صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

In this as in other respects there is nothing to suggest any material change of the climatic conditions during historical times. Kalhaṇa, it is true, in describing the reign of Abhimanyu I., speaks of deep snow as "falling each year to cause distress to the Bauddhas" and obliging the king to pass six months of the cold season in Dārvābhisāra. But the whole story there related is nothing but a mere rechauffé of the ancient legend told in the Nilamata of the annual migrations caused by the presence of the Pisacas. It therefore can claim no historical value whatever.

78. Cultivation such as appears to have been carried on in Kasmir since the earliest historical period, must necessarily leave its traces in the topography of a


country and may hence claim a passing notice.

Rice has as far as we can go back, always been the largest and most important produce of the Valley. Its character as the main cereal is sufficiently emphasized by the fact that it is usually referred to in the Chronicles by the simple term of dhānya 'grain.' The conditions of its cultivation presuppose an extensive system of irrigation, and for this the Kasmir Valley with its abundance of streams and springs is admirably adapted by nature. The elaborate arrangements which exist at present for taking water from the streams large and small and distributing it over all the ground capable of irrigation, will be found fully detailed in Mr. LAWRENCE's valuable and exhaustive account of Kasmir agriculture. There is every reason to believe that they have come down with little, if any, change from a very early period. Many of the larger irrigation channels which intersect the fertile alluvial flats, or skirt the terraced slopes of the Uḍars and mountain-sides, are shown on the map; see, e.g., the tracts on the lower course of the Lidar, Veśau, Sind, and other rivers. In old times when the population was larger than now, much land which is at present allowed to lie waste on the hill-sides, on the Uḍars and in the low-lying tracts by the marshes, must have been under cultivation. I have often come across traces of old irrigation-cuts long ago abandoned, which brought down the water of the melting snows from alpine plateaus high above the forest zone. Their distance from any lands capable of rice-cultivation is so great


1 See i. 180, and note i. 184.

2 "The Kashmiris, so far, have considered no crop worthy of attention save rice;" LAWRENCE, Valley, p. 319.

3 See Valley, pp. 323 sq.

4 Compare Valley, pp. 239 and 356, as to the extensive areas which were once cultivated and are likely to be so again in future.

and the trouble of their construction must have been so considerable that only a far greater demand for irrigation than the present one can account for their existence.

In the earliest traditions recorded by Kalhana the construction of irrigation canals plays already a significant part. The Suvarnamanikulya which is ascribed to King Suvarna and which still brings water to a great part of the Aḍ vin district, has already been noticed. The reference to the aqueduct by which King Damodara is supposed to have attempted to bring water to the great Uḍar named after him, though legendary in the main, is also characteristic. Lalitaditya is credited with having supplied villages near Cakradhara (Tsakadar) with the means of irrigation by the construction of a series of water-wheels (araghatta) which raised the water of the Vitastā.8

To Suyya, however, Avantivarman's engineer, is ascribed the merit of having on an extensive scale secured river-water for villagelands. From Kalhana's detailed description it is evident that Suyya's regulation of the Vitasta was accompanied by systematic arrangements for the construction of irrigation channels. For these the water of various hill-streams was utilized as well as that of the main-river. The size and distribution of the water-course for each village was fixed on a permanent basis. He is thus said "to have embellished all regions with an abundance of irrigated fields which were distinguished for excellent produce." The increase in produce consequent on these measures and the reclamation of new lands from the river and marshes is said to have lowered the average price of a Khāri of rice from two hundred to thirty-six Dinnāras.

The importance of irrigation from a revenue point of view must have always been recognized by the rulers of the country. Hence even in later times we find every respite from internal troubles marked by repairs of ancient canals or the construction of new ones. The long and peaceful reign of Zainu-l-‘ābidin which in many respects revived the traditions of the earlier Hindu rule, seems in particular to have been productive of important irrigation works. Jonaraja's and Srivara's Chronicles give a considerable list of canals constructed under this king. Among these the canal which distributed the water of the Pohur River over the Zain@gir Pargana, and the one by which the

1 See above, § 64.

2 See Rajat. i. 156 sq. note.

8 See Rajat, iv. 191 note.

See Rajat. v. 109-112 and note.

See Jonar. (Bo. ed.) 1141-55, 1257 sqq.; Sriv. i. 414 sqq. For repairs of old canals, see Rājat. viii. 2380.

J. 1. 16

water of the Lidar was conducted to the arid plateau of Mārtāṇḍa, deserve special mention. In the latter locality some work of this kind must have existed already at a far earlier period. Or else we could scarcely understand how it could have been chosen as the site for Lalitāditya's magnificent temple and the flourishing township which once surrounded it.1

Of the other products of the Valley only two may be mentioned here, since they have from old times received Saffron-cultivation. special attention in all descriptions of the country. Already Kalhana in his introduction designates saffron and grapes among "the things that even in heaven are difficult to find but are common there.' Saffron (kunkuma) has to the present day remained a famous product of Kasmir. Its cultivation has apparently from an early time specially flourished about Padmapura, the present Pampar, where the Uḍar lands are still chiefly utilized for it. The Fourth Chronicle describes at length the plant and its treatment. Abu-l-Fazl mentions it also in the same locality and devotes to it a long notice.3

The grapes of Kaśmir which Kalhaņa mentions repeatedly, have not retained their area of cultivation with Grapes. equal persistence. They must have enjoyed reputation outside Kaśmir, because the name Kaśmīrā is given by Sanskrit Kosas as the designation of a special variety of grapes. They were once plentiful at Mārtāṇḍa where both Kalhana and the Fourth Chronicle mention them, and at many other localities.

