Holocaust of Hindus
During the Muslim Occupation of India
by Sudheer Birodkar
“The massacres perpetuated by Muslims in India are unparalleled in history, bigger than the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis; or the massacre of the Armenians by the Turks; more extensive even than the slaughter of the South American native populations by the invading Spanish and Portuguese.” – Francois Gautier
This page is dedicated to the memory of those men, women and children who were killed or were captured or converted by force to Islam over a period of fourteen centuries in India and in other parts of the globe. These men, women and children cannot be recalled for standing witness to what was done to them by the swordsmen of Islam.
Hence we are going to rely on Muslim historians, in India and abroad, who have written hundreds of glowing accounts of the devastation caused by the progress of Islamic armies across the world (and in India). As our focus is India, we are going to look only at what happened in India during the Islamic invasion and the following struggle for independence from Islamic rule that was waged by the Hindus. A pronounced feature of these Muslim histories is a description – in smaller or greater detail but always with considerable pride – of how the Hindus were slaughtered en masse or converted by force, how hundreds of thousands of Hindu men and women and children were captured as booty and sold into slavery, how Hindu temples and monasteries were razed to the ground or burnt down, and how images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were destroyed or desecrated.
Commandments of Allah (Quran) and precedents set by the Prophet (Sunnah) are frequently cited by the authors in support of what the swordsmen and demolition squads of Islam did with extraordinary zeal, not only in the midst of war but also, and more thoroughly, after Islamic rule had been firmly established.
Almost all medieval Muslim historians credit their heroes with desecration of Hindu idols and/or destruction of Hindu temples. The picture that emerges has the following components, depending upon whether the iconoclast was in a hurry on account of Hindu resistance or did his work at leisure after a decisive victory:
1. The idols were mutilated or smashed or burnt or melted down if they were made of precious metals;
2. Sculptures in relief on walls and pillars were disfigured or scraped away or torn down;
3. Idols of stone and inferior metals or their pieces were taken away, sometimes by cartloads, to be thrown down before the main mosque in
(a) the metropolis of the ruling Muslim sultan, and
(b) The holy cities of Islam, particularly Mecca, Medina and Baghdad;
4. There were instances of idols being turned into lavatory seats or handed over to butchers to be used as weights while selling meat;
5. Brahmin priests and other holy men in and around the temple were molested or murdered;
6. Sacred vessels and scriptures used in worship were defiled and scattered or burnt:
7. Temples were damaged or despoiled or demolished or burnt down or converted into mosques with some structural alterations or entire mosques were raised on the same sites mostly with temple materials;
8. Cows were slaughtered on the temple sites so that Hindus could not use them again.
This essay is to enable us to remember the sacrifice of those who attained Veergati (Martyrdom) when faced against these forces of darkness that represented religious bigotry that traumatized and tormented India and other parts of our globe for Fourteen Hundred years. India has survived as a wounded civilization to tell the story of this chilling horror. A horror that seems too cruel to be true. The unfortunate part is that it was true and this would become true once more in the future, if the forces of malevolence again get the upper hand in India or in any part of the world.
This essay has been compiled from the writings of a cross section of Historians comprising Sir Jadunath Sarkar , Rizwan Salim, Sita Ram Goel, Ram Swarup, Arun Shourie, R.C. Mazumdar and a few others.
Epigraphic Evidence of the Construction of Masjids by destroying Hindu temples
There are many mosques all over India which are known to local tradition and the Archaeological Survey of India as built on the site of and, quite frequently, from the materials of, demolished Hindu temples. Most of them carry inscriptions invoking Allah and the Prophet, quoting the Quran and giving details of when, how and by whom they were constructed. The inscriptions have been deciphered and connected to their historical context by learned Muslim calligraphers. They have been published by the Archaeological Survey of India in its Epigraphica Indica Arabic and Persian Supplement.
The following few inscriptions have been selected in order to show that:
(1) destruction of Hindu temples continued throughout the period of Muslim domination;
(2) it covered all parts of India – east, west, north, and south; and
(3) all Muslim dynasties, imperial and provincial, participated in the “pious performance”.
1. Qu’wat al-Islam Masjid, Qutub Minar, Delhi:
“This fort was conquered and the Jami Masjid built in the year 587 A.H (Hejira Era) by the Amir Qutub-ud-din Aibak the slave of the Sultan, Shahabuddin Ghori. According to the Epigraphica Indica Arabic and Persian Supplement (1909-10, pp.3-4): “The materials of 27 idol temples, on each of which 2,000,000 Delhiwals had been spent were used in the (construction of) the mosque…” The year 587 H. corresponds to 1192 A.D. “Delhiwal was a high-denomination coin current at that time in Delhi.
