The Making of Early Kashmir

Landscape and Identity in the Rajatarangini

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ISBN:

9780199482924

Publication date:

20/02/2018

Hardback

222 pages

We sell our titles through other companies
Disclaimer :You will be redirected to a third party website.The sole responsibility of supplies, condition of the product, availability of stock, date of delivery, mode of payment will be as promised by the said third party only. Prices and specifications may vary from the OUP India site.

ISBN:

9780199482924

Publication date:

20/02/2018

Hardback

222 pages

Shonaleeka Kaul

What is history? How does a land become a homeland? How are cultural identities formed? Offering cogent new answers to these fundamental questions, The Making of Early Kashmir is a cultural history of the birth of Kashmir and the discursive and material practices that constituted it into a historical region up to the 12th century CE. It critically reinterprets Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, explores its understanding of regional selfhood, and traces Kashmir’s connected histories with the rest of India.

Rights:  World Rights

Shonaleeka Kaul

Description

What is history? How does a land become a homeland? How are cultural identities formed? The Making of Early Kashmir explores these questions in relation to the birth of Kashmir and the discursive and material practices that shaped it up to the 12th century CE.
Reinterpreting the first work of Kashmiri history, Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, this book argues that the text was history not despite being traditional Sanskrit poetry but because of it. It elaborated a poetics of place, implicating Kashmir’s sacred geography, a stringent critique of local politics, and a regional selfhood that transcended the limits of vernacularism.
Combined with longue durée testimonies from art, material culture, script, and linguistics, this book jettisons the image of an isolated and insular Kashmir. It proposes a cultural formation that straddled the Western Himalayas and the Indic plains with Kashmir as the pivot. This is the story of the connected histories of the region and the rest of India.

About the author
Shonaleeka Kaul
is a cultural historian of early South Asia, specializing in working with Sanskrit texts. She is associate professor in the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Shonaleeka Kaul

Table of contents


List of Illustrations
Preface
Note on Edition, Translation, and Diacritics

1. Introduction

2. Poetics and the Past: Questions of History in Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī
The History Hypothesis or The History That Wasn’t
The Literary Hypothesis
Is the Rājataraṅgiṅī a Kāvya?
Metapoetry and Epistemic Insight
‘The River of Kings’ as a Flow of Exemplars
Critique of Power—and Time

3. Imagined Landscape: Myth, Memory, and Place-Making
Cosmopolitan and Vernacular in Kashmir
Layers of Landscape
Mapping the Land
Nature and Ritual
Storytelling and the Moral Agency of Nāgas
Local Imageries
Kingdom of Piety or This Troubled Land

4. (Re)locating Early Kashmir: Geoculture of a Region and Beyond
From Unique History to Connected Histories
Text
Material Culture
Script
Language
Art

5. Conclusion
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

Shonaleeka Kaul

Shonaleeka Kaul

Review


‘Despite its long-acknowledged singularity, the Rājataraṅgiṇī has found singularly little sustained analysis. In fact, Shonaleeka Kaul’s is the first book devoted to the great twelfth-century work on Kashmir. Carefully argued and beautifully written, Kaul’s study takes seriously the work’s claim to be kāvya, literary representation that distils reality through the imagination, and shows the particular kind of history it produces, one that constructs a space through time as well as plotting time in space. An empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated work.’
—Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University, New York, USA

‘Professor Kaul provides an engaging and stimulating reading of Kalhana’s important text. She argues convincingly that far from being isolated from the rest of the sub-continent, the Kashmir of the Rajatarangani was a lively participant in a wider cultural, economic, and political world.’
—Phyllis Granoff, Lex Hixon Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University, New Haven, USA

‘Modern adoption of the text [Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī ] for writing Kashmir’s early history is essentially a reproduction of the text, except for the “methodological” pressure of attempting to separate the “grain” from the “chaff ”, the “factual” from the “mythical”…. Shonaleeka has dared to depart from this approach by treating the Rājataraṅgiṇī, as it should be treated, not as a quarry for randomly selected historical information, but as a kāvya , in which lie embedded varieties of cultural ingredients of the valley. Shonaleeka’s multidiscipline approach to the text has resulted in a fascinating exploration of the making of the special identity of early Kashmir…
—B. D. Chattopadhyaya, former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Shonaleeka Kaul

Description

What is history? How does a land become a homeland? How are cultural identities formed? The Making of Early Kashmir explores these questions in relation to the birth of Kashmir and the discursive and material practices that shaped it up to the 12th century CE.
Reinterpreting the first work of Kashmiri history, Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, this book argues that the text was history not despite being traditional Sanskrit poetry but because of it. It elaborated a poetics of place, implicating Kashmir’s sacred geography, a stringent critique of local politics, and a regional selfhood that transcended the limits of vernacularism.
Combined with longue durée testimonies from art, material culture, script, and linguistics, this book jettisons the image of an isolated and insular Kashmir. It proposes a cultural formation that straddled the Western Himalayas and the Indic plains with Kashmir as the pivot. This is the story of the connected histories of the region and the rest of India.

About the author
Shonaleeka Kaul
is a cultural historian of early South Asia, specializing in working with Sanskrit texts. She is associate professor in the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Read More

Reviews


‘Despite its long-acknowledged singularity, the Rājataraṅgiṇī has found singularly little sustained analysis. In fact, Shonaleeka Kaul’s is the first book devoted to the great twelfth-century work on Kashmir. Carefully argued and beautifully written, Kaul’s study takes seriously the work’s claim to be kāvya, literary representation that distils reality through the imagination, and shows the particular kind of history it produces, one that constructs a space through time as well as plotting time in space. An empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated work.’
—Sheldon Pollock, Arvind Raghunathan Professor of Sanskrit and South Asian Studies, Columbia University, New York, USA

‘Professor Kaul provides an engaging and stimulating reading of Kalhana’s important text. She argues convincingly that far from being isolated from the rest of the sub-continent, the Kashmir of the Rajatarangani was a lively participant in a wider cultural, economic, and political world.’
—Phyllis Granoff, Lex Hixon Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University, New Haven, USA

‘Modern adoption of the text [Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī ] for writing Kashmir’s early history is essentially a reproduction of the text, except for the “methodological” pressure of attempting to separate the “grain” from the “chaff ”, the “factual” from the “mythical”…. Shonaleeka has dared to depart from this approach by treating the Rājataraṅgiṇī, as it should be treated, not as a quarry for randomly selected historical information, but as a kāvya , in which lie embedded varieties of cultural ingredients of the valley. Shonaleeka’s multidiscipline approach to the text has resulted in a fascinating exploration of the making of the special identity of early Kashmir…
—B. D. Chattopadhyaya, former Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Read More

Table of contents


List of Illustrations
Preface
Note on Edition, Translation, and Diacritics

1. Introduction

2. Poetics and the Past: Questions of History in Kalhaṇa’s Rājataraṅgiṇī
The History Hypothesis or The History That Wasn’t
The Literary Hypothesis
Is the Rājataraṅgiṅī a Kāvya?
Metapoetry and Epistemic Insight
‘The River of Kings’ as a Flow of Exemplars
Critique of Power—and Time

3. Imagined Landscape: Myth, Memory, and Place-Making
Cosmopolitan and Vernacular in Kashmir
Layers of Landscape
Mapping the Land
Nature and Ritual
Storytelling and the Moral Agency of Nāgas
Local Imageries
Kingdom of Piety or This Troubled Land

4. (Re)locating Early Kashmir: Geoculture of a Region and Beyond
From Unique History to Connected Histories
Text
Material Culture
Script
Language
Art

5. Conclusion
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

Read More