Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
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Supported by:
  Heritage Lottery Fund, Cambridge.
  Bodelian Library, Oxford.
  Nityanand Shastri Library Collection, Delhi.
  Kashmir Bhavan Centre, Luton.
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Archaeology of old Kashmir
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“No action however had been taken by the latter. As to the substantial accuracy of the other statements in my opinion it is impossible to entertain any doubt. The making of the road metal had this year been continued only for a few days and on occasion of my visit May 30-31 I did not find anyone actually at work. But as I have taken photographs of the sites showing the arranged heaps of ready road metal and was able to show the destruction done to M. .Foucher a French scholar who accompanied me on my second visit. I possess sufficient evidence to prove in all particulars the facts above mentioned.

“The facts show clearly the imminical danger which threatens these ancient stone remains in Kashmir. It is only natural that the road contractors on this work should if left without proper control attempt to obtain their stone material wherever nearest at hand. Only a very small portion of these ancient buildings of Kashmir is protected by retaining yet a sacred character and the great mass of ancient remains found in the valley is thus left to the fate of being earlier or later turned into road metal unless effective and early measures are taken for their protection.

“There are few villages of any size in Kashmir in which remains of stone temples cannot be traced either in situ or built into mosques , houses or tombs. The mischief done by earlier destroyers is insignificant when compared with the vandalism now perpetrated by the contractors and their employees. Whereas the sculptures built into more recent buildings remain generally accessible for investigation and at least prove the existence of earliest structures on the spot, the work of road makers means absolute annihilation for these antiquarian monuments often of great importance and artistic value .

"I am fully aware from previous experience that His Highness the Maharaja Sahib and Members of the State Council take a lively and most laudable interest in the preservation of the ancient monuments of their country. This they have testified on several occasions. I feel therefore confident if you will be pleased to bring the above facts to their notice , they will not hesitate to take steps to prevent, while there is yet time , the wholesale destruction of such monuments. I trust it will not be considered out of place if I venture to indicate here briefly the measures which in my personal opinion can alone assure the future protection of ancient monuments from the dangers connected with the constructions of roads and public works etc.

1. “In the one hand it must be made the duty of authorities superintending public works must watch the contractors obtain their material only from regular quarries and in no case utilize stones belonging to earlier buildings, mounds, etc. It is quite impossible to give general indication as to which old building materials possess antiquarian interest, occasionally a few isolated slabs found on old site possess importance for identification and which not. Hence only the absolute prohibition can secure the desired object. Contractors must be made liable for heavy fines for any infringements of the rule or other punishments.

2. “On the other hand the Lambardars and local authorities generally be made personally responsible in each case when stones belonging to earlier built buildings, tombs, temples or other structures within their territory are removed by contractors or their workmen. The villagers are themselves scarcely ever tempted to make use of such materials and they can all the more be expected to help in protecting the old stones found near their mosques, cemeteries etc.

3. “Special watch must be kept of course over those places which lie near road or from where materials can easily be removed by water .

4. “In the course of some archaeological tours which I may have to make yet in connection with my work on Rajatarangini I shall have probably opportunities to ascertain the damage done in other localities. It would be in the interest of better preservation of antiquarian remains in future if I were allowed in all such cases to communicate my observations through your office or directly to the State authorities.

"In the mean time I venture to recommend strongly that a searching inquiry be made in the ruins of Paraspor (Devar) and that those responsible for wanton destruction of these remains be effectively punished. I shall consider it a special favour if early information could be given to me as to the measures which His Highness the Maharaja and the Darbar will be pleased to take for further protection of the monuments which possess for them so great a historical and religious interests”.

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