2. Masjid at Manvi in the Raichur District of Karnataka by Firuz Shah Bahmani:
“Praise be to Allah that by the decree of the Parvardigar, a mosque has been converted out of a temple as a Sign of religion in the reign of…the Sultan who is the asylum of Faith Firuz Shah Bahmani who is the cause of exuberant spring in the garden of religion” (1962, pp.56-57). The inscription mentions the year 1406-07 A.D. as the time of construction.
3. Jami Masjid at Malan, Palanpur Taluka, Banaskantha District of Gujarat by Khan-i-Azam Ulugh Khan:
“The Jami Masjid was built by Khan-i-Azam Ulugh Khan…who suppressed the wretched infidels. He eradicated the idolatrous houses and mine of infidelity, along with the idols…with the edge of the sword, and made ready this edifice… he made its walls and doors out of the idols; the back of every stone became the place for prostration of the believer” (1963, pp.26-29). The date of construction is mentioned as 1462 A.D. in the reign of Mahmud Shah I (Begada) of Gujarat.
4. Hammam Darwaza Masjid at Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh in the reign of Akbar, the Great Mughal:
“Thanks that by the guidance of the everlasting and living (Allah), this house of infidelity became the niche of prayer. As a reward for that, the Generous Lord constructed an abode for the builder in paradise” (1969, P 375). Its chronogram yields the year 1567 A.D. in the reign Akbar, the Great Mughal.
A local historian, Fasih-ud-Din, tells us that the temple had been built earlier by Diwan Chaman Das, an official of the Mughal Government.
5. Jami Masjid at Ghoda in the Poona District of Maharashtra by Mir Muhammad Zaman:
“O Allah! O Muhammad! O Ali! When Mir Muhammad Zaman made up his mind, he opened the door of prosperity on himself by his own hand. He demolished thirty three idol temples (and) by divine grace laid the foundation of a building in this abode of perdition” (1933-34, p.24). The inscription is dated 1586 A.D. when the Poona region was ruled by the Nizam Shahi sultans of Ahmadnagar.
6. Gachinala Masjid at Cumbum in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh by Muhammad Shah:
“He is Allah, may he be glorified…During the august rule of…Muhammad Shah, there was a well-established idol-house in Kuhmum…Muhammad Salih who prospers in the rectitude of the affairs of the Faith…razed to the ground, the edifice of the idol-house and broke the idols in a manly fashion. He constructed on its site a suitable mosque, towering above the buildings of all” (1959-60, pp.64-66). The date of construction is mentioned as 1729-30 A.D. in the reign of the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah.
Though sites of demolished Hindu temples were mostly used for building mosques and Idgahs; temple materials were often used in other Muslim monuments as well. Archaeologists have discovered such materials, architectural as well as sculptural, in quite a few forts, palaces, maqbaras, Sufi khanqahs, madrasas, etc.
In Srinagar, Kashmir, temple materials can be seen in long stretches of the stone embankments on both sides of the Jhelum.
The inscriptions on the walls of the Gopi Talav, a stepped well at Surat, tell us that the well was constructed by Haidar Quli, the Mughal governor of Gujarat, in 1718 A.D. in the reign of Farrukh Siyar. One of them says that its bricks were taken from an idol temple”. The other informs us that Hiaider Quli Khan, during whose period tyranny has become extinct, laid waste several idol temples in order to make this strong building firm…” (1933-34. pp.37-44).
THE TEMPLE OF KHANDOBA AT JEJURI
This was one of the many temples that had been destroyed and converted into a Mosque by the Muslim aggressors.
Shivaji Maharaj reconverted it into a temple. Even today, the temple structure displays a mix of Hindu and Muslim architecture. But in spite of the trying circumstances of religious bigotry of the Muslim aggressors in which he operated, Shivaji Maharaj never disrespected the Muslim faith. Whenever a copy of the holy Koran fell into the hands of Maratha troops, Shivaji Maharaj had given strict instructions to treat it with utmost respect and hand it over to the local Maulavis (Muslim priests).
