Chapter 8
The Legacy of Muslim Rule in India

“Muslim rule should not attract any criticism. Mention of destruction of temples by Muslim invaders and rulers should not be mentioned.”

Circular, Boards of Secondary Education

The end of Muslim rule in India was as spasmodic as its beginning. It took five hundred years for its establishment (712-1206) and one hundred and fifty years for its decline and fall (1707-1857). The benchmarks of its establishment are C.E. 712 when Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sind, 1000 when Mahmud of Ghazni embarked upon a series of expeditions against Hindustan, 1192-1206 when Prithviraj Chauhan lost to Muhammad Ghauri and Qutbuddin Aibak set up the Turki Sultanate at Delhi, and 1296 when Alauddin Khalji pushed into the Deccan. The stages of its downfall are 1707 when Aurangzeb died, 1739 when a trembling Mughal Emperor stood as a suppliant before the Persian invader Nadir Shah, 1803 when Delhi was captured by the British, and 1858 when the last Mughal ruler was sent to Rangoon as a prisoner of the “Raj”.

For five centuries-thirteenth to seventeenth-however, most parts of India were under Muslim rule, though with varying degrees of effectiveness in different regions of the country. But at no single point of time was the whole country ruled exclusively by the Muslims. On the other hand the five hundred year long Muslim rule did not fail to influence Indian political and cultural life in all its facets. Muslim rule apart, Muslim contact with India can be counted from the seventh century itself. Naturally, the interaction of Muslim culture with the Hindu way of life, backed by the superimposition of Muslim rule in India, gave rise to a sort of a common Indian culture. But only a sort of, there is a superficial veneer about it. On the face of it the influence of Islam on Indian culture is to be seen in all spheres of life, in architecture, painting, music, and literature; in social institutions like marriage ceremonies, in eating habits, in gourmet and cuisine, sartorial fashions and so on. In actual fact, Hindus and Muslims lead their own lives, mostly in isolation from one another’s, except for personal friendships. Even living together for a thousand years has not welded Hindus and Muslims into one people. Why is it so?

Because Islam believes in dividing humanity into believers and Kafirs, the Muslim community (Ummah) is enjoined not to cooperate on the basis of equality or peaceful coexistence with Kafirs. To them it offers some alternatives-conversion to Islam, or death, or slavery. At the most it allows survival on payment of a poll-tax, Jiziyah, and acceptance of a second class status, that of Zimmi. As a matter of fact, Muhammadans invaded India to turn it into a land of Islam and spread their culture. Islamic culture is carrier culture, borrowed from exotic streams. The main contribution of Islamic culture is Quran and Hadis. It invaded Indian culture not to co-exist with it but to wipe it out. Its declared aim was Islamization through Jihad. But in spite of repeated endeavours through invasions and centuries of Muslim rule, India could not be turned into a Muslim country. Had India been completely converted to Islam, its people, like those of Iran or Libya, would have taken pride in organising Islamic revolutions, spearheading pan-Islamic movements and espousing right-or-wrong Islamic causes. Or, had Hindus the determination and the wherewithal to throw out Islam from India as was done by the Christians in some countries like Spain, there would have been no Muslim problem in India today. But here Muslims stay put, and yet a thousand years of Muslim contact failed to Islamize India. India, therefore, provides a good study to evaluate the achievements and failures, atrocities and beneficences, fundamentalism and “secularism” of Muslim rule and Muslim people. In the appraisement of Muslim rule, Muslim religion also cannot escape scrutiny, for the former was guided by the latter, the one being inseparable from the other. This makes the assessment of the legacy of Muslim rule in India an extremely controversial subject. Its contribution comprises of both bitterness and distrust on the one hand and on the other a composite common culture. We shall take up the common culture first.

So much has already been written about the development of Indo-Muslim composite culture, its ‘give and take’ and its heritage, that it is neither necessary nor possible to touch upon all its aspects. Therefore only a few areas may be taken up-like music and architecture-in which Muslims have made special and substantial contribution. In other branches of fine arts like painting, the story too is familiar. Many Mughal paintings bear the touch of Ajanta or its regional variations, while Rajput and Pahari Qalam adopted a lot from Muslim miniature style and art of portraiture. Equally important is the Muslim contribution in the sphere of jewellery, textiles, pottery etc. In the fields of sport and athletics, again, Muslim participation has been both extensive and praiseworthy.


It is in the domain of music in particular that the contribution of Muslims is the greatest. It is, however, difficult to claim that it is really Muslim. What they have practised since medieval times is Hindu classical music with its Guru-Shishya parampara. The gharana (school) system is the extension of this parampara or tradition. Most of the great Muslim musicians were and are originally Hindu and they have continued with the tradition of singing an invocation to goddess Saraswati or other deities before starting their performance.

Be that as it may, all Muslim rulers and nobles had musicians - singers and players on instruments - in their courts.1 They patronised the meritorious by giving them high salaries and rich rewards. They got a number of books on music translated from Sanskrit into Persian. Some of them used to get so much involved in poetry and music that sometimes it was done at the cost of state work. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. The Indian system of notation is perhaps the oldest and most elaborate.2 There are ragas meant to be sung in winter, in summer, in rains and in autumn. There are month-wise ragas meant to be sung during the twelve months of the year (baramasa). There are ragas meant for singing in the morning, early noon, afternoon and in the evenings. There are ragas, it is claimed, that can light a lamp or bring about downpour of rain. Then there are ragas and raginis designated for dance. Dance in its art form is as elaborate as music, and is based on Hindu natya-shastra. Sculptures of dancers and musicians carved on ancient and medieval temples, now mostly surviving in south India, bear testimony to their excellence, popularity and widespread practice.

In such a situation Muslims could add little to this art from outside. Officially music and dance are banned in Islam. Muslim ruling classes therefore could only patronise Hindu classical music in its original form. Some rulers were patrons of artistes, others practised it themselves, many others collected musicians from all over the country. That is how Mian Tansen could earn so much renown. Amir Khusrau is also credited with composing songs some of which are popular to this day. Under the Khaljis there were concerts and competitions arranged between Hindustani and Karnatak musicians.3 Indian classical music flourished throughout the medieval period, although classical Indian dancing drifted from the aesthetic and religious sphere into the salons of courtesans and dancing girls.

Abul Fazl writes about the Mughal emperor Akbar that “His Majesty pays much attention to music and is the patron of all who practice this enchanting art”.4 About Tansen he says that “a singer like him had not been in India for the last one thousand years.” Tansen was originally a Gaur Brahman of Gwalior and he had been trained in the school established by Raja Man Singh Tomar of Gwalior (C.E. 1486-1518). The Raja was the author of a treatise on music entitled Man Kutuhal. He also got the Ragadarpan translated into Persian. Similarly, during the reign of Firoz Tughlaq (1351-88) was composed Ghunyat-ul-Munya by a Muslim scholar of Gujarat. Under the patronage of Sikandar Lodi was written the Lahjat-i-Sikandar Shahi by one Umar Yahiya. Yahiya was a scholar of Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit and his work is based on many Sanskrit treatises like Sangit Ratnakar,5 Nritya Ratnakar, Sangit Kalpataru and the works of Matang.6

Most Muslim rulers, nobles and elite passionately patronised Indian classical music and dance and therefore there is no need to mention their names or those of their musicians. But Vincent Smith aptly notes that “the fact that many of the names are Hindu, with the title Khan added, indicates that the professional artists at a Muhammadan court often found it convenient and profitable to conform to Islam.”7 There is another interesting fact noticeable. The Indian classical music which became “national” music about the time of Akbar in Agra holds the field even to this day. Political or religious barriers have failed to divide musicians and lovers of music into narrow or antagonistic camps, as the Hindu classical music remains the common legacy of both Hindus and Muslims.8

Medieval Monuments

But if music unites, many monuments of the medieval period revive bitter memories in the Hindu mind. These are found almost in every city, every town and even in many villages either in a dilapidated state or under preservation by the Archaeological Survey of India. Many of these have been converted from Hindu temples and now are extant in the shape of mosques, Idgahs, Dargahs, Ziarats (shrines) Sarais and Mazars (tombs) Madrasas and Maktabs. Throughout the Muslim rule destruction of Hindu shrines and construction of mosques and other building from their materials and at their very sites went on as a normal practice. From the Quwwal-ul-Islam mosque in Delhi built out of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples in the twelfth century to the Taj-ul-Masajid built from hundreds of Hindu and Jain temples at Bhopal in the eighteenth century, the story is the same everywhere.

For temples were not broken only during war, but in times of peace too. Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq writes: “I destroyed their idol temples, and instead thereof raised mosques… where infidels and idolaters worshipped idols, Musalmans now, by God’s mercy, perform their devotion to the true God.”9 And so said and did Sikandar Lodi, Shahjahan,10 Aurangzeb and Tipu Sultan. Shams Siraj Afif writes that some sovereigns like Muhammad Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq were “specially chosen by the Al-mighty from among the faithful, and in the whole course of their reigns, whenever they took an idol temple, they broke and destroyed it.”11

Why did Muslim conquerors and rulers break temples? They destroyed temples because it is enjoined by their scriptures. In the history of Islam, iconoclasm and razing other peoples’ temples are central to the faith. They derive their justification and validity from the Quranic Revelation and the Prophet’s Sunna or practice. Shrines and idols of unbelievers began to be destroyed during the Prophet’s own time and, indeed at his behest. Sirat-un-Nabi, the first pious biography of the Prophet, tells us how during the earliest days of Islam, young men at Medina influenced by Islamic teachings used to break idols. However, desecration and destruction began in earnest when Mecca was conquered. Umar was chosen for destroying the pictures on the walls of the shrine at Kabah.Tarikh-i-Tabari tells us that raiding parties were sent in all directions to destroy the images of deities held in special veneration by different tribes including the images of al-Manat, al-Lat and al-Uzza.12 Because of early successes at home, Islam developed a full-fledged theory of iconoclasm.13 India too suffered terribly. Thousands of Hindu shrines and edifices disappeared in northern India by the time of Sikandar Lodi and Babur. Since the wreckage of Hindu temples became scarcer and scarcer to obtain, from the time of Akbar onwards many Muslim buildings began to be constructed, not from the debris of Hindu temples, but from materials specially prepared for them like pillars, screens etc. Alauddin Khalji’s Alai Darwaza at Delhi, Akbar’s Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri and Adil Shah’s Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur are marvels of massive elegance, while Humayun’s tomb at Delhi and Taj Mahal at Agra are beauteous monuments in stone and marble. Any people would be proud of such monuments, and the Indians are too. But for an if. If there was no reckless vandalism in breaking temples and utilizing their materials in constructing Muslim buildings which lie scattered throught the country, Hindu psyche would not be hurt. Will Durant rightly laments in Story of Civilization that “We can never know from looking at India to-day, what grandeur and beauty she once possessed.” Thus in the field of architecture, the legacy is a mix of pride and dejection. With impressive Muslim monuments, there is a large sprinkling of converted monuments which are an eye-sore to the vast majority of the population.

