Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



Jump to page:

Table of Contents

  Page 430  

430                    JEWS IN KACHEMIRE

the death of Jesus Christ and had expressed a wish to
appoint the Jesuit their Kakan! if he would abstain from
swine's flesh.

There are, however, many signs of Judaism, to be found
in this country. On entering the kingdom after crossing
the Pire-penjale mountains, the inhabitants in the frontier
villages struck me as resembling Jews. Their countenance
and manner, and that indescribable peculiarity which en¬
ables a traveller to distinguish the inhabitants of different
nations, all seemed to belong to that ancient people. You
are not to ascribe what I say to mere fancy, the Jewish
appearance of these villagers having been remarked by
our Jesuit Father, and by several other Europeans, long
before I visited Kachemire.

A second sign is the prevalence of the name of Mousa,
which ineans Moses, among the inhabitants of this city,
notwithstanding they are all Mahometans.

A third is the common tradition that Solomon visited
this country, and that it was he who opened a passage for
the waters by cutting the mountain of Baramoule.

A fourth, the belief that Moses died in the city of
Kachemire, and that his tomb is within a league of it.

And a fifth may be found in the generally received
opinion that the small and extremely ancient edifice seen
on one of the high hills w^as built by Solomon; and it is
therefore called the Throne oj' Solomon to this day. ^

You will see then, that I am not disposed to deny that
Jews  may  have  taken up  their residence in Kachemire.'^

! Khakan, or more properly Khaqan, the Xaydvos of the Byzantine
historians, the title of the Mogol Chingiz, and those who succeeded him
on the throne of Northern China. The Great Caan of the early
travellers.                                                                 ^ .See p. 399.

* In recent times visitors to Kashmir seeing the names Rahimju, Lusju,
Julju, etc., etc., common ones among the tradespeople who cater for
foreign visitors in Srinagar, written up as Rahim Jew, Lus Jew, Jul
Jew, have imagined that the bearers of these names were Jews by
nationality !! The Jewish cast of features of many of the inhabitants of
I-Cashmir is noticed by many modern travellers.
  Page 430