For related graphic visit the site:
Literary evidence of Islamic iconoclasm vis-a-vis Hindu places of worship is far more extensive. It covers a 1onger span of time, from the fifth decade of the 7th century to the closing years of the eighteenth. It also embraces a larger space, from Transoxiana in the north to Tamil Nadu in the south, and from Afghanistan the west to Assam in the east.
Deception practiced by some Historians
Pseudo-secularist “historians” and Muslim apologists would have us believe that medieval Muslim annalists were indulging in poetic exaggerations in order to please their pious patrons. But archaeological explorations in modern times have, however, provided physical proofs of literary descriptions.
The vast cradle of Hindu culture is literally littered with ruins of temples and monasteries belonging to all sects of Sanatana Dharma- Buddhist, Jain, Saiva, Sakta, Vaishnava and the rest.
The literary sources, like the epigraphic, provide evidence of the elation which Muslims felt while witnessing or narrating these “pious deeds”. A few citations from Amir Khusro will illustrate the point. The instances cited relate to the doings of Jalalud-Din Firuz Khilji, Alaud-Din Khilji and the latter’s military commanders. Khusro served as a court-poet of six successive sultans at Delhi and wrote a masnavi in praise of each after he had murdered his predecessor. Khusro was the dearest disciple of Shaikh Nizamud-Din Awliya and has come to be honoured as a great sufi himself.
In our own times, Khusro is being hailed as the father of a composite Hindu-Muslim culture and the pioneer of secularism. Dr. R.C. Majumdar, whom the Pseudo-secularists malign as a “communalist historian” names him as a “liberal Muslim’.
Here is what Amir Khusro has written:
1. Jhain: “Next morning he (Jalal-ud-din went again to the temples and ordered their destruction … While the soldiers sought every opportunity of plundering, the Shah was engaged in burning the temples and destroying the idols. There were two bronze idols of Brahma, each of which weighed more than a thousand mans (a measure of weight). These were broken into pieces and the fragments were distributed among the officers with orders to throw them down at the gates of the Masjid on their return (to Delhi)” (Miftab-ul-Futub)
2. Devagiri: “He (Ala-ud-Din) destroyed the temples of the idolaters and erected pulpits and arches for mosques” (ibid).
3. Somanath: “They made the temple prostrate itself towards the Kaaba. You may say that the temple first offered its prayers and then had a bath (i.e. the temple was made to topple and fall into the sea)…He (Ulugh Khan) destroyed all the idols and temples, but sent one idol, the biggest of all idols, to the court of his Godlike Majesty and on that account in that ancient stronghold of idolatry, the summons to prayers (Azzan)was proclaimed so loudly that they heard it in Misr (Egypt) and Madain (Iraq)” (Tarikh-i-Alai).
4. Delhi: “He (Ala-ud-Din) ordered the circumference of the new minar to be made double of the old one (Qutub Minar)… The stones were dug out from the hills and the temples of the infidels were demolished to furnish a supply” (Ibid).
5. Ranthambhor: “This strong fort was taken by the slaughter of the stinking Rai. Jhain was also captured, an iron fort, an ancient abode of idolatry, and a new city of the people of the (muslim) faith arose. The temple of Bahir (Bhairava) Deo and temples of other gods, were all razed to the ground” (lbid).
6. Brahmastpuri (Chidambaram): “Here he (Malik Kafur) heard that in Brahmastpuri there was a golden idol … he then determined on razing the temple to the ground ..lt was the holy place of the Hindus which Malik dug up from its foundations with the greatest care. And the heads of Brahmans and idolaters danced from their necks and fell to the ground at their feet, and blood flowed in torrents.
The stone idols called Ling Mahadeo which had been established a long time at the place and on which the women of the infidels (Hindus) rubbed their vaginas for (sexual) satisfaction. (Mark the extent of the derogatory tone of the Islamic Saint Amir Khusro – Author). These, up to this time, the kick of the horse of Islam had not attempted to break. The Musalmans destroyed all the lingas, and Deo Narain fell down.
