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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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A Literary Paradise

A Literary Paradise

The Tarikh Tradition in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Kashmir

(p.72) 2 A Literary Paradise
Kashmir's Contested Pasts

Chitralekha Zutshi

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 explores the tarikhs written during the Mughal period to illustrate the ways in which they drew on earlier Sanskrit and Persian texts to assert the distinctiveness of Kashmir within the Mughal Empire. And later in the eighteenth century, as Kashmir transitioned from Mughal to Afghan rule, they gave voice to the category of people (qaum), not just the place, of Kashmir. While Mughal texts such as the Ain-i Akbari incorporated Kashmir into the Mughal landscape of power through a reading of its Sanskrit texts, Kashmir’s Persian narratives self-consciously engaged these texts on questions regarding the style and purpose of narrating the past as both tradition and history, even as they redefined the meanings of both terms. By invoking a specific literary genealogy, these tarikhs constituted Kashmir not simply as a natural and spiritual paradise, but quite as much a distinct literary paradise.

Keywords:   Mughal rule, tarikhs, Ain-i Akbari, tradition, history, Sanskrit texts, Persian narratives, qaum, genealogy

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