I am writing these quick notes on Kashmiriyat as many people confuse this term with our native Hindu Religion & Culture. They may not be explanatory but a quick response to many friends on Facebook who are getting confused between KASHMIRIYA & ; BATTILL ( Hindu Ethos of Kashmir ) !
|" Hyun Myett " A tradition of BATIL|
Many people often reproduce Kashmiriyat ( कश्मीरीयत, کشمیریّت; : Kashmiri-ness) as an ethno-nationalism & cultural values of the Kashmiri people.( forgetting rest of 80% landmass & its inhabitants as if they are enslaved to Kashmir ) Emerging around the 16th century, it is characterised by religious and cultural harmony, patriotism and pride for their mountainous homeland of Kashmir
Very first point that for any proselytizing religious philosophy to assimilate in the foreign land , they have to invade in multi directions , create chaotic condition & then set their systematic ways of life.
Unfortunately ISLAM came into Kashmir with a treachery & then at the same time , the magnanimity of the then Kashmiri Pandits was back stabbed as they gave refuge to first Muslim settlers of Persia and Central Asia.
First 300 years of Islam in Kashmir saw bloodshed & mayhem which was unknown to the society of Kashmir as such it never ever got the intellectual nod of even the converted Community. It was vomited out at every available time slot in history of Kashmir during its first 300 years. It is noteworthy that Islam tried to enter Kashmir in its first 150 years but the hordes of Arab armies were defeated by Kashmir Kings in 7th and 8th Century thrice which made them move towards lower parts of Sindh .They failed to follow Alexanders route.
Kashmiri language as such was a burden on Islam. It is noteworthy to see here that was not a single book of ISLAM written in Kashmiri except during the Muslim period prior to 1470 AD. Some religious texts were rendered into Kashmiri for purposes of propagation of Islam but no trace of these manuscripts is found now. Compare it even with Budhist who wrote in Sanskrit , Prakrit and even in Kashmiri some marvelous pieces as "Miland Panha" and "Brihad Katha".
As per Sh Mahanori in his book GEMS of Kashmiri Literature "Three stalwarts stand out as the true founders of Kashmiri literature. They are Shitikanth (13th Century), author of Mahanai Prakash "Lal Ded (b. 1335/50) and Nund Reshi (b. 1377). "Banasur Katha," composed around 1446 AD by Avtar Bhatt, is another early specimen of Kashmiri literature, Persian dominated from the beginning Of Mughal rule (1586) right upto the end of the Muslim period, in 1819."
Then what Kashmiriyat is Muslim Kashmir talking of today ?
Huge number of Libraries were burnt & thrown into water bodies to wash every visible traces of PreIslamic literature. Reference Bahiristan Shahi as translated by Sh K N Pandita & Converted Kashmir (Click here ) Anyway I wont dwell into History except for the word KASHMIRIYAT but
By 16th Century , Delhi was ruled by Akbar & Kashmir by Budshah : Moderate Islam was on its rise and as such a perfect opportunity for ISLAM to get itself accepted into Sufi cult in Kashmirs Intellectualism Ethos and make inroads. As such the term was introduced into the system. After conversion of 95% of Population , it was a perfect opportunity to call a ceasefire and hence dominate in one way or the other. It was time to accept the minuscule minority as DIMI like in many other Islamic societies across West and Central Asia.
Religion can change your ways of worshiping but cant entirely finish your culture as it leaves traces. As such muslims even after conversion carried so many traits which were unislamic and related them to native Kashmiri .
That is when BATTA was identified with BATTIL : one who carried the ways of working as they existed PreIslamic Order and any thing which was still part of new Muslim order would be given a common Intersection Set named as KASHMIRIYAT. A common ground to sustain the social balance and also make sure that ISLAM isnt considered as blood thirsty religion of first 300 years but gets coexisted with Nativity in kashmir. New style of Architecture which had Kashmiri traits for even Mosques emerged , Many customs like TAHER ( yellow Rice ) distribution stayed . Must read ( Early kashmiri Society & Challenges of Islam by Dr S S Toshkhani )
But this Wrapper class of Kashmiriyat over original Battil couldnt stay for long as intermittent Muslim rulers introduced so much havoc on the original Kashmiri Ethos that word Musalmaan was more or less echoed as the Rakshas Breed of that time. So many narratives and stories that we used to hear at bed time tells us about the exoduses and return to valley. ( Must Read HISTORY OF KASHMIR PANDITs by Sh Jia lal Kilam )
All the customs that KPs inherit are least influenced by ISLAM : All the practices that we follow today from Hyun Myeth to Tarpan are preIslamic : All the Religious & Social values that we incorporated till Spring of 1990 were pure sanskritized versions that were prevalent pre and post Islamic era. We only adapted ourselves to changing inhospitable and barbaric condition but never adopted any condition which was against the basic tenants of BATTIL.
One may describe the BATTIL a selective composition of socio , cultural & religious ethos which over the period might have degraded from its original value or might have also evolved from the original context but still hasnt lost the basic tenants and principles . I request readers to please read ( Rites and Rituals of Kashmiri Brahmins by Dr S.S. Toshkhani )
One quick rebuttal from a friend on Facebook was that many people think that KP Non vegetarian Cuisine has been gift of ISLAM which is again wrong : ( Please read Cultural heritage of Kashmiri Pandits by Dr S S Toshkhani )
But post Independence this word received a vocal support from sociopolitical agencies and its so called intellectual society to build in a good connection with Secular fabric of India but alas within 40 years this experimental lab was teared into pieces with Wahabi & NizameMustafa ideology ripping apart the theory of coexistence.
This lab was faulty as it never thought of other parts of Kashmir like Gilgit , Baltistan , ladakh ,Skardu , POK , Greater Jammu and other parts were Non Muslims were either ignored or exterminated post British Colonial and Maharaja Era. Very basic tenant of Kashmiriyat was faulty as Jammu & ladakh were made scape goats too. KPs were reduced to state of Dimihood & finally Exiled in 1990.
So what remained in Kashmir was tormented society under Islamic Imperialism whose some part want to reconnect to previous versions of Kashmiri society using a broken ladder of kashmiriyat which is a subset of our BATTIL that believes in Syezarr , pazzar and Schocchar .
Today to get a leverage at world platform and white wash their misdeeds of 1990 like in 16th Century they are again hopping KASHMIRIYAT bus but alas by now they are exposed beyond recognition.