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Just woke with Sunday with the news that over 100 Christian homes were burnt in Pakistan over a petty issue. These kinds of news have become a part of our lives. Growing old with a large number of intolerant bigots makes one wonder whether you will actually grow old to see all what you have planned to. We saw in the last article, how the concepts of Blasphemy, Umma and Fatwa have corrupted the minds of Muslims. Now when I have sewai at my friend’s home during Id, I fear when these nice gestures would turn into a vehement violent act. But one thing is for sure, Muslims in India, very much like the Hindus in India tend to welcome their guests with a red carpet. When you visit a normal muslim house not located in one of those ‘ghettos’ you don’t find much difference in the culture, the attitude and the behaviour of Indian muslims. They are so similar, yet so isolated. What is it actually that makes them feel alienated in their own land? Let’s peep into the history of the Indian sub continent just in the limited context of Islam and India.

Some Prominent Islamic invaders in India

  • Mohammad Bin Qasim – It all started in 712 A.D. with the attack of Mohammad Bin Qasim on Sindh (Now in Pakistan). During those days, Islam had spread its tentacles in mid Eastern Europe (Spain), entire Central Asia, deserts of Western Asia and parts of Africa. Arabians and Persians wanted Islam to spread worldwide and were extensively using Jihad (religious wars) to achieve their goal. Resources would be required for such large scale Jihad. Ceylon (Modern day Sri lanka) King sent cargoes of gifts and riches to the Persian Caliphate (successor of Prophet Mohammad). En route to Baghdad, the ships were captured by Hindu Raja Dahir in Sindh who was not a very popular king among his subjects. Coupled with factors of dissent among his subjects and the anguish of Islamic rule in Persia, General Bin Qasim was sent with a lethal force to attack Sindh. Bin Qasim was ordered by his ruler Hajjaj “”My ruling is given: Kill anyone belonging to the combatants (ahl-i-harb); arrest their sons and daughters for hostages and imprison them. Whoever does not fight against us, grant them aman (safety) and settle their tribute “. Numerous tribes were destroyed who were resistant to the invasion. However Bin Qasim was relatively not as intolerant as his successors. His primary motive for the attack was the capture of the loots from Dahir and not the establishment of Islamic order in India.
  • Mahmud of Ghazni – Mahmud of Ghani attacked India 17 times in a span of 25 years (1000 A.D to 1025 A.D.). Mahmud’s aim was to plunder the riches of India and not to permanently establish Islamist supremacy in India. India in those years had several thousand small kingdoms and individually was no match against the might of the highly successful plunder maniac Mahmud. Mahmud not only stripped the cities of its wealth, but also destroyed the temples which provided him huge supplies of gold. Mahmud was pragmatic of forming an alliance with local Hindu leaders. As a result he never had a permanent stay in India and only raided her, when his lust for Gold and wealth drove him to the richest country of the world at that point of time.
  • Muhammad Ghori – He can be credited for laying the foundation Islamic Rule lasting over 800 years in the Indian subcontinent. Ghori was a fierce invader who would stop at nothing less than Islamization of India. He attacked India numerous times only to be defeated. He lost the Battle of Tarain to Indian Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan. As a gesture Chauhan forgave Ghori and allowed him to regroup. Ghori attacked again a year later and did not show any such gesture to Chauhan and killed him brutally. He later punished his local aide King Jaichandra. Mohammad Ghori’s followers started muslim rule in India which lasted for 4dynasties (Slave, Khilji, Tughlaq, Lodi). Among them, they were known to have destroyed various religious, spiritual and traditional sanctuaries of India to spread Islam. One such spectacular case is that of Nalanda University. It is believed that thousands of monks and millions of books were burnt by Bakhtiyar Khilji to set the order of Islam in medieval India. This is just a small sample of the rage carried out by the lieutenants of Muhammad Ghori. Some details are found here.
  • Babur – Mongol invader attacked India and wrested the reins of the subcontinent from fellow muslim ruler Ibrahim Lodi. This first battle of Panipat set a new muslim order in India, later known as Mughals. Babur was known for destroying the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya (a religious place for Hindus) and setting up babri mosque (which later was demolished by fringe Hindu extremists). Except for his grandson Akbar the great, the mughal family was very intolerant towards Hindus. Akbar chose to deviate away from the traditional muslim ideology of treating non muslims as 2nd grade. In his court famous Hindus gained prominence. He married Hindu women inorder to align harmony with Rajput kings. But with his death, the secular beliefs also died. His third successor Aurangzeb was the most powerful mughal king and is well known for destroying thousands of Hindu temples and other shrines and building mosques in those sites. The Mughal rule eventually came to an end in 1857 A.D. after the Britishers took over reins of the country

Timur Lame, Ahmed Shah Abdali, Nadir Shah, Ajmal Kasab are other muslim attackers who have come to India in the name of Islam and laid many lives among them.

Conversion of Hindus

It is believed that the 800 odd years of rule in Indian subcontinent had an impact on the local populace which was primarily Hindus and Buddhists among several other religions. Today 1/3rd of the population of Indian sub continent is muslims with around 200 million muslims in India alone forming a strong demographic force. We will see various theories in place and analyze as to which of them would be the main reasons of such a large muslim population in Indian sub continent.

