Published in The Adyar Library Bulletin 2014-15.
In three independent as well as inter-connected essays, Ashok Aklujkar tries to establish Kashmir as the homeland of Patanjali in the background of the importance assigned to the study of the Mahabhashya by the royalties and the epithets associated with Patanjali, who came to be worshipped as Naga/Ananta. The Rajatarangini statements on the revival of the Mahabhashya study in three widely separated times are reinterpreted along with the Vakyapadiya II.486 by Johannes Bronkhorst in his essay titled “A Note on Kashmir and Orthodox Paninian Grammar”. In his second essay, the author gives an insight into the free thinking of Udbhata, drawing from his interpretation of rules of Ashtadhyayi and the Lokayatasutra.
About nine essays directly deal with grammatical nuances and technicalities as found in the writings of Kashmiri thinkers. George Cardona tries to show the presence of theoretical precedents to one of the earliest grammatical elementary text namely, Katantra attributed to Sarvavarman. P. Visalakshy in her paper gives a comprehensive note on the authorship and structure of Kashika with a detailed account of its influence of Candragomin’s grammatical thought. Malhar Kulkarni’s new research findings of the manuscripts of the Kashikavritti in Shrada script adds to the rich repository of grammatical literature.
The edition (1893) and translation (1900) of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini REMAIN Marc Aurel Stein’s most lasting Contributions to the study of Sanskrit and premodern Indian history. While this work remains unsurpassed in modern scholarship, references in Stein’s private letters pointed to the existence of an updated and expanded version of the Rajatarangini, illustrated by photographs of various locales Mentioned in Kalhana’s history. These revisions and additions, Which stone called the Rajatarangini Illustrated in correspondence, were long lost Considered, HOWEVER this volume presents Marc Aurel Stein’s Illustrated Rajatarangini, edited from manuscripts kept in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Appearing in print for the first time, the Rajatarangini Illustrated collects stone’s additions and corrections to his text and translation of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini. These notes are illustrated photographs of important sites in the Kashmir Valley taken by stone load on his tour of the Valley in 1940. This collection of photographs has been reassembled from collections in Oxford and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest. The volume is completed with four reprints of important papers on the Sanskrit text Rajatarangini by Eugene Hultzsch. These papers served as catalysts for stone to rethink important textual variants in the Rajatarangini.
|Author||Obrock, Luther (ed.)|
|Pages||248 pages with 82 photographs and 2 folding maps|
|Edition||1 – 2013 Edition|
February 26, 2010:
He is obsessed with historical Kashmiri manuscripts. Obsessed is but a small word. Manzoor Ahmad Daikoo, 46, has so far sold eight kanals of land to procure rare manuscripts. His countrymen are indifferent, but Daikoo is the darling of scholars from outside. He is often invited by reputed universities including Oxford, to present papers on cultural history. “I spend all my earnings on the purchase and maintenance of the manuscripts, books, photographs and other historical documents. I know Kashmiris are indifferent to their heritage. So I am trying to preserve whatever comes my way,” Daikoo says.
Born in a middle class family at Brein Nishat, Daikoo discovered his penchant for Kashmir’s cultural past at an early age. “A religious scholar gave me a manuscript of religious importance at my maternal uncle’s house in my childhood. He told me to preserve it. I did and slowly developed an interest in collecting antiques,” says Daikoo, leering at the vast treasure haphazardly scattered in his repository.
There are 42,000 books nearly 7,000 manuscripts besides rare photographs. The books are haphazardly dumped in a room. The scene depicts a blended spectacle of government apathy and people insensitiveness towards the cultural history of Kashmir. This insensitive attitude pains Daikoo.
“Europeans are piecing their history together. We have one of the richest cultural histories in the world but we destroy it with our own hands. European scholars visit my library and benefit from it. They complete their research projects pertaining to Kashmir here. But no Kashmiri scholar has come here for research,” he says with a dismayed gaze. Daikoo founded Kashmir Research Institute in 1984. Money was the biggest constraint. Daikoo earned little from a small government job. Passionate, he chose manuscripts over real estate. “Till now, I have sold eight kanals of land from my ancestral property in posh areas for purchasing manuscripts and rare books,” Daikoo informs.