Conversions and Tabligh

Similar is the hurt felt about forcible conversions to Islam, another legacy of Muslim conquest and rule in Hindustan.

Impatient of delay, Muslim invaders, conquerors and kings openly and unscrupulously converted people to Islam by force. Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sind in C.E. 712. Whatever place he captured like Alor, Nirun, Debal, Sawandari, Kiraj, and Multan, therein he forcibly converted people to Islam. Mahmud Ghaznavi invaded Hindustan seventeen times, and every time he came he converted people from Peshawar to Mathura and Kashmir to Somnath. Such was the insistence on the conversion of the vanquished Hindu princes that many rulers just fled before Mahmud even without giving a battle.14 Al Qazwini writes in his Asar-ul-Bilad that when Mahmud went “to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnath, in the hope that the Hindus would then become Muhammadans”.15 The exploits of Mahmud Ghaznavi in the field of forced proselytization were cherished for long. His example was presented as the model before all good Muslim rulers, as early as the fourteenth century by Ziyauddin Barani in his Fatawa-i-Jahandari and as late as the close of the eighteenth century by Muhammad Aslam in his Farhat-un-Nazirin.16 There were forcible conversion both during the war and in peace. Sikandar Butshikan in Kashmir to Tipu Sultan in Mysore, Mahmud Beghara in Gujarat to Jalaluddin Muhammad in Bengal, all Muslim rulers carried on large-scale forcible conversions through jihad.

This jihad never ceased in India and forcible conversions continued to take place, not only in the time of Mahmud Ghaznavi, Timur or Aurangzeb, but throughout the medieval period. It is argued that the aim of Muhammadans is to spread Islam, and it is nowhere laid down that it should be propagated only through peaceful means. Others point out that a choice was always there-Islam or death. Some others, seeking civilizational modes, assert that conversions were effected in peaceful ways by Sufi Mashaikh. Many others say that Sufis were not interested in proselytization. Whatever the means employed, Islam being a proselytizing religion, Muslim conquerors, rulers, nobles, Sufis, Maulvis, traders and soldiers all worked as its missionaries in one way or the other. But the most abundant, extensive and overwhelming evidence in contemporary Persian chronicles is about forced conversions.17

During the medieval period, forcible and hurried conversions to Islam left most of the neo-Muslims half-Hindus. With his conversion to Islam the average Muslim did not change his old Hindu environment and tenor of life. The neo-Muslims’ love of Hinduism was because of their attachment to their old faith and culture.18 High class converted Hindus sometimes went back to Hinduism and their old privileges.19 At others the various classes of which the new Muslim community was composed began to live in separate quarters in the same city as described by Mukundram in the case of Bengal. Their isolation gave them some sort of security against external interference. On the other hand “Indian Islam slowly began to assimilate the broad features of Hinduism”.20 Such a scenario obtained throughout the country. A few examples would suffice to bring out the picture dearly.

In the northwest part of the country the Ismaili Khojas of the Panjbhai community were followers of the Agha Khan. They paid zakat to the Agha Khan, but regarded Ali as the tenth incarnation of Vishnu. Instead of the Quran, they read a manual prepared by one of their Pirs, Sadr-ud-din. Their prayers contained a mixture of Hindu and Islamic terms. The Zikris and Dais of Makran in Baluchistan, read the Quran, but regarded the commands of Muhammad to have been superseded by those of the Mahdi, whom they followed. They set up their Kaba at Koh-i-Murad, and went there on pilgrimage at the same time as the orthodox Muslims went to Mecca.21

In Gujarat, where Islam appeared early in the medieval period, besides Khojas and Mahdawis, there were a number of tribal or sectarian groups like Sidis, Molislams, Kasbatis, Rathors, Ghanchis, Husaini Brahmans, Shaikhs and Kamaliyas whose beliefs and practices could not be fitted into any Islamic pattern. The Sidis were descendants of Africans imported as slaves mainly from Somaliland. The Molislams, Rathors and Kasbatis were segments of converted Rajput tribes, who did not give up worshipping their Hindu gods or observing their Hindu festivals. The Rathors claimed to be Sunnis but did not perform the daily prayers or read the Quran. The Ghanchis found mainly around Godhra were believed to abhor all other Muslims and to be well inclined towards Hindus.22 Near Ahmedabad, the Shaikhs and Shaikhzadas of Gujarat adopted both Hindu and Muslim rituals in marriage, employing the services of a Faqir and a Brahman. The half-converted Sunni Rathors of Gujarat intermarried with Hindus and Muslims, which was characteristic of Kasbatis also. In Gujarat, north of Ahmedabad, tribals like Kolis, Bhils, Sindhis, though converted to Islam, remained aboriginals in customs and habits.23

In the coastal towns and western Rajasthan, the Husaini Brahmans called themselves followers of Atharvaveda and derived their names from Imam Husain. They did not eat beef. The men dressed like Muslims, but put on tilak. They did not practice circumcision. At the same time they fasted during Ramzan and followed other Muslim practices. They held Khwaja Muin-ud-din Chishti of Ajmer in special reverence. The Shaikhs and Shaikh-zadas did not practice circumcision but put on tilak mark. They did not eat with the Muslims but buried their dead like the Muslims. The Kamaliyas did not circumcise, and except that they buried the dead all their ceremonies were Hindu. The Momnas of Cutch professed to belong to the Shia sect of the Muslims but they did not eat flesh, did not practice circumcision, did not say the daily prayers or keep the fast of Ramzan.

In Madhya Pradesh, in district Nimar, was a sect known as Pirzada. Their supreme deity was the tenth incarnation of Vishnu. Their religious book was compiled from the religious literature of the Hindus and Muslims. The Pirzadas were Muslims, though for all intents and purposes they were Hindus.24 “Of the Muslims living in the rural areas of what was formerly known as the Central Provinces and Berar, and in the districts of Thana, Ahmadnagar and Bijapur, it could be said generally that they were three-fourths Hindu.”25 The Qasais of Thana, Ahmadnagar and Bijapur abhorred beef-eating to such an extent that they would not even touch a beef-butcher, and they avoided mixing with Muslims, though a Qazi was engaged for marriage ceremonies and funerals. In Ahmadnagar, the butchers or Baqar Qasabs and the Pinjaras or cotton carders still worshipped Hindu gods and had idols in their houses.26 In Bijapur, in addition to the Qasabs and Pinjaras, the Baghbans (gardeners), Kanjars, poulterers, rope-makers and grass-cutters, though professing to be Muslim, had such strong attachment to their old faith, that they did not associate with other Muslims and openly worshipped Hindu gods. This was not so only with the very low classes. Some Deshmukhs and Deshpandes of Buldana professed the Muslim religion, but employed Brahmans in secret to worship their old tutelar deities.27

In Southern India, especially along the sea-coast, Islam came directly from Arabia through Arab traders. Still the Muslims were very largely affected by environment generally in dress and food, manners and customs. The South does not, of course, form a homogeneous unit, the Muslims of Mysore and Bangalore being much closer culturally to those of Hyderabad than to the Moplahs and Navayats of Kerala, who are geographically much nearer. But the divergence is in manners and customs, and not in belief.

In Uttar Pradesh, and in the central parts of Bihar, there were fairly large semi-converted neo-Muslim tribes.  North of the Ganga in the district of Purnea, while there were educated and orthodox Muslims also, the dividing line between the religious beliefs and practices of the lower class Hindus and Muslims was very thin indeed. In every village could be found a shrine dedicated to the worship of goddess Kali and almost in every house a Khudai Ghar, and in their prayers the names of both Allah and Kali were invoked. A part of the Muslim marriage ceremony was performed at the shrine of the goddess Bhagwati. The most popular deity among both Hindus and Muslims was Devata Maharaj. In the Barasat and Bashirhat sub-divisions of 24-Parganas the Muslim woodcutters and fishermen venerated Mubrah (Mubarak?) Ghazi. In the Chittagong district, Pir Badar was venerated by Hindu as well as Muslim sailors as their guardian saint.

In western India, midway between Thatta and Mirpur Sakro in Sind was followed the cult of Pir Jhariyon, saint of trees. In the east, in 24-Parganas, Rakshaya Chandi (Kali) was worshipped in the form of trees which would be smeared with vermillion.28 Between the two extreme points tree worship was common throughout the country. There was snake worship too. The Hindus celebrated Nag Panchami, the Bengali sub-caste of Muslims living in the Kishangunj sub-division built shrines for Baishahari, the snake-goddess.

