics, literature,
folklore, transmission of the doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism, Kashmir Shaivism,
mural, architectural and sculptural art. With these narratives on the long
odyssey of the Kashmiri Pandits serving as the perspective, the volume
presents interesting anal insightful inquiries and scholastic analyses into
different spheres of this great cultural heritage.