The valley of Kashmir is situated nearly in the centre of the Maharaja’s territory. The surface of the plateaus is flat and uniformly even and is attributed by geologists to its having been submerged for ages beneath a deep vast lake. Tradition has it that the great Hindu ascetic Kashyapa reclaimed the land by draining the water of the lake, even as Parasmama reclaimed Malabar on the west coast from the sea. Kashyapa was in the north as Agastya was in the south. The land reclaimed by him was called Kashyap-pur or Kashyap-mar and Kashmir. (Sanskrit Ka water Shimira to dry up).
It was in the middle of this valley that Srinagar, the capital, was built by the Hindu King Pravasena during his long reign from 79 to 139 A.D. The royal family came over from Ayodhya in Bharatvarsha. Jamawant, one of the warriors in Sri Rama’s army, used to practice austere penances in a cave now identified near Pirkhut and Jammu was called after his name. Jambu Lakhan, seventh descendant of the Jammu Raj of Ayodhya, founded the city of Jammu. Hindu dynasty ruled over Jammu and Kashmir for 55 generations. By the middle of the 18th century Raja Ranjit Dev was the ruler. Maharaja Gulab Singh, with whom the British entered into the Treaty of Amritsar, was the great-grandson of Raja Ranjit Dev. According to Raj Taranagani, established government in Kashmir dates back from 2180 B.C., with Raja Daya Karan. The historian Kalhana, who lived in the first half of the 12th century A.D., is the author of Raj Taranagani where he narrates in Sanskrit verse the chronicles of Hindu kings of Kashmir who ruled for over four thousand years.
The valley of Kashmir is enclosed by an oval ring of mountains. Situated in the long glacial gorge high among the eastern mountains (western Himalayas) is the celebrated cave of Amar Nath, one of the most hallowed places of pilgrimage of the Hindus. In this cave is the self-formed image of Shiva- the unmelting ice-lingam with water dripping over it like a perennial offering. The annual pilgrimages of countless devotees in the month of Sawan (July-August) go back to prehistoric times. “It is one of those ancient institutions which have, above all, kept the fire of spirituality burning in the hearts of the people. One has here the soul of the Hindu nation laid bare in all its innate beauty and sweetness of faith and devotion” (Life of Swami Vivekanand).
Not only religion and philosophy, but literature, astronomy, medicine and almost every other branch of knowledge produced a galaxy of writers whose works are part of Hindu culture. Kathasari-thsagard is an immortal work translated into several languages. Charaka’s work on Hindu medicine and surgery is world-famous.the works of Bashkaracharya, Aryabhatta and Ratna Kanta are authorities on Hindu astrology.
Kashmiri language was deve-Sanskrit was the court language during the Hindu period. The common people spoke Prakrit, corrupt from Sanskrit, out of which in course of time the present Kashmir language is developed. There are a large number of temples with dazzling pinnacles. The temple at Mart-and with its massive columns is a marvelous feat of engineering.
Unfortunately for this fine land part of its territory stretched into the regions where three empires meet.
Gilgit, the frontier district of Kashmir, was regarded as a key position in British imperial strategy. After the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846, the British therefore, intrigued to get control over Gilgit. The Treaty did not empower them even to appoint the usual Resident Kashmir soon became the victim of the well-known imperialistic technique of divide et impera. Thus was started the communal bogey in Kashmir by alleging misgovernment and exploiting imaginary Muslim discontent in order to creat a pretext for the intervention of the Paramount Power. Maharaja Gulab Singh and his successor Maharaja Ranbir Singh were both able to successfully resist the attempts of the British to impose a Resident in their State.
It was with the accession of Maharaja Pratap Singh that the British efforts succeeded. Events during the time of Mr. Plowden, the then British Resident, including the mysterious appearance of letters of the Maharaja meant to prove the Jammu Family to be in league with Russia which were later found to be forgeries are all matters of history.
The Muslims communalists today are following in the footsteps of imperialist tradition. The Maharaja is more sinned against then sinning. The Hindu kingdom of Kashmir if one of the oldest in world history and is an indissoluble part of the cultural hegemony of Hindusthan.