Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kashmir and Truth


My basic premise for writing this column is that I agree with Shahnaz Bashir that the concept of Kashmiriat as pronounced by so called intellectuals is incorrect. I agree with him on two counts. One, that the Kashmiriat is an amalgamation of Saivism(read as Kashmir Saivism) and Sufism is incorrect .Two, it is used by some intellectuals to present romanticized versions of history or as Shahnaz has put it “history is being fudged to suit someone’s interests”. Notwithstanding my agreement with Shahnaz on the statements made above I would like to present a perspective to the distortions and realities of philosophical, cultural and somewhat entangled political history of Kashmir.
Kashmir Saivism is a monistic, non dual philosophy, the essence of which is merging of individual (limited consciousness) to the universal consciousness(unlimited and eternal consciousness).Its essential focus is on recognition(Pratibhjna) and freedom(Swantarya) is the outcome of the recognition, since it frees us from bondage of ignorance. According to Vedanta philosophy, refined soul is God. All divine power according to the Vedanta philosophy resides in this physical body. All the grandeur and magnificence of divine potentialities of the Almighty are present in its entirety in dormant centers of human soul. He can be seen only in one's own inner- self. Our entire life is God's direct manifestation. The ascetic asks, “For whom should we worship (kasmai devaya havisha vidhema". The emphatic answer is, we should worship for the God within us (Atma-Dev). The central doctrine of Sufism, sometimes called Wahdat or Unity, is the understanding of Tawhid: all phenomena are manifestations of a single reality, or Wujud (being), or al-Haq (Truth, God). It is often understood to imply that every phenomenon is an aspect of Truth and at the same time attribution of existence to it is false. The chief aim of all Sufis then is to let go of all notions of duality, therefore the individual self also), and realize the divine unity.It is therefore abundantly clear that all three philosophies have some similarities and differnces though it is believed that Sufism post Mansur-bin-Hallaj had Vedantic influence.
What I fail to understand is who among the Saivites has said that Kashmir Savism or Saivism has sown the seeds of Islam or Saivism is a proto form of Liberal Islam or Sufism.Atleast I don’t know of any.If there are any they should be asked to explain the same except for Congressmen(including Nehru) who have license to lie.It should also be borne in mind that the scholars of Vedant philosphy were mostly brahmins(the brahmins of central India still have surnames like Trivedi,Dwivedi or Chaturvedi)but had contradictory philosphies to that of scholars of Saivism.This is no way meant they were at war with each other. The Tandav Nach(Nritya,it should be,for nach means a simple dance which does not essentially have a purpose while as Nritya is a dance which is associated with a certain socio-cultural event and has a purpose and its own unique style) which pupotedly the learned scholar has quoted out of context is a celestial dance the purpose of which is killing of ignorance.When Shiva dances the Apasmar Pursh(personification of the ignorant one)is under his feet.The celestial dance signifies the death of ignorance, that’s what explainsShiva Sutra (2) of Vasugupta.-Jnanam Badanah(Limited Knowledge/Ignorance is bondage) .
I have no shame in accepting that Kashmir Saivism wasn’t understood by many in Kashmir although people worshipped Shiva as their primary diety.May I please know how many Muslims in Kashmir today understand(not read or pray) the Holy Quran or al Hadith for that matter.The reason for this is simple,very few of us are philosophers and people at general have faith and religion is a matter of faith and not essentially philosophy.Nonetheless the following verses written many hundred years after monistic Saivism was propounded will prove beyond doubt the influence of Saivism on Kashmiri thought and sesnsitivity.I am selectively quoting Muslim poets only to prove the point.
Shams faqir:”Zaanwale kar zaen yaar harmukh vichu deedar,parde zal az darde naar harmukh vichu deedar”.
Shah Gafoor:Yyoth yith zanamas kaenh chune larun,darinay darun soham soo;Brahma,Vishnu,Maheshwar gharun,darinay darun soham soo.
Azad Zargar:Harmukh bozmay chon keel Kalo,Ha valo baal chas praraeney
Ahmed Shah Batwari:”Vishnas ti Krishnas Raesh Maidanas,Mahaganesh tate kas kare namaskar;Gange-raaz byuthum Gange-bal thanas,jan chum mileth jahaanas seet”.
Ayub Betab:”Dyanas manz mas shankar chunho parvati mozaan,kamdevas van baan chalevaeth yokun karehaes dhyaan.”
Leave alone Kashmiri poets,Ali Mardan Khan the Afghan general wrote “Huma aasli maheshawar boodh ki shab shahe ki man deedam.Ajab sansayase deedam namo narayane guftam.”
We have countless verses to support this.Swoch Kral,Mahmud Gami,Wahab Khar,Samad Mir,Nyam Saeb,Rahim Saeb,Ahmed Dar and many others have been ifluenced by saivism abd the clear reflection is shown in their pieces of work.
Does one have to say more?So much so for philosophy.
