Distortions and Nagationism in Indian History

Distortions and Nagationism in Indian History

By

Dr.K.M.Rao Ph.D.,

State President

Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti

Tamilnadu.

On ignoring History:

The nationalist movement – the independence movement led by moderates in Congress blatantly ignored our History especially the tyrannical rule of Muslim period. Jawaharlal Nehru in his book “Glimpses of World History” writes about the mythical past and then he jumps the diabolic period of the barbarious muslim invasions and conquests and then he writes about chinese pilgrims coming to Bihar and visiting Nalanda University and places like that. Then somehow they – the moderates in Congress –don’t tell you what happened to taxasila and Nalanda universities and how they were destroyed and in ruins. They never tell you why Elephenta is in ruins, why Ayodhya, Mathura and Kasi were desecrated and Vijayanagar a totally destroyed capital city of glorious Vijayanagar empire.

Distortions in our History:

Nobel prize winner Sri V.S.Naipal has toured Bharat recently. He pointed out blatantly certain historical facts in the following statement of Historical revelations which no secular historian has pointed out so far. He observes painfully:

People in India have only known tyranny. The very idea of Liberty is a new idea. Particularly pathetic is the harking back to the Mughals as a time of glory. In fact the Mughals were tyrants, every one of them. They were foreign tyrants and they were proud of being foreign.”

“India has been a wounded civilization because of Islamic violence. Pakistani’s know this; Indeed they revel in it. It is only Indian Nehruvians like Romila Thapar who pretend that Islamic rule was benevolent. We should face these facts. Islamic rule in India was at least as catastrophic as the later Christian rule. The Christians created massive poverty in what was a most prosperous country. The Muslims created a terrorized civilization out of what was the most creative culture that ever existed.”

“India was wrecked and looted, not once but repeatedly by invaders with strong religious ideas, with a hatred for the religion of the people they were conquering. People read these accounts but they do not imaginatively understand the effects of the conquest by an iconoclastic religion.”

“India became the great land for Muslim adventurers and the peasantry bore this on their back. They were enslaved quite literally. It just went on like this from 11th century onwards.” (source: Economic Times:www.economictimes.com).

“The millennium began with the Muslim invasions and the grinding down of the Hindu-Buddhist culture of the north. This is such a big and bad event that people still have to find polite, destiny –defying ways of speaking about it. In art books and history books, people write of the Muslims “arriving” in India, as though the Muslims came on a tourist bus and went away again. The Muslim view of their conquest of India is a truer one. They speak of the triumph of the faith, the destruction of idols and temples, the loot, the carting away of the local people as slaves, so cheap and numerous that they were being sold for a few rupees. The architectural evidence – the absence of Hindu monuments in the north- is convincing enough. This conquest was unlike any other before. There are no Hindu records of this period. Defeated people never write their history. The victors write the history. The victors were Muslims. For people on the other side it is period of darkness.

On Hindu Militancy and India’s secularism

“To say that India has a secular character is being historically unsound. Dangerous or not, Hindu militancy is a corrective to the History I have been talking about. It is a creative force and will be so, Islam can’t reconcile with it.”

On Hindu revivalism

“India was trampled over, fought over. You had the invasions and you had the absence of a response to them. There was an absence of even of the idea of a people, of a nation defending itself. Only now are people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalizing of India. The movement is now from below. It has to be dealt with. It is not enough to abuse these youths or use that fashionable word from Europe, ‘fascism’ , there is a big historical development going on in India.” (carribeanhindu.com)

“What is happening in India is a new historical awakening… Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eye to be threatening.”

“Indian intellectuals have a responsibility to the state and should start a debate on the Muslim psyche. To speak of Hindu fundamentalism, is contradiction in terms it does not exist. Hinduism is not this kind of religion. You know, there are no laws in Hinduism. And there are many forces in Hinduism.. My interest in these popular movements is due to the pride they restore to their adherents in a country ravaged by five or six centuries of brutal rule by Muslim invaders. These populations, in particular the peasantry, have been so crushed that any movement provides a certain sense of pride. The leftists who claim that these wretched folk are fascists are wrong. It’s absurd. I think that they are only reclaiming a little of their own identity. We can’t discuss it using a western vocabulary.”