Tareekh-e-Firishta, a leather-bound voluminous work weighing 15 Kgs was the cheapest. It cost Rs 32,000. History of Kashmir by a descendent of Shah-e-Hamdan who lived at Rajpura was the costliest. Daikoo says he purchased it for Rs 3,00,000. Daikoo’s collection includes Kashmir Lok Katha, a collection of several volumes written over a period of two centuries beginning 1000 AD. It is written in Sharda Script on birch leaves (Burza). There are hand-written manuscripts of Kashmir history, some of them 500 years old. But that is just a brief mention of Daikoo’s treasure. The rich repository has helped 23 scholars from countries like Germany, UK and USA to complete their research. “Every bit of Kashmir history is replete with richness and strength,” says Daikoo. “When I see our cultural treasures lying in the houses of Europeans, my resolve to procure, purchase and preserve the cultural heritage of Kashmir becomes stronger. I only appeal my countrymen and state government to show some compassion towards our past which can boost our identity and individuality.”
Author of seven books and 300 research papers in different languages, Daikoo was chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the Man of Asian History vide Vol. 23 at a ceremony in Tokyo in 2005. He also received Lenin Award at Tashkent University for his research titled Natural Relations between Kashmir and Central Asia. But he has grudges from countrymen.
“National Manuscript Mission and Department of Archives do come to me but so far they have not provided any help for preservation of the rare books and manuscripts. Kashmir has many cultural trusts. What work do they do except organizing dances and distributing certificates?” Daikoo asks. He sees the government indifference as deliberate, meant to present Kashmiris as “ignorant and uncivilized people.”
“New Delhi is afraid of the richness of our creative history and shows lack of seriousness in its preservation. Indians want to present Kashmiris as a people with no civilised and culturally luminous past. It is up to Kashmiris to preserve it,” affirms Daikoo. “I have seen Kashmiri cultural showrooms in Europe that collect rare artefacts in Kashmir and Ladakh and then sell them to Europeans. It is tantamount to murder of our cultural history. Some Germans told me that they hoisted white flags on the buildings housing cultural heritage during World War I and II to save it from bombardment by allied forces,” Daikoo says while drawing comparison.
With little resources Daikoo finds it hard to preserve the manuscripts and rare books. His humble salary is insufficient for the task. The books are gathering dust and breeding mites. Manuscripts and photographs are losing to the test of time in absence of latest preservation techniques. When one leaves Daikoo’s library, the insensitivity of a nation towards its cultural treasure creeps in.
The British Library’s Kashmiri collections contain 7 manuscripts, principally vocabularies and poetry in the Perso-Arabic script; approximately 300 printed books dating from the early 19th century to the present day; and various issues from 1967 to 1996 of Son Adab, the literary annual published by the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
The collections are particularly strong in the fields of Kashmiri language, literature, history, politics and religion, and offer a wealth of information for the study of Kashmir, India and Pakistan.
SRINAGAR (July 3, 2013): The digitization of J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages’ rich collection of manuscripts, paintings and archival photographs, started on May 22, 2013, is going on smoothly with 1.25 lakh folios of important manuscripts having been digitized so far.
After taking a review of the ongoing project here today, Secretary Academy, Khalid Bashir Ahmad, said that the work was progressing well and till date 410 manuscripts, comprising 1.25 lakh folios, from a total of over 600 manuscripts in the Academy’s collection at Srinagar, have been digitized. He described the digitization project as very significant step towards preservation of the State’s rich cultural heritage.
Some of the rare manuscripts digitized so far include the 12th century copy of Holy Quran calligraphed by Fateh Ullah Kashmiri which precedes by about a century the widely held belief on the earliest presence of Muslims in Kashmir, Shahnama Firdousi, Mahabharat in Persian, Bhagwat Puran, Shiv Puran, Zakhheratul Mulook, Mathnavi Moulana Room, Bostaan e Saadi, Sikandar Naama and Deewaan e Haafiz.
After completing the digitization of manuscripts, work will start on the rich collection of paintings, miniatures and archival photographs available with the Academy at its Srinagar, Jammu and Leh offices.
Website links for Cultural Academy: http://jkculture.nic.in/
Manuscript Hand-list available here: http://jkculture.nic.in/pdf/MANUSCRIPT.pdf
By FAHEEM ASLAM
Srinagar, Mar 4: The Archives Department in Kashmir houses some of the vital documents about Kashmir’s history, culture and heritage. But for the Jammu and Kashmir Government, they seem to be worth nothing, not even preservation. A cursory look at Kashmir Repository, located inside the dilapidated building of the Archives Department in Old Secretariat here, is enough to reveal how bird droppings and dust have together taken sheen off Kashmir’s rich archival material, which observers believe includes “important, unique, and rare” documents and manuscripts.
