Saturday, June 15, 2013

Kashmiri Pandits by Pandit Anand Koul, 1924


Around 1881, 14-year old Pandit Anand Koul was one of the first Kashmiri to join the missionary school set up in Srinagar by Rev. John Smith Doxey. In around 1883, the working of this school was taken over by Rev. J. Hinton Knowles. Knowles in around 1885 went on famously to document the folklore of Kashmir, a task in which he was assisted by a young Pandit Anand Koul. In around 1895, Knowles made Anand Koul Headmaster of this missionary school. This proximity with the missionaries probably made him understand the need for documenting culture in 'other' language.



Pandit Anand Koul's book on Kashmiri Pandits can be considered first book written in English on pandits by a Pandit. Around 1921, the population of Pandits in the valley was around 55000. Of this around 5000 men and 50 women were literate in English. While reading this book, it is comprehensible that the book was written primary for non-Kashmiri readers and written by a man quite proud of his origins and passionate about documenting the history of his land. This passion was later inherited by his son P.N.K. Bamzai who went on to be even more prolific at documenting Kashmir's History.

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot for the link to the old book. Your's is a very interesting blog....true to its name - in bits and pieces:)

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