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Kashmir's Contested PastsNarratives, Sacred Geographies, and the Historical Imagination$
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Chitralekha Zutshi

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199450671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199450671.001.0001

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Paradise on Earth: The Past and Present of History-Writing in Kashmir

(p.1) Introduction
Kashmir's Contested Pasts

Chitralekha Zutshi

Oxford University Press

The introduction provides a broad scholarly context for the arguments put forward in the book by focusing on three main themes. First, the interconnectedness of Kashmir’s multilingual historical tradition over the centuries, as the Persian narratives drew on the tropes and themes outlined in the earlier Sanskrit texts to define both Kashmir as well as history. Second, these definitions were located at the intersection of the particular and the universal, as Kashmiri oral traditions, Sanskrit mythologies, and Islamic universalism coalesced to imagine Kashmir as a sacred space and polity through a narration of its past. Third, both textual and oral traditions defined history in multiple ways, even as they ascribed multiple motivations to the task of historical narration. The introduction, and the book as a whole, illustrate that place-making—of Kashmir’s landscape and spaces within—emerged as a central aspect of historical practice in Kashmir.

Keywords:   Kashmir history, historiography, landscape, Sanskrit texts, Persian narratives, Islamic universalism

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