The Kutub Minar built by Kutub-ud-din Aibak. The Kutub Minar is one of the earliest Islamic monuments in India. This Minar was built from the columns of destroyed Hindu and Jain temples. It stands at the site of Pithoragarh which was the capital of Prithiviraj Chauhan, the last Hindu ruler of Delhi.The damaged motifs in this picture show clear Hindu origins – a testimony to the vandalism of the Muslim aggressors. There are many such temples which had been converted into mosques like the Bhoja Shala Mosque, the Gyan Vyapi Mosque, the Krishna Janmabhoomi Idgah, apart from the now liberated Ramjanmabhoomi at Ayodhya. The total runs to 3000 (Three Thousand). In the opinion of the author, all such controversial structures should be taken possession of by a national educational trust and be converted into schools for humanist and rationalist education. This could be the first step in the long journey for converting all places of religious worship all over the globe into schools for humanist and rationalist education where humans can finally be taught the futility of worshipping human ignorance termed as God and the stupidity of fighting each other due to the different names we have given to human ignorance.
For related graphic, visit the site:
What Hiuen Tsang had seen in pre-Islamic India
Some historians say that the Hindu temples in North India had been destroyed not by the Muslim invaders but by the White Huns who had invaded India in the 5th century, i.e. 500 years before the first Muslims set their foot in north India in the 10th century.
Hiuen Tsang, a Buddhist pilgrim, who came from China, after the invasion of the White Huns, found many monasteries in pre-Islamic India. He said they were in a splendid state. In his days the White Huns had invaded north India and had even established their rule over Kashmir where Hiuen Tsang saw 500 monasteries housing 5,000 monks It is, therefore, difficult to hold them responsible for the disappearance of Buddhist centres in areas where Hiuen Tsang had found them flourishing.
An explanation has to be found elsewhere. In any case, the upheaval the White Huns caused was over by the middle of the sixth century. Moreover, the temples and monasteries which Hiuen Tsang saw were only a few out of many. He had not gone into the interior of any province, having confined himself to the more famous Buddhist centres.
What Really Happened to Hindu Temples
So what was it that really happened to thousands upon thousands of temples and monasteries? Why did they disappear and/or give place to another type of monuments? How come that their architectural and sculptural fragments got built into the foundations, doors, walls and domes of the Islamic edifices which replaced them? These are crucial questions which should have been asked by students of medieval Indian history.
But no historian worth his name has raised these questions squarely, not to speak of finding accurate answers to them. No systematic study of the subject has been made. What we have is stray references to the demolition of a few Hindu temples, made by the more daring Hindu historians while discussing the religious policies of this or that sultan.
Sir Jadunath Sarkar and Professor Sri Ram Sharma have given more attention to the Islamic policy of demolishing Hindu temples and pointed an accusing finger at the theological tenets which dictated that policy. But their treatment of the subject is brief and their enumeration of temples destroyed by Aurangzeb and the other Mughal emperors touches only the fringe of a vast holocaust caused by the Theology of Islam all over the cradle of Hindu Culture and throughout more than thirteen hundred years of Muslim occupation of India.
What the Muslim Historians have to Say
Muslim historians, in India and abroad, have written hundreds of accounts in which the progress of Islamic armies across the cradle of Hindu culture is narrated, stage by stage and period by period.
A pronounced feature of these Muslim histories is a description – in smaller or greater detail but always with considerable pride – of how the Hindus were slaughtered en masse or converted by force, how hundreds of thousands of Hindu men and women and children were captured as booty and sold into slavery, how Hindu temples and monasteries were razed to the ground or burnt down, and how images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses were destroyed or desecrated.
Islamic Iconoclasm Today
A gigantic image of the Great Master – Buddha
at Bamiyan near Kabul in Afghanistan.
It is this image which has been threatened to be blown up by the Taliban, the Islamic militia that rules Afghanistan. The statue faced its first defilement at the hands of Islamic invaders when they invaded pre-dominantly Buddhist Afghanistan in the 8th century
Incidentally the name Afghanistan is derived from the Sanskrit terms Upa-gana-stan which means “Lands where the Allied tribes live”.
Commandments of Allah (Quran) and precedents set by the Prophet (Sunnah) are frequently cited by the authors in support of what the swordsmen and demolition squads of Islam did with extraordinary zeal, not only in the midst of war but also, and more thoroughly, after Islamic rule had been firmly established. Islamic Theology supports the Destruction of ALL Non-Muslim Places of Worship
A reference to the Quran and to the Theology of Islam as perfected by the orthodox Imams, leaves little doubt about the violent and aggressive nature of Islam.