Back in the west, in Karnal a large number of Muslim peasants were, till 1865, worshipping their old village deities, though as Muslims they repeated the kalima and practised circumcision.29 In Bharatpur and Alwar, Meos and Minas continued with their Hindu names or suffixed them with Khan, and celebrated not only Diwali and Dashehra but most important Janamashtami. Because of geohistoric traditions of proximity to Mathura and Vrindavan, Krishna is integrated into Muslim consciousness at folk level in the Brij and Mewat area - but not eleswhere. Few Meos and Minas could recite the kalima, but they went on pilgrimage to the tombs of Salar Mas’ud Ghazi at Bahraich and Muin-ud-din Chishti at Ajmer. The Meos, like the Hindus, did not marry within the gotra or family group having the same surname, and their daughters were not entitled to inherit.30 The Minas worshipped Bhairon, a form of Shiva, and Hanuman. A little to the south, in Jaora in Central India, Muslim cultivators followed Hindu customs in their marriages, worshipped Shitla or deity of small-pox and fixed toran (decorated band) on the door during wedding. In Central India, again, around Indore, Muslim Patels and Mirdhas had Hindu names, dressed exactly like Hindus and some of them recognised Bhawani and other Hindu deities. The Nayatas of Khajrana, converted by their urban neighbours, continued with their Hindu ways.31

This is an assortment of the religious beliefs of mainly uneducated, lower class, rural-based Indian Muslims. But the facts have been placed in the past tense, because conditions may have changed during the last few years for as a religious community Indian Muslims are being continuously turned into firm believers in “pure” Islam. Ordinarily there should be nothing unusual or strange in the above picture. There are local, environmental and traditional influences among Muslims everywhere. Even in urban areas, even among educated Muslims, such distinctions exist, and Muslims of Aligarh, Hyderabad and Srinagar are different from each other in many ways. Many Christians of Eastern Europe had converted to Islam during the period of the Ottoman empire. They have not discarded their European way of life. In India, however, Muslims who continue to retain their old traditions and habits are considered to be only half-converted. If left alone they might help in religious syncretization which is traditional to India. But persistent efforts are made by upper class educated Muslims to turn them into pucca (confirmed) Musalmans. The process is called Tabligh. This is due as much to the fear of these half-converts reverting to their old faith as to the determination to turn Indian Muslims into the Arabic brand.

Only one or two cases of tablighi endeavour may be discussed in some detail. We have spoken of the Molislams of Gujarat. Molislams or Maula-i-Salaam are so called as they bear the Mohar or stamp of Islam. Else they are Hindus and are known as Garasiyas. Originally Rajputs, they were converted in the time of Sultan Mahmud Beghara (1458-1511). They are about two lakhs in number and live mainly in Bharuch, Kheda and Ahmedabad. Many of the Garasiyas have both Hindu and Muslim names. They have retained their Hindu customs and traditions. In their marriages mandap-setting ceremony and garba-type dance are prominent. Their marriages are performed both by Maulvis and Brahmans. But recently efforts have been made to wean them away from their Hindu ways and turn them into confirmed Muslims.

Similarly, in Mewat, converts to Islam have ever remained half-Hindu. Many such converts do not have even Muslim names: they have only Hindu names like “Ram Singh, Ram Din and Jai Singh”. Islamic fundamentalists fearing that some of them might revert to their original faith have organised repeated preachings to make them into pucca Muslims. Some modern works throw light on this activity. Shah Muhammad Ramzan (1769-1825) was a crusading tablighi of Haryana. He found that the converted Rajputs and Jats (Muslim Rajputs and Maula Jats) were in no way different from their Hindu counterparts in culture, customs and celebrations of religious festivals. They were not only pir-parast (Guru-worshippers) and qabr-parast (Grave-worshippers); they were also idol-worshippers. Muslim Rajputs worshipped in Thakurdwaras. They celebrated Holi, Diwali and other Hindu festivals with zeal and dressed in the Hindu fashion. Shah Muhammad Ramzan used to sojourn in areas inhabited by such converted Rajputs, dissuade them from practising Hindu rites and persuade them to marry their cousins (real uncle’s daughters which converts persistently refused to do). They equally detested eating cow’s flesh. To induce them to eat beef, he introduced new festivals like Mariyam ka Roza and ‘Rot-bot’. On this day, observed on 17 Rajjab, a ‘pao’ of roasted beef placed on a fried bread, was distributed amongst relatives and near and dear ones. Shah Muhammad also encouraged such people to build mosques in large numbers. Such endeavours have ruled out the possibility of reconversion and have helped in the “Islamization” of neo-Muslims. Curiously enough, this tablighi was killed by his co-religionist Bohras at Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh.

Another tablighi, Muhammad Abdul Shakur, was more vituperative against the prevalence of Hindu customs among the Muslims. He raved against the barbarous (wahshiana) dress of the Hindus like dhoti, ghaghra and angia and advocated wearing of “kurta, amama, kurti, pyjama and orhni (or long Chadar)”. He attacked Hindu marriage customs practised by Muslims and warned women against participating in marriages with their faces uncovered. He insisted on women observing parda and was shocked to find that even after a thousand years of their conversion during the expeditions of Mahmud of Ghazni, Indian Muslims were living like Hindus. In the end he exhorted the senior Mewati Muslims thus: “Oh Muslims, the older people of Mewat, I appeal to you in a friendly way, doing my tablighi duty, to give up all idolatrous and illegal (mushrikana) ways of the Hindus… Islam has laid down rules for all social and cultural conduct… follow them.”32

Such tablighis are still busy in their mission in Mewat and other regions. Along with this, fresh conversions to Islam are also going on from Ladakh to Gujarat and from Kerala to Assam, creating tensions in society. A report in the Times of India datelined New Delhi 14 August 1989 says: “When Pakistan zindabad slogans were raised first time on the streets of Leh recently, it came as a shock to the Buddhist people of Ladakh. Said Mr. P. Stobdan, a scholar from Ladakh now working in Delhi: ‘For centuries, the Ladakhi Buddhists and Muslims lived together in harmony. Even inter-marriages were common among them. What had destroyed the secular tradition of Ladakh was the systematic attempt at conversion of Buddhists to Islam.’ But above all was the fear of the proselytizing drive which threatened to ‘eliminate the 84 per cent Buddhists as a religious group’. Within the framework of this new consciousness, according to Mr. Stobden, “the Ladakhis considered themselves to be patriotic citizens of India, the land of the Buddha. However, because of the policy of appeasement of the Centre towards the Kashmiris and the consequent neglect of Ladakhis, a sense of disillusionment was growing among people of the region.”

In Assam and other regions of the east, Bangladeshis are being brought in large numbers to raise Muslim numbers. In Kerala and Tamilnadu, Gulf money is being openly utilized for proselytization work. The 1980 conversions in Meenakshipuram provide a classic example.

There are stages of conversion and exploitation. First, non-Muslims are converted to Islam through means which are neither mysterious nor edifying. Then, after conversion, they are treated as inferior Muslims or riff-raff. No effort is made to improve their economic condition. The sole concentration is on increasing Muslim numbers through more and more conversions and unrestricted procreation. Lastly, their leaders inculcate in them a spirit of alienation towards their ancestral society, culture and religion as well as their native land.

It would be worthwhile to note that a substantial number of Muslim students start their education in madrasas attached to mosques. Most of those in other schools do not proceed beyond the IInd or IIIrd class. And the remaining drop out after matriculation. There may be various reasons for it but primarily they are religious, for money received from abroad is spent on building mosques and making converts rather than on secular education. The Muslim child from the first day learns of “momins” and “kafirs”. He is taught that the main aim of his life is devotion to Islam which obliquely tells him of “Dar-ul-Islam” and “Dar-ul-Harb”. In a very subtle way he learns that to kill or convert a kafir is a “kar-e-sawab”, a pious act. A tempting picture of heaven is projected before his mind and he learns about the fairies waiting for him there if he goes there as a “ghazi” or martyr.33 Indian Muslims do not always attempt to sort out their problems within the country. They look to Pakistan for inspiration and support. Through Pakistan they look to the whole Umma. That is what makes them aggressive and violent even when they are in a minority. That is why they dare break temples in Kashmir and Bangladesh even to-day. For accomplishing such tasks petrodollars received from abroad and fundamentalism at home are brought into full play. The tensions generated by this process in various parts of the country is a permanent legacy of Muslim rule in India.

Muslim Fundamentalism

Iconoclasm, proselytization, tabligh and Islamization in general have been due to Muslim fundamentalism. Muslim fundamentalism finds no virtue in any non-Muslim culture, it only believes in destroying every other culture and superimposing Muslim culture.

It is, therefore, necessary to understand the meaning of the word “fundamentalism” because it is loosely and unintelligibly applied to both Hindu and Muslim faiths and their followers are unwittingly called fundamentalists day in and day out. The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines fundamentalism as “maintenance, in opposition to modernism, of traditional orthodox beliefs such as the inerrancy of scripture…” and fundamental as “base or foundation, essential, primary, original”. Hindus and Muslims can both be fanatics, but it is only Muslims (and Christians) who can be fundamentalists. For the Muslim sticks to the “traditional orthodox belief” that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet. No Muslim can question this belief. As Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi says: “The Quran is believed by every Muslim to be the Word of God revealed to his Prophet Muhammad.”34 This Word of God cannot be amended, it cannot be changed, because “Not even the Prophet could change the revelation”.35 “There are no local variations of the Muslim Law.”36 It is this which is fundamentalism. There is nothing compared to it in Hinduism where every thing can be questioned and all kinds of religious innovations and digressions are accepted. “This (Muslim) Law was the sovereign in Muslim lands: no one was above it, and all were ruled by it.”37 Under Islamic law a non-Muslim could not be accorded full citizenship of the state. Only against payment of Jiziyah could he receive protection of life.38 Jiziyah also seems to have been an instrument of humiliation for the Zimmis (non-Muslims).39 Muslim rulers not only followed the Islamic law to the best of their own ability and the knowledge of the Ulama, they kept the non-Muslims under all kinds of disabilities and thraldom.

It is not widely known that the Turco-Mughal Muslim rule saw to it that Muslims should not come closer to the Hindus, and that the one should dominate the other.40 Ziyauddin Barani the historian, Ibn Battuta the foreign traveller and Vidyapati the poet did not fail to notice the insulting attitude of the Muslims towards the Hindus.41 The inferior status accorded to the non-Muslims under Islamic law kept the Hindus and the Muslims apart. For example, although monotheism, iconoclasm and proselytization have no spiritual sanction or superiority, the Muslim rulers turned temples into mosques and converted people to Islam by force. But the Hindus were not permitted to convert Muslims to HinduismSuch was the policy of the Muslim rulers in this regard that even if a Hindu proclaimed or preached that Hinduism was as good as Islam, he was awarded capital punishment.42 This was the general policy. Only Akbar was liberal insofar as he permitted those Hindus who had been forcibly converted to Islam and wished to return to their original faith, to go back to Hinduism. But only Akbar, not even all his officers in his extensive empire. Jahangir did not permit people to embrace Hinduism even of their own free Will.43 Under Shahjahan, apostasy from Islam had again become a capital crime, and so also any critical comment on Muhammad.

