Abdul Rashid Khan
The book, Islamic and Cultural
The Foundations of Kashmiriyat by Professor (Dr) Mohammad Ishaq Khan recently published by Primus Books – New Delhi, eight years after its author’s death in 2013, has hit the market.
The author of the book is the late Professor Mohammad Ishaq Khan (January 9, 1946 – April 5, 2013) an internationally renowned historian from Kashmir. He was dean of academics, dean of the faculty of social sciences and head of the history department at the University of Kashmir. After his retirement pension in 2005, he was appointed Director of the New Center for Kashmir Studies and then held the Shaikul-Alam Chair at the University of Kashmir until August 2008. He also remained a member of the Indian Council. historical research. He was awarded the Oxford Center (University of Oxford) Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for Islamic Studies in 1992.
The 217-page book, containing 11 chapters, crowns a lifetime of research into the history of Kashmir with particular emphasis on cultural heritage. The main theme is Kashmir, the essence of Kashmiri culture which can be traced back through hundreds of years of Kashmir history. The book is based on his research papers presented in international conferences / seminars organized by the best universities in the world and different centers of historical and Islamic studies.
It traces the history of Kashmir as an outward-looking and culturally secure society, closely linked to the rest of the Indian subcontinent, but retaining unique traditions accessible to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In his introduction he says that “it was this spiritual and social base of Islam in the valley that stood up as a bulwark against the post-partition communalist frenzy of mob mentality in parts of the country. other side of the valley “. The Kashmiri people have assimilated Sufism through the Khanqahs and the social role of the itinerant Muslim rishis during five centuries of Islamic acculturations militates against the designation of Kashmiri culture as being of a strictly composite character. Despite several similarities with regard to their social customs, ceremonies and ideas, Pandits and Muslims, although proud to call themselves Kashmiris, have throughout history struggled to seek inspiration in two directions to the both geographically and culturally. It emphasizes the role of Sufis and Rishis in particular Shiekh Noor-ud-Wali (Nund-iReshi) and Lalla a Hindu yogini known as Lal Ded (Lala Isheavery) and their influence on behavior and l acculturation of Kashmiris.
The author says that Shiek Nurud-din advocated the value system of humanism, coexistence with men of other religions and cultures, and a deep commitment to the sanctity of human life and its artistic manifestation on earth. The author further says that “the important consequences of the philosophy proposed by these two great sages of medieval Kashmir were the flourishing idea of the dignity and fundamental equality of man. Lalla propagated the basic Sufi idea of divine unity in simple language that had a deep and direct appeal to the common man. For his true devotion meant seeking God in oneself and also in everyday life. She helped the common man to accept Sufi ideas of equality and brotherhood. Like Lalla, Nuru’d-Din criticized forms of social behavior that lead to the exploitation and suffering of other human beings. ‘
The author discovers that ‘Nuru’d-Din seems to have visited every part of the valley to spread his message of divine love and human brotherhood. Muslim society as it emerged in the Sultanate and the period of history that followed bears the deep imprint of the Rishi movement. ‘ “The Rishi movement ushered in a period of cultural renaissance in the valley. Lal Ded and Nuru’d-Din asserted the rights of the less privileged as saviors of the oppressed. ‘ The author specifies that “there are many other examples which illustrate the absorption and assimilation of a number of traditions by Islam in Kashmir”. Islam did not totally destroy the ancient Kashmiri culture, but diverted it from the narrow waters of caste society to the vast sea of humanism.
The essays take a close look at the range of historical sources available to address the role of saints, rituals in the valley, Persian influence on Kashmir, and many other questions. In the last chapter, he discusses the evolution of his identity vis-à-vis Islam and Kashmir. The latest writing has already been published by Nyla Ali Khan, in her edited book, “Kashmir Parchment, History, Society and Politics” in 2012, which contains articles by renowned authors. The book is worth reading especially the last chapter which also illuminates, albeit briefly, the political developments that took place during the second half of the twentieth century in Kashmir. His main publications include ‘Perspective on Kashmir: Historical Dimensions (1983); Living Islam (1997); The Transition from Kashmir to Islam: The Role of the Muslim Rishis (2005); History of Srinagar, 1846-1947; A study in Socio-Cultural Change (2007) and Biographical Dictionary of Sufism in South Asia (2009).