Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Kashmiri Pandits and Karnataka: Moving Back and Forth

In her latest post, titled A Saraswat Legacy, Jyotsna Kamat a researcher from Karnataka, writes about the entwined history of Saraswat Brahmins from Kashmir and the ones from Karnataka.
The interesting thing about the write up is that she not only writes about the religious ties between the two, but also writes about the cultural exchanges that took place ages ago in terms of dressing, ornaments etc.
She writes that it was the Kashmiri King Harsha, who introduced certain dresses and ornaments of Karnataka to Kashmir. In one of her earlier work, she credits king Harsha with introducing the Kashmiri people to the practice of darkening Eyelids and lashes with collyrium (kadige or anjana).
She also mentions Bilhana, the great Kashmiri poet-historian, who made Karnataka his home.

Later she moves from writing about the medieval times to relatively more recent times. She writes about Kulhana Rahuta, a Kashmiri who under Hoysalas built the first Saraswat temple in Doddagadda Valli in Hasan district in 1113 CE, a temple that still stands and receives daily puju .

Towards the end of the article, she writes

Perhaps during troubled times of early Muslim invasions in 12th and 13th centuries, several Kashmiri families must have come to the south and merged with those who had already settled in Karnataka.

The name of an immigrant Kashmiri Pandit, Sarangadeva (Sarngadeve) needs mentioning here.

“ A monumental work came to be written in 13th century AD. This was the Sangeeta Ratnakara(The Ocean of Music) penned by Sarangadeva, an emigrant from Kashmir, who became the Chief Accountant of Raja Sodhala, a Yadava king of Devgiri in South India. A work so stupendous in depth and extent is it that it is difficult to believe that it could have been scribed by the one man. The Ratnakara gives in great detail description of scales, raga, talas, musical forms, instruments, and many other subjects. Of greater significance is the fact that it is, perhaps, the first major work dealing with Northern and Southern musical systems. It is opined by many scholars…that it was during this period Indian music got bifurcated into the two systems of North [Hindustani] and South [Karnatak.]”

- Deva, An Introduction to Indian Music, p.74.

Today, a different Pandit is moving back and forth between the two lands. He journeys from Jammu to Karnataka, a Pandit working in some software firm of mighty Bengaluru. A merger of different kind is taking shape. A merger that is conspicuously oblivious of Sarangadeva.


  1. i dont see good enough proof of this relation. so far acclaimed kashmiris are the purest clans of aryans left .physical features are more related to genes not culture .kashmiri pandits features are more close to iranian than our own south indian brothers because of aryan descendent.

    vishvedeep bhat(kashmiri by birth and blood)

  2. Actually I would agree that Kashmiri Brahmins are the purest of Aryans. in fact the word Arya (Aryan) is first mention in Rigveda and Avethan texts. So surely many Iranians resemble Kashmiri Brahmins and many other Indians. Genetics is too loose a science thus has great possibility of cheating on the data.

  3. Kashmiri Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits have a strong racial, cultural and ethnic bond. We may follow different religions but we have much in common. External elements are trying to split us.

    These are the views of a friend of mine which I found extremely accurate. See below:

    Indeed a colourful culture, but please be careful of foreigners (particularly Jews) as they want to alter the culture of important regions of India and the world.

    Just returned from a visit to India. In Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura, Himachal and some other parts of India I found the Star of David (Daud) a sign of Semitic origin and the great sign of India the Swastika (Aryan origin) being suppressed. In tantric Hinduism we have a sign which resembles the Star of David but as expected has a different name and meaning, namely Devi Chakra (divine circle). This sign can have several triangles and is a fertility sign. The triangle posing upwards is the women and the triangle downwards (on top) is the male. It is surely a Semitic conspiracy to remove the Swastika from India. It will not succeed as Hinduism respects all religions, follows no one and has solid roots. However, these people use simple-minded Indians and even give money to plant such data into strategic regions and hope one day these alien symbols are absorbed into other cultures thaus marginalizing them. The Devi Chakra resembles this see the video. This is a video from your region:

  4. Correctly said. The Devi Chakra is surely not a Semitic sign otherwise you Kashmiri Brahmins would be the children of Abrahim (Ibrahim) like the Jews and Arabs. and circumcized like us Muslims and Jews.

