Do Muslims Deserve The Hatred Of Hindus?

Category: Asia, World Affairs Topics: India Views: 13626

A Hindu taking part in anti-Muslim
riots in India. BBC

The violence committed against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 was in some ways a continuum of the periodic riots that have gone on for decades. In other ways it was a watershed event. The level of violence against women and families reached horrific proportions never seen before. The ruling party in Gujarat planned and carried out the violence with the active support and connivance of the government and the law. The mobs that perpetrated apocalyptic violence against Muslims were taunting their victims by calling them "Babur ki aulad" that is progeny of the Mughal emperor Babur. The implication in their mind was clearly that Muslims are the descendants of brutal foreign invaders and need to be thrown out of India. Their understanding of the Muslim legacy in India is similar to that of an occasional historian. 

For example the noted historian Will Durant notes in his book the "Story of Civilization", "The Mohammadan conquest of India is probably the bloodiest story in history. It is a 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 with in." 

His assessment of Muslim history is shockingly negative! 

On the other hand, Jadu Nath Sarkar, a Hindu historian, comes to a diametrically opposite assessment of Muslim legacy. He feels India reached new heights of civilization during the Muslim rule. Some of the benefits of Muslim rule that he assesses include, internal peace over a long period of time, uniformity of administration, uniformity of social manner and dress irrespective of creed, common lingua franca, rise of vernacular literature, monotheistic religious revival, rise of mysticism (Sufism) and a general improvement in civilization. 

He lists no significant negatives! 

Where does the truth lie? What is a factual and fair assessment of Muslim legacy in India? Is it possible to attempt an analysis in an unbiased manner? For me the answer is clear. Muslims have to analyze their past with honesty. If Muslims have to learn from the past they have no choice but to look at their legacy in an objective manner and let the conclusions fall where they may. Truth is cathartic as it liberates one's soul and may lead to reconciliation with the past and lead to a peaceful future. 

The First Muslim In India Wasn't Babur

The murderous mobs of Gujarat who were screaming, "Babur's progeny, go away to Pakistan or die" were wrong on one fundamental historical fact. Muslims came to India long before Babur. The first Muslims in India were traders. The Malabar Muslims, on the west coast of India, are the descendants of Arab traders who may have arrived in India in the late 7th or early 8th century. 

The first Muslim military incursion carried out by Muhammad Bin Qasim also in the 8th century CE was a rescue mission. Muslims could be called Qasim's progeny. A ship carrying widows and children of Arab traders that had died in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) ran aground at Debul near the modern city of Karachi in Pakistan. Dahir a Hindu ruler of the area known today as Sind took them captive. The first two expeditions sent to free these Muslim women and children failed. The armies were decimated by heat, exhaustion and scurvy. The soldiers in the third expedition soaked cotton with vinegar to suck on as a brilliant prophylaxis against scurvy. This third expedition was lead by Muhammad bin Qasim who defeated Dahir and captured the city of Brahmanabad. He ruled over Sind for only two years between 712 and 714. When Hajjaj, Muhammad Bin Qasim's father-in-law and a notoriously brutal governor of Iraq died, the new governor took revenge against all who were close to Hajjaj. Muhammad bin Qasim was recalled from Sind imprisoned and tortured to death. 

Muhammad bin Qasim's incursion into India was to free captives followed failed attempts to resolve the issue without force. Even by modern international law it might be considered justifiable and even noble. It succeeded partly because Dahir was an unpopular Hindu king that ruled over a Buddhist majority. Buddhists all over India were being simultaneously assimilated and persecuted by Hindus. Muhammad bin Qasim was noted to be humane and considerate. A contemporary historian Baldhuri records that when Qasim was recalled, "people of Hind wept for Qasim and preserved his likeness at Karaj". Another contemporary record the "Chach-nama" notes the following highlights of Qasim's rule. He permitted all to practice their religion freely, Hindus were included in the "ashabul kitab" (people of the book) category and the status of Dhimmis (protected people) was conferred upon them. Property destroyed during hostilities was compensated. As a sign of respect to his Hindu populace an edict was issued banning cow slaughter in Sind and Multan. 

Muslim rulers who followed Muhammed bin Qasim did not distinguish themselves in any way. Dahir's son Jaisimha who had obviously converted to Islam for expediency recanted. Multan was taken over by Ismailis. They destroyed an old and historic temple in Multan that bin Qasim had protected and built a mosque in its place. 

For the next three hundred years there was no further extension of the Muslim rule in India. In fact there was a gradual erosion of control till the first group of Turks/Afghans arrived in the late 10th century. 

India of the 8th century was not a nation state

Another myth about India of the seventh century is that it was a unified whole, a nation state, living in peace. In fact it was a divided country. The two major religions Hinduism and Buddhism were at loggerheads with Buddhism losing ground fast. The caste system, against which Buddhism came as a reaction, was well entrenched and unshaken. There was no sense of India as a nation state. The South was far removed from the North culturally and in the languages it spoke. To an outsider India must have looked like a fractured country with permanent civil strife, an easy target for ethnic Turks that ruled neighboring Afghanistan. 

The Sacking of the Temple at Somnath 

Subuktigin a Turkish slave becomes the first king of the Ghazni dynasty in an area of Afghanistan contiguous with India. Historians note friction with the neighboring Hindu king. Jaipal who defeats Subuktigin but in turn is defeated by Subuktigin's more active son Mahmud. There is resentment against this Afghan/Muslim invader who returns to India more than once. Hindu women sell their ornaments to help with the war effort. Nevertheless Mahmud is victorious. After defeating the Hindu king Mahmud makes deep forays into India. The most dramatic is the sacking of the temple at Somnath in Gujarat. This attack on Somnath takes two years of planning and great tenacity. The purpose is to plunder the jewels and other treasures the temple is known for. This act appears to be motivated by greed rather than by religious zeal. The argument that Mahmud's actions were motivated by desire for personal aggrandizement rather religion is supported by the fact that he had many Hindu officers and men in his army as a counter weight to his Muslim enemies. These Hindu officers are used to suppress a Muslim revolt in Sistan. His army massacres Muslim rebels in a Mosque in Zarang. On another occasion his army kills Christians in their church proving that he was an equal opportunity tyrant. 

One of the scholars Mhamud patronizes is the well-known historian al-Biruni who makes the following observations that give an insight into the times. Writing about Mahmud he says, "He ruined the prosperity of the country and performed wonderful exploits by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions. Those scattered cherish of course the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims. This is the reason why Hindu sciences have retired to far away places like Kashmir and Benares". About Hindus he writes, "They had many philosophers, mathematicians and astrologers. They behaved as if there was no country like theirs, no nation, no kings, no religion----. They were haughty, self conceited, foolish and stolid. They withhold themselves from men from another caste and of course from any foreigner." 

In addition to the inveterate aversion that resulted from the invasion the sacking of the temple at Somnath has left a deep and abiding scar on Hindu psyche and Mahmud of Ghazna has become a symbol of the Muslim invader. In the broader context of Muslim legacy in India he was an aberration. Moreover Mahmud's legacy is complex and contradictory. In Afghanistan he is known for his patronage of arts and literature. The historian Gibbon assesses Mahmud as "a brave and resourceful general and a cultured monarch". He was in the tradition of kings like Alexander and was motivated by desire for power and personal glory. His wars were not waged for the glory of Islam or motivated by Islamic principles. Nevertheless, in the Hindu psyche, he remains a potent symbol of the Muslim invader because of his attacks on the Somnath temple. 

Many peaceful contacts between Hindus and Muslims occurred during this era. Caravans traveled regularly between Khurasan and Hind. Muslim communities sprang up even in Benares and Kashmir. 

