HistoryJammu and Kashmir

Here is how “Kashmir” got its name

According to folk etymology, the name “Kashmir” means “desiccated land” (from the Sanskrit: Ka = water and shimeera = desiccate).

In the Rajatarangini, a history of Kashmir written by Kalhana in the mid-12th century, it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake.

According to Hindu mythology, the lake was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir had been drained, Kashyapa asked Brahmins to settle there.

This is still the local tradition, and in the existing physical condition of the country, we may see some ground for the story which has taken this form. The name of Kashyapa is by history and tradition connected with the draining of the lake, and the chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley was called Kashyapa-pura, which has been identified with Kaspapyros of Hecataeus (apud Stephanus of Byzantium) and Kaspatyros of Herodotus.

Kashmir is also believed to be the country meant by Ptolemy’s Kaspeiria.

Cashmere is an archaic spelling of Kashmir, and in some countries it is still spelled this way.

Nilmata Purana (complied c. 500–600 CE) contains accounts of Kashmir’s early history. However, being a Puranic source, it has been argued that it suffers from a degree of inconsistency and unreliability.

Kalhana’s Rajatarangini (River of Kings), all the 8000 Sanskrit verses of which were completed by 1150 CE, chronicles the history of Kashmir’s dynasties from mythical times to the 12th century.

It relies upon traditional sources like Nilmata Purana, inscriptions, coins, monuments, and Kalhana’s personal observations borne out of political experiences of his family.

Towards the end of the work mythical explanations give way to rational and critical analyses of dramatic events between 11th and 12th centuries, for which Kalhana is often credited as India’s first historian.

During the reign of Muslim kings in Kashmir, three supplements to Rajatarangini were written by Jonaraja (1411–1463 CE), Srivara, and Prajyabhatta and Suka, which end with Akbar’s conquest of Kashmir in 1586 CE.

The text was translated into Persian by Muslim scholars such as Nizam Uddin, Farishta, and Abul Fazl.

Baharistan-i-Shahi and Haidar Mailk’s Tarikh-i-Kashmir (completed in 1621 CE) are the most important texts on the history of Kashmir during the Sultanate period. Both the texts were written in Persian and used Rajatarangini and Persian histories as their sources.


Source: Wikipedia

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