“I think every liberal person should extend a hand to that kind of movement from the bottom. One takes the longer view than the political view. There’s a great upheaval in India, and if you are interested in India, you must welcome it.”

“What is happening in India is a new, historical awakening. Gandhi used religion in a way as to marshal people for the independence cause. People who entered the independence movement did it because they felt they would earn individual merit. Only now are the people beginning to understand that there has been a great vandalizing of India Because of the nature of Hindu society such understanding had eluded Indians before.” (Indolink.com)

On demolition of Babri structure

“Not as badly as others did, I am afraid. The people who say that there was no temple are missing the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the country he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an act of contempt. In Ayodhya, the construction of a mosque on a spot regarded as sacred by the conquered population was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram, which was two or three thousand years old.” (The Times of India, July 18,1993.)

On the attire of the people who demolished Babri structure.

“One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the T-shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can’t dismiss it. You have to try to harness it. Hitherto in India, the thinking has come from the top. What is happening now is different. The movement is from below.” (The Times of India, July 18,1993.)

On Islam

Naipal says that Islam had enslaved and attempted to wipe out other cultures. “It has had a calamitous effect on converted people. To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn’t matter.” (Guardian news service)

It is not the unbeliever as the other person so much as the remnant of the unbeliever in one’s customs and in one’s ways of thinking. It’s this wish to destroy the past, the ancient soul, the unregenerate soul. This is the great neurosis of the converted.”(The New york Times magazine, 28.10.01) .

Negationism of Islamic invasion by secular historians

The actual record of Islamic rulers in Bharat has been eclipsed. Whether it is Mahmud of Ghazini, Timur or Aurangzeb, Islamic sources recorded the slaughter of lakhs of Hindus, forcible conversions, massive capture of people as slaves inflicted on Indian population for several centuries, besides a great plunder and demolition of thousands of Hindu, Buddhist and Jain temples, Universities etc. Historians from Wil Durant, Alain Danietote or Koenraad Elst in the west to K.S.Lal or Sitaram Goel have documented this blood soaked period of our history. Durant wrote, the Mohammedan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in History. It is discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precarious thing, whose delicate complex of order and liberty, culture and peace may at any time be overthrown by barbarians invading from without or multiplying from within.”

There is a water tight case of genocide of Hindus by Islamic invaders and rulers. There is no reason to sweep it under the carpet in order to conceal the genocide of Hindus by Muslim invaders. We should ask the question why it becomes “communal propaganda” if we mention the slaughters of Mahmud Ghazni at Bhimnagar, Mathura and Somnath, by Timur of his march of murderous army at Delhi leaving behind a trail of death, destruction and burning hundreds of villages by Alladin and Tuglaq in Delhi, and similar way by Feroz Shah in Bengal by countless Sultans and their Governors – all deeds documented in Islamic records with vivid phrases such as the sword of Islam being washed in the blood of the infidels..”

I would like to raise three agonizing questions :

1. What is the national criterion with which we have to write our history impartially?
2. When is a historical fact, a historical fact absolutely and what are the paradigms of its evolution?
3. Are we in a position to present a national criterion in the light of the aforesaid historical facts to our adversaries who write our history under the cover of negationism?

Muslim invasions of Bharat are often glorified by Marxist scholars, such as M.N.Roy who claimed that Islam brought a “welcome message of hope and freedom.” If at all a few instance of destruction are acknowledged, we are told that temples were plundered only because they were centers of wealth, or sometimes for political motives.”

A clumsy excuse to avoid facing Islamic fanaticism, the driving force behind the above depredations, apparently for fear of offending today’s Muslim Indians, who gleefully appreciate all the cataclysmic program perpetrated on Hindus.

Take for example, Germany. Germany has fully accepted the dark phase of Nazi atrocities and made preparations for it. But are we in a position as a nation to focus the attention of Muslims to this dark phase of atrocious despotic Muslim rule. The answer is an emphatic “No, not yet”. But surely we will do it. The time has come as history has started unfolding. The revelation has began.

The time has come for Muslims to acknowledge the tragic part with all its horrors. Other wise the wounds continue to fester. No self respecting nation would want its victims to be denied remembrance.

