Kalhan: As a Historian of Indian History | Indian History

This article gives you information on Kalhan as a historian of Indian History.

Kalhan as a historian: Kalhan is an important historian in Indian history. The 12th century A.D.Kashmiri poet, Kalhan, wrote ‘Rajtarangini’- the river of kings ‘which has been of great value for the study of the history of Kashmir.

This history of his native land is in verse and the language is Sanskrit. Out of the Sanskrit writings, Rajtarangini’ is one of the foremost historical writing.


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Kalhan had sketched a detailed description of the history of Kashmir from geological age upto his own age His writing was much more important than that of the others during the same period because it was of much more historical importance. Not only had he described the deeds of a brave person but he had also tried to understand and explain the conditions of that time.

Kalhan was the son of a minister and later became the consultant of King Harsha of Lahore Dynasty. As he was into the political system directly, he was able to understand the political activities very minutely. Though he was under several kings, he didn’t get any patronage from them. That is the reason that Kalhan was able to write an unbiased and clear historical writing without any pressure from the kings upon him. So, his writing was devoid of rhetorical and clear of praises, evident in other writers under the patronage of the kings.

He chose the medium of verse for his writings. Although his writing seems to be inclined towards ornate style, he has mingled the historical truth in it. In his historical writing, he laid emphasis on the transience of the worldly life and physical materials. He wished that people should learn lesson from the mistakes of their past. For this, he had to analyze the conditions and events very minutely. This very analysis makes his writing much more special than that of others.

Kalhan had also given the sources of his writing. He had used information about temples and other records. His use of records as reason based sources of history was indeed an important contribution to history. But he was not clear about the dates. Besides this regionalism was apparent in his writing. He had included all the famous kings (i.e. Maurya kings) as the rulers of Kashmir.

Despite these minor aberrations, his writing is really unique in every sense and no other contemporary historian can be compared with him as far as his importance and minute observation is concerned.

Submitted by : Dr. Kevin, Category : History, Tag : Kalhan