Didda: Brave Hindu Queen of Vitasta, Ancient Kashmir

Discussion in 'India' started by Ignorant, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. Ignorant

    Ignorant New Member

    Women have often played a considerable role in the political affairs of ancient Kashmir and the rest of India. Their impact on policy making and administration was made as powerful queen consorts, as queen regents and as rulers in their own right. A remarkable woman who acted all these roles, one after the other, in the interest of her kingdom was Didda, the beautiful Hindu queen of Kashmir.

    Researching the kind of Hindu society and civilisation that existed in Kashmir before the advent of Islam is a very interesting but also a challenging task. Several questions appear. How was it organised ? What were its institutions, its belief systems and traditions, its values and ideals ? What did Kashmir look like before the thousands of temples and universities that dotted its landscape were fully destroyed by Muslim invaders ? To know this in full and exact detail, we have but fragmentary and scattered sources of information available to us. Buried beneath a several kilometre long embankment running across Dal Lake in Shrinagar are hundreds and thousands of ancient manuscripts that could have provided us with a wealth of evidence. But unfortunately they seem to be irretrievably lost. Recently, attempts have been made by some people to present the entire pre-Islamic past of the Valley as one long period of darkness. A lot of mischief has been done by those who in the garb of historiographers are using negativist and reductionist tactics to suppress what is true and suggest what is false. They have mined the whole area of historical investigation with numerous falsehoods and fact distortions. The truth is, as supported by all the available literary evidence, Kashmir upto the 14th century was the land of Sanskrit scholars as all the inhabitants professed the Hindu faith.

    At the outset, we must understand that when we talk of early Kashmiri society, we are addressing the Vedic Hindus and also the Medieval Hindus of Kashmir's glorious past. To get a clear picture of how early Hindu Kashmiris lived, thought and worked, we have to fall back upon the Nilamata Purana and other literary sources, including Pandit Kalhana's Rajatarangini, Damodargupta's Kuttanimata Kavya, Kshemendra's writings, Bilhana’s Vikramankadeva Charit, Somadeva's Kathasaritsagara, Buddhist Avadana literature, Laugakshi's Grihyasutra, Abhinavagupta's Shaiva and Shakta Tantric literature, and stray references in other early works. Chinese and Tibetan records including Taranatha's history of Buddhism in India and translations of old Buddhist texts are also of great value. Since most of these literary sources were written in Sanskrit, the chances of interpolation and misinterpretation by the Western Indologists is also to be taken into account.

    Kalhana's Rajatarangani, the ' River of Kings ', is what we are relying upon to extract as much information as possible about the Hindu Kings and Queens of Kashmir, the unsung heroes and heroines who find no name within our maintream history books, though again, we must take into account the mischief in translations and errors made by Western historians to portray a false picture altogether. Rajatarangani is a unique historical poem compiled between 1148 AD and 1150 AD. It contains valuable political, social and other information pertaining to Kashmir and the rest of India. In this post, we aim to present as much accurate information as is possible when it comes to the legendary Hindu queens who ruled the region with great strength and bravery.

    It was during Didda's time that Mahmud attacked Kashmir but the fort at Lohara, remarkable for its height and strength proved impregnable. Mahmud was never to return to the Kashmir Valley after having experienced the bravery of the Hindus of Kashmir.

    COURTESY: trinetra.co.uk

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