  1. Coercion – It is believed that Ghoris, Slaves, Khilji etc were extremely cruel rulers with a penchant to spread Islam by any means. They had to strike terror in the heart of non believers (non muslims) by destroying their religious shrines, raping their women and killing their men. Thus forcing large masses to convert to Islam. The condition was that an orphaned child or a widowed woman converted to a religion being practiced by the murderer of their father/husbands
  1. Persuasion – Sufism cult started in India in the 12th Century. It was a peaceful movement and numerous Sufi saints spread the values and virtues of Islam and presented it as the best/only alternative to reach God. Thus many followers of these saints converted to Islam.
  1. Deception – Islam allows its followers to preach lies (Takkiyah) if it is done for saving someone’s life or for converting a non muslim to a muslim. So the preachers of Islam told lies about their religion and made the non believers believe in stories and converted them
  1. Conviction – Hindusim had its own flaws back then and did not undergo any Evolution or Renaissance. Evil practices such as Caste system, led the muslims to convert by self will and conviction
  1. Elitism – For 800 years the country was ruled by muslim rulers who were considered to be the elitists. Non muslims had to pay additional tax (Jazzia) as prescribed by Islam for being a non muslim. To escape the financial burden and enter the religion practised ‘elite’ ruler class, some preferred converting
  1. Organic growth – The last but the most vociferously proclaimed theory is that all the muslims living in the Indian subcontinents are the descendants of the Arabic and Persian invaders who attacked india and bred rapidly in the country after settling here for life.

There have been claims but no one has any proof as to what percentage of the muslim population fell into each of the above mentioned categories. Let us then discuss each of them trying to logically analyze the merit of the theories and back them up with any scientific assertion. Over the numerous invasions of India over the last 1300 years all have just attacked India, plundered wealth, butchered people, destroyed shrines and then left for their homes except Muhammad Ghori and Babur. Both these invaders came to india with large forces equipped with advanced weapons and local support. Though these rulers won the wars, like in any other war they too would have suffered huge causalities leaving their residual number to be very low. The military men and the Sultan officlas would have brought their wives/families at a later stage and prospered in India but their number was way too small to be a part of the significant Hindu population. It is difficult to analyze the exact percentage of muslims population in India from the above reasons. But a sample scientific DNA print can prove that most of the muslims in Indian sub continent are not descendants of Arabic and Persian invaders, hence that point is ruled out. Only those who felt the burden of non muslims tax high, would consider converting to evade Jazzia. The poor peasants who could barely afford to sustain themselves would like to get rid of additional burden imposed on them in the name of religion. Going by the way, ‘Caste System’ was prominent in Hinduism until early 20th century and that large numbers of Hindus still belong to backward classes, it is difficult to believe that large scale conversions would have happened from Hinduism to Islam by the backward masses to get rid of the underprivileged treatment from the upper caste Hindus. We also know that Takkiyah is a modern day Wahabi concept sponsored by Saudi Arabia to convert more and more non muslims by using lies and deception. At that point of time it would not have been used too much.

We now turn to Sufism. Sufi movement in India is believed to be impactful in converting large scale muslims. Another main reason for large scale reason is ‘Fear’. Fear factor also seems to have played an important role in large scale conversion. Other reasons have already been discussed and we can logically conclude that 90-95% of the 60 million odd muslim population in the subcontinent are the converted muslims who converted either due to Sufism or due to fear of Muslim invaders. Sufi saints tried to preach Islam as the peaceful way to God but during that time, another movement known as Bhakti movement led by Hindu saints gained prominence which challenged the rise of Islam in India. Hence much of the effects of Sufi movement would have been nullified by Bhakti movement which sought to create awareness about the Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism). Another flaw in saying that Sufism caused the maximum conversion is that Sufi saints presented Islam as a peaceful belief, whereas the rulers proved themselves to be mass murderers causing rage, wrath and destruction among the local masses. Hence it becomes difficult to believe that a 12 year old child whose father would have been butchered on the basis of religion would convert to Islam believing it to be a religion of peace. Well known Historian K.S. Lal has estimated that 80 million Hindus were butchered between 1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D, which if even remotely correct could be the biggest ever holocaust to have ever happened in the history of mankind. The figures might be higher or lower because the figures are disputed by many historians. But on one thing they all are in unison that a very large number of Indians were executed during this period, which incidentally clashed with the prominence of Sufi movement in India. It is evident that such a large population of non muslims died in the Islamic resistance. Hence one can conclude that Sufism might have caused large scale conversions in numbers but in percentage terms, it seems highly unlikely that many would have converted out of choice given so much death and destruction. Hence when the foundation itself is based mostly on lies, death, destruction, coercion, exploitation and fundamentalism, one cannot blame a modern day Indian muslim to be any different from his brethren of medieval ages.

India has faced the sword of Arabia, the sting of Persia and numerous other muslim attacks even until modern day (Terror attacks). But 800 million Hindus and 50 million other religions are still thriving in the country despite all these attempts to wipe out the fundamentals of tolerance and Unison in india. India has weathered many a fundamentalists’ storm in the last 1000 years. The shield of India has proved to be the stronger than the sword of Arabia. But do we possess the resistive power what our ancestors used to and do we have the will power to defend the fundamentals of this country to its core? Perhaps only time can answer that, but nothing wrong in having hope and being strong

In the next edition we will ride back to present, we will see how the Republic of India got threatened when its ideologues were kept at bay and when Religion became more important than country.