Mahmud's successors established a more liberal pattern of dealing with their Hindu subjects. There were 150 years of respite. This initial Muslim rule by Turks/Afghans gave way to the curious "slave dynasty" that lasted a hundred years. 

The Slaves Who Would Be Kings 

The slave dynasty owes its origins to Shihabuddin Ghauri (1175). He was an adventurer who established control over northern India. He is known for the legendary battles with the last important Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer. In the first battle Chauhan defeated and nearly killed Ghauri. However there was return engagement in which Chauhan was killed. Chauhan has grown in modern mythology as the last defender of the Hindu motherland when in fact Ghauri had the support of many Hindu Rajas. Moreover Shihabuddin Ghauri was known for his tolerance of other faiths and traditions. He was a prudent leader and wisely made Chauhan's son the governor of Ajmer. Ghauri did not have any sons himself but owned a large number of slaves that he raised as his own children. One of his slaves succeeded him and started the "slave dynasty". This is one of two dynasties of slaves in the Muslim history. The other held sway in Egypt. This startling phenomenon of slave kings, the ultimate contradiction, speaks volumes to how slaves were treated in Muslim societies. Can one imagine Roman slaves ascending to the throne peacefully and with the consent of their masters? 

Two of the slave kings deserve special mention. Qutubuddin Aibak who was lovingly called Lakh Baksh (Giver of, Lakhs, hundreds of thousands) was known for his open handed generosity. He was not interested in conquests and pursued a policy of reconciliation. He was a patron of letters and built two magnificent mosques one in Delhi and the other in Ajmer. Qutubuddin Aibak's successor Shamsuddin Iltutmish was an even more endearing personality. He would refuse to sit on the throne preferring instead to stand in the same row as his nobles. He often stated that he was one among many equals and indeed treated his peers as equals. He consolidated the dominions under his control. Hindus continued to enjoy the "Dhimi" (term used for protected subject in a Muslim state) status. He was a god-conscious pious man. He built the Qutub Minar, one of the tallest towers of its time in Delhi in the memory of the Sufi Qutubudin Bakhtiyar Kaki. His daughter Razia Sultan was highly educated and groomed for assuming the throne that she did briefly after his death. Razia remains the only Muslim woman ruler in Indian history and possibly only one of two female sovereigns, the other was the Queen of Jhansi, till the prime minister ship of Indira Gandhi in modern India. 

Up to this point in history there is no evidence of any significant spread of Islam in India 

The Unintentional Byproduct Of Changez (Gingis) Khan's Invasion Of Baghdad. The Flight Of Muslim Mystics To India And The Spread Of Islam 

Illtutmish ruled when Changez (Gengis) Khan's armies were ravaging Baghdad in modern day Iraq. Many refugees, that included scholars, artisans and the Sufis, fled east to India. This arguably had a greater impact on India than all of the Muslim invasions. 

"Thousands of Muslim theologians, Sufi saints and missionaries migrated to India to escape Mongol terror. The devastation of Khurasan was to the benefit of India." Historians Edward Maclagan and Quanungo both conclude that the spread of Islam was largely the work of Muslim Sufis. Quanungo writes that in Bengal during the Balaban's regime "saints of Islam excelled the Hindu priesthood in acts of piety and foresight and started proselytizing on a wide scale by the fervor of their faith and exemplary character. They lived and preached among the low class Hindus". This moral and religious conquest followed the military and political conquest by about a century. Muslim "Khanqahs" (fraternities) rose in every corner of India with many set up by design outside the boundaries of a Muslim state. 

Historically the Sufi dynasties have had a profound and long lasting impact on Indian history. Two of the more important Sufi dynasties are the Suhurwardi in Multan that is now part of Pakistan and the Chishti in Ajmer, Rajhastan. Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti the founder of the Chishti sisila (continuum) knew neither the local languages nor was he conversant with local customs. Yet he was able to set his Khankhah (monastery) literally in the middle of nowhere, under the shadow of hostile Hindu king, and successfully spread Islam. He is known for his charisma, piety, simple living and love for the weak and poor of the society. One of the techniques he employed in spreading Islam was the use of Sama (spiritual music) that has survived as the art form known as the Qawwali (devotional music of the Muslim mystics). 

Early 14th century was more remarkable for great advances in culture. The Sufi Nizamuddin Auliya and his brilliant disciple Amir Khusro were making waves. Urdu as a language was born, Sitar was invented, many new Ragas (musical scores) were written and there was a general efflorescence of art. The relations between Hindus and Muslims were in general peaceful and productive. 

The Jizya Tax. Permitted But Imprudent

Jizya (tax imposed on the protected subjects)looms large in Hindu history as an unfair tax imposed by the ruling Muslims on their populace. It was considered humiliating by those who were forced to pay it. It is also evident that Muslim rulers were ambivalent about its imposition. Firoz Shah Tughlaq imposed it and Sikander Lodhi abolished it. Akbar and other Mughals did not use it but Aurangzeb did. The Jizya controversy existed long before Aurangzeb although is associated mostly with him. For some rulers the motivation for imposing this tax was religious and for others monetary. 

A Jizya like tax is neither a new concept nor is it exclusive to Islam. Romans had a tax on all non-citizens; the Persians levied a capitation tax that they called "gezit"; the French called it "host tax" and the Germans "common penny". In England it went by two different names, "scotage" and "victual money". The Qur'an allows its use in a revelation at the beginning of the Madinah period of Prophet Muhammad's mission. 

Fight those who believe not in Allah or the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission --. (Qur'an. 9:29) 

Once the hostilities ceased Jizya was to be levied for the purpose of protection of life and property of the population under occupation. It was levied at four different levels. Rich paid four dinars per annum, the middle class two per annum and the poor one per annum. Women and children were exempt. As the Muslim invasion and rule of India did not have the same motivation as the early Muslim conquests, the rationale for Jizya wasn't as clearly defined. Jizya tax clearly did more harm than good to Muslim Hindu relations and a prudent ruler would have avoided using it. 

The Schizophrenic Record Of Human Rights Under Muslim Rule 

Although arbitrary it is practical to analyze Muslim rule in two sections as before the Mughal period and the Mughal period itself. There were numerous Muslim kings that ruled before the Mughals for about 700 years. They had differing personalities and their record on human rights was as different as their personalities. Iltutmush was an exemplary ruler and human being and his successor Balban was the total opposite, brutal and ruthless. Sometimes the same individual displayed schizophrenic behavior. The well-known historian Ibn Batuta writes that Muhammad Tughlaq was on the one hand an intellectual who enjoyed the company of philosophers and artists and also one of the worst abusers of human rights. "His gate was hardly free from the corpse of a man who had been executed". No one including Muslims was spared. "Every day hundreds of people were brought with hands fastened to the neck and feet in shackles. Some were killed, some were tortured and others beaten." His son Firoz Tughlaq, was horrified by this and without naming his father writes "In the reign of former kings the blood of many Musalmans has been shed and many varieties of torture employed. Amputations of hands, feet, ears and noses, tearing out of eyes, poring molten lead into the throat, crushing the bones of hands and feet with mallets, burning the body with fire, driving iron nails into the hands feet and bosom and cutting the sinews sawing men asunder. These and many similar tortures were practiced. The great and merciful God made me his servant hope and seek for mercy by devoting myself to the prevention of unlawful killings of Musalmans and the infliction of any kind of torture upon them or upon any man". The God conscious among the Muslim kings had a better human rights record. Those that followed the old Roman or Persian model of the emperor were the worst abusers of human rights.

