Professor Hassnain was born in 1924 in Srinagar, Kashmir. His parents were school teachers. Professor Hassnain was placed under the charge of the Immam at Tral, Kashmir, at the age of three and learned the Holy Quran. He was put in a modern school at the age of six and completed his matriculation at the age of sixteen. At the age of twenty he graduated from the Punjab University. He obtained his Master's Degree from Muslim University, Aligarh.
Professor Hassnain took up studies in law and received his Ll.D. in 1946. Returning to his home town, he joined the bar and worked as a lawyer for a few years. He soon felt disgusted with this profession because his conscience would not allow him to defend an offender.
Professor Hassnain then took up social work among the poor, started painting and wrote poetry. But soon the hard realities of life forced him to seek a job, and he became a Lecturer at S.P. College in Srinagar. Later, he rose to the position of Professor of History and Research.
Professor Hassnain became the Director of the State Archives, Archaeology Research and Museums in 1954 and continued as such until his retirement in 1983. His study tours resulted in the salvaging of several hundred manuscripts in Arabic, Sanskrit and Persian, which were housed in the Archives and Oriental Research Libraries. As an expert archaeologist, he has conducted several excavations.
In 1969 he was invited by some educational institutions of Japan to speak on Buddhism. Since then he has visited Japan six times for lecture tours. His scholastic achievements have won for him the title of Doctor of Indology.
Professor Hassnain visited Ladakh (Western Tibet) for the first time in 1960 and since then, has been to this land of Tantric Lamaism a number of times. Here, he came into contact with Shamanic Tantric practices being made use of by a Tibetan hermitess. His anthropological interest induced him to study the past of the Brukpa tribes, in whom he found traces of the Greek remnants of Alexander the Great.
During his official tours in Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, he came into contact with several Sadhus, Faqirs, Lamas, Majzoobs and Sufis. He felt much impressed by Swami Lakshman Joo, Hazrat Mirak Shah, Hazrat Kausar Sahib, Hazrat Sharif Sahib, Yogni Chomoji. Hazrat Sultan Sahib, Swami Nanda Mutto, Syed Babaji and Lassa Mutto.
Avoiding his official work, he began to spend his days and nights with the last named three mendicants. This gave his two official colleagues an opportunity to involve him in official bungling, which resulted in his suspension from service. This calamity produced a profound shock to him and he felt forsaken by God. Suspicions about the existence of God crept up in his mind. But this phase lasted only for a few months! A Sadhu from South India, on pilgrimage to Shri Amareshwar Lingam in Kashmir, visited the house of Professor Hassnain to tell him that God was great.
When Professor Hassnain started throwing challenges, the Sadhu said, "God has removed both your enemies from the scene." In a strange coincidence, both the officers who had implicated Professor Hassnain disappeared, along with their families. To his amazement, he learned later on that the chief enemy had migrated to Pakistan with his family, leaving his hearth and home in Kashmir. The other enemy was found, after twelve years, roaming in the hills like a pauper. This event was a turning point in his life. Soon after, he was reinstated in his post and continued until his retirement.
Professor Hassnain has widely travelled in Europe and Asia. He is a member of many national and international organizations pertaining to philosophy, religion, mysticism, history, anthropology and culture. After retirement, he was initiated into the Sufi Way and, with the permission of his Master, he conducts Sufi Meditation sessions as a therapy in psychiatric clinics.
Professor Hassnain has written numerous articles on varied subjects. His published books are: Buddhist Kashmir (1973), British Policy (1974), Ladakh Moonland (1975), Hindu Kashmir (1977), History of Ladakh (1977), Gilgit (1978), Heritage of Kashmir (1980), Kashmir Misgovernment (1980), The Abode of Shiva (1987), and Freedom Struggle in Kashmir (1988). He has lectured extensively and has been a visiting professor to several universities. He was granted the title of: Rastra Sanskriti Samrat, or the Emperor of National Culture, in 1987. He lives with his family at Dastgir House, Chanapora Colony, Srinagar, Kashmir.
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