Kashyap Bandhu is deeply revered by Pandit community for his yeoman’s contribution to curtail ceratin wasteful rituals and dresses.His contribution to the Pandit community as an educationist and social reformer is also hailed.So is Jialal Kilam’s contribution.Mr.Bazaz seems to be the flavour around which Shahnaz has cooked his pudding.Mr.Bazaz holds the same reputation among pandits as does Mr.Salman Rushdie among Muslims.I think it would be improper for me to qoute anything from the Satanic Verses for it will hurt the sensibilties of my Muslim brethern..As regards availabilty of Shavite material and knowledge,Mr.Bazaz was deeply mis-informed.For almost all major universities from Germany to Spain to United States teach Kashmir Saivism as a subject.New York State University even celebrates all major festivals and birthdays of Shaivate scholars right from Acharya Abhinavgupt to Swami Laksman joo.It has been written that Avantivarman was a brahmin and he massacared Buddhists.Kalhan who has been dispassionate and objective while writing Rajatarangni(read IV 715 to 19 and V 1-144) has made no such mention of Avantivarman killing Buddhists.It is obligatory on the scholar to mention the source of his/her research unless he/she himself travels back in time to see everything.
As for people welcoming Islam with open arms and converting of free will please read the following.The source of the texts is Bahiristan-i-Shahi.I am quoting without even changing a line.
“Sultan Shihabu'd-Din addressed himself to such works as would help him get peace in the world hereafter. He arranged a tomb and a burial place for himself to be used after his death. Towards the fag end of his life, he was infused with a zeal for demolishing idol-houses and destroying the temples and idols of the infidels. He destroyed the massive temple at Beejeh Belareh [31] (Bijbehara). He had designs to destroy all the temples and put an end to the entire community of the infidels.[32] “
“Again it needs to be recorded that for some of the time which the holy Amir spent in Kashmir he lived in a sarai at 'Alau'd-Din Pora. At the site where his khanqah was built, there existed a small temple which was demolished and converted into an estrade on which he offered namaz (prayer) five times a day and recited portions of the Qur'an morning and evening. Sultan Qutbu'd-Din occasionally attended these congregational prayers.”
“ [It may be recorded] that the temples of idol-worshippers, which had been destroyed and razed to the ground by the religious-minded and justice-loving Sultan Sikandar- God bless his grave and bless him-had been rebuilt and rehabilitated by Zainu'l 'Abidin. He had permitted idolators and polytheists to revive the practices of infidelity and they had propagated heresy (kufr) and false religion (din-i batil). With the support of some more kings,[96] the infidels had flourished day after day. But with the support and authority of Malik Musa Raina, Amir Shamsu'd-Din Muhammad undertook a wholesale destruction of all those idol-houses [97] as well as the total ruination of the very foundation of infidelity and disbelief. On the site of every idol-house he destroyed, he ordered the construction of a mosque for offering prayers after the Islamic manner.”
For details of forcible conversion of Hindus to Islam and their massacre in case they refused to be converted, see Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami; pp. 178-80. One significant detail is that three kharwars (one kharwar is approximately equal to eighty kilograms) of Hindu ceremonial thread (zunnar) were burnt by Sultan Sikandar. (Tarikh-i-Hasan Khuihami, Pir Ghulam Hasan, Vol II, RPD,* Srinagar 1954.)
Regarding aborigines of Kashmir, Nilamatapurana and Buddhist texts are the main source of infornation. According to Nilmatapurana and various Buddhist texts it is Vishnu who after killing Jalodbhava(the water demon) crowned Nila Naag as the king of Kashmir.It is Nila,who invited the Brahmin Chandradev to Kashmir. As for Pischasas,Buhler says’They were a tribe living in what can be called present day Kafirstan. They ate raw human flesh and drink blood.They constantly attacked various habitations and Kashmir was one of them”That we still called a blood sucking insect as pisch in Kashmir proves that this tribe drank human blood”.If someone wants to be quoted as their descendant it is for him or her to decide. It is preposterous, almost laughable to say that Aryans were Brahmins when we clearly know of the varna (caste) system from various texts of the Aryans. In Kashmiri I would say” Mae chu aeme kathe seet kit kit gachaan”.The very basis of Aryan theory is contested now. Excavations have shown worship of ring stones(mother goddess cult)lingas(erect phallus) and the seal of pashupat(the protector of livestock)are traits common to vedic people and people of Indus valley civilization. Indologists like Max Muller have propounded the Aryan myth to divide people of the sub-continent.If Aryans would have killed or forced Dravidians to flee I wonder if they would have worshipped same god-Shiva.
It is my earnest request that we must look at history objectively and not quote what suits us. Half baked understanding of complex philosophies and intentional distortion of history will get us nowhere. Kashmir stands at cross-roads. Let us not add to the misery of Kashmir desa. It is for the readers to decide who are the illegal citizens, the people who were born here or the ones who came from Arabia or Persia or Panjab.The earth has never been anyones’. It has always changed hands. Who would have one day imagined the world without the great Roman Civilizations or Greeks or the Phahroaos!!!