For example, a foreign historian by name Percival Spear and Indian Historian Romila Thapar jointly published a book called “Penguin History of India”. they have distorted and written the book about Aurangzeb’s intolerance to other religions. Aurangzeb’s supposed intolerance is little more than a hostile legend based on an isolated acts such as the erection of a mosque on a temple site in Banares.

What really happened was that Aurangzeb (1658-1707) did not just build an isolated mosque on ‘a’ destroyed temple. He ordered all temples destroyed, among them the Kasi Viswanath , one of the most sacred places of Hinduism and had mosques built on a number of cleared temple sites. All other Hindu sacred places within his reach equally suffered destruction, with mosques built on them : Among them Krishna’s birth temple in Mathura, and Somnath temple on the coast of Gujarat. The number of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb is counted in four figures, if not in five figures. According to the official count chronicle, Aurangzeb “ordered all provincial Governors to destroy all schools and temples of the pagans(Hindus) and to make a complete end to all pagan teachings and practices. The chronicle sums up the destructions like this : “Hasan Ali Khan came and said that 172 temples in the area had been destroyed… His majesty went to chitoor , and 63 temples were destroyed ….Abu Tarab, appointed to destroy the idol temples of Ambur, reported that 66 temples had been razed to the ground.” Aurangzeb did not stop at razing the temples, their users too were leveled; there were massacres of thousands of resisters of Brahmins and Sikhs.

The Encyclopedia Britannica obeys the negationist view and does not mention any persecutions and massacres of Hindus and Sikhs by Muslims during the medieval period. The negationist historians manipulate terminology very effectively and convincinglyto misguide gullible minds with terms like communal amity in places of communal enimity between Muslims and Hindus, The establishment of apparently amicable relationship between Sultan Tazuddin Fairuz and Hindu Vijayanagar King. Jawaharlal Nehru considered the induction of Hindu women in Muslim harems as the cradle of “composite culture” his euphemism for Hindu humiliation. These negationist historians keep the inconvenient fact of Vijayanagar forces inflicted crushing defeat on Fairuz” out of the readers view and manipulating terminology, consider terms of defeat as sign of friendship. All the western authors are conscious accomplices in this intellectual crime of negationism.

Let me explain the negationism in the terminology of History. Negationism in Europe usually means the denial of the Nazi genocide on the Jews and Gypsies in World war II. Less well known is that Bharat has its own brand of negationism. A section of intelligensia, is trying to erase from the Hindu’s memory the History of persecution by the swords men of Islam. The Islamic military campaign to wipeout Hindu paganism has continued for centuries without any moral doubts arising in the minds of the persecutors and their chroniclers. The Islamic report on the massacres of Hindus, the abduction of Hindu women and children to slave markets, the destruction of temples and forced conversions invariably express great glee and pride. These Muslim records proudly proclaim that the destruction of Hindu paganism by every means considered the God ordained duty of the Muslim community. Yet, many of our historians, journalist and politicians deny there ever was a Hindu – Muslim conflict. They shamelessly rewrite History and conjure up “centuries of Hindu-Muslim amity,” and growing section of public in Bharat and in the rest only knows their negationist version of History. This paper is a vociferous attempt to rudely shake people out of their delusions.

Since 1950 onwards the History market is flooded with publications conveying negationist version. The public is fed with negationis TV serials like “Tamas”, “The Sword of Tippu Sultan” – the last fanatic muslim ruler. Other glaring examples : prof.Gyanendra Pandey’s denial of a millennium full of testimonies to Islamic persecution of Hindu Kafirs in his book “ The construction of Communalism in colonial north India”. In his book Communal History and Rama’s Ayodhya did not see the Muslims as a distinct religious entity, but as an ethnic group. Romila Thapar propounds a perverse theory in her article in S.Gopal’s book on the Ayodhya affair, ‘Anotomy of confrontation’ that the current Hindu movement wants to unite all Hindus, not because the Hindus feel besieged by hostile forces, not because they have a memory of centuries of Jihad”, but because a monolithic religion is more compatible with capitalism’. She thinks that the political Hindu movement is merely a concoction by Hindu capitalists.

Most of the general readers and many serious students get to know about Indian history through negationist view point only. In India, the negationists have managed what European negationists can only dream of. They have turned the tables on honest historians and marginalized them. The leftist cum negationist Historians who have specialized in adapting history to the party line, are now lecturing others about the political abuse of History”. By contrast, genuine historians who have refused to tamper with the record of Islam (like jadunath sarkar, R.C.Majumdar, K.S.Lal) are held up as examples of “communalist history –writing” in the text books which are required reading in all history departments in Bharat.