The Differential Impact Of Muslim Invasion On Various Castes 

A few general conclusions may be drawn form the study of contemporary accounts by historians on the impact of Muslim rule on various castes in India. During invasions and military operations Hindus suffered loss of life and property. Loss of sovereignty affected mostly the two higher castes the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas. Even those who were given exalted positions in the state regarded their patrons as malechas (impure). 

The famous Hindu, Santana who was the private secretary to the Muslim king Alauddin Hasan Shah abstained from visiting the temple at Jagannath for he felt his association with the Muslim had defiled him. 

The land ownership and use was unaffected. The Banya, moneylender caste, remained and essential part of the societal fabric. In general non-Muslims were considered a protected minority and governed by their own personal laws and had basic safe guards. The historian al-Baruni records, "In Delhi idols are publicly worshiped and traditions adhered to with greater insistence than before. The infidels are honored, distinguished, favored and made eminent. They live in delight and comfort. The poor Musalmans beg at their door." 

The lower castes were ecstatic at the liberation from the tyranny of the Brahmins. "Caste dissensions will be broken," says one lower caste song "for there is a Musalman in the Hindu family." Islam gained the greatest success in areas on the eastern and western fringes of India away from the Hindu heartland. 

Official Proselytization Or The Lack Of It 

As a rule there is no evidence of conversions under duress, and interference with worship. The policies practiced were mostly conciliatory and there were constant attempts at rapprochement. There were no attempts by the state to proselytize. The reason for the lack of an attempt at aggressive spread of Islam may have been the precarious hold the early dynasties had on the throne. William Crooke observes, "Early Mohammedan dynasties were too precarious to any general propaganda, the emperors too engrossed in schemes of conquest to take up proselytization in earnest. Their power depended on alliances with Rajput princes. The native princesses they married brought Hindu blood into the royal line." Tolerance was the hallmark of some Muslim rulers like Iltutmish but many others were indifferent to the concept and some were intolerant of all 

Occasionally Muslim warriors destroyed temples and monasteries, which only strengthened Hindu nationalism and idolatry. Some "darghas" (mausoleums) and "Khanqahs" were built on the sites of these ruined places of worship. The Makhdum-kund at Rajgir was built on the site of Sringi Rishi-Kund. More intriguing is the transfer of old Hindu and Buddhist legends into the miracles of saints and ghazis (warriors). 

Nevertheless Islam did spread, with approximately 30-40% of Indian continent converting to Islam. As pointed out earlier this was largely the result of the Sufi influence. 

Cultural Rapids 

When different faiths and traditions come together there is inevitable friction and turbulence that creates many cultural rapids. Both traditions are influenced by the others cultural and moral norms. This exchange of ideas and ideals occur at many levels that may change both the victor and the vanquished. A dramatic example of this in Muslim history happened when the Mongols that invaded Baghdad in about two generations converted to Islam and their native culture was metamorphosed beyond recognition. 

In India the fierce monotheism of Islam spawned a number of reform movements and inspired reformist leaders. Guru Nanak of Punjab, Chaitanya of Bengal, Tukaram and Namdev of Maharashtra and Kabir all owed all or part of their reformist messages to Islam. Brahmo-Samaj a tolerant and monotheistic sect of Hinduism owes its origin almost directly to Islam in India. 

Sufism that was already a strong spiritual movement within Islam took on many Hindu traits. Worshipping at the Sufi-Saint's grave, miracles attributed to the Sufi-Saint and the use of Qawwali music that has the Bhajan (Hindu devotional music) as its counterpart in the Hindu tradition are some examples. Early marriage and the stigma attached to widow marriages amongst Muslims of the Indian subcontinent is also a Hindu influence. Even the obnoxious caste system entered Muslim culture with categories like the Sayyids that might be called the Muslim Brahmins. 

Babur ki Aulad - (The progeny of Babur) - The Mughals 

As pointed out earlier a lot of Muslim history happened before the Mughals and Babur arrived in India. Nevertheless Muslim rule in India is considered synonymous with the Mughals. Historians point out that although of Turkish descent the Mughals set down roots in India and considered themselves Indian. This is not an accurate statement as it was Akbar the third Mughal ruler considered himself truly Indian. Babur himself was reluctant to settle down in India. His heart was in his native province of Farghana and he is buried in Kabul. He came to India partly because his rivals threw him out of Farghana and partly because of the court politics. The governor of Punjab, a relative of the ruling King Ibrahim Lodhi, invited him to assist him in his insurrection against the center. Babur defeated Ibrahim Lodhi and subsequently the Hindu king Rana Sangha before ascending to the throne at Delhi. 

Babur was an exceptionally erudite man and wrote his memoirs in a book called "Babur Nama." Of his new country India he writes, "Hindustan is a country that has few pleasures to recommend it. The people are not handsome; they have no idea of the charms of friendly society, of frankly mixing together or of familiar intercourse. They have no genius, no comprehension of mind, no politeness of manner, no kindness or fellow-feeling, no ingenuity, no mechanical invention in planning or executing their handicraft, no skill no knowledge in design or architecture. They have no horses, no good flesh, no grapes, or muskmelons, no good fruits, no ice, no cold water, no good food or bread in their bazaars, no baths, no candles, no torches not a candlestick." Babur never really considered himself an India. 

Humayun, his successor, struggled to stay on the throne. He had to battle two different Muslim governors, Bahadur Shah on the West and Sher Shah on the East. Sher Shah prevailed and almost killed Humayun. Sher Shah ruled for about five years and is considered a better administrator and just ruler than Humayun. Nevertheless Humayun was able to reclaim the throne but died six months later after falling down the steps of the Delhi library. 

The third ruler in the Mughal dynasty, Akbar excelled himself as a conqueror, administrator as well as a pluralistic leader. Some criticize his pluralism as mere appeasement. The most successful of the Mughals, Akbar, was very pluralistic in his outlook and actions. His pluralism extended to a policy of "Sulh-i-Kull" (universal tolerance) and the protection of all inhabitants. He even attempted to synthesize the common elements of all religions in a new faith he called the "Din-Ilahi" (Godly faith) with himself as the prophet of this new tradition. His Hindu wives that practiced their religion freely, Jizya tax on Hindus was abolished and temples and churches thrived. 

Jehangir who succeeded him was large hearted and well meaning but loved the easy life style. Nur Jehan, his wife, was the de facto ruler of the kingdom. She was a very effective ruler, had good taste, spent large sums of money in charity and was given to noble impulses. Gracious living became the "summun bonum" of human existence. Their interest in Islam was at best perfunctory. The practice of courtiers doing sajada (prostration) before the king, that started with Akbar continued. This practice violates a cardinal Islamic belief of never prostrating oneself before anyone but God and constitutes committing Shirk (opposite of monotheism and unity of God). Shaik Mujaddid of Sirhind, a man of conviction, refused to prostrate himself before the king and had enough popular support to survive his wrath. 

The next emperor in line Shah Jehan is known of his monumental projects the Taj Mahal, the Jama Masjid of Delhi and the Red Fort. Mughals are remembered more for these grandiose structures than anything else. These expensive projects may have a huge impact on the state treasury that led to the eventual unraveling of the Mughal Empire. During his reign there was a great deal of internal peace. Shah Jehan was initially a fairly orthodox Muslim and tried to rule by strict Sharia tenets. Later he was influenced by Sufism and mellowed a lot. During his time there was a widespread practice of Muslim girls being converted to Hinduism. This became a large enough problem that he had to open a department to deal with it. The next ruler was Aurangzeb, the man who presided over the demise of the empire. 

