Wednesday, December 26, 2007


“India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to do for herself and the human peoples. And that which must seek now to awake is not an anglicised oriental people, docile pupil of the West and doomed to repeat the cycle of the occident's success and failure, but still the ancient immemorable Shakti recovering her deepest self, lifting her head higher towards the supreme source of light and strength and turning to discover the complete meaning and a vaster form of her Dharma” .
--Sri Aurobindo



Bharatvani Books


Did Hindus survive as a majority in their own homeland because the Islamic invaders did not employ sufficient force to kill or convert them, or because, though defeated again and again by the superior military skill of the invaders, Hindu princes did not give up resistance and came back again and again to reconquer their lost kingdoms, to fight yet another battle, yet another day, till the barbarians were brought to book?

Muslims in India and elsewhere have been led to believe by the mullahs and Muslim historians that the conquest of India by Islam started with the invasion of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 AD, was resumed by Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1000 AD, and completed by Muhammad Ghuri when he defeated the Chauhans of Ajmer and the Gahadvads of Kanauj in the last decade of the 12th century. Muslims of India in particular have been persuaded to look back with pride on those six centuries, if not more, when India was ruled by Muslim emperors. In this make-belief, the British rulers are treated as temporary intruders who cheated Islam of its Indian empire for a hundred years. So also the “Hindu Banias”, who succeeded the British in 1947 AD. Muslims are harangued every day, in every mosque and madrasah, not to rest till they reconquer the rest of India which, they are told, rightfully belongs to Islam.

The academic historians also agree that India was ruled by Muslim monarchs from the last decade of the 12th century to the end of the 18th. The standard textbooks of history, therefore, narrate medieval Indian history in terms of a number of Muslim imperial dynasties ruling from Delhi - the Mamluks (Slaves), the Khaljis, the Tughlaqs, the Sayyids, the Lodis, the Surs, the Mughals. The provincial Muslim dynasties with their seats at Srinagar, Lahore, Multan, Thatta, Ahmedabad, Mandu, Burhanpur, Daulatabad, Gulbarga, Bidar, Golconda, Bijapur, Madurai, Gaur, Jaunpur, and Lucknow fill the gaps during periods of imperial decline.

It is natural that in this version of medieval Indian history the recurring Hindu resistance to Islamic invaders, imperial as well as provincial, looks like a series of sporadic revolts occasioned by some minor grievances of purely local character, or led by some petty upstarts for purely personal gain. The repeated Rajput resurgence in Rajasthan, Bundelkhand and the Ganga-Yamuna Doab; the renewed assertion of independence by Hindu princes at Devagiri, Warrangal, Dvarasamudra and Madurai; the rise of the Vijayanagara Empire; the farflung fight offered by the Marathas; and the mighty movement of the Sikhs in the Punjab - all these then get readily fitted into the framework of a farflung and enduring Muslim empire. And the Hindu heroes who led this resistance for several centuries get reduced to ridiculous rebels who disturbed public peace at intervals but who were always put down.

. . . .
in [a] popular version, Indian history has been reduced to a history of foreign invaders who were able to enter India from time to time . . . . . The one impression which this version of Indian history leaves, is that India has always been a no-man’s land which any armed bandit could come and occupy at any time, and that Hindus have always been a “meek mob” which has always bowed before every “superior” race.


Now compare this Arab record on the frontiers of India with their record elsewhere. Within eight years of the Prophet’s death, they had conquered Persia, Syria, and Egypt. By 650 AD, they had advanced upto the Oxus and the Hindu Kush. Between 640 and 709 AD they had reduced the whole of North Africa. They had conquered Spain in 711 AD. But it took them 70 long years to secure their first foothold on the soil of India. No historian worth his salt should have the cheek to say that the Hindus have always been an easy game for invaders.

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Bharatvani Books


Rb said...

"No historian worth his salt should have the cheek to say that the Hindus have always been an easy game for invaders."

Thanks for posting this 'revisionist' view of Indian history. The Hindus have always been tarred by Western historians as being easy pushovers to all invading armies, from the Persian Archaemenids and Alexander down to the British colonialists. However, little consideration is given to why the Persian empire extended preferably Westwards. Or to the flipside to Alexander's hagiography, that the stiff resistance met by the Macedonians had them flee in a harrowing retreat through Hindu territory - much like Napoleon in Russia - that wounded and eventually killed Alexander. Or that the Indian's had repulsed the Dutch and French colonialists in battle before succumbing to the British shopkeeper's retail tactics of divide and eventually rule. Perhaps 800 years of continuous resistance to the Islamic invaders finally exhausted the Hindus to the point that they succumbed to the Brits?

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