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Religions In Jammu And Kashmir


Alexander left the King of Abhisara to rule in Kashmir. According to the Mahavimsa, the Third Buddhist Council met at Pataliputra (Patna) and deputed a missionary by the name of Majjhantika to go to Kashmir and Gandhara (inmodern day Afghanistan).The Buddhist Sivasvamin has gifted us long epics, Kapphanabhyudaya and Haravijaya, which narrates the story of Siva killing the demon Andhaka. Anotherepic was Yudhishthiravijaya,narrating the story of Yudhisthir up to his coronation. The Jain Somadeva, composed the Nitivakyamritaa which is almostbased on Kautilya’s Arthasastra. Numerous books werewritten during this period. The Hinamaya school of Buddhism was divided into Vaikhasika and Sautrantika. The former was popular in Kashmir on account of their acceptance of the Vibhashas, compiled around the second century CE, and translated by the Chinese in 383-434 CE. These are mainly studied and preserved in Kashmir. Vasubandhu (5th century CE), a native of Gandhara went to Kashmir, made a study of theVibhashas and condensed them into Kosa. This Bhashya (commentary) came to be regarded as one of the classical texts by monks of Hinayana and Mahayana sects. It attained so much importance in China that schools were started after Kosa. It is still studied in China andJapan.The Sautrantika School came into being as a bitter opponent of Vaibhasikas. The traditional founder, Kumaralabdha, was a native of Taxila. Another great proponent was a native ofKashmir and a great Sastra-master, Srilabha.In the 8th century CE Sarvajnamitra, a nephew of the King of Kashmir became one of the principal teachers of Nalanda.Renowned scholar, Kumarjiva, responsible for translating over 100 Sanskrit texts into Chinese, was taken by his mother at the age of nine to Kashmir to study Buddhist literature. After completing his studies, he visited Central Asia. From 318 to 413 CE, he translated texts and was the first to interpret Mahamaya philosophy in China. The fact that Kumarajiva wastaken from Kuchi to Kashmir for the purposes of education shows the high position held byKashmir in the Buddhist world. Among the Kashmiri scholars were Sanghabhuti (381-384 CE), Buddhajiva (423 CE), and Dharmamitra (422-424 CE). Another noble son was Gunavarman. He proceeded to Ceylonand Java and preached Buddhism there, reaching Nanking in 431 CE.


Sikh Rule and Dogra Empire. At the dawn of the 19th century, Kashmir came under the Sikh Rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. It is important to note that the Sikh Rule was initially confined to the Kashmir Valley. Jammu Region was given to Raja Gulab Singh as a Jagir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820. After consolidating his position in the Jammu Region, Gulab Singh assisted ably by General Zorawar Singh captured Ladakh and Baltistan by 1840. In 1846, Treaty of Lahore was signed after the defeat of Sikh Army at the Battle of Sabraon in the First Anglo-Sikh War. British offered to make Raja Gulab Singh the Independent ruler of Jammu and Kashmir provided he paid the indemnity amount. British transferred the territory of Jammu and Kashmir to Raja Gulab Singh vide the Treaty of Amritsar for reduced amount of 75Lakhs. This treaty made Gulab Singh the absolute ruler of Kashmir and a full-fledged sovereign of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, as well as Gilgit and Baltistan. However, like elsewhere, Britain retained exclusive authority over Defence and Foreign Affairs. Gilgit Agency was established in 1877 with a nominated British Political agent, who was withdrawn and later reappointed in 1889 in view of the growing Afghan influence in Chitral as well as Russian activities in Central Asia. However, consequent to the Russian Revolution, the British anxieties over the Gilgit region increased and the Maharaja was forced to lease the Gilgit Agency to the British for a period of 60 years with effect from 01 April 1935.The Maharaja had no problem with the British proposal as the lease only implied the transfer of civiland military administration while the territory continued to be part of his dominion. 7 The announcement of independence forced the British to hand Gilgit Agency back to the Maharaja in July 1947.


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