References

1. Economic Times; WWW.economictimes.com
2. carribeanhindu.com
3. Indolink.com
4. Times of India, July18th 1993.
5. Economictimes. 13th January 2003.
6. Guardian News Service
7. indiatimes.com
8. The Newyork Times Magazine 28.10.2001
9. V.s.Naipal, “Among the Believers,”1981
10. Hindu Sun. july 3rd 2005 Religion-owner@googlegroups.com.
11. Koenraad Elst, “negationism in India” Concealing the Record of Islam. Voice of India, New Delhi 1992.
12. Mechel Daniel, “The Indian Mind then and Now” Pondicherry 1990
13. Sitaram Goel, “Hindu Temples : What happened to them” – The Islamic evidence – Voice of India, New Delhi,1992.

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2 thoughts on “Distortions and Nagationism in Indian History

  1. abhijeet says:

    According to some Indian historians, increasing pressure was felt on Nalanda from Brahmanical society over the course of the 10th century. According to historian Prakash Buddh, a Yajna a fire sacrifice performed by Hindus resulted in a great conflagration which consumed Ratnabodhi, the nine-storeyed library of Nalanda. In his Social history of India, the historian Sadasivan states, “the enormous manuscript library of the University was set of fire by Trithikas (all sects of Brahmins) with the support of Jainas due to the mounting jealousy they nurtured against the great center of learning.”

    In 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by the Islamic fanatic Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk; this event is seen by scholars as a late milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism and plant Islam by the sword;] the burning of the library continued for several months and “smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills.”

    The last throne-holder of Nalanda, Shakyashribhadra, fled to Tibet in 1204 CE at the invitation of the Tibetan translator Tropu Lotsawa (Khro-phu Lo-tsa-ba Byams-pa dpal). In Tibet he started an ordination lineage of the Mulasarvastivadin lineage to complement the two existing ones.

    When the Tibetan translator Chag Lotsawa (Chag Lo-tsa-ba, 1197–1264) visited the site in 1235, he found it damaged and looted, with a 90-year-old teacher, Rahula Shribhadra, instructing a class of about 70 students.[26][27] During Chag Lotsawa’s time there an incursion by Turkish soldiers caused the remaining students to flee. Despite all this, “remnants of the debilitated Buddhist community continued to struggle on under scare resources until c. 1400 CE when Chagalaraja was reportedly the last king to have patronized Nalanda.

    Ahir considers the destruction of the temples, monasteries, centers of learning at Nalanda and northern India to be responsible for the demise of ancient Indian scientific thought in mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and anatomy.

  2. abhijeet says:

    The world famous historian, Will Durant has written in his Story of Civilisation that “the Mohammedan conquest of India was probably the bloodiest story in history”.

    India before the advent of Islamic imperialism was not exactly a zone of peace. There were plenty of wars fought by Hindu princes. But in all their wars, the Hindus had observed some time-honoured conventions sanctioned by the Sastras. The Brahmins and the Bhikshus were never molested. The cows were never killed. The temples were never touched. The chastity of women was never violated. The non-combatants were never killed or captured. A human habitation was never attacked unless it was a fort. The civil population was never plundered. War booty was an unknown item in the calculations of conquerors. The martial classes who clashed, mostly in open spaces, had a code of honor. Sacrifice of honor for victory or material gain was deemed as worse than death.

    Islamic imperialism came with a different code–the Sunnah of the Prophet. It required its warriors to fall upon the helpless civil population after a decisive victory had been won on the battlefield. It required them to sack and burn down villages and towns after the defenders had died fighting or had fled. The cows, the Brahmins, and the Bhikshus invited their special attention in mass murders of non-combatants. The temples and monasteries were their special targets in an orgy of pillage and arson. Those whom they did not kill, they captured and sold as slaves. The magnitude of the booty looted even from the bodies of the dead, was a measure of the success of a military mission. And they did all this as mujahids (holy warriors) and ghazls (kafir-killers) in the service of Allah and his Last Prophet.