By now the Mughal Empire was beset with financial problems as well as insurgencies at the fringes of the empire. One of the Sikh gurus Tegh Bahadur was executed for insurgency and at the instigation of Hindu kings another Sikg Guru Gobind Singh was attacked. Gobind Singh himself escapes but his sons are captured and executed. Gobind Singh pens a long epistle about the event in Persian called the Zafar Namah. These two events are at origin of the long-standing resentment of the Sikhs toward Muslims. Sikhism that started out as a faith that attempted to bring Hinduism and Islam together was initially very sympathetic to Islam. In the West the Maratha king Shivaji and later his son Sambhaji were in constant conflict with Aurangzeb. Although Shivaji is portrayed as Hindu hero king fighting the evil Muslim invader his insurgency was no different than the uprising by the local Muslim governor in the South who later declared independence and formed the Nizam dynasty 

Inspite of these constant conflicts during his reign, Aurangzeb attempted many reforms. He banned Sati, widow immolation on husband's pyre, abolished cultivation of opium, gambling, alcohol and prostitution. He also abolished rahdari (inland transport duty) and octroi. Surprisingly he also banned cow slaughter. However he re-imposed the Jaziya tax that had been cancelled a hundred years ago. He destroyed some temples and closed down others. But he gave money to restore other temples and gave running expenses to still others. He did not interfere with the celebration of private religious Hindu worship, or the teaching of religion by Hindu priests. Personally he was brave and industrious and lived a life of simplicity and purity. The well-known poet Iqbal called him the "first exponent of Muslim nationalism in the Indian sub-continent." 

The impact Of British Rule On Muslims And Hindu-Muslim Relations. The Decimation Of Babur's Progeny 

The Most severe impact of British conquest of India was on the Muslims. This is understandable because Muslims were the rulers. The British went after the Mughlas with vengeance. The last king Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled and died in Rangoon that is modern Myamar. With one exception all the Mughal princes were publicly hanged in front of the Red fort. Some surviving members of the last surviving prince live quietly in the Indian city of Hyderabad. Many other Muslims who resisted the British were either killed or lost power. Those who cooperated with the British lived in subservience. Tipu Sultan of Bangalore resisted the British and died and the Nizams of Hyderabd cooperated and ruled till independence. 

The British had a deliberate policy of dividing the two communities and fanning suspicion between them. Sir H.M.Elliot, the British foreign secretary to India, authored a history book titled "History of India as told by its own historians. The Muhammaden period in the name of himself and Dawson." This book tried to teach the Babus (Indians trained to help the British) the great virtues of British rule and divide India on communal lines. 

Babur ki Aulad: Pakistan ya Qabristan! (Babur's progeny, die or go to Pakistan.) - The Continuing Fallout Of Partition 

The other slogan the killers and rapists in Gujarat were shouting alluded to the role of Muslims in the formation of Pakistan. The argument is that Muslims were responsible for dividing India. Moreover the argument goes as Muslims have their own land they have no business to live or have rights in India. The story of formation of Pakistan is far more complicated than the common understanding is. The popular construct that Muslims are responsible for dividing India fails to answer the question as to why Jinnah the most secular of individuals and a champion of Hindu Muslim unity turned into a champion of the "Islamic republic Of Pakistan?" What role did the introduction of religion onto politics by Gandhi had? What role did the intransigence of Congress in sharing power at the center playing this saga? Is it not a fact that the one of the first calls for partition came from the Bengal Congress that feared living as a minority in a Muslim majority Bengal? Isn't the story of partition really the result of two distinct faith groups lacking trust in each other and fearful of living with each other? 

What Is The Real Legacy Of Muslims In India? 

Even this brief overview should be sufficient to persuade anyone from the foolhardiness of generalizing about the legacy of Muslims in India. There are many different legacies. Is the legacy of Mahmud Ghazni the true legacy of Muslims or is it the legacy of Iltutmish? Should we be looking at Muhammad bin Qasim or Akbar? Does Babur and other kings really represent anyone? Is it the legacy of the mystics, poets, architects and artistes that is more important? 

In spite of the violence that is the inevitable consequence of any invasion, Muslims in India played a significant humanitarian and liberating role. Islam offered to many of the outcastes and untouchables that were leading a sub-human existence liberation by providing within its fold complete equality and an opportunity for social, economic, intellectual and spiritual development. William Hunter writes "Its (Islam's) missionaries were men of zeal who brought the Gospel to the unity of God and equality of man in its sight to a despised and neglected population." 

Muslim legacy is also that of opening up India to the outer world, providing internal peace, uniformity of administration and a common language. There was a monotheistic revival in religion and increase in spirituality. Many of the indicators of civilization like arts, literature, architecture and good living went up. 

The more relevant question today is does it really matter what the Muslim legacy is? To my kids growing up in diaspora in the west this question of legacy seems so remote and irrelevant that they would not spent a minute on the issue. For those living in the Indian sub-continent what appears to matter is a mythological memory of history far removed from objective facts. In fact most Indians would fail a quiz on the basic facts of Indian Muslim history partly because it has been essentially written out of history books. So Babur becomes the ultimate fall guy. A mosque built in his name the symbol of the myth of the brutal Muslim invaders that destroyed local tradition and culture and imposed their own. The fact that there is no evidence that Babur or the majority of Muslim rulers did any thing to destroy the local culture and change the faith and traditions of the population seems lost to most 

Hope for a better and peaceful future for all those who live in the Indian sub-continent does not lie in the rise of a charismatic leader who would lead all communities to utopia. The era of heroes is past. Instead the best hope for a better future lies in education, dispaaionate analysis of history and a grass root movement of thoughtful individuals that share a belief in the common goodness of all humans. Hope lies in those intellectually honest souls that can look at the past objectively, without flinching and built upon it constructively.

 

Javeed Akhter, is the Executive Director of the Chicago based International Strategy and Policy Institute and he is the author of the book "The seven phases of Prophet Muhammad's Life,"

 

Selected Bibliography 

[1]. Historical memories and nation building in India. M.Rmakrishnayya.. Booklinks corporation. Hyderabad, 500 029 India. 

[2]. The preaching of Islam. T.W. Arnold. SH. Muhammad Ashraf. 7, Aibak Road (New Anarkali) Lahore. Pakistan. 

[3]. Modern Muslim India and the Birth of Pakistan. SM Ikram. Kazi Publications. Chicago, IL


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  39 Comments   Comment

  1. Amarnath from India

    The article says the first muslim to enter India was not invader. The first Japanes to enter US was not an invader. So did americans accepted pearl harbour attack as act of love. Germans visited France and poland before WWII. So Can Hitler invading these nations be justified. The conclusion is as long a muslim or christian or any one come to India as friends Hindus wont hate them. If they start doing wrong things Hindus have every right to hate them

  2. omran from earth

    To crowned,

    Islam is the master relegion and their are no god but one God to be worshipped. The truth will avail and not your silly opinions won't. I wait and you wait and we shall witness the Truth as it spreads like a virus in every vein of this world radiating his light upon every soul that choose to recieve it.

  3. Kamath from Hindustan

    This article is another junk if not a voodoo historical narration. Gives the impression that Muslims were little angels.

  4. Basha from Australia

    What i think is the article relates the fact how the population of Muslim spread in HIND.

    I WOULD LIKE TO ADD SOME MORE THINGS TO THE ARTICLE. I accept that muslims came to india as a traders, when they came to different parts of india, they were truly honest and sincere, when the hindu people say their honesty and sincerity of their religion, they rather started converting into Islam. IT may be a few percent of muslims who would have settled here due to muslims invasion, but the vast majority was from conversion to islam rather than migration from other middle east.