Jihad is Allah’s command to the Muslims to destroy the non- Muslims. It is not at all necessary that the non-Muslims need have wronged the Muslims, for them to be attacked by the Muslims. The “crime” that the non-Muslims do not believe in Islam is enough for the Muslims to attack the non-Muslims. Here is what the Quran says:
“I have been commanded by Allah to fight the unbelievers until they believe in Allah and His prophet and follow the laws of Islam. It is only then that the safety of their lives and property may be guaranteed.” (Sahih Tirmzi, Vol. 2: 192)
And why should they persecute and annihilate the non-Muslims? The Koran explains the point:
“God has bought from the believers their selves and their possessions against the gift of paradise; they fight in the way of God; they kill, and are killed; that is a promise; binding on God…. And who fulfills his covenant truer than God? So rejoice in the bargain you have made with Him that is the mighty triumph…” (Repentance: 192)
Jihad, as can be seen, is a covenant between Allah and the Muslims; the former offers paradise to the latter for killing and plundering the non-Muslims without having any moral qualm in return for Paradise. Obviously, according to Islamic theology the massacre of the fellow-beings and the plunder of their possession is an act of great righteousness because it attracts the highest reward – that is, paradise. The Quran justifies booty, the plunder of the infidels in the following words:
“It is not for any prophet to have prisoners, until he make wide slaughter in land…..
Eat of what you have taken as booty, it is lawful and good.” (The Spoils: 65)
Here is the essence of Islamic Jihad: Invade the non-Muslims in the name of Allah for the sheer crime of not believing in Him; first carry out an extensive carnage of the people then all their property including women and children become legally and morally the possessions of the Muslims, who are at liberty to use them as they think fit.
The Physical Evidence – Mutilated Hindu Architecture
The apologists for Islam – the most clogged among them are some Pseudo-secularist historians and politicians – have easily got away with the plea that Muslim court scribes having succumbed to poetic exaggeration in order to please their pious patrons. Their case is weakened when they cite the same sources in support of their speculations or when the question is asked as to why the patron needed stories of bloodshed and wanton destruction for feeding their piety.
There are, however witnesses who are not beyond recall who can confirm that the Muslim court scribes were not at all foisting fables on their readers. These are the hundreds of thousands of sculptural and architectural fragments which stand arrayed in museums and drawing rooms all over the world, or which are awaiting to be picked up by public and private collectors, or which stare at us from numerous Muslim monuments.
These are the thousands of Hindu temples and monasteries which either stand on the surface in a state of ruination or lie buried under the earth waiting for being brought to light by the archaeologist’s spade. These are the thousands of Muslim edifices, religious as well as secular, which occupy the sites of Hindu temples and monasteries and/or which have been constructed from materials of those monuments. All these witnesses carry unimpeachable evidence of the violence that was done to them, deliberately and by malevolent hands.
The Silence of Art Historians regarding the mutilation of Hindu Art, Architecture and Sculpture
So far no one has cared to make these witnesses speak and relate the story of how they got ruined, demolished, dislocated, dismembered, defaced mutilated and burnt. Recent writers on Hindu architecture and sculpture – their tribe is multiplying fast, mostly ffor commercial reasons – ignore the ghastly wounds which these witnesses show at the very first sight, and dwell on the beauties of the limbs that have survived or escaped injury.
Many a time they have to resort to their imagination for supplying what should have been there but is missing. All they seem to care for is building their own reputations as historians of Hindu art. If one draws their attention to the mutilations and disfigurements suffered by the subjects under study, one is met with a stunned silence or denounced downright as a Hindu chauvinist out to raise ‘demons from the past with the deliberate intention of causing communal strife. I, therefore, propose to present only one case out the innumerable of these in order to show in what shape such monuments are and what tale of vandalism they have to tell.
Hindu Monuments of Pre-Islamic Delhi
Archaeological excavations during 1992-95 at Lalkot, a Tomar citadel near Mehrauli before Delhi was occupied by Muhammad Ghori in 1192, have uncovered the following:
– Antiquities in the levels of Period II (Early Sultanate). A number of sculptural and architectural fragments in stone of the Rajput period have been noticed scattered on the surface or found in the levels of Period II, either in the deposits or reused in construction of early Sultanate structures.
They included a Varaha head; amalakas; adhisthana mouldings; pillar bases; parts of sculptured door jambs, one with maithuna figures; moulded and decorated architectural fragments; small sculptures showing Tirthankara, deities, vase etc.; Nandi figure and a lion’s head which can be connected with the story of stone lion figures at the gate of the palaces of Anang Pal II.