Inter-communal marriages would have encouraged equality but these were partially banned in the medieval period, partially insofar as that while Muslims married Hindu women freely, the rulers would not permit Muslim girls to marry Hindus. Contrary to general belief, Hindus have had no inhibitions about marrying women of other nationalities and religions. There is the well-known instance of Chandragupta Maurya marrying the daughter of Seleucus Nikotor. Of course, Chandragupta was a king and kings used to contract such alliances. But throughout the medieval period, Hindus used to marry non-Hindus and foreigners without prejudice in Southeast Asia or countries to which they migrated. Even today Hindus marry in America, Britain, Germany and other countries which they visit or to which they migrate. Similarly, they had no hesitation in marrying Muslim women in the medieval period. As has been pointed out on many occasions earlier, handsome women captives were kept mainly for sex. They were known as kanchanis, kanizes and concubines. Their exchange among Muslim nobles too was common. Even Hindu nobles were glad to take Muslim women. According to The Delhi Sultanate, quoting Nizamuddin Ahmad, Musalman women were taken by the Rajputs and sometimes taught the art of dancing and singing and were made to join the akharas.44 Muslim women from the palace of Malwa Sultan entered, between 1512-1518, the household of his nayak or captain Medini Rai. Sultan Mahmud Sharqi (1436-58) was accused of handing over Muslim women to his kafir captains. Similarly, the Muslim ruler of Kalpi and Chanderi, shortly after 1443, had made over Muslim women to some of his Hindu captains. “Clearly Malwa was not an exception.” In Kashmir, according to Jonraj, Shah Mir had gone to the extent of marrying his daughters to his Brahman chiefs.44 This shared pleasure cemented the bonds of friendship.

But Muslim rulers were more strongly entrenched, and they, from the very beginning, discouraged Hindus from taking Muslim women. Even Sher Shah, who is considered to be a liberal king, broke his promise with Puran Mal of Raisen because of the latter’s “gravest of all offences against Islam” in keeping some Muslim women in his harem.45 The Mughals freely married Hindu princesses, but there is not a single instance of a Mughal princess being married to a Rajput prince, although so many Mughal princesses died as spinsters. Akbar discouraged all types of inter-communal marriages.46 When Jahangir learnt that the Hindus and Muslims intermarried freely in Kashmir, “and both give and take girls, (he ordered that) taking them is good but giving them, God forbid”. And any violation of this order was to be visited with capital punishment.47 Shahjahan’s orders in this regard were that the Hindus could keep their Muslim wives only if they converted to Islam. Consequently, during his reign, 4,000 to 5,000 Hindus converted in Bhadnor alone. 70 such cases were found in Gujarat and 400 in the Punjab.48

Sometimes Hindus took back Hindu girls forcibly married to Muslims.49 Many Hindu Rajas and elite kept Muslim women in their seraglios, sometimes as a reprisal as it were. Hindus continued to take Muslim women wherever they felt strong. Such were the Marathas. Khafi Khan and Manucci both affirm that the Marathas used to capture Muslim women because, according to them, “the Mahomedans had interfered with Hindu women in (their) territories”.50 So did the Sikhs. But marriages are not made this way. The dominance of the Muslims kept matrimonial engagements a one-way traffic. There was no option for the Hindus but to scruplously avoid marrying Muslim women. How long could they go on suffering humiliation on this account? With all their weaknesses, the Hindus have after all been a proud people.51 Centuries of Muslim rulers’ policy brought rigidity in Hindu behaviour also. He stopped marrying Muslim women and shut his door to reentry of Muslim converts. Today it is observed that the Hindu has a closed mind. He does not marry a Muslim woman for even if he does so, she would not be welcome in his family. The genesis of this situation is the result of centuries of Muslim rulers’ practice of prohibiting Hindus from marrying Muslim girls.

In short, the policy of Muslim rulers was to keep the Muslim minority in a privileged position and see to it that there was no integration between the two communities. Muslim rulers were so allergic to the prosperity of the Hindus that they expressed open resentment at the Hindus dressing well,52 riding horses or travelling in palanquins like Muslims.53 Many rulers of the Sultanate and Mughal time enforced regulations requiring Hindus to wear distinguishing marks on their dresses so that they may not be mistaken for Muslims.54 Qazvini say that Shahjahan had ordered that Hindus should not be allowed to dress like Muslims.55 The Fatawa-i-Alamgiri also recommended that the Hindus should not be allowed to look like Muslims.56 Many local officers also issued similar orders in their Jagirs.57 All these regulations were in accordance with the tenets of Islam. The order of the Prophet was, “Do the opposite of the polytheists and let your beard grow long.”58

Partition of the Country

During the eighteenth century the Mughal empire fell on bad days; in the nineteenth it rapidly declined. But the Muslims could not forget the privileged position they had enjoyed in the medieval period. With the decline of the Muslim political power at the Centre and in Muslim ruled provinces, a dilemma stared them in the face. They had to live on terms of equality with the Hindus. Worse still, these Hindus were in a majority. They could not think of living under the “dominance” of the Hindu majority. Three examples of this attitude, one each from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century will suffice to illustrate the point.

(1) After Aurangzeb’s death when Muslim power started to disintegrate, the Sufi scholar Shah Waliullah (1703-1763) wrote to the Afghan King Ahmad Shah Abdali, inviting him to invade India to help the Muslims. The letter said: “…In short the Moslem community is in a pitiable condition. All control of the machinery of the government is in the hands of the Hindus because they are the only people who are capable and industrious. Wealth and prosperity are concentrated in their hands, while the share of Moslems is nothing but poverty and misery… At this time you are the only king who is powerful, farsighted and capable of defeating the enemy forces. Certainly it is incumbent upon you to march to India, destroy Maratha domination and rescue weak and old Moslems from the clutches of non-Moslems. If, Allah forbid, domination by infidels continues, Moslems will forget Islam and within a short time, become such a nation that there will be nothing left to distinguish them from non-Moslems.”59

(2) Nawab Wiqar-ul-Mulk (1841-1917) of the Aligarh School of Muslim Politics who is generally regarded as one of the makers of modern Muslim India, was Sir Syed Ahmed’s loyal follower. He also became the Secretary of the Aligarh College. According to Tazkirah-i-Wiqar the Wiqar-ul-Mulk said: “We are numerically one-fifth of the other community. If, at any time, the British Government ceases to exist in India, we shall have to live as the subjects of the Hindus, and our lives, our property, our self-respect and our religion will all be in danger… If there is any device by which we can escape this it is by the continuance of the British Raj, and our interests can be safeguarded only if we ensure the continuance of the British Government.”60

(3) About half a century later, Laiqat Ali Khan voiced his demand at a meeting with Lord Wavell on 24 January 1946 that the British resolve the transfer of power problem by imposing a solution on the basis of Pakistan. Wavell told him in reply that in such a case, the British would have to stay on in India to enforce this imposed solution. According to an entry in Wavell’s journal of the same date Liaqat Ali said that “in any event we (the British) would have to stop for many years yet, and that the Moslems were not at all anxious that we should go.”61

Thus highly educated and important Muslim leaders like Shah Waliullah, Wiqar-ul-Mulk and Liaqat Ali Khan preferred to live under the rule of foreigners like the Afghans and the British than to live as a free people with the Hindus just because the latter happened to be in a majority. Is it therefore any wonder that the majority of Muslims were not interested in joining the freedom struggle for India's independence? The leadership of Mahatma Gandhi was acceptable to them only in the context of the Khilaft movement. Else, he was declared as a leader of the Hindus only. And what the Ali brothers said about the Mahatma vis-a-vis an ordinary or even an anti-social Muslim has become proverbial as indicative of the Muslim attitude towards non-Muslims in India.62 Of course, today Muslims in India swear by democracy and secularism

The idea of Pakistan was as old as the Muslim rule in India. M.A. Jinnah is reported to have said that the seeds of Pakistan were planted when the first Hindu converted to Islam in India. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto reiterated the same conclusion in still clearer terms. Wrote he, “The starting point of Pakistan goes back a thousand years to when Mohammed-bin-Qasim set foot on the soil of Sind and introduced Islam in the sub-continent… The study of Mughal and British periods will show that the seeds of Pakistan took root in the sub-continent from the time Muslims consolidated their position in India. The creation of two sovereign states of India and Pakistan merely formalised this existing division.”63 Jinnah and Bhutto were not historians. But Aziz Ahmad in a historical analysis in his Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment arrives at the same conclusion. However, whatever the point of time or the genesis of Partition, never before was India geographically divided on religious basis in the course of its long history. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 showed the way to other ambitious or aggrieved identities in Kashmir, Punjab and Assam to clamour for secession. The partition of the country may, perhaps, have been the logical legacy of Muslim rule in India, but the cinder fuelled by the original separatists is posing an unsurmountable problem for India's unity and integrity.

Communal Riots

One of the immediate causes of Partition was the Direct Action or the unleashing of widespread communal violence in the country. But there was nothing new or unique about it. The history of communal riots is synchronous with the advent of Muslims in India. For the next hundreds of years invaders and rulers committed all sorts of atrocities on the people and the atmosphere was surcharged with aggression and violence. But one day the Hindus struck back. The opportunity came when Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah ascended the throne of Delhi (1320). Khusrau Shah was a Hindu convert. He belonged to the Barwari class of Gujarat and they were known for their bravery.64 Qutbuddin was very much ‘enamoured’ of him. It was customary in those days, says Ibn Battuta, that when a Hindu accepted Islam, the sultan used to present him with a robe of honour and a gold bangle.65 Khusrau Khan pleaded with the sultan that some of his relations wanted to embrace Islam and in this way collected about 40,000 Barwaris in the capital.66 One day they killed Qutbuddin Khalji and started rioting and killing.67 Copies of the Quran were tom to pieces and used as seats for idols which were placed in the niches (mehrabs) of the mosques. A later but otherwise reliable chronicler, Nizamuddin Ahmad, says that some mosques were also broken.68 The Barwaris had known the Muslims breaking temples and destroying religious books of the Hindus. This they had done on a large scale in Gujarat itself about twenty years ago.69 In the Delhi rioting, they paid the Muslims back in the same coin. Their King Khusrau Shah even forbade cow-slaughter.70 But in the end this rioting was brought under control by Gazi Malik.