    Think how the people of Indonesia, Malaysia became muslim? it is also due to the same arab traders honest and sincerity, who do not treat others differently rather then honoured even the slaves or the so called untouchables in India.

    Islam did not spread with a sword as proclaimed by the western medias, rather it was due to the magical words which united the people on a same platform althought they were black, white, low caste, high caste or any other race. but the Hindu society started to declain due to it social evils prevailing in the society, the small percentage of the so called brahmins dominated the majortity tribals in india in the name of imaginary stories of ram, krishna etc, which does not have a solid history rather than it was a fairy tale.

    I like to conclude my writing here saying that i HIndu is not a religion at all rather than it is a name of a place HIND, and the people belonging to the place were called HINDU, in this sense i am also a Hindu muslim that is a Muslim belonging to a place called HINd

  5. Zorro from UK

    You're avoiding the real issue at hand Gurpreet, and thats Hindu fascism. I find it odd that people like you want to "help" madrassa's while not lifting the finger against Hindu terrorist training camps all over India.

    The lack of interest in addressing the root of the problem shows you to be no different tha an apologist for hindu barbarism.

  6. Rodolfo M. (Ibrahim) Hilliard from USA

    Dear Brothers and Sisters in Islam and to all that read this,

    I have read the article and I see that it is more or less a lesson in the histroy of Islam in the Indian sub-continent. Now then, with that said, I want to move on to my simple point. Muslims of the world need to stop crying foul all the time when something bad happens to us. I hate all kinds of senseless violence. Our deen (way of life) teaches us to go against aggression. That is good. When a group of people are wronged, we must stand up for them.

    Atrocities commited anywhere are wrong and must be stopped. Now, for us Muslims, one of the biggest things that we must do is stop the "so called Muslims" of the world that do things totally against the teachings of Islam, but claim to be Muslims. Muslims of the world, if we can clean our own "house" we can make strides to better right the wrongs of the world.

    I live in a Western Nation, the USA, I know that media bias exists here; however, one must ask does the media anywhere have biases? We as Muslims must tell the truth, whether it is our wrong doings or others.

    Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion.

    May Allah guide us all to the truth.

  7. Anand from India

    Information provided is excelent but What u r intended by this article is not clear.. What is the relation on this article with Kiling of muslims in Gujrat. U r going away from the fact that why it was started?

    I am not intending any debate but the fact is Muslim in India are Indians, hindus does not Hate Muslims.

  8. Akbar Khan from canada

    Gurpreet let me remind you, that without knowing your history, you have no future. If Hindus in Gujurat do not learn of Islam's history in Hindustan, then they will continue to hate and hold prejudice against Muslims in the region. You talk about going ot Madraasas to teach...isn't that hte same thing the author of hte article is doing here????

    Do not deny the fact that HIndu's are killing Muslims just because they are Muslims...do not deny it, because if you do, you are basically denying the TRUTH.

    There is no such thing as a future without an understanding of history....if you do not know what you planned yesterday for tomorrow, then you future will be questionable and on a path to destruction and lies.

  9. Gurpreet from India

    Dear all,

    I read everybody's comments barring a few rest is all crap. I am sorry to say that we have missed the bus here. I believe the issue was Gujarat Violence.

    What ever happened in Gujarat was shameful and as an Indian I will always feel ashamed about the incident. What ever happened in Gujarat was wrong but only on humanitarian grounds, be it Godhra or post Godha incidents. No human being has the right to take any other human beings life.

    I do not believe that Hindus are bad and Muslims are good or vise versa I believe that we are mixed bags there are good Hindus and bad Hindus and good Muslims and bad Muslims. No religion is bad; no teachers were bad it's the people, the followers of that religion who misinterpret things or to their convenience.

    Tell me "is their any religion which teaches bad things?"

    Religion is a way of life, a way to lead a good life. I had a fortune of studying few religions like Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. None of them talk about violence or anything of that sort. They all talk about love, brotherhood, way of life. Even Islam's core focus is "universal brotherhood" (check out this link on "what is Islam" http://www.islamicity.com/education/understandingislamandmuslims/)

    Now about the article I feel that article is totally misleading because it starts with Gujarat violence then all of a sudden it goes on a memory trip. Here also we do not know what authority the author holds on history of India. All the incidents have nothing to do with religion. They where simply put historical events related to Money and power. Even there an old saying that " behind all fights / wars, there is always Zur (money) , Zuro(female / wife) and Zameen (land)." But never religion .

    The author has just tried to give a religious twist to the Gujarat issue. We are all talking about the problem and petty issues nobody is taking abut the solution. I also feel that it very irresponsible of the author to write such

  10. Sameena from US/India

    Hindu hatred is a misleading term. What is happening right now is that upper caste India is giving Muslim and Christian punching bags to low-caste uneducated masses for their pent up rage. When India received its independence, it was with the promise that this new Hindu nation would put an end to caste oppression. More than 50 yrs later, caste is still very much alive and well in India. With new money flooding in from foreign investment, the disparity between rich and poor has become even more obvious. There is a lot of anger and frustration in the Indian masses. And the general attitude of uppercaste India towards the masses is one of fear and distrust, along with a deep rascist indifference to their suffering and even a hatred for their very existence. Hindu nationalism with Ayodhya as its central point is a upper caste way of diluting and delaying the civil rights movement of India. Low caste leaders since Ambedkar's time have tried to form coalitions with minorities (muslims, sikhs, christians) to conteract the uppercaste dominance of India. These days, Hindu organizations are busy preaching vegegarianism to the low castes who traditionally eat meat. they know that by generating hatred towards Muslims etc and by making low castes vegetarians, they are creating divisions that will prevent low castes and minorities from joining each other in a coalition. The sad part about this is that Muslims in India are so isolated that they are downright idiotic in their politics. They keep playing the Ayodhya game and keep fighting for the already destroyed mosque and for special Muslim laws that are largely useless ot the Indian Muslims. If Muslims give up Ayodhya and token Muslim laws, and instead focus their time and energy on ASSET-BUILDING ie. making schools and universities and creating jobs within their communities, they will do more for the advancement of Islam and for the Muslims of India.

  11. Zeta from UK

    Ramesh Patel isnt a convert to Islam. Nothing but a childish attempt by some hindu fanatic to be a pretend Muslim online.

    Hindus do not allow for conversion into their faith, and rarely will they discuss their "faith" since it really is a bunch of supremascist nonsense cobbled together by the brahmin overclass.

    In fact, its the other way round, Hindus, from all castes are leaving totalitarian hinduism searching for real faith, which they often find in Islam.

  12. H.A. from .....

    To Ramesh Patel (FORMER MUSLIM)

    Sir...It's ok that you've converted to Hinduism..(YOUR RELIGION IS YOURS, MY RELIGION IS MINE)but you've obviously developed a 1000 KG of hatred toward Muslims.... I am curious...What caused you to convert to Hinduism and hate the Muslims? (IS YOUR WIFE/GIRLFRIEND A HINDU? DID your wife PAY YOU A LOT OF BONUS FOR MARRYING her? ( THis is just pure speculation, which is sin accooridng to Islam, but I will repent. My curiostiy is causing me to add sins to my sin basket.

    ....maybe I could follow your footsteps (convert)...but

    WHY DON't you let everyone know why Muslims are burned alive in Gujrat??? If it's all the faults of Muslims,why the Indian gov't sentenced 13 Hindus to life in prison for killing Muslims????

    Don't be a coward. Let's everyone know here on this site. I am not going to e-mail you. Let's do it here. LET THE WORLD KNOW.

    Don't worry!!! I am not going to send my assitants to break all the bones in your body.

    ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH regardless of the circumstances/situation you are in; That's ISLAM 101.

