By Upender Ambardar
The book under review titled "Tahqiq", written in nastaliq Kashmiri by Sh .Arjan Dev Majboor published in the year 1999 (price not mentioned), spanning into 183 pages encases nine diverse essays. The book besides being a recounting of the past history of Kashmir and its historical icons is also a perceptive account of travel cum memoir. The thoughtfully selected and compelling writings included in the book give an insightful account about Kanishka, the renowned and illustrious ruler and history and culture of Himalayan states. A history of Kashmir, Kashmir under the Buddhist and Hindu era,Kashmir as encompassed in 'Gulabnama', Ritualistic Kashmiri marriage songs in the backdrop of mythology, Mysore as seen by the author and lastly the author's literary odyssey. The narrative of the first essay entitled 'Kanishka, the great Kushan emperor', unfolds his multifaceted attributes as a determined ruler, an accomplished and gallant soldier, an expert on warfare and a political strategist, who ruled over a vast area of the Indian sub-continent in the second century AD with an iron grip for twenty three years. His capital Purashpur, the present day Peshawar, a flourishing city of plenty was well connected both with the then extended Indian peninsula and the Central Asia through silk route. The hitherto lesser known facts and details about the Kushan dynasty, the trade and cultural ties, the architectural masterpieces of the Gandhara style and the hosting of the third Buddhist World Conference at Kundalvan-Srinagar outskirts are deftly pieced together. The second essay entitled 'History and Culture of Himalayan States based on the fifth volume of the name-same book offers an intimate understanding of the Sikh rule in Jammu region from the year 1810 to 1820, awareness about three Dogra rulers, the subsequent conquests in Ladakh and Baltistan, the emergence of Mian Dido as a local hero besides providing an incredible information about Maharaja Gulab Singh and armed exploits of General Zorawar Singh. 'A history ofKashmir', the third essay is an analysed narration, which gives a haunting glimpse of political geography and socio-religious history of ancient Kashmir.
It also dwells upon the various antiquated path-routes that led to Kashmir and the traditional Kashmiri crafts and arts. The next essay named 'Kashmir' is a condensed narration based on the review of Kashmir related different books. The author has delved deep into many layers of Kashmir's history presenting an integrated and sequential information about the medieval Kashmir, eminent rulers of Kashmir besides familiarising the reader with historical and cultural aspects of Kashmir. The essay on 'Kashmir under Hindu and Buddhist era' is a convincing and illuminating analysis of Kashmir especially under Buddhist rule. It brings to life many centuries of Kashmir's rich past which contributed to the emergence of a remarkable civilisation at that time. The essay under the heading 'Kashmir as covered in Gulab-naama' sets in motion the life and time of Maharaja Gulab Singh besides giving a brief look at the history of Jammu and important happenings in Kashmirduring the said period. The essay on ritualistic marriage songs and mythology is a delightful glimpse into the tradition of 'Wanvun' sung on the auspicious occasions.
Written in a simple and straight forward style supplemented by a few sample songs, the essay is an invaluable peep in this form of ancient ritual invocation of Kashmir. In the next essay 'Mysore as seen by the author', the reader is introduced to a rich mix of heritage, history, richness and variety of the landscape. The densely informative and absorbing account is sure to stimulate the imagination of a reader bitten by the wander bug. The last essay of the book is a life odyssey and literary sojourn of the author Sh. Arjan Dev Majboor, an accomplished writer, poet and researcher. It is a vividly relived memoir, which is replete with nostalgia filled yesterdays besides having heavier and lighter moments of life. It also unfolds identifiable and tensely felt situations in addition to moments of despondency doubts, hopes and aspirations in the author's life.
In a plainspeak, the book entitled 'Tahqiq' , written in nastaliq Kashmir by Sh. Arjan Dev Majboor is an essay to read and understand refreshing work.
Unquestionably, this insightful book is an essential reading for anyone having an appetite for awareness and enlightenment.
*The author is a well-known Researcher on History and Culture ofKashmir.
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