It is often asserted that unlike during British rule, there were no communal riots under Muslim rule. This is only partially true; firstly, because the Hindus could not always respond to Muslim violence with symmetrical force in the medieval period; and secondly, details given by chroniclers about communal conflicts cannot be easily separated from those of perennial political strife and resistance during Muslim rule. Persian chroniclers repeatedly aver that Muslims were dominant and domineering during the medieval period while the Hindus were kept systematically suppressed.71 But just because of this, because of the treatment accorded to non-Muslims and sometimes their reaction to it, there were Hindu-Muslim riots. And this situation is understandable. But why were there Shia-Sunni riots under Muslim rule just as they have always been there.72 It is for the reason that a psyche geared to aggression and violence cannot rest in peace without fighting. When non-Muslims are not there to fight, Sunnis and Shias call each other Kafir and attack each other.

But ultimately the brunt of all such riots was borne by the Hindus. For instance, this is how Pelsaert describes the situation prevalent in the time of Jahangir (1605-27) during Muharram. “The outcry (of mourning) lasts till the first quarter of the day; the coffins (Tazias) are brought to the river, and if the two parties meet carrying their biers (it is worse on that day), and one will not give place to the other, then if they are evenly matched, they may kill each other as if they were enemies at open war, for they run with naked swords like madmen. No Hindu can venture into the streets before midday, for even if they should escape with their life, at the least their arms and legs would be broken to pieces…”73

Jafar Sharif’s description of the Muharram scene for the eighteenth-nineteenth century is still more detailed. Writes he: “Whenever the Muharram… chances to coincide with Hindu festivals, such as the Ramnavmi or the birth of Rama, the Charakhpuja, or swing festival, or the Dasahra, serious riots have occurred as the processions meet in front of a mosque or Hindu temple, or when an attempt is made to cut the branches of some sacred fig-tree which impedes the passage of the cenotaphs. Such riots, for instance occurred at Cuddapa in Madras in 1821, at Bhiwandi in the Thana District, Bombay, in 1837. In the case of some disturbances at Hyderabad, it is said that Hindus, who act as Muharram Faqirs (who erect them, Tazias, themselves and become Faqirs during Muharram), sometimes take the part of Mussulmans against their coreligionists.”74

According to a contemporary Sufi, Shaikh Abdur Rahman Chishti, the “the subservience of the Hindus to Islam” under Shahjahan was thorough and complete.75 However, communal riots had become common from the time of Aurangzeb because of his religious policy. Rioting went on for days together in Varanasi when Vishvanath and other temples were destroyed there in 1669.  Here is the description of the communal riots as narrated in a contemporary work:

“The infidels demolished a mosque,” writes the author of the Ganj-i-Arshadi, “that was under construction and wounded the artisans. When the news reached Shah Yasin, he came to Banaras from Mandyawa and collecting the Muslim weavers, demolished the big temple. A Sayyid who was an artisan by profession agreed with one Abdul Rasul to build a mosque at Banaras and accordingly the foundation was laid. Near the place there was a temple and many houses belonging to it were in the occupation of the Rajputs. The infidels decided that the construction of a mosque in the locality was not proper and that it should be razed to the ground. At night the walls of the mosque were found demolished.  Next day the wall was rebuilt but it was again destroyed. This happened three or four times. At last the Sayyid hid himself in a corner. With the advent of night the infidels came to achieve their nefarious purpose. When Abdul Rasul gave the alarm, the infidels began to fight and the Sayyid was wounded by the Rajputs. In the meantime, the Mussulman residents of the neighbourhood arrived at the spot and the infidels took to their heels. The wounded Muslims were taken to Shah Yasin who, determined to vindicate the cause of Islam. When he came to the mosque, people collected from the neighbourhood. The civil officers were outwardly inclined to side with the saint but in reality they were afraid of the royal displeasure on account of the Raja, who was a courtier of the Emperor and had built the temple (near which the mosque was under construction). Shah Yasin, however, took up the sword and started for Jihad. The civil officers sent him a message that such a grave step should not be taken without the Emperor’s permission. Shah Yasin, paying no heed, sallied forth till he reached Bazar Chau Khamba through a fusillade of stones… The doors (of temples) were forced open and the idols thrown down. The weavers and other Mussulmans demolished about 500 temples. They desired to destroy the temple of Beni Madho, but as lanes were barricaded, they desisted from going further.”76

Temple destruction in Mathura, Ujjain, Rajasthan and many other parts of the country was always followed by communal rioting. “In March, 1671, it was reported that a Muslim officer who had been sent to demolish Hindu temples in and around Ujjain was killed with many of his followers in the riot that had followed his attempts at destroying the temples there. He had succeeded in destroying some of the temples, but in one place, a Rajput chief had opposed this wanton destruction of his religious places. He overpowered the Mughal forces and destroyed its leader and many of his men. In Gujarat somewhere near Ahmedabad, Kolis seem to have taken possession of a mosque probably built on the site of a temple and prevented reading of Friday prayers there. Imperial orders were thereupon issued to the provincial officers in Gujarat to secure the use of the mosque for Friday prayers”.77 So, as a measure of retaliation sometimes mosques were destroyed by Hindus and Sikhs when their shrines were desecrated and razed. This was done as seen earlier by the Satnamis and by the Sikhs when they rose against the fanatical policy of Aurangzeb.78 Hindus had learnt to do it in imitation of their Muslim rulers since the days of Sultan Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah.

Attack on Hindu honour and religion were common, evoking, naturally, violent response. Jadunath Sarkar writes: “The prime minister’s grandson, Mirza Tafakhkhur used to sally forth from his mansion in Delhi with his ruffians, plunder the shops in the bazarkidnap Hindu women passing through the public streets in litters or going to the river, and dishonour them; and yet there was no judge strong enough to punish him, no police to prevent such crimes.”79 Such ruffians were dealt with directly by the Hindu public, resulting in communal rioting. The king was busy in suppression of Hindu religion, and the Hindus in fighting for their rights. In brief, as noted by Sharma, "The Holi ceased to be celebrated by imperial orders issued on 20 November, 1665. It was not a police order alone, promulgated for the purpose of keeping peace and order during the Holi days as Sir Jadunath Sarkar has suggested. Raja Bhim of Banera and Kishen Singh while serving in south India in 1692, made arrangements for the celebration of the Holi. The censor tried to stop the celebration (but failed). He reported the matter to the emperor by whose orders the celebrations were stopped. In 1704, 200 soldiers were placed at the disposal of the censor for the purpose of preventing the celebration of the Holi. Of course the emperor was not always able to stop the celebrations” as the people had learnt to fight back in the streets. And their resistance was not always easy to crush. “In the South where he spent the last twenty-seven years of his reign, Aurangzeb was usually content with leaving many Hindu temples standing as he was afraid of arousing the feelings of his Hindu subjects in the Deccan where the suppression of rebellions was not an easy matter. An idol in a niche in the fort of Golkunda is said to have been spared by Aurangzeb. But the discontent occasioned by his orders could not thus be brought to an end.”80

From then on to this day Hindu-Muslim communal riots have gone on and on. The occasions are the same. Coincidence of a Hindu and a Muslim festival falling on the same day, music before mosque, chance sprinkling of coloured-water on a Muslim even by a child, coming out of the mosque on Friday after hearing a hot sermon, and now political sabre-rattling of direct action. During the early years of the twentieth century communal riots were a common feature in one or the other part of the country. Pakistan was created as much by the ambition of the Muslim politicians as by the violence of their Direct Action. After that there was some respite. But from 1970 onwards communal riots in India have again become an yearly feature. The riots in 1970 in Aligarh and in 1971 in Moradabad were trend-setters as it were.

Every riot is followed by an Inquiry Committee, but its report is never published. Take U.P. for instance. A report in the Times of India of 13.12.1990 from Lucknow says: “At least a dozen judicial inquiry reports into the genesis of communal riots in the state have never seen the light of the day. They have been buried in the secretariat-files over the past two decades. The failure of the successive state governments to publish these reports and initiate action has given credence to the belief that they are not serious about checking communal violence… There were other instances when the state government instituted an inquiry and then scuttled the commissions. In the 1982 and 1986 clashes in Meerut and in the 1986 riots in Allahabad, the judicial inquiries were ordered only as an ‘eye-wash’…” Judicial inquiries are ordered as an eye-wash because the perpetrators of riots are known but cannot be booked. In a secular state it is neither proper to name them nor political to punish them. Inquiry committee reports are left to gather dust, while those who should be punished are pampered and patronised as vote-banks in India’s democratic setup. Therefore communal riots in India as a legacy of Muslim rule may continue to persist. If these could help in partitioning the country, they could still help in achieving many other goals.

In brief, Hindu-Muslim composite culture is seen in the domain of music, film industry, sports, army life and Indian cuisine, while Muslim iconoclasm, proselytization, fundamentalism and continuous communal riots repeatedly remind us of the chasm that separates the two communities. Actually it is manifested only in personal friendships and neighbourhood loyalties. It is conspicuous by its absence in the history of Indian philosophy. Jaisi, Rahim, Raskhan and Dara Shukoh, though no conventional philosophers, are rare phenomenon. Recognized leading lights of Islamic philosophy like Shaikh Ahmad Sarhindi, Shah Waliullah and Shah Ismail Shahid, find no place in the histories of Indian philosophy. The issue of composite culture was finally settled in 1947. “In 1947,” writes Harsh Narain, “Muslim society succeeded in extorting recognition as a separate culture and nation and getting the country vivisected on that basis. It is another matter that… we go on harping on the theme of the truncated India’s belonging to Hindus and Muslims alike and its culture’s being a composite culture, a culture composed of Hindu and Muslim religio-cultural traditions.”81

Medieval Legacy and Modern Politics

Whether Indian leaders accepted Partition willingly or not, they should have realised the necessity of clearly understanding the two-nation theory in all its aspects, in all its implications, at least in post-Partition years. Muslims were more or less clear about the policies that were to be followed in the newly established state of Pakistan. They pushed out the Hindu minority to the extent possible, broke most of the temples, and in course of time Pakistan was declared an Islamic State. Bangladesh also followed suit.  But in the residual India no thought was given to the formulation of practicable policies of the newly independent State. The old mindsets continued. The policy of the Indian National Congress before Partition was alright. It appeased the Muslims to somehow save the country from division. But after the country was partitioned on Hindu-Muslim basis, continuance of the old policy of appeasement showed bankruptcy of political acumen and a betrayal of the implicit trust reposed by the people in the Congress-in particular Jawaharlal Nehru. With all his knowledge of history he could not understand Islam and its fundamentalism. It appeared that his lifelong contact with its followers and the bitter fruit of Partition had no lessons for him.