    Hindus found it very hard to understand the psychology of this new invader. For the first time in their history, Hindus were witnessing a scene which was described by Kanhadade Prabandha (1456 AD) in the following words:

    “The conquering army burnt villages, devastated the land, plundered people’s wealth, took Brahmins and children and women of all classes captive, flogged with thongs of raw hide, carried a moving prison with it, and converted the prisoners into obsequious Turks.”

    That was written in remembrance of Alauddin Khalji’s invasion of Gujarat in the year l298 AD. But the gruesome game had started three centuries earlier when Mahmud Ghaznavi had vowed to invade India every year in order to destroy idolatry, kill the kafirs, capture prisoners of war, and plunder vast wealth for which India was well-known.

    MAHMUD AND MASOOD GHAZNAVI

    In 1000 AD Mahmud defeated Raja Jaipal, a scion of the Hindu Shahiya dynasty of Kabul. This dynasty had been for long the doorkeeper of India in the Northwest. Mahmud collected 250,000 dinars as indemnity. That perhaps was normal business of an empire builder. But in 1004 AD he stormed Bhatiya and plundered the place. He stayed there for some time to convert the Hindus to Islam with the help of mullahs he had brought with him.

    In 1008 AD he captured Nagarkot (Kangra). The loot amounted to 70,000,000 dirhams in coins and 700,400 mans of gold and silver, besides plenty of precious stones and embroidered cloths. In 1011 AD he plundered Thanesar which was undefended, destroyed many temples, and broke a large number of idols. The chief idol, that of Chakraswamin, was taken to Ghazni and thrown into the public square for defilement under the feet of the faithful. According to Tarikh-i-Yamini of Utbi, Mahmud’s secretary,

    “The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously [at Thanesar] that the stream was discolored, notwithstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it. The Sultan returned with plunder which is impossible to count. Praise he to Allah for the honor he bestows on Islam and Muslims.”

    In 1013 AD Mahmud advanced against Nandana where the Shahiya king, Anandapal, had established his new capital. The Hindus fought very hard but lost. Again, the temples were destroyed, and innocent citizens slaughtered. Utbi provides an account of the plunder and the prisoners of war:

    “The Sultan returned in the rear of immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap and men of respectability in their native land were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honor on his own religion and degrades infidelity.”

    The road was now clear for an assault on the heartland of Hindustan. In December 1018 AD Mahmud crossed the Yamuna, collected 1,000,000 dirhams from Baran (Bulandshahar), and marched to Mahaban in Mathura district. Utbi records:

    “The infidels…deserted the fort and tried to cross the foaming river…but many of them were slain, taken or drowned… Nearly fifty thousand men were killed.”

    Mathura was the next victim. Mahmud seized five gold idols weighing 89,300 missals and 200 silver idols. According to Utbi, “The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.” The pillage of the city continued for 20 days. Mahmud now turned towards Kanauj which had been the seat of several Hindu dynasties. Utbi continues: “In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples… Many of the inhabitants of the place fled in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultan gave his soldiers leave to plunder and take prisoners.”

    The Brahmins of Munj, which was attacked next, fought to the last man after throwing their wives and children into fire. The fate of Asi was sealed when its ruler took fright and fled. According to Utbi, “…. the Sultan ordered that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and the soldiers of the garrison plundered, slain and captured”.

    Shrawa, the next important place to be invaded, met the same fate. Utbi concludes:

    “The Muslims paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshipers of sun and fire. The friends of Allah searched the bodies of the slain for three days in order to obtain booty…The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls nearly to three hundred thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact that each was sold for two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazni and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawaraun-Nahr, Iraq and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery.”

    Mahmud’s sack of Somnath is too well-known to be retold here. What needs emphasizing is that the fragments of the famous Sivalinga were carried to Ghazni. Some of them were turned into steps of the Jama Masjid in that city. The rest were sent to Mecca, Medina, and Baghdad to be desecrated in the same manner.

    Mahmud’s son Masud tried to follow in the footsteps of his father. In 1037 AD he succeeded in sacking the fort of Hansi which was defended very bravely by the Hindus. The Tarikh-us-Subuktigin records: “The Brahmins and other high ranking men were slain, and their women and children were carried away captive, and all the treasure which was found was distributed among the army.”

