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