    Enjoy the Bollywood Flix!!! Namaste!!! Adab!!! Namaskar!!! Patel Dada. ...TA..Ta for now!!!

  13. ramesh patel ( mohammad rashid khan ) from india.

    I AM A CONVERTED TO HINDUISM FROM ISLAM

    AS A EX-MUSLIM I WISH TO STATE THAT MUSLIMS

    ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR FATE THAT HAS FALLEN

    THEM IN INDIA. IF U WISH TO KNOW FURTHER CONTACT ME ON THE EMIAL ADDRESS.

  14. H.A. from .........

    Let H.A. step in to clean up the mess that is stemming from this article. It's NOT the article's fault, but the uneducated arrogant ones, who posses too much pride are creating the mess.

    The whole Indian subcontinent, not just India, is the istan where Hindu, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, and other coexisting peacefully for centuries. YOU DO NOT SEE THAT IN THE WEST or anywhere else; YOU ONLY SEE ONE HATRED/EXTERMINATION PROGRAM ONE AFTER ANOTHER here in your LOVELY WEST.

    THose (in the subcontinent) who are creating hate are driven by uneducated politians who are using the illiterate village people for political gains. It has very little do with being Muslim or Hindus. Of course, there will be fanatics, but DON'T LABEL the WHOLE region as INTOLERANT LAND for any group of people.

    Whether you live in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or any other countries in that region, you will detect almost NO HATE compared to the rest of the world. HOW DO I know that? Been there, seen that.

    A lot of Mulims who posted comments here are EXTREMELY STUPID. They are calling other Muslims NOT Muslims. Give up your minor differences, bros... Grow up. APPLY your common senses. Anyone who believes in ONE partnerless God and believes in the final revelation (Quran) is a Muslim. NO buts or ifs..

    May be you've too much free time on hand to hate. WHY DON't you (Hindus and Muslims) volunteer and educate your illiterate Hindu, Muslims, or Jewish neigbbors instead of creating hate or coming up with SCALE for measuring who is Muslim enough and Who is NOT.

    Let H.A. end w/ a quote..."....Don't ascribe purity to yourself. Only Allah knows who is pure and rightly guided..."

    ..."Forgive and overlook others' faults. Don't you love that Allah should forgive you."

    ..."Let there be no reproof against.." us. "May God forgive us..." ALL. " He is the most merciful of those who show mercy"

  15. Fouad Khatib from USA

    A balanced article. I have been perplexed by the dichotomous versions of history found in India and Pakistan. For instance, generally, the Pakistani version regards the campaigns of Mahmud of Ghazni as a fight against idolatory and polytheism - something that a young Mahmud had vowed to uphold. The Indian version regards the same campaigns as part of a pattern of Islamic invaders defiling the Hindu religion.

    Neither view can survive scrutiny. The former version extends more than a mere benefit of doubt to Mahmud. It fails to explain the reasons for repeated campaigns, and the lack of any meaningful post-campaign steps by Mahmud to fight idolatory. The latter view ignores the fact that Ghazni was a rich city embellished by the gains of Mahmud's various campaigns - not just the Indian ones. Furthermore, in 17 campaigns, an unchallenged Mahmud could have destroyed hundreds of temples.

    Simple scrutiny compells the inference that the campaigns were for booty, and Somnath was a good address for that purpose. Unless the color of religion is removed from the historical accounts and from discourse, accuracy will remain the casualty - with devastating consequences in terms of communal disharmony in India.

    I agree with the author's view that this history must be re-examined with cold objectivity.

  16. Faisal Ghori from USA

    Very accurate, precise, and true history of Muslims in India.

  17. N. Ameen from USA

    I would like to commend Mr. Javeed Akhter on his balanced article. Even as a Muslim, Mr. Akhter does not water down the atrocities committed by Muslim leaders upon the Hindus. At the same time, he points out the positive contributions of some of the Muslim leaders.

    As a non-Indian, I have often wondered how Islam obtained its foothold in India. This article answered my question. Low caste Hindus were impressed by the piety of the sufis who immigrated from Baghdad after Ghengis Khan's massacres. This prompted them to convert.

    The article also answered my questions about why the Muslims don't leave India if the situation is so bad - because these people are indigenous Indians and have been living there for thousands of years.

    I believe that the last mughal rules of India were an opressive lot. The bitter taste of their rule still rings heavy in the minds of Hindus. Therefore, the Hindus have so much animosity towards the Muslims.

    Incidentally, I also read Mr. Akhter's internet essay on the life of the Prophet(s) entitled "The Seven Phase of Prophet Muhammed's Life" and I really liked it. I would recommend this article to anybody who wants to get a glimpse of the life of the Prophet.

  18. asif raza from Pakistan/USA

    It's been hindus hobby throughout history to kill others espicially Muslims. Gujrat massacre was an example of that in India, where millions Muslims live. They talk about terrorism...check your own history. who been terrorist we (Muslims) or you (kafirs) Think about the Kashmir. Hell is been raised by Hidus over Muslims where sisters and mother been raped on daily bases. Our brother dying everyday by their occupy forces, and we don't speak out agianst them. Whats up with us....do we dont have to answer Allah on the day of judgment?

  19. E Panneer selvam from India

    Do the author thinks that India is not a nation and it looks as a fractured country?

    The author writes what he thinks. India is the country which always called as country with unity in diversity. he tells that south and north are partitioned. Time and Distance can not be barrier for love and one nation feelings.

    Gujarath incident is the shame one and there is no second opinion about that one. But everybody knows which ignited that incident.Who attacks India for gujarath comfortably forgets about the Godhra incident,in which 53 Hindus were buried live because they are Ram Bakths(Lord Ram Devotees).

    But We the real indians always against any attack on other reliegons.

    But we are having good culture and tradition compared to any other country in the world.

    We are always lives our life without affecting other people. WE are not killing anyone in the name of Holywar. We are hijacking flights and crashing them on the tallest building and killing thousands of people in the name of god and Holy War. There are some people who not loves other reliegon people in India. But the True indian is always likes communal harmony and secularism.

    I want to say In India the population of muslims is grater than any muslim country in the world.

    I come to see this page what you are saying about Islam and quran. I did not expect such a bad article.

    This is a very bad thinking of the author and it shows how cheaply he is thinking about India.

    He must be shamed of his article.

  20. shadab from india

    In response to Mr Sham Ali.

    Mr Sham, it is important to differentiate between truth and lies and likewise between what is concept and what is being practised. A concept is never assessed on what its followers do but it should be vice versa. Lets discuss Sufism first. I dont know how far you can trace the idea of Sufism as per your knowledge but to enlighten you, word Sufi has come from word 'Suffa' which means the platform or chabutra in arabic. It refers to a group of very pious and austere people who used to sit on one platform at the time of early islam and were day and night in worship of allah. They were one of the highest quality islamic people. Since then Sufis dispersed to many geographies and to south asia too including Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti rahmatullah, Nizamuddin Auliya rahmatullah etc. These people were the real spreader of islam and were great. Gradually sufism has deteriorated and has become synonymous to Qawwali and grave worship which is just contrary to islam. So sufism has deteriorated and its not that it was originally a bad idea. you cant equate present days practice to original idea. whatever you are talking abt blood relations pregnancies is definitely not a mainstream islam and i never heard abt it. Ofcourse western media would be interested in defaming islam and muslims by highlighting practice of some handful people which is more cultural based than religious. Coming to killing of sufis, well in riots, the hindu fanatics did not target only sufis but anybody who is associated with islam. If you were there, you would also be targetted. I have my acquaintances in Gujarat and know first hand information. Secondly, the logic of earning it by own hands, its just a dismissal of truth that injustice was served to muslims and there is nothing which can justify. Do you think Allah is going to say to all those muslims who were raped and burned till death that 'you earned it' and there will be no justice. There is nothing which can justify that.

