by Dr. Santosh
generalizations and conceptual frames of reference adopted by western scholars,
which still form the broad basis of explanation of the historical past
of Kashmir and the history of its people, deserve to be abandoned now.
The Burzahom civilization has revealed a continuity in the past of Kashmir,
which dates back to the later stone-age cultures. That the early man of
the Aryan stock, whose descendants live in Haryana now, should have been
found to have lived in the later stone-age or Neolithic settlements at
Burzahom and other places in Kashmir, links the history of Kashmir to the
proto-Vedic period of Aryan civilization and refutes the traditional concept
of Aryan race movement across Kashmir into northern India. Perhaps, Kashmir
was never a theater for the Aryan immigration the way it is believed to
have occurred by Grierson and the other English scholars of Kashmir History.
The myth about
migratory character of the inhabitants of Kashmir, in ancient times or
the medieval times must be discarded. The arrival of Sanskrit Aryans from
India into Kashmir, in the beginning of the Neelmat period, which commenced
with the induction of the calcolithic tools or metals into Kashmir, most
probably from the surrounding Sind Valley civilization, indicates a cultural
change, which was not dictated by any race movement. The people living
in Kashmir, from the time of the Neolithic age of Burzahom, have been of
a single racial stock. The Nagas and Pisachas were also people of the proto-Aryan
racial origin, and formed the local cultural denominations after Sanskrit
Aryans arrived in Kashmir. There is hardly any anthropological evidence
to prove that ancient people of Kashmir were racially of a different stock
than the people inhabiting the Burzahom settlements. There is also little
evidence to prove that early people of Kashmir, lived through the millennia,
following the Burzahom civilization, in remoter regions of northern Kashmir
and Baltistan, where western scholars believe the Pisachas, particularly,
toak refuge after Sanskrit Aryans extended their hold over the Kashmir
and the proto-Austroloid race movements across India had a marginal impact
on Kashmir. No ethnographic evidence is available to show any proto-Austroloid
elements in the people of Kashmir. The only other race movement, which
could have affected the racial content of the people of Kashmir in ancient
times, is that of the Alpanoids, who are believed to have descended from
the European Steppes and moved south-east across India. Alpanoids, also
known as western Brachycephalics, did not leave any trace on the people
of Kashmir. Brachycephalics are broader- heads, measured in accordance
with specific anthropometric methods in accordance with which various cephalic
or cranial indexes are calculated. Kashmiri people are predominantly docile-cephalic,
with specific cranial indexes, indicating longer heads and nasal indexes,
similar to that of the Aryan people.
The Austroloid, proto-Austroloid and Alpanoid race remnants, which lingered on in remote
regions, settling into endocrine social groups in India, and very often
recognized as the aborigine tribes of India have a specific racial content
and are not related to the early people of Kashmir. There were no aborigine
people in Kashmir, and Nagas and Pisachas have no aboriginal history.
culture of the people of Kashmir grew from its Burzahom past and is, therefore,
formed of several sediments; the basic sediments have their origin in the
ritual structure of the Burzahom people and the people of Kashmir who lived
through the Neelmat period. The Vedic Grah-Sutras and Kalpa- Sutras were
adopted for the Battas of Kashmir, or the Kashmiri Pandits, by Laugaksha Muni, a great sage, sometime in the first millennium B.C. Before the adaptation
of Sanskrit scriptures, Kashmiri Battas had already a highly evolved and
intricate ritual structure, which symbolised their proto-Aryan origin.
A part of the pre-Laugaksha ritual was integrated into the Laugaksha adaptation.
The rest lingered on and survived and in due course of time became a part
of the religious culture of the Battas. These rituals are still extant,
and preserved and practised by the Kashmiri Pandits even now. A vast number
of rituals followed by Kashmiri Pandits, in their birth, death and marriage
rituals have a phenomenal identity and theological content. Besides there
are numerous rituals, traditions and festivals of proto-Vedic origin which
the Kashmiri Pandits follow.
most interesting development of the Neelmat period was the evolution of
Shakht religious system with its deep theological basis. Shakht ultimately
formed the substructure of the Bhawani worship and Tantric Buddhism as
well as Shaivism in Kashmir.
Rituals like Gada-Batta, Kaw Punim, Khachi
Mavas, Herath, etc. have an ancient past
and are symbolic of a theological philosophy, which predates the advent
of the Sanskrit Aryans into Kashmir. These rituals have a proto-Aryan origin
and should not be aseribed to any aboriginity in the ancient past of Kashmir.
They have rich theulogical backglound and cannot be explained by simplisitic
explanations, based upon nineteenth century methodologies of history.
a part of the cultural tradition of all people, and Hindu mythology is
also a part of its cultural tradition. Hindu rituals cannot be explained
by rationalisation and conjecture. Gada Batta is a ritual form which must
be traced to the Butzahom period of Kashmir history and has a long theological
tradition. Gada-Batta is a ritual associated with the family and the clan
organisation of the early Hindus of Kashmir and is not in any way connected
to superstition or the last long meal left for the aged who were unable
to migrate in winter as suggested in an article published in the Hindi
Seetion of the 'Koshur Samachar' (Shivratri Special: March 1994).