Iqbal Ahmad

Preserving the Historic documents

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Preservation of human records means preserving the history.   There are plenty of ancient written records available in Kashmir, but unfortunately these records are scattered and kept in hazardous manner in various olden institutes of the state.  The state archival repositories, libraries   museums and several private institutions and individuals have these ancient records. These records need to be brought under one umbrella   and provided better conservation and preservation facilities.

The Sri Partap Singh Museum, which is the biggest museum of the state houses a valuable collection of these ancient records and documents, which are written in Sharda, Persian  and Arabic  scripts. These include hundreds of year’s old hand written books on various subjects’ viz. religion, philosophy astrology, astronomy as well as literature besides other subjects. The manuscripts are written on domestic paper with black ink and in wonderful calligraphy styles. They are preserved well and are displayed in the manuscript showcases of the section.

In the section are also preserved two ancient documents which have been displayed in frames. The documents belong to Mughal Period and one of these documents dates to 984 AH, and is written on a leaf in bilingual scripts, Persian and sharda. The right hand side carries writings in sharda while the left side in Persian. The document measures 1’x2’ and the letters are in black ink which look a bit crude. It is written on one side. The document bears few seals and signatures, both in sharda as well as in Persian and relates to the transformation of right of property of the Khanqah of Sheikh Humza Mukhdoom (RA) to his brother Mulla Ali Raina (RH). The document, which was signed by the royal men and the educationists, carries the stamps and signatures of the learned scholars of the day. Those include.

  1. Khawaja Ishari Vakil
  2. Khawaja Hussan
  3. Khawaja Hassan Kari
  4. Mulla Hussian.

The legend goes that the property of the Khanqa estimated by the royal men during those times, in cash and in kind, as ten thousand “siyah pole” which was given in the hands of Mulla Ali Raina (RA) the brother of the renowned saint of Kashmir Sheikh Humza Makhdoom (RA). An agreement was-signed in this behalf whereunder the property rights of the existing Kanqah at Srinagar were transferred.

The document under discussion confirms the transformation deed. The   document measures 2’x 3’ and is written on domestic paper which itself is pasted on a piece of white cloth. The document written on both sides in Persian characters is dated to 1055 AH. It provides us the evidence of ‘Shah Jahan’s care and affection towards his countrymen during their hard times. This document is a ‘Shahi Farman’ royal dictate of Shah Jahan where under he helped a widow by providing 100 Kharwars of rice to her.

The legend adds, that a Kashmiri woman named as ‘Banokug’ had a hard time feeding herself and her children. She went to the Darbar of Shah Jahan when the later was on his visit to Kashmir. Shah Jahan heard her plight and issued a Shahi Farman where under the Mughal king directed the Kashmir administrators to provide the widow 100 Kharwar’s of rice. The Farman now preserved in the museum is an important historical document of its kind. The Farman written in black ink carries on top ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ in red ink. Below it are seen two square stamps of Shah Jahan with his higher titles like, Shah-e-Gazi Shiab Qiran. This is followed by the subject matter of document written neat and clear. The back carries the various signatures of Mughal administrators followed by circular stamp of Shah Jahan.

These two documents are extremely rare and require to be preserved on the modern scientific lines. These documents can be formatted and digitized, which can ensure their scientific preservation. The manuscripts and other documents which have been kept in other institutions need to be transferred to this museum where these could be preserved under one umbrella.

Shifting of these records to the museum would also facilitate the showcasing of this record treasure to the local as well as the tourists reaching here.









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