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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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The Multiple Lives of Rajatarangini

The Multiple Lives of Rajatarangini

Orientalist and Nationalist Knowledge Production in Kashmir and Colonial India

Chapter:
(p.184) 4 The Multiple Lives of Rajatarangini
Source:
Kashmir's Contested Pasts
Author(s):

Chitralekha Zutshi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199450671.003.0005

Chapter 4 explores the massive impact of the orientalist project in Kashmir on its narrative tradition. The orientalist preoccupation with originary texts and singular notions of authorship—evident in the critical editions and translations of the twelfth-century Rajatarangini—sundered the Sanskrit corpus from the Persian historical tradition and thus its Kashmiri context, incorporating it instead into India’s literary tradition. Its contents, meanwhile, were utilized to narrate India’s ancient, defined inevitably as its Hindu, past, thus creating a colonial archive of historical sources from Kashmir. Indian nationalists further appropriated Kashmir’s Sanskrit corpus—and the region—into their own projects of constructing the past of the Indian nation. This new conversation on history marginalized the Persian tradition and literati and brought a new set of interlocutors, the Kashmiri Pandits, to the fore of knowledge production. Nonetheless, these informants infused the orientalist project with tropes and ideas from the indigenous narrative tradition.

Keywords:   orientalism, colonial archive, authorship, indigenous informants, nationalism, region, translation, Rajatarangini, Sanskrit corpus

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