Narration and Practice in Kashmir’s Nineteenth-Century Historiographical Tradition
Chapter 3 argues that the nineteenth-century historical tradition in Kashmir continued to be deeply vernacular. Even as the Persian tarikhs composed in this period grappled with the changing political context of princely rule and increasing orientalist attempts at mapping Kashmir’s Sanskrit past, they remained embedded in the unique features of a Kashmiri historicity. These narratives incorporated new idioms of facticity and historicity in recording the past, while also becoming more localized in defining Kashmir as a distinct mulk/region in the global context as they drew on Kashmiri oral and textual traditions. Just as significantly, an important element of the definition of this mulk was its people, who by the end of the nineteenth century were conceived in explicitly political, even religious, terms. Nonetheless, the nineteenth-century narratives saw themselves as products of Kashmir’s long and multilingual tradition of historical composition and thus also embodiments of Kashmir itself.
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