Pandit Nehru’s family tradition, political training and social intercourse82 made him (what was jocularly called) the greatest nationalist Muslim of India. It is said that he even felt small because of his Hindu lineage. He himself stated that by education he was an Englishman, by views an internationalist, by culture a Muslim; he happened to be a Hindu only by the accident of birth. He mistook Indian nationalism as Hindu communalism, and this confusion has come to the Indian National Congress Party as an inheritance. For example in a public meeting in August 1947, he declared that “As long as I am at the helm of affairs India will not become a Hindu state. If they do not subscribe to my views and are not prepared to cooperate with me, I shall have no way except to resign from the Prime Ministership…” Almost the same views were expressed in his letter to Dr. Kailash Nath Katju on 17 November, 1953. He wrote: “What real Hinduism is may be a matter for each individual to decide, in practice the individual is certainly intolerant and is more narrow-minded than almost any person in any other country… The Muslim outlook may be, I think, often worse, but it does not make very much difference to the future of India.”83 This assessment has proved to be incorrect.

On 30 December, 1949, addressing a meeting under the auspices of the Secular Democratic Front at Farrukhabad, Pandit Nehru said that the talk of Hindu culture would injure India’s interests and would mean the “acceptance of the two-nation theory which the Congress had opposed tooth and nail”. Again, addressing the students at Lucknow University on 16 September, 1951, he said that the ideology of Hindu Dharma was completely out of tune with the present times, and if it took root in India, it would “smash the country to pieces”. Nehru’s pro-western, pro-Muslim leanings were very well-known. Hindus did not protest because they loved and respected Nehru. They had full faith in him.  Hindus did not even care because they thought they were in such vast majority. Hindus did not make a noise because in the flush of freedom they remained, as usual, casual and indifferent to any future Muslim plans. But every society wants some security, some piece of land as its homeland under the sun. This law of human existence is supereme. Every country worth the name has some core element or force in it called the nation, which is its backbone and the source of all strength in it. Such a force in India is the Hindu force. This force has always been active in the day-to-day life of this nation, but has shown itself more markedly and spectacularly and has sprung into action with redoubled energy during the last few years. Rigmarole of language apart, India is a Hindu nation. As Dr. Copal Krishna observes, “It seems to me that for a student of history and a man of long political experience, Nehru's understanding of ethnic / religious plurality (of India) and its political pressures was amazingly shallow. His outraged reaction to displays of communal antagonism was aesthetic rather than thoughtful. To describe persistent mass group behaviour as ‘barbaric’ did not suggest any understanding of the behaviour itself.”84

The Muslims who stayed on in India after Partition did not take much time to discover that most policies of the Nehru Government were anti-Hindu. For them it was a political windfall. Soon enough they asserted that they were being discriminated against by the dominant Hindu majority. Pre-Partition psychology and slogans reappeared. Hindus have a stake in India. This is the only country which they can call their own and for which they are prepared to make any sacrifice. Muslims have no such inhibitions. They can and do look outside as well. There is a tendency to explain Muslim communalism in terms of the intrigues of the British Government and failings of the Indian National Congress, but Muslim politics is not a passive product. It has its own aims, aspirations, ambitions and dynamism. It dreams of a pan-Islamic state which could go on expanding. On the one hand the Muslim minority truly professes allegiance to India and on the other, and equally truly, even after forty years of Independence, looks to Pakistan for directions. Pakistan on its part avows friendship with India and at the same time strives for confederal alliance with neighbouring Muslim States against India.85 The medieval concept of Dar-ul-Harb and Dar-ul-Islam has never ceased to be. According to Deoband Fatwas, even free India is a Dar-ul-Harb.86

After Partition, Pakistan solved its minority problem without much ado. But Indian leaders failed to do so. Contrary to the Benthamite doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number, to Gandhiji the last man was his first concern. Even after the vivisection of the country he remained more concerned with the “difficulties” of the Muslim minority than anything else. Ram Gopal, while discussing the problem of Muslims before Partition, summarises the Hindu attitude contained in a resolution of V.D. Savarkar who proposed to secure the Muslim rights thus: “When once the Hindu Mahasabha not only accepts but maintains the principles of ‘one man and one vote’ and the public services go by merit alone added to the fundamental rights and obligations to be shared by all citizen alike irrespective of any distinction of race or religion… any further mention of minority rights is on principle not only unnecessary but self-contradictory. Because it again introduces a consciousness of majority or minority on a communal basis.”87

In brief, the Muslim minority problem has continued and will continue also because of the fact that two theocratic states have been established in the east and west of India. With inspiration received from these two fundamentalist states, the Indian Muslim is prone to succumb to extra-territorial allurements. A Hindu cannot be a fundamentalist because there is nothing fundamental or obligatory in his socio-religious life, but be can be a fanatic, a greater fanatic than all, when the only country he loves and belongs to, is broken up and is threatened to be broken up again and again. This is Hindu backlash. And since Indian leaders have not only not been able to solve the Muslim minority problem in India, and talk in the same uncertain idiom in which they spoke in pre-Partition days, Hindu anger cannot but be fanned.

In this scenario the Nehruvian Government continues to pursue the pre-Partition policies of the Indian National Congress. Actually there is no minority problem in India; it is Muslim problem. It is generally not realised that whenever there is mention of words like National Integration, National Mainstream, National Unity, Community Identity, Sectional Separatism, Minority Rights, Minority Commission, fundamentalism, secularism etc., we mainly think about only one thing - the Muslim problem in India. Minorities have been living in India from long past, minorities like Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians for example, but they have not posed a minority problem as such. They have always lived according to Indian cultural traditions and within the parameters of Indian national unity. But with the Muslims, the problem of their absorption into the Indian mainstream continues even after Partition.

National Integration

There are ethnic, religious and linguistic groups in all large countries of the world like America, Russia and China, and so also there are in India. But America and Russia never talk about national integration: at least they never make a fetish of it. As Copal Krishna in his series of articles on “Nation Building in Third World”, referred to above, has said, “A modern state rests on the citizenship principle, where all the citizens, irrespective of any specificities of birth, occupation, religion, sex, etc., constitute the political community. Ideally there are no majorities or minorities except on particular issues; people of course have interests, but these are pursued in harness with the general interest.” But in India the government arrogates to itself obligations which are better left to the society itself. National Integration is a fallacious conception. The very words imply that we are a disintegrated people who need to be united or integrated into a nation. At the same time it is repeatedly asserted that there is a basic Indian unity in the midst of diversity. India undoubtedly presents a cultural peasantry of exuberant variety with an under-layer of basic unity. This unity, however, has its source and derives its strength not from political but from cultural sources. Regional languages, climate, dresses and food of the people may be different but most Indian ceremonies and festivals are associated with religion and culture. That is how they are common and sometimes similar throughout the country from Bengal to Kashmir and Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. Gods and Goddesses, festivals and ceremonies sometimes have different names in different parts of the country but they are the same and are celebrated with equal enthusiasm everywhere. But Indian Muslims who are mainly Hindu-converts, keep away from these. If Muslims of Indonesia can perform the Ramayana as a national cultural festival, why Indian Muslims cannot do it in India. It is not the Government appointed National Integration Council but the people’s will alone that can bring about national integration.

Similar is the case with regard to minorities. There are minorities in all countries, but it is only in India that there is a Minorities Commission - emphasising thereby that minorities have problems here only. This by itself is an instigation to the minorities (read Muslims) to put forth all kinds of demands based on trumped up grievances. Social cohesion has to be left to the society itself for a healthy natural growth. The sooner the Government gives up the slogans of national integration and minorityism, the better for the country. Justice M.H. Beg, Chairman of the Minority Commission, rightly recommended winding up of the Commission.

In Muslim countries the nature of the state is generally Islamic if not totally theocratic. Secularism is prevalent in most advanced countries of the world. India too is a secular country. The Indian state gives equal status to all religions. It means that people of all faiths can practice their religious rites with equal freedom and without interference from others or the state. Secularism should not be a tool for demanding privileges, asserting rights, claiming more jobs (in proportion to population, whether qualified or not) and “establishment of a minorities finance development corporation with an initial asset of Rs. 100 crore.” Some political parties encourage such demands for gathering votes. All this makes India the only country in the world where “reservations in jobs” and not merit counts, thus making small a country otherwise great. This is one side of the coin. The other is that “secularism” in India is a stick to beat the majority community with, as it is an instrument for the appeasement of the minorities. For all practical purposes, secularism in India is very welcome to the Muslims. With Islamic regimes established to the east and west (Bangladesh and Pakistan), secularism means that the Muslim minority in India can have the cake and eat it too.

In this combination of national integration, minorityism, secularism and a common civil code, the most damaging to the Muslim interests is their resistance to the enactment of a common civil code. On the other hand, there is a lurking fear among many Muslims that national integration is a ploy to submerge their religious and cultural identity by tempting them into the national mainstream and placing them under a common civil code. That is what makes them so keen to stick to their Personal Law. On the face of it, it is very satisfying for Muslims to see that they have their own separate laws; that through them they are enabled to preserve their separate identity. In actual practice separateness makes them different from others. Difference leads to inequality. Inequality can either make them a little superior or a little inferior to others. Being in a minority they cannot be superior in a democratic set up. In Muslim countries non-Muslims are generally given an inferior status. In India Muslims on their own by insisting on preserving their personal law make themselves “lesser” citizens. Once they realise that because of their Personal Law they cannot claim equality with other citizens, they will not come in the way of enactment of a common civil code.