Since March 2008, when this newspaper reported how bird droppings were consuming the rich documents, the Archives Department has just plugged the ceiling of the building in a bid to prevent entry of birds. But that is where it has ended, though observers had then strongly pleaded that the documents should be preserved, categorized and probably displayed for exhibition to let the people know about their past. But, according to insiders in the Archives Department, nothing was done in this regard, except for making promises that something would be done. No cataloging and indexing has been taken up so far.
This time around, the documents have been bundled in dirty strips of scarf-like material, exactly like a dry cleaner bundles the unwashed clothes. What is interesting to observe is that nobody, not even the officials in the Department, are sure about the overall stuff that the Repository houses. But they are certain that it is housing the key documents like Maharaja Hari Singh’s Confidential Records, State Department Records, Military Records, Ex-Governor Records, and the famous Glancy Commission Report.
None of the officials in the department is sure about the exact location of these documents. All they say is that the documents “exist somewhere.” Reason: none of these documents have been cataloged so far, and not a single document has been preserved the way it should have been. Insiders say that many pages of the Glancy Commission Report have already faded away while the documents in various shelves in the hall are moth-eaten. There is a total mess in their organization. The documents of Home Department can be seen in the Revenue section while as those of Revenue section can be seen in the Finance section.
The condition of the Repository has so far irked a number of visitors, especially in the backdrop of the applicability of the Right to Information Act which makes the availability of information for the aspirants mandatory. Two years back, a US-based Kashmiri researcher wrote about the Kashmir Repository: “I came to know that the J&K State Archives Department consists of three repositories one each in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. These repositories contain important documents related to Kashmir. I got a chance to visit Kashmir and Jammu repositories which hold documents like His Highness’ Confidential Records, State Department Records, Military Records and Ex-Governor Records. I started my research by visiting Kashmir Repository which is housed in a mysterious primitive building at Srinagar (Old Secretariat). On the first day of my research something much unexpected happened. While I was climbing up the creepy dark stairs onto the first floor, I caught my sandal heel into one of the many stair holes which went unnoticed in the dark. I pulled my foot hard to let go my sandal and found myself limping all day. It sounds quite hilarious now but it was quite embracing then!” wrote Fozia Lone, then Doctoral Student at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
She added: “Finally, one afternoon the door to the mysterious ‘hall’ was opened and it left me flabbergasted and the first thing I said was wow! To me it appeared as if a bomb had exploded and left the place as rubble. As a researcher I was utterly disheartened to witness the treasure of the Kashmiri history in ruins. This was a contrast for me having worked in the British Library and the National Archives in London. I was not expecting the standard of London but the disorder in the hall literally horrified me.”
According to employees in the Archives Department, the Department has been neglected for unknown reasons. “The situation in the department is matching the old saying of carpenter’s hands for mason’s work. There are professional people in the department who are not given a chance to prove their mettle. Instead things are being outsourced for unknown reasons. And despite doing that, work is not done in time,” the employees, wishing anonymity, told Greater Kashmir. “Given a chance, the employees can easily do the cataloguing of the documents. Ideally speaking, this Repository could have been a frequently visited place for academics, students and researchers from all over the world. But because of its messy condition, there is hardly a researcher who visits here.”
‘ARCHIVAL MATERIAL MUST’
Political analysts believe that no society or government can deny the importance of the archival material vis-à-vis writing about and knowing about the past. “In case of Kashmir, where we claim to have a 5000 year old recorded history, there should naturally have been more consciousness as far as preservation of historical material is concerned,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani, who teaches Political Science at the University of Kashmir. “Further it is equally important that in case of Kashmir, the past is very often invoked by all types of theorists, sociologists, historians to interpret the present and also suggest ways for constructing the future. So naturally, the importance of archival material is always there.”
Prof Wani believes that Kashmiris, whether educated, middle class, intelligentsia or the political class, are suffering from a syndrome of one dimensional thinking wherein every thing has got bogged down to conflict only. “There are issues like archives, like culture, environment, and quality of education or healthcare. No society in any part of the society can afford to ignore these especially in restless times or in times of uncertainty. Second issue is that intelligentsia is considered to be people who generally should be more concerned about issues like archival material or heritage as compared to other sections of the society. But Kashmir intelligentsia has certain handicaps. That they are good at home building but miserable at the institution building. Further they are socially callous, intellectually suffocating and historically ignorant,” he said. “There is need for a very powerful all inclusive movement to generate consciousness about issues like archival material, art and heritage. All these things are otherwise on decline. The state government also needs to rise to the occasion.”
WILL LOOK INTO IT: JORA
When contacted, Minister for Culture Nawang Rigzin Jora said he would look into the issue. “I will have the matter looked into,” he told Greater Kashmir.