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17th February '2008
Myth of Jesus in Kashmir
 
 

The myth about Jesus Christ having visited Kashmir and being buried here seems to be generating more and more international interest these days. The story of Jesus being buried at Roza Bal, Khanyar in Srinagar is based more on hearsay than on any scientific evidence. This story has been making rounds for decades now. In fact, it was first given wide exposure by the Ahmadiya Sect when Khawaja Nazir Ahmad of Woking Muslim Mission in U.K. wrote his book “Jesus in Heaven on Earth”. Subsequently, more than a couple of dozen books, numerous articles, and papers were written on this subject. Dr.Fida Hassnain, the former Director of Archives, Museums, and Archaeology of Kashmir has done extensive research on the subject and has written a number of books like, “The Fifth Gospel”, “In Search of Historical Jesus” and his new book, “ Roza Bal, Beyond the Da Vinci Code” written in collaboration with Suzanne Olsson has recently hit the stands. The other books include, “Jesus died in Kashmir” by Faber Kaiser, “Jesus lived in India” by Holger Kersten and a recent one, “Jesus in Kashmir, the Lost Tomb” by Suzanne Olsson who also maintains the largest website on the internet on the topic of “Jesus in India”. The website can be accessed at: http://www.jesus-kashmir-tomb.com/index.html. Another website with quite a bit of information on the subject, which also has a detailed list of books and films, is: http://www.tombofjesus.com/2007/home/welcome.html. However, all these postulations are not based on any scientific investigation. The Shrine of Roza Bal which is the site of the supposed tomb of Jesus in Khanyar, Srinagar has been visited by a large number of journalists, research scholars, and even some religious teams deputed by a number of Christian Organisations. Even fiction writers like Von Denikin have also visited the site. However, in recent years it has caught the imagination of the foreign electronic media and dozens of documentaries have been made on the subject. Most of these documentaries can be seen on the internet at the YouTube website. The documentaries include a three part one made by BBC which is available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cy8M4VzU-Y&feature=related.

 

There are dozens of others made by different individuals as well some organisations. On the YouTube website itself a search on the subject reveals more than 50 documentaries. A search through the Google search engine about Jesus in Kashmir comes up with more than few hundred thousand websites on the topic. This shows that the subject has become a hot topic and a large number of people are interested in pursuing it for different reasons. However, most of the researchers put forth an excuse that they are unable to proceed further due to lack of co-operation from the local management of the Roza Bal shrine. According to them the most modern technique of establishing the truth is through DNA mapping. This can be possible only if they have the access to the inside of the tomb. But for the local people the tomb is of a Muslim saint and it cannot be allowed to be desecrated. However, it is difficult to understand why researchers want to open the grave disregarding the local sentiments. With the most modern digital and infra-red technology presently available, it should not be difficult to ascertain the truth without entering the grave. The Americans, some years back, discovered an ancient temple complex buried under sand in Egypt with the help of their infra-red satellite imagery. The riddle of Roza Bal has far reaching implications for Kashmir itself. A friend working as a documentary producer with BBC used to say that establishing any connection about Jesus coming to Kashmir will generate such an influx of foreigners that the Kashmiris won’t know what hit them! He used to say that the figures of foreign tourist traffic to Kashmir would go into millions. One feels that Roza Bal is somehow over shadowing an important fact of the whole legend or myth which is the basic Jewish connection of Kashmir. Existence of Tomb of Jesus has been claimed in many places in the world. Muslims believe holy Quran which clearly states that God raised Jesus Christ to heaven. No other theory or belief is acceptable to Muslims notwithstanding the theories put forth by Ahmadiya sect. However, to connect Jesus to Kashmir it is first essential to prove Kashmir’s connection to Israelites. This would involve anthropological study of Kashmiris from different parts of the valley. The study can also include taking of blood samples for DNA mapping. Similar studies in the North-East have established Jewish connection of some tribes there. The scientific study has to be undertaken in good faith without any malice and prejudice. It has been observed that there are some groups in the west even among Christians themselves who are pursuing the topic with the intention of demolishing Christianity. Pursuit of knowledge can be successful only if it is undertaken without any bias and pre-conceived views. Islam makes it obligatory on Muslims to pursue knowledge. “Muslims should acquire knowledge even if they have to go to China for that!” Holy Quran commands Muslims repeatedly to observe and understand the signs in nature which confirm the omnipotence of Almighty. Pursuit of true knowledge does not shake one’s faith in Almighty but it rather strengthens the same. Thus it should not be difficult to investigate the truth behind these legends and myths. In fact, some Muslim scientists could even undertake such a project purely on scientific lines. There are two parts involved in this research. The present researchers are pursuing the myth that Jesus came to Kashmir after resurrection or after escaping death on the cross. This is a highly questionable postulation. The other part pertains to missing years. It is this part which is more important for a scientific study. It is said that he had earlier visited Kashmir. There is no record about the life of Jesus from the age of 12 to 30. These are known as the missing years of his life. It is said that he had visited Kashmir and also gone to Tibet during these years. He had come to Kashmir in search of the missing tribes of Israelites who had been dispersed all over the world after the destruction of the Second Temple by Romans in A.D.70. The documentary proof of the visit lies in a Tibetan manuscript in the famous Buddhist monastery of Hemis in Ladakh and is still inaccessible due to the resistance of local Lamas. However, there is no restriction or difficulty in pursuing the scientific investigation of the origin of Kashmiris. If a connection to Israelites is established scientifically, it can help in the pursuit of the second part that is whether Jesus ever came to Kashmir. It would be very useful if some international research organisations take up the job of establishing truth scientifically. This could even be done with local collaboration. Last year the University of Kashmir set up a Centre for Kashmir Studies with great fanfare. The study about the origin of Kashmiris should have been the very first topic of research for the Centre. They seem to have completely missed it. Now that the University has a new Vice-Chancellor keenly interested in the pursuit of knowledge through research, one hopes the topic will receive the attention it deserves! Similarly, all foreign researchers need to first concentrate on this topic of Jewish connection to Kashmir before establishing the truth regarding Jesus coming to Kashmir.

 
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