Introduction to Blog

I launched the website and the Blog after having spoken to government officials, political analysts and security experts specializing in South Asian affairs from three continents. The feedback was uniformly consistent. The bottom line is that when Kashmiris are suffering and the world has its own set of priorities, we need to find ways to help each other. We must be realistic, go beyond polemics and demagoguery, and propose innovative ideas that will bring peace, justice and prosperity in all of Jammu and Kashmir.

The author had two reasons to create this blog. First, it was to address the question that was being asked repeatedly, especially, by journalists and other observers in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, inquiring whether the Kashmiri society was concerned about social, cultural and environmental challenges in the valley given that only political upheaval and violence were reported or highlighted by media.

Second, the author has covered the entire spectrum of societal issues and challenges facing Kashmiri people over an 8-year period with the exception of politics given that politics gets all the exposure at the expense of REAL CHALLENGES that will likely result in irreversible degradation in the quality of life and the standard of living for future generations of Kashmiris to come.

The author stopped adding additional material to the Blog once it was felt that most, if not all, concerns, challenges and issues facing the Kashmiri society are cataloged in the Blog. There are over 1900 entries in the Blog and most commentaries include short biographical sketches of authors to bring readers close to the essence of Kashmir. Unfortunately, the 8-year assessment also indicates that neither Kashmiri civil society, nor intellectuals or political leadership have any inclination or enthusiasm in pursuing issues that do not coincide with their vested political agendas. What it means for the future of Kashmiri children and their children is unfathomable. But the evidence is all laid out.

This Blog is a reality check on Kashmir. It is a historical record of how Kashmir lost its way.

Vijay Sazawal, Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ancient Architects Brought Greece to Kashmir

Iqbal says that the ancient Kashmiri architecture was influenced by contemporary Greek and Roman styles

(Mr. Iqbal Ahmad, 48, was born in Parigam Chek, Kulgam. He is a graduate with Diploma in Numastics, Archaeology and Heritage. He is an archaeologist, writer, and a cultural historian. Mr. Iqbal Ahmad has published 12 reference books on Kashmir archaeology and heritage.)

Ancient Kashmiri architecture

It included lofty pyramidal roofs, its trefoiled doorways, covered by pyramidal pediment and the great wealth of its calumniation.

The features resembled closely with the classical pre-style of Greece. The association is found more deeps on Kashmiri and Greece columnades. This influence is suggested to have reached here through Gandhara. As in 6th century BC Kashmir and Gandhara formed parts of Persian Achaemeind Empire.

There are few fragmentary evidences which suggest that in 327 BC Abhisara, the ruler of Kashmir succumbed to the might of Alexander, but it is not clear whether it became the part of Selucide empire or not. If on the other hand numismatists claim of finding of several Greek coins from Kashmir, on the other this entire period is fully overshadowed with confusion.

So to believe in the legend that the Kashmiri architects borrowed the above mentioned influences directly from Greeks is obscure. That is why many scholars, which include Alexander Cunningham also advocate that Kashmiri architects borrowed the style from the Indo-Greeks during their occupation of the land which is established to its sufficient end.

However, the pyramidal type roofs are being suggested as the imitation of great pyramids of ancient Egypt. The tradition is believed to have first reached Syria and from there to Persian empire. In expending this architectural tradition Grecians and Romans have performed effective role.

The recent past archaeological research in Kashmir has added new dimensions to the architectural history of Kashmir, the terra-cotta tiles discovered across Kashmir carry a series of interesting stamped motifs. A few of such motifs have been identified on several archaeological finds of the other countries too.

One such motif identified on few tiles of the Pahalgam finds is being suggested to be an imitation of an Egyptian motif discovered on a potshed of Egypt. The potsherd which depicts king Narmar of Egypt in an lower Egyptian crown below him appears motif of composite mythical animals dated to 2700 BC.

The motif of the similar composite mythical animal has been identified as one of the terra-cotta tiles of Hionar Pahalgam. The motif seen on the Egyptian potsherd is very excellent while on Hionar tiles it is a bit in a deteriorated condition. Although the purpose of these tile pavements is not fully established, there is an agreement in the thought that these tiles had been used to decorate walls and floors.

The tradition has also been in vogue in ancient Egypt where they used to lay beaten earth with bricks in a layer of plaster, which was sometimes painted. Even the tradition of covering the floors of houses by simple earthen plaster was still in vogue in Kashmir till recent past. One can find its evidences in the far flung villages of this land.

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