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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2647

Was Kashmir last destination of Christ?

By J. N. Raina - Syndicate Features

Did Jesus Christ die on the cross? Or did he migrate to Kashmir after his crucifixion, and lived there till his ripe age of 125? This belief, prevalent in Kashmir for ages, led to the influx of over 1600 Israeli tourists to the terrorist-infested valley last summer. Their main attraction: graves of Christ and Moses. The inquisitive tourists--- ignoring the caveat, issued in Jerusalem recently on Jammu and Kashmir--- flocked to the valley to see the tomb of Christ at Rozabal , Srinagar, and of Moses near Bandipore town in north Kashmir.

Numerous books have been published on Christ, some of them claiming that Jesus Christ had visited the land, which later came to be known as Kashmir, or Cashmire, its ancient name. Researchers have suggested that Jesus lies buried at Rozabal.

Aziz Kashmiri, a Srinagar-based editor of Urdu daily ‘Roshni’, has in his book “Christ in Kashmir” claimed that Kashmiris’ ancestors were one of the lost tribes of Israel, and that Jesus died in Kashmir. He has quoted numerous authors and scholars to prove his point that Christ had died in Srinagar. Aziz , who was my journalist colleague in Srinagar, before I migrated to Mumbai in 1990, had told me that his 30 years of research work on the subject had led him to believe that Christ did not die on the cross as stated in the Bible. ‘In fact, he had recovered from his wounds and fled from Palestine to Kashmir, until he died at the age of 125 or so’. This belief, however, is not corroborated by the Quran. People in general do not buy this theory.

The tomb lies in Srinagar in an underground room. There is also a black stone in a corner, which is said to have the signs of the foot- prints of Christ. A similar stone exists in Jerusalem. In October 1967, Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, the then judge of the International Court of Justice, during his speech in Toronto (Canada) said Christ did not die on the cross, but had fainted and thereafter migrated from Palestine to Kashmir via Afghanistan. “He died there and was buried in Srinagar”, he said, arousing interest of the world media.

Some other authors have made similar claim as quoted by Aziz, that the lost tribes of Jews had made their way to Kashmir and settled there. Moses also lies buried in Kashmir. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, revealed in 1890 that Christ did not die on the cross. He has written a comprehensive book ‘Izalah Auham’ and quoted from the Bible and the Holy Quran, saying that Christ escaped the ‘accursed death’ on the cross and set out secretly from Palestine in search of the lost tribes of Israel.

Quoting ancient scriptures, Ghulam Ahmad says “History bears evidence that in 721 BC, Sargon II captured the kingdom of Israel. The Jews were captured and exiled. Most of them went to Iran and Afghanistan and some of them went to India to settle in Kashmir. Jesus Christ, in order to fulfil his ‘divine mission’, visited them and finally at the age of 125 died in Kashmir”.

Evidence from the Buddhist sources has established that Christ came to India to fulfil the prophecy of Lord Buddha that after 500 years of his nirvana, ‘another Buddha would come and revive his true teachings.” In 1899, Khalifa Noor al-Din of Jalalpur (Gujarat), who had lived in Kashmir, pointed out that there existed in Srinagar a tomb of a Prophet, Yus Asaf or ‘ Isa Sahib’, who came to Kashmir from a foreign country.

Aziz Kashmiri quoted Hazrat Mirza as saying in his book “Masih Hindustan main” that evidence is available on Christ’s escape from the death on the cross and his travel towards Eastern countries. Mirza has evaluated evidence from more than 33 books of Materia Medica, that carry formula of ' marham-i-Isa' ( Jesus ointment) and shows it was the same ointment which was applied to the wounds of Christ ,caused by nailing him on the cross.

Historian Muhammad Din Fauq, author of many books on Kashmir, has said that ‘in Kashmir, Malik tribe is in majority. They are Bani Israel. Their great ancestor was Qasis, who was ancestor of Afghan tribe, a contemporary of Prophet Muhammad. According to Bernier, there are many marks of Judaism to be found in Kashmir.’ The inhabitants in the frontier villages struck me as resembling Jews’.

According to the ‘Encyclopaedia of America’, Dr Gibs Felentener (1548-1611) has identified Tartars with the lost ten tribes. Dr Froncios Bernier ( 1620-1688 ) speculates on the Kashmiris as descendents of the lost ten tribes, from certain customs and rites, and prevailing type of facial features, as also of the Afghans and the Tajiks of Badakshan being distinctly Hebraic’
The tomb of Moses is located on a mountain called ‘Booth’ in Bandipore. According to Aziz, the Bible confirms the fact that Moses passed away in Bandipore, which was known as Bethpoer in olden days. Prophet Jacob, says Bible, was called Israel by God, due to his bravery.

“Thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name” (Genesis, 35:10). Prophet Jacob had 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Nephtali, Gad and Asher (Genesis, 35:23-26). They became the founders of 12 tribes of Israel, who are called Bani Israel (sons of Israel) or the ‘chosen sons of God’. They spread rapidly in Egypt, Syria, Palestine and other parts. But when cruel kings, including Nebuchadnezzar (597 BC) invaded, killed and enslaved them, only two tribes remained in Palestine and other ten were forced to migrate from Palestine. Some settled in Afghanistan, others in Balakh, Bukhara and Tibet and most of them reached North India through Central Asia and settled in Kashmir.

According to Pandit Hargopal Koul’s ‘Guldasta-I-Kashmir’, Kashmiri Pandits are the highest class of Aryans. Pandit Ram Chand Kak, former prime minister of Jammu and Kashmir during Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule, ‘Moses is a very common name in Kashmir…. There are many castes and tribes among Muslims and Hindus, which are mentioned in the Bible. Their ways and habits, features, shapes, morals, and character resemble those of Israelis. At Bijbehara near Anantnag town, there is a stone called ‘ka ka pal’ (ka in Kashmiri means eleven) resembling eleven tribes of Israel. Such a stone is also at Baramulla.

Civil servant turned writer -Kashmiriologist, Pervez Dewan, in his latest book, comments: “There can be no doubt that Jews used to visit ancient pre-Islamic Kashmir at the rate of one or two visitors a year. They were particularly honoured guests. This explains their stamp on some aspects of Kashmiri life. Some of them must have settled in Kashmir and accepted Hinduism (and later Islam). That explains why some Kashmiris have the ‘prominent noses’ that have intrigued European travellers so much.” His study also highlights Hebrew words in the Kashmiri language and makes a pointed reference some Jewish customs, food habits and beliefs found in Kashmir.

On the specific question - about the visit of Lord Jesus and Prophet Moses, Dewan banks on the manuscripts of the Bhavishya Maha Puran, Mullah Nadiri’s Tareekh-e-Kashmir and an ancient Buddhist manuscript in the Hemis caves in Ladakh. “If these documents have not been tampered with, then there can be no doubt but that Lord Jesus had lived for at least a while in Kashmir and Ladakh,” he concludes.

According to St Mark, there are discrepancies in the Gospels about the hour when Jesus was crucified. “Jesus did not die on the cross, as is the popular belief, but in fact he had fainted. The evidence which points to this are the Gospels, all of which stated that Jesus was taken down from the cross at the 9th hour, for the other day was Sabbath day. In those days, bodies could not remain on the cross on Sabbath.”

The historians of those days are a witness to the fact that no one died on the cross within such a short time, but normally were left to suffer for many days”, says Aziz.” When Jesus was taken down from the cross, he was actually dead faint, and people thought he was dead. “What happened afterwards is simple…..he was taken to a cave-like structure where he was rubbed with Marham Isa, an ointment to heal wounds, which is still in use. When he recovered, some three days later, he was disguised as a gardener (the same gardener Mary saw) as his friends were afraid that Pilate would see him and realize that he was really alive.

Jesus did escape from his enemies and he was eventually given shelter at another place, of which a complete description is given. Kashmir is the only place which fits in that description. According to the Quran, “there he lived, carried on his preachings and died.” A group of German scientists had carried out investigations regarding the shroud of Christ. The outcome of the research has shown that 2000 year old shroud of Christ has been found in the Italian town of Turin. They made their discovery known to the Pope then, but he reportedly said nothing.

Thomas was the twin brother of Christ (Dictionary of Bible by Hastings, Vol IV, 753, also John 20:24). Thomas in Hebrew means twin. This very person, whose name in Ikmal al-Din, Arabic history, written some 1000 years after, appears as Babad (which also means a twin) buried Christ after his natural death.

Avatar Meher Baba too asserts in his discourses that Jesus had visited to Kashmir valley and that after the crucifixion the body of Jesus was brought to Kashmir for burial.

Kashmir’s first written historical work ‘The Rajatarangini’ has also referred unambiguously to a Christ-like seer who was crucified by a Herod-like king and who lived in and ruled over Kashmir, possibly in the 1st century AD. In any case, there’s an enormous amount of circumstantial evidence that indicates that Jesus and Moses might have come to Kashmir.

- Syndicate Features -

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