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Faces of Glory: Kashmiri Pandit Personalities

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Nityanand Shastri
NS was
not only just an academician, he was equally active in the social and cultural fields. While being the president of Sanskrit Sahitya Parishad, a Sanskrit literary organisation he founded in 1930, he also established a charitable trust named Vanita Ashram to help widows and destitutes.  >>>
Pandit Govind Kaul
A profound Kashmiri scholar of the late 19th century. Pandit Govind Kaul, who rendered most valuable assistance to Aurel Stein in translating Rajatarangini, is today almost a forgotten man. There are hardly a handful of Kashmiri Pandits who may be aware of his great erudition and the range of his scholarly pursuits. 
Pandit Mukund Ram Shastri
From archaeology and paleography to Kashmir history to Kashmir Shaivism to grammar and literature Mahamahopadhyaya Pandit Mukund Ram Shastri (MRS) strode like a colossus in almost every field of Kashmir studies at the turn of the 19th century and in the early years of the twentieth. 
Pandit Sahaz Bhat
The legendary Unani hakim of Kashmir, Pandit Sahaz Bhat, was a profound scholar also. His miracle cures remain etched on public memory and have given to Kashmiri parlance a proverb commonly used even now. 
Pandit Harabhatta Shastri
Pandit Harabhata Shastri (HBS) is a name surrounded by a brilliant scholastic aura, though known to very small group of Sanskrit scholars of Kashmir.  
Pandit Keshav Bhatt Jyotishi
A profound scholar of astrology and a pioneer printer in one - that was Pandit Keshav Bhatt Jyotishi. 
Pandit Anand Koul
When Pandit Anand Koul published his first book, 'The Kashmiri Pandit' in 1924, a pioneering work on the history and ethnography of the Kashmiri Pandits, he created history.  
Prof. Jagaddhar Zadoo
He was a titan among scholars of Kashmir -- that is alone how Prof. Jagaddhar Zadoo (JDZ) can he described for his immense contribution to Sanskrit scholarship.  
Pandit Prem Nath Shastri
Pandit Prem Nath Shastri’s role during his life time did not remain confined to just carrying ahead a family tradition but in institutionalising it in such a way that its relevance in the social life of Kashmiri Pandits only increased with each day. 
Master Samsar Chand Kaul
Master Samsar Chand Kaul (1883-1977) was a renowned educationist, ornithologist and environmentalist of his time, when subjects like bird watching and study at natural history was unknown in Kashmir. 
Shri Jankinath Kaul 'Kamal'
Shri Jankinath Kaul 'Kamal' was well known as an accomplished scholar through his writings in the fields of Kashmir Shaivism and Vedanta, which have received countrywide recognition.  
Dinanath Yaksh
The Sanskritic Shastras have survived in India as a part of the Vedic ritualistic culture. The Vedic ritualism has been a text-based culture. In the development of this ritual-culture a variety of sciences emerged as a part of it thus making it richer. These sciences were a part of a living tradition survived by the respective experts called Pandits.  >>>

RN KaoPt. Rameshwar Nath Kao, the founder of India’s external intelligence agency, R&AW, was no ordinary spymaster. He was one of the architects of modern India. His yeoman services to the country in the field of intelligence and national security remain unsurpassed. When Kao was alive Prof. ML Sondhi, a great admirer of his, used to describe him as a ‘living legend’.  >>>

Pandit Ishwar Kaul
Pandit Ishwar Kaul assured for himself an esteemed place in the galaxy of Kashmiri scholars by giving Kashmiri its first grammar - the 'Kashmir Shabdamrita'. Written in Sanskrit after the manner of the great Sanskrit grammarian Panini, Ishwar Kaul's treatise on Kashmiri grammatical forms bears testimony to his profound study of the language. >>>
Pt. Damodar, son of the illustrious Pt. Sahib Ram Kaul and younger brother of the equally renowned Pandit Daya Ram, was a Sanskrit scholar gifted with unusual brilliance. His scholastic endowments greatly impressed both George Buhler and Aurel Stein who have paid very handsome tributes to his genius. >>>
Chronicle-writing is not foreign to the imagination of the Kashmiri Brahmins. A host of histories Charitas and Mahatmyas amply testify to this assertion. However, the history as it is taken in the modern parlance, is absent in Sanskrit literature. History is not an account of rise and fall of kings but should embrace in its ambit the political, social and religious attainments and aspirations of the people at large.  >>>
Without beating about the bush, Shrivara straightway adduces two reasons for taking up the thread of chronicle-writing from Jona Raja. Firstly, be writes "I have taken this assignment simply to complete the unfinished History of Kings written by Jona Raja, whose disciple I am". At the same time he, in all humility, confesses his diffidence, to reach up to his guru's heights.  >>>
Jona Raja at the very commencement of his Raja Tarangini acknowledges the debt he owes to Kalhana - the doyen of chroniclers of Kashmir. He treats him as hig ideal and his reputed dictum in respect of history writing as his guide-line for supplementing suitably the course of events, where Kalhana had left it.  >>>
Kashmir of yore has been the cradle of Sanskrit lore and learning. From 9th century A. D. to 12th century A. D. brightest luminaries in Sanskrit literature have shone on its firmament. These four hundred years, roughly speaking, form the crux and the culmination of what may be called the creative and original literary activity of Kashmiris in the realm of Sanskrit language and literature.  >>>
Sanskrit poets and literary luminaries have been often accused of oriental hyperbole. It may be conceded that by and large such devotees of Muse did indulge in some kind of exaggeration which became nauseating at times; such kind of poetic fancy becomes pronounced when they had to extol their patrons, heroes or even their beloveds.  >>>
Pandit Saheb Ram Kaul
Among the Kashmiri scholars of Sanskrit whom Maharaja Ranbir Singh respected greatly was Pandit Saheb Ram Kaul, a deeply learned man whose study of the Shastras had impressed even the veteran Pandits of Varanasi.  >>>

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