Aurel Stein
  The Sanskritist
  Manuscript Treasures
  Kashmiri Scholarship
  Interface of Scholarship
  The Adopted Home
  Unfinished Tasks
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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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Native Collaborators
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The memorable tour to Kashmir undertaken by Aurel Stein’s mentor and teacher, Georg Buhler, in 1875 initiated a collaborative phase of scholarship between European and Kashmiri scholars. In search of Sanskrit manuscripts in Kashmir, Buhler during the tour came in contact with the most outstanding Sanskrit scholars of Kashmir, viz Pandit Damodar and Pandit Govind Kaul. Of these Pandits, wrote Buhler in his Report: In Search of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Kashmir, Rajputana and Central India, (1877) “Pandit Damodar is a thoroughly learned man who seems to shake Sanskrit verse and prose out of his sleeve. He takes pains spending hours to explain these artistic products of his poetic talent until I am forced to erect a dam against the flood of didactic erudition.

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Teachers of The Rajakiya Pathshala
(L to R Pandits Nityanad, Sona Bhat, Raja Ram & Hara Bhat)

He has much humour and inexhaustible supply of proverbs and anecdotes. Another young Pandit, Govind Kaul surprised me with his exact knowledge of old geography of Kashmir and the true historical sense accompanying it which he displays in many questions relating to it. I wish I had such teachers in our Oriental College.”

In August 1888, a few days after his arrival in Srinagar, Aurel Stein met Pandit Govind Kaul and Pandit Damodar. He was quick to notice other Kashmiri Pandits who had special interest in antiquity. These were Pandit Mukund Ram and Pandit Sahajabhatta. In meeting them Stein was helped by Pandit Damodar whom Buhler had known and recommended. Not only Pandit Govind Kaul and Pandit Mukund Ram placed the resource of their great learning at the disposal of Stein for the edition of Rajatarangini, he was also to avail himself the benefit from the great learning of his friend Pandit Damodar, Head Pandit of the Maharaja’s Pathshala at Srinagar. However, it was merely the distance at which Stein and Damodar were to be placed from each other in the later years during the preparation of the Sanskrit edition of the Rajatarangini, that did not allow Stein to appeal him as frequently as he would have wished to Damodar’s wide learning in matters relating to the text of Kalhana.

October 2, 1888, Srinagar, writes Aurel Stein: “Pandit Mukund Ram, Teacher of Sanskrit, Mission School, Srinagar, has paid me frequent visits during my stay at that place. He showed at these meetings a very respectable knowledge of the Kavya and Alankara Shastras, and much interest in questions touching the ancient history of the country. He seems to me one of the most promising young Pandits of Kashmir.”

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