Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Preface

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Kings of Kashmira

Being A Translation of the Sanskrit Work

Rajatarangini of Kalhana Pandita: Vol 1

By Jogesh Chunder Dutt


London: Trubner & Co.



Separated from the rest of tho world, on the north by the lofty range of the Himalaya mountains, and on other aides by the sea, India has from the earliest period presented to its people a world by itself. And within this vast continent lived from the remotest antiquity portion of the Aryan race who developed among themselves a degree of civilization unattained by any other nation of antiquity. This people, though originating from the same stock, speaking the dialects of the same language, and following the dictates of tho same religion, had early divided themselves into different tribes according to the physical nature of tho portion of the country which they each came to occupy. The Kashmirians and the Nepaleae who inhabited the mountainous regions of the Himalayas, differed from those who dwelt in the valleys of the Indus or the Ganges, or occupied the deserts of Rajputana or the tableland of Maharashtra. Nor did the division cease here. There were minuter sub-divisious, and the country was out up into small principalities and tribes, each tribe having a chief of their own, speaking a distinct dialect, settling in a definite tract of country which they generally named after themselves. Houen Sang, the Chinese pilgrim, who visited India in the 7th century after Christ, speaks of 138 such principalities, of which 110 were personally visited by him. These petty tribes seem to have kept up a continual strife with one another, subduing and


being subdued in turn. And many were the tribes that rose to influence from time to time, reducing their neighbours to a state of vassalage, and styling themselves the lords of the seagirt world. Nor were their affairs always confined within the geographical limits of India. They had frequent intercourse with almost all the ancient nations. Their ships visited China and the Eastern Archipelago, and they were visited in turn by Arab ships and merchants who exported Indian commodities to Bagdad, Egypt aud Europe. Foreigners also came as invaders, and not unfrequeutly as travellers,

Of the succession of events which took place among each and all of the numerous tribes that dwelt and are still dwelling in India from the remotest antiquity, we have no authentic records, The Ramayana, the Mahabharata and other ponderous volumes, though giving faithful pictures of the state of the people and their habits, feelings, manners, &c, during the periods when those works were composed, yield but little information regarding historical events.

The Ramayana furnishes us with but meagre annals of a single line of kings who reigned in one town, Ayodhya, and its neighbourhood; and the greater portion of the work is devoted to description of single reign, that of Rama, a description which outrages sober belief. Mahabharata likewise narrates the wanderings and wars of the five sons of Pandu, and the narration is mixed with stories of the past mostly of an absurd and romantic kind. Such being the character of the books we now.


possess, an attempt to write a history, in its usual sense, of India, must at present remain a hopeless task.

While so much dearth prevails in the department of Indian history, an account of a people who lived from , the earliest period in a corner of India, may not, it is hoped, be unacceptable. The present work, it should be Stated, pretends to be nothing more than a faithful rendering into English of a history which already exists in the Sanskrita language.*

The first part of the book, the Rajatarangini,has been written by Kahlana Pandita, son of Champaka. It embraces the history of the country from the earliest period to the time of the author, A.D. 1148.

The next part entitled Rajabali has been written by Jonaraja, and brings the history down to A.D. 1412 ; and this again has been continued under the name of Jainarajatasanggini by his pupil Sri Vara Pandita to A.D. 1477.

The fourth and last part, the Rajavalipitaka, brings down the history of the country to the time of its conquest by Akbar, and was written by Prajya Bhatta at the time of that emperor.

The present translation embraces the history of the country from the earliest times to the reign of king Harsha, A.D. 1101, about one-half of the work of Kahlana Pandita.

It is the intention of the Translator to bring down the history in two more volumes to the period of the conquest of the valley by

* The Translator has however thought it necessary to omit from the text such stories as relate to superhuman agencies, and to give them in the form of appendix, in order to preserve the continuity of historical narration.


Akbar. He can, however, hold out no promise to his rearers to this effect, as his time is not always at his command.

It is a matter of just regret that the work is disfigured in many places with what in modern times would be considered immodest writing. The time of the author perhaps allowed such writing. However that may be, all that the Translator has to state for himself is that he has not thought himself justified to improve upon his original, and that his only object throughout this performance has been to offer to his readers a faithful translation of the original, with all its beauties and defects.

Mr. Wilson has already favored the English reading public with a sketch of a small portion (first six cantos) of the history of Kashmira. (See Asiatic Researches, Vol. 15.) But it is after all a sketch, and a sketch made from very imperfect copies; and though its materials are mostly drawn from the Sanskrita work, yet it is mixed up with the whimsical additions and alterations -which appear in the Persian translation.

In conclusion, the writer has only to add that in his earlier years he always cherished the idea of writing a complete history of India from, original Sanskrita records. Riper years shewed him the folly of such an attempt. His inability to undertake such a gigantic task, even if the materials had not been wanting, should have made him think twice before entertaining such a hope. Never-theless the idea imbibed in younger days, and fondly


cherished from year to year, the writer has found it difficult altogether to give up. It was for a long time" his wish to connect his attempts with a history of India, and this hope or vanity he has now attempted to gratify by the comparatively lighter task of rendering a history which already exists in the Sanskrita language Into English. Even while this work was in progress, he was too often and too painfully reminded by the difficulties he met, of his own weakness.

13th August 1870.
J C Dutt.

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