Friday, May 23, 2014




“ Where there is form , there is emptiness  .And where there is emptiness , there is form  ”

So said the Kashmiri Buddhist scholar  Kumarjiva ( 334 -413 AD  )who  crossed over to  China to spread Buddhism .
 Spread of Knowledge , Logic and Philosophy has been the principal occupation of kashmiris during ancient and medieval periods  . When their  land  was won over by Buddhism, they dived deep into its philosophy and carried forward its message to far off lands undertaking arduous journey  that meant   crossing  lofty mountain passes . Once Shaivism arrived , these very people  carried its message in a philosophical form giving birth to a distinct  school  of thought that came to be  known as Kashmir Shaivism.

In fact  many present day Buddhist scholars  feel indebted to kashmiris scholars like VAIRCONA, BUDDHYASAS ,BUDDHAJIVA , GUNVARMAN ,  SHAKYA SHRIBADRA , RATNAVAJRA DHARMMITRA, TYAGHBADRA , and the Great  KUMARJIVA  for spreading Buddhism in Asia  .  KUMARJIVA  is responsible for revolutionizing the  Chinese Buddhist thought and shaping it in tune with Mahayana  Philosophy.  He was an erudite scholar who translated various Buddhist Texts into Chinese Language .KumarJiva  is responsible for the spread of Mahayana  Buddhism  not only in China but in Central Asia as well. History tells us that a large number of kashmiri Savants  crossed the PAMIRS  and moved   to Central Asia , china  and present day korea for spread of Buddhism . All of them are held in high esteem by present day Buddhist scholars world over. 

I vividly remember  His holiness Dalai Lama saying ( After he inaugurated the   photo exhibition on ancient Buddhist historical places at Kala Kendra , Jammu   in November 2011 )

“Kashmir held a significant place in Buddhism as the religion was spread in China and Korea by monks who used the ancient “Silk Route” passing through the region, to carry the Dharma to faraway places."

In  the first half of last centaury,  Pandit Shridhar Joo Koul  Dulloo  ( 1892-1967 ) also repeated what  some glorious persons from Kashmir had done to spread  Knowledge  and  light amongst ignorant and unaware  .When Maharaja Hari Singh took over the reigns of the state  , He focused on Education , more specifically  for women  ,as a high priority area. For this , he  appointed  a highly educated  English lady named  Miss E. Channer( Chaunner ) as  Incharge of women  Education in Kashmir  .  It was in 1927  that Miss Channer ( Chaunner )  agreed to the idea of  a kashmiri theosophist  namely Srikantha Toshkhani with regard to creation of a  Women’s Welfare Trust. Many more    theosophists  like   Miss Margaret E. Cousins,  Mrs. L.D. Van. Gheel  ,   Shridhar Joo Koul Dulloo and  Aftab Koul  Nizamat joined this Trust  as its members .  This group led by Srikantha Toshakhani  worked tirelessly for spread of Education amongst kashmiri women irrespective of caste or religion. Both Pandits and Muslims were reluctant to send girls  to schools initially . This group  started  with five primary  schools for girls  in Kashmir and    prevailed upon Miss Channer( Chaunner )  to start a separate school for Muslim Girls  from poor families who needed more time and attention on account of  their backwardness and total illiteracy back home  . The number of Exclusive  schools for Muslim girls rose to three in 1929. Molvis and Purohits were also brought inside  these schools to impart religious Education . As time passed , a large number of educated persons entered this arena and followed  the footsteps of this  dedicated  team .And by 1932 , there were about 70 exclusive Girls schools in Kashmir valley.
In every meeting held by WOMEN WELFARE TRUST    , Shridhar Joo Koul  Dulloo would always say that they had kept one area of the state in total darkness . By this area he meant Ladakh . Though many students would cross the Zojilla  Pass and visit his  Rainawari residence in summer season  for guidance  and studies ,he had a burning desire to move to ladakh and  do  what  his Team had done in Kashmir valley. A chance came his way  in 1939 when Maharaja transferred him to Ladakh   as Education officer  with clear directions to start   the basic education module over there and pull it out of the jungle of illiteracy. He did this job with utmost dedication and devotion till 1948. Infact he is responsible for sending the Ladakhis to schools  and bringing them out from the Morass of  Darkness .  For this ,Anybody who is somebody in Ladakh feels grateful  to Shridhar joo Dulloo .
During my visit to Leh in 2009, I found every senior Ladakhi grateful to him . President All Ladakh Gompa Association   informed me that ladakhis had  sent a memorandum to Bakshi Ghulam Mohd in 1953 to  appoint Dulloo ji   as  special Secretary Ladakh affairs when   Kushok Bakula was appointed as Deputy Minister of Ladakh affairs . In fact Kushok ji had personally intervened  for this but some influential  members within the   ruling party had opposed this move at that point of time.
( Shrdhar joo sitting on chair extreme left. DAV School Rainawari 1959 .Photo source   ..Kapil Kaul Artist)

