Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Kashmiri Songs and Stories by Aurel Stein


Kashmir, like any other Indian cultural region of India, has its rich tradition of folklore. Hatim’s Tales are a class by themselves in this rich heritage.
A spell-binding story teller. Hatim was a legend in his lifetime. He recited, intoned, sang and talked to his fond listeners in the towns and villages of the picturesque Kashmir Valley. His tales were drawn from history, mythology, traditional narratives and original stories devised by Hatim himself. They were part of the oral tradition which survived in memory and word of the mouth.
Sir Aurel Stein took pains to listen to the legendary Hatim and take down notes. When elaborated and translated for a book, it became a unique collection of folk tales, ballads, folk songs taken straight from the mouth of hereditary storyteller and recite.
The book contains the original in Kashmiri, translation in English, linguistic analysis, vocabulary and index. The modern reader will find in the collection the most authentic account of the Kashmiri folklore ever recorded. It is sheer pleasure to read them and enjoy their down to earth wit and wisdom.

 Sir Mark Aurel Stein was born on November 26, in 1862 in Budapest, (Hungary). After his graduation, Mark Aurel Stein felt interested in the archaeological studies of Iran and India when his teacher G. Buhlar, himself a great orientalist, kindled in him an irresistible passion for the rich classical learning of India. After getting his doctoral degree in 1884, he went to the Oxford University where he continued his studies in the field. In 1885 he was appointed as the Registrar of the Punjab University and the Principal of the Oriental College Lahore. In 1888 he visited Kashmir to get an entire and the oldest manuscript of the Rajatarangani.
During his Central Asian tours he made an in depth study of the archaeology of Khotan and published his studies under the title Ancient Khotan.
Stein’s interest in language and the folklore of Kashmir during the years 1888-98 when he was preparing a critical edition of Kalhan’s Rajatarangani, with its commented translation. After several accomplishments, the great expeditions in the Central Asia and China, Sir Aurel Stein died on 26 October 1943 at Kabul at the age of eight-one.
Stein’s Hatim’s Tales, edited by Geroge Abraham Grierson, is a monumental work in the field of folklore. Besides being a record of the original text of some of the most fascinating folk tales of Kashmir, it is an indispensable work for the students of history, anthropology and poetics.

Book: Hatim’s Tales – Kashmiri Stories and Songs
Author:  Aurel Stein
ISBN: 81-86714-86-3 Language: English

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