Saturday, May 9, 2015

A look at reading habits of Kashmiri Pandits a century ago


A few pages from some rare old books in Persian, Sanskrit, Sharda, Urdu and Kashmiri. Shared with SearchKashmir by Anupama Tiku Dhar from personal family collection belonging to her grandfather. Some of them are handwritten. Offers a peek into reading habits of Kashmiris about hundred years ago. Interestingly, a bunch of these books were published in Lahore which was back then an educational hub for Kashmiris. This was a period when Sharda script was well past it's prime, Persian was in decline, Urdu was on the rise, Sanskrit was getting revived under State patronage and their were signs English was going to be the language of future.

Anupama writes:




In 2003 when my late maternal grandfather Pandit Jia Lal Khushoo's ancestral home at Exchange Road, Srinagar was sold, his vast collection of books also had to be appropriately disposed. The books included discourses in English on History, Literature, Indian Philosophy, Religion, bound copies of periodicals as well as some printed books in Persian/Urdu and hand-bound manuscripts in Persian, Urdu and Sharda. The Urdu and Persian manuscripts were rendered in beautiful calligraphy by Pandit Shridhar Khushoo, who was Pandit Jia Lal Khushoo's grandfather. My grandfather himself was an avid reader proficient in English, Hindi, Kashmiri, Urdu and Sharda. He retired as the Chief Conservator of Forests, J&K.
The books in English were donated to the Jammu University Library as per the family's decision. Those in Persian, Urdu and Sharda were retained to be gifted to a more suitable recipient. They were kept in storage with my mother in Pune, on behalf of the Khushoo clan. When I learnt about the existence of these rare works recently, I inspected them. I am not literate in Persian, Urdu or Sharda but my grandfather had fortunately annotated each of them in English. This led me to realize that these books were most suited for an institution like the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune. They are now in the process of being formally handed over to the Institute.



Information about the books was provided by various readers of FB: SearchKashmirparticularly Ayaz Rasool Nazki and Ovais Ahmad.


All the info. is compiled below:


Dewan-i-Hafiz published by Munshi Nawal Kishore Press
Nawal Kishore was based in Lucknow.
Published books in Persian/Urdu including those by Chakbast/Sarshar etc.


Shivalagan and Valmiki Ramayan in Kashmiri ( in Urdu/Persian) from a copy by calligrapher Pandit Shridhar Khushoo. 



Srimad Bhagwat Gita in Urdu , (Ganpat Karit ? ) Doesnt give the name of translator.
A Bhagwat Geeta by a Kashmiri gentleman, Madan, done in early 20th century, was praised by likes of Allama Iqbal and Tej Bahadur Sapru.

Back of the same book
It was published at 'Gulzar-e-Hind' Press in Lahore under the supervision of Munshi Gulzar Muhammad, Manager of the press. Published as desired by Haji Chiragudin, Sirajudin, Booksellers , Lahore, Bazar Kashmiri.


Sikandarnama in Persian, handwritten by Pandit Shridhar Khushoo

Top of the front cover has "Om Shri Ganesha Nama" while the lower half glorifies Allah and offers supplication to Prophet Muhammad.


Translation of Mahabharata in Urdu by Malik-u-sho'arā (Poet Laureate) Munshi Dwarka Prashad (Nom de plume - Ufaq Lakhnavi). Published posthumously by M/S Lala Ram Dutta Mal and sons from Kashi Ram Press Lahore. 1926.


A page from 'Kashmiri (?) Mousiqui' (Soofiana Kalaam) in Persian. 
Handwritten by Pt. Shridhar Khushoo.

[Input by Amir Hosein Pourjavady on FB]: 
Left page is about the right time of performing each ragas and raginies. 
The right page also contains the famous poem by Zahuri Torshizi [?], written by a Shi'i Muslim since the author is talking about Shi'i ritual of Muharram. The books is probably a 19th century Nawabi musical treatise written in Lucknow.



A page from 'Dashmas Kandas' (90 Adhayas) of Bhagwat Gita in Persian handwritten by Pandit Shridhar Khushoo.


Probably one of the 5 from Nizami's 'Khamsa of Nizami', probably the story of Sassanian Prince Bahram Gore titled "Haft Paikar"


'Bhagwat Gita' in Sharda script[?] 


Vishnu Pooja' in Sharda script



A page from 'Shiv Pooja', tantrik text. 


'Brihat Shiva Pooja', tantrik text.

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Interesting that while comments on Persian and Urdu texts arrived within hours of posting them to Facebook, Sharda and Sanskrit texts remained without comment and details. 
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2 comments:

  1. The Ganpat Karit is actually Ganpat Krit - which means written by Ganpat. The word 'krit' will be read as 'karit' by a person not familiar with Hindi or Sanskrit, since it is all consonants (the vowel representing the sound 'i' of English missing) in the original and the script does not use diacritical marks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Indeed, the translation was given by someone coming from Persian/Urdu background.

      Delete

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