  21. Akbar Khan from Canada

    As I did state before, the word HINDU originally exists in teh Parci/Farci language, and not in the "hindi" language, as the original language of the South Asian subcontinent is Sanskrit!!! Not HINDI. All Hindu texts are originally written in Sanskrit. The proper name of the region is NOT INDIA....this is something brought by the British, rather it is Hindustan, whether you like it or not, whether we have creeated these new secular states calling themselves Pakistan, or India, or Afghanistan...it was in fact an original name of Khurasaan which covers vast areas taht encompasses Iran, Afghanistan, and some parts of Pakistan...while other parts of Pakistan is encompassed by Hindustan. I am frmo Pakistan, and that does not mean that I am against the state of Pakistan, in fact I thank Allah, SWT, for blessing Muslims with Pakistan so much. The problem I have, is that Secularism is taking such a sweeping role in teh daily lives of South Asian peoples, that the uneducated people of the region who, like you said live in Mud Huts, are being subjugated to a social structure, as in the USA, the rich oppress the poor through monetary measures and supremacy by means of wealth.

    yes India, proper name Hindustan, has one of the oldest civilizations, languages, cultures, history in the entier world, we cannot disregard that the holy books used by Pundits in Al-Hind are originally written in Sanskrit, and tehre are many instances in these books, such as Vedas, and Bhagvat Gita, that not only mention Rasool-as-Salam (SAAW) by the name "Muhammad", but they describe his very details...in fact you can get a books from Islamicity taht even talks about this I believe.

    History tells, whoever is powerful in their time, their version of history is always told. It would be nice if you could look at history from another perspective...don't say, 'PAKISTAN is NOT HINDUSTAN, HOW DARE YOU!' or something like that...IT is not India, and it is NOT Pak, it's Al-Hind and Khurasaan.

  22. Zorro from UK

    Actually sham ali, you are correct regarding my education, even if it was based on childish wahhabist sarcasm.

    You're an ignoramus to say the least. Sufism came from Syria and Egypt, and is not the product of Indian Muslims borrowing anything from Hindus. You're clearly confused to lump together sufism with some ignorant Indian Muslims who pay excessive tributes to the graves of loved ones. Sufis are Muslims, some go beyond the confines of religion when they discard marriage and other obligations, but that in no sense makes them the equivalent of grave worshippers. You have no authority to declare them non-Muslims.

    Learn some facts before mouthing off like some kid in a seminary. Stick to the topic of hindu terror.

  23. AsadUllah from Canada

    A well-written and well-reserched article.

    In reply to a comment posted, I would say that they should explain their Hindu terminology to a mob leader in Gujrat and find out the true meaning of the word. It does not mean both the Hindu Hindus and Hindu Muslims. Muslims and Hindus are two seperate groups of people. They were one when the word was written in Parsi/Farsi dictionaries.

    Living in mud huts is not the problem. The problem is this killing of innocent people on both sides.

    In response to Romesh Chander's comment, I would say that we don't see muslims leaving India because their ancestors are from this area. Its their homeland. They did not come from outside. The people who came from outside are very few in number as compared to local convert muslims. They were impressed by Sufis as they showed them the true morality of Islam. No wonder many hindus and sikhs still visit their shrines in India in big numbers.

    Jizya is the alternate of Zakat. Muslims pay zakat and non muslims pay Jizya. These are two different taxes that people will pay in an Islamic society. Non-muslims need not to pay zakat. This is in return for their protection. Many muslim kings in India were brutal and did not follow their religion. So were some of the Hindu kings before Islam came to India. This is a social problem. We need to ponder upon this. This is not what a religion preaches. If we do not like some muslims, we cannot say that its because of the religion. 'You' can 'become' a 'better Muslim'. Islam is for all people.

    If we need to find about Islam as a religion and social set up, then we must read about Sufis in India and elsewhere or read about Prophet Muhammed(Peace be upon him)'s life and the Khulufae Rashideen(The first four Caliphs) of Islam. Most of the others were 'kings' who were lead by their greed for power and other worldy desires. They were not working for bringing social order and removing chaos from the world. We must see the reality without any p

  24. Inty from UK

    How can you expect anything from a nation that cannot attempt to treat its own people in accordance with its 'secular' constitution. The 'untouchable' classes in India are among the worst treated on the planet.

    Indian claims to be a secular republic are preposterous! I admit there are faults in the Pakistani society and generally with the Muslim countries under inept rulers. But these countries/ societies are not based on the Islamic / Quranic model.

    It is clear that Islam is the only religion/ political system that protects the minorities. If you want a near example then look at Malaysia. Hindu minorities are respected and treated as equal citizens in that country.

    As mahatma Ghandhi quoted;

    "In Germany I told my friend Goethe about the facts I had gathered concerning Islam and added my personal reflections on the subject. After listening to me with attention, he said, 'If that is Islam, we are all Muslims.' "

    MAHATMA GANDHI (Mohandas Karam-chand):

  25. B.Blazer from UK

    Chanders comments confirm the blood libel fascist hindus have against Muslims. BJP fanatics always side step the issue about minority rights by making claims that the Pakistanis do the same, as if to justify their barbaric treatment of Muslims and Christians.

    Pakistan is a far more tolerant society than India can ever hope to be, infact the reason Pakistan came about was because of Indian intolerance.

    Instead of dealing with hindu bigotry Chander would have Muslims who are the sons of Indian soil simply leave. Keep dreaming computer coolie, minorities arent going to disappear for your convinience.

  26. Sham Ali from Australia

    To Zorro and Muneer Amjeed:

    Since you guys are the educated ones on here, would you please tell me what the basis of Isamic Monotheism is???? I give you both a hint Islamic monotheism has 3 Branches! DON'T WORRY I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT IT!

    If you knew anything about Islamic Monotheism Then You would know that Sufis are not MUSLIMS......for a Muslim means those who have submitted to Allah! And not submitted to Grave and Saint worshipping. This is the practice of the Hindus adopted by the Sufis. SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HINDU AND A SUFI?? INFACT SOME SUFIS ARE EVEN WORSE THEN THE HINDUS!

    Oh and by the way there are a sect of Sufis that have legalised Sexual intercourse between blood relatives!!

    And this practice is rife in the Southern Asian Region. Father is impregnating daughter and brothers and impregnating their sisters!! BUT I GUESS TO YOU EDUCATED ONES THIS IS ALSO ISLAMIC!! Tell you what, why don't you guys visit Indonesia where Sufism has a very large following, and you will see what I'm saying with your own eyes! FATHERS PROUD OF BEING THEIR DAUGHTER'S SON'S FATHER!

    I was watching a documentary on Sufi Muslims of India the other day, it was put together by a Christian Woman from the U.K. And even she after watching a Sufi ceremony, said that it reminded her of a Hindu Ceremony!

    Don't give me your non-sense of "I don't know what I'm talking about" I have read many "SUFI" books about many sufi "Saints". In reality it you who are following your own whims rather then Islam.

    As Allah says in many places in the Quran, that he does not send a calamity upon a people unless their hands have earned it. You should ask yourself why Allah has sent a calamity in the Form of the Murdering and Raping Hindu mobs to the Muslims of India?? The Answer is clear, but for those who are arrogant!

  27. Akbar from usa

    Seems like the good ole fashioned self hating muslims from the Indian contentent are at it again.

    Funny thing is, Indians...this include brown people now calling themselves Paki's have been opressing each other since the beginning of their existance.