    Masud could not repeat the performance due to his preoccupations elsewhere.

    MUHAMMAD GHORI AND HIS LEUTENANTS

    Invasion of India by Islamic imperialism was renewed by Muhmmad Ghori in the last quarter of the 12th century. After Prithiviraj Chauhan had been defeated in 1192 AD, Ghori took Ajmer by assault.

    According the Taj-ul-Ma’sir of Hasan Nizami, “While the Sultan remained at Ajmer, he destroyed the pillars and foundations of the idol temples and built in their stead mosques and colleges and precepts of Islam, and the customs of the law were divulged and established.”

    Next year he defeated Jayachandra of Kanauj. A general massacre, rapine, and pillage followed. The Gahadvad treasuries at Asni and Varanasi were plundered. Hasan Nizami rejoices that “in Benares which is the centre of the country of Hind, they destroyed one thousand temples and raised mosques on their foundations”.

    According to Kamil-ut-Tawarikh of Ibn Asir, “The slaughter of Hindus (at Varanasi) was immense; none were spared except women and children, and the carnage of men went on until the earth was weary.”

    The women and children were spared so that they could be enslaved and sold all over the Islamic world. It may be added that the Buddhist complex at Sarnath was sacked at this time, and the Bhikshus were slaughtered.

    Ghori’s lieutenant Qutbuddin Aibak was also busy meanwhile. Hasan Nizami writes that after the suppression of a Hindu revolt at Kol (modern day Aligarh) in 1193 AD, Aibak raised “three bastions as high as heaven with their heads, and their carcases became food for beasts of prey. The tract was freed from idols and idol worship and the foundations of infidelism were destroyed.”

    In 1194 AD Aibak destroyed 27 Hindu temples at Delhi and built the Quwwat-ul-lslam mosque with their debris. According to Nizami, Aibak “adorned it with the stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants”.

    In 1195 AD the Mher tribe of Ajmer rose in revolt, and the Chaulukyas of Gujarat came to their assistance. Aibak had to invite reinforcements from Ghazni before he could meet the challenge. In 1196 AD he advanced against Anahilwar Patan, the capital of Gujarat. Nizami writes that after Raja Karan was defeated and forced to flee, “fifty thousand infidels were dispatched to hell by the sword” and “more than twenty thousand slaves, and cattle beyond all calculation fell into the hands of the victors”.

    The city was sacked, its temples demolished, and its palaces plundered. On his return to Ajmer, Aibak destroyed the Sanskrit College of Visaladeva, and laid the foundations of a mosque which came to be known as ‘Adhai Din ka Jhompada’.

    Conquest of Kalinjar in 1202 AD was Aibak’s crowning achievement. Nizami concludes: “The temples were converted into mosques… Fifty thousand men came under the collar of slavery and the plain became black as pitch with Hindus.”

    A free-lance adventurer, Muhammad Bakhtyar Khalji, was moving further east. In 1200 AD he sacked the undefended university town of Odantpuri in Bihar and massacred the Buddhist monks in the monasteries. In 1202 AD he took Nadiya by surprise. Badauni records in his Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh that “property and booty beyond computation fell into the hands of the Muslims and Muhammad Bakhtyar having destroyed the places of worship and idol temples of the infidels founded mosques and Khanqahs”.

    THE SLAVE (MAMLUK) SULTANS

    Shamsuddin Iltutmish who succeeded Aibak at Delhi invaded Malwa in 1234 AD. He destroyed an ancient temple at Vidisha. Badauni reports in his ‘Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh’:

    “Having destroyed the idol temple of Ujjain which had been built six hundred years previously, and was called Mahakal, he levelled it to its foundations, and threw down the image of Rai Vikramajit from whom the Hindus reckon their era, and brought certain images of cast molten brass and placed them on the ground in front of the doors of mosques of old Delhi, and ordered the people of trample them under foot.”

    Muslim power in India suffered a serious setback after Iltutmish. Balkan had to battle against a revival of Hindu power. The Katehar Rajputs of what came to be known as Rohilkhand in later history, had so far refused to submit to Islamic imperialism. Balkan led an expedition across the Ganges in 1254 AD. According to Badauni,

    “In two days after leaving Delhi, he arrived in the midst of the territory of Katihar and put to death every male, even those of eight years of age, and bound the women.”

