Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hasan Shah and the 'lost' Kings of Rajatarangini by Pandit Anand Koul


Dar gaya, darbar gaya;
Ab dishit mar gaya.

It went to court, it went to court;
(And) on seeing the water it died.


A Kashmiri riddle, answer: Kagaz

That story goes that Moulvi Ghulam Hasan Shah (1832-1898) of village Gamru near Bandipur once visited Rawalpindi to procure a copy of a Persian History of Kashmir written by one Mula Ahmad of village Pindori. The book was said to be the translation of an ancient work called Ratnakar Purana that contained account of 47 Kings of Kashmir not mentioned in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. During Budshah Zain-ul-abdin's (1422-1474) time a search was launched to look for old Puranas and Taranginis so that an updated version of Kashmir could be brought out in other Persian by Mula Ahmad, the court poet of Zain-ul-abdin. They had names of about 15 different Rajataranginis but only four could be traced: those of Kalhana, Khimendra, Wachhulakar and Padmamihar. Out of these Khimendra's Rajataranginis was found to be grossly unreliable, but using the other a translation of Rajatarangini was prepared. However, a few years later some birch bark leaves of an old Rajatarangini written by one Pandit Ratnakar, called Ratanakar Purana was found by one Praja Pandit. From these leaves an account of 47 'lost' kings of Kashmir was made known, and these were added to Mula Ahmad's History of Kashmir. Later, Ratnakar Purana was again lost and survived only in Mula Ahmad's translation.

It is said Hasan Shah was able to obtain a copy of Mula Ahmad's translation from a Kashmiri immigrant in Rawalpindi named Mulah Mahmud. Hasan Shah later incorporated it into his three volume 'Tarikh-i- Hasan'. However, he was to later lose the Mula Ahmad's History of Kashmir in rather odd circumstances. He was traveling on a boat with the book when the boat capsized. Hasan Shah was saved but Mula Ahmad's book was lost forever. In 1902, kashmir Durbar tried to procure a copy of Mulah Ahmad's copy but Mulah Mahmud had since died and his family had moved to Kabul at the invitation of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan, Emir of Afghanistan from 1880 to 1901. So the only source for the 'lost' kings of Kashmir comes from Hasan Shah, seventh generation progeny of one Ganes Koul.

In the history of Kashmir written by Westerners in English, the first mention of Hasan Shah comes from Walter Rooper Lawrence, the Land settlement officer in Kashmir from 1889 to 1895. Lawrence was taught Kashmiri by Hasan Shah. He acknowledged:

"What else (Kashmiri language) I learnt, I owe to Pir Hasan Sah, a learned Kashmiri, whose work has entirely been among the villagers."


When Lawrence became Private Secretary to Viceroy of India, he invited Hasan to be presented to the viceroy. But by the time invitation arrived, Hasan had been dead for a few days. 

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The above piece is based on a brief biography of Hasan Shah written by Pandit Anand Koul for Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1913. Anand Koul  also gave us an account of eight 'lost' kings (from A.D.s) based on Hasan Shah's writings. A few years earlier, in 1910 for the same journal Pandit Anand Koul wrote a long (contoversial?) piece titled 'History of Kashmir' based on Hasan's writing and presented account of of 47 kings (from B.C.s). Here the line of missing kings is linked to Pandavas. And as an additional proof he brings up Pandit belief in Pandav Lar'rey, belief that Mattan was built by Pandavs.


-0-

I have compiled the two pieces together and are now available here:
at Archive.org

containing

A biography of Kashmiri historian Hasan Shah and History of Kashmir by Pandit Anand Koul for Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal vol 9 (1913)
History of Kashmir by Pandit Anand Koul for Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal vol 6 (1910)


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