This article examines the emergence and evolution of the concept of Kashmir jannat nazir as a literary and political imaginary in the Mughal court. The author argues that this imaginary of Kashmir in the Mughal court drew upon older textual traditions like the literature and histories from Kashmir, corpora of Arab and Persian geographies compiled from the ninth century onwards, travel accounts, wonder tales and the chronicles of the Ghaznavid and Timurid courts. It emerged as literary imaginary over the sixteenth century. Through the seventeenth century it had entered into the imperial chronicles. By the middle of the seventeenth century, this imagination of Kashmir became a part of the political discourse in the Mughal court, part of their language of sovereignty and integral to the Mughal self-image. This article locates the imaginary of Kashmir Jannat Nazir within the politics of aesthetics as well as the politics of governance in the Mughal Empire.
A special attention the author pays to the mechanism of realization of this politics with the help of Garden architecture. The Gardens were a part of the spatial practice of the Mughal Empire, by which imperial authority was territorialised in the distant province of Kashmir.
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