    But in spite of such wanton cruelty, Muslim power continued to decline till the Khaljis revived it after 1290 AD.

    THE KHALJIS

    Jalaluddin Khalji led an expedition to Ranthambhor in 1291 AD. On the way he destroyed Hindu temples at Chain. The broken idols were sent to Delhi to be spread before the gates of the Jama Masjid. His nephew Alauddin led an expedition to Vidisha in 1292 AD. According to Badauni in Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, Alauddin “brought much booty to the Sultan and the idol which was the object of worship of the Hindus, he caused to be cast in front of the Badaun gate to be trampled upon by the people. The services of Alauddin were highly appreciated, the jagir of Oudh (or Avadh – Central U.P.) also was added to his other estates.”

    Alauddin became Sultan in 1296 AD after murdering his uncle and father-in-law, Jalaluddin. In 1298 AD he equipped an expedition to Gujarat under his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan. The invaders plundered the ports of Surat and Cambay. The temple of Somnath, which had been rebuilt by the Hindus, was plundered and the idol taken to Delhi for being trodden upon by the Muslims. The whole region was subjected to fire and sword, and Hindus were slaughtered en masse. Kampala Devi, the queen of Gujarat, was captured along with the royal treasury, brought to Delhi and forced into Alauddin’s harem. The doings of the Malik Naib during his expedition to South India in 1310-1311 AD have already mentioned in earlier parts.

    THE TUGHLAQS

    Muslim power again suffered a setback after the death of Alauddin Khalji in 1316 AD. But it was soon revived by the Tughlaqs. By now most of the famous temples over the length and breadth of the Islamic occupation in India had been demolished, except in Orissa and Rajasthan which had retained their independence. By now most of the rich treasuries had been plundered and shared between the Islamic state and its swordsmen. Firuz Shah Tughlaq led an expedition to Orissa in 1360 AD. He destroyed the temple of Jagannath at Puri, and desecrated many other Hindu shrines. According to ‘Sirat-i-Firoz Shahi’ which he himself wrote or dictated,

    “Allah who is the only true God and has no other emanation, endowed the king of Islam with the strength to destroy this ancient shrine on the eastern sea-coast and to plunge it into the sea, and after its destruction he ordered the image of Jagannath to be perforated, and disgraced it by casting it down on the ground. They dug out other idols which were worshipped by the polytheists in the kingdom of Jajnagar and overthrew them as they did the image of Jagannath, for being laid in front of the mosques along the path of the Sunnis and the way of the ‘musallis’ (Muslim congregation for namaz) and stretched them in front of the portals of every mosque, so that the body and sides of the images might be trampled at the time of ascent and descent, entrance and exit, by the shoes on the feet of the Muslims.”

    After the sack of the temples in Orissa, Firoz Shah Tughlaq attacked an island on the sea-coast where “nearly 100,000 men of Jajnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations”. The swordsmen of Islam turned “the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers”.

    A worse fate overtook the Hindu women. Sirat-i-Firuz Shahs records: “Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier.”

    Still more horrible scenes were enacted by Firuz Shah Tughlaq at Nagarkot (Kangra) where he sacked the shrine of Jvalamukhi. Firishta records that the Sultan “broke the idols of Jvalamukhi, mixed their fragments with the flesh of cows and hung them in nose bags round the necks of Brahmins. He sent the principal idol as trophy to Medina.”

    THE PROVINCIAL MUSLIM SATRAPS

    In 1931 AD the Muslims of Gujarat complained to Nasiruddin Muhammad, the Tughlaq Sultan of Delhi, that the local governor, Kurhat-ul-Mulk, was practising tolerance towards the Hindus. The Sultan immediately appointed Muzzaffar Khan as the new Governor. He became independent after the death of the Delhi Sultan and assumed the title of Muzzaffar Shah in 1392 AD. Next year he led an expidition to Somnath and sacked the temple which the Hindus had built once again. He killed many Hindus to chastise them for this “impudence,” and raised a mosque on the site of the ancient temple. The Hindus, however, restarted restoring the temple soon after. In 1401 AD Muzaffar came back with a huge army. He again killed many Hindus, demolished the temple once more, and erected another mosque.

