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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On way to India
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Buhler concluded that numerous errors in all the Devnagari transcripts made recovery of Sharada text a necessity and not just any Sharada text but the particular one from which William Moorcroft had been made his copy in 1820. The colophon in the text indicated that the manuscript from which copies had been made were obtained from a learned Kashmir Pandit named Sivaram .He was the representative of that family in Kashmir which alone had always preserved a copy of the Royal Chronicle for nine generations. This was one and only one true manuscript of the Rajatarangini which Buhler called - the Codex Archetypus.

Buhler had set out to find it. During his tour to Kashmir in 1875, in search of manuscripts there, he traced it to the grandson of the Pandit who had permitted Moorcroft to have it copied. Buhler was permitted only a glimpse before the owner, Pandit Kesavram, took the manuscript away. Thus and there came the end of Buhler’s hope to obtain the correct and original manuscript of the rare work . He left India disappointed but with a hope that he had established the existence of the rare manuscript of the Rajatarangini .

On his return to Leipzig, Aurel Stein heard this story from Buhler himself. He shared the sense of defeat Buhler felt. It was then that Aurel Stein thought that if he could get to India, he might be fortunate to get that Sharada archetype which his teacher had located and whose transcription waited to be done. This hope fructified when during his stay in England, Aurel Stein, there, met two men. These men were Sir Henry Rawlinson and Sir Henry Yule. Both of them were powerful members of the Indian Council. As Aurel Stein’s grant term of study in England was nearing to end, Rawlinson suggested to the Indian Council that this brilliant scholar was more than suitably qualified to fill the dual position of the Registrar of the Punjab University and the Principal of the Oriental College at Lahore which then lay vacant.

This recommendation was endorsed by Yule, and the suggestion was quickly implemented. Aurel Stein accepted the opportunity and decided to go to India to take up the dual post. There was another reason, and perhaps more tempting and full of expected reward, to accept the Lahore position, and that was, that Lahore was not too far from Kashmir where Stein knew that the prospect of securing the original manuscript of Rajatarangini was waiting and thus could undertake the work that his fond teacher was denied. With the excitement to take up the rewarding career which offered both the prestigious position and a research prospect of great promise , Aurel Stein left Budapest in November, 1887, to take the passage to India passing through Suez Canal , to first set foot on the soil of Asia. He reached Bombay by sea and then took a train to Lahore in February 1888.

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Certificate of the Oriental Faculty. Punjab University, Lahore bearing Aurel Stein's signature as the Registrar.
Nityanand Shastri Library Collection
Following this journey, he began work at Lahore ’s Oriental College and the Punjab University office with a dream in his eyes to undertake research work connected with the Rajatarangini.
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