|ost Kashmiri Pandits especially the younger generation may not know that present Kashmiri Pandits all over the world are descendants of eleven families which survived the mass conversation of Kashmiri Pandits to Islam as described in the legendary history of Kashmir in “Raj Tarangini” It is said that a Kashmiri Brahmin girl was the cause of our growth with dignity from those eleven families during the reign of King Badshah – the muslim ruler of Kashmir at that time. It is said that the son of King Badshah, the only prince was taken once for a boat ride on river jehlum [Vitasta]. While cruising the prince saw a beautiful Kashmiri Brahmin girl on the bank of river Vitasta [Yarbal] filling her earthen pot [noute] from the river. The prince was enchanted with her beauty and played a mischief by aiming a marble on her earthen pot, while she was placing it on her shoulder to carry it home. The marble struck the pot and cracked it, but the water did not spill over on her, as the prince had wanted for the sake of fun. This act of prince made her very angry and she cursed the prince that the arm by which he threw the marble on her may get stricken with cancer [Mundh] .
In the course of time the prince developed cancer in his right arm and no doctor [hakeem] in the kingdom could cure it. The king got very much worried and he called all the pious Fakirs of his Kingdom to heal the ailing prince through their spiritual power.
Everyone failed, except one old Fakir, who called on the King in privacy and told him that the suspected that the prince had teased some Kashmiri Brahmin family girl, who were living in hiding, because of their fear of conversion to Islam. The Fakir also advised the King to enquire from the prince, if that was a fact. The prince admitted to it but did not remember the exact place on the river bank, where the incident had taken place.
With the consultation of the Fakir, the ailing prince was taken in a boat and asked to spot the area where the incident had taken place. He did accordingly, and the place on yarbal was located. Then the Fakir along with the king in disguise like a Fakir, began to search the area for that particular Brahmin family. Though they found the house, but there was not any response on knocking of the door, they found family was living in fear and will not open door to any strangers. The fakir had to spell truth and shouted that King Badshah himself was at their doorstep. The family allowed them to come inside. The fakir narrated the whole story of prince to the household. The girl confessed to her parents in private and she was allowed to talk directly to King Badshah. The girl admitted that she had cursed the prince of his mischief. The King requested her to lift the curse, pleading that the prince was his only son. The girl after a long thought agreed to lift the curse on certain three conditions. One, the eleven Brahmin families living in fear and apprehension in his kingdom be given a guarantee for their security, two, the Zir-jiz tax for being hindu’s be lifted from them, three the male members of these eleven hindu families be provided with jobs in his administration to earn their livelihood, because we all are intelligent and literate, and were therefore unwilling to do the menial jobs offered to them.
The King agreed and promised that all her conditions are accepted and accordingly will be implicated immediately. The Brahmin girl after being convinced told the king that her shoes [pulhor] made of hey be burnt and the ashes collected from that to be placed on the cancer stricken arm of the prince. The same was done and surprisingly enough the prince recovered completely.
Since then the male members of those eleven Brahmin families had been holding ministerial jobs in the reign of Muslim rulers of Kashmir from time to time.
Such is the story of the eleven families of Kashmiri Brahmin of whom we all are the direct descendants. While it is difficult to know the exact number of Kashmiri Brahmin population in the world, but there are approximately eleven hundred families living in Kashmir in present situation. So it is from KAH to KAH SHAT.
Even though we have settled in all corners of world, but our unity is more needed today than ever to keep our heritage, tradition and culture alive lest after sometimes we revert back to same original eleven families and finally to complete the extinction.
|Vijay Parimoo lives in Mumbai, India and is working in media Advertising field. Writing is his hobby.
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