    Muzaffar was succeeded by his grandson, Ahmad Shah, in 1411 AD. Three years later Ahmad appointed a special darogah to destroy all temples throughout Gujarat. In 1415 AD Ahmad invaded Sidhpur where he destroyed the images in Rudramahalaya, and converted the grand temple into a mosque. Sidhpur was renamed Sayyadpur.

    Mahmud Begrha who became the Sultan of Gujarat in 1458 AD was the worst fanatic of this dynasty. One of his vassals was the Mandalika of Junagadh who had never withheld the regular tribute. Yet in 1469 AD Mahmud invaded Junagadh. In reply to the Mandalika’s protests, Mahmud said that he was not interested in money as much as in the spread of Islam. The Mandalika was forcibly converted to Islam and Junagadh was renamed Mustafabad. In 1472 AD Mahmud attacked Dwarka, destroyed the local temples, and plundered the city. Raja Jaya Singh, the ruler of Champaner, and his minister were murdered by Mahmud in cold blood for refusing to embrace Islam after they had been defeated and their country pillaged and plundered. Champaner was renamed Mahmudabad.

    Mahmud Khalji of Malwa (1436-69 AD) also destroyed Hindu temples and built mosques on their sites. He heaped many more insults on the Hindus. Ilyas Shah of Bengal (1339-1379 AD) invaded Nepal and destroyed the temple of Svayambhunath at Kathmandu. He also invaded Orissa, demolished many temples, and plundered many places. The Bahmani sultans of Gulbarga and Bidar considered it meritorious to kill a hundred thousand Hindu men, women, and children every year. They demolished and desecrated temples all over South India.

    AMlR TIMUR

    The climax came during the invasion of Timur in 1399 AD. He starts by quoting the Quran in his Tuzk-i-Timuri: “O Prophet, make war upon the infidels and unbelievers, and treat them severely.”

    He continues: “My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus…[so that] the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the Hindus.” To start with he stormed the fort of Kator on the border of Kashmir. He ordered his soldiers “to kill all the men, to make prisoners of women and children, and to plunder and lay waste all their property”. Next, he “directed towers to be built on the mountain of the skulls of those obstinate unbelievers”. Soon after, he laid siege to Bhatnir defended by Rajputs. They surrendered after some fight, and were pardoned. But Islam did not bind Timur to keep his word given to the “unbelievers”. His Tuzk-i-Timuri records:

    “In a short space of time all the people in the fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of 10,000 infidels were cut off. The sword of Islam was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground.”

    At Sarsuti, the next city to be sacked, “all these infidel Hindus were slain, their wives and children were made prisoners and their property and goods became the spoil of the victors”. Timur was now moving through (modern day) Haryana, the land of the Jats. He directed his soldiers to “plunder and destroy and kill every one whom they met”. And so the soldiers “plundered every village, killed the men, and carried a number of Hindu prisoners, both male and female”.

    Loni which was captured before he arrived at Delhi was predominantly a Hindu town. But some Muslim inhabitants were also taken prisoners. Timur ordered that “the Musulman prisoners should be separated and saved, but the infidels should all be dispatched to hell with the proselytizing sword”.

    By now Timur had captured 100,000 Hindus. As he prepared for battle against the Tughlaq army after crossing the Yamuna, his Amirs advised him “that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolators and enemies of Islam at liberty”. Therefore, “no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword”.

    Tuzk-i-Timuri continues:

    “I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghazis of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolators, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiruddin Umar, a counselor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.”

    The Tughlaq army was defeated in the battle that ensued next day. Timur entered Delhi and learnt that a “great number of Hindus with their wives and children, and goods and valuables, had come into the city from all the country round”.

    He directed his soldiers to seize these Hindus and their property. Tuzk-i-Timuri concludes:

    “Many of them (Hindus) drew their swords and resisted…The flames of strife were thus lighted and spread through the whole city from Jahanpanah and Siri to Old Delhi, burning up all it reached. The Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them and rushed into the fight and were killed…On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering and destroying. When morning broke on Friday, all my army …went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering and making prisoners….The following day, Saturday the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great.that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems and jewels; ashrafis, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated Alai coinage: vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the Saiyids, the Ulama and the other Musulmans, the whole city was sacked.”

    Contributed by Rajiv Varma

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