An early warning against perpetuating the minority complex was sounded in a memorandum submitted to the Constituent Assembly’s committee on minorities by Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, a leading member of the Christian community. She said: “The primary duty of the committee appointed to look into the problem of minorities is to suggest such ways and means as will help to eradicate the evil of separatism, rather than expedients and palliatives which might, in the long run, only contribute to its perpetuation.” She added, “Privileges and safeguards really weaken those that demand them…” A distinguished member of another minority community, Muhammad Currimbhoy Chagla, wrote in his autobiography in 1973: “I have often strongly disagreed with the government policy of constantly harping upon minorities, minority status and minority rights. It comes in the way of national unity, and emphasises the differences between the majority community and minority. Of course it may serve well as a vote-catching device to win Muslim votes, but I do not believe in sacrificing national interests in order to get temporary party benefits. Although the Directive Principles of the State enjoin a uniform civil code, the Government has refused to do anything about it on the plea that the minorities will resent any attempt at imposition.” The false equation of secularism and minorityism of the Congress is repeated in the policies of the National Front Government.88

Politics of Minorityism

Whichever political party has been in power at the Centre during the last forty-three years, whosoever has been the Prime Minister - Nehru or Gandhis, Morarji Desai or V.P. Singh - the Nehruvian Congress culture has spared no effort to woo the Muslim minority. In this attempt it was even decided to manipulate and distort our country’s history. The justification for rewriting Indian history, particularly medieval Indian history, from the ‘nationalist’ point of view lay in the plea that British historians have deliberately distorted Indian history with a view to highlighting Hindu-Muslim differences. We have already discussed this allegation earlier in Chapter 2. The British rulers and their historians only took advantage of the prevailing situation. For example, Monstuart Elphinstone, a Governor of Bombay, suggested in his Minute dated 14 May 1859: “Divide et Impera was the old Roman motto, and it should be our”. Given the circumstances, it would have been foolish of any imperialist power not to follow such a policy. But for achieving this aim there was no need for them to distort Indian history. British historians had just to reiterate what the Muslim chroniclers themselves had written about the “glorious achievements” of their kings and conquerors. Their stories needed no proof: they stood confirmed by the hundreds of vandalised medieval monuments. The mistake lay with the misjudgement of our Congress-culture Government and the so-called secularist and Stalinist historians. They chose to treat history as a handmaid of politics to please the Muslim minority. They instructed their text-book writers to eschew mention of unpalatable historical facts like destruction of temples and forced conversions by Muslims in history, language and social science. But perpetration of lies has proved counter-productive. It has encouraged Muslims to ask for proof as to when Babur or Aurangzeb broke this or that temple, knowing full well that such shrines were actually vandalised and razed.

As a consequence of all this, it is now being generally realised, though not admitted, that organisations like the National Integration Council and Minorities Commission are all there for appeasement rather than for grappling with the basic issues. It is now being felt that the best qualification for becoming a member of the National Integration Council is to be capable of denouncing Hindus and Hinduism. If minorities were suffering in India, Christians, Parsis, Jews too would have complained. But in our secular democracy not only are they feeling safe but also contributing their mite in development of the country. The biggest joke is that it is the “largest minority” of Muslims (75 millions according to 1981 census) that feels unsafe. To please it the Government is coerced, history is falsified and Hindus castigated, and yet Muslims cannot be brought to join the national mainstream. They insist on having a separate identity with separate laws.

In a democracy all citizens have equal rights. Words like majority and minority are out of place. The moment these words are uttered in the Indian context, they create the impression that minority is weak and helpless and majority strong and tyrannical. Institutions like the Minorities Commission and National Integration Council breed vested interests as they continue to harp upon real or imaginary minority grievances. That is probably why the late justice M.H. Beg recommended that the Minorities Commission should be done away with, but it suited the politicians not to do so. A fear psychosis is created vis-a-vis the Hindus, who although in majority, have not been known for possessing cohesion. It is well known that this fear is created by politicians who can go to any length to ensure their vote-banks. No leader has bothered to find out what effect the policy of appeasement of Muslims has on other sections of society.

The crux of the problem is the legacy of Muslim rule in India. Directly associated with it is the problem that the religion of the largest minority has certain peculiarities. It believes that there is one ‘chosen religion’ and one ‘chosen people’. In an Islamic state, no consideration is given to people of other faiths. Non-Muslims cannot construct a Christian church or a Hindu temple in Saudi Arabia or Iran, or say their prayers in public. During the month of Ramzan no food is available to non-Muslims in hotels or restaurants, although fasting is compulsory only for the Muslims. After the conquest of Mecca, “a perpetual law was enacted (by Muhammad himself) that no unbeliever should dare to set his foot on the territory of the holy city.”89 Where Muslims rule, they may declare the state secular or Islamic, they may treat the minorities with dignity or as Zimmis, follow the Islamic laws or prohibit polygamy. No non-Muslim can demand anything from them. They consider it entirely their own business to do what they like to do in their own country. But elsewhere their demands know no limits.90

No wonder that in India Muslims want separate schools for their children and claim Urdu as their language. They want their Personal Law (which mainly means polygamy),91 and resist enactment of a uniform civil code for all. They are against family planning so that their population may grow unchecked. In short, in countries where Muslims are in a minority and the state is not Islamic, they insist on living an alienated, unintegrated and “superior” life by agitating for concessions specified by their Islamic Shariat. No amount of falsification of history can humour them into living with others on terms of equality. Therefore Congress-culture politicians and pseudo-secularists should at least inform the minority whose cause they espouse, but to whom they never dare read a lecture, that secularism and fundamentalism are mutually exclusive, and that in the Indian secular state the Muslims cannot practise their fundamentalism. Furthermore, they can also be told that history can no longer be distorted, that it cannot be made the handmaid of politics, and that therefore they need to feel sorry if not actually repentant about the past misdeeds of Muslims.

Sometime back the East German Ambassador to Poland publicly apologised to the Poles for the ill-treatment meted out to them by Germans during the last war. Two years ago, the Japanese Government officially apologised to the Chinese Government for the atrocities committed by the Japanese on the Chinese population in the 30’s during China-Japan war. Recently on 23 / 24 May, 1990, during a visit to South Korea, emperor Akihito of Japan apologised to South Koreans for the same reason. Nearer home, the Caste Hindus are doing their best to make amends for their alleged or actual ill-treatment of backward classes through administrative, legislative and “reservation” methods. But such a gesture appears to be out of tune with Muslim culture and creed. Not that politicians of other communities are entirely selfless: no politicians are angles. Still it is felt that the Muslim minority community, misguided by its leaders, thinks and works only for its own narrow interests. The interest of the country is not its concern because it is not an Islamic country. That is why there is need to appeal to the Muslims to join the national “mainstream”. Indian Muslims were originally Hindus. As Hindus they were part of the country’s social and political mainstream. Conversion to Islam wrenched them away from it because Islam and Islamic theology enjoin upon Muslims to keep separated and segregated from non-Muslims. To integrate is not their obligation. To strive for national integration is the duty of the Government and the Hindus. And so it has been through the centuries. It is significant that Bhakta saints of the medieval period who preached integration were all Hindus. Even Sant Kabir. It is they who preached that Hinduism is as good as Islam and vice versa. No Muslim Ulama or Sufi can say such a thing. No Muslim gives any other religion a status of equality with Islam. Such an assumption is against the tenets of his creed.

Therefore, eversince the appearance of Muslims in India, there has been a struggle between Muslim communalism and Hindu nationalism, to use the modern phraseology. Today on the side of Muslim communalists are Marxists, pseudo-secularists, progressives etc. They have chosen the safe side because they know that it is easy to decry Hindus and Hinduism but very unsafe to criticise Muslims or Islam. But the great pundits of modernity and secularism have exhausted their volleys. The Hindu is now regaining his self-respect dwarfed over centuries. His no-nonsense stance has made the secularists and progressives panicky. They have recently propounded a new theory. They say that while the fundamentalism of the majority community harms only that community, the communalism of the majority community harms the whole nation.92 The Hindu does not care to seek elaboration of such shiboleths. His watchword of Indianization, considered in certain circles to have anti-Muslim implications, asserts a staunch opposition to disintegration. India is on the march. It is not going communist, nor communalist. India is steadily going Indian. It is to be watched if Indian Muslim or Muslim Indian leadership will contribute to this endeavour or only continue to cherish and preserve the legacy of Muslim rule in India.


1 Barani, pp. 199-200.

2 Gaurishankar Hirachand Ojha, Madhya Kalin Bharatiya Sanskriti, pp. 193-94.

3 Beale, T.W., Oriental Biographical Dictionary, p.145. Also Amir Khusrau’s Ghurrat-ul-Kamal.

4 Ain, I, p. 681.

5 By Sarang Deva, a contemporary of Alauddin Khalji (1296-1316).

6 Islamic Culture, 1954, pp. 411, 415.

7 Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, p. 306.

8 For details and reference, see Lal, History of the Khaljis, pp. 334-39; Twilight of the Sultanate, pp. 241-44; The Mughal Harem, pp. 124 ff, 167 ff. Also Smith, op. cit., pp. 306-07.

9 Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shahi, E and D, III, pp. 380-381.

10 Abdul Hamid Lahori, Badshah Nama, Bib. Ind. Text, I, p. 402; J.N. Sarkar, History of Aurangzeb, III, pp. 290-291.

11 Afif, E and D, III, p. 318.

12 Arun Shourie et al, Hindu Temples: What Happened to Them, New Delhi, 1990, pp. 30-31.

13 Margoliouth, D.S., Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, pp. 24, 377-409; Hitti, P.K., The Arabs, p. 28; Gibbon, Edward, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, II, pp. 649-660.

14 Elliot’s trs. II, p. 49.

15 Elliot’s trs. I, p. 98.

16 Eng. trs. Elliot, VIII, p. 171.

17 Those interested in detailed references may see my book Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India, Research Publication, New Delhi, 1973, pp. 14, 97-146, 159-164. Also my Indian Muslims: Who Are They. For justification of force in spread of Islam, Shah Walliullah, Tafsir-i-Fath-ur-Rahman, cited in Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture, p. 57.

18 Amir Khusrau, I’jaz-i-Khusravi, 5 Parts, Lucknow, 1875-76, I, p. 169.

19 As the Hindu reformers discovered, “the fire of Brahmanical spirit burns in a Brahman up to six generations”. See Gupta in Journal of the Department of Letters, Calcutta University, cited in Ashraf, Life and Conditions of the People of Hindustan, p. 194 n.