    We Muslims of Kashmir follow a Semitic religion Islam but are Aryans by race. Little knowledge needs to exploitaion particularly by the Jews. The Devi Chakra is found in every region of India and is a symbol of fertility. But is a very minor symbol in relation to the Swastika. I am proud to be a Muslim and a Kashmiri but my language, Race and culture is Aryan. I suggest you live with the Jews a little and will see a different world. They are the same as Arabs. Also the Devi (as English is an Aryan language translates to Divine). Roughly similar symbols are found all over the globe but have different names and meanings. It is most likely that the Aryan Race originated in Central Asia and Kashmir is more or less central asia.

    Now read the precise history of Swastika and Aryans below:

  5. I want to add something more interesting for you. The Jews (I am not against any one as a true Muslim) are insecure as they have been badly battered in every land other than India. Later the sufi culture of India helped the Baghdadi Jews. As they are insecure they they make any one Jewish. This proud Aryan has been made a Jew:

    Also see the real Devi Chakra in detail. What an imagination and reasoning. See who has sung this. See the Swastka as well:

  6. Dear Youngman,

    I end the discussion by mentioning that your site is good. Please place more photographs.

    Finally look up the word Semitic in the older versions of Brittanica, the new ones are politically loaded. In the history of Kashmir (Rajataringini) no David (Daud) is heard of. After we took up Islam we took up Semitic names such as Daud, et,

  7. Thanks for all the comments. Although I have no interest in tracing Semitic links of Kashmir, I do find it interesting that Al-Biruni should have mentioned that no outsiders except Jews were allowed to enter Kashmir.

  8. You are again right

    Please read Kitab-I-Hind by Al-Biruni of Khiva in detail. More details are found in Moscow Library, Library of Congress in Washington, Paris, London, etc.

    Intially Hindu Kashmir allowed Jewish businessmen from Central Asia mainly Bukhara in. Later according to Al-Biruni their entry was banned in Hindu Kashmir.

    I finally end this discuission now and would like to mention I like your site. It is a good effort for Kasmiriyat.

  9. Dear Young Friend,

    Clearly, you reflect the brilliance of your ancestors the Kashmiri Pandits. As you gain more experience you will realize how many foreigners via their plants have an agenda in India.

    If I as a Kashmiri Muslim had to give my views. This is what I would say: Your clansman Kalhana was a great mind and recently you have had great men like Pandit Anand Koul, trust them, your mind and your people only. My people were close to PT. Anandji.

    The need of the hour for your great community is teamwork and you as a young man should see to it that the youth continue to marry in the community. There is again a foreign agenda to make some of the youth of your community (who are not that smart) to marry outside for goodies, etc.

    Kashmiriyat is alive and total peace is now a certainty in our beloved Kashmir. Remember many of us Muslims (who were genuinely secular) have also suffered and given blood for our motherland India. :

    P.S. Do not forget your brothers such as Kukka Parrey either.


    Please place some more photographs of our beloved Kashmir.