    The fair skinned opress the dark skinned.

    The rich opress the poor.

    The hindu the muslim.

    The muslim the hindu ....

    This ALL before the British came and enslaved them all.

    India was the ONLY country where billions were ruled by thousands...why?

    Because one Indian would sell his brother to fill his own pocket.

    So, what this article adresses is the truth...however it goes both ways...something the author did not bother to mention in great detail.

    India has one of Earth's oldest civilizations...and more than half of them still live in mud huts..... NOW THERE'S SOMETHING WORTH WRITING ABOUT!

  28. xyz from india

    The article is so biased and trying to repaint the

    history. It should probably mention that ghauri was defeated and letgo not once but 17 times and when ghauri got a chance to defeat chauhan, he killed chauhan ..

    and there is a shameless mention of tolerance of other faiths and traditions..

  29. Furqan Ahmad from Malaysia

    The comment by Sham Ali "Hindu killing a Sufi is like killing Hindu" is utterly prepostrous.

    How can you discount on people who affirm Shahadah, "La Ilaha Illalah Muhammadur Rasool Allah".

  30. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Might I also add, that the word Hindu, is translated to mean a few things. In fact it is a word that originally exists in the Parci/Farci language, and not the Hindi language

    Hindu to many means the region between the Himalayas, and the Ocean which is now called teh Indian Ocean.

    To others I have talked to, it also means, dark-skinned people.

    If this is the case, in both circumstances, I am a Hindu Muslim!! The word Hindu is not reserved for the many castes of Hindus!! There are many different castes or types of polytheists, like Jainists, and Jatts! So please, let's stop this dialectical montage and get with reality!! Before there was such a thing as Pakistan, all Muslims lived NOT in India, they lived in HINDUSTAN! EVen in Arabic, Hindustan is written as, Al-Hind....let's look at the meaning of this ancient word a little more closely, shall we? Because apparently, it is not reserved for polytheists.

    Thanks again, please post thiss...

  31. Akbar Khan from Canada

    Wow....what an excellent work, I am truly impressed by this article on Islamicity, simply because the atrocities in India are rarely addresed carefully, and in an historical context may I just add. Moulana Chisthi brought more than 7 million people to Islam!!! Masha'Allah this is a great man...the Sufi's in Ajmer, Rajistan are truly following a great following. Let us remember that Hadhrat Chisti, and many like him have been great saints in Islamic history, and he himself is said to have seen rasool-Allah in his dream, telling him to go towards India to spread Islam. This is not Shirk, please do not make it into being so. read the actual account of his life and you will see the great mystery of Islam's coming to India.

    On another note...read what great Islamic intellectuals like Imam Ghazali wrote about music...he never prohibited it or said it was bidah to play music. His analysis of music is something that is profound even until today, as he states in Ihya Ulum Ad-Deen.

    Lastly, Hindu extremism is very deeply embedded within India's culture and society. For example, Vajpayee has ordered that all classroom texts teach children that the Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan (a great Muslim Emperor of his time for his wife), was originally a Hindu monument or the site of a Hindu monument, and was originally built by them. Those who have the power, write the history as they see it, even if it totallly has no basis I guess. Look at Uttar Pradesh, just a few weeks ago I was reading that the Extremist Hindu government of the Uttar Pradesh province is giving out GOLD and SILVER to any Hindu family that produces at least 4 children. In fact the HIndu government there is trying to put this into LAW, in order to challenge the increasing Muslim population in that region...to somehow fight the rise in the Muslim population. This comes all after the fact that Hindus have BURNT MUSLIMS ALIVE, IN THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, in places like Gujurat!

    Akbar

  32. Romesh Chander from US

    Well, I don't find any attempt by muslims to leave Hindu India to their beloved muslim countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen, Indonesia, Senegal, etc. Why not?

    But in Pakistan, the life of Hindus was made so miserable by Sharia regulations that 80% of Hindus have left Pakistan.

    Obviously the condition of muslims in India must be very good and contrary to the opinions of the author.

    It is rather surprising that the author admits that Somnath was looted by muslims; but if he reads the history taught in Pakistan, he will find that no such thing happened!! Can one believe any muslim author/writer?

  33. Zorro from UK

    Hey Sham Ali, Sufism and Hinduism are worlds apart. You dont know what you're talking about. High caste Hindus have been killing the lower caste Hindus for centuries, big surprise that these sub-human beasts dont accept anyone else.

  34. KikeBot from UK

    You're a delusional liar "crowned." Seems like reading the orientalistic rantings of Bat Yeor on Dhimmis has destroyed what little passed for an excuse as a brain.

    Slavery in Sudan is ran my Christians who sell fellow christians from different tribes. You frauds have got the market on slavery cornered.

  35. Munir Amjeed from US

    This is a wonderful article and historical reference in that it is well researched and goes in great detail of the history of Muslims in India.

    However, some posts here need to be replied. Mr. Ali points out that a hindu killing a sufi is like a hindu killing a hindu. On one hand he isn't too clear, but if we try to make out the hodgepodge it looks like he believes that a Sufi is not a Muslim.

    It's mind baffling and ironic that ignorance prevaded so far and wide in this day and age of modern technology and the internet which we call the information superhighway. For Sham's sake, a Sufi is just a generic term given by other people to those men who were ascetics. He's right they are not like "us." They are better than us. Whatever the "us" means. Indeed, they didn't chase the dunya and lived for this world as some of us "Muslims" do. If there were any people from the Ummah of Muhammad (saws) who were detached and God-fearing, no doubt it were the Sufis, may Allah be pleased with the righteous ones. And some have the audacity to call them names at best, and Hindus and unbelievers at worst. May Allah forgive us all and grant us knowledge before it's too late.

    W'salaam.

  36. Crowned from US

    This is article is so whitewashed it's pathetic, as if the status of Dhimmi is something humane.

    Dhimmitude is no better than slavery.

    Of course I don't hear much in condemnation for the slavery in Sudan, TODAY, carried out by the Islamic government against the non-muslim citizens in southern Sudan.

    I've never seen much outrage at this from the Muslim community.

    Nor much owning up to the atrocities Islam has produced for 1400 years!

    So I suppose I shouldnt expect you to think dhimmitude was something wrong.

    Afterall, you are the 'Master Faith', right?

  37. Zorro from UK

    The roots of Hindu terror and hatred towards Muslims and other minorities rests in the hindu religion itself.

    Hinduism cannot survive without the caste system, hence their hatred of any ideology which promotes equality. By converting to Islam, millions of low caste Hindus freed themselves of a system which had enslaved generations. Human rights are a mystery to Hinduism past and present.

    If Hindus are so bitter about "foriegn invasions" why not raise hell about the Aryans who conquered and converted the Buddhist peoples of the sub-continenet millenia ago ? If Muslims had wanted they could have eradicated all traces of Hinduism, yet they never did throughout their centuries of rule. The demographic fact that 85% of Indians are Hindus debunks the myth of forced conversion.

    Modern day India is a failed state precisely because Hindu extemists have run the country for decades. A country where widespread voter-fraud and gangs of armed thugs make sure people vote the "right" way can hardly be called democratic. Hindu "nationalism" or Hindutva is nothing but a form of fascism whose advocates openly brag about the virtues of Hitlers Germany and Mussolinis Italy.

    Finally it should be pointed that the murderers of Mahatma Gandhi are the same people running the country today.

  38. Sham Ali from Australia

    A hindu killing a sufi "muslim" is like a hindu killing another hindu!

    There is no difference between the Hindu Creed and Sufism. They just spelt differently.

    I think someone should tell the Hindu thugs that they're only killing some of their own!!