20 Ashraf, op. cit., p. 191.

21 Imperial Gazetteer of India, Provincial Series, Baluchistan, p. 30.

22 Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Vol.III, Baroda (Bombay, 1899), p. 226. Also Vol. VII, Baroda, p. 72.

23 Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Vol. IX, Pt. II, pp. 64, 69.

24 Central Provinces District Gazetteers, XIV, Nimar (Allahabad, 1908), p. 63.

25 M. Mujeeb, The Indian Muslims, pp. 17-18.

26 Central Provinces District Gazetteers, XIII, p. 296.

27 Central Provinces District Gazetteers, XVII, Seoni (Allahabad, 1907), p. 221.

28 Bengal District Gazetteers, XXXI, 24-Parganas (Calcutta, 1914), pp. 74-76.

29 Mujeeb, op.cit., p. 10.

30 Alwar Gazetteer, pp. 37ff., 70.

31 Indore State Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1908), p. 59. For references to Gazetteers and some additional information on observance of Hindu manners and customs by neo-Muslims, see Mujeeb, op. cit., pp. 9-25.

32 Manzur-ul-Haqq Siddiqi, Massir-ul-Jadad, published by al-Maktaba al-Saifia, Shish Mahal Road, Lahore, 1964, pp. 94-115, esp. pp. 98, 106, Muhammad Abdul Shakur, Aslah-i-Mewat, Sadar Bazar, Delhi, 1925, pp. 2-3, 35-40.  Also see K.C. Yadav, “Urdu Sahityakaron ki Haryanvi ko den”, in Harigandha, September-October, 1989, pp. 26-28 for similar literature.

33 For the traditional education of Muslim children in Madrasas, see Ram Gopal, Indian Muslims, op. cit., pp. 55-57. For their learning “political fanaticism” see 5. Maqbul Ahmad, “Madrasa System of Education and Indian Muslim Society”, in Indian and Contemporary Islam, ed. by S.T. Lokhandwala, Simla, 1971, p. 32.

For conversions in Meenakshipuram, Puliangudi and other places, see Politics of Conversion ed. by Devendra Swarup, Deendayal Research Institute, New Delhi, 1986, pp. 7-70.

34 I.H. Qureshi, Administration of the Sultanate of Delhi, p. 42.

35 Loc. cit.

36 Ibid., p. 43.

37 Ibid., p. 42. Also Khuda Bakhsh, Essays Indian and Islamic, p. 51.

38 Aghnides, N.P., Muhammadan Theories of Finance, pp. 399,528.

39 Tritton, A.S., Caliphs and their Non-Muslim Subjects, p. 21. Also Hitti, History of the Arabs, pp. 119, 171.

40 Amir Khusrau, Deval Rani Khizr Khan, Persian Text, p. 50.

41 Barani, p. 262; Ibn Battuta, p. 124; Vidyapati, Kirtilata, pp. 42-44, 70-72.

42 Afif, p. 388; Farishtah, I, p. 182; Dorn, pp. 65-66.

43 Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, I, p. 171.

44 The Delhi; Sultanate, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, p. 582, quoting Tabqat-i-Akbari, III, p. 597; Lal, Mughal Harem, p. 159; Nizamuddin, Tabqat-i-Akbari, III, pp. 453-56; Kolf, Naukar, Rajput and Sepoy, p. 161.

45 C.H.I., IV, pp. 52, 57.

46 “The object of Akbar’s order was evidently to prevent a woman from doing what she liked; for, according to the Muhammadans, women are looked upon as naqis-ul-aql”, deficient in mind (Ain, I, p. 220 and n.4).

47 Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, II, p. 181.

48 S.R. Sharma, Conversion and Reconversion to Hinduism, p. 12.

49 Farishtah, I, p. 311.

50 Khafi Khan, II, pp. 115-118; Manucci, II, P. 119.

51 Alberuni, I, pp. 19-23. Also Nicolo Conti in Sewell, A Forgotten Empire, p. 84.

52 Sharma, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, pp. 5, 143, 147 for detailed references.

53 Barani, p. 219.

54 Sharma, p. 5.

55 Qazvini, Badshah Namah, p. 445. Shaikh Shamsuddin Yahiya wrote a Risala (treatise) on the dress of the Zimmis. The work is no longer extant. See Nizami, Religion and Politics, p. 318.

56 Fatawa-i-Alamgiri, Nawal Kishore Press (Lucknow), III, pp. 442-45.

57 Badaoni, Persian Text, II, p. 223.

58 Jafar Sharif, trs. Herklots, Islam in India, p. 304. Also Hughes, Dictionary of Islam, p. 40 citing Mishkat, XX, iv.

59 Shah Waliullah ke Siyasi Maktubat, ed. by Khaliq Ahmad Nizami reproduced in English in Khalid Bin Sayeed’s Pakistan: The Formative Phase, Pakistan Publishing House, Karachi, p. 2.

60 Reproduced by A.H. Albiruni in Makers of Pakistan and Modern Muslim India, Muhammad Ashraf, Lahore, p. 109.

61 Wavell, The Viceroy’s Journal ed. by Penderel Moon, Oxford University Press, p. 206.

62 Maulana Muhammad Ali wrote:… Some Mussulman friends have been constantly flinging at me the charge of being a… Gandhi-worshipper… Since I hold Islam to be the highest gift of God, therefore, I was impelled by the love I bear towards Mahatmaji to pray to God that he might illumine his soul with the true light of Islam… As a follower of Islam I am bound to regard the creed of Islam as superior to that professed by the followers of any non-Islamic religion. And in this sense, the creed of even a fallen and degraded Mussulman is entitled to a higher place than that of any other non-Muslim irrespective of his high character, even though the person in question be Mahatma Gandhi himself” (Young India, 10.4.1924).

Gandhiji’s reaction was: “In my humble opinion the Maulana has proved the purity of his heart and his faith in his own religion by expressing his view. He merely compared two sets of religious principles and gave his opinion as to which was better” (Navajivan, 13.4.1924).

63 The Great Tragedy, a pamphlet published in September, 1971 in the wake of Bangladesh War.

64 Barani, p. 379; Farishtah, I, pp. 124, 126; Ibn Battuta, Def. and Sang, III, P. 198.

65 Ibn Battuta, op. cit., III, pp. 197-98.

66 C.H.I., III, p. 123.

67 Barani, p. 408.

68 Tabqat-i-Akbari, Persian Text, I, p. 187.

69 For details and references see Lal, History of the Khaljis, p. 70.

70 Ibn Battuta, p. 47; Yahiya Sarhindi, Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi, p. 87.

71 Barani. pp. 216-17; 290-91. Amir Khusrau, Miftah-ul-Futuh, E and D, III, p. 539. Also Nuh Sipehr, E and D, III, p. 559, 561. Firoz Shah, Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shahi, E and D, III, pp. 380-81; Rizquallah, Waqiat-i-Mushtaqi, fol. 40a; Dorn, Makhzan-i-Afghana, pp. 65-66; Farishtah, I, pp.147-48; Also Lal, Twilight of the Sultanate, p. 194, n.176.

72 C.H.I, III, p. 59.

73 Pelsaert, p. 75.

74 Herklots, Islam in India, pp. 166-67.

75 Rizvi, History of Sufism, II, p. 369.

76 Faruki, Aurangzeb, pp. 127-28 citing from Ganj-i-Arshadi, reproduced in Sharma, op. cit., p. 144 n.12.

The Vishvanath temple site was never relinquished by the Hindus even after its desecration by Aurangzeb. The present one was built by the Maratha Rani Ahilya Bai in 1785. The Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (d. 1839) got its shikharas covered with gold plates.

77 Sharma, Religious Policy of the Mughal Emperors, p. 134, also pp. 133-38, writing on the basis of News Letter of 27 March, 1670 and Mirat-i-Ahmadi, I, p. 261.

78 C.H.I., IV, pp. 245, 322.

79 Sarkar, A Short History of Aurangzeb, p. 452.

80 Sharma, op. cit., p. 139,142.

81 Harsh Narain, Myths of Composite Culture and Equality of Religions, p. 24.

82 Henry Sender, The Kashmiri Pandits: A Study of Cultural Choice, Oxford University Press, 1988. Also review of this book by Ratan Watal in Express Magazine, 15 January, 1989.

83 India’s Minorities, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (New Delhi, 1948), pp. 1 ff.

84 Gopal Krishna, “Nation Building In Third World”, a series of four articles, Times of India, 26 to 29 December, 1988.

85 Speech by the Pakistan Army Chief at the Staff College at Quetta on 26.10.1988.

86 Fatawa-i-Deoband, Vol. II, p. 269 cited in Harsh Narain, op. cit., p. 44.

87 Ram Gopal, Indian Muslims: A Political History (1858-1947), pp. 264-65.

88 C.N.S. Raghavan, “Secularism or Minorityism”, in Statesman, 19.11.89.

89 Gibbon, op. cit., II, p. 685.

90 A news item in the The Statesman of Sunday, 6 August 1989, entitled “Muslims in Britain displaying militancy” and datelined London, August 5, underscores the problem. It says that Muslims in Britain are displaying increasing militancy. “The Muslim community is demanding that its way of life be respected in Britain and instead of integration, many want separation… They are concentrating on the right to have Muslim schools and official recognition for Islamic family laws which permit polygamy… These demands they placed before the Home Secretary Mr. Douglas Hurd while protesting against Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel Satanic Verses. That turned out to be an excuse or occasion to put claims quite unrelated to the book. Later reports indicate that they are striving to establish a non-territorial Muslim Kingdom in Britain.”

91 “The reason why the Muslims do not insist upon chopping off the hands of thieves and stoning adulterers to death is that the courts imparting justice are not Shariat courts. The Shariat law prescribes certain qualifications for the judges which the present judicial set-up does not fulfil” (A correspondent from Aligarh in a letter to the Editor, Times of India, 17.8.91). Of course for contracting four marriages no permission is required from non-Shariat Indian law-courts.

92 Professor Shaharyar in a Seminar at Aligarh as reported in Qaumi Awaz dated 23 November, 1989. And V.M. Tarkunde’s article Hindu Communalism in The Times of India of 30 May, 1990.

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