  11. Agreee with Wani to a great extent but not completely. You have knowledge bro.

  12. Wonderful article. Would like to add that some of our people (Kashmiri Pundits) who had fled to Karnataka had come back to kashmir some 300 years ago and mixed with us again. Hence, we Pandits now are no longer the original Aryan Saraswat Brahmins....because of 7 recorded exoduses and inter-mixing along the way. Anyway, a Kashmiri is a person who speaks in Kashmiri as his/her mothertongue. Kashmiri Pundits should maintain their genes by marrying within our community and having a minimum of 3-4 kids, in order to increase our numbers. Let Kashmiri be the only language being spoken at home. This Hindi-Urdu can be picked up from Bollywood movies, School and interaction with other communities. We don't need to give up our mothertongue and ethnicity in order to be Indians. If other communities like the Tamils, Marathis, Giujaratis, Bengalis, Punjabis and Kannadas don't replace their mothertongues with Hindi-Urdu at home, then why should we? India's beauty lies in its diversity. We needn't homogenize it under this Bollywood culture (which is a make-believe world and isn't even remotely representative of India either way!). Kashmiri Culture Zindabad. Jai Hind!

  13. Dear Vinayak, i'm surprised that you even let yourself be dragged in this crazy discussion about Saraswat Brahmins.. this is pure racism. Nothing less nothing more. Being first hand victims of majority bigotry ( what others call religious bigotry) we should now batter. Love your blog for it's sheer class. Let pure bloods vent their frustrations somewhere else. Dinesh Labroo

  14. Dinesh,
    I use some topics as logs...log of things that people kept themselves busy with even as the world around them changed.

  15. To Dineshji, There is absolutely nothing "racist/bigoted" in mentioning historical FACTS about our community. Kindly be more circumspect in your choices of words in the future before throwing these words so liberally at me. I do NOT appreciate it, as I am the Opposite of a Bigot as bigotry goes completely against the very teachings of our Vedic belief.
    Now based on your reasoning, if a Gaud Saraswat in Karnataka mentions that he is of the brahmin caste, then is that racist? I don't think so, and if I did think that, then that is my own self-created Inferiority complex (and misunderstanding), not theirs. Also, that article on Saraswat brahmins was actually started by Vinayakji, so maybe you should firstly take it up with him! For that matter, I am not really sure what you are accusing me of having written. As I have clearly mentioned, we Kashmiris are not even remotely "pure-bloods" (nor did I use that that matter, NO COMMUNITY in the world is! But if you had actually read my earlier comment, you would have read that! We Battas (and the kashmiri muslims) have historically had inter-caste and inter-ethnic marriages. Also, keeping your view in mind, I am assuming that you are also against our widely-practiced Mekhal ceremony as well...right? After all, nothing is more segregatory in this day and age than the initiation of someone into the Brahmin caste, as per your reasoning! I am assuming that you yourself never had a Mekhal as well and wouldn't want our future generations to do so...right! I find it quite interesting that on one hand you accuse me to being bigoted simply because I am mentioning historical facts and on the other hand, many people in our community would faint at the notion of a Batta getting married, without his Mekhal ceremony. Maybe you should firstly address this important matter with 99% of our community who still believe in Mekhal! Don't worry, you don't have to try to convince me, as I am but one person:) I will stand corrected if you can convince 99% of people in our community. It is a great task, but you seem just right for the task:) Btw, I am against the Mekhal as well, as to me the whole "Brahmin initiation rite" is bigoted in this day and age....Especially since, we battas are not all Brahmins to begin with!

    To Vinayakji, Thanks for allowing me to comment on your page. I would just like to clarify that I assure you, I have moved on with the rest of the world...maybe even more than most of the Battas in our community have- young or old, living in India or Abroad. I believe that a modern person is one who keeps his language/culture at home but also adapts to the changing world outside his house (both of which I have done...). Also, that article on "Dravidian Kashmiris" was started by you, not me. I am just clarifying things here. By the way, any person who believes such studies conducted by insecure Indian Establishment needs to get a reality check. Such Hindutva inspired studies have ridiculously also claimed that the Parsis like Sam Manekshaw, Ratan Tata, Perizaad Zorabain etc are the same ethnicity as Gujarati hindus (Narendra Modi being a prime example). For my part, I laugh at such so-called "Studies" conducted by hindutva paid " They clearly have a political motive in making all Indians into one homogenous set. Anyway, I enjoyed the pictures on your blog. I wish you the very best with it.


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