Saturday, September 15, 2012



“What shall you have tonight? We cook only Rasam , Idli , Vada , Rice , one vegetable and Chapati . You can have curd and some green salad. No other north Indian dish . ”

Said Ashok Bhatt canteen contractor at the Guest House of National Institute of Technology Surathkal,  Karnatka . I was not so much interested in the food as the caste Bhatt attracted my attention. Ashok Bhatt was from nearby place known as Kankanaadi . I asked him if his ancestors were Gujrati settlers . He said he was a SARSWAT BRAHMIN. He was tall , well built with sharp features and a fair complexion . In Kashmir he could easily be called a KOSHUR ( Kashmiri ) by his appearance .

This NIT is located on Arbian sea . The guest house is exactly on sea beach . It was Monsoon time . The waves were violent . We heard the frightening roar of the sea during nights . The lights emitted by the nearby Light House sprang in the darkness of our room at regular intervals at nights . I was never used to this type of sleep.

Now Coming to the purpose of this post I would like to add that from many Books on Kashmir ,I have learnt that a large group of SARSWAT BRAHMINS of Kashmir ( Kashmiri Pandits ) moved out in 14th  century and went as far as present Goa , Maharashtra and North Karnataka . Many references point out that this migration had taken place many centuries earlier. 

Are Sarswat Brahmins  Aryans who actually lived on the banks of river Saraswati ?  Did they move in different directions when the river dried up?  Are these Brahmins originally from Northern India?  I quote Wikepedia , the Free Encyclopedia on SARSWAT BRAHMINS:-

“Sarswat Brahmins found along the western coast of India in states like Goa , Maharashtra and North Karnatka originally belong to Kashmir and through migration have settled in various parts of India .”

“ Gaud Saraswat Brahmins of Bengal are actually from Kashmir "

“ The traditional religion of Sarswat Brahmins was strict Shaivism or a unique devotion to Shiva ”

“A large number of Konkani Christians are from SARASWAT descent.”

“Another name of Goddess Saraswati is SHARADA ”

“ Sarswat Brahmins are mostly fish eaters ”

I quote a paragraph from Anand Koul’s book The Kashmiri Pandit

“ White men Like Kashmiri Brahmins got drifted in a storm on Malabar Coast and being supposed dead, were, however, found alive when attempted to be cremated. Probably it was a large number of fugitives from Kashmir”

I quote Kalhana ( From his Book Rajataringini )who clearly comments about the interaction of Kashmiris with People of Karnatka, Konkan and Maharashtra .

“ By the peculiarity of your language and costume o Friend !you appear to be a wayfarer from Dekhan, from its perfume I guess there is in your hand a lump of camphor _ _ _ _ _

Repose in that coconut shell of yours ”

( Taranga seventh verse  1123 )

“Until the ruler of the dominion of karnata is slain _ _ _ _ ”

( Taranga seventh verse  1124 )

"A lady of karnata known as Ratta who had lovely eyes and whose glory was wide and spread, protected as the sovereign rule of the region of the south ."

(Taranga 4 canto 152. kalhana is referring to the Rastrkuta Dynasty which ruled Maharashtra (757AD till 953AD ))

"His legionaries got rid of fatigue in the breeze on the banks of river Kaveri , sipping cocoanut wine at the foot of palm trees. "

(Taranga 4 verse  155)

"While he overran seven Konkans darkened by areca nut trees ----------- "

(Taranga 4 verse  159)

" On Mount Malaya , the snakes slipping from the groves of Sandal trees ---------- "

( Taranga 4 verse  156)

"Rising into view amid the surf of the windswept western sea , Dwarka gave his armies the keen desire for the entry. "

(Taranga 4 verse  160)

As per R S Pandit ( Footnotes on Rajtaringini Page 132 )The seven Konkans are Malabar , Tulunga , Goa , Konkan proper, Kerataha , varalatta and Berbera .Kalhana completed his monumental work in 1149A.D. and more references about present Maharashtra and coastal India have been found by me in Rajtaringini implying that migration of people from Kashmir had already taken place when Kalhana wrote this historical poetic book.Many travelogues on Kashmir and other authentic sources point to the migration of Kashmiri Brahmins to Goa , Bengal , Karnatka and Maharashtra who later called themselves as a part of the SARSWAT CLAN. This community has produced writers, poets, industrialists , actors , teachers and their contribution to the development of Indian society is immense. Some prominent personalities of this clan are :-

1Vijay Tendulkar marathi Playwright

2 Late Guru Dutt ( Film actor , producer and director )

3 Sunil Gavasker cricketer

4 Dilip Sardesai Cricketer

5 Milind guna ji Actor

6 Sachin tendulkar Cricketer

7Prakash Padukone Badminton star

8 Leena Chandavarker actress

9 Vijay Mallya Chairman UB and Kingfisher airlines

10 Nandan Nilekani Infosys technologies

11 Girish karnad Actor and Playwright

12 Shyam Benegal Movie Director.

13 Durga Khote Actress

14 Madhur Bhandarker Bollywood film Maker

15 Urmilla Matondker

16 Amrita Rao Bollywood actress

17 Amol Palekar Actor and director

Enjoy this brief write up along with some more views of Verinaag Garden of kashmir . I have been requested by a reader to add more views of this garden . As already conveyed in one of my previous posts ,the spring in this Garden is the source of river VITASTA or  JHELUM.

Kabhi Aage kabhi peechhe, koi raftaar hai yeh?
Hum ko raftaar ka Aahung badalnaa hogaa.
Zehan ke waaste sancha to na dhaalegi hayaat,
Zehan ko Aap hi har saanche mein dhalnaa hogaa.

( Kaifi Azmi )

[Sometime forward, sometime backward, what is this?
We shall have to change the technique of march
Life is not going to prepare the mould for the mind,
The mind shall have to shape itself according to every mould]

( Avtar Mota )


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