In Akbar's time grapes were abundant in Kaśmir aud very cheap; but Abū-l-Fazl notes that the finer qualities were rare. Since then, viticulture among the people generally has greatly declined. Though vines of remarkable size and age can still be found in many places, they are mostly wild. The produce of grapes is now restricted to a few old gardens at the mouth of the Sind Valley and to the new vineyards established on the Dal shores by the late Mahārāja for the cultivation of French vines.8

[blocks in formation]

8 For a detailed account of Kasmir vineyards, see LAWRENCE, Valley, pp. 351 sq.

79. It will be useful to refer here briefly to the data we possess regarding the old ethnography of Kasmir and the adjacent hill regions.

Old ethnography

of Kašmir.

As far as Kasmir itself is concerned our information does not allow us to connect any particular localities with ethnic divisions. Judging from Kalhana's Chronicle and what other sources of information are available to us, the population of Kaśmir has shown already in old times the same homogeneity that it does at present. The physical and ethnic characteristics which so sharply mark off the Kaśmiri from all surrounding races, have always struck observant visitors to the Valley and have hence often been described. Hiuen Tsiang's brief sketch reproduced above is the earliest in date and yet applies closely to the modern inhabitants.

That the Kasmiris form a branch of the race which brought the languages of the Indo-Aryan type into India, is a fact established by the evidence of their language and physical appearance. But when their settlement in the country took place, and from which direction they immigrated, are questions beyond the present range of historical research. The purity of race which has often been noted as distinguishing the great mass of the Kasmir population, may be admitted with a qualification. It is probably due not only to the country's natural isolation but also to a curious faculty for absorbing foreign elements. Colonies of Mughals, Paṭhāns, Panjābis, and Pahāris, settled within comparatively recent times in the Valley, are being amalgamated with remarkable rapidity through intermarriage and other means. The complete absorption of these settlements which is going on under our own eyes as it were, furnishes a likely analogy for the ethnic history of earlier times. We have reason to assume that Kasmir has also in Hindu times been often under foreign rule. It is difficult to believe that the reign of foreign dynasties has not been accompanied also by settlements of immigrants of the same nationality. But it is not likely that these foreign colonies were ever extensive. In any case we find no trace of their having retained a distinct and independent existence.

Absorption of foreign ethnic elements.

Various tribal sections of the population are mentioned in Kalhana's narrative, but we have no means of deciding to what extent they were based on race or caste distinctions. The names of the Lavanyas and Tantrins survive in 'Krāms,' or tribal names, still borne by sections of

1 For a general account of the Kaśmiri population DREW's remarks, Jummoo, pp. 174 sqq., may still be recommended. Fuller details regarding the various classes, castes, etc., will be found in Mr. LAWRENCE's work, pp. 302 sqq.

the Muhammadan rural population (Luni and Tantri). But whatever distinctions of race or caste may have originally been indicated by these 'Krāms,' they have long ago disappeared.

It is equally certain from an examination of the Chronicle that these sections were never confined to particular territorial divisions, but spread all over the Valley. The humblest of these sections is probably the one which has least changed its character during the course of centuries. The modern Dūmbs, the descendants of the old Dombas,2 are still the low-caste watchmen and village-menials as which they figure in Kalhana's narrative. They, like the still more despised Vātals or scavengers, cannot intermarry with other Kaśmiris. They have thus retained in their appearance a distinctive type of their own which points to relationship with the gipsy-tribes of India and Europe.

It is difficult to come to any definite conclusion as regards the Ki-li-to whom Hiuen Tsiang mentions as a low-born race settled in Kasmir from early times and opposed to the Bauddhas. Their name, usually transcribed Kritiya, cannot be traced in indigenous records. There is nothing to support their identification with the Kiras, as suggested by General Cunningham. The latter seems to have been a

tribe settled somewhere in the vicinity of Kaśmir.5

80. The ethnography of the territories immediately adjoining Races on Kaśmīr Kaśmir can be traced quite clearly from the borders. notices of the Rajatārangiņi.

In the south and west the adjacent hill-regious were occupied by Khasas. Their settlements extended, as shown by numerous passages of the Chronicle, in a wide semi-circle from Kaṣṭvār in the south-east to the Vitasta Valley in the west. The hill-states of Rajapuri and Lohara were held by Khaśa families; the dynasty of the latter territory succeeded to the rule of Kasmir in the 11th century. I have shown elsewhere that the Khasas are identical with the present Khakha tribe to which most of the petty chiefs in the Vitasta Valley below Kaśmir and in the neighbouring hills belong. We have already seen that the

1 Compare notes v. 248; vii. 1171.

2 See Rajat. note iv. 475; also v. 353 sqq., vi. 84, 182; vii. 964, 1133, viii. 94. These passages show that the Dombas also earned their bread as hunters, fishermen, buffoons, quacks, etc., and their daughters as singers and dancers. Their occupations thus closely resembled those of the gipsies whose name, Rom, is undoubtedly derived from Skr. domba; see P. W. s. v.

8 See Si-yu-ki, transl. Beal, i. pp. 150, 156 sqq.

4 See Anc. Geogr., p. 93.

Compare my note viii. 2767.

See Rajat. i. 317 note.

« السابقةمتابعة »