The Owner of Lehling Book store  in Leh Bazar also informed me that Shridhar Joo Dulloo’s Book  on Ladakh remains much sought  after item by foreigners’ who  visit her shop.

Some elderly relatives of Shri C. Phunsog ( IAS ) ex chief Secretary J&K , whom I met in leh , also spoke very high about the  pioneering contribution of Shridhar Joo  Dulloo in spreading  Education amongst Ladakhis  .

This selfless service  in Ladakh brought him so  close to Buddhist culture and the  message of  Buddha  that he eventually became  a Buddhist  .He also gained enormous knowledge about the history and culture of ladakh  which is ably recorded in his Book  “LADAKH THROUGH  AGES “  .

 In an Article , Late Kushok Bakula  , a prominent leader from Ladakh and india’s ambassador to  MONGOLIA has written

“Generations of Ladakhis shall remain indebted to Pandit Shridhar Kaul Dullo for his remarkable contribution ,pioneering work and legendry services to this region . He crossed the Zojilla to spread light and dispel darkness , awakening Ladakhis from their deep slumber . My gratitude shall always remain  to this selfless  crusader  of Modern education .”

In Motiyar Rainawari ,  Shridhar joo Dullo’s house  was virtually a Ladakh Sarai . Groups of boys would  come  from Leh and stay with him  . He even adopted a Girl named DOLMA  as his daughter . Dolma was educated and finally  married by Shridhar joo .  Due to his Buddhist beliefs ,He named his two sons as Budhadev and Sidhartha . He had fairly good knowledge of  Bodhi language . Many close members of his family say that he would always be seen with a Book in his hand . Reading  and transferring knowledge  to a large number of his pupils .  And in 1967 ,Shridhar joo  Koul Dulloo left for his heavenly abode  in peace at his Motiyar  Rainawari residence   .

I conclude this post on Shrdhar Joo Dulloo With some lines of noted kashmiri poet  Moti Lal saqi

Samayukk Gardish  Pheirri  Na vaapus
Kunnii  Vizi  Hargaah  Pyosaai  Yaad
Zeivii  Paanaai  Akh  Aahee karrizeumm
Dhugg Andha Vandhaa Roozien shadaab…
( Moti lal saqi )

This TIME WHEEL  shall not move in reverse direction now  ,
But should you remember me per chance any day,
Just  one wish for my  well being  from your mouth ,
Let my  pain and suffering   stay all around   ..

( Autar Mota  23.05 .2014 )

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  1. Thank you for sharing about this scholar and selfless change agent.

  2. Thank you for this information I was looking for a person who would tell me about him. Recently, I got to know about this book. Will definitely go through this book. Heard about his contribution towards Ladakh and I am searching for information related to him.

    1. You will find a lot of mention of this guy in van beek's account! How the neo-Buddhists politicised ladakh. For me Ladakh was never ignorant, it was just peaceful and in the light of true Buddhist spirit. Further also don't forget to read how they opposed the reservation of seats for Ladakh by Ladakhi people and what they thought of Ladakhi people.


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