Some Legends Last Forever
In the last chapter of the Kaul Journal, Prof Kaul told us such interesting unknown facts…
Some about the Mughals … the Mongols… and Genghis Khan… and how the countries and civilizations shaped up.
Today, he takes us many a years back into time.
… as I add another chapter here, in his own words.
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MUGHALS IN KASHMIR
And My Ancestors
When the Mughals reached Kashmir, they found a cold climate, beautiful scenery and fruits and flowers which were the same as in Turkey, China and Mongolia.
Besides this, though the people of Kashmir did not have Chinese features, they were fair-skinned like the Mughals. They thus felt affinity with the Kashmiris.
This is why, during the Mughal period, many Kashmiri Pandits left Kashmir to settle in Agra, later in Delhi, and other parts of India where the Mughals ruled and where the Kashmiri Pandits can still be found. The Mughals considered the Kashmiris to be astute and clever.
Aurangzeb, in a letter to his son, wrote that he wished that he had a Kashmiri adviser to deal with the Nizam. Aurangzeb wrote this during his conquest of the Deccan. After Aurangzeb the Revenue Minister of Shah Alam was a Kashmiri.
It was in this atmosphere that the Kashmiris moved from place to place.
As the Kashmiris moved so did my family… my maternal family settled near Jama Masjid in a huge house. In Delhi, this family was known as ‘Topa’. This was because an ancestor who was given several villages and jagirs near Meerut and, hence, literally, he wore a ‘big hat’ or ‘Topa’.
The Kashmiris have one failing in that they do not consider their real names. They change names according to habits.
A Kashmiri used to carry a large stick or lathi, and thus his family came to be known as ‘lathmar’.
There is a story that a Kashmiri had ‘shehtoot’ (mulberry) trees in his house. His family came to be known as ‘Tootwala’. In anger he chopped the tree but the name remained. Then to try and preserve his name he dug a hole and buried the tree along its roots. In his garden there was a big gadhha (hole) so the people started calling him ‘Gadhhewala’.
My ancestor’s family continued to be called ‘Topa’… I have never been able to find the real name of this family…