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Happy New Year. Vishnu in Space.

March 27, 2009

Today is the first day of the new year according to the Kashmiri lunar calender. Kashmiri Pandits celebrate this day as Navreh. 

'Vishnu in Space' Image: Cover of almanac of Kashmiri Pandit community.

As part of the tradition, on the morning of this day. the very first thing that one gets to see is the new year's nachipatir or  almanac. So every year, in the wee hours of this particular day, a decided by the movement of moon, I get to see Vishnu in Space.

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A page from history:

"The 2nd of the month Caitra is a festival to the people of kashmir, called Agdus(?)*, and celebrated on account of a victory gained by their king, Muttai**, over the Turks."

- India by Al-Biruni, page 258

Abridged Edition of Dr. Edward C. Sachau's English Translation

Edited with Introduction and Notes by Qeyamuddin Ahmad,

Second Edition

Third Reprint 1995

Abu Raihan Muhammad ibn Ahmad, a Muslim of Iranian origin, popularly now known as Al-Beruni, was born in A.D. 973 at the outskirts of Khawarizm (modern day Khiva in Uzbekistan) and wrote Kitabu'l Hind in around 1030 during the reign of Sultan Mahmud.

* Ougdoh in Kashmiri language. It literally means 1st day.

** Lalitaditya Muktapida, emperor of Kashmir from 724 AD to 760 AD whose military might captured areas as far and as wide as Central Asia, Bengal and Karnataka.

Alberuni further wrote:
"According to their account he rules over the whole world. But this is exactly what they say of most of their kings. However, they are incautious enough to assign him to a time not much anterior to our time, which leads to their lie being found out. It is, of course, not impossible that a Hindu should rule (over a huge empire. as Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, and Persians have done, but all the times not much anterior to out own are well known.(If, therefore, such had been the case, we should know it.) perhaps the here mentioned king ruled over the whole of India, and they know of no other country but India and of no other nations but themselves.)"

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