Book Reviews

Kashmir Sabdamritam

Kashmir Shabdamritam - Pandit Ishwar Kaul,
Hindi translation by Dr.Sushila Sar, 2014,
Ayan Publications, New Delhi. Price Rs.245/

Whenever one thinks about the tradition of grammar writing in Kashmiri Language, our memory rests at Pandit Ishwar Kaul (1833-1893). He was the first scholar who wrote the first grammar of Kashmiri language that too in Sanskrit Language between 1875 -1879. Sanskrit being the language of intellectual discourse gave the grammar more credibility within academic circles of those times. For writing Kashmiri he used Devanagari script. Given the quality of this work it is considered monumental since Pandit Ishwar Kaul was influenced by the famous grammar of Panini the Ashtadiyay and almost based his Kashmiri grammar on this pattern.

Kashmirshabdamritam was published with the efforts of Jeorge Grearson in 1898. This book has served as an important reference material to scholars, research scholars, Linguists etc. who have been pursuing  research in Kashmiri language. Pandit Ishwar Kaul was a scholar of both Sanskrit and Persian languages and served as Director of translation department started by the then Maharaja of Kashmir Ranbir Singh. His other important contribution to Kashmiri language is the preparation of a dictionary in Kashmiri popularly called Ishwar Kosh which too was subsequently got published by Jeorge Griearson.

Dr. Sushila Sar is an eminent scholar who has worked in Kashmiri, Hindi and Sanskrit languages. By translating and publishing the Shabdamritam in Hindi, she has rendered a great service to Kashmiri language and her work shall benefit all those research scholars who are engaged in research in the field of languages. The book is spread on about 500 pages divided into 92 Sutras. Original sutra is given in Sanskrit followed by Hindi translation and explanation with Kashmiri examples. Almost all the word classes i.e. Noun, Pronoun, Adjective Verb etc. are discussed. Sandhi, declension of word classes, conjugation or Dhattupatha are some important aspects of this grammar. There is also a long list of words which were prevalent in those times and most of these have become absolete now.

Pandit Ishwar Kaul also came up with the concept of matra vowels, which was patronised by Grierson, however, this theory has now been rejected by modern linguists. Dr. Sushila Sar’s book also retains a note by editor and a preface from the original book, which provide important information about the original book and is useful for readers. The note indicates how Pandit  Mukund Ram Shastri an eminent scholar of that time has helped the editors in publication of this book. It may be mentioned here that Pandit Mukund Ram Shastri was the Guru of Pandit Krishna Joo Razdan an eminent Bhakti poet of Kashmiri.
The author has acknowledged the support rendered to her by Dr.Mohan Lal Sar, her husband and a well known scholar in the publication of this work. The book has an attractive cover page embossed with saffron flowers which renders this book a pleasant look and enhances its get up. Hope this book  would become part of libraries of the lovers of Kashmiri literature in general and Linguists in particular.


More by :  Dr. Roop Bhat

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