Gov Mansur fana,vyodun huvey hyond musalmano;
Ann Paranas chune manah,chune gudrun chaye rozaano(Ahmed Shah Batwari)


“Mahsoos”(First published In Greater Kashmir-Kashmir's largest circulated daily)

23 comments:

Suvie said...

This was indeed amazing. What is really appreciable is the tone of the post, it isn't obssesive; there is room for the other parties thoughts.

If I had a good vocab., I could have added many adjectives. For now, wonderful piece of research and a good response to people who are trying to distort the history of Kashmir.

PS: A lill suggestion, you could try to structure/format your post a little better. It would make the passage easy & attractive to read.

Anonymous said...

Great culture of Kashmiri Brahmins. Truly pure aryan people and culture.

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I would say no rational or honest person can doubt that most Indians are Aryans. Kashmir can be considered as the head of Aryavarta. In fact the language looks, culture of Kashmir is very Rigvedic. Yes the Jewish people do not like the word Aryan or Swastika and want to get rid of these terms from our globe. We must never compromise our culture to please others and also let not materialism sweep in to alter our culture. We are in no way responsible for the disgusting actions of the Nazis.

Prof. Banwari Lal Sonkar

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Anonymous said...

Kashmir is surely the home of the Race of Aryans. See the language also it is close to Rigvedic Sanskrit. The Jews (I do not blame them) out of insecurity do not like the word Aryan thus want to remove it but they can not.

Kashmiri language and English. Nas:nose, Nav:Nose, And:End, Dand:Teeth, Chut:Cut, Shut:Short, Widwa:Widow, Pad:Feet, Moene:Mine, etc.

Dead End

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The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..