The evidence of stone Nandi suggests for the first time the existence of a Shiva temple in the vicinity. The pre-Muslim association of this structural period of early Sultanate age is evidenced by a number of scattered or reused architectural and sculptural stone fragments. Among them the hind part of a figure of Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Shiva, reused in the foundation of wall as a rubble.
India in the Eyes of Pseudo Secular Historians of Our Times
Their interpretation of Indian history recognizes only the economic reality. And although economic reality is an important element of human existence. It is not the only one. Issues like Religious Fanaticism, exist independent of economic factors. These Historians view the Muslim invasions of India purely as raids of bandits out who came to loot the material wealth of India. To loot the temples of Somnath, Thanesar, Mathura, Kanauj, etc. Yes the Muslim invaders did loot the country’s material wealth. But they also destroyed the Nalanda University, and burned down the countless treatises that were stored there. The Muslim invaders converted millions of Hindus to Islam at the point of the Sword, they also massacred millions more and had a practice of making a tower of severed enemy (Hindu) heads in the main square of a town after its conquest. They abducted many Hindu women and held them as concubines in Harems.
This list of crimes against humanity on part of the medieval Muslim invaders could be endless. Now these crimes do not have any economic angle at all. But all the same they were committed and they reflect in clear terms a barbaric and backward attitude. About this there is no doubt. The Pseudo Secular Historians try to mask this reality. And in this they are guilt of hiding facts and distorting history. They write that Mahmud Ghaznavi only destroyed temples to plunder their wealth, not for religious motives: a theory in flagrant contradiction with all the contemporary evidence. Mahmud was a devout Muslim, who copied the Quran “for the benefit of his soul”. He refused the huge ransom which the Hindus offered in return for an idol which he had captured, since he preferred to be an idol breaker rather than an idol-seller”. He destroyed many non-wealthy Hindu temples and left wealthy mosques untouched. He wasted time in non-profit acts of desecration, like hanging a cow’s tongue around an idol’s neck. On such facts, no honest historian would have built the conclusion that Mahmud was led by economical rather that fanatical religious motives.
What Really Happened in India during the Muslim Invasions?
Invaders at a very low level of civilisation and culture worth the name, from Arabia and west Asia, began entering India from the early eighth century onwards. Islamic invaders demolished countless Hindu temples, shattered uncountable sculptures and idols, plundered innumerable palaces and forts of Hindu kings, killed vast numbers of Hindu men and carried off Hindu women. This story, the educated Indians – and a lot of even the illiterate Indians – know very well. Indian History books at School and College do not tell the story in its true detail. Hence many Indians do not seem to recognize that the alien Muslim marauders destroyed the historical evolution of what was a spiritually, philosophically and materially advanced civilisation.
Pre-Islamic Hindu civilization was the most richly imaginative culture, and the most vigorously creative society.
The damaged armless image of the bodyguard of Shiva-Maheshwara as depicted at the Hoysaleshwara Temple complex at Halebid. Hindu temples built in the ancient times were perfect works of art. The evidence of the ferocity with which the Muslim invaders must have struck at the sculptures of gods and goddesses, and apsaras, kings and queens, dancers and musicians is frightful. At so many ancient temples of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, for example, shattered portions of stone images still lie scattered in the temple courtyards. Considering the fury used on the idols and sculptures, the stone- breaking axe must have been applied to thousands upon thousands of images of hypnotic beauty. Giving proof of the resentment that men belonging to an inferior civilisation feel upon encountering a superior civilisation of individuals with a more refined culture.
For related graphic, visit the site:
It is clear that India at the time when Muslim invaders turned towards it (8th to 11th century) was a rich region for its religion and culture: and its fine arts and letters and even for its wealth in terms of material sciences, art and architecture, precious and semi-precious stones, gold and silver.
Tenth century India was also too far advanced than its contemporaries in the East and the West for its achievements in the realms of speculative philosophy and scientific theorizing, mathematics and knowledge of nature’s workings. Hindus of the early medieval period were unquestionably superior in more things than the Chinese, the Persians (including the Sassanians), the Romans and the Byzantines of the immediate preceding centuries.
The Finesse of pre-Islamic Hindu Art and Architecture
Medieval India until the Islamic invaders destroyed it, was history’s most richly imaginative culture and one of the world’s most advanced civilisations of those times. Look at the Hindu art that Muslim iconoclasts severely damaged or destroyed. Ancient Hindu sculpture is vigorous and sensual in the highest degree-more fascinating than any other figural art created anywhere else on earth. (Only statues created by classical Greek artists are in the same class as Hindu temple sculpture.)
