Note on the Relation between Kashmir and Kerala
(By Pandit S. Anand Koul. Kerala Society Papers -1928. T. K. Joseph (Ed.) )
I waited a week for the book to arrive. All for a paper that I expected would throw up something interesting. But Koul Saheb's paper turned out to be a bit disappointing. Much of what he writes her already was presented by him in his book on Kashmir Pandits. Besides reference to Kerala astrology in Kashmir and (in comments) Mankha's work traveling to Kerala, there isn't much. The story of white men on Malabar coast could well have been of Parsees or the Jews, but Koul Sabheb mentions in any case and tries to imagine them as Pandits. He seems to have been quite fascinated by the story, mentioning it in his Pandit book too. In an attempt to reach borders of Kerala, his only manages to reach Durbhanga (Bihar, where from returned the Kouls), Ellichpur (Maharashtra, where from returned the Dhars) and then Madras (where from came Ramanuja). It's a sad attempt. I wish there was more.
Why more was I expecting? Consider this: there is Thiruv'anantha'puram in Kerala and there is Anantnag in Kashmir. Two cities dedicatedly named after a snake. King Solomon's ships sailed to Kerala coast. Solomon's throne is supposed to be in Kashmir. Ancient Jews lived in Kerala. And according to some at one time only Jews were allowed to enter Kashmir. (and not to forget, Kashmiri obsession with Jews. Interestingly, first person to broach up persecution of Jews in Germany during world war into a discussion about persecution of Pandits in medieval Kashmir was one Mr. GMD Sufi in his book Kashir (1948) while trying to form a defense for Sikandar Butshikan's actions in response to popular discourse on the subject, an example of which would be writings by Anand Koul. Weird circular world, like a snake eating it's own tail). Malayalam, the language that survives today was considerably shaped by westerners (particularly Rev.Benjamin Bailey and Hermann Gundert) who pulled it closer to Sanskrit (even at cost of other variants). The language is alive and kicking. In case of Kashmiri, which is much older than Malayalam, here is the difference, one time opium agent Grierson's work still divides the people on origins of the language as it pulls it away from Sanskrit. The is no single definitive script. Result: My Christian friend from Kerala, who is great at using programming languages, uses Malayalam in regular life, can sing some Sanskrit prayers as they are quite popular in the land, know sHindi as it was part of school curriculum but is not so great with English. In my case, I am not so great at programming, can barely speak Kashmiri, definitely can't read or write it in anything besides Roman script, don't know Sanskrit, can't truly appreciate Hindi and can just about manage English, using it as a tool to earn my bread and butter.