Kalhana, a Kashmiri, was the author of Rajatarangini, and is regarded as the first properly documented historian of the undivided Indian Subcontinent. He composed his book Rajatarangini, the river of kings, in A.D. 1148-49. His father, Champaka, was the minister of king Harsha of Kashmir (A.D. 1089-1101). Kalhana starts his narrative with description of Gonanda dynasty after referring to his study More
Literary outpourings of all hues and genre whether political, social or historical, flowing in ,out or around Kashmir have failed to erase a misplaced concept that Kashmir apart from its natural beauty, has been an isolated non entity in political or cultural terms from times immemorial. It comes as a revelation, after reading the book, that Kashmiris just about a thousand years or so back had swept such far flung areas as Kabul in North-west, Gauda(Northern Bengal) in the east, the Konkans in South and Kathiawad in west. The daring escape from the high security prison of Nepal and the subsequent devastating attack on this country by the Kashmiri King Jayapida, grandson of the legendry Lalitta Ditya, finds confirmation in the historical records of Nepal.
Of several other revelations, many seem to have gone either unnoticed or unexplained by the scholars as well as Historians including Kalhan himself. The claim of LalittaDitya and also of his grand son Jayapida that they had Conquered the Stri Rajya kingdom (women ruled States) in the Northern territories (Tibet) has found very casual miserly references even by scholars like Stein or R.S.Pandit. This claim finds now affirmation with the anthropological proof which has established that such kingdoms by women for women did exist in areas North of Himalyan range extending right unto Mongolia.
The other fact, besides several others, that emerges after reading the book is as startling as it is revealing, it concerns the rule of King Harsa who having fallen in love with the portrait of Karnataka queen went to ludicrous lengths to express his love for the woman he had never seen. Writing about the obsessed behavior of the king, the author mentions, “The royal obsession for the Karnata queen however had other fallouts of a fundamental and durable nature on the Kashmiri society. Formerly the common people wore the hair loose and were not allowed to wear a turban or any ornaments, these being privileges reserved for the ruling classes. Now this restriction was removed and in fact courtiers were expected to present themselves wearing a short coat and a turban. The attire of women under went changes too. Bun coiffure decked with flower garlands, an eyes make up which consisted of a colored paste drawn in a thin line from the corners of eyes to the ears .Golden strings tied to plaited tresses and the upper garment emphasizing the curve of the breasts and covering the upper half of the arm became the vogue. Even the coins in use as currency were designed after the fashion of Karnata (Karnatka) coinage.”
P.Parimoo’s book comprising of tales and fables derived from Kashmir’s most important historical book , Rajatarangini, though indeterminate about the chronology of events before 6th century A.D, still remains an invaluable source of information about early North western parts ,Eastern Afghanistan, and Pakistanof the undivided Indian subcontinent including Kashmir.
Remarkable is the fact, author of this book and other writings in both fiction and non-fiction domain; strongly appeal for the rationalization of action and emotion for a world without malice. Both symbolic and in real terms, Rajatarangini still has immense importance for Indians in general and South Asian Historians in particular, so its fresh and stylized narratives coming through this book will be a valued gift for them all, scholars not tied to the geographical limitations too will find the work a real treat to delve into!