Ancient Hindu temple architecture is the most awe-inspiring, ornate and spell-binding architectural style. (The Gothic art of cathedrals in Western Europe is the only other religious architecture that is comparable with the intricate architecture of ancient Hindu temples such as those at Khajuraho, Madurai, Dwarka, Kanchipuram,etc.) No artists of any historical civilisation have ever revealed the same genius as ancient India’s artists and artisans.
The Devastation caused by Islamic Iconoclasm
Their minds filled with venom against the idol-worship and the idol-worshippers of India, the Muslims destroyed any Hindu temple that came their way. This is a historical fact, mentioned by Muslim chroniclers and others of the time. When the Muslims faced Hindu resistance and were forced to retreat they merely damaged the Hindu temples they could lay their hands on but the temples remained standing. This is what happened in South India.
But a large number – not hundreds but many thousands – of the ancient Hindu temples in North India were broken into shards of cracked stone. In the ancient cities of Varanasi and Mathura, Ujjain and Maheshwar, Jwalamukhi and Dwaraka, not one temple survives whole and intact from the ancient times. The wrecking of Hindu temples went on from the early years of the 8th century to well past 1700 AD, a period of almost 1000 years. Every Muslim ruler in Delhi (or Governor of Provinces) spent most of his time warring against Hindu kings in the north and the south, the east and the west: and almost every Muslim Sultan and his army commanders indulged in large-scale destructions of Hindu temples and idols.
It is easy to conclude that virtually every Hindu temple built in the ancient times is a perfect work of art. The evidence of the ferocity with which the Muslim invaders must have struck at the sculptures of gods and goddesses, and apsaras, kings and queens, dancers and musicians is frightful. At so many ancient temples of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, for example, shattered portions of stone images still lie scattered in the temple courtyards.
Considering the fury used on the idols and sculptures, the stone-breaking axe must have been applied to thousands upon thousands of images of hypnotic beauty. Giving proof of the resentment that men belonging to an inferior civilisation feel upon encountering a superior civilisation of individuals with a more refined culture,
Islamic invaders from Arabia and western Asia broke and burned everything beautiful they came across in India. So morally degenerate were the Muslim Sultans that, rather than attract Hindu “infidels” to Islam through force of personal example and exhortation, they just built a number of mosques at the sites of torn down temples – and foolishly pretended that they had triumphed over the minds and culture of the Hindus. I have seen stones and columns of Hindu temples incorporated into the architecture of several mosque, including the Jama Masjid and Ahmed Shah Masjid in Ahmedabad; the mosque in the Uparkot fort of
Junagadh (Gujarat) and in Vidisha (near Bhopal); the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra right next to the famous dargah in Ajmer-and the currently controversial Bhojshala “mosque” in Dhar (near Indore).
Hindu culture was at its imaginative best and vigorously creative when the severely-allergic-to-images Muslims entered India. Islamic invaders did not just destroy countless temples and constructions but also suppressed cultural and religious practices; damaged the pristine vigour of Hindu culture; prevented the intensification of Hindu culture, debilitating it permanently; stopped the development of Hindu arts: ended the creative impulse in all realms of thought and action; damaged the people’s cultural pride, disrupted the transmission of values and wisdom, cultural practices and tradition from one generation to the next; destroyed the proper historical evolution of Hindu kingdoms and society; affected the acquisition of knowledge, research and reflection and violated the moral basis of Hindu society.
Slaughter of the Civilian Hindu Population
The Muslim Swordsmen also slaughtered a lot of Hindus civilians away from the battlefield. This was something that the Hindus were not used to. Although pre-Islamic India was not exactly a zone of peace, and there used to be warfare, but there was also a code of warfare too.
War took place from Sunrise up to Sunset
Warfare under the shadow of darkness was considered foul
In the battlefield, an adversary who laid down his arms was not to be slaughtered.
No civilian population was ever killed.
This code of warfare was followed by the Hindus right up to the Muslim invasions, and this was one reason for the successive Hindu defeats at the hands of the Muslims who had no qualms for foul means during warfare and even in peace times.
Needless to add that the Muslim invaders converted millions of Hindus to Islam at the point of the Sword, they also massacred millions more and had a practice of making a tower of severed enemy (Hindu) heads in the main square of a town after its conquest. They abducted many Hindu women and held them as concubines in Harems.
Most Muslim rulers were fanatical proselytizers of their religion. Under the rulership of Delhi Sultans the public worship at Hindu temples was generally forbidden, Hindus were not allowed to build new temples or repair old ones. Some rulers like Allah-ud-din Khilji and Feroz Shah Tughlak would desecrate temples upon the conquest of new territory as a symbol of victory of Islam. One some occasions a particularly fanatical Muslim king like Sikander Lodi would in a fit of paranoia desecrate or destroy temples even in peaceful times.
“In 1669 Aurangzeb issued a general order for the destruction of Hindu temples.” As per rough estimates about 3000 (Three Thousand) temples were destroyed and converted into Mosques in the 750 years of Muslim rule in India. But let bygones be bygones. The fact is mentioned here only to set the record straight. In my personal view all such controversial structures should be taken possession of by an educational trust and be converted into schools to preach the unity of Humankind. And eventually not just such controversial structures, but all places of religious worship should cease to be prayer houses and should be used to house schools for humanist and rationalist education. (This obviously is the author’s personal view)
“During the sultanate and later under Aurangzeb, many hundreds of thousands of Hindus were forcibly converted to Islam. Shah Jahan appointed a superintendent of converts charged with the special responsibility for making converts. The sentences of criminals and prisoners of war were readily remitted and the individuals were granted daily allowances upon embracing Islam. The conversion of Muslims to Hinduism, on the other hand, constituted the crime of apostasy and was punished by death. The Jaziya, a special tax levied on all non-Muslims, was both a heavy financial -burden and a badge of inferiority borne by the Hindu; it also stimulated conversions to Islam.
The Quww’at-ul-Islam Mosque (Power of Islam).
This Mosque which stands in the Kutub Minar complex was built by Kutub-ud-din Aibak, the first Muslim ruler of Delhi. The Quww’at-ul-Islam Mosque (Power of Islam) is the first mosque erected in India by Muslim invaders after the Islamic aggression of India. This Mosque was built with the columns from destroyed Hindu and Jain temples. It stands at the site of Pithoragarh which was the capital of Prithiviraj Chauhan the last Hindu ruler of Delhi.
For related graphic, visit the site:
Thus, during the 7 centuries of Mohammedan rule a significant portion of our countrymen had to change their religion by force of circumstances. And in 4 erstwhile Indian Provinces viz. West Punjab, Sindh, East Bengal and NWFP the Muslim converts came to constitute a majority by the present century. The multi-religious character of India is largely an ugly litter of intolerance, persecution, penal taxes, conversion of faith at the point of the sword, discriminatory civil and criminal laws, defilement and conversion of places of worship from that of one faith to another, all of which the country witnessed during the seven centuries of Muslim rule.
The Psychological Damage to the Hindu Mind
The Hindus suffered immense psychic damage. The Muslims also plundered the wealth of the Hindu kingdoms, impoverished the Hindu populace, and destroyed thc prosperity of India. The Psychological damage to the Hindu Mind, due to Muslim rule, was immense and unmeasurable.
Today after a gap of one thousand years, the innate spirit of humanness that is the basis of Hindu Culture can again breathe freely and it is about time that we recollect it and the successes it propelled the human mind to achieve. The human mind embodied in the ancient sages, rishis, munis and sanyasis – scientists in modern parlance.
We need to remember our past clearly and vividly, lest we forget, our capability to contribute to the repository of human knowledge, lest we forget our capability to activate the indomitable human mind residing within us, lest we forget our humane instincts that gave us a sagacious and charitable view of life along with progress – economic, technological and material. All that which goes under the term CIVILIZATION.
The human spirit in Ancient India has given to the world, the values of non-violence, religious tolerance, renunciation alongwith many elements of knowledge in fields like production technology, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, navigation, architecture, civil engineering, medical science, physics, chemistry, logic, astronomy, mathematics and so on.
We have to live up to this legacy that can help human beings in all corners of our globe to rejuvenate our spirit not to conquer one another, but to conquer oneself; not to destroy, but to build; not to hate, but to love; not to isolate oneself, but to integrate everyone into one global society and to achieve much more in the future to enrich human civilisation to result in: “The maximum welfare of the maximum number” or as in Sanskrit it is called: “Loko Samasto Sukhino Bhavantu” and “Samasta Janaanaam Sukhino Bhavantu.”
In the next post we shall